PlanandPrepared.com welcomes Ben Ayad to the site. Ben is an IT project manager and founder of a newbie blog called outdoorstime.com. Ben loves outdoors activities and the nature that God has created, as any human being does. He shares what he knows about outdoors and the passion of other outdoors’ lovers who pride themselves in living off the land for extended periods of time in wilderness settings across the US.
Stockpiling food will not do you any good if you are forced away from your home in sudden SHTF situation. So you better have thought of other ways to provide food for you and your party.
Many people assume that in the case of a natural disaster, all-out war or rampant spread of disease that they will just get their gun and automatically turn into good hunters to provide for themselves. For some that is true but for the majority of others it’s not realistic and there are better ways of providing for you and the other survivors in your group.
Why is a not a good idea to assume you can provide for yourself by hunting? First of all it’s not easy even for experienced hunters to consistently bag game. Also, in a SHTF situation the game may become just as scarce as people. Not only that but you will probably not have a limitless supply of ammo for your firearm and you may need it for personal security.
So how do you provide for the sustenance of your group members? Here are a few suggestions.
One of the quickest ways to gather food in a survival scenario is by foraging. Mother Nature does a nice job of providing you with an abundance of food just about any place you go or get stranded.
Foraging fruits and vegetables may not be as tasty and filling as a big slab of venison cooked up just right but it’s healthy for you and there is plenty of stuff around if you know where to look.
The big problem with foraging is knowing where to look for food. Even when you think it’s not there it usually is. Sure some foods will jump out at you like vegetables that you see growing and fruit’ hanging on trees but a lot of edible stuff is much less obvious. That is why you need to educate yourself in order to survive better in a SHTF scenario.
How to better educate yourself about foraging?
You may not want to put the effort into this but quite frankly the only way you will be able to find the abundance of not so obvious food sources that are out there is to educate yourself. If nothing else, at least take the time to throw a paperback book on identifying food sources into your survival preparedness pack.
Just about every prepper has stored some food and water in case of a major disaster. That’s one of the first things you began to stockpile right? But did you ever stop to consider ways and means of cooking your food in a serious SHTF scenario? Unless you have a month’s (or more) worth of MREs, food preparation is going to become a very important part of your survival.
In a long-term, grid down situation, your ability to cook will be restricted. No more microwaves or electric stoves. Even with something like a gas grill, your fuel source won’t be infinite. And as such, you might need to consider what you would do in that type of situation.
So when making your contingency cooking plans, here are some things you might want to consider:
Be careful what you burn as a heat source
I think that if we experience a long-term, grid down situation there are going to be A LOT of people who are going to have all kinds of problems because they do not know what they can and cannot burn for fuel. There is a long list of things you absolutely should NOT burn. (This is even more important if you are using something like a fireplace or wood stove inside your home.)
Treated wood should not be burned. Doing so will release chemicals like chromium and arsenic into the air that you breath and into the food you are cooking. Treated wood is typically green, though as it ages it turns grey. But wooden structures such as decks, exterior trim, siding, railings, etc are almost always treated. So don’t use them!
Things like particle board and plywood are also no good. The chemicals used to make these produces can be very toxic when burned. Other things in it like glues can cause the fire to burn a lot hotter…which might exceed the temperature setting of your wood stove or fireplace.
Don’t burn wood that has been painted or stained. Until the late 1970s, paint contained lead. And until 1990, most paints contained mercury. ‘Nuff said! Even with paint or stain from today, burning this wood will release toxic chemicals into the air. This is of course NO BUENO!
Burning things like colored paper can also be dangerous. The same goes for items that have colored ink on them. Things like magazines, empty pizza boxes, styrofoam cups etc can release harmful carcinogens.
A majority of wood pallets today have been treated with a flame retardant chemical. Burning this will release these chemicals, and could cause problems. So I’d skip wooden pallets as well.
Editor’s note: Please welcome Liz Thornton to Planandprepared.com!
I’m stockpiling coffee in case of a looming SHTF scenario. It’s something I’m taking very seriously and treating as a high priority. If coffee is part of your daily life, here’s why you shouldn’t take it for granted either.
Let me take a few steps back and introduce myself. My name is Liz Thornton and I am just an average American mom whose highest priority in life is the safety and well-being of my family. I’m generally a very happy and optimistic person, but I’m also very aware of the harsh realities of the world. The more I learn about the world, the more I discover that the relative peace and safety that many of us enjoy in our daily lives could be completely upended from one day to the next. In the past couple of years, my Husband and I have immersed ourselves in the preparedness community, and preparing ourselves for various worst-case scenarios.
One of my hobbies in my free time (which I have increasingly less and less of), is writing about coffee. I fell in love with both making and drinking the stuff as a teenager, and I have worked in many coffee industry jobs throughout my life. I’m not ashamed to admit it, coffee really is something that I couldn’t live without. I know that statement might be controversial, as it may not technically qualify as a core survival necessity to stay alive in the short-term.
A while back, I wrote an article for folks that are brand new to prepping. If you missed it, click here to read it. Anyway, I got some positive feedback on that article, but I also received a few emails asking me to be a bit more specific. They wanted to know where and what they should start with first.
In particular, one email from a lady told me she was on a fixed, very tight income. She had very limited resources, and was asking me what should be the priorities for her, even more so than in the above listed article. I could tell from her email she was feeling a bit overwhelmed. She wanted to be more prepared, but could not spend very much each month.
That’s understandable. Beginning preparedness can feel like a daunting task. You can also look at everything you might potentially need, and feel concerned because your funds are limited. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I have decided to break down that beginning prepping article a bit more, and go into detail as to what I believe should be your top priorities if you are on a budget. Keep in mind that these are the top priorities in almost every disaster scenario, NOT just a huge SHTF event. As always, I stress that you need to start with the most probable scenarios, and work your way outward.
For this article, I’m assuming that you already have developed emergency plans. That to me is your obvious #1 priority. Failing to plan is planning to fail, and hope is not a plan. Instead, this article will focus on what resources you should be collecting first. (For more info on preparedness planning, click here.)
These categories are listed in order of importance (in my opinion). For each category I list the basics for that category that you should work on first. Once you have the basics in that category covered, move on to the next. Or if you can, try to cover more than one category at a time! For example, I list water storage over food storage. (3 days without water/3 weeks without food.) But if you can cover both categories at the same time, you are that much further ahead.
At the end of each category I will list “additional” items. These are items that while I feel are important, they are areas/items that you can come back to once you have all of your basics covered.
Manual kitchen tools that work with no power are important to have in case of an emergency which includes power outage. Having the right type of manual kitchen tools makes every task much easier. In fact for certain tasks, the manual kitchen tools work just as well or even better than the powered machines.
You might even discover that you enjoy the simplicity and the rustic appeal of using the manual tools for your daily kitchen tasks.
This list is assuming you already have standard kitchen utensils. Things like spatulas, whisks, etc. Instead, this list will focus on tools you may not have thought about to help you prepare food without the benefit of things like gas or electricity.
1. Manual Food Grinder
A manual food grinder is a must have manual kitchen tool especially for those who prefer making their own meatballs or sausages. The food grinder can be used to grind fruits, vegetables, pork, beef and even chicken, allowing you to make tasty meals.
Food grinders usually come with different tips, normally depending on how coarse or fine you want your food. A food grinder will also help you get your food ready for storage for times when you need it most. Keep in mind that the food grinder will not grind up grains; for that you’ll need the grain mill.
2. Mortar and Pestle Set
Mortar and pestle sets have been around for many years, but they’re often neglected because of the modern appliances we have now. However, these sets can efficiently do the task of grinding, crushing, and powdering seeds, nuts, herbs, teas and roots for all types of food.
This style of crushing or grinding releases all the best flavors in herbs, seeds, garlic and spices. If you plan on getting a set of mortar and pestle, you should consider going for the porcelain type as it’s much easier to clean and it doesn’t absorb the food odors.
When outside companies ask me to do a review of their products, I sometimes have just a little bit of trepidation. For example, what happens if the company sends me their product and I do not like it? That could lead to some awkward moments. So I have tried to be selective of what products I review. There have been products I have turned down for this very reason. Anything that I recommend on this site are products/gear/supplies that I have, own, use, and would stand behind.
So when Valley Food Storage approached me to do a review some of their long-term food storage products, there was a bit of anxiety. What if we tried the food and didn’t like it? What if the product was not up to standards?
Still, having stored a lot of beans, rice, and flour, I also knew that if the grid went down for a long time, food boredom is a very real problem. Valley Food Storage has a pretty wide variety of foods. So I decided that I’d give it a try. I agreed to trying it and writing a review. The fact that their products have no MSGs, GMOs, and that they have a gluten-free options was a big reason I decided to give it a go.
So on a Sunday afternoon, my mother and I sat down in her kitchen, and cooked everything they sent us. From almost the get-go, I realized that my apprehension was completely UNFOUNDED! Just smelling the food as we opened the bags help to set my mind at ease. I was not disappointed!
Valley Food Storage sent me 4 entrées and 3 fruits to try. 3 of the 4 entries came in a thick Mylar bags that are vacuum sealed. We noticed that all the bags are resealable. If you only use part of the contents, you can “zip-lock” the bags shut to help them stay fresh. Unopened, the food is guaranteed for up to 25 years. But being able to reseal between uses is nice.
For this review, both my mother and myself will be adding our comments. For Cheryl L’s part of the review, it will be in quotes. Also note that she has purchased long-term food storage similar to these from other companies. So she will be comparing Valley Foods to the other companies products that she has.