Tips For Creative Food Storage in Limited Spaces

Cheap Storage 300x300 Tips For Creative Food Storage in Limited SpacesGuest 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

Planning For A Garden

market 196518 640 300x300 Planning For A Garden

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

Emergency Food Packet Manufacturing

Emergency Food Emergency Food Packet Manufacturing 300x300 Emergency Food Packet ManufacturingFor 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.

The Cluckin’ Basics: Keeping Chickens for the Next Catastrophe

Chicken Coops 300x300 The Cluckin’ Basics: Keeping Chickens for the Next CatastropheThanks to recent natural disasters and other catastrophes, a lot of people have started to see the value of food storage. Of course, if the idea of living on canned ravioli and tuna fish doesn’t sound all that appealing to you, you may consider keeping chickens as part of your food storage. Not only do they make eggs appear every day like magic, but they also provide you with a fresh chicken dinner while you are waiting to have access to the grocery store again. Unfortunately, chickens don’t remain happy and healthy tucked away on your pantry’s shelf, so here are some tips to get you started.

1. Check the Law Books

Nobody likes confrontation—especially with the police and most definitely not with that nosy homeowner’s association lady (you know the one). So before you bring home those cute little chicks, check out the local laws and subdivision rules to make sure you are allowed to have them. Clear the idea with your neighbors if they are close as well.

2. Select the Right Breed

If you live in someplace like North Dakota, getting chickens that are used to hot climates won’t survive through that long, cold winter. When selecting a breed, research which breed will thrive best in the climate you live in. On top of climate, look at whether the breed is known to lay frequently or infrequently. The Rhode Island Red is a popular breed for getting a plentiful egg supply. Don’t forget to check the sex! Roosters don’t produce eggs, and are awfully noisy. Make sure all of the chicks you get are hens. If you’d like to use your chickens for meat, check into how good the breeds are for meat, and how capable they are at foraging for their own food.

Picture Credit- Visit grandmas-dreams.tumblr.com

3. Free Range or Coop?

Free range chickens are fun to watch as they peck the ground and give themselves dirt baths, but they also have a tendency to make a mess, wander where they aren’t wanted and get attacked by predators. If you want to go free range, be sure there is still an outer fence, such as around a yard or field, to keep them contained and that they have some kind of protection from predators. A rooster will fight a predator to the death to protect his flock, but your presence can also warn off aggressive animals. Cooped chickens will stay completely safe, but they won’t have access to a free range diet or be quite as fun to have.

4. Food

Stock up on poultry feed for your chickens as they can’t live, generally, on what they find on your lawn (especially in winter). Fresh or dried worms, white grapes, pomegranate seeds and cherry tomatoes are also all good options and provide a nice treat. Chickens also make a nice food disposal, so toss them your leftover kitchen scraps. It’s like turning trash into fresh eggs.

5. Building the Coop

A chicken coop must be made to be completely secure from outside predators. As such, avoid building the coop directly on the ground where predators could easily sneak themselves up through a hole in the soil. Instead, build a raised coop with a floor. Use a smooth material to build the coop, as it will be easier to clean or paint, and construct outside access boxes, so you can retrieve the eggs without disturbing the hens.

Chicken Coops1 500x570 The Cluckin’ Basics: Keeping Chickens for the Next Catastrophe

“If my husband had his way, we’d live on a farm,” says Heather Bullard, whose career as a photo stylist instead requires close proximity to Los Angeles. So she and her agriculture-obsessed spouse, Jim, compromised by constructing a chicken coop.

Since the Bullards’ Riverside, California, backyard barely covers a quarter acre, looks mattered as much as function. Together, the two designed a Cape Cod–inspired structure that’s prettier than many human dwellings—and built it themselves for $1,600, using stock building materials and hardware from Home Depot.

Chicken Coops5 The Cluckin’ Basics: Keeping Chickens for the Next Catastrophe
Solar powered chicken coop, light, auto open door, etc. Visit backwoodshome.com
Chicken Coops9 500x425 The Cluckin’ Basics: Keeping Chickens for the Next Catastrophe
Egg Skelter. For those of us with fresh eggs, it keeps you using the oldest first and never mixing them up.  Visit incrediblethings.com
Chicken Coops8 The Cluckin’ Basics: Keeping Chickens for the Next Catastrophe
Chicken Coops2 500x740 The Cluckin’ Basics: Keeping Chickens for the Next Catastrophe
Incredible chicken coop- Visit thefancyfarmgirl.com
Chicken Coops4 500x740 The Cluckin’ Basics: Keeping Chickens for the Next Catastrophe
wonderful photo of chickens with their ladder and nesting boxes
Chicken Coops3 500x485 The Cluckin’ Basics: Keeping Chickens for the Next Catastrophe21 Coolest Chicken Coops Visit buzzfeed.com
Chicken Coops6 The Cluckin’ Basics: Keeping Chickens for the Next Catastrophe
Renée Finberg TELLS ALL in her blog of her Adventures in Design: Fabulous Chicken Coops
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What people have learned building their coops.....good ideas Visit grit.com

Emergency Tips for Cooking Outside of the Kitchen

DSC 3642 1280x850 1024x680 300x300 Emergency Tips for Cooking Outside of the KitchenGuest Post Lee Flynn

Emergency preparedness is no joke. It only takes one look at the biggest headlines of recent years, and you will see natural disasters, cities in lockdown, and economic crises across the globe; all of which required people to either stay in their homes for days on end, go without a steady income for a period of time, or evacuate their homes at a moment’s notice. These are the sorts of emergency situations that can really threaten lifestyles at best and lives at worst. And as such, it is more important than ever that each one of us is prepared to face any similar situation that comes around.

But what do you do if you find yourself in a situation that prevents you from cooking using your normal methods? What if you are suffering a power outage, your stove is broken, or you have been forced to evacuate your home? Here are some essential tips for being prepared for these sorts of situations.

Store Ready-to-Eat Food

Emergency Preparedness 101: keep an emergency food supply in your house. This should include plenty of nonperishable items that can be made into meals or keep you going for a long period of time. However, one important aspect of this is to make sure that at least some of your emergency food is ready to eat. This means that it requires no preparation in terms of cooking, and no special appliances to put it together. It might not be your favorite food, but it could save your life some day. Look into canning for some different options.

Put Together an Emergency Survival Kit

If you do have to evacuate your home, you probably won’t have time to put together all of the essentials that you need to get by for awhile, or you may forget important things if you only have a short amount of time. If you put together a survival kit right now, you will be able to grab it when the time comes. In that survival kit, be sure to include a cooker that you can heat food and water over. A word of warning however, if you do have a portable stove, never use it indoors as you could put yourself at risk to the fatal effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Remember Clean Water

It is something that is all too often forgotten when it comes to setting aside an emergency supply, but water is the most important thing to remember. You do not know whether you will have access to clean water, or any water at all, so be sure to store enough in your emergency kit. There should be about a gallon of water per person for three days. Remember you will need it for drinking, cooking, washing, and cleaning, so ration it accordingly. If you are mobile cooking, remember to boil any water before consuming it.

Bring Enough for Everyone

Don’t forget to store enough for each member of your household. Take note of how much food and water you go through on a daily basis, and store a similar amount in your pantry. If you have pets, make sure that you keep food and water for them as well.

Add to it Regularly

Food storage is never complete. For one thing, there is not much food that will actually last forever, so you should be regularly checking your storage for bad or expired food and replacing it. Furthermore, there are always new and better options to fulfill your survival needs, and a regular look at your emergency storage will help you to identify them. Food storage might sound like something that will never be necessary for you, but there are many people around who will tell you that it is no joke.

Alcohol Storage: Why Not Stockpile a Few Luxuries?

Emergency Food Wine Storage 300x300 Alcohol Storage: Why Not Stockpile a Few Luxuries?When you think about creating your emergency food supply, it is understandable that you want most of your focus and space to go to the basic necessities: foods that are high in protein and can easily be stored for long periods of time, bottled water, etc. It is important, though, that you set aside at least a small amount of space for foods and beverages that are more luxury than life sustaining. Even if the worst happens, it'll be nice to have a way to treat your family once in a while, right?

This means finding a way to safely store treat-like foods for your kids and even some spirits for you and your partner.

That's right: You're going to want to make sure that your emergency food store includes booze. Remember: Some alcohol can be used for practical purposes as well as luxury purposes. Wine has health benefits (provided it is consumed in moderation). Vodka has medicinal properties. Alcohol can also be used to help start fires (or fuel fires), for sterilization, etc.

If you hope to store wine and other forms of alcohol, remember: Contemporary bottled wines are typically meant to be consumed within a couple of years. If you're building a store designed to stay fresh for longer than that, you're going to want to spend the money on a finer wine created with the intention of being aged before consumption.

It is also important to know that wine needs to be stored horizontally. Standing it up makes the corks oxidize and dry out faster, which allows air to seep in and spoil the wine.

This means you're going to want to invest in some wine racks so you can store the wine properly. The exception to this rule is champagne (or sparkling wines), which need to be stood up.

It's a good idea to stock up and store the harder liquors, too. For one thing, these age better and keep longer than wine. Their high alcohol content helps keep them safe to drink longer, and many types of liquor (like rum, whiskey, and gin) can be stored indefinitely if they are stored properly.

The best way to store harder liquors is to keep it in a cooler and darker part of your storage space. Heat, light, and humidity are the enemies of alcohol storage (this is true with wine as well).

While obviously this part of your emergency store isn't going to be large, with these tips you can make sure it is long lasting.

Erin Steiner is a freelance writer from Portland, Oregon. She covers a variety of topics ranging from prepping to pop culture.

Do It Yourself Wine Rack 500x571 Alcohol Storage: Why Not Stockpile a Few Luxuries?

Making a wine rack out of pallets- Visit skeeterpee.com

Do It Yourself Wine Rack2 Alcohol Storage: Why Not Stockpile a Few Luxuries?

Making a wine rack out of pallets- Visit skeeterpee.com

Pallets turned wine rack. 500x659 Alcohol Storage: Why Not Stockpile a Few Luxuries?

Pallets turned wine rack- Pinterest

The Best Emergency Food Storage Gifts

Cat Food Emergency Food Storage 300x300 The Best Emergency Food Storage GiftsIn today’s society, our food and supplies come from all over the world. Because the stores always seem full, it is hard to imagine a real food shortage happening. If our intricate food system, so reliant on computers, should be disrupted, a food shortage is a real scenario we all should be planning for. Today, people are increasing their own personal preparedness for climatic, economic and everyday life events.

With the holiday just around the corner, many are making it a Christmas priority to be better prepared, in addition to gifting items to the ones they love.

We at Buy Emergency Foods wanted to give you some great ideas for products to consider when thinking of some unique and meaningful gifts. Below are just a few items that might interest you:

Here is a great backup stove with fuel pack that can be used both indoors and outdoors, as a way to cook food, should there be a power outage when electric stoves won't work.

http://www.buyemergencyfoods.com/emergency-stove-fuel-kit

Here is a nice single bucket gift of freeze dried/dehydrated food that will last on the shelf for 25 years. Legacy Premium is known for the largest serving size, GMO free, and gluten free selections! This means more for your money, and high quality food.

http://www.buyemergencyfoods.com/32-serving-family-72-hour-emergency-food-kit.html Larger sizes also available!

This is a great kit to have in emergencies, either at home or on the go.  You can keep as is or incorporate more items to customize just for you and yours.

http://www.buyemergencyfoods.com/premium-family-survival-kit.html

Need a thoughtful stocking stuffer? Check out this survival gift bottle jam packed with preparedness goodies! http://www.buyemergencyfoods.com/survival-bottle.html

For the person that gluten sensitive, check out our gluten free selections!

http://www.buyemergencyfoods.com/gluten-free-emergency-food/ -

Or, how about this package that comes with one of everything, making for a great variety backup to have on the shelf.

http://www.buyemergencyfoods.com/183-serving-mega-sample-pack.html

Lets not forget about a backup food supply for our furry friends!

http://www.buyemergencyfoods.com/pet-food-storage/ -

Consider buying some preparedness items for family, friends, and even those who can't afford to buy it themselves. Providing items for some backups, should any emergency situation occur, provides both you and them peace of mind!

http://www.buyemergencyfoods.com

How to Best Organize Your Food Stockpile

Emergency Storage 300x300 How to Best Organize Your Food StockpileStockpiling food and water is not only a great idea, but can save your life in the event of a natural disaster or emergency. Purchasing food, water, and life-saving products is the fun part, but what about organizing your inventory?

Although it can be tedious and boring, a well-organized stockpile can help you keep track of what you have, what you still need to purchase, and what has expired. It also makes accessing your stockpile easier in an actual disaster where you need to act quickly. Follow these tips to organize your stockpile to be even more prepared for your worst-case scenario.

Think About the Space You Have

The first thing you'll need to do when organizing your emergency food and water stockpile is to think about the space you have on hand. If you have an entire room dedicated to stockpiling, it may be easier to organize than if you only have a kitchen cabinet or a few shelves. When purchasing inventory, keep this in mind and don't buy more than you can store - you'll end up wasting it.

Organize by Type

For easy access to what you need, when you need it, organize your stockpile by the type of product. Keep your water, grains, sauces, vegetables, fruits, and any other inventory you have sorted and organized by the product type. Don't mix and match. You'll end up forgetting what you have, or you'll have trouble finding what you need in an emergency.

Picture Above- 5 Gallon White Bucket & Lid - Set of 3 -$20 On Amazon

Label the Product Clearly

Ensure your inventory is clearly labeled and up to date. If the product has an expiration date, make sure it's visible and can be seen from the item's location. Keep track of the expiration dates and throw away any product that has gone past it. Make sure to keep your lists updated, and replace any product that has gone bad.

Use Containers

Always make sure you use the proper storage and containers when organizing and storing your inventory. You'll want to keep your food in containers that are rodent- and insect-proof, and strong enough to keep moisture and sunlight out.

Ensure any storage bins and containers you use are properly labeled with the product and expiration dates. Keep the same products together even when using containers, and keep your inventory lists up to date when any product is discarded or used.

Emergency Food How to Best Organize Your Food Stockpile Pic 2 How to Best Organize Your Food Stockpile

Can you guess what's in this can?

Keep your food clearly labeled with the product and expiration date.

Keep it Cool and Dark

In addition to keeping your food and water stockpile in an easy-to-access location, ensure it's kept in a cool and dark space. Keep your products away from direct contact to sunlight and moisture. If you live in an apartment or house with limited space, think creatively. You can keep your stockpile under your bed on risers, behind the couch, or even in your dishwasher.

Keep food and water away from solvents, cleaners, or anything toxic. Ensure that the area you use for storage can't flood, and keep it as clean and tidy as possible.

It's important to be prepared for emergencies and natural disasters, even if your stockpile starts off small. The American Public Health Association recommends keeping at least a three-day supply of food and water on hand at any given time. Keep your supply organized from the start so you'll know exactly what you have, what you need to get, and where it's located.

Brian Flax is a freelance writer based out of the Washington, D.C., area. He is experienced in a variety of topics including business, finance, and education technology.

Image courtesy of Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mylar bags How to Best Organize Your Food Stockpile

 Mylar Bags for Long Term Emergency Food Storage Supply on Amazon

Mylar bags are metalized storage containers that create an oxygen barrier to protect food and keep it from going bad during extended long-term food storage. The bags are composed of a polyester film which is laminated to aluminum foil to keep out both oxygen and unwanted moisture.

Mylar bags also come in large sizes which can storage items such as rice, beans, flour and wheat.  Dividing up food into smaller mylar bags will allow you to access your food while still maintaining long-term freshness.

It would be a good idea to purge the air out of the bag before sealing it. There can be insect eggs in grain and they will hatch unless you can purge all of the oxygen from the bag.  Use dry nitrogen (from a 160 liter compressed gas cylinder), or even dry ice, which also works very well. For added measure adding a oxygen absorber can be included inside your sealed bag.

Using mylar bags is simple.  Carefully transfer the food from its larger container to the bag. Make sure to leave several inches of space at the top of the bag to allow for heat sealing. Heat sealing can be done with a straightening iron used for hair, or a standard clothes iron. Ensure that the top of the bag is free from any food as it will affect the quality of the seal. Fold over the top inch and press the iron down firmly for several seconds, and your done!  Be sure to label your bags.

Foods to store in Mylar bags:

Powdered milk & Powdered eggs

Baking powder and baking soda, you can't long-term store yeast

Freeze dried fruits

Freezed dried or dehydraded vegetables (carrots, peppers, etc) mix in rice or beans.

Spices (Cinnamon, Pepper, dry mustard powder)

Flavored drink mixes (Ice tea, kool-aid, hot Chocolate mix, Tea and Coffee.

Powdered Mash potatoes

 

5 Food Storage Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Stockpiling Efforts

5 Food Storage Mistakes 300x300 5 Food Storage Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Stockpiling EffortsWhen stockpiling for the unknown, it's easy to focus only on the basics and not consider what your actual day-to-day existence will be like. If you're only out of action for a day or two or three, the bare minimum will suffice, but any longer than 72 hours, even non-perishable food becomes questionable, storage becomes much more important, and psychological food burnout becomes a real risk.

Follow this guide to making sure you've planned well for an event none of us had planned on.

Dented Cans

Canned goods are the backbone of food storage. They keep for a long time, they're easy to store, they're already cooked and are ready to eat, and they provide variety to prevent food burnout. They can also kill you.

Dented cans are likely to contain tiny punctures that are invisible to the naked eye. Those punctures let in air that can breed harmful - even deadly - bacteria such as botulism. Never consume food from a dented can.

Forgetting Necessary Basics

Don't forget shortening, salt, cooking oil, yeast, powdered eggs, baking powder, and baking soda. Even the most basic recipes require one or more of these ingredients to cook. It is tasty food cooked from good recipes that will prevent food burnout.

Vitamins

Pack plenty of multivitamins. Although there is no substitute for quality food, multivitamins can supplement a mediocre diet and keep you healthy, especially if you are prone to illness or are around people who are sick.

Some vitamins, like vitamin D, aren't found in food, and only come from sunlight, which you might be unable to reach if you're holed up for a long time.

Storage

If your containers are inferior, it doesn't matter what you have inside. Transfer all food out of sacks or cloth bags. Any plastic wrap must be food-grade quality. Glass jars are good, but they are heavy and, of course, prone to breakage. High-quality Tupperware-style containers with tight-fitting lids are the best bet.

184026851 500x458 5 Food Storage Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Stockpiling Efforts

Always make sure cans are free of dents and bumps.

Condiments and Luxury Goods

Survival has a lot to do with wanting to live. If everything you're eating is conceived solely on calorie count and nutrition, you're going to get bored very quickly, and when you do, food burnout is right around the corner.

Packets of ketchup, mustard, honey, hot sauce, salt, and other spices and non-essential condiments actually are essential - to you keeping your sanity. Every ten meals or so should be peppered with something you want to eat, not something you merely need to eat to stay alive.

Never pack food in breathable cloth bags or containers.

Sustenance is the key to survival in the event of a natural disaster or something worse. The food you pack determines what kind of lifestyle you'll live while trying to stay alive. Obsess over storage, put safety first, and don't forget how important comfort food will be when there is little comfort to be had.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about long-term storage, disaster preparation, and online reputation management services.

7 Tips to Stockpiling Emergency Food

Emergency Food2 300x300 7 Tips to Stockpiling Emergency Food You live in the real world and have to deal with daily problems, issues, and emergencies. You probably don't have the time or mental energy to worry about future catastrophes or doomsday scenarios.

That's fine - but what about more common disasters, like hurricanes, snowstorms, or severe floods? These could knock power and other services out for days or weeks, and you can't count on running to the store beforehand to get what you might need. And what if a region-wide or nationwide pandemic strikes and you're confined to your home? Or if the electrical grid fails at a fundamental level over a wide area? These events can strike with little or no warning.

That's why it's wise to be somewhat prepared for a substantial calamity. One of the easiest and most basic ways to prepare is to stockpile food to have on hand in case you're unable to shop for awhile.

Here are  some of the best food items to stockpile? Here is a partial list:

A. bottled water (or tap water in bottles)

B. Rice

C. Beans

D. Pasta

E. Dried fruits

F. Canned meats

G. Canned fruits or vegetables

H. Canned soups

I. Peanut butter

J. Whole wheat crackers

K. Nuts and trail mix

L. Cereal, or meal replacement bars

M.  Powdered drink mixes,powdered milk

N. Multivitamins

Here are some suggestions on starting your own food stockpile:

1. Make space. Dedicate some shelving in your pantry or basement specifically for your stockpile. Wherever it is, make sure it is cool and dry; spaces that are too hot or cold may degrade your food quality.

2. Don't bust your budget. While planning ahead is important, don't do so at the expenses of your day-to-day spending. Just build your stockpile up a little more each time you go to the grocery or warehouse store.

3. Decide on size. Federal agencies recommend that you keep at least three weeks of food on hand for emergencies. Use that as a starting point; then, if you wish, build your stockpile up even more. Here's a food storage calculator to help you in that effort.

4. Look for deals. There's no reason you have to spend a lot of money on your stockpile. Look for coupons, specials, or buy-one-get-one-free deals. And don't be afraid to buy off-brand items if your family isn't brand loyal.

5. Buy in bulk. There's nothing wrong with buying five-, 10-, or 20-pound bags of staples. Or big-box store pallets of other foods. You'll generally save money, and you'll go a long way toward starting your stockpile.

6. Set a rotation schedule. Make sure you check expiration dates periodically. This can be aided by writing the expiration date on each food item in black marker. Once or twice a year, consume soon-to-be-outdated food items and replenish them.

7. Don't forget your kids. Emergency or not, children may not want to eat certain foods if they don't like them. So keep your kids' preferences in mind when shopping. And consider different recipes to change how you serve the same staples.

Don't think of food stockpiling as emergency preparedness. If you view it as a semiannual preventive measure like changing your smoke detector batteries, you can more effectively manage your stockpile while maintaining the peace of mind that you are remaining prepared for almost any type of disaster.

Chris Martin is a freelance writer who writes about topics ranging from how to remove articles from Google to when to switch auto insurance companies to what business software works best.

Food Stockpiling Can Actually Free Up Some of Your Budget!

Emergency Food 300x300 Food Stockpiling Can Actually Free Up Some of Your Budget!On a recent episode of "Extreme Couponing" on TLC, there was an interesting observation. Each of the buyers was deservedly proud to pay NO money - or less than $25.00 - for hundreds of dollars-worth of groceries. It was quite a spectacle.

But the common thread: sugary juice-type drinks. The viewer was left to wonder: Does anyone really need 627 green, blue, or red drinks in their pantry? But the other observations reveals savvy choices, and hundreds - yes, hundreds - of dollars worth of savings in one big, organized trip to the grocery store.

Read on to find out why this practice is worth the effort.

There IS something to be said about stockpiling.

There's a system to it; it's not difficult, and you can zip right by the sugary drinks to accomplish the mission. This could be a fun challenge. Put on the tunes, get a few Sunday papers, pull out the weekly flyers, and start clippin'.

Now's the time to figure out this game.

The key to attaining a great stockpile is to team up the coupons with the weekly flyers. If you get a great deal on five items each week, you'll be stocked over just a couple of months. Think paper towels, toiletries, peanut butter, canned goods, non-perishables, laundry detergent, etc.

If your favorite detergent is on sale one week, and you have the coupons to team up with the weekly special? Those dollars add up - and they add up fast. Get used to buying things ten at a time. Once you see what you're saving, this will become your new norm, and you'll kick yourself for not doing it sooner.

Make It Fun Food Stockpiling Can Actually Free Up Some of Your Budget!Hey, make it fun. They did!

It really does become a game of strategy, and the challenge of it can be downright fun. You really can get stuff for free, and over just a couple of months, you'll watch your weekly and monthly grocery bill decrease quite substantially.

So what do you do with the extra cash?

That's the great part. Be thoughtful about that decision, though; in the end, you don't want to look back at all of your hard efforts and think you've wasted your time. Indeed, this is time consuming, but the payback is fantastic.

So, do you buy shoes, plan a vacation, or put your efforts back into attaining good, fresh foods for your family? The savvy folks say to put the savings right into the store's important and often more expensive proteins and fresh produce.

canned peas Food Stockpiling Can Actually Free Up Some of Your Budget!Is there anything worse than canned peas? Take your savings and buy fresh!

If you follow their lead, pick in-season produce and meats that are on sale. You and your family deserve that. Your added savings from stockpiling can go right into the farmer's market trip or the best, freshest section of the store.

If you're really serious about changing and cutting your monthly expenses, it's also a great idea to to start working with a budgeting tool. It's so important to see, in concrete numbers and figures, what's coming in, what's going out, and on what the money is being spent. Yes, it's all about tracking.

It's the same premise for those who lose weight and keep it off; odds are very high that if they have journaled their calories or food, the weight will not come back. Makes sense, doesn't it? This is no different. When you quite literally see how the quick stops for coffee or gum at the convenience store add up to over $100 per month, you might adjust that pattern. And we all know that feeling of walking into a grocery store "for milk" and then coming out with 10 or 20 other products.

Now's a perfect time for change.

Based on the weekly specials, get that list going - and stick to it. Use willpower, and don't negotiate with yourself. Then watch the savings add up!

Valerie J. Wilson loves a good bargain! She is also a freelance writer for many individuals, companies, and organizations.

Emergency Foods That Will Last a Lifetime

Emergency Food 300x300 Emergency Foods That Will Last a LifetimeNo matter what your reason for stockpiling food, that stockpile is of no use if the food spoils before you consume it. There are plenty of ways to help avoid spoilage - rotating the foods in and out, making sure it's stored properly, and so on - but you can also focus on storing foods that have ultra-long shelf lives.

Foods that Will Last Forever

Salt, baking powder, and granulated sugar have no known shelf life when stored in their original containers. By "no known shelf life," this means the food will last indefinitely; there's no evidence of spoilage when handled properly.

Although you might not think salt, sugar, and baking powder have much use in a food stockpile, these are three staples in scratch cooking and baking, so they might be of more use than you think.

Honey seems to last indefinitely, too; even if it crystallizes, you can reheat and use it normally. Microorganisms tend to stay away because of its low water content.

Foods that Will Last 30-Plus Years

As long as they're stored in cans, foil pouches, or buckets, wheat and rice will last for 30 or more years. White rice is super cheap, a good source of calories, and it can be used in so many ways - as rice porridge for breakfast, as an addition to soups, ground up as an alternative to wheat flour, or just on its own as a meal-stretcher.

Dried beans are another meal-stretcher that can last for 30 or more years, particularly pinto beans. However, the beans stored in food-grade bags last for just a year.

White rice will last for 30 or more years when stored properly 500x335 Emergency Foods That Will Last a LifetimeWhite rice will last for 30 or more years when stored properly

Foods that Will Last 15 to 30 Years

It might not be a lifetime, but 15 to 30 years can still give you a pretty good time barrier when it comes to a stockpile. Foods such as powdered milk, instant potatoes, dried apples, and pasta can last 15 to 30 years if stored in a can or foil pouch with an oxygen absorber.

Proper Storage

The quickest way to destroy your stockpile is to store it improperly. For maximum shelf life, keep your food in a consistently cool place that's below room temperature. Room temperature or higher can lead proteins in the food to deteriorate and eventually spoil. That sugar that's good for 30 years? Its shelf life can be reduced by up to a decade if it gets too hot in your storage area. Skip the garage or attic in favor of a basement or pantry, which are both less likely to heat up.

Additionally, consider your containers. Food that's being stored for a significant period of time must be stored in food-grade containers to ensure no chemicals leaching into the food. Look for a "#2" by the recycle symbol or the acronym "HDPE" at the bottom to indicate food-grade. The containers should be air-tight and spill-proof as well.

With a little bit of preparation, you can be ready for anything that comes your way - at least, when it comes to eating well.

Kelsey Castle is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on home and real estate topics such as Texas real estate. She has a degree in journalism from a Big 10 university.

Warning: Do You Recognize These 10 Prepping Mistakes?

10 Prepping Mistakes 300x300 Warning: Do You Recognize These 10 Prepping Mistakes?by M.D. Creekmore

“What’s the most common mistake made by new survivalist? How can we avoid it?“ – asked by Matt via email.

Here are a few quick mistakes that I see new survivalist making (and some, I’ve made myself). They’re listed in no particular order and I’d love for you to continue the list in comments below:

1. Giving up to early – Many new survivalist start out with a load of energy only to run dry, giving up before meeting their goals. The main reason – they think they have to spend thousands of dollars on a retreat, survival food and arsenal, money that they don’t have – so they give up all together.

2. Putting off starting – Procrastination is something we’ve talked about before, but is worth mentioning again. Don’t put off starting your preparedness program. The number one excuse given is a lack of money – see point one above. (see my article – How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Prepping)

3. Not making their own plan - Many new survivalist (aka preppers), not knowing where to start attempt to follow the plans of others. Granted there will be a lot of similarity between most survival plans, but it is important to look at your location, needs and budget and plan so. Some survival authors / bloggers seem to have unlimited amounts of money for preps, and trying to follow in their footsteps can turn a lot of people away from the idea of prepping altogether.

4. Overlooking the need for shelter - Many new (and veteran) survivalist fail to realize the importance, of a paid for plot of land and shelter. They seem to think their debt will just disappear or be forgiven. Sorry folks it don’t work that way. If you can’t get out of debt, think about having a travel trailer or small cabin as a backup shelter plan.

5. Bugging out – Bugging out can work, if you have a place to go and make it there unscathed. But the throw on a pack and live in the woods “plan” is lacking in reality and practicality. Some will pull it off – most will not. (see my article Bugging out vs. Hunkering Down)

6. Too many guns - Firearms are very important for foraging and protection, but many new (and veteran) preppers have more guns than pounds of wheat. Get a .22 rifle, 12 gauge shotgun and a handgun and the life-sustaining basics (shelter, water, shelter, medical) squared away first before considering expanding your gun collection.

7. Buying books and not reading – I’m sure many of you do this. You read a review of a preparedness book, send for it, it arrives in the mail, you open the package, thumb through it, you think “I’ll read it when I have more time” and on the shelf it goes. Don’t do this, read it.

8. Buying books and not doing – Still others read the books, but that’s as far as it goes. They never go out and test or learn what they’ve read. Reading is great, but you need to get off the couch and put what you’ve read into practice.

9. Not planning for unexpected arrivals – What will you do when unexpected visitors arrive at your door looking for a handout post collapse? Buying extra food and assembling care packages is a good idea.

10. Closed mind – They become fixated with their plans (or plans of others see #3). If something works, great; if not, you need to find out what the problem is and fix it – even if it means a complete overhaul of your original plan.

There’s A LOT more to be said on this topic – what mistakes do you see new (and older) survivalist making? What mistakes have you made? Please share with us in the comments below…

Pointers for Stockpiling Baby Food and Formula

bd394bd24c4cf848934e79574de8dfcc 300x300 Pointers for Stockpiling Baby Food and FormulaEven if you're not convinced that a nuclear Armageddon or global economic collapse is imminent, taking preparatory measures like stockpiling food is still a wise idea - which would have paid dividends had the world not narrowly averted disaster earlier this year.

In July of 2013, a massive electromagnetic pulse emitted by the sun coursed through a point in the earth's orbit about two weeks before the planet arrived there. Had Earth been struck by this EMP, it could have cut off electricity to much of the U.S. for a long time. This could have left Americans scrambling to handle their basic necessities on their own for quite a while, which would have been difficult for anybody - much less families with babies who needed to be fed.

That's why stockpiling store-bought baby food - or the ingredients to make it yourself - is something that all parents should consider.

Baby Food Stockpiling Strategies

Since baby food will be one of the first consumer products to run out in a global emergency, it's always wise to have an extra supply on hand. The good news is, the U.S. government requires clear expiration date
labeling on baby food and formula, which makes it easier for you to gauge how long it can be stockpiled before it goes bad.

When choosing which products to stockpile, look for baby food with iron in it to aid in your baby's growth; and if possible, opt for "lactose-free" food and formula, because lactose digestion is the most
common problem when it comes to feeding infants formula.

As for procuring the supplies, there are many options for finding baby food at low prices. Moms-to-be routinely stockpile baby food and formula in preparation for the birth of their child, so there are online
resources already in place to help you with this. Plenty of blogs can help you with stockpiling strategies, and you can set up "price watches" on grocery store or independent sites that can help you keep track of
sales and bargains. You can even tap into the "extreme couponing" chatter that can alert you to how to buy these products at deep discounts.

After you make your purchase, be sure that the food and formula is stored in a cool, dry place away from areas where rodents might be able to access it.

Other Sources for Baby Food

Because of the likely scarcity of baby food in an emergency, you may also want to consider stocking up on supplies that will allow you to make your own baby food. This would include dry milk, beans, rice,
sugar, powdered oats, oil, flour, and salt. (A few recipes for making your own emergency baby food and formula are available here.)

Canned vegetables and fruits, jams, or other produce in nonperishable form can also be pureed to supplement traditional baby formula or food.

Perhaps the biggest asset for keeping a baby healthy during an emergency is the mother herself. After all, breast feeding is recommended by doctors for a year after the baby is born, and breast milk is a ready
source of nutrient-rich food for babies.

In addition to stockpiling nourishment for the baby, it's important to do the same for Mom. This means paying extra attention to the nutritional quality of the food you're stockpiling for adults so that the mother's body will be healthy enough to properly fortify her infant via her breast milk. So while stockpiling baby food is important, it's just as vital to protect Mom's well-being - for the long run as well as
the immediate future.

Chris Martin has written numerous articles about keeping children safe and healthy, from choosing the best convertible car seats to kid-friendly vegetable recipes to creating fun playtime activities.

Picture Credit-Visit parents.com