Tag Archive: Food


Dandelion

Dandelion (Photo credit: james.thompson)

Lurking in your yard and in your garden there is a weed that is reviled across the nation as one of the most insidious pests to ever poke its head through the soil of yard or garden. It has spawned a legion of weed pulling devises, lawn treatments and flat out poisons to try to eradicate it. But even with armies of people aggressively trying to concur it, this tenacious weed has refused to be controlled, refused to surrender, it has beaten us as a race and it stands proud in it’s weedyness.

So why do I your humble poormansprepper, set finger to keyboard to tell you about this worthless little rapscallion of a plant? What does this weed have anything to do about being prepared? Why oh why Jeff are you returning after so long to tell us something that we already know, Dandelions such and they are heard to rid our gardens of? Let me answer that by running down some statistics for you

 

According to http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2441/2

1 cup of Dandelion greens has

Vitamin A 112%

Vitamin C 32%

Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) 9%

Vitamin K 535%

Thiamin 7%

Riboflavin 8%

Niacin 2%

Vitamin B6 7%

Folate 4%

Oh Wait you say I already have vitamin supplements, well then what about minerals???

 

Calcium 10%

Iron 9%

Magnesium 5%

Phosphorus 4%

Potassium 6%

Sodium 2%

Zinc 2%

Copper 5%

Manganese 9%

For those of you that keep score that is better than Popeye’s favorite can of spinach.

You can cook them (like you would spinach) or have them in your best salad mix. And I am told that the cleaned and roasted roots make a passable coffee substitute.

Now that you are completely sold on the greens green, a few words of caution

1) Always make sure that you know FOR SURE that you are eating Dandelions

2) Make sure that where ever you are getting them from that they have not been treated with pesticides.

I have included several links to pages that I use that have been written by people far smarter that I am.

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/eating-dandelions.html

http://bob-ewing.hubpages.com/hub/Harvesting-and-Eating-Dandelions

So go out, have fun, freak your kids out and eat a weed, it just might be good for you .

 

Jeff

Advertisements

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

So you are in the same spot that I am in: you live in an apartment no porch or balcony, you don’t have the extra 40-50 bucks for a propane camping grill/burner but you want to be able to cook indoors in case of emergency well I have one potential answer for you.

I started off with an empty quart paint can (purchased a new one for 1.50$ at a paint store) I took that quart can and filled that with cotton balls (Dollar store!!!). Then I filled the can with denatured alcohol, you can purchase this at the same paint store that you got the quart can I got mine for about 16 bucks.

I then took a large coffee can and once it was emptied I drilled holes around the bottom and around the top for ventilation, then you just take the lid off of your quart can place it into your coffee can and light it up.

You can see that you get a good flame and the holes in the coffee keep the flame fed with oxygen once the pot in on top

The coffee can works as your support

And is strong enough to hold a good sized pot filled with liquid

Once you are done just plop the quart can lid back on to put out the flame and seal back up **Be careful with this step the can will be HOT**

This is a great way to cook indoors with little to no fumes or smoke.

Keep up the good work

 Jeff

Challenge time!

Water is often used to cook foods such as noodles.

Water is often used to cook foods such as noodles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you have started to prep, or you have been prepping for a while now, you have water, food, and some equipment put together, you are ready for whatever may come your way right? Wrong.

Now you must practice, and then practice, then you need to practice some more. I will be offering challenges from time to time, to encourage you to test your skills, talents, and determination. One of the main reasons for these challenges is that you can have everything planned out in your head and as soon as you really need to execute Mr. Murphy pops up his ugly head and your smooth plan falls apart. You can combat Mr. Murphy and his law by putting what we know into practice. By actually DOING you learn what to do and what not to do you learn that you might need other equipment or that your 3 cups of water for your rice should be 4.

So now for the challenge…

I want you (and I will do it too) to cook at least 1 major meal this week from your preps. It can be anything that you want, also cook it using an alternative method of cooking, in other words not on your stove. Use what would be available to you if there was a power outage in your home.

Then take a few minutes and let me know how it went.

So there you go good luck and God’s speed

Jeff

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

Starved prisoners, nearly dead from hunger, po...

Starved prisoners, nearly dead from hunger, pose in concentration camp in Ebensee, Austria. The camp was reputedly used for "scientific" experiments. It was liberated by the 80th Division. Deutsch: Unterernährte Gefangene, fast tot vor Hunger, weil Essen knapp war, posieren im Konzentrationslager Ebensee, Österreich. Das Lager wurde angeblich für "wissenschaftliche" Experimente verwendet. Es wurde von der 80. Division befreit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are all preppers here, we are all in one way or another trying to ready ourselves for “whatever may come”. We have food, we have supplies, first aid, and water, and we have studied, planned and prepared ourselves. But are we really ready?

Are we ready to REALLY deal with real life if everything goes south? What do I mean by “dealing” with it? Well, beyond the stuff you have prepped, I am talking about three separate categories physical, mental, and emotional.  

Physical – Are you prepared to haul loads of water to use in your home, chop fire wood, and harvest your garden, walk everywhere you might need to go? The physical aspects of emergencies can be very taxing, during the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11/01 there were people that were not able to make it out of the building simply because they were not in good enough shape to make it down the stairs, let me say that again, they were not in shape enough to MAKE IT DOWN STAIRS. Yes there were other factors, yes we are talking about hundreds of flights of stairs, and no I am not trying to be insensitive to the families that lost members. I am simply making the point that in life or death situations your physical conditioning could determine whether you and your family live or die.

Mental – Hopefully at this point you are starting to consider things past just having enough food and stuff on hand. Considering what might happened in an economic collapse the choices you might need to make, are you prepared to make them? Will you stay where you are, will you leave and go somewhere else, if you are leaving when will you go? At what point will you ration food, will you start at the beginning to make it last as long as possible, or will you wait until you have next to nothing left to eat? To what lengths are you willing to go to protect your family, your possessions, you home? Are you willing to abandon your position in order to save lives, will you wound, maim, or kill to keep your loved ones safe?

Emotional – Upon seeing death, most people will have a visceral reaction they cry, throw up, avert their eyes, get angry, or go into shock. All of these are perfectly human reactions and none of them are right or wrong and given the right circumstances they are perfectly acceptable. What happens when these reactions conflict with your survival, are you able to put them aside to keep moving and deal with them later? What about your ethics, will you abandon your own sense of right and wrong in order to accomplish what you need to accomplish? Will you be able to keep your moral and religious beliefs in the midst of protracted anarchy, or will you just become part of the mob? Can you “keep it together” for your kids, try to shield them from the horrors that might be going on around you?

I know that these are uncomfortable questions to ask, things that we tend to not want to talk about it, yet in my opinion you must. History has shown us the human beings have a tremendous ability to adapt to their conditions to overcome circumstances to survive ghastly horrors. Prisoners of war have withstood incredible physical punishment and torture. Jews placed in concentration camps in Germany and Poland during WWII survived things unthinkable and have triumphed by outliving their captors. Being a Christian I know that my faith and my God will get me through, not always the way that I think it will happen but through none the less.

Personally I sit and think there through, I run scenarios in my mind and try to frankly asses what I would do how I will react, in short I try to prepare for what may come.

How do you ready yourself?

 

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

The Basics # 2

  Rice-a-roni

Food: What food do you want to store? Well the easiest answer to that question is what food do you eat now?

A great motto is to “store what you eat and eat what you store.” We are still working on at least a 1 week supply, just like we did for our water. The way I started was by purchasing an extra can of this and an extra bag of that each time I went shopping, in no time I have enough stock built up for breakfast lunch and dinner for a week.

I started out with canned and dry goods, just to make it simple for myself. Spaghetti sauce, pasta, oatmeal, boxes of breakfast cereals, rice a roni, canned tuna, and spaghetti o’s are a few examples of what I picked up.

I live in an apartment with limited space so I converted a downstairs coat closet into a pantry by adding some shelving. This is where organization pays off, newest product to the back of the shelves oldest to the front, keep rotating your stock and replacing what you use.

I will cover in later posts larger quantities of food and their storage; this is just to get that first week’s worth of supplies under your belt.

Prepping is a commitment to making lots of little changes over a period of time, building as you go! You’re doing great! Keep it up.