Tag Archives: Survival Food

3 Long-Term Food Storage Tips for Survivalists

3 Long-Term Food Storage Tips for Survivalists

Most of you have seen McDonald’s food experiments in which hamburgers and fries look exactly the same years after sitting around at room temperature. Even insects and fungus won’t eat these “frankenfoods,” so they last seemingly forever regardless of environmental conditions. But to survive a societal breakdown, it’s essential we preserve real food correctly. There are three primary ways to preserve food long-term, while keeping it readily available to consume.

Freeze Drying

Astronauts, military personnel and members of various other groups adopted freeze-dried foods as common cuisine soon after the process (technically called lyophilization) became widespread during World War II. Nestle first introduced its Nescafe freeze-dried coffee in 1938, which led to several other companies introducing similar products.

Freeze drying entails using dry ice, liquid nitrogen or some other refrigeration method. The frozen products are then placed inside a vacuum apparatus that removes nearly all of its water. No preservatives are needed, because there is no moisture present for fungus, bacteria or other microbes to thrive. Conversely, dehydrated foods have only 50 percent or less of water removed. Thus the shelf life of freeze-dried foods can extend up to 30 years, whereas dehydrated food lasts anywhere from one to eight years.

Though freeze-drying is a great way to preserve and store food, it’s also very expensive. A home freeze-drying unit costs around $4,000. Those who are serious about this method of food storage and preservation should search Alibaba.com for deals on home freeze-drying units.

Canning

There are two basic types of canning: water bath and pressure. Highly acidic foods such as fruits, jams, pickles and condiments are best preserved by the water bath method. Pressure canning is for meats.

The key to effective water canning lies in the jars themselves. Make certain there are no cracks, rough rims or anything that will prevent the jars from being sealed properly. The process starts by heating the jars so you can add hot food to them without the risk of cracking. Prepared foods are then put in jars, air bubbles are removed as necessary, and then the heating process finishes it. It’s best to watch a few videos if you’ve never done any canning before.

Pressure canning is similar to water bathing, but again, it’s best to watch a video or two on it first. But pressure canning is simple enough to do with minimal tools and power. It’s especially useful for those who raise chickens, rabbits and other meat animals.

Jerky

Ready-to-eat, well-preserved food provides convenient meals that are a lot easier to prepare than you might think. Whether making beef, chicken, turkey or even fish jerky, the process is the same.

Your meat should be lean and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips. The marinade is entirely up to you, but Worcester and soy sauce, along with salt and pepper are typically enough. Let it all sit for at least 24 hours. You can cook the meat in one of two ways: directly on your oven rack and baked at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or in an at-home food dehydrator. Cooking time will span two to six hours. When you’re done, you’ll have fresh jerky that will keep for years.

Long-term food storage and preparation gives you a feeling of freedom and liberty like nothing else. It also happens to be a fun, enlightening activity.

The preceding article was a guest contribution to thepreparedninja.com.

Valley Food Storage Review

Valley Food Storage Review

I am honestly not even sure how many food storage companies are selling long term food storage products right now. It seems like there is another company that pops up every month. They always claim to have the best tasting, longest lasting survival food on the market. Because of the fact that there are so many food storage brands on the market, I was somewhat hesitant when I was contacted by Valley Food Storage to see about sending me a sample of their product.

Valley Food Storage

A few days after I agreed to try the product, I received a package in the mail that contained a single packet of Valley Food Storage’s Pasta Primavera entree. I can’t say for sure that I know what makes something primavera or not, but I know that I was optimistic. First of all…primavera sounds fancy and most of all, before I agreed to have a sample sent to my house, I did a little snooping around at some of my fellow blogger’s websites that had reviewed Valley Food Storage products to read their thoughts and there was overwhelming feedback that Valley Food Storage was the real deal.

I decided that the best way to give it a try was to make the pasta dish for dinner one night. My wife didn’t mind because she didn’t have to cook. The preparation was very simple and the instructions are so easy that my 9 year old son helped me make it without issue. I added the butter that was suggested by Valley Food Storage in the directions but I don’t think that it really made too much of a difference. As it cooked, I also discovered that I needed to cook the pasta for about ten minutes longer on my stove to get the dish to the consistency that I wanted it to be. This is not uncommon on our stove though. For some reason, things seem to take a little longer to cook on our stove. The extra cooking time didn’t make the noodles mushy or anything so we came out just fine in the end.

Valley Food Storage

(A funny note about the pictures above...my boys kept giving me a hard time for taking pictures of our food. They told me that if I wanted to tell people what I thought that I should just tell them and not worry about taking pictures.)

Once the pasta was to the consistency that I wanted, I served it up. Surprisingly, the final number of servings matched up accurately to the number listed on the package. This is how things should be but I often see food packaging that says that it contains “X” number of servings and what actually ends up happening is that the realistic number of servings is less. I chose to finish mine off with a little parmesan cheese but I am not sure that really changed the flavor much. If anything, it probably changed the texture a little.

So…when we dug in, the findings were positive. The flavor was good. Actually, the flavor was surprisingly good. I was not alone in my opinion either. All three of my boys had great things to say about the pasta but what really sealed the deal was the fact that my wife not only tried it, she ate all of hers. For anyone who knows my wife, you know that food storage types of food are not something that she would ordinarily even smell, let alone taste. This really let me know that the Valley Food Storage entrees were a truly great option and would be something that I could stock in my preps.

Another great thing about Valley Food Storage is the fact that they have so many options when it comes to their food choices. Valley Food Storage’s inventory includes eight breakfast options, seventeen lunch and dinner choices, and three different sides (including brownies!). Purchase options include the choice of purchasing items by the pouch, by the case, in a grab and go bucket, or in monthly increments.  On top of everything else, there are dairy free and gluten free options available, everything is made in the United States, and the food can be stored for up to 25 years!

The only thing that I can say that is even remotely negative is the fact that I thought the pasta primavera was a little on the salty side. Even so, all five of us completely finished off our portion. I don’t hesitate (even a little bit) to recommend Valley Food Storage products to you. I don’t think that you will be disappointed at all. My future plans definitely include ordering some of the other entrees to give a try. I personally have my eye on the pasta alfredo, mac and cheese, Irish pub cheddar potato soup, chili mac, and the baked potato soup. Valley Food Storage is also graciously willing to send you a free sample, all you have to do is pay the shipping.

If you choose to try Valley Food Storage foods, let me know what your thoughts are.

10 Items to Keep Your Survival Chances in Check

The following is a guest submission on some of the ways to ensure your survival in the wake of an emergency.

10 Items to Keep Your Survival Chances in Check

Zombie apocalypse. Doomsday. End of the world.

These are some of the situations that we just regularly see in movies, TV shows, or in books. We tend to be amazed on how the protagonist manages to survive a certain kind of situation that seems impossible to escape. But have you ever thought of your escape plan if ever these situations happen in your lifetime? More importantly, have you ever thought of the things that you need to have in order to survive?

And if natural disasters and panic have already raged your neighborhood, will you just get the items that you instantly see based on your instincts and or will you easily grab your ever-reliable emergency survival kits and run as fast as you can for your dear life? For me, the latter sounds much better.

Of course, preparing ahead is much, much better compared to rushing things especially during doomsday where the atmosphere is already tense, nerve-wracking and full of fear. A prepper naturally has the foresight and prepares everything as organized and as detailed as possible. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a single item that you need to have for you and your loved ones’ survival.

Here are 10 security items that you need to have to keep your survival chances in check if ever the worse day happens.

1. Water Supply To Quench Your Thirst

This comes first in our list. Without water for 3 to 4 days, you’ll eventually die and that is the ultimate situation that you need to avoid as you fight for survival. You will definitely need to have ‘drinking’ water intact and not just any other type of water unless you want to die of other water-related diseases. Have a big table-top ceramic filter type of water container to store your drinking water.

2. Food Storage To Avoid Starving

This is a no-brainer if you really want to survive doomsday. Come the end of the world, major supermarkets will definitely run out of their food supply because of the panicking people that filled the supermarkets and retail stores. You can choose to store and prepare survival food kits that match your nutritional needs. Don’t forget to address the food allergies of your family for your survival. Make sure that these food kits will last longer, say 6 months. These survival food kits in case of disasters will surely provide you food and energy that you need if ever the food supply totally runs out in your area.

3. A Handgun For Defense

If the situation becomes truly chaotic (think of the possibility if zombies attack you at your own home or if other people desperately try to get your food supply), you will need a handgun for self-defense and for defending your family. For example, if your home alarm system has been destroyed by an earthquake, you need to be aware of burglars and people who will target your house for their own supplies. Learn how to use one and for starters, experts recommend having handgun that you are comfortable shooting in a caliber that is 9mm or larger. Don’t forget to load set-defense ammunition in the handgun, that is what it is made for.

4. A Portable Radio To Be In The Loop

After you have safely evacuated your chaotic neighborhood, you’ll definitely need to be in the loop on the current events in your area and for possible safe places that you can evacuate to. Having a portable radio will allow you to stay informed and this is a great advantage since information is power.

5. First-Aid Kits

Prepping for the worst day also includes preparing for what might happen along the way during your escape. In case of an emergency, make a handy list of your first-aid essentials such as regular medicines, antibiotics, and gauze bandages if you or a family member ever gets wounded while on the run. Check to ensure that you have enough of each item in your first-aid kit.

6. A Handy Map And A Compass

Another no-brainer, these will come in handy should you need to locate the fastest and easiest escape route towards the next safe place. Yes, a lot of people are relying on their GPS or their other gadgets but if battery runs low, then your map will be your golden ticket to survival. Have a good quality road map of your area or secure a topographical map of your hometown and possible retreat areas. Along with a map, a compass will also come into good use if you need to go around the woods for your safety.

7. Flashlights

This will be extremely useful at night and for dark places that you might encounter. Be sure to have extra batteries as well for this item. A handy L.E.D flashlight that produces a strong light is needed for your survival.

8. Lighter And Fire Starters

If ever you need to stay out in the woods for several days, you will need lighters, matches and other fire starters to keep you warm and to possibly cook food as well. This will also be handy should you need to boil dirty water for it to be potable.

9. The Reliable Swiss Army Knife

This item is definitely included in the top security items list. A Swiss Army Knife is incredibly handy and valuable thanks to every function that it can do for your survival. You’ll never know when you’ll need it especially if you’re in an area where certain tools are out of reach.

10. A Hiking Backpack

You might think of the need for a place to put all the necessary items for your survival. Why not go for your hiking backpack as your “bug out” bag? Be sure that it has plenty of space and/or compartments and check to be sure you can carry it with a full load of your essential items. This will contain all of your emergency survival kits so be sure that your backpack is strong and intact.

Having this top 10 security items list will serve as your preparedness guide for terrible events such as doomsday. Properly securing and preparing each item will definitely help you in your survival and you will be assured that you’ve prepared ahead of those terrible times in the future.

About The Author

John Anderson is a writer and an Executive Street Contributor. He runs the blog InfiltrationAlert.com

7 Reasons to Take an Air Rifle for Survival Weapon

This article originally appeared on Survivopedia and is reprinted here on The Prepared Ninja with permission.
Does the air rifle have its place in today’s modern survival weapons cache, or is it of use only to those that want to shoot holes in paper or hit tin cans?
I believe that today’s air rifles do have their place in a modern survival weapons cache. This weapon can be used in small game hunting to hunt doves and other birds, rabbits, squirrel, and other small game animals.
There is also historical evidence that air rifles were used for a number of purposes. For example, the Girandon was used during the Lewis and Clark Expedition around 1780‘s. It held 22 rounds of 40 caliber bullets in a bullet reservoir.
This weapon had to be pumped over 1200 times to supply the air pressure needed to fire all the bullets one at a time. The bullet velocity of this weapon was equal to black powder rifles of this period (450-650fps).
Why Should You Use an Air Gun?
Here are some advantages associated with using an air rifle:
  • Air rifles are very quiet – there are no loud bangs to scare off other game in the area.
  • Easy to shoot – this weapon points nicely, and is not too heavy or large for the beginner or inexperienced shooter.
  • It is an excellent, low cost training rifle with a simple design and cheap pellets.
  • Air rifles come with iron sights and are very accurate. When used with a scope, the shooter gets very tight groups (where multiple pellets hit). When hunting with a scoped air rifle, small game may be taken safely up to 50 yards away.
  • They are legal to own and shoot in most states. Because an air rifle uses only compressed air to fire the pellet (and not powder and a primer) most states do not classify them as firearms.
  • Air rifles make an ideal stash gun. It can be buried in an air and water tight container with a couple of tins of pellets and then easily retrieved at a later time.
  • Ammunition will not go bad. The only ammunition an air rifle needs is a pellet, nothing else. There are no cases, powder, or primers to worry about.

Basic Air Rifle Power Systems and Designs

There are three basic power systems in modern air rifles:
  1. Spring and Piston: When the rifle is cocked a spring is compressed. When the trigger is pulled, the released spring pushes a piston forward that, in turn, compresses a column of air that fires the pellet out of the barrel.
  2. Air Cartridge/Tank: This system uses a pre-filled, high pressure air cartridge or air tanks to push the pellet out of the barrel when fired.
  3. Air Pump: The air pump system allows the shooter to pump up the air reservoir to the desired air pressure. Some rifles need only one pump to fill the reservoir while others may need six or more.

In today’s air rifle marketplace there are many types of rifles:

  • Some just fire BB’s and are considered by some to be nothing more than toys (ex. Daisy Rough Rider with its low velocity and short range).
  • Some air rifles can shoot both BB’s and pellets. The Crossman Air Rifle had a little higher velocity and a little better range with pellets. These rifles are considered by most shooters to be training rifles.
  • Competition rifles are very accurate and can shoot very tight groups at the competition range of 15 yards with “iron” match sights.
  • Hunting rifles such as the Gamo Silent Cat (1250 fps) can be used for small game. Depending on the caliber and the pellet weight the velocity must be at least 650fps to about 1250fps to have enough energy to kill.

Things to Consider When Choosing an Air Rifle

Caliber: There are three basic calibers for air rifles.
  • .177 is a small, light, and very fast with top out velocity of 1250 fps. It is used mainly for target practice, competition shooting, and small game hunting.
  • .20 caliber – This is the medium weight caliber with velocities around 850fps to 1000fps. This is not a very popular caliber in the US and obtaining pellets and other shooting equipment can be difficult.
  • .22 caliber – This is the largest caliber and fires the heaviest pellet for air rifles. The velocities of this rifle range between 650fps to 1250fps. It is usually used for hunting and practice.

Air Source: Even though pre-filled canisters can give you good velocity in the beginning, their power will decrease after just a few shots. In a crisis scenario, you will not be able to refill smaller CO2 canisters, and larger ones will require a compressor and pump.

Unfortunately, springs do not supply the kind of velocity you will get from a canister/ air tank system.
Most people would say that pump systems offer the best choice because you do not need canisters, and yet they still offer good velocity.
Regardless of the air source, test out your rifle at different temperatures so that you understand how rifle cooling and air temperatures affect both pellet velocity and capacity to fire multiple rounds.
Selecting an Air Rifle for Hunting
When selecting an air rifle for this purpose, it is important to think about the kind of game that you will be hunting.
Usually, you can hunt rabbit, squirrel, or birds with a .177 or a 22. If you are going to hunt for larger animals such as raccoons, you will need heavier pellets such as the 22. In order to kill game efficiently, the pellet velocity must not go below 650 fps.
  • Type of air source: Will the rifle use spring piston, compressed air tank, or pump.
  • What type of accessories are needed on the rifle: For precision small game hunting a fixed power scope(4x32mm) would be a good choice.
  • How easy to get ammo: Before the time of a crisis both .177 and .22 caliber ammo will be easy to obtain. A tin of .177 pellets on the average will cost about $8.99 per 250 (all-purpose pellets). A tin of .22 caliber pellets will run about $8.99 per 175 pellets.
  • Price of an air rifle: The average price for a.177 air rifle is about $160.00. The average price for a .22 air rifle is about $200.00.

Most air rifle hunter’s use either .177 or .22 caliber models. You can also get air rifles with combination barrel sets that include .177 and a .22, that screw into a stock mounted barrel holder.

Accuracy in these 2 barrel sets is excellent and the price is low. I would recommend the Beeman Grizyly Dual caliber to fellow preppers priced at about $129.00. It is truly the best of 2 worlds.
Storing Air Rifles for Survival
When a major crisis hits, you will need a very quiet and accurate small game hunting air rifle. It does not take much time or materials to build a stash container for this type of rifle.
All that is required is a piece of PVC piping a couple of inches longer than the rifle and 2 end caps. In this container you can place the air rifle, a couple of tins of pellets, and a cleaning kit to keep your air rifle clean and well lubricated.
Lastly hide the stash tube in one of your hiding places.
Safety Concerns
When shooting an air rifle safety should be always on your mind.
  • Know what is behind your target area.
  • Use pellet traps down range to stop the fired pellets during rifle practice.
  • Wear shooting safety glasses when shooting. If you wear prescription glasses, make sure your shooting glasses cover them.
  • Do not pick up or shoot your air rifle when other people are down range.
  • No horse play on the range during shooting practice.
  • Do not put the wrong size pellet in your air rifle.

When picking out weapons for survival do not forget to choose an air rifle. These inexpensive yet very accurate and low noise weapons are a must. Ammunition is cheap, plentiful and you do not have to be concerned with ammunition break down.

As an added bonus, if you cannot obtain a conventional firearm, at least having an air rifle on hand will be better than nothing.
This article was originally written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia and was reprinted here with permission.

Reinforcing The Need For Basic Preparedness

There are events that occur daily in our lives that reinforce the need to prep. Not all of these events are catastrophic and not even all of them are experiences that we witness first hand but, there are things that are constant reminders of why we should be prepared. Last week, my family and I got a not so subtle reminder of why basic preparedness is essential. A week ago, there were a number of devastating storms that caused tornadoes, torrential rainfall, and high winds throughout the Midwest United States. Our house happens to be situated in an area where we are susceptible to losing power as a result of high winds and murphy struck in a big way! We lost our power and were left in the dark for what we were told was going to be upwards of seven days! This is not what we had in mind as a way to spend our week. It was not going to be the end of the world though because we have a basic plan (as everyone should) to deal with such circumstances.

Basic Preparedness

Here are some key components to a basic emergency plan…

#1 – A Blackout Kit: Don’t get stuck fumbling around in the dark. Keep at least one source of backup lighting (flashlight, lightstick, lantern, etc.) available in an accessible and convenient spot. It might not be a bad idea to have multiples strategically staged throughout the house. A light source is also a good item to keep on your keychain in the event you are not near your blackout kit when there is a loss of power.

#2 – A Basic Medical Kit: First aid is something that could be needed at any time. Stick a kit in the car, in your desk at work, and have one at the house. A commercially produced kit is a good start, especially if you are not comfortable with the idea of building your own kit but look at what your needs are and what the contents of the kit are. Many of these pre-made first aid kits are lacking in the quantity or quality of the supplies included as well as missing some of the advanced components that you might need.

#3 – A Plan To Deal With Food: Not only is it necessary to provide fuel to our bodies on a daily basis, but it is also beneficial to avoid losing money and food as a result of spoilage. To meet our needs and avoid this loss, develop a plan to deal with the perishable food that is left on hand following a disaster. Two of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by cooking food with a barbecue grill or over a fire. Both bbq’s and fire pits are common place and can provide not only the means to cook but also heat water as needed. If space is limited, disposable, single use grills can be purchased to fulfill this requirement.

#4 – A Way To Get Clean Water: Water is great. Clean water is better. Every emergency kit should have a way to filter and decontaminate water. Consider also keeping some clean water stored at home, in the car, and even at work if feasible to have access to in an emergency. In the event that clean water is not always available, have a plan to locate and clean dirty water. Plan on having enough, or being able to get enough, water to have one gallon per person, per day for drinking and cooking at a minimum. If the resources are available, add an additional gallon per person, per day for hygiene purposes.

#5 – Shelter – Sheltering in place at home is typically the most comfortable way to wait out a storm. This is not always feasible though and a plan should be in place to go somewhere else if it is required. Look for a family member, friend, or acquaintance that lives on the other side of town, a different city, or even another state if that is what it takes to get to safety. It is advisable to have a minimum of two routes to get to each destination in the event that one route is closed or obstructed.

#6 – Security: I am a gun guy and think that if you are comfortable with gun ownership, then this should be a vital part of any security plan. It is also not the only answer. High quality locks on doors and windows are a basic component of security and should be the priority. A nonlethal defensive option should be available like pepper spray. If a firearm is the only tool that is available, it could lead to having to make a tough decision that might be avoided with a nonlethal option.

#7 – Energy: A secondary source of power (generator, solar panels, wind turbine, etc.) is a great thing to have when the power goes out. Not only does this maintain some of the basic comforts that require power but it can also be a way to minimize the loss of refrigerated and frozen foods. Keep these two things in mind when it comes to backup energy sources: 1. When an entire area is without power or systems of support, a dwelling with power will stand out like a lighthouse for lack of a better term. This can lead to becoming a potential target if things are really bad. 2. An energy source, like a generator, that is powered by fuel will require fuel to be stored to power the generator for a reasonable period of time. Even if a large system is not practical for you, a small portable solar system can be a great way to keep a few things charged.

It can never be definitely predicted when a disaster will strike. Having a leg up on the recovery by not being caught helpless can be a game changer. I was reminded of the basic need for preparedness last week. What will the situation be for you if a disaster were to strike today?