Posts tagged: food storage

3 Of The Most Common And Dangerous Foodborne Diseases

Dangerous Foodborne Diseases

Food! We all do it, we all eat. Not only because we have to in order to survive, but also because we like it. Most cultures are unique when it comes to culinary treats, with at least a couple of dishes to set them easily aside from the rest of the world. Cooking may come in different shapes and sizes, but the raw material is (more or less) the same everywhere. We need organic material as fuel. But the organic material we ingurgitate may sometimes be infected by pathogens that will cause us harm. The food of beverages that contain certain bacteria, viruses, parasites or even chemicals will cause great distress and irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. Most of the gastrointestinal afflictions are acute; they manifest themselves rapidly, with fever diarrhea and vomiting and won’t last more than a few days, even without medical treatment. Others, on the other hand, will manifest themselves way more severely, and will cause a rapid death if left untreated.


This tiny bacterium (Salmonella enterica) is one of the most common and wildly spread foodborne pathogens on the face of the Earth. It lives in the intestinal tracts of animals and it’s transmitted to humans through food that hasn’t been properly washed and that previously came in contact with animal waste. What makes it dangerous and so wildly spread is the fact that it’s practically impossible to detect. Diseased animals manifest no exact symptoms; nor will the food products that get tainted. It’s not resistant to high temperatures, so cooking the food properly will destroy the proteins that make up the bacteria. If not, hell will soon follow. Within 12 to 72 hours from infection, the pathogen will make itself “visible” through acute abdominal pain and cramp, fever and diarrhea. The diarrhea is severe in this case, so drinking plenty of fluids is a must, in order to avoid dehydration. In a strong and healthy individual, the disease shouldn’t last more than 5 – 7 days. Medication is necessary only if the infection has already spread to the intestines; also if the infected person has a compromised immune system or is an elderly citizen, that will have problems fighting the disease on his own. It can sometimes lead to a complication known as Reiter’s syndrome or reactive arthritis, which causes painful joints, painful urination, eye soreness and chronic arthritis. The best way to avoid salmonella infection is it to cook your food carefully, especially meat and eggs.

Salmonella enterica


Also known as trichinellosis, is a disease that’s easily contracted by humans that consume meat infected with the larvae of the trichinella worm (Trichinella spiralis), be it from domesticated pigs or other wild animals. The larvae are incased in a cyst in animal meat. After ingestion, it gets in a human host, where the digestive acids found in our stomachs dissolve the cyst and release the worm. They mature in a couple of days in the small intestine. They will mate, lay eggs and from these eggs small worm will result that will make their way to muscle tissue (through the arteries), where they’ll incase themselves in cystic form again. In an attempt to fight the invasive creatures, you’ll body will suffer nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, acute stomachaches in the first 2 – 3 days after eating the tainted meat. After the worms have matured and start reproducing (2 – 8 weeks), you’ll also experience fever, chills, coughing, eye-sealing, headaches, itchy skin, joint pain and irregularities of the digestive system (constipation or diarrhea). It’s a disease that should not be left untreated. The best way to avoid getting trichinosis is to cook meat at about 160°F, temperature that will destroy the cysts. You can also freeze you pork for 20 days in order to kill the worms, however this might not work when it comes to game animals.

Trichinella spiralis cysts in muscle mass


The Escherichia coli is a large group of bacteria, out of which most are harmless. The one that’s able to cause havoc is called the O157:H7, and is part of the STEC group (the E. coli that produce the Shiga toxin). They’re mostly found in the intestines and stomachs of ruminant animals (cattle) but also in sheep, goats, elk, deer etc. When the animal is eviscerated, the intestines might get cut and spill out on the meat, immediately infecting it. The most common method of spreading the bacteria is through ground meat, but it was also found in milk and other dairy products. Vegetables or fruits that come in contact with infected animal waste will also get tainted. Although it doesn’t manifest itself in any way in the animal hosts, in humans it can cause fever, nausea, vomiting, cramps and even bloody diarrhea. The infection spreads rapidly, so that about a third of the people infected will get hospitalized; about 10% of those that get hospitalized will die. It’s most dangerous when it comes to children ages 5 – 10. They risk of developing hemolytic-uremic syndrome as a result of the E. coli infection, which can lead to kidney failure. You can avoid E. coli infection by regularly washing your hands, washing vegetables and cooking your meat at a temperature of at least 160°F.

The O157:H7 E. coli

To avoid getting dangerous foodborne diseases, hygiene is a must. Always wash your hands, your food and avoid eating from unreliable sources. If you manifest any of the symptoms that I’ve listed above, check with your doctor immediately and don’t leave anything to chance. Most of the incipient symptoms are common in most type of food related infections, so it’s hard to tell on your own whether you’ve contracted something that’s life-threatening or not.

By My Family Survival Plan

4 Meats That Are Packed With Protein

I know I’ve advocated meat consumption many times before; I’ve talked about the benefits of eating meat (in moderation of course). In many cases I have stated that the human omnivorous diet (comprised of both meats and vegetal matter) requires a balanced intake of nutrients, from which meat shouldn’t not be left out, mainly because it’s the best source of protein we get. But I feel that I’ve never treated this subject with the proper respect it actually deserved, so I’ll fix that right now.

If you’re a body builder or a fitness enthusiast you probably know much about what proteins are and what they’re good for. But for those of you who don’t, allow me to explain. Proteins are essential to living organism and humans make no exception. It helps build and repair muscle mass, it serves as a building block for body chemicals (enzymes, hormones etc.), skin, blood, bones, helps release carbohydrates into the bloodstream and so on. Every single fully functional cell in the human body needs protein in order to function properly. Some tissues (hair and nails) are comprised mostly of protein. So this macronutrient is one of the building blocks of life, it’s a major part of who and what we are and it’s important to have a balanced diet in which to include rich sources of protein. Let’s have a look at these 4 meats that are packed with protein. And there is no better natural source of protein out there that meat.

Venison (27g of protein / 3 oz)

Venison is an excellent source for protein, even better than the common beef. Not only does it have a higher amount of protein / per oz., but it also has a lower count of saturated fats. Protein is only one of the nutritious compounds venison has to offer. It’s packed with iron, riboflavin, vitamin BS and other minerals that are beneficial to human health. It’s pretty versatile when it comes to cooking methods. You can make mouth-watering stakes and stews from back straps, tenderloins or top hams. The neck the belly and the lower ribs can be easily grinded into sausages or stew meat. The best roasts result from the lower hams, but you’ll have to cook them long and slow to tender the meat. Venison has a specific taste, and if you’re not very keen on it, you can marinate it and tinker with the flavor as much as possible.

Chicken breast (27g of protein / 4 oz)

The chicken breast is a common household name that’s known and loved by everybody. We are all familiar with its tenderness and deliciousness. We all know how easy to prepare it is, in how many dishes and recipes we can include it in and how easy it is to procure (found in all types of stores and markets, big or small). But I don’t know how many of us are actually aware of the chicken breast’s nutritious properties. Apart from proteins, it also has phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc and also a small amount of calcium. The healthiest approach to eating chicken breast is to serve it grilled, with a side of fresh, steamed or grilled vegetables. But for those of you who don’t mind adding calories in the mix, you can just fry it and eat it with pretty much everything your heart desires. When it comes to cooking chicken breast, the sky’s the limit.

Ground beef 95% lean (24g of protein / 3 oz)

This is the best type of beef money can buy. The 95% lean ground beef it’s full of beneficial compounds, such as iron, creatine (that do wonders for your muscles), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin, zinc, calcium and more. The leaner the beef, the better! Ground beef that starts at 90% lean is lower in fatty acids and calories, which makes it perfect as the main pillar of a healthy diet. Cooking it requires some caution and preparation. Because the meat lacks a high amount of fats, it’s advised to use the right amount for cooling oil before frying. If you’re planning a roast, it’s best if you add sauce and cook it slowly, because it’ll need all the moisture it can get. If you already have your heart on switching to this type of meat product, go for grass-fed beef, as it’s tenderer and even richer in protein and nutrients than regular lean beef.

Anchovies (24g of protein / 3 oz)

The anchovies are a small breed of fish that are extremely delicious and beneficial at the same time. Apart for being a rich source of protein, they’re also a rich resource of omega 3 fats (beneficial non-saturated fats), vitamin D, vitamin B12, niacin and other nutrients and minerals that make for tough blood vessels, strong bones and a healthy heart. Their small size also prevents them from accumulating high amounts of toxins, like bigger fish do. Before eating them, soak them in water for about 30 minutes; they retain high amounts of salt and this will remove the excess salt. They’re not meant for cooking (as they tend to dissolve), so just eat them out of the can with greens and cheeses or add them to salad dressings.

For a while I’ve considering pork chops as well. But I ultimately decided to drop them from the list, because of their high amount of fat: 1.2 g of polyunsaturated fat, 3.3 g of saturated fat and 3.9 g of monounsaturated fat.

These are some of my personal favorite meats, but I’m sure there are plenty more out there to take into consideration. I’m sure there are plenty of you that could successfully add to this list, and make it go for pages on end. But that is not my goal; all I wanted to do is to share with you the importance and joy of eating meat. Stay safe and healthy!

Hay Bale Gardening: How To Grow Your Own Veggies Without Fertilizer And Weed-Free

Hay Bale Gardening: How To Grow Your Own Veggies Without Fertilizer And Weed-Free

I’ve been really into gardening lately, trying to find the best techniques and methods for growing fruit or veggies with as little effort or resources as possible. One method that really caught my attention was the straw bale method, a method that is based on planting into straw bales rather than in the ground. You prepare the bales thoroughly and that’s pretty much it. It’s cheap, requires very little care as the method is not pretentious at all and another bonus is that the plants are raised above ground level, which puts them out of the reach of various critters that could take a liking in whatever it is you planted. And not only that, picking the plants will from the straw bales, will be a lot easier than picking them from the ground.  The seemed perfect, but only until I stumbled across the alternative: the HAY bale gardening method, which made the straw bale method seem less appealing all of a sudden.

Hay bale gardening vs. straw bale gardening

For those of you who have very little to do with gardening, there is a major difference between the two. Straw bales are usually comprised from cereal crops stalks (corn, wheat, oat, rye, barley etc.). It’s mostly used for bedding livestock, and apart from carbon, it has no real nutritional value. It’s not inefficient as a surface for growing plants, but it will require regular watering and fertilizers to get the job done. Hay on the other hand, it’s nothing but rich grasses that are mainly a source of rich and
nutritious food for cattle during cold periods (winter time), when the fields are empty. They are filled with nutrients and minerals like nitrogen, potassium, phosphates etc. that vegetables require to grow. It’s exactly this natural cocktail of minerals and nutrients that require no additional fertilizing methods when it comes to hay bale gardening. Hay also holds water more efficiently than straw due to its density and chemical structure. So a hay bale garden requires watering once a day, whereas a straw bale garden will require watering 3 times a day.

Getting started

The first thing you’ll need to start your very own hay bale garden is getting your hands on hay bales. If you have nobody to turn to in your vicinity that could sell or give you the hay bales, you can always go on the internet and find farmers that have hay bales for sale. Once they’re delivered to you, pick a spot to your liking (preferably in your garden) and set them as you see fit. Next you’ll need to prepare the hay bales for the planting process. What’ll you’ll need is some 42-0-0 or even better, some nitrogen. You’ll treat the bales with nitrogen for 5 days; the nitrogen will break down bacteria, fungi and insects into nutritious compost that will serve as “fuel” for your growing plants. If you’re not that keen on spending money on nitrogen or fertilizers, you can just pee on the hay bales for the 5-day period; pee is rich in nitrogen and it’ll get the job done just as efficiently. However, the daily dose of pee a person produces will not be enough for this endeavor, so I suggest you start saving your pee in bottles or containers.

The preparation of the bales will be done over a period of 10 days total before planting. In the uneven days, the bales will be treated with half-a-cup of nitrogen and sprayed with water. During the even days of the 10 day period, the bales will be watered only.

During this process, the temperature inside the hay bales will rise dramatically, most likely to 120°F – 140°F. Although is very unlikely that the bales will simply catch fire, the risk still exists. So water the bales regularly I order to avoid any unwanted incidents. When the “ordeal” is over, the temperature will subside, from how to warm. Once this happens, you can start planting your vegetables. Just add regular seeds, water the hay garden once a day and you’ll be able to pick the fruits of your labor in no time.

Accurate temperature readings using a professional thermometer

Professional tips

  1. The bales should be tightly bound if you want them to hold. Synthetic twine works great and hold the hay bales together just fine during the growing season.
  2. A single bale of hay will hold about two tomato plants, two pumpkin hill, 3 cauliflower plants or 3 broccoli plants; plants cover the same amount of space in the bales as they do in the ground.

  1. Growing tall plants (sunflower, corn etc.) is not advised, as hay bales do not offer such plants the support they need. If you won’t provide these types of plants with a stacking system, they’ll most probably fall over.
  2. You shouldn’t water the bales more than two times a day. There is no danger of drowning the plants, because the water will evaporate quickly; the hay bales will not get drenched like soil would.

This method is very interesting and it seems to give great results even for the rookies. You don’t need much to get started. Just a minimum investment and the will power to get things done. If you’re looking for a cheap and fast alternative to gardening, look no further: hay bale gardening is the way.

By My Family Survival Plan

How To Naturally Preserve Meat

How To Naturally Preserve Meat
Considering that in the near future energy will no longer be a modern day commodity, but a luxury hard to come by, learning how to preserve meat and store your own food is crucial for your very own existence. Your fridge will probably become just another shelf, useless without a power source. But there are ways to still keep your balanced diet, ways that help you preserve and store even the most important food group: meat!

Even if you survived the “fall of mankind”, doesn’t mean you have to give up on eating healthy. And by smoking and curing your meats, you’ll still be able to enjoy roast beef or bacon. I’ll walk you through the easy steps of keeping your meats fresh and tasty without a fridge.

How to smoke your meat

The process of smoking food is defined by exposing the meat (of almost any sort) to the smoke produced by burning plants, smoldering wood or other spices or organic materials. In the U.S. the most commonly used smoking woods are apple, cherry, oak and mesquite. The meat is smoked for long periods of time at low temperatures (180° – 225°F), reliant on indirect heat. Grilling is a similar process, but it’s based direct heat and high temperatures. The practice of smoking began purely out of necessity. Before modern day appliances, smoking was an excellent means of preserving meat because the smoke covers the surface like an acidic coating, a very inhospitable surface for bacterial agents. Furthermore, it also dehydrates the meat, furthering even more its resistance. Today, meat is smoked or cured purely for flavouring reasons, as modern means of conservation are preferred. But the way things are looking, we’re about to go back to old habits rather sooner than later.

Smokers today use all sorts of devices, based on different types of energy: propane, electricity, charcoal, and pretty much everything else capable of generating smoke. Some backyard kettle grills can be easily modified to become instant smoking apparatuses. But there are also professional smoking machines available on the market. Just make sure you have enough space for such an appliance before purchasing one.

There are 2 basic ways in which you can smoke your meats:

Cold smoking is used for flavouring rather than cooking. The process involves temperatures of less than 100°F and longer periods of exposure to smoke. It’s an excellent method of adding taste to already cured fish without actually cooking it. The same goes salami and other sorts of meat.

Hot smoking is different; it should be done in a closed appliance (be it grill or any sort for cooking gadget), so that the meat is not only being flavoured by the smoke, but also cooked by the generated heat. The temperatures in this case are considerably higher (140°F – 160°F). For safety, the meat should be cooked at first at 160°F for 45 minutes straight, to ensure the annihilation of any sort of parasites or bacterial agents.

Different types of wood give different results when it comes to smoking meat. Hard wood and fruit wood make for excellent savoury smoke, mesquite smoke gives an earthy flavour, fresh apple wood smoke is sweet and goes great with poultry and pork and hickory wood gives the meat a sharp and rich flavour. If you plan on gathering smoking wood, make sure not to gather any sort of toxic or poisonous plants.

How to cure your meat

Curing basically means preserving meat and fish in salt. Back in the days when refrigerators or refrigeration techniques hadn’t been discovered yet, curing with salt was the only way to maintain freshness. The abundance of salt created a more than inhospitable place for bacteria that, if left alone, would spoil and rot the meat in no time. But because due to modern day technological advances, curing (like smoking), it’s not longer used for preservation purposes, but only for flavoring. The process of curing doesn’t normally rely on salt alone. It’s more than common to use other ingredients to contrast the salt. Sugar (brown sugar, honey, maple syrup) it’s the best counter for salt, and adds unique flavor. There other frequently used herbs or spices as well: black pepper, coriander, bay leaves and more.

There is another important ingredient which you can’t do without, and it’s more than add flavor. Sodium nitrite (commonly found in spinach, lettuce and celery) it’s very important to the mix, because it inhibits the growth of the Botulism bacteria, which can be fatal.

Sodium nitrite will also give a specific savor and a unique color (bright red). This ingredient however, can be toxic in high dosage, so respect the following mixture recommendations: 6.25% sodium nitrite to 93.75% table salt (regardless if you’re using pink salt or fresh vegetable extracts as a source of nitrites).

Once you have everything ready, you can cut your meat into slabs. Afterwards cover each slab heavily with the salt mixture. After you’re done, pack the meat slabs tightly in jars and place them in storage space of your choice, where the temperature should ideally be around 36°F. Let the meat sit for a month, and afterwards take it out and wrap each slab in paper or plastic, making sure each one is air tight, so moisture doesn’t get in. The meat slabs can be stored again or consumed at your own will.

How to brine your meat

The process of meat brining is also known as “wet curing”. It goes by the same principle of meat preservation with salt. But rather than relying on dry salt, brining is about keeping the meat submerged in a saline solution. The meat needs to be cut in slabs and placed into jars or containers that have been previously washed and sanitized. One way of preparing the saltwater is by adding 1 pond salt + 1 cup sugar / 3 quarters of water. Spices and herbs can be added as well, according to taste. The meat should stay completely submerged in the saline solution. Once the meat is placed in storage you’ll have to check on it once a week, stir the brine or replace it if it thickens. The process will last a month.

These are some of the cheapest, easiest and most practical methods of naturally preserving meat. Each one is different and comes with its own unique flavor, so you should try them all out before deciding what works best for you. So get practicing while it’s still all in good fun rather than for survival reasons.

By My Family Survival Plan

15 Essential Crops To Have In Your Survival Garden

15 Essential Crops To Have In Your Survival Garden

In a survival scenario the key word is self-reliance. The weekly trips to the local food markets or stores will cease to become an option. And even if available, the prices will most likely sky-rocket so that it just won’t be convenient anymore. What you need to do is consider the possibility to set up your very own garden, which will sustain and provide for you and your entire family. It’s a rather complex task, but it’s nowhere near impossible. And once you’ll get the hang of it, it will become rather relaxing and enjoyable.

It’s something that can ultimately be achieved by the average Joe, with enough practice, resources and dedication. You don’t have to be a professional farmer, you’ll just have to educate yourself a little in the matter. Be aware of the sustenance and nutrients each product has to offer, calculate how much land you’ll need for the endeavor and set your budget. Your best weapon (if you decide to pick up the shovel) is information: educate yourself on season crops, micro-farming, insect repellants, seed collections and storage and on the nutritional value of various crops.

And arm yourself with patience, because this type of activity requires a lot of practice if you’re starting from scratch. But you’ll get better at it with time, and at some point you’ll be become self sufficient, even though if you originally started gardening as a hobby. When it comes to choosing the right seeds, I strongly recommend getting non-GMO or heirloom variety seeds. These seeds will continue to reproduce, unlike the hybrid varieties that stop reproducing after the first season. Let’s have a look at different types of seeds that are suited for your very own survival garden.

Corn – it’s a warm weather crop, very intolerant to low temperatures, so you should plant it only after the last frost. It usually produces two ears per stack and it’s loaded with calcium, iron and protein. It’s easy to pick and to store.

Wheat – possibly the most common crop in the world, because of its large content of nutrients like copper, iron zinc and potassium. Spring what is planted in early spring and it’s the most common variety in the world. Winter wheat can be planted anytime from late September to mid October.

Potatoes – they’re high in protein, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. It’s best if you plant your potatoes 4 – 6 weeks before the last frost. An average plant will hold somewhere in the lines of 4 -6 potatoes per sprout. When storing them, just know to keep them in a very cool and dark place, away from fruit.

Peas – it’s one of the most (if not THE) easiest plants to grow, because most varieties are not pretentious and grow very fast. Peas are rich in fiber, protein, potassium, vitamin A, Vitamin B6 and more. The best varieties to consider are the snap, the shelling and the sugar and snow pod. They will do just fine even during a harsh winter, as they’re resistant to frost.10 Foods You Can Store For 100 Years

Spinach – considered the original super-food, it’s a great source of nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, iron and thiamin. It’s easy to grow, and most species grow best during winter. There are a few though that stray from the rule, so inform yourself before purchase.

Tomatoes – once again, we’re dealing with one of the easiest plants to plant and grow. It’s very nutritious as it’s abundant in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, potassium, thiamine and niacin. To make sure you get plenty of them throughout the year, just plant a first batch in late spring and a second one in late summer.

Beans – they come in many varieties, such as kidney beans, pole beans, bush beans etc. They are rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and Calcium. Pole beans require steak firmly planted in the ground, on which the plant can grapple and grow. Their grow cycle is shorter than that of the bush beans and the yield production is better as well. It’s easy to grow and staggering the plant will give continuous yields.

Carrots – there are very easy to grow and prefer cooler weather. So the best time for planting would be during fall, winter or early spring. They’re rich in vitamin A and beta carotene, which is excellent anti-oxidant which does wanders for your eyesight, skin or hair.

Garlic and Onions – they’re a very rich source vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and folic acid (folate). They’re best planted in mid or late October, and can be pulled early in case you’re eager to have green onions or garlic.

Cucumbers – they come in all shapes and sizes, with many varieties to choose from. You can pick whatever you like, from large to small ones (which are excellent for pickling). They are very nutritious, as they are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. They are a crop for warm weather and if you pick them regularly, you’ll get increased production.

Lettuce – not only will it be easy to plant and grow, but is also one of the earliest harvests you’ll get. It’s best if you plant it somewhere at 6 – 8 before the first frost date for optimum results. It grows quickly and you can pick it partially simply by choosing a few leaves at a time. The nutritional content differs in case of variety, but mostly all contain proteins, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, folic acid and iron.

Eggplants – it’s one of the most versatile vegetables when it comes to cooking, as it offers a lot of possibilities. It’s a warm weather plant and doesn’t do well during winter. So you should wait after the last frost is over in order to plant it. It’s high in fiber, vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and anti-oxidants.

Broccoli – it’s a plant that grows rather easily. It’s usually planted mid to late summer and by the time fall is upon us, you’ll have your first broccoli harvest. It has however, the tendency to give yields even after the first harvest. It can withstand mild frost, but won’t survive a harsher climate. A far as nutrients go, it’s most commonly packed with vitamin A, vitamin K and protein.

Cauliflower – it’s a cool season vegetable, resistant to low temperatures. It’s quite fast to grow and gives extremely rich yields. It’s very nutritious and can be very versatile when it comes to cooking. It’s packed with vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fibers.

Turnips – the seeds are best sown in late may, but if you get caught in doing anything else and forget, early summer will do just fine. They’re easy to manage, as they’re very resilient to plant diseases. It’s very versatile too, as you can eat the whole plant, green and root alike. They contain calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron.

This list is a must for your very own garden, the plants that no survival enthusiast should go without during a crisis. Remember what I said before: take your time and practice, because it’s unlikely you’ll be successful right away. But once you get the hang of it, you and those close to you won’t go hungry a day in case SHTF. So get going, get your hands dirty and you’ll pick the fruit of you labor in no time… literally!

By My Family Survival Plan

Home Essentials You Need for Survival

Home Essentials You Need for Survival

With so many daily work, family, and personal distractions, it’s no wonder so many of us remain unconcerned and unprepared for a potential disaster to strike. But they do strike often, all around the world, and assuming you and your family will be exempt could endanger your lives.

Even though it takes thought and investment, preparing your home and your family for unexpectedly harsh conditions is well worth the sacrifice. In fact, the peace of mind alone might be worth it. If you don’t know where to get started, Modernize offers up a list of home essentials to build off of as you collect survival supplies.

Flashlights, Lanterns, and Backup Batteries
When anticipating a disaster, the last thing you should rely on is electricity. And there’s nothing more frightening than thinking of trying to keep your family safe in total darkness. Make sure flashlights and lanterns are handy in several rooms of the house, and always keep a good stock of backup batteries and bulbs. Solar flashlights are also a great addition, especially if you’re going to need to be on the move.

Hand Crank Radio
Staying tuned in to what’s going on could mean the difference between life and death. Procure a solar hand crank radio that will keep you updated on the news and weather while you keep your family locked up safe.

How To Survive A Permanent Power Outage

Solar Oven and Freezer
Nobody hopes that the aftermath of a disaster will be long-term. But it’s best to prepare for a longer time without electricity than you would like to imagine. Solar ovens are simple, effective, and can cook food in a variety of ways. Ready-to-go, just-add-water meals are very handy for a short term emergency. But a solar oven and a solar freezer to store your food stock could work in tandem to keep your family eating well in spite of the circumstances.

Coats and Boots
Being prepared for inclement weather is essential. Heavy-duty raincoats, winter coats, hiking boots, and rain boots will help keep them warm in dry in case of flooding or freezing weather. It will also help them travel more easily if traveling becomes necessary.

Water Purifier
Aside from shelter, water is the most immediate and vital need in many emergency situations. If you are not prepared to convert unsafe water into potable water, you’re not truly prepared at all. You need to both have ways to filter and purify it. While you’re thinking of your water needs, it never hurts to set up a rain catchment system that will allow you access to running water—though you will still need to treat rainwater to make it potable.

First Aid Supplies
A well-stocked survival first aid kit will include gloves, surgical shears, antiseptic wipes, bandages, pain relieving medication, antibiotic ointment, cotton-tipped applicators, sterile
gauze pads, a thermometer, tweezers, and several other items.

Make sure to thoroughly research and go beyond the basics for your first aid kit.

Pet Supplies
No one overlooks their kids when they plan for a disaster, but a pet isn’t always foremost on everyone’s mind. Pets need their own survival supplies including food, blankets, bowls, a leash, their own first aid supplies, and anything else you determine your individual pets’ need.

Sanitary Supplies
While weather disasters are more common in America these days, epidemics also pose a danger—as do unclean condition potentially caused by natural disasters. Supplies that would come in handy during a dangerous outbreak include: adhesive sealing masks with eye shields, anti-bacterial and anti-virus lotion, anti-bacterial wipes, bio hazard bags, bio hazard suits and gloves, and a supply of antibacterial soap.

Hygiene Essentials
Comfort and cleanliness isn’t usually the first thing on your mind in a survival situation. But if you prepare ahead, you can be more thorough about what your family needs and wants. Items like soap, toilet tissue, toothbrushes and toothpastes, feminine products, deodorant, and razors will come in handy even after just a day of relying on your survival supplies.

Sleeping Bags
Reflective sleeping bags that are cushy and can withstand harsh weather could mean the difference between a safe and good night’s rest and many sleepless, anxious nights. To protect your family from hypothermia, select sleeping bags that offer heavy insulation, fully waterproof materials, and low temperature ratings.

70 howtos for your preps

Emergency Preparedness Guide
No matter how much you prepare yourself and your family, any type of emergency or disaster is bound to come with surprises. Instead of relying completely on your supplies and knowledge, make sure you have the educational resources anyone in your family would need to know how to deal with in difficult disaster-related circumstances.

Multi-Tool Knife
Weapons are certainly an important aspect of a home survival kit, as are tools. Combine them into one item for optimum efficiency and ease of use. You never know when a screwdriver, pliers, or a mini saw could come in handy.

These are simply the foundational items for a home survival kit. Build off of your family’s anticipated needs and show them how to use the supplies in case of an emergency.  

By Mary Saurer

Mary Sauer is a writer who has been published by Babble,, and What to Expect. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two young daughters.

7 Nutritious Foods That Can Last Almost Forever

7 Nutritious Foods That Can Last Forever

Whether you’re fighting invaders, natural disasters or zombies, you’ll need to be prepared. The first order of business in this case is to prep yourself up with the kind of food and nutriments that will and can last you for as long as possible.

So start stacking your shelves with the right sort of food; the sort that provide enough energy and nutriments to keep you safe and healthy, but at the same time is easy to store and will last next to forever (without special refrigeration methods). Let’s have a look at what your best options are for long term survival.

Ready to eat meals (over 5 years of shelf-life)

This food product is also known as MRE, and it’s the exact same product that US troops have been using on the battlefield ever since mid 1981. The simplicity of the package might through you off course and you might think the food container consists of nothing more than basic proteins and carbs (something in the terms of meat and potatoes). But you’d be wrong. There is a wide variety or MRE packs to chose from: lemon pepper tuna, beef brisket and even vegetable-based meals (like lasagna). The foil pouches are very practical (easy to handle, carry and eat), containing approximately 1,200 calories each. Read more here about MRE infos and recipes.

Ready to eat meals (MRE)

Dried or canned beans (over 30 years of shelf-life)

These type of beans can last over 30 years if stored under the right conditions. If the can is vacuumed and they’re kept away from a light source, there’s no telling how long dried or canned beans can go, but they can easily outlast a human generation. This claim is supported by a recent study conducted by the B.Y.U., which claims that pinto beans stocked in #10 cans (devoid of oxygen) and kept away from light sources last well over 30 years. The really old beans may be a bit harder to cook, as they will take longer to soak (re-hydrate) and cook. And if you want to avoid the toughening up the skin, you can add salt or other acidic ingredients.

Dried beans

Honey (indefinite shelf-life)

If it’s stored in proper conditions, in an air-tight container (tightly sealed) and away from humid environments, honey can last forever, thanks to its low content of water. It doesn’t hold an outstanding nutritional value, but it can provide you with basic sugars, it can add flavor to meals and it can also be used as a treatment for burns or wounds. It crystallizes over time, resulting in thick, sugary deposits on the bottom of the container. But the process can be easily reversed by gently heating up the honey. As a testament to its immortality stand recent archaeological discoveries of Egyptian tombs, in which containers filled of honey were found. The color and consistency of honey may change over time, but nothing to compromise its edibility. Uses of honey – Gold in your Pantry.


Pemmican (indefinite shelf-life)

The tiny pemmican cakes are a Native-American recipe that is very easy to make and will last outstanding periods of time. They’re made out of lean meat, animal fat and berries (for flavor more then anything). The might was dried over fire and crushed into a thin powder, which was mixed with animal fat and berries to add flavor (but it’s not necessary). The meat that was used for pemmican was wild game, like deer, elk or buffalo. But more traditional lean meat (like beef) will do just fine. It’s tasty, easy to make, it’s a great source of protein and it doesn’t require cooking, heating or refrigeration. Related >>> How to make Pemmican – The Ultimate Survival Super-food!


Rice (over 30 years of shelf-life)

We can easily consider rice a super food, and we would not be wrong. It’s varied, practical and cheap. It cooks easily and it currently serves as the main food source for half of Earth’s population. And to top it all, if stored under the right conditions it can last forever. Polished rice can do just as well as raw rice, if it’s stored in an oxygen-free and cold enough environment; it will last 30 years easy. Brown rice however, will not last longer than 12 months tops, because of its high oil content, which makes it spoil and go rancid way faster than regular rice.


Ramen noodles (over 10 years of shelf-life)

This wonder-pasta coming from Japan it’s a blessing in disguise for those days when you’re forced to live based on what you were able to gather and store. Living on ramen solely is a thing of the present as well, as urban legends have it that college kids can sustain themselves on a budget-tight ramen noodles diet for years. All joking aside, this is a more-than-affordable dish (16 cents a pack), comes in various seasonings and it’s easy to prepare.

Ramen noodles

Powdered milk (over 30 years of shelf-life)

Powdered milk or non-fat dried mild (aka. NFDM) is excellent for long emergency food storage. It’s a derivate of non-fat milk, which is dried (by spraying or heating on a drum) in order to remove all water (this makes it impossible for microorganism to strive). Dried whole milk contains fats, and does not store well. Powdered milk is a regular “household” item in times of crisis, when fresh milk just isn’t available. It may not be appealing to the eyes, but it lasts forever if stored correctly (in dry and light-less conditions), it’s great for cooking and baking and it’s really easy to tell when it goes bad: if it turns yellow, simply throw it away.

Powdered milk

On the “honorable mentions” I’d like to include some items that are not a necessity for survival, but will add some taste and color to your everyday meals: the Twinkie snack cake (known to last for up to 30 years), peanut butter (can last up to 5 years if stored air-tight), salt (it’s a mineral therefore it won’t spoil), sugar (it will out-last you), vanilla extract (it will age like fine wine if stored in a cool, dark place), vinegar (it’s everlasting), soy sauce (if unopened and stored correctly it can last for many years) and hard liquor (which will never get old).

There you have it, a complete list of what will feed you and also of what will brighten your days during dark times. Get your provisions up as soon as possible and you’ll be fine under any circumstances.

You will also find some great info’s in this video: Backyard Innovator

by My Family Survival Plan

How To Pickle – The American Way

How To Pickle The American Way

I’ve still to meet the one person that doesn’t like pickles. Pickles are already deeply rooted intro American culture and they seem to be to everyone’s liking. And why not? Not only do they make pretty much everything taste better, but they’re also exquisite on their own. The most common pickle in the U.S. is the cucumber, but you can pickle almost every vegetable imaginable: carrots, beets, green tomatoes, okra etc. And there are alternatives to canning, you can store them in the fridge just as easily. Let’s take a look at the easiest way of making awesome in-house pickles.

Get the veggies ready to pickle

Wash the vegetables carefully and cut them in the desired shapes or sizes. I personally recommend chopping them in thin slices, so that they are easier to reach for and snack on in case you feel like it. 🙂 Some vegetables will perform extremely well during the pickling process if they have been blanched (briefly boiled in water) previously. Blanching is excellent for green beans, ginger, peppers, okra and Brussels sprouts. But cucumbers, turnips or tomatoes shouldn’t be blanched at all. If you have your heart set on blanching, this is how you do it: in a boiling pot add 16 cups of water per pound of prepared vegetables. After the water reaches boiling point, add the vegetables and cover with the lid. Let them cook for 3 – 5 minutes. Next place the boiled vegetables into a container filled with ice cold water, which you’ll drain afterwards.


Sort the vegetables

Once you’re done with preparing and blanching (if necessary) the veggies, you can sort them out in 6-pin size (2-cup) canning jars, or same size containers made of heatproof plastic or tempered glass. Make sure the ones you buy come with leads and can be tightly sealed. You can also use cans instead of jar-like containers, if you plan on storing the pickles at room temperature.cucumbers


Adding flavorings comes down to personal taste. There are plenty of recipies around for both dry and fresh flavorings, but if you feel like experimenting, go ahead. The sky’s the limit and you may come up with a million bucks recipe that could make you rich! But for now, here are look at 2 tasty examples for both fresh and dry flavorings:

Fresh flavorings (amount per pint jar): 1 fresh Habanero (or Jalapeno) pepper, 2-4 sprigs sliced or whole Dill, 1/2 whole large clove, sliced Garlic, 2 – 3 inch strips fresh and peeled or 1/2 teaspoon prepared Horseradish, 1 sprig fresh Oregano, 1 tablespoon sliced Shallot. The overall taste of the pickles will be will by spicy and satisfyingly fresh.

Dry flavorings (amount per pint jar): 1 Bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon Celery seed, 1 – 3 small whole Dried Chile peppers, 1/2 teaspoon Cumin seed, 1/2 teaspoon Dill seed, 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seed, 1/2 teaspoon Pickling spice, 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric. This recipe gives absolutely delicious pickles, and the unique taste is one of my personal favorites.flavoring

Making and adding the brine

The next thing you need to do is to prepare the brine. It’s basically salt water, which will help preserve and add flavor to your pickles. The mixture can be prepared according to personal taste. You can make it sweet, sour or in between. And this is how you do it:

Sweet pickle brine (6 cups): Mix 3 cups of distilled white vinegar (or cider vinegar), 3 of cups water, 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of sea salt in a large saucepan (or similar pot). Once the mixture starts to boil, stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely. Let it boil for 2 – 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

Sour Pickle brine (6cups): mix 3 cups of distilled white vinegar (or cider vinegar), 3 of cups water, 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sea salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a large saucepan. Once it starts to boil, start stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Boil for 2 – 3 minutes more and remove from the heat.

After you’re done making the brine, all is left is to fill the jars or cans with the concoction. Pour the brine to within half-a-inch if the rim of the jar or can, so that the vegetables are completely immersed in it. If you’re making fridge pickles and using jars, you should refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving (turnips and okra require a minimum of 1 week). In this case, the pickles will last in the fridge before spoiling for about 1 month. If you’re planning on storing canned pickles at roomed temperature, they will last for about a year if the optimum conditions are met: preparing the pickles according to the process, respecting the terms and conditions of storage and seal tightly each can.pickling in jar

Pickling your own vegetables is fun and easy to do. And it’s a skill you might want to get accustomed to, because the way the economy is heading, pickles could become a rare good rather than a commodity. So making your own it’ll be the only available option.

How To Store Potatoes For Long Periods Of Time

How To Store Potatoes For Long Periods Of Timeimage – Wikipedia (PD)

The potato is one the most commonly used vegetables in the world. It has high nutritional value, as it contains antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C and starch. If you’re the type of person that knows his potatoes and can’t get enough of them, I’ll show you how to make provisions to last for long periods of time.

Whether you’re buying them from a local supermarket or you’re harvesting the spuds yourself, you must be aware of the fact that only the potatoes that are in perfect state are best for storing. Those that show minor imperfections (like bruising or tiny black spots or wholes) can be stored as well, but they should be consumed first, as they won’t last too long during the storage period before going bad.

 The best containers for storing potatoes are the burlap bags (hessian sacks). This type of material is excellent for storing spuds, because during storage, the vegetables release moisture. The moisture is easily released and the potatoes breathe easily through the hessian fibers. Storage should be light-free, as light will cause the accumulation of solanine, alkaloids and chaconine.

These substances are poisonous and should be avoided. They are not potentially fatal, but they can induce a state of sickness. Affected potatoes that have been exposed to the sun are easy to spot, as they tend to turn green. The process can be reversed if a spud is affected on less them 1/3 of its area. During storage it will gradually return to normal, and if the green color on the skin or flesh of the potato persists after storage, simply cut it off and discard it. If the affliction is spread on more than 1/3, the potato should not be stored or eaten, but thrown away immediately.

Hessian sack

Hessian sack

Hessian sacks are available at every garden supplier. As an alternative, paper bags are almost just as good. Old pillowcases can serve the same purpose, as long as you happen to have any lying around. Potatoes should under no circumstances be stored in plastic bags or transparent material, as they will easily spoil from the light and the moisture!

If you’re planning on reusing old burlap bags, you should definitely washed them first. Even if the last year’s batch was 100% successful, washing the sacks is a requirement. Don’t thrown them in the washing machine, but rather soak them for a couple of hours in hot soapy water, to which you previously added a splash of bleach. The bleach will sterilize and make the sacks safe for re-usage.

Once you have the potatoes all sorted out and the bags ready for storage, you can deposit them in a cool and dark spot. The ideal temperature for storing potatoes is 42 to 50°F. Going over the recommended temperature is not as bad as going under 42°F, because bellow this temperature the starch begins to turn to sugar, giving the spuds an unpleasantly sweet taste. This process is reversible if you keep them at warmer temperatures (70°F) for a week or two. If for some reason or another the temperature should drop below or around freezing point, the potatoes will soften and will immediately rot as soon as the temperature begins to rise.

Stored potatoes should be checked periodically, once or twice a month. Take your time and inspect each one at a time.

Potato covered in blight

Potato covered in blight

Blight is very common amongst stored spuds and can spread very fast throughout the storage area. If you’re unsure whether a potato is affected or not, you should smell it. Blight has a very distinctive smell and you’ll know right away. If you happen to notice flies around your burlap bags but can’t seem to find anything wrong with you’re vegetables, check them by hand. In some cases, rot spots tend to develop under the skin. If you feel soft spots, the potato started to rot from the inside. Flies have ways of detecting the rot and will react as a consequence, making them a good indicator.

There you have it: the best and safest way of storing potatoes. Follow through exactly and you’ll have no problems in keeping them fresh. There are other writings out there that suggest throwing in each bag a handful of pesticide pellets. Sorry but this sounds insane. I’m strongly discouraging you to use these vermin pellets while storing potatoes, as this method has never been scientifically proven and could have dire consequences for your health!

by My Family Survival Plan

3 Useful Food Preservation Techniques For Long Term Storage

3 Food Preservation Techniques For Long Term Storage

When it comes to storing food for a longer period of time, you must be aware of the best preservation methods, which will ensure you do not die of hunger and with a pantry full of spoiled food.


Let’s face it: none of us disposes of the money needed to buy large amounts of already preserved food. That is why we all need to obtain not only edible, but delicious food as well, by preserving fresh aliments.

From my point of view, if you have a basement or a closet in your house, you need to transform it into a storage filled with preserved foods and beverages. There are many scenarios in which this area of your house will become your shelter during a crisis, and what better way to survive it than to enjoy morale-boosting food.

Recent scientific studies have revealed that certain methods of preservation can maintain some foods and ingredients safe to eat even after 25 years of storage. Food usually spoils due to bacterial infections that alter its chemical composition. The techniques that I am about to share with you will guarantee that this process will not ruin your stored goods.


This procedure is also called “pasteurizing” and it works by heating the food at a specified temperature, for a certain amount of time. The resulted product is then vacuum-sealed in glass jars and stored. The canning method can be used on a variety of foods, which include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Seafood
  • Prepared dishes

The products, which are preserved this way, can last for a period between five and eight years. However, with a little trick you can double that time and therefore, reduce your costs considerably. Here’s how to do it:boiling

  • Use your regular jam recipe, vegetable stew or desired seafood. Cook according to instructions.
  • Once prepared, pour these mixtures into sterilized glass jars and use tight lids to cover them.
  • Place the jars into a large pot and put old newspapers in between. This will reduce the risk of glass breaking during boiling.
  • Pour enough tap water to cover three quarters of the jars’ height;
  • Place the pot over medium heat and after the water starts boiling, let it simmer for ten minutes;
  • Remove the pot from the heat and the jars from the pot;
  • Let the jars cool down before storing them in a dark and moisture-free room.

With this method, you will be able to preserve food for periods longer than 10 years. Just imagine a crisis that long and still you would be able to enjoy canned foods rich in vitamins and vital nutrients.


This is one of the oldest methods used by humankind to preserve food over long periods of time. It implies taking all the moisture out of the food, and therefore, eliminating any micro bacterial process that might take place. This technique works great with fruit, vegetables, grains, meat and nuts. You can do this by using a conventional oven or a modern electrical dehydrator.

However, to storage food in a smart way also asks for economic measures that will help you save money. For a well-stocked pantry, you will need a considerable amount of food. Therefore, you will be using your oven or your electric dehydrator extensively, and this will double or even triple your gas / electrical bills. Trust me, it’s not worth it!

Here is one simple and cheap technique that will do wonders for you, especially if you live in an area where the climate is at least moderately warm: sun drying.

You can create your own sun-dried tomatoes or fruits in less than one week. You must consider three factors:

  • Natural temperature
  • Humidity
  • Circulation of the air

Simply put, the higher the temperature, the lower the humidity and the stronger the wind will be, the faster your food will dehydrate in natural conditions. You will need the following equipment:

  • Two concrete blocks
  • Two stainless steel or Teflon-coated racks

The dimensions of the racks can be chosen depending on the amount of space that you have and the quantity of food that you wish to dry. It is crucial that they are made from the indicated materials, as other metals could have a negative chemical impact on your food.drying

  • Choose a convenient place where to set up your drying system, such as the roof of your house or your backyard.
  • Place a rack evenly balanced on the concrete blocks and start dispersing the chosen ingredient (fruits, vegetables, meat) on it.
  • Cover with the second rack to keep birds and insects away, especially for the first few days of the drying process.

*Note: If you cannot afford a second rack, use thin gauze to cover the goods.

  • To avoid temperature oscillations, take the food inside during the night.

Fruits and vegetables take between 3 and 5 days to become dehydrated. Meat will take between 5-7 days to dry out. Keep in mind that when drying meat, you must first soak the pieces for five minutes into brine composed of water and a 15% salt solution.


Up until now, we have used pasteurization and heat to preserve our goods. It is time to bring a new preserving agent to the stage: brine. This is a liquid, which usually contains salt, acid ingredients or alcohol, and it can be used with most fruits, vegetables, meats and even eggs. This method will ensure that you can consume tasty foods for a very long time.

For pickling one pound of vegetables, you will need:

Sterilized glass jars

  • 1 Cup of water
  • 1/8 cup of sea salt
  • ¾ cup of white wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon of coriander seeds

Mix all the ingredients into a pot and bring it to a boil. In the meantime, place your vegetables (washed) into the jars. Pour the boiling mixture over the vegetables and seal the jars. Next, use the canning method explained in the beginning to increase the preservation time. Now, all you have to do is to store the jars into a cool and dark room, where the temperature never exceeds 24 degrees Celsius. For larger quantities of vegetables, increase the brine ingredients accordingly.Pickling

For pickling one pound of meat, you will need:

  • 1 stainless steel bowl
  • 1 stainless steel plate
  • 4 cups of water, or just enough to cover the meat by 1 inch
  • 1 cup of sea salt
  • 1 raw egg
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of ground pepper
  • 2-3 springs of fresh thyme

 Pour the water into the bowl and dissolve the salt into it. To make sure that you have added enough salt, place the egg inside, and if it floats you have the right composition. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Place the meat inside the brine and put the plate on top of it, to make sure the meat is completely submerged, as it should stay for the whole pickling process. Next, place the bowl into a cold environment, such as the freezer or the cellar. Keep the meat in the brine for a period of 10-14 days, turning it once every three days. Afterwards, the meat will be ready to cook on the grill or in the oven and the product will be edible for many months to follow.

These are just a few of the simple techniques that will help you preserve food for a very long time at a relatively small cost. You can use these methods ensure your family with a reliable resource of nutritious food.

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