Guest Post From Lee Flynn
There are many reasons to store food for emergency situations. This can give you the peace of mind to know that you and your family can survive if any type of disaster strikes. Having rations of food in your home makes sense, both for small and large scale catastrophes. Not everyone, however, has lots of room to store food. What if you live in a small cabin or perhaps a city apartment? Fortunately, even when you have limited space there are still ways to store emergency food.
When your space is limited, you have to get creative and make best use of whatever space you do have. Don’t confine yourself to traditional storage spaces such as kitchen cabinets. While you should certainly make use of these, you will also have to think beyond this. There is no reason why you can’t use any room in your home or apartment for storage.
First of all, you should keep all of your extra food in boxes or containers that maximize your space. Individual cans or packages of food are awkward to store. Boxes or milk crates, on the other hand, are easy to stack. Grains can be kept in large, airtight barrels or buckets.
Making Use of Closets, Bedrooms and Furniture
This is a fairly obvious place for storage, but many people don’t make optimum use of closet space. There are various ways to add more space to closets. You may have to first do some de-cluttering. You can add shelves where cans and boxes of food can be stored. You could keep some storage boxes on the floor of your closet.
In addition to bedroom closets, you can store food under large beds. If you have a captain’s bed with drawers, this is an ideal place for storing items out of sight. Any bed that has space under it can be used for storage as well.
Some furniture has more storage than appears on the outside. You can find tables, for example, that have drawers or other storage. Using a steamer trunk as a coffee table supplies you with plenty of storage space. Another place to store food is behind large pieces of furniture such as couches or bookcases.
Rent a Storage Unit
If you find that even making creative use of your space isn’t enough, you may want to consider renting a storage unit. This is a bit of an expense and inconvenience, but it will give you plenty of additional space for your food. There are now storage units all over and even a smaller unit will allow you to stock many boxes of food. If you do this, however, don’t just forget about the food. Make sure you make visits to the storage unit, use up some food and replace it regularly.
Additional Food Storage Guidelines
Wherever you store your food, you should make sure you have a good selection of essentials, including extra water. The most efficient way to store food is to consume it and rotate it. Otherwise, your stored items will eventually spoil if they aren’t used up. After all, you hope there never will be an emergency where external food supplies run out. That’s why you should choose items that are tasty and nutritious, so you can live off them and rotate your stock.
Make sure you have a variety of food items at your disposal. This is essential for balanced nutrition. Have all of the essential food groups, including carbohydrates, protein, vegetables and even some snacks and desserts. Don’t forget staples that are necessary for cooking, such as oil, yeast and spices.
Food storage is a wise investment in your security. Even if you never need it, it’s always reassuring to know that you are prepared for anything that might happen. You will also never run out of food staples if you ever need them for everyday cooking.
Picture Credit – Pixabay
Preparing a spring garden is a joy that provides exercise, access to fresh air, and delicious fresh vegetables. Taking three easy steps can produce a successful garden for anyone who wants to try it, and it is easier than it may seem to prepare a plot, plant the seeds, and nourish the crops. Even a beginner can have a garden that is a source of pride, and the vegetables that it produces are abundant, delicious, and nutritious.
Preparing a Garden Plot
A plot that is 15 feet on each side creates 225 square feet of garden space, small enough not to require an extensive amount of work and large enough to grow five different vegetables. The hardest part of starting a garden is removing the grass or weeds and turning the soil.
A small tiller is the best tool for preparing a plot, but a sharp hoe can remove the growth on top of the soil. Turning the soil with a shovel is laborious, but it is the best tool if a tiller is not available. A rake can level the soil and remove any remaining traces of weeds or grass from the garden plot. An application of fertilizer enriches the soil and prepares it to receive the seeds.
Planting the Seeds
The pleasure of putting a seed in the ground is hard to imagine. Using a finger to poke a small hole in the ground gets dirt on the hands, a sure sign that a gardener is doing the right thing. Planning for the size of a plant when it reaches maturity is necessary, and instructions on seed packets indicate the space that is needed between plants. Many plants need support to help them sustain the weight of vegetables that grow abundantly in the spring and summer sun.
Some vegetables that are easy to grow include tomatoes, yellow squash, cucumbers, okra, and green onions. Okra produces a sturdy stalk that can stand alone, and the pods are not heavy enough to require support. Green onions grow rapidly from sets that are available at garden shops, and they are a better choice than seeds that take a long time to mature. Squash, cucumber, and tomato plants each need a tall stake that can support vines that are tied to them with soft strips of cloth.
Nourishing the Crops
Vegetables have high water content, making it essential to provide a constant supply during the growing season. A misting system is simple to erect, but a sprinkler that is attached to a garden hose can keep plants wet enough. An occasional dose of fertilizer provides the nutrients that plants absorb along with water to produce plump and firm vegetables. Part of providing nourishment of crops includes monitoring the condition of each plant to remove insects. Careful inspection is usually necessary to find pests whose color matches the leaves of plants.
Keeping a Supply of Food On Hand
The abundance of vegetables that a spring garden produces provides enough to can or freeze for future use. Fresh tomatoes make excellent spaghetti sauce that freezes well, and cut okra or squash in freezer bags are tasty additions to soups or casseroles. Cucumbers and onions are best to use fresh, and neighbors welcome gifts from a garden.
If the thought of preparing a garden plot, planting seeds, nourishing plants, and finding a way to store vegetables does not appeal, there is a better alternative. Emergency food storage offers freeze dried and dehydrated fruit, vegetables, beef, and chicken in their own containers. A garden produces nutritious food, but it is time-consuming. Soils that are not naturally rich require supplements that are expensive, and some climates are not suitable for a vegetable garden. Stocking a supply of professionally prepared and packaged dairy products, fruits, vegetables, meat and proteins, grains, and ready-to-eat meals makes it easy to have nutritious meals available throughout the year.
Food Storage Picture Pixabay
For manufacturers of emergency food packets, standards have to rise to an unrivaled level of excellence. The companies that package the packets must operate under the assumption that conditions requiring emergency rations are likely to be extreme and challenging.
Fill levels are among the most important aspects of safe, dependable food-packet manufacturing. Inspecting and monitoring those levels is a central step in guaranteeing a safe and reliable product that can stand up to the critical task of surviving an emergency.
The Importance of Fill Levels
Emergency food packets are often used in the most extreme environments and climates, and are subjected to dramatic temperature fluctuations. Those fluctuations result in freezing, thawing, expansion and contraction of liquids, and overall product degradation. If fill levels are even marginally inaccurate, package rupturing or contamination can destroy an otherwise useable product.
An Alternative to Check Weighing
Whether emergency food packets come in metal cans, plastic bottles, composite containers or glass bottles, fill level monitoring is almost always superior to the check-weighing protocol. It is far more accurate, despite changes in weight or container shape. When it comes to speed – which directly impacts cost – there is no comparison. According to
Peco-Inspx.com, fill level monitoring can fly through 2,400 containers per minute, compared with 600-800 with the check-weighing protocol.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Fill level inspection machines provide a wide array of different functions for manufacturers of emergency food packets. A single device can provide assurance for labeled contents in beverages, verify the minimum head space in canned foods for thermal processing, and calculate the average fill level. Because of temperature changes and motion or shaking, overfilling or under-filling are among the most hazardous pitfalls associated with the manufacturing of emergency food packets. Fill-level inspection and monitoring can assure the right levels.
Beyond Fill Levels
Fill levels are just one important aspect of manufacturing emergency food packets. The high demands placed on rations in survival situations requires superior durability and preservation. From ideal cook temperatures to proper handling procedures, the United States Dept. of Agriculture outlines a range of specific and consistent standards regarding the packaging of emergency foods.
Emergency-food manufacturing standards are high because rations are crucial to surviving extraordinary situations. The stresses and demands of emergencies require special attention to be paid to fill levels in packaging. Appropriate fill levels are crucial to maintaining integrity under radical pressure and temperature swings. No matter what product you’re packaging, remember that the uniform guidelines laid out by the USDA apply to most emergency food production systems.
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer who covers emergency ration manufacturing, MREs and survival equipment.