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Preparing for an uncertain future means many things to many different people.

To some it’s about storing bottled water and other essential items, while to others it’s about learning how to make a shelter and fire. Some people believe it’s mostly about securing their finances against market fluctuations, while others feel it’s about defending themselves and their property.

Regardless of what first comes to mind when you consider this important issue, we’re all going to have to eat after a disaster strikes. None of us will be able to survive the coming crisis without the vitamins and minerals that come from food. And that food must be packaged and stored properly if it’s going to remain nutritious for many years.

Of course, there are other factors involved in stockpiling survival food for the future. We’ll eat anything if we have to, but good-tasting food will make the situation much better, as will a significant amount of variety. The food also needs to be nourishing because a crisis will produce stress and we’ll need all the nutrients we can get to deal with that. With the electrical grid likely to be knocked out for a while following a disaster, the food we store should also be simple to prepare.

And despite how good our food tastes, how much variety we incorporate into our stockpile, how nutritious it is and how easy it is to prepare, it needs to be packaged and stored in a manner that will ensure its longevity. None of us knows how long it will be until a major emergency occurs, and none of us has any idea how long that emergency will last.

Let’s take a look at several long-term food storage components, starting with the most common mistakes people make when they begin their stockpiling process.

10 FOOD STORAGE ERRORS TO AVOID

Do you know who the biggest believers in the importance of storing food and water for emergencies are? It’s probably the victims of disasters that have occurred in this country over the past 15 years or so, including Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, tornadoes in Oklahoma, Alabama and elsewhere, and snowstorms in the Great Lakes regions.

gettyimages-452124739-1Few people would disagree that it’s a good idea to store emergency food and water, but the folks who are most convinced are the ones who wish they had been prepared for the tragedies they experienced. Many of them are now ready to face the next crisis because they realize from first-hand experience how crucial it is to be prepared.

What some people are not quite as sure about, however, are the best types of food to stockpile, as well as the strategies for storing it in a manner that will maximize its usage once it comes time to access it. There are many mistakes made in this area, and the downside is significant. A lot of hard work can go to waste because just when emergency food is needed most, people can discover that their stored food has gone bad.

There are a number of examples regarding how this can happen. Someone could have huge amounts of grains stored, for instance, but quickly learn that too much of a good thing is not really that good. Balance and variety are essential, and not merely for your digestive system. They are also a psychological help to you and your family, especially if the emergency situation lasts for days, weeks or months.

Another very important factor is the type of containers in which you store food. If there is exposure to air and moisture, it can ruin your food storage tactics. In addition, where you keep those containers is crucial because high temperatures and light can negatively influence vitamins, proteins and fats.

Other factors include your food’s nutritional quality and how frequently you rotate it. You also want to make certain that the majority of food you store does not require refrigeration because a power outage would spoil those foods quickly. Finally, keeping some food at multiple locations is important, because your home could be destroyed in a disaster, or you might not be able to get back to it right away.

Here are 10 common food storage mistakes:

1. Ignoring the importance of nutrition in stored food. This happens more frequently than one might think. Sometimes we’re so concerned about the volume of food we store that we forget about vitamin and mineral content.

2. Using sacks or other containers that are not airtight. This is wrong for a variety of reasons. Air and moisture will greatly decrease the shelf life of stored food. In addition, containers that are not airtight increase the chances that insects or critters might get into your food.

3. Failing to keep food containers in a dry, cool place. Moisture and heat are two of the worst enemies of stored food. The storage temperature for most food should be between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Failing to keep food containers out of the light. You definitely want to head to the
dark side when it comes to storing food. Light can deplete the vitamin content of food.

5. Storing too many items that need refrigeration. As mentioned, it’s very likely a crisis will include the loss of power, which means your refrigerated items will spoil quickly without a generator.

6. Failing to include enough variety. After a couple of days of eating the exact same thing, you and your family are going to want something different.

7. Failing to include at least a small percentage of “comfort” foods. In addition to satisfying your sweet tooth, comfort foods will give you and your family a big psychological lift in a crisis.

8. Failing to check expiration dates and rotate stored foods. In each container, organize food by expiration date. When an item’s expiration date is approaching, eat that food – or donate it to a shelter – and replace it with newer food.

9. Failing to keep your stockpile discreet. Advertising to others that you have a stash of survival food could make you vulnerable when a crisis hits. Keep your preparations on the down low.

10. Storing all the food in one location. This is the classic case of putting all your eggs in one basket. If your home is destroyed in a disaster, you’ll be glad you kept food and water at a secondary location.

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Some folks believe that freeze-drying is the way to go with long-term food storage. While it’s effective, it’s also very expensive and strips the food of some of its vital nutrients.

Another common technique in the food storage industry is the cheaper “rapid dehydration” method that sucks all the water out quickly. But it can also pull out flavor and nutrients. Low-heat dehydration is a proven technique that keeps flavor and nutrition locked in, and that food will last just as long as freeze-drying without costing an arm and a leg.

Two main advantages to dehydrating food are that it can stay fresher longer and can be stored and transported more easily. Water in food can carry bacteria, which will make that food go bad sooner, and it also weighs down that food.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, dehydrating food would be a great way to prepare it for your stockpile. It will be more compact and easier to store as you keep it at home, and it will be lighter and more easily packed if you need to bug out. And anytime you want a quick and nutritious meal prior to a crisis situation, all you have to do is rehydrate it and eat it without having to bother looking for an expiration date.

Figure on dehydrated meat lasting only about two months, but many dehydrated fruits and vegetables will be good for a year or so. If you dehydrate herbs, they can probably last for several years.

In order to dehydrate some of your food, you can either use an oven set at a low temperature or invest in a modern, electronic dehydrator. That way, you can make food with an expiration of one month last about 12 months. You don’t want to go much beyond a year in most cases because at that point, even though the water has been removed, it’s likely the nutrients will start breaking down.

Regardless, storage is the key. Once you’ve dehydrated various foods, place them in airtight, plastic containers such as Mylar bags. You may think you’ve squeezed all of the oxygen out of a bag, but there is probably a small amount left, so use an oxygen absorber.

As far as rehydrating that food is concerned, all you have to do in most cases is place it in boiling water and stir, providing a little time for it to thicken.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TASTE

Yes, we will eat anything if we’re starving, but consuming foods that don’t taste good to us is a real challenge. Just when we need that food the most, tasteless food could be tough to swallow – literally and figuratively.

Make sure that the food you put into long-term storage includes top-quality ingredients. Think of the recipes that have proven to be your family’s favorites through the years, and focus on them.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF NUTRITION

Everybody knows it’s important to eat food that’s good for you. Well, that’s going to become even more important after the stuff hits the fan. Being able to perform at peak capacity under pressure will be essential when we’re dealing with a crisis, and eating healthy food will go a long toward accomplishing that goal.

Be certain that your survival food is jam-packed with nutritional value, preferably food that takes 100 percent non-GMO fruits and vegetables as
its starting point and ideally food that is grown, harvested and made from scratch here in America.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF VARIETY

Have you ever noticed that many foods taste great if you haven’t had them for a while, but not quite as good if you ate them recently and definitely not as good if you ate them yesterday? Our taste buds – not to mention our minds – react differently to foods based on how long it’s been since we’ve eaten them.

Variety in survival food is extremely important… for taste, for nutritional value and for the psychological effect. Make sure you stockpile a nice variety of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, not to mention snacks and desserts. These foods might include oatmeal, powdered milk, soups, stews, rice, pastas, potatoes, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PACKAGING

Another key factor to consider with long-term food storage is packaging. There’s not much point in stockpiling survival food if your food isn’t going to survive. It needs to stay good for a long time.

It’s vital to keep air and moisture out and to have a durable package that can take a few bumps over the years without bursting. The best way to ensure that result is to use space-age Mylar packaging that gets placed inside airtight containers, so look for sealed Mylar pouches with less than 2 percent oxygen content.

Mylar is what NASA uses in spacesuits to protect astronauts from solar-thermal radiation. So, you know your food will be protected against all the elements Mother Nature could throw at it. This barrier against air, moisture and light – the three things that will destroy food over time – is possible even with re-sealable pouches.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SIMPLICITY

Now, none of that time-consuming packaging process makes any sense if it doesn’t contain great-tasting, nutritious food capable of lasting a long time and that is simple for you to prepare. A majority of your stockpiled survival food should require only boiling water, simmering and serving.

WHAT ABOUT CANNED FOOD?

Some survival websites will tell you that canned food is very good for long-term storage, while others will tell you it’s not. Although it can have some drawbacks – weight and portability, for example – canned food is probably better than many people think… especially if you’re hunkered down and don’t have to lug it around.

While you would not want to live exclusively on canned foods, they have their place, especially when one is on a tight budget. Many folks are living paycheck to paycheck during these rough economic times. They barely have enough money to feed themselves and their families, let alone stock up on foods that can sometimes be expensive.

As a more economical option for part of your emergency food supply, put together a stockpile of canned foods. Many of the same foods that people eat on a regular basis are available in canned form, including vegetables, soups, meats, fish, stews, beans, pasta and many more. Canned foods can be nutritious and rich in protein, which people will need for keeping up their strength when they’re dealing with a crisis.

Of course, there is the issue of shelf life when it comes to canned food. Cans also take up a lot of space, and they are heavy. If you have to grab your emergency food supply quickly and head out the door, cans are not your ideal choice. In addition, epoxy resins containing Bisphenol A (BPA) are frequently used as coatings on the insides of cans, which has raised some health concerns. And while it’s extremely rare, some people have contracted botulism from canned food.

But below are seven reasons why you might want to consider having at least some canned food in your survival stash:

1. Price. When you purchase items in bulk, you can save up to 75 percent by acquiring most canned foods rather than freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. Even if you’re not able to buy in bulk, you will still save money with canned foods.

2. Long Lasting. Many canned foods have a shelf life of between one and several years. You should still rotate your supply occasionally and eat the food if the expiration date is getting close, but there’s peace of mind knowing that most canned foods last a long time.

3. Variety. People will eat the same thing over and over again if they’re hungry enough, but everyone appreciates having choices. You can acquire a wide variety of canned foods that should keep pretty much everybody in the family happy for a while.

4. Calories. The last thing you should be worrying about in a survival situation is weight watching. So what if some canned foods are high in calories? Focus on what will be important in that situation, not on how you’re thinking right now. You’re going to need those extra calories when you’re in survival mode.

5. Water. There’s very little water in freeze-dried and dehydrated foods (although there is usually a small amount), but most canned foods contain the water that will make preparation easier. Yes, that also makes them heavier, but that shouldn’t matter if you’re able to stay put to ride out a crisis situation.

6. Familiarity. Most families normally eat foods such as chicken, beef, ham, fish, vegetables, stews, beans and pasta, all of which are available in canned form, plus many more. In a time of crisis, familiarity will go a long way to “normalizing” what you and your fellow family members are going through.

7. Safe Storage. Bugs and rodents can sometimes infiltrate boxes and bags, but seldom do they break through a can.

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Regardless what kind of food you stockpile and how you store it, do whatever you can to keep survival food (and other essentials) in more than one location. Those who have gathered large amounts of bottled water, canned food, toiletries and a host of can openers, flashlights, batteries, radios, blankets, clothing, first-aid kits and weapons need to keep a portion of those items in multiple locations.

A home is a great place to stockpile food, and that’s where many people keep their largest supplies because that’s where they and their families are most likely to be when the stuff hits the fan. And even if they’re not home at that exact moment, they will probably be in a position to return there shortly.

Homes are not only where most people keep the majority of their emergency supplies, but also where they’ve spent time and money to secure their belongings. If a breakdown in society occurs following a disaster, they want to be as prepared as possible to protect their families and possessions.

But what if their homes are destroyed or severely damaged by whatever crisis occurs? If that’s the only place where we have our emergency goods including food stockpiled – and we either can’t get to them or they’ve been destroyed by the disaster – we will have wasted a huge amount of time and money preparing for the exact scenario in which we find ourselves.

It is absolutely essential that you keep supplies in multiple locations. If you have a year’s supply of goods at home, keep six months’ worth in at least one other place. If you have six months’ worth of goods at home, store at least three months’ worth at a secondary location.

Now the question becomes, exactly where should your second and perhaps third locations be? There are several important factors to consider. For one, these other locations need to be close enough to get to, yet far enough away that they’re unlikely to be affected by the same disaster that just did a number on your home.

Just as important, these locations have to offer the same features that your home does – a cool, dry place where food and water won’t be negatively affected by sunlight, moisture and extreme temperatures.

Of course, it’s up to you to decide where those second and possibly third locations will be, but among the possibilities are a storage unit that you can rent, a root cellar or storage bunker on your property but away from your house, inside a separate building that you own in town, within a building that a trusted friend owns, or buried in a remote area where only you would think to look.

Finally, as all good preppers know, don’t advertise the fact that you have stockpiled food and water in your home and at other locations. People
will remember that, and you could have some unwelcome visitors following a disaster.

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INCLUDE COMFORT FOODS IN YOUR SUPPLY

The word “comfort” sure is comforting, isn’t it? When you think of that word, you might imagine lying in a hammock on a warm summer day, or relaxing on a porch with a beverage on a pleasant evening, or sitting by the fireplace with a cup of coffee when it’s cold outside.

Yes, it’s important to keep your body healthy by eating nutritious food that will provide you with the energy you need. That will be especially true during a crisis when you might be on the move and when your stress level will be higher.

But giving your family members and yourself an emotional lift once in a while with some foods you and they love will do wonders for everyone’s state of mind. And you can’t underestimate the value of keeping attitudes upbeat at a time when depression could easily set in.

So, what is meant by comfort foods? Anything that goes down easy, tastes great, is easy to prepare and reminds you of a time when things were better. Are most of them “healthy” and “natural?” Probably not, although some are. Some are probably high in calories and carbohydrates, and some include a little too much sugar.

But if a vast majority of the foods you are consuming are nutritious, you can afford to eat a snack once in a while that may be better for your attitude than it is for your cholesterol level.

If you asked 15 different people to list their top 15 comfort foods, you’d probably get 15 different lists. But there would certainly be some overlap. Here’s one list that comes to mind.

Hard candies. Some people’s favorites are caramel and butterscotch, but you might prefer cherry, root beer, butter rum or other flavors.

Chocolate pudding. This might be the universal kid-favorite comfort food, but adults love it, too.

Popcorn. You don’t have to be watching a movie to enjoy it, but it’s difficult to watch a movie without it.

Pizza. Are you kidding? Few people don’t like pizza, despite the great debate about which is better – thin crust or deep dish.

Mac and cheese. Another item that few kids will turn down. Many children love it when mom adds hot dog slices to their mac and cheese plate.

Candy bars. Yes, there’s too much sugar. But you don’t have to live off of them. But once in a while, a Three Musketeers, Snickers or Milky Way really hits the spot.

Peanut butter. Most people use this as a spread, but have you ever put a spoonful in your mouth and just savored it?

Hot chocolate. There should be a federal law requiring parents to serve this when their kids come in from playing in the snow.

Honey-coated banana chips. Those who’ve never tried them before rave about them after finally tasting them.

Freeze-dried yogurt bites. Ditto.

Granola bars. These are almost too healthy to count as comfort foods, but they’re included because they taste great and are so easy to open and pop in your mouth.

Trail mix. Dried fruits and nuts are tasty, and many enjoy the kind of trail mix that cheats by including M&Ms and chocolate chips.

Coffee or tea. For some folks, coffee is not a comfort food; it’s an absolute necessity. For others, it could be a pleasant reminder of more normal times.

Hostess Twinkies and Cupcakes. A nutritionist just rolled over in her grave, but as long as you don’t fill an entire bug-out bag with them, you’re probably OK.

WHAT ABOUT PET FOOD STORAGE?

Regardless of whether a disaster causes us and our families to hunker down or bug out, our pets are going to stay with us and receive as much care as we are capable of providing them. These furry creatures are part of the family and are treated that way.

Now, you might keep much of your family’s emergency food supply in space-age Mylar bags, which is a great idea because you may want that food to last a very long time. But most of your animals are probably not going to live another 25 years, crisis or no.

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THE BAGS ARE LOADED

There’s good news for you. The bags in which your pets’ dry food are sold are perfectly capable of keeping that food fresh for a couple of years. The only thing to be concerned about here is making sure there are no rips or tears in the bags before you purchase them.

But just because you don’t need to remove your pets’ food from those bags and place it in Mylar bags doesn’t mean you can just toss the bags into the crawlspace and forget about them.

Give a mouse or another rodent access to a bag made of paper and he won’t need long to scratch his way in. Unless your goal is to keep mice happy and healthy following a crisis, this is not the way to go.

USE AIRTIGHT CONTAINERS

You need to pack your pets’ dry food bags in airtight plastic containers then place those containers in a cool, dark place, away from sunlight. And once you open a bag, the oxidation process will start, so make sure to use all of its contents within six months at the most.

Also, you need to rotate this pet food periodically. If the expiration dates on the bags are difficult to read, write the date that you placed it in storage on the bag with a black Sharpie. Then use the oldest food each time, assuming it has not expired.

One note to consider here. If you feed your pets “natural” dry food, you may be giving them something that is healthier for them than “regular” pet food. But due to its lack of preservatives, natural pet food will not last as long.

CONSIDER CANS

Many people prefer dry pet food to canned food, but canned food does have the advantage of lasting longer… sometimes up to five years. The storage principle is the same here. Keep it in a cool, dry place. Although cans are much more difficult to infiltrate than bags, you should still keep them in an airtight container.

FREEZE-DRIED OPTION

Another option is freeze-dried pet food. Assuming nearly all of the moisture has been removed, it should stay good for a number of years. But the plastic packages it normally comes in are not meant for long-term storage, so transfer the food to Mylar bags and then store them in airtight containers. Toss an oxygen absorber into the container while you’re at it.

HOMEMADE NEEDS HOMEWORK

For you DIYers who make your own pet food, you’re probably doing your pets a favor by feeding them a diet that does not contain additives and preservatives. But as with store-bought “natural” dog food, you really need to do your homework before canning that food in order to figure out how long it will stay good.

CONCLUSION

Whether you build your own food stockpile or purchase a ready-made solution, the bottom line is you actually have to do it, not just talk about it. And when you do, make sure it’s stored in a manner that will ensure its value and longevity. Then and only then can you rest easy, knowing you’ve done what you could to prepare for whatever comes your way.

Preparing for an uncertain future means many things to many different people. To some it’s about storing bottled water and other essential items, while to others it’s about learning how to

The key to survival is preparation, and the consummate prepper is well aware of Sta-Bil, the fuel additive that allows users to store gasoline for a year or more to prevent its highly-refined molecular structure from breaking down and losing octane. The same type of precautions need to be taken to extend the shelf life of food, whether they’re canned or dried.

No matter how much food you stockpile, it will ultimately run out. These three tips will help preserve what you have for as long as possible, and provide renewable sources of food regardless of living conditions.

Low Humidity, Low Temperatures

There are two things that can spoil any food: heat and moisture. Hot, humid environments are ideal for bacteria, yeast, and other microbes to thrive. Autolytic spoilage (i.e. browning of apples, bread mold, etc.) is also hastened by these conditions.

Those living in Midwestern and New England states should store their food stashes in the coolest, driest spot in the house. The basement is ideal, coupled with a dehumidifier. Those who live in states that typically don’t have basements in homes (such as Arizona or Nevada) should pick a room and block out all sunlight. Use roman shades to block out the sun completely, while still allowing the option to open them if needed.

Add oxygen-absorbing packets to dried foods in jars and bags, particularly jerky, cereals, and dehydrated fruits. These packets should also be placed in vitamin and medicine bottles.

A cheap way to keep your storage room cool in low-humidity areas like Denver, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque is to build a makeshift swamp cooler. The entire project will cost less than $20 and the fan to circulate the cool air will run on a 12-volt power source.

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Having a garden now will greatly reduce your ramp up time if you find yourself dependent on this plot for food.

Those planning to survive for years post-Apocalypse will need renewable sources of sustenance.

Heirloom Seeds

The best part of heirloom seeds is that once you grow your first batch of fruits and vegetables, they’ll continue to produce more seeds. You’ll be able to make nutrient-rich compost with all the organic waste around the house to improve the quality of just about any soil. Heirloom seeds keep for upwards of 30 years if stored properly. You can even grow them indoors for year-round fresh produce if you have windows that get adequate sunlight.

Heirloom emergency seed kits are available for under $40 and contain seeds for several different vegetables and fruits. It’s best to double or triple up just in case.

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Rabbits are prolific breeders and make a great source of protein.

Indoor Livestock

Many Americans have grown accustomed to having meat as part of their meals. Once supermarkets stop selling or rationing it out, the only way to get meat will be daily hunting or farming your own.

Rabbits are simple animals to raise for meat, particularly for people with no yard space. Not only do they eat just about any plant material, but they can have as many as five litters per year with upwards of 14 kits. They also take up very little space and their manure can be used in compost.

The breed you choose should have thick loins and broad shoulders. New Zealand Whites, American Chinchillas, and the Champagne D’Argent are three common breeds raised for meat. Rex rabbits are good for both meat and fur for those who don’t waste any part of the animal.

There is no such thing as over-preparation when it comes to your food supply. Don’t wait until the last minute to position yourself and your family for long-term survivability.


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The key to survival is preparation, and the consummate prepper is well aware of Sta-Bil, the fuel additive that allows users to store gasoline for a year or more to

For a long time, preppers have been accused of being little more the paranoid hoarders. However, a lot of evolution has occurred in the field of disaster preparedness. Rather than blind action and backpacks full of gear, we have a hierarchy of the most important things to have on hand in a disaster.

When it comes to prepper storage, we are going to look at three items that are going to make a world of difference for you and your family in tough times.

Long Term Food Storage

Forget about the golden rule in a serious disaster. You see, the gold makes the rules only when there are resources to buy with that gold. Because of our just in time delivery systems our cities and towns are going to run out of food and supplies in a hurry.

We have seen the shelves go bare after small hurricanes and snowstorms. Imagine if trucking and shipping stop and all those resources are gone.

 

In order to survive tomorrow, we need to prepare today! Learn HERE how

Better than having gold is having food. You see, everyone is going to want food, they are going to need food. Most people have no idea how you are going to get food after a disaster.

If you are going to store food you should know what a years’ worth of food, per person, looks like. To keep it simple you are going to need about 2 million calories per person. Really it should be a little more but from there you can work your way back.

When you talk about 3 months or 6 months of long term food storage you should only be working with shelf stable foods. The best practice is to buy these items in bulk and then bucket them up with oxygen absorbers in mylar bags inside of 5 gallon buckets.

There are few sighs of relief equivalent to putting up food for hard times. Its just one of those things that feels good deep down inside.

Heirloom Seeds

Depending solely on a garden is a huge mistake. If you think you are going to grow all the food your fmaily needs, you are mistaken. In fact, if it were that easy, you’d be doing it already.

Growing food is hard but I think you should invest considerable time and effort into it. It should be a massive supplement to your food storage diet. This will increase the vital nutrients in your diet and will put you in a position to add variety, as well.

Along with stockpiling long term food storage you should also have some version of a survival seed bank. These can be bought in sealed cans and stored in your fridge. They will keep for a very long time.

Don’t get crazy and buy a bunch of varieties of plants. Instead, focus on the seeds that produce the most food per plant. This is key if you are short on growing space. Think of things like

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Herbs
  • Greens
  • Green Beans

These plants all produce ad nauseum and that is exactly what you want out of a survival garden. You want too much produce. The extra goes into cans to be called on in the winter.

Emergency Water Plan

Another important prepper storage consideration is water. Water is a little different than food and seeds. You see, water is part of a larger emergency water plan. This plan has a number of components.

Because we only have three days without water before we die, you want as many ways of getting water as you can muster. We are going to look at all those ways on a high level so you can understand how sourcing, catching and sanitizing water are all just as effective as storage.

STORING WATER

The first step that most people make when considering emergency water is to store bottles or jugs in their home. This is a good method, to a point. Storing water take tremendous space and it also is very heavy when you get to a sizeable amount.

Water storage should certainly be a part of your plan but not the whole plan.

CATCHING WATER

One of the most effective means of storing water is to do so in 55 gallons, or larger, rain barrels. These barrels hold a tremendous amount of water and that makes a huge difference. With just 4 of these barrels you can carry 220 gallons of water!

This type of catchment is great because it just happens, you don’t need to do anything but maintain the barrels

FILTERING WATER

Have a method, or two, to filter water is also important. Sometimes water quality can be questionable, and filter can help you out with that.

SANITIZING WATER

Non scented bleach, aqua tabs, tincture of iodine are all options for sanitizing water and making it safe to drink. After filtering you could also boil that water and it will be safe, as well. However, quick methods like these tabs are also very effective.

SOURCING WATER

The planet is 75% water. There is a water source near you. You should get to know that source now and make plans to tap it in times of disaster.

Easy and Effective Storage

Now that you have an idea of what you should be storing, you might be wondering, where do I put it all? Well, that is where we move to the topic of a root cellars.

Expanding the home or over cluttering it is not a great option. What good are preps if you cannot get to them quickly? Besides, its good to spread your preps around. Having food and supplies in more than one location can make a huge difference if things get bad.

If you are looking for a quick primer on building your own root cellar The Easy Cellar by Tom Griffith can help you get started.

Ideally you can use this eBook to build a custom root cellar that will allow you to store your water, food storage, seeds and even extend the shelf life of produce! When we talk about prepper storage a root cellar is key. In fact, all aspects of storage are vital to having success.

Having the right resources to call on in times of disaster is not only prudent but it is becoming very popular. The writing is on the wall and people are taking notice.

With some basic materials and good plans, you can create your own easy root cellar and create your own prepper storage.

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Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

We are going to look at three items that are going to make a world of difference for you and your family in tough times.

Sometimes we may feel pigeonholed or daunted by the storage foods we can afford, or overwhelmed by how we’re going to use those storage foods without the endless repetition taking a toll. Here are some formulas and ideas for turning common storage foods into actual meals, increasing the variety of meals we can make with a few standard ingredients, and some substitutions that can lower our costs or improve the serving size, nutrition, and flavor of our cooking.

I’m not a big baker and I don’t thrill to the stove top – only the dinner table. Given the amount of work a lot of us are going to be doing just hauling water where it’s needed, plus the labor of gardens and any animals, rearing our children, cooking from scratch, cleaning without a dishwasher and washer-dryer, I’m planning to go simple with a lot of my cooking. So even if you’re not a big cook, there are ideas here that can help, ideas that can be made even with off-grid cooking methods.

Replacements

While I’ll get into some specifics in a minute or two, one thing to consider in our disaster cooking is simple substitutions.

Wheat is commonly pushed for home storage due to the price and condensed calories, and then people feel obligated to buy a grinder, and then they feel like slackers for not practicing their home-ground wheat flour bread options. I do think we should practice what we plan to use, but I don’t think everybody with buckets of wheat actually has to view it as only a future bread dough.

Wheat can be boiled and served with the same seasonings as every side dish, from herbed buttered noodles to fried rice.

Whole wheat berries & fruit in cream

Wheat berry & white bean soup

It can also be boiled to be part of or replace oatmeal and cream of wheat (soaking it overnight will make it boil faster in the morning).

If there’s a soup that calls for barley, couscous, or rice, wheat will work there, too, and cooks in about the same amount of time as barley, maybe a hair longer if it’s stored oxygen free and is older than 2-3 years (45-60 minutes usually, without a pre-soak).

Having an alternative use for the first 50-300# (or more) of wheat can buy us a little more time before we get pushed into buying not only a good grain mill, but then all the replacements for it.

Point in fact, most of our grains, from starchy dent corn to barley, wheat to quinoa, and amaranth to rice are fairly interchangeable. They take different times to cook in some cases, they definitely have their own flavors, but there’s little that can’t be made to work for any of them.

Likewise, spaghetti can be very easily used in place of an Oriental noodle, especially whole-grain spaghetti or angel hair pasta. That’s pretty handy, since even the good stuff is pretty cheap, and two pounds of spaghetti stores in about the same space than two packages of ramen.

Those substitutions exist all over.

And once we do get our grain mill, don’t neglect the other things in the pantry.

We can grind dry oats – even rolled oats – to replace part of our flour as well

Old dry beans that don’t want to soften can be turned into flour to replace a quarter or a third of a recipe, either bread or fry batter or even for gravies.

Until recent times, we used flours from barley and maize as often as we did wheat, and a lot of the world still uses them – just as often or as a partial replacement for flavoring. So can boiled or roasted acorns. We can grind dry oats – even rolled oats – to replace part of our flour as well. Doing so can sometimes to often improve the protein components of our foods, decrease the glycemic index, and help us use something that’s not really moving in our pantries.

That inexpensive oatmeal can also be turned into homemade granola bars, muffins, and griddle cakes, decreasing the amount of flour we need to use and providing a fork or finger-food in a world of spoons.

Recipes

When seeking out recipes specifically for preppers, a fair number use a lot of ingredients or require a fair bit of prep. Call me lazy, but I’m just not there, even in today’s world. Camping and backpacking recipes regularly seem to call for things we might not have on hand anymore, too, and a lot of perishable foods these days.

One, a lot of the no-fire, no-gas cooking methods really lend themselves to such. Two, the less ingredients and effort, the more time reading with kids, playing a game, or sitting with my eyes closed listening. I kind of like those options better.

Pioneer Soup

If you’ve heard of 3-5-7 can soups, you’re familiar with this. It’s basically just a rule of thumb to help check the boxes on the main “eating” components:

  • Filling/satiety
  • Fast-access energy
  • Slow-access energy
  • Proteins
  • Vitamins

The general concept is to pull 1-2 items from each category to make sure the body is getting all the nutrients it needs, which is increased by consuming a rainbow. That said, even I don’t make broth with just one seasoning. Still, the lists from the guidelines can help.

One that I ran across breaks it into “Five F’s”:

  • Fat: Oil, margarine, butter, lard, tallow, fatty meat (bacon, salt pork, hocks)
  • Flavor Root/Shoot: Garlic, onion, scallion, celery/celeriac, turmeric
  • Flavor Leaf: parsley, marjoram, thyme, oregano, basil, nasturtium
  • Filler (starches): Potato, pasta, grains & corn, pseudo-grains, cattail root
  • Fuel (protein): Legumes (beans, peas, lentils), jerky, meat sticks/sausage, ham, fish, game

The breakdowns are nice as more than a check-box guide to make sure nutritional needs are being met.

Sometimes soup get pigeonholed, which is a shame, because from a creamy red bean and rice soup to veggie to chicken-noodle to some of the Oriental soups and things like borsch and solyanka, we have a ton of options available to us. Even working off of simple, cheap, condensed-calorie prepper staples and garden veggies or wild edibles, we can present a huge variety.

Alternating what we combine and even how we serve it can help avoid appetite fatigue, which is another aspect where limiting ourselves to 1-2 items from each category can help.

How we present soups can make a big difference as well, creating significantly different feels to meals even with the exact same ingredients, or very minor twitches.

That applies whether we use the 5-F method, or one of the other guides.

One of those other common formulas for pioneer soup breaks it into three fuel categories – the primary fats, proteins, starches – and then three filler (belly filling, short on calories) and flavor components:

Veggies – tomatoes, tomato powder, green beans, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, radish and mustard sprouts, cooking/roasting radishes, autumn squash, bell peppers, salsify, turnip, parsnip, beets, etc.

Leafy Greens – spinach, beet tops, lettuce, swiss chard, mizuna, cabbage, endive, turnip tops, dandelion, plantain, nettles, borage, leeks, ramps, radish tops, water or upland cress, mustard greens, mache/corn salad, sweet pea leaves, dock, kale, sprouts

Herbs & Seasonings – tart/sour berries, garden herbs, cress, wild onions, hot radishes, horseradish, onion, garlic, ground or cracked mustard seed, modern-day seasoning blends & stock bones

Soup Alternates

Part of what makes soup an economy food is that the broth helps us feel full and increases the satisfaction from the meal.

That said, we can break apart our general standard for pioneer or 7-can soup and still get the benefits of economical belly filling balance and variety.

A pasta salad can easily be made from storage foods and fresh garden or foraged goodies, especially if we plan ahead for something like powdered Parmesan cheese that can be a pick-me-up. Three or four roasted autumn veggies on a pile of fresh or wilted leafy greens creates another fork-ready meal.

We can turn our protein component into a creamed soup or just serve a broth beside either of them to get some of the belly filling aspects back, or incorporate dried beans or cut-up dry sausage (or Slim Jims).

Shrimp Tacos

Likewise, we can turn simple ash cakes or thinned-down Bisquick into tortillas or crepes, mix up a cabbage slaw, and bust open a can of small shrimp to sear in fajita spices as a pick me up. Just a few shrimp and a couple of tacos can provide the mental boost of a non-spoon meal, even served with a pile of rice on the side and-or a cup of spicy black bean puree soup.

Instant Potatoes

Potato buds that say they’re ready to eat and just need water are telling bald-faced lies. That said, instant mashed potatoes are in a lot of kits and come pretty inexpensively on their own. Even without extra seasonings and evaporated milk for them, instant potatoes have a lot of value, especially in conjunction with our pioneer soups.

One, little says I love you like a wedge of shepherd’s pie. We can use those general basic flavorings to make a brothier version to make it stretch further, or increase the veggies beyond the usual ratios.

We can also indulge in things like a broth-heavy roasted marrow meal or just serve our Bear Creek or homemade beef or veggie soup with a happy mound of potatoes to the side or right in the middle. The seasonings from the soups will (hopefully) help mask the bland flavor, and it creates a different presentation – which is good for the mental aspects of eating, especially if a lot of our diet is rice and beans and boiled wheat.

Two, instant potatoes can be turned into goodies like potato pancakes. Or, we can mix them as directed (even in cold water; they’ll absorb it in a minute) and then bake them off to create a pseudo-dumpling or biscuit with little effort and little clean-up.

Instant potatoes can be turned into goodies like potato pancakes.

Instant potatoes also make a great thickener for our soups. We can use them to create a gravy-like broth or to imitate a creamed soup or chowder. They can also make a nice, easy flavor and calorie base for standard potato chowder without taking as much time as potatoes would to cook and mash.

Assortment of foodstuffs with a high fiber content, including various fruits and vegetables, wholemeal bread and baked beans.

Emergency Foods

While things like soup and the common basics for food storage focus around economy, it doesn’t mean we have to break the bank to jazz it up one way or another. We can avoid falling into ruts – now and later – by figuring out new ways to use the items we already have.

We can apply a little creativity and still get meals that offer variety by adding in a few things like a variety of pasta and some feel-good seasonings like powdered parm and fajita spices. Spices and sauces like soy, Dale’s, Old Bay (or the generic) and Adobo powder pack a lot of bang for the buck. We can make use of things like hot radishes, sprouts, microgreens, and wild edibles to season and bulk up our serving sizes.

We can also ease our workloads by harkening back to pottage with soups, casseroles, and one-pot meals.

In some cases, examining where we stand on our preparedness arc and how balanced our preparedness health wheels are invaluable, because it can help us decide if we need something expensive like a good grinder or a wood stove, or if our storage is at a point where a smaller set of fixes makes more sense – at least for now. Being able to buy inexpensive foods like grains, pasta and dry beans, and still create filling, varied, satisfying meals out of them, can help open up the budget for those items.

Sometimes we may feel pigeonholed or daunted by the storage foods we can afford, or overwhelmed by how we’re going to use those storage foods without the endless repetition taking

Under the spring sun amid a cool breeze you are probably looking over your garden at the many small sprouts or purchased plants that are in the ground. It might seem like you are years away from harvest. The truth is Spring is the time of rapid harvest.

Spring plants come up quick and they can be very prolific. When you start to think about it you might start considering a simple easy cellar for your spring harvest.

Some of the first plants to harvest are things like English peas and radish. They are both unique because they do not can or preserve well. If you have a generous harvest of these, you might be interested in a means of storing them long term. Radish being a root vegetable means they are great stored in a root cellar.

Garlic, new potatoes, asparagus and turnip greens are all things that have very short season to harvest. If you planted your garlic in the fall you are gonna be into a serious harvest of garlic in a hurry. Sure, you can store that harvest in your cabinets, or you can create a simple root cellar to store that garlic for months.

How Much Space for this Cellar?

The best part about building a cellar is that you can do it any way you’d like. Basically, you can build your root cellar the size you need to be effective. Are you going to use this cellar just for food storage, that’s a great idea!

Roots like carrots, potatoes and turnips can last over 6 months if you have built your root cellar properly. They are that effective.

Even small urban homesteads can section off enough land to make an easy root cellar. It also doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive.

If you have a harvest to store its in your best interest to consider a root cellar.

Don’t forget, you have summer harvest right around the corner.

What About That Summer Harvest?

Maybe you’re not intimidated by that spring harvest. Perhaps you just eat all that fresh food and you don’t have much left. That could be the case. Some people are wild about those baby greens like arugula.

That said, once those zucchinis, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes and cucumbers start popping up things get crazy in a hurry. We are all guilty of leaving the zucchini plant for too long and then returning to find a blimp of a vegetable waiting for you.

The summer gets out of hand in a hurry. Before you know it, you are giving bags of produce away and you are sick of eating all that great food you grew.

That is because you haven’t a place to store that food long term or even a place to store all that canned ratatouille and tomato sauce.

Don’t forget, a root cellar is not only a great place to store root vegetables but also canned foods. Storing your canned tomato sauce and pickles in the root cellar will both save you space inside and give a new space for storing other things.

How About Even More Storage?

Don’t just start digging a hole. Get yourself some proper instruction. This guide is filled with tips on how to build an underground root cellar and even an emergency bunker!

This resource is designed for those of you who are looking to take the first steps in building and managing their own root cellar. There are also some other perks.

  • How to effectively store your food supply for 3 months to prevent them from spoiling.
  • How to effectively store water to enable your family to have access to clean water for months.

Don’t forget, this storage situation also means that you are going to be able to store even more things in your root cellar. If you are considering a root cellar maybe you also have dried food storage. Well, no one has room for all that dried food storage.

A root cellar keeps a nice consistent temperature and is a great way to store that long term food storage. What other preps can you store in a root cellar? Well, its up to you.

Now is the time to take action and get these building projects under way. The beauty of this root cellar is that your walls and floor is made for you already. Aside from some framing you have most of the cellar built for you by nature!

Conclusion

We all know that there are several reasons to grow more of your own food. From price to pesticide there has never been a better time to expand your food sourcing efforts. You will be amazed at the difference a few fruit trees; 6 chickens and an expansion of that garden can have on your life.

But what’s the point of all that if you don’t have a means to store all that extra food? Learning how to can, preserve and having a place to store that extra food is a crucial part of the process. That is where this root cellar comes in.

Even if you don’t live on 20 acres it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t benefit from a little more climate controlled storage space. With a little help on the DIY build you can make that happen in your own yard or on your property.

Once you get the go ahead, you are going to be on your way to some serious storage space and a more self-reliant lifestyle.

Let me know how that worked for you.

A root cellar keeps a nice consistent temperature and is a great way to store that long term food storage. What other preps can you store in a root cellar?

I don’t need to remind just how darn important it is to know what to cook when the power goes out. There are so many recipes on the grand world-wide-web that you need only type in “gimme food” in Google to figure out your next step.

The trouble with these “whip-up” dishes, as I like to call them, is that they have a very limited shelf life, despite being bagged and refrigerated. In my searches for the next cannable superstar (be sure to check out my article on canning and pickling pork meat), I’ve stumbled upon a most interesting recipe – the so-called Poor Man’s Hamburger. According to its description, it should be an Amish dish, although I find it very hard to make a connection.

Anyway, the recipe’s pretty straightforward and if you have a good pressure canner, you can keep this stuff in your pantry for at least three months if not more. The weird part about preparing this recipe is who or rather what gets the spotlight – though it’s a meat-based dish, the gravy’s actually the one who steps into the limelight.

Crazy, right? Not in the very least! As you’re about to see, the gravy you get is what you might consider a great SHTF asset – it can very easily be combined with the meat of all sorts (chicken, beef jerky, spam) but it can also be eaten, well, plain, as a sort of early-morning broth.

Before we get to the cooking part, I should warn you that this recipe takes time. If you have something big planned that day, I will leave it for another day, preferably a lazy Sunday. So, without further ado, here’s what you’ll need to do in order to prepare Cannish, aka the canned version of the Amish Poor Man’s burger.

Gathering your utensils and ingredients

For this recipe, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Canning jar (the bigger, the better).
  • Plastic container (I would go for a 35 quart because you’ll have a lot of stuff to mix)
  • Food processor.
  • Oven grill (if you don’t have one, you can always use the top part of an old BBQ which you can place it over a tray).
  • Mouth rim (you’ll need this to shape your burger patties).
  • Skillet (for cooking the gravy).
  • Aluminum foil.
  • Lots and lots of patients.

As for the ingredients, go raid the pantry or the local farmer’s market of the following supplies:

  • Celery (around five cups).
  • Onions (five cups will do).
  • Saltines (I used one and a half pounds of saltine or six packs).
  • Eggs (two dozen).
  • Milk (five cups).
  • Lots of salt and pepper.
  • Ground beef (this recipe calls for at least 30 pounds. That’s around two or three big-ass rolls).
  • Canned mushrooms (five cans).
  • All-purpose flour.

Yes, I know it’s a very long list, but as I’ve told you, this is the kind of recipe that kind of makes you spend the entire day in the kitchen. Still, do bear in mind that will also be some waiting time, which would be right after you stick those burger patties into the over. All done with the tools and ingredients? Great! Let’s get right down to business.

How to prepare Cannish

Step 1. Grab a cutting board, a sharp knife, and get to chopping. Have your food processor ready, because everything you’ll chop or crush from this point forward will require a little bit of mixing.

Step 2. Leave the chopped onions and celery aside for the moment. As for the saltines, you can either use a mortar and pestle to crush them or place everything inside a zip-lock bag and use a rolling pin to beat the living daylights out of it. When you’re done, add them to the food processor, and give them a good mix (I scrambled them for 10 or 15 seconds to make sure that there are no chunks left).

Step 3. Grab yourself a large bowl and crack open two dozen eggs. Whisk the shit out of them.

Step 4. Measure five cups of milk.

Step 5. It’s now time to put everything together. Place the plastic container on your work table and add your chopped celery & onions, saltines, whisked eggs, and milk.

Step 6. Get dirty! You have two choices for the mixing part – wooden spoon or hands. I personally prefer the latter (make sure you’ve washed your hands before dipping them in the mix).

Step 7. Add some salt and pepper to the container (I used two tablespoons of rock salt and one and a half tablespoon of grounded black pepper) and continue mixing.

Step 8. Stick the container in the mix in the fridge for 30 minutes. It will be easier to handle once you get to the patty-making part.

Step 9. Get your ground beef out of the freezer and use a knife to remove the membranes. Add the meat to your plastic container and use your hands or a wooden spoon to bind the mixture. FYI, it’s easier to do this if you dip your hands in ice-cold water. Fill a small bowl with cold tap water and keep it next to your container.

Step 10. Start making patties. Take a handful of meat and stick in the metal rim. If you’re skilled patty—maker, you can ditch the ring, and form them by hand. Don’t make them too big or thick. Remember that your goal will be to place each cooked patty inside the canning jars. You shouldn’t also take into account that this type of meat is packed with fat, which will kind of end up in the oven tray.

Step 11. Stick the formed patties in the fridge for 15 or 20 minutes. To prevent them from sticking to each other, create patty layers separated by baking parchment.

Step 12. Get the patties out of the fridge and arrange them on your grill. If you use the exact amount of ingredients, you’ll end up with 28 or 29 burger patties.

Step 13. Preheat your over to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 14. Place the BBQ grill with a tray in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Don’t forget to flip the patties after 15 minutes. Depending on your rig, this step can take anything from 2 to 6 hours. In my case, it took about three and a half hours to bake all the burger patties. When they’re done, place them in a large roasting pan. Cover it with two layers of aluminum foil. Allow the burgers to cool down.

Step 15. In the meantime, get a skillet and prepare the gravy. Here’s how to do it. Get one and a half cup of fat from the patties and add it to the skillet. Set your heat to medium-low. After the fat begins to warm up, and half a cup of all-purpose flour.

Use a spoon to stir. Don’t rush it! Gravy’s something that takes a lot of patience. If you see that the mix is about to go up in flames, lift the pan off the stove, and put it back again. You’ll know that the gravy base is done when it turns light brown.

Step 16. It’s time to prepare the mushroom soup. In a big pot, pour the contents of five mushroom soups cans. Using an empty can as a measuring cup, add five cups to the shroom soup and bring it to a boil.

Step 17. While the shroom soup’s still hot, grab a ladle and carefully add it to the browned flour mixture. The secret to not ending up with burned gravy is to stir while pouring shroom soup with the ladle. It may take a while longer, but it’s worth it. If you feel that the mix is too thick for the spoon, use a whisk instead.

Step 18. When you’re done adding every last drop of shroom soup, give the mix a good whisk, and let it bubble for five more minutes before killing the flame.

Step 19. Take a breather. Smoke if you have them. After the gravy cools down a bit, it’s time to put everything together.

Step 20. Give those canning jars a good wash. You can either submerge them in a tub filled with water and dish detergent or boil the Hell out of them before using. Your call.

Step 21. Place five burger patties in each canning jar and cover with gravy. Put the lid on, tighten it, and allow the jars to cool down overnight before placing them in the fridge or pantry.

Congratulations! You’ve just made your first batch of canned Amish Poor Man’s burgers. Your kitchen probably looks like a scene from WW2 or something, but who cares when you have delish marinated burgers. If stored probably, you won’t have to worry about running of food, at least for a couple of months. Although the canning part allows you to store this stuff in any place outside of the fridge, I would strongly advise you to keep your jars refrigerated and to consume it in two months’ time.

Another thing about this recipe is that it will take a while to figure out how to make the gravy base. For my part, I had to discard the contents of two skillets and ended up using more than three cups of fat before I was able to make a ‘stable’ base. As I’ve mentioned, the trick is to gently stir the mix and to lift the skillet every now and then. If the weather’s nice, you can always skip the oven part and cook your patties over a charcoal barbeque.

As for the mix, if you can’t find any saltines, you can always replace them with other types of crackers. Just make sure that they’re salty. The dish can be eaten hot off the oven but, if you want to get more kicks out of it, stick in the fridge and leave it overnight. By morning, the patties would have sucked in all that delicious gravy. You can heat them up in your microwave or in a pan with boiling water.

That’s it for my Cannish recipe! What do you guys think about this SHTF dish? Hit the comments section and let me know your thoughts.

Before you go, you may also like:

This is more than just about your guns…
How to survive any medical crisis situation with ease
10 Easy Steps to Secure your privacy
Secret Military Solution For Power Independence

DIY Unlimited water source
Why a food reserve is way better than the Federal Reserve
Lost Skills of our Ancestors that still work today

Anyway, the recipe’s pretty straightforward and if you have a good pressure canner, you can keep this stuff in your pantry for at least three months if not more.

I would lie if I said that I don’t envy all those wonderful homesteaders who managed to put a couple of bucks outside for the root cellar. Yeah, those things are really great (if you have them, of course) and not to mention very useful during any kind of shit hits the fan situation – a hole in the ground, some stones, a couple of shelves, and you’ve got yourself a gigantic fridge capable of storing veggies, legumes, pickles, and whatnots.

Ingenious, that’s what it is! However, if your home doesn’t come with a root cellar, building one from scratch takes a lot of time, energy, and, yes, a shit-load of money.

Fortunately, there is a way to tap into Mom Nature’s icy powers without the need to fork over too much cash. Being a very determined guy, I have searched high and low for ways to recreate a root cellar without actually having to build one. Sounds crazy, right? Not in the least, as you’re about to see.

The idea to write this short and sweet piece came to me after watching a documentary on National Geographic about ancient food storage methods. Can’t remember the name of the show, but there were these two guys traveling around the world and interviewing homesteaders about how they make food last longer.

In the last part of the show, there was this man from China who was quite a bit of a local celebrity, thanks to his top-notch Kimchi. For those of you who don’t know, Kimchi is Asia’s version of pickled cabbage. However, instead of using canning jars, homesteaders would place the thinly-sliced cabbage inside a ceramic jar, which would later seal with wax before burying it in the Earth.

So, with this in mind, I snooped around the Internet and found a simple and cheap way of making a mini version of the root cellar using only an old metal barrel. Here’s how to whip up a backyard cellar in order to store your veggies.

Gathering the necessary materials

For this project, you’ll need the following:

  • A shovel.
  • A barrel (I would go with a galvanized metal barrel because they’re easier to clean and fare much better underground compared to the plastic ones).
  • Rocks (shape and size don’t matter).
  • Straw.
  • Several pieces of plywood to cover the lid.

Ready with the gear? Neat! Let’s get to work, then.

How to build a mini root cellar in the backyard

Step 1. Find a suitable place to dig a hole. I would advise you to place your barrel\future root cellar in a sunny spot. You should also make sure that there are no water pipes or electrical lines running nearby.

Step 2. Once you found a suitable location, grab your shovel and start digging. The hole will need to take the shape of the barrel. As for depth, it all depends on the size of the barrel. Just be sure that the rim stays on top, with the remaining underground.

Step 3. After you’ve finished digging the hole, remove any deep roots or pebbles from the bottom. Moreover, ensure that the end of your pit is dry.

Test the ground – if it feels moist to the touch, it means that there’s water underneath which is a big no-no. I know it’s annoying, but if this happens, you will need to find another location for your root cellar. Mark the spot in case you’re thinking about adding a well to your property.

Step 4. Fill the bottom with the rocks you’ve brought.

Step 5. Place the barrel on top of the rocks. Ensure that the body of your barrel remains below the freezing line while keeping the rim up top.

Step 6. Place some earth around the barrel to seal it in. Don’t put on the lid yet.

Step 7. Prepare the veggies or fruits for storage. If you’re not sure about the thingamajig’s cooling action, you can try it out on a couple of potatoes.

Step 8. Place a handful of straw on the bottom of the barrel.

Step 9. Place your veggies on the straw. You can add more vegetables if you like. Just remember to put some straw between your veggie layers.

Step 10. Put the lid on the barrel, put the plywood boards on top, and cover with dirt. Congrats! You’ve just made your first backyard root cellar.

Additional Consideration on Mini Root Cellars

Building’s the easy part, but knowing what and how to store – that’s a bit challenging. The first rule of the game is never to mix your veggies with fruits. If you plan on storing fruits, you should consider placing a second root cellar.

The reason why fruits and veggies should never be placed in the same barrel is because of ethylene, a plant hormone which induces ripening in fruits. The same substance that makes fruits yummy-yum-yum will cause your veggies to ripen and rot a lot faster.

A root cellar built in this fashion will allow you to store food at a decent temp (somewhere between 32- and 40-degrees Fahrenheit), with humidity at around 95 percent.

For this reason, you’ll be able to store even short-lived veggies such as cauliflower, brussels sprouts, celery, kale, endive or leaks. If the seal holds, you can look forward to a scrumptious carrot-based dish even after six months. As far as fruits are concerned, you should ensure that your root cellar has a bit of moister compared to the one used to store veggies.

After consuming every veggie or fruit from the barrel, I would recommend giving it a good wash with the power hose and use plenty of detergent. I can’s put my finger on it, but I believe that this kind of contraption can also be used the summer to keep your fruits and veggies cool.

In most cases, the mini root cellar can extend the shelf life of fruits and veggies by at least a couple of months, with one exception – kale. If you’re planning on storing some kale, keep in mind that you can’t keep it in for more than two weeks.

Think I’ve missed something? Have another way of building a root cellar in your backyard? Hit the comments section and let me know.

If you didn’t start digging, you may also want to check out this offer coming from our partners at Easy Cellar. As well as the many benefits of having one in your backyard.

A hole in the ground, some stones, a couple of shelves, and you’ve got yourself a gigantic fridge capable of storing veggies, legumes, pickles, and whatnots.

I admit that I’m somewhat of a hoarder when it comes to food. No shame in this, only the fact that I’m on round-the-clock freezer and fridge cleaning duty. Yeah, I know it’s kind of a bummer to take a garbage bag and throw away that awfully good food just because you consider your family’s needs nor the fridge’s capacity (true story).

Anyway, after cleaning the fridge this morning, a thought stroke me: what if there’s some magical way of telling if the food’s safe to eat or not? Well, that would spare the trouble of having to clean the damned thing each week, not to mention the fact that I would probably save a lot of money.

As a prepper, you probably know by now that food past its prime is unsafe to eat, no matter how SHTF-ish the situation gets. This is the reason I’ve spent the rest of my day searching for a way to tell apart rotten from safe to eat food. Yes, I needed to ask Google for directions because I’m really bad at colors and, because of this damned cold, my sense of smell is close to nonexistence.

So, before you grab your garbage back to summer-clean your fridge, freezer or both, you may want to take a closer look at my kick-ass list on how to figure out if your food’s still good or packing a six-shooter.

  1. Soggy edges

Could never tell for sure how off my veggies were. I always assumed that as long as they don’t give off a funky smell, they’re good for eating. Dead wrong! Apparently, soggy edges, especially in green-leafed veggies like lettuce, kale, spinach, watercress or cabbage is, in fact, the first sign of spoilage.

Yes, I know that it’s a no-brainer, but as I discovered, people usually disregard this part, telling themselves that the veggie’s safe to eat if you cut around the soggy part. So, if you see any sogginess, brown patches or if the vegetable sort of deflates, it means that it has gone bad and, therefore must be thrown in the trash can.

  1. Discoloration

Of course, nothing spells “spoilage” better than an unnatural color. However, in some cases (red bell pepper) it’s hard to tell if that’s part of the vegetable’s life cycle or a tell-tale sign of spoilage. The best way to see how fresh your veggie is would be to make a small nick on the green part. Pull it aside. If it’s green on the inside, it means it’s safe to safe. On the other hand, if it has a brownish tint to it, do yourself a favor and throw it in the trash.

  1. Molding

While you’re cleaning your fridge and freeze, you may want to take a closer look at the bread and any other pastry you may be hoarding. See, no matter how well you keep your bread, there’s always that chance of mold growing on it. If you see any, throw it away as fast as you.

Heard a doozie some time ago that moldy bread may be safe to eat, at least for a couple of days, if you remove the moldy part and stick the loaf in the oven for 10 minutes. That’s a big no-no, and I would advise you to throw away the bread as well as the other stuff it came in contact with.

  1. Limpness

Veggies such as green beans have a limp-type of aspect after being kept in the fridge for too long. If you see any of that, it means that the legume is way past its prime, meaning that it has lost all nutritional value and could severely compromise your health if consumed. Yes, I know that most of you are in the habit of quick-freezing green beans and other stalky veggies.

Still, the freezer’s not always the best option for long-term food storage. Sure, it can extend the shelf-life by a couple of weeks or even months but, eventually, all of it will go bad. In case of veggies look for paleness and a thick layer of ice. As for meat, ice plus a violet tint equals garbage bag.

  1. Foul smell

The nose always knows! If you pick off any strange odor coming from your food, then it’s more than safe to assume that it really has gone bad. Meat will give off a rotten smell, while veggies will smell just like forest fungi. The same smell can emanate from eggs and eggplants. Keep in mind that eating rotten stuff can result in food poisoning or worse.

  1. To float or not to float?

In some cases, it’s quite difficult to figure out if they’re spoiled or not. Take eggs for instance. If there’s no expiration label on them, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between a fresh and an old one. Luckily there’s a test you can use to figure out if the eggs are safe to eat or not. Fill a bowl with cold water and place all your eggs inside. If they went under and lay flat on their sides, it means that they’re fresh. If not, then you should consider going to the store to buy a new carton.

  1. Discoloration in meat

There’s a bit of an argument on this one. While some say that meat discoloration is solely the result of poor packaging and exposure to air and, therefore safe to it, others argue that meat turned grey or brown should be tossed in the trash. Can’t say for sure which side is right, but my humble opinion, it’s not a good idea to begin experimenting on food. Best to throw away anything that has an unusual color.

That’s it for my short and sweet guide on how to tell if the food’s still edible or not. As always, if you feel that’s, I’ve missed something crucial, do hit the comments section and speak your mind.

Before you grab your garbage back to summer-clean your fridge, freezer, or both, you may want to take a closer look at my kick-ass list on how to figure out

There’s nothing more American than bacon, and don’t even try to deny that. We love it, cherish it, and with good reason since breakfast isn’t the same without those mouth-watering, fat-laden pork strips. I know that for the most part bacon’s a big dietary no-no, but what would life be if we couldn’t indulge on simple things like bacon?

Yup, you’ve guessed it – since he’s a big fan of bacon and, to that end, he has searched high and low for all kinds of wacky ways to make those juicy strips last longer. That’s the trouble with bacon I guess – you’ve got to cook it as fast as possible. Otherwise, you will end up with some bad to the bone meat (insert guitar riff here), along with a lot of crushed breakfast dreams and hopes.

Anyway, since yours truly hasn’t better things to do around the house than looking for ways to preserve food, in one of my scavenger hunts, I’ve stumbled upon a kick-ass bacon storage method. Of course, I couldn’t resist the urge of writing about it and sharing it with you wonderful people. What stroke me the most was the method’s simplicity.

Come to think of it; it’s almost elegant. What’s even better is that, according to the guy who recommended it, by following a couple of simple steps you can potentially increase the bacon’s shelf life by at least 15 years if not more.

As far as the ingredients are concerned, I’ve only tried it on a single batch of common supermarket bacon. Still, if you’re the kind of person that fancies pancetta or prosciutto over bacon, you could try canning those as well (as someone who a lot of cooks, I can tell you that there’s virtually no difference between the three types of meats, except for the fancy names).

Well, time’s a-wasting, and you’ve grown tired of hearing me talk about my buds and exploits. So, without further ado, here’s the well-kept, military-grade secret of storing bacon.

Ingredients and materials:

  • Bacon (as much as you can find).
  • Pressure canner (I use a traditional one).
  • Canning jar (be sure they’re sterilized).
  • Parchment paper (use the unbleached kind. I don’t have some nearby, use masking paper instead).

How to prepare

Step 1. Get your pressure cooker ready. If you opted for the no-power version, it would be a good idea to bring it to a boil before placing the canned bacon inside. As for the electric version, plug it in, pour water inside, and set the pressure between 10 and 15 PSI.

Step 2. Take the parchment roll and use a pair of scissors or sharp knife to cut a long piece (it should be at least 18 inches in length).

Step 3. Get your bacon out of the fridge and separate the slices.

Step 4. Arrange the bacon slices on the parchment. Don’t leave any gaps between them. You’ll see in a moment why this is essential.

Step 5. After arranging the bacon on the parchment, fold over both paper and bacon in half. By the way, someone suggested that you can make the bacon last longer in the fridge or even in a space without refrigeration by coating each piece with a very thin layer of maple syrup.

‘Twould be better to do this after placing the bacon on the parchment paper. Otherwise, the pieces will be a sticker and, therefore, harder to arrange on paper.

Step 6. Upon folding the paper into half, grab the other hand and start rolling it. Just like you do with the newspaper when the dog goes number two on your grandma’s Persian rug. Tuck in the excess paper at both ends to ensure that the parchments don’t unravel inside the jar.

Step 7. Put the Bacon Parchment of Absolute Truth and Might inside a CLEAN and STERILIZED canning jar. Regarding the latter part, there are various ways to do it. If you’re just as lazy as I am, fill a tub with hot water, pour liquid detergent, and dump your canning jars inside. Let them soak for about half a day.

Afterward, take them out and rinse out the excess detergent. Still, if you want to take the high road, you can always boil the living Hell out of those jars before using them for canning. The choice is entirely up to you.

Step 8. Put the lid on each jar and tighten them gently. You won’t need to apply too much force as your pressure canner will do all the heavy lifting.

Step 9. If the water inside your pressure canner has reached the boiling point, carefully place the cans inside. Put the lid on, set the pressure to 10 PSI, and let them simmer for approximately 90 minutes.

Step 10. When it’s over, kill the fire, pop the lid off the pressure cooker, and carefully remove each jar. Place them on a wooden support or something and allow them to cool down. Word of caution – don’t try to force-cool the jars. Heard my mother-in-law say that ‘cooked’ jars are liable to blow up in your face if you run them under cool water or submerge them in ice.

Your best choice would be to leave them be for the time being. Another thing I should mention is that the canned bacon will leave quite a lot of fat on the bottom of the jar. Don’t concern yourself with that part, ‘cause it’s normal.

That’s it! You now know how to can bacon, prepper-style. As I’ve mentioned, this method extends the bacon’s shelf life by at least 15 years. Perhaps even more. To store, either place the canning jars inside the fridge or stick them in the pantry you usually keep your emergency supplies.

Works both ways. To eat, pop the lid, unroll the bacon, cook, and enjoy. I personally like to eat plain canned bacon – it’s less smoky compared to the fresh variety, but has a gentle aroma that reminds me of meatloaf.

What’s your take on this awesome canning method? Let me know what you think in the comment section.

What’s even better is that, according to the guy who recommended it, by following a couple of simple steps you can potentially increase the bacon’s shelf life by at least

Food will always be king and the reason we have enjoyed the prosperity we have is because of easy access to food. In America, we waste 50% of the food we produce. That is astounding and gross. To those who survived the great depression of the 30’s the idea that any food could be wasted would be unbelievable.

So, how do we go from food being wasted to experiencing something like a global famine?

We have pressed the soil, resources, and planet itself, to a point where all are ready to break. The breadbasket of America and other massive agricultural areas are operating on soils depleted of nutrients and as the worlds, demand continues to grow there is massive pressure to achieve big yields year over year.

Let’s look at 4 factors that are going to affect a famine that starves billions.

Disease

There are some dangerous diseases affecting crops all over the world. UG99 Wheat Rust is a disease with no known cure that is affecting grain populations in America and Mexico. This disease could affect nearly 20% of all wheat crop is in danger of being infected but nearly all wheat crops could be infected by the disease.

There are other’s out there like Mad Soy Disease which is affecting soy crops in Brazil but has been isolated to the northern regions of the nation. We live in a world where people and commodities spread and diseases with them.

It would seem like its only a matter of time before big cash crops are leveled by disease

Soil Quality

The condition of the Earth’s topsoil is abysmal. It is estimated that 1/3 of all growing areas are losing topsoil faster than it can be reproduced. This means that every year farmers must pump loads of fertilizer and other nutrients into the soil in hopes that the plants will have enough to survive.

This drastically affects the quality of the produce and grains that are grown each year. Ideally, you want soil that is full of nutrition and it will impart that nutrition into your food. Instead, we are left with food that is mass produced but exponentially less nutritious than the food being produced in the past.

Before long, our foods will be more chemical and less nutrient or, worse yet, the crop yields will suffer dramatically.

This will lead to worldwide malnutrition and human disease.

Natural Disasters

We pull hundreds of millions of gallons of water from the ground to water these crops. Around the farmland, we decimate the trees and wild-lands. This land is then paved and is no longer capable of absorbing water.

Massive flooding is the outcome and it’s now affecting our growing areas. Without expansive wild areas to absorb the water from large storms, the water rushed to agricultural areas and worst of all it stays there.

The Earth’s natural disasters and our drainage limitations are putting us at a huge risk. The last bomb cyclone in Nebraska left 1,000,000 acres of land underwater and killed almost the same amount of calves.

With spring rains coming this could have lasting and devastating effects on food production. It only takes a few of these large-scale agricultural areas to be disrupted, plantings reduced or eliminated altogether, before the world has to tighten up on supply and people start going hungry.

Personal Food Security

With these three issues potentially having drastic effects on the food system, its safe to say you need a backup. In fact, you need a few. You want to buy, store and grow your way to personal food security. Of course, this is going to take planning and knowledge.

  • Gardening

Whether you go the route of building a food forest, hydroponically growing food, green housing or traditional food growing.

  • Livestock

From things as complicated and as expensive as raising cattle to simply raising chickens for eggs, you need to consider what you can do in terms of raising food-producing animals

  • Food Storage

Food storage is all about planning and rotation. In order to excel at this, you need to know the basics and remember, store what you eat!

  • Preservation

From dehydrating to canning, you will also want to know the majority of these skills and use them to both extend your harvest in the garden and build food storage

  • Foraging

There are food growing all around us, but you need to understand when and where to find them. These will be ancillary calories, but they will help.

  • Hunting

Though season dependent, hunting and trapping can both be impressive ways to put meat on the table or in the freezer.

Getting Started

There is a bit of a knowledge barrier and a lot of practice that goes into all of these. You need a trusted resource that will offer you information on these topics. You could peruse the internet and read various websites to get information on these topics.

A better move is to have a tangible resource that has all of this information in it. This puts a reference tool at your fingertips whether the lights are out or not!

Wouldn’t it be great if something like this existed? Well, you may want to look for The Doomsday Book Of Medicine. This book includes information about the above info and all the info you will need to reach a level of personal food security.

Oh yea, this is also packed with other information about prepping beyond food. You can find it all HERE.

I am not saying it’s the only resource but it’s damn sure a good one!

Conclusion

As the population grows, we are going to face a greater strain on the food system. Nature is hitting back against our modified mono-cultured crop systems and things like wheat, corn and soy production will be disrupted.

This time of excess cannot go on forever. We simply cannot pull out naturally occurring nutrients and replace them with chemicals as a long-term solution. Its time to take control of your own food production. You can do this.

With the right resource, you will find yourself escaping the coming famine and building your own personal food security. The Doomsday Book Of Medicine helps you all the way.

 

In America we waste 50% of the food we produce. That is astounding and gross. To those who survived the great depression of the 30’s the idea that any food

When we sit down with the goal to be prepared and self-sufficient, we have to balance a lot. We already walk tightropes between work and home life in many cases. Adding a pursuit that could really be its own full-time job only makes things harder. The self-sufficiency arm alone could occupy a full work week, and for some, the future looms as a period when we may have to increase our physical vigilance on top of producing our own food, medicine, and supplies.

There are methods we can use to make gardens maintenance friendly, and plant selections can ease it further. In some cases, there are plants that grow with few inputs and are specific to our regions. In other cases, we can also decrease our labors in a work-heavy and typically strength-sapping hot season by making selections that ease the other side of growing and harvesting.

Processing & Storage

Whether it’s annuals, an annual veggie garden, or perennials, whatever methods for production we choose takes time away from our daily lives. Then our produce needs to be processed, one way or another.

Even now when most lives are relatively easy due to power tools, refrigeration, and transportation, we tend to be pretty busy. I think most of us expect that even without the tug of paying jobs and some of the extracurricular activities that suck up our time, a life “after” will be just as busy and in some or many cases, even more labor intensive.

When we examine that “labor” word in regards to processing food, don’t forget that it’s not only the physical act of shelling beans and field peas, and our chosen method for threshing and winnowing grains or stripping corn cobs, or stewing tomatoes and slicing up zucchini. Most storage methods – even the truly historic methods – call for supplies: canners, jars, copious lids, a dehydrator or outdoor netted racks of some sort (and cooperative weather), a cold smoker, or things like salt, sugar, pectin and rennet we either have to stock or figure out how to produce.

When we process something, we also regularly have to provide fuel. Besides water and gardening, I think fuel consumption for household processes is one of the most underrated and underestimated aspects for preppers.

If we can eliminate some of the burden of processing foods for storage, we can eliminate not only some of the draw on our valuable time, but also limit some of the constant drains on supplies, and give us at least a little bit of backup in case our supplies are damaged or consumed.

Happily, we can create those backups pretty easily, by adding traditional storage or “cellar” crops https://morningchores.com/root-cellars/ to our garden and orchard plans. They basically go from field to storage, poof, done.

I’ll skip over beans and cereals this time, because they really need their own articles. Instead, I’ll stick with the veggies and fruits that are easiest to store without much if any processing.

Squashes

Squashes are among the best-known storage crops. Autumn or winter squashes are the longer-growing, thicker-skinned cucurbits. It’s those tough hides we have to work through that let us sit them on a shelf and walk away, for weeks or months on end. There’s a long, long list from all climates that includes kabocha, spaghetti, kuri, Hubbard squashes, the gourds, and pumpkins.

Squash are ready for storage when the rinds darken, and you can’t punch a fingernail through them. The plants sometimes cue us that they’re ready by yellowing and dying back a bit, and in many cases the vines will go woody. We then cut them off with a stub of stem attached, brush any soil or debris loose, and let those thick skins toughen up more with a 1-2 week cure in a 75-80 warm, somewhat dry space, up off the ground. They can be cured in the field, propped up, but there are risks there that a barn or crib can help eliminate.

Then they go into a slightly humid space – the average basement, household pantry, spare bedroom or office, and dry cellar is fine. Some will store for 6-8 weeks even at 60-75 degrees, while others will only store that long even at the ideal 45-60 degrees. Some like Hopi and fully-matured tromboncino will store for a full year or longer.

The downside to the winter squashes is that they tend to take a full season to grow, and only produce a few to a handful of fruits per plant, compared to the tender summer squashes that can be producing in 55-65 days and readily fill a laundry basket when they’re picked often and early.

Humid Sand-Box Crops

Some of our storage crops like it damp. It keeps them from shriveling up and browning, or wilting into rot. We can create humidity with damp sand or sawdust, layering in root veggies like rutabaga/sweedes, turnips, beets, parsnips, carrots, and celeriac. The root veggies are also ideal candidates for burying in a wooden crate outside once temperatures drop.

We can also use damp boxes to store cabbage, celery and leeks.

For them, shallower trays work well, because we’re going to cut them with a section of their stems still attached, and “plant” those stems into the sand or sawdust. The veggies will then wick up moisture that lets them be stored for weeks or months.

They’ll store longer if we can keep them between about 35 and 45 degrees, but even 55-60 degrees can significantly extend their shelf lives. If we can’t come up with a damp box or pit for them, we can also individually wrap them in plastic to help hold in moisture. (And now you have a justification for keeping every plastic grocery bag that crosses your path.)

Tree Fruits

Nuts have to be the next-best known storage crops, and right there with them are apples and pears.

Modern supermarket apple varieties don’t store quite as long or as well in many cases, with the exception of Granny Smith that will sit on a counter for weeks and extend into a month and longer if we drop the temperatures.

There are still storage apples out there although we have to work harder to find them. Braeburn and Pippin are examples of surviving apples that were actually intended to sit around in storage for a while, sweetening and softening over time . We can also turn to the harder baking, cider and applesauce apples like Winesap.

We’ll have better luck storing the tart apples than the sweets, and the firm-crisp apples and pears over softer varieties. Mid-and late-season varieties are also more storage friendly, usually, and can provide us with fresh fruit later in the season.

Apples will do best in a cool, 40-65 degree storage space, and will do better yet if we save some newspaper and phone book pages to wrap them in and stick them on racks with 0.5-1” of air space between each fruit and each layer.

Pears will be even happier if they’re given the same treatment but an even colder space – just above freezing up to about 50 degrees. Pears will also commonly benefit from a cure period after they’re harvested.

Both pears and apples like storage with some humidity, which makes them good candidates for storage above some of our damp boxes, but only the leafy veg boxes. The root veggies are pretty sensitive to the ethylene released by fruits.

Medlars that “blat” (rot) are another example of a tree fruit that we don’t have to rush around processing during some of the busiest times of the year. It’s an acquired taste and texture, ever so slightly reminiscent of apple butter, but especially if we want to keep our food production hidden in plain sight, medlars may be a nice choice for us.

Nuts are pretty easy, even soft-shelled peanuts. Pick, brush, stack in a dry place, move on.

One thing to note is that walnuts that are removed from their husks will be less tart/bitter than those that aren’t processed at all. On the other hand, one of the “cheat” ways to remove that husk is to just stack them up in a bag until it rots and can just be scrubbed, or to leave them in water until the husk rots and drops away.

Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes

Potatoes and sweet potatoes need to make it through our winters and in many cases all the way through the earliest parts of spring, so we have even more reason to start practicing with them as soon as possible. See, they’re not really flowering seed producers at this stage in evolution, and it takes a while for seed starts to get going, just like tomatoes. We’re going to have to cut potatoes and let them callous, and-or grow starts from them if we want to continue reaping potatoes and sweet potatoes in a world without Tractor Supply and Baker Creek.

After harvest, both sweet potatoes and true potatoes are brushed off, then cured.

Potatoes cure best at 50-60 degrees for 2-4 weeks. To be at all soft and palatable, sweets need to cure in a warm but not too hot space, 80-85 degrees, and usually don’t need more than two weeks.

That’s similar with Asian and African yams for the most part, although some of those need a little longer or will tolerate hotter cure temps.

We’re typically harvesting sweets and yams when it’s still pretty warm, but if we need to heat space for them, we can use coolers or insulate small pantries or closets, and rotate in jugs and pots of hot water. We can also potentially use our vehicles or camper shells as a hot zone for curing sweets and yams, but we need to monitor the temps and be able to provide ventilation if it gets too hot during the day, and keep the temperatures up at night.

Once they’re cured, potatoes and sweet potatoes like the same moderate humidity we can find in most household basements, pantries, and spare rooms. Sweet potatoes really want to stay at 50-60 degrees for their storage, but potatoes will handle a dug-in pit that only gets as low as 45 or so, or can sometimes be stored in rooms adjacent to barns, greenhouses, or coops – reaping the body heat but not too much of it.

Storage Crops

Spring, summer, and autumn are already pretty busy seasons for a lot of us. Family obligations and things like fishing and hunting are already in competition with our gardens, orchards, crops, any livestock we own or other projects. They’re also the seasons we need to get buildings and power sources repaired, and wood cut and stocked.

Summer, and in many places autumn as well, are also our drought seasons, which means unless we have reliable water sources and backups for them, we can expect to do some heavy hauling – and some of us may already be filling barrels and buckets and tanks to haul for livestock and gardens.

Add in the mega-disasters and regional or wide-scale hungers some expect, or even the increased risks of garden and livestock threats from desperate humans a la Great Depression, Venezuela, and some of the dissolution and wars that have faced Europeans in the last century, and we can expect to spend more time on defense, as well.

Those are all factors that makes it worthwhile to consider crops that don’t need much processing. Autumn squashes, apples, carrots, nuts, and potatoes that need minimal work before being crated or stacked on shelves can save us valuable time. Maybe that’s time we’re harvesting livestock and grains, or maybe that’s time we’re shelling green peas, peeling tomatoes, and slicing crookneck for the dehydrator or pressure canner.

Even if our storage conditions aren’t ideal, the ability to produce crops that can sit for even just a few weeks can buy us time to get in precious hay and straw, and deal with the more perishable yields of our gardens and orchards.

While there are some drawbacks to various storage crops, there are also a lot of benefits – both now and “if/when”.

When we sit down with the goal to be prepared and self-sufficient, we have to balance a lot. We already walk tightropes between work and home life in many cases.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern board of the United States, it left millions of households without power, and most importantly, food. With preparations for the expected power outage, the food outage would not have been a problem even if grocery stores, crops, livestock, and plants had been flooded, all thanks to proper food storage.

Food is essential for survival. Whether it be an earthquake, hurricane, super typhoon, floods, or any natural calamity, you may lose access to water and food supply. As such, most people go for keeping emergency food storage. While for others, storing food is important for small emergencies. The question is, how do you effectively store food? Reports come in with stored food filled with salmonella, E. coli, and other microorganisms, which, instead of saving you, would put you in the hospital. More than keeping the right amount of food, storing them right is crucial. Here is a survival guide to food storage to keep you and your family safe.

1. Know The Right Types Of Food

Know which foods to store and how to store them. Keep your emergency survival food supply varied but make sure to have honey, salt, milk, and wheat in your supply. To encourage variety in your supply, go for other grains, beans, tomatoes, cheese, and even onion. If you are storing foods in jars, make sure that the jars are airtight sealed to avoid the development of bacteria within. Marinated foods should go into the freezer and kept there until used.

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The types of food you store could go on and on but what you store is extremely important. Go for non-cook foods that could be served even during a power outage. Have MREs (Meal Ready To Eat) stocked as well as canned goods. Keep spices as well to give flavor to the food you will be preparing in times of emergency.

2…And Consider The Size!

Size matters, and so does the quantity. The volume of food should be enough for you to keep in the storage room. Choose containers that can be easily stacked, avoid transparent containers, and do not forget to put labels on everything. The labels should have the contents of what is inside the container and the date it was processed; including the date it was stored. This way, you would easily know when to use it and when to replace it.

3.Timing Is Everything

Yes, you have to get the emergency survival food supply going but you should not rush into getting this done ASAP. Take the time to learn the basics of food storage and keep it consistent. Start from a small food supply and add items to it slowly. You may start by using your refrigerator as your storage area. Utilize your freezer and learn the canning process to utilize your cupboards as well. If you have learned the proper storage and restocking techniques, this is the key to start working on a larger room for food storage.

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4. Find The Perfect Storage Place

One of the many food storage tips you will hear is finding the perfect storage place. Your storage room should be cool, dry, and well ventilated. If you plan to store dried goods, you have to prioritize the temperature you have in your room to avoid spoilage, which is a waste of money. A cool storage room inhibits the growth of ethylene, a ripening agent, along with other decay producing enzymes. The storage room you choose also dictates the quantity of the emergency food supply you will be able to store. Keep your room small, having too big of a storage room makes it hard to do inventories in. Remember that this is your personal emergency food supply in case of natural disasters so keep it properly stored.

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5. Restock!

If you have worked on your emergency food supply, you should know that these would only last for a couple of months up to a year. Create a regular rotation to replace the older items on the storage supply. Remember to replace everything that you have used up and those that are spoiled. Make it a part of your regular routine to keep the food fresh.

Remember that everything that goes in first must be the first to go out, starting from the ready-to-eat foods. Canned foods, which have rust on the lid, are already spoiled so be aware of these signs such as molds, discoloration, and smell.

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6. Keep It Listed

Start a food plan with a checklist of food you need. Not only will this help your shopping faster, this will also help you keep track of the items that have been used up and needs to be replaced, from the canned goods up to the frozen food. Without a list or inventory, your food stock may go down to a single can of beans or to a jam-packed storage room.

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7. Consider The Humidity

Consider the humidity in the room. Have the foods properly stored in their original packages. This packaging is designed for the food to be in great condition given a room temperature or even too much humidity. Humidity also increases the probability of molds to appear on your stored food.

8. Avoid Sunlight

To keep the longevity of food, avoid storing them in direct sunlight. Exposing food in direct sunlight promotes oxidation, decreases the nutritional value, and most importantly, spoils it easily. To keep this from happening, cover the windows and other areas which may allow sunlight to go through. Watch out for foods rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K because they are quick to degrade under sunlight.

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9. Clean, Clean, Clean

Storing food effectively is based mostly on the proper handling of food when you store them. Wash your hands, clean the room, clean the containers, and don’t let any insects get inside the storage room. Keep the fresh produce, raw foods, canned goods, and ready-to-eat foods separated from each other.

Nowadays, having food storage is not a choice but an essential part of every household’s survival plan. This list will help you start your food storage right.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern board of the United States, it left millions of households without power, and most importantly, food. With preparations for the expected power outage, the