Category: Storage


Candy is Dandy

English: Hard candy Česky: Tvrde bonbony

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you have a bunch of preps, you can survive for months on end, you have water food, ways to cook your food, you my friend are set!

This is a prep that I put into the category of preps that you would never think about, and if you have kids, they will love you for this one! What is this magic prep you ask?

CANDY!

“Candy is nature’s way of making up for Mondays.” ~Unknown Author

Yes that is right candy is prep, specifically hard candy. Remember prepping is more than just bare bones survival, the goal is to keep life worth living and having a creature comfort like hard candy can be a real psychological boot to the mind and the soul. If you have children this can be a wonderful treat to raise spirits and restore a little piece of normalcy to their lives, in a time that might be full of uncertainty and stress.

“Anyone who uses the phrase ‘easy as taking candy from a baby’ has never tried taking candy from a baby.” Unknown Author

Another use for candy is for an energy boost when you don’t have time to eat at the moment like while you are hiking. It is not necessarily the best choice, it would always be preferable to have a fresh piece of fruit or nuts and berries something that will give you more complex nutrition and a longer energy boost. Let’s be practical about it though, you are not always going to have access to those other food sources all the time, and in times like these a piece or two of  candy popped into your mouth can be a Godsend when you need it.

“As long as you’re in the food business, why not make sweets?” ― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

I get mixed bags of hard candy, then vacuum seal them to keep them away from moisture. Smashed up butterscotch candy is great in breakfast muffins or pancakes for a change up on the flavor profile. Cinnamon candies mixed with applesauce are great, even dropping a peppermint candy into a cup of tea can brighten it up.

So there you are a fun prep for hard times.

 

Keep up the good work

 

Jeff

Advertisements
Obverse of United States one dollar bill, seri...

Obverse of United States one dollar bill, series 2003. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently they built a Dollar Tree across the street from me and I was shocked at the amount of stuff that you can get there so I have compiled a list of things that I have picked up for prepping there.

 

Glow sticks 5”

Glow sticks 14” – Glow sticks are great to stash around the house in case you have power outages and need light quick, also really fun for the kids in camping

Reusable plastic plates – I like to have non-breakable plates and glass ware to have to store away also as part of my camping equipment

Reusable plastic cups

Coloring books

Crayons

Playing cards

Kid’s games – I stock up on this stuff in case of power outages or serious emergencies I want to have things for my son and I to do to keep our minds occupied

Potted meats .50 ea

Large packages tuna

Large one serving noodle bowls – I take these, open them up put all the contents in a vacuum seal bag and seal it up.

20 pack miscellaneous sewing needles

Emergency Candles

Lamp Oil

Small zippered camera case – makes a great little container for small tools, sutures, sewing kit

Package 10 1 gallon freezer bags

16 Oz Aluminum drinking water bottle with screw top – great for storing lamp oil or d-natured alcohol

Various plastic containers – great for storage

Garbage bags – black

Garbage bags – white

There are lots of doodads, hoo-ha’s, and knick knacks that can be used for all sorts of purposes.

 

As always keep in mind that you don’t have to spend a lot tin order to get yourself ready for whatever might happen. Keep it up you are doing good!

 

Jeff

A sprouting glass jar with mung beans sproutin...

A sprouting glass jar with mung beans sprouting in it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you say you can’t grow your own food?  Pshaw I say!!

So you are in the same situation as me, you live in an apartment, no yard, no balcony, and no direct sunlight? Then, you, dear reader are in the perfect category to start sprouting. What is sprouting you ask…well….

According to Wikipedia:

Sprouting is the practice of germinating seeds to be eaten either raw or cooked. They are a convenient way to have fresh vegetables for salads, or otherwise, in any season and can be germinated at home or produced industrially. They are a prominent ingredient of the raw food diet and common in Eastern Asian cuisine

It is my belief that as a prepper you should be proficient in sprouting, for one it is fun, sprouts are tasty, and most importantly they provide vitamins and minerals that you would not normally get on a diet of stored food. There is a long list of things that can be sprouted, seeds, beans, lentils and nuts are just a few. Yes that is right lots of the stuff that you are storing for long term can be sprouted. Many sprouts can be eaten raw, although if you are sprouting most beans they still need to be cooked after they start to sprout to be edible.

The very best thing about it is that it is DIRT CHEAP! What you need:

Mason jar (Quart size)

Mason jar ring for the lid

Something that will act as a strainer lid like and old piece of nylon stocking.

Yes that is all you will need, well other than what you are going to sprout. For most sprouting you will need to soak you seeds overnight in cool (60-70 Degree) water in your mason jar. Drain them and rinse them every 12 hours until they are ready. You want to make sure that after the initial soak that they don’t sit in water so just turn your mason jar upside down at an angle so that they will drain and get some air flow.

Now you will note that this description is VERY VERY short, that is because it is an easy process. Also I am going to give you link in a moment that will lead you out to the web site for Sprout People, they have detailed instructions and if I am honest an outstanding web site with detailed easy directions for pretty much anything you can sprout: you can find them at http://sproutpeople.org/.

So there you have it a brief on sprouting.

 

Until next post

Jeff

 

Jousting at Hever Castle, Kent (11) Towards th...

Jousting at Hever Castle, Kent (11) Towards the end of the jousting, some hand to hand combat breaks out. Display by The Knights of Royal England. http://www.knightsroyal.co.uk/index.htm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You have your food, you have your food grade containers, now just dump it in and seal it up and you are off and running…right? Wrong!

There is an enemy to your stores lurking in the very air your breath waiting to jump into your food and use its hideous powers to destroy and wreak havoc! As the title implies this enemy of long term storage is Oxygen, and although it is not your only combatant it is our primary opponent at the moment.

There is a lot of technical information out there about how oxygen effects stored food, as a simple man I will give you a simple explanation. Oxygen “rusts” your food and makes it taste bad and also helps little nasty microbes that can make you ill grow in your food. Bottom line oxygen bad!!!

So how do we fix this, how can we fill up a 5 gallon bucket with rice, beans, or whatever and then get the oxygen out of it? I am glad that you asked such an appropriate question at such an opportune moment.

There are 4 main ways to get the oxygen out

Behind door number one we have sucking it out:

Vacuum Sealers utilize special bags that allow you, with the aid of a machine, to suck out all the air out of your storage bag, the machine then seals it shut for you. This is an excellent method, especially if used in conjunction with our second choice.

In my humble opinion a Vacuum Sealer is an awesome addition to a peppers toolkit. Mine was gifted to me, so I saved there, but even if you don’t have the money for one right now ask around, chances are someone who you know will have one that they will let you use. You can even use them with Mylar bags (Mylar bags are great for use with buckets if you are looking for an extra layer of protection for you food). Mine even has an attachment for vacuum sealing mason jars.

Behind door number two we have eating it out

Oxygen Absorbers utilize a chemical reaction to eat or use up most of the oxygen in a given container. As I mentioned these are great to uses in conjunction with a vacuum sealer, just pop an appropriate sized one for the size of container your sealing and you are off and running.

They come in various sizes

100cc – Smaller bags and #10 cans

500cc – Medium bags and smaller buckets 1-3 gal

1000cc – 4 -6 gallon buckets

2000cc – 6 + gallon buckets

Oxy Eaters www.usaemegencysupply.com

Behind door number three we have driving it out

Dry Ice is frozen carbon dioxide, as it melts it goes straight from a solid to a gas. Carbon dioxide is heavier that air so as the gas fills the bucket it forces out the air/oxygen. This ranks as the least expensive option for a few bucks work of dry ice purchased at your local

1 Lb of Dry Ice makes 8.3 Cubic feet of carbon dioxide gas

A 6 gallon bucket contains 1.46 Cubic feet of space

Add in Beans or Wheat that space is reduced to 0.48 Cubic Feet

So 2oz of dry ice can fill a 6 gallon bucket four times over using this method you will drive out 90% of the Oxygen

Just put your dry ice in the bottom side of your bucket and fill up your bucket and then put your lid on but don’t tighten it down, you want to give the air that is being forced out somewhere to go. Once the side of my bucket is not cold to the touch I seal it up and we are good to go!

Behind door number four we have caning, this is a WHOLE post in and of itself and as such I will address it at another time.

So now you have the weapons you need, sally forth and do battle with Oxygen!

Jeff

A Kerr mason jar

A Kerr mason jar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you have read my compelling blog posts and you are saying to yourself, why this bright man has convinced me to become prepared. “I ran out to my local store and found two 25lb bags of rice I am ready for the zombies to attack my home and…….ummmm……Jeff…” Yes I say, “…how am I supposed to store this…?” Great question!

Let’s look at containers first because there are some rules you NEED to follow!

Is your container food grade? What is a food grade container, you ask? Well it is a container that you can store food in…duh… usually plastic is what we are talking about here and not all plastics are made alike.

Plastics can contain products harmful to humans and animals that will leach into the food that you store in them. There is a lot of information out there about the types of plastic and grades of plastic and this’s and that’s, let me try to simplify it. How do you know if your buckets or containers are food grade i.e. safe for you to use? There are a few ways.

 If you are purchasing them call the company that made them and ask, easy peasy.

 If you are “collecting them” because you’re cheap like me, know what they were used for! For instance even if a bucket is food grade, if it had paint in it DON’T USE IT, plastic can absorb harmful chemicals and leach they back into your food, in fact if I am looking for buckets I only go to 2 types of places fast food and grocery stores.

 Fast food places if you ask them usually have pickle buckets that they just discard and are usually happy to give them to you, the bakery sections of grocery stores use 3 and 5 gallon buckets for lard/icing and again are usually happy to set them aside for you to take.

The Grocery store buckets usually will clean up with a brisk washing with very hot water and dishwashing soap, to cut the grease that was in the icing. The pickle barrels from the fast food places have a heavy vinegar smell to them, I scrub them out with hot water, bleach, and dish soap, then set them out on the porch  (preferable in the sun) for a few weeks, I have found this is the best way to kill the smell. Bring them back in and wash them one more time and you are off and running. While washing the lids check the o-ring that is built into the lid I take it out and look to see if it has any nicks in it 99 time out of 100 they are in good shape, I also like to make sure that I keep the same lid with the same bucket (they seem to fit better this way).

The other type of containers that I really like to use are…drum roll please…2 liter soda bottles! These can be great for rice, beans, sugar, coffee, salt or anything else you can fit into them.

Another great option are mason jars, you can find these at most  garage sales, you will need to purchase new lids but even I “El Cheapo” will pay for new mason jar lids. Really any container that is food safe and can be sealed will work.

I will cover how to use these containers in later blogs

Keep up the good work you are doing great, and making lots of progress!!!

Jeff

Rice Diversity. Part of the image collection o...

Rice Diversity. Part of the image collection of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alright we know about the common bean what about rice? Rice is a serial grain, in the same category with corn and wheat, 1/5 of the calories eaten by humans in the world come from rice. Rice is harvested and then mulled (removing the husk) and separated from the chaff. What you have left is brown rice, the bran (the brown part) is then polished off and what you have left is white rice.

Brown Rice is nutritionally superior to white, having vitamin B1, B3, iron, magnesium, fatty acids, and a good portion of fiber that all are lost in the polishing process. Due to the oil in the bran brown rice has a much shorter shelf life:

Brown rice sealed in an oxygen starved environment (more on this later) at a constant 70 degrees will last from 1-2 years.

White rice stored the same way will last 8-10 years.

For now we will concern ourselves with white rice. There are hundred varieties of rice but they are classified into three main categories:

Long grain is long and slender, popular in America due to the fact that it will “fluff up” and not stick together popular varieties include Jasmine, Basmati and Carolina rice.

Medium Grain is shorter and stickier is used for risotto, paella, puddings, and sushi.

Short Grain shorter yet again and is also used for sushi and rice flower, due to the many varieties and “blends” between medium and short I consider these basically the same.

Rice is a staple of home storage without breaking the bank I still purchase a 25 lb bag for 20$ locally. Can you live off of ONLY rice? No! Would you want to if you could? No! Can you use rice as the backbone of a variety of dishes? Yes.

One thing I try to do is to store different varieties, a good risotto, is a long way away from prefect sticky sushi rice.

So there you have it, Jeff’s mini primer on rice hope it helps!

Diversity in dry common beans

Diversity in dry common beans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jeff, I am interested in starting to store food for “long Term”. “Great”, say I, you can start with beans and rice; in this article I will cover common beans.

The common bean background…

Beans have been harvested and cultivated as far back as you care to look into the history of such things.  There are several groups of “beans” Phasesolus vulgaris or the common bean is what I will be covering today.  Common beans include

Black Turtle Bean (Black Bean)

Pinto Beans (Brown Beans)

Kidney Bean (Chile Bean)

White Beans (Navy Beans)

Lima Bean

Beans are high in starch, protein, and dietary fiber, and are also a good source of folic acid, selenium, iron, potassium, thiamine, vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc.

WOW Jeff that is awesome, but why beans? Well if stored in a cool dry place, dried beans will last basically forever! Woo Hoo!! They do on the other hand start to lose their nutritional values after a few years and the older they get the longer they will need to cook.

Speaking about cooking, you want to make sure that you boil your beans for at least 10 min during the cooking process. Common beans, especially red kidney beans, have a toxic compound called phytohaemagglutinin, in fact if you cook your beans in a slow cooker and they never reach a boil they will be up to 5 times more toxic. WHAT!?! You’re kidding me Jeff!! Nope! I was as amazed as you were.

One other thing before you run out and start storing beans (we will cover the storage in another post), get some and cook some! Make sure your family likes beans, get a variety of beans, cook a variety of beans a variety of ways, remember store what you eat and eat what you store.

So there ends my little post…”But wait Jeff, this is slapdash at best what about peas, garbanzos, lentils or fresh beans like green beans and snow peas?” Well those aren’t common beans and they are going to be the topic of another post…he he he