Money Mondays: Save on Food Storage Items at Aldi’s

 

Save on Food Storage Items at Aldis1

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

A while back, an Aldi’s grocery store opened near my area.  Many residents in the neighborhood had never heard of Aldi’s before.  One neighbor said she tried it, and did not like the selection because she was very brand conscious and could not find her name brands.  As a bargain shopper, I don’t have anything against store brands; oftentimes, they are made by the same manufacturers but under a different label.  I decided to do a little research and check it out for myself.

What is Aldi’s?

Aldi’s is a grocery chain that was originally founded in Germany.  You may be familiar with Trader Joe’s – it is owned by the sister company of the owner of Aldi’s.  Aldi Sud runs the Aldi’s stores in the U.S., and Aldi Nord owns Trader Joe’s as well as the Aldi stores in Europe.  There are around 1,500 Aldi’s locations all over the U.S. so it is likely you have one near you.

Their stores are designed to give you the best value for your money, while maintaining quality.  I soon found out how this all works.

Shopping Carts:  They keep shopping carts in the front of the store.  To get a cart, you need to use a quarter, and when you return the cart, you get a quarter back.  This way, they save on clerks having to hunt down carts, and it doesn’t really cost you anything, since you get your money back when you return the cart.

Grocery Bags:  You need to bring your own.  Reusable grocery bags are available at the checkout counter at $0.06 each, but I brought my own.

House Brands:  Aldi’s carries mostly their house brands.  They do offer a select number of name brands such as Tide, Gatorade, Coke just to name a few.  I have been taste testing the house brands and I have found them to be good quality.

Aisles:  At my local store, the items are stacked in the boxes they came in, the aisles are organized and inventory grouped together but aisles are not labeled as regular grocery stores.  However it is not hard to find items that you need.

Meats and Produce:    They have great prices on meats, and have great specials every Wednesday.  The items get sold out quickly though.  think Aldi’s has the best produce prices in town.  They have a good selection of organics.  I always to stop there first to pick up fruits and vegetables on my list, as the prices are consistently lower than at other stores, but the quality is up to par.  If you do not have a garden but would like to dehydrate produce or do some canning, you can stock up on seasonal produce at Aldi’s.

Save on Food Storage Items at Aldis2

Food Storage Items:  They have great prices on food storage basics such as flour, sugar, salt, rice and beans.  You can easily repackage these foods for long term storage by following directions here.  I have also bought canned goods, olive oil, long lasting foods such as honey, vinegar, peanut butter, ramen etc.

Save on Food Storage Items at Aldis3

The Double Guarantee

If for some reason you do not like what you purchased at Aldi’s, you can return the unused product in its packaging to the store manager and he or she will replace the item AND refund your money.  (Per their website “The Double Guarantee does not apply to non-food Special Buy items, alcohol, national brands and non-quality related issues.”)  I think it’s a pretty good guarantee, and therefore I don’t mind trying their brand out.  So far, I have been pleased with the quality and have not had to return anything.

Final tips

I am not affiliated with Aldi’s, other than being a satisfied customer.  If you are interested in food savings, give them a try, but remember these tips:

  • Bring a quarter for the shopping cart, then remember to return it to get your quarter back.
  • Bring your own reusable grocery bags
  • Shop with a list.
  • Coupons are not accepted
  • Check the store hours.  Aldi’s are open between 9 am and 9 pm – not early or very late as this saves on labor costs.
  • Each week, they feature “Red Hot Deals” in the middle of the store – usually seasonal type items such as grilling utensils, kitchen gadgets, outdoor decor etc.  If you are in the market for a particular item, it is worth looking into.
  • They now accept all forms of payment, cash, debit, and credit.

I have been able to save around 20%-30% off my grocery budget, without giving up on quality.  I think it’s a good source for food storage items for your emergency pantry.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2016




Start a Food Storage Plan Painlessly

Start a Food Storage Plan Painlessly

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

A few people I know have nearly no food stored at home.  They eat out on a regular basis and therefore feel no need to have food around the house except for a gallon of milk and some orange juice.  I’ve tried to bring up the subject tactfully, and they do realize they need to have some emergency food.

One of the challenges of building up food storage is just getting started and taking action. Just thinking about collecting all that food can scare someone into putting it off.  It is easy to come up with excuses, like:
“It cost too much money.”
“We don’t have storage space.”
“It too much time,” OR
“What if nothing happens?”

Why start a food storage plan?

  • Natural emergencies such as earthquakes, hurricanes
  • Threat of unemployment
  • Cold or flu keeps you home for a few days
  • Avoid having to run to the store when your run out of something

There is no denying the need to get started storing up some food, even if you live by yourself.

Here are a few tips to get you started with very little effort:

  1. Start buying multiples of things that family likes to eat.
  2. Canned food seems to be a painless way to start: just buy an extra can of a few items such as canned corn, canned peaches or tuna each time you shop. Also buy extra breakfast items such as oatmeal, or cereal to get started.
  3. Other good items to have are granola bars, peanut butter, crackers, just add water meals such as ramen noodles, rice and pasta meals etc.
  4. Always check expiration dates and reach for the item with the furthest expiration date.
  5. Resist the temptation to pick up food your family does not eat just because it’s on sale or it has a long shelf life.
  6. Rotate the items and use the ones whose expiration dates are approaching.
  7. Later, as space and budget allow, other forms of emergency supplies can be added such as MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and dehydrated food.
  8. Once you have a week’s worth of food, then move up to two weeks, then a month, then go from there.

For an easy to implement food storage plan, read this handy guide:  Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage  It will help you build your own food storage and avoid mistakes, saving you time and money.  And it’s a bargain at $0.99 on Kindle.

Before you know it, you have built up a comfortable food storage plan that will help you ride out emergencies.

© Apartment Prepper 2016

Updated from a previous post that was originally published on 7/10/2010.

 




This is What Happens During a Food Crisis

This is What Happens During a Food crisis

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentpreppper.com

These last few weeks, I have been seeing some dire warnings from economic forecasters, about risks of another financial disaster, in spite of good economic news from main stream sources.  However, a large segment of our society still seems to be oblivious to the need to prepare.  They have no clue what happens when truck deliveries stop, or when grocery stores run out of food.

What happens during a food crisis?

To find out what happens when there are no supplies to be found, one need look no further than current events in Venezuela.

This is getting very little coverage in the evening news, but people should be paying attention.  Venezuela’s citizens are experiencing shortages of the most basic supplies such as milk, flour and rice.  With shortages come higher prices, as demand outstrips supplies.  People cannot afford to keep up with food prices that increase daily.  Even if they had the money to shop, people wait in line for four or more hours just to get groceries.

Imagine not having any food in your pantry, even when you have cash to spend.  People are risking their lives just to buy a few groceries.  With no food to feed their families, they are getting angry and desperate.   As a result, violence is erupting throughout the cities:  shootings and stabbings are daily occurrences while waiting in line to get in the grocery store; looting has become widespread.

People may say, this can never happen here, Venezuela is just another poor country.  Venezuela is considered a developing country, however, it has some of the world’s richest petroleum reserves, and is the largest exporter of oil in Latin America.  Not too long ago, it was a thriving, prosperous country.   However, government corruption and mismanagement of finances have caused an economic crisis and eroded the citizens’ faith in their government.

How do you protect yourself from a food crisis?

It doesn’t take much to interrupt the supply chain and cause food shortages.  The best way to protect yourself and your family would be to have to basic food supplies on hand of foods you eat normally, as well as a small stockpile of items you use daily such as toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc.

Resolve to pick up an extra package or two of staple foods such as rice, sugar, flour, pasta, spaghetti sauce, canned foods, on your weekly shopping trips.  Keep adding a little extra each week.  In a short time, you will have an emergency food stash for any emergency.   Aim to have a month’s worth of food, then go from there, depending on your storage space.  Keep track of what you have and resupply before you completely run out, giving yourself time to for coupons and sales.

Buy in bulk if you have a warehouse store card, or split large packages with family and friends who also want to build a stockpile.

Learn how to grow food, even if you have a small space.  You can grow an herb garden in the tiniest of balconies.  If you have lots of space, plant some fruit trees and grow some vegetables.  Or, you can participate in a community garden near you.

Food shortages can happen anywhere and it does not hurt to be prepared.  Even if nothing happens, learning to grow food will help you save money.  You’ll save time as well:  you’ll avoid running out of supplies and having to do those last minute trips to the store.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Meal Replacement Shakes for Food Storage

Meal Replacement Shakes for Food Storage

I was at our local grocery store’s health food section as my teen son was looking for protein powder.  We found a large canister of one of the trusted brands at 20% off.  With several servings that would last for weeks, I started to think it would not be a bad idea to include meal replacement shakes or protein powder in the food storage shelf.

Why include meal replacement shakes in food storage?

  • Nutrition –  One serving provides protein and vitamins
  • Servings – One canister can last for weeks
  • Easy to prepare – when you don’t feel like cooking and need a quick meal, all you need to do is a bit of mixing and you have a nourishing drink
  • No other ingredients needed – many brands just require some water.
  • Shelf life – they have at least a couple of years shelf life
  • Storage – If you want to avoid the large canister, you can repackage them for long term storage in mylar bags

Some examples:

Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal Vanilla

Ensure

Amazing Grass Chocolate Powder

GNC Total Lean Shake Vanilla Bean

Choosing your Nutritional Shake

There are so many variables, you would need to choose according to your own health conditions and preferences:  gluten free, sugar content, fat (saturated and unsaturated) content, sodium, organic etc.

If you prefer meal replacement bars, they are a good option as well.  We keep these high calorie SOS Rations Emergency 3600 Calorie Food Bars in the car.

There is just one caveat:  you must like the taste.  There is no point stocking up on something that tastes vile.  Take advantage of in store samples before you buy.  Before stocking up, try a small container first.

Ask about the store’s return policy.   Some stores, such as Trader Joe’s, have signs posted that they will accept your returns if you try a new product and you don’t like it.

I’m not suggesting you forgo canned foods, bulk food storage and freeze dried selections –  because of their convenience and nutritional value, meal replacement shakes would be a good addition to these other foods as part of an overall food storage plan.

10 Unusual Foods You Should Have in Your Pantry

 10 Unusual Foods You Should Have in Your Pantry - Copy

By Lisa Bedford, The Survival Mom

This post original appeared in The Survival Mom

Modern Americans probably have more food choices than any other group in the history of the planet Earth. I was told about a Japanese student who went to an American grocery store for cereal. Seeing the selection in the aisle was so overwhelming they went home without it that day.

For people used to such plenty and variety, beans and rice alone is clearly not a long-term menu plan. But keeping that much variety in one home (or even one store!) is not realistic. Worse yet, it can be hard to figure out a way to store some of our “regular” foods for the long-term so we can maintain a semi-normal diet in an emergency.

So, what “unusual” foods should you consider adding to your pantry? The products listed below are all shelf-stable, meaning they do not need to be refrigerated, and are available from companies such as Thrive Life, Augason Farms, and Ready Reserve Foods.

Survival Mom’s Top 10 Unusual Food Storage Foods

1. Shortening powder 

This product is a sure-fire way of having shortening on hand for all your baking without having to worry about it going rancid. It’s a necessity for making pie crusts and biscuits. Even more important, you can sprinkle some in a hot skillet, and when it melts, you can pan fry! What a concept!

2. Powdered peanut butter 

Peanut butter has an amazingly long shelf life, even after it’s been opened, but powdered peanut butter is still very useful. Every morning I add a tablespoon or so to my protein drink. It adds all the flavor and nutrition of peanuts without any of the fat found in peanut butter. You can even get it with chocolate already mixed in!

3. Butter powder

This product won’t give you exactly the same flavor of butter and it doesn’t quite melt, but it’s still a handy addition to your pantry. Once reconstituted and chilled, it hardens and has the same consistency of refrigerated butter.

4. Tomato powder

The first time I read about this product, I said, “Huh??” Now I think it’s indispensable because it’s a cost-effective way of having tomato paste and tomato sauce on demand and save vast amounts of space at the same time, and it’s easy enough to make yourself.

5. TVP (your choice of flavors)

I know Textured Vegetable Protein isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it comes in handy when you want to add a little more protein to a casserole or soup. Just a handful can add the flavor of chicken or taco meat (a little can go a long way), and you can’t beat the price.

6. Freeze-dried cheese 

You can still enjoy cheese enchiladas while fending off zombies with this great product! I first sampled FD cheddar cheese a few months ago and was amazed by how beautifully it melts.

7. Powdered cheese 

When you buy this in bulk, you have the main ingredient (besides macaroni) for mac-and-cheese but also cheese sauces for veggies, casseroles, and the all-important survival food, nachos!

8. Freeze-dried grapes 

Yes, grapes. Canned grapes have never quite caught on (ewwww!), dehydrated grapes are raisins, but FD grapes have the same color, shape, size and flavor as fresh. They’re just crunchy, and they make a great, healthy snack. Once opened, though, they will absorb moisture in the air and go from crunchy to sticky and chewy. You may want to repackage them in canning jars to retain the crunchy texture.

9. Dehydrated sour cream 

Now, this won’t give you that wonderfully cool dollop you’ve come to expect, but when you make a dish that calls for sour cream, this product does just fine. Add some to mashed potatoes or a creamy casserole, and you’ll never know the difference.

10. Freeze-dried cottage cheese

This was one of the first ‘survival’ foods we purchased. Because we had young kids, we wanted to make sure we had plenty of Vitamin D-dense foods. It sounds strange, but it’s actually quite good when it’s reconstituted and chilled. If the grid is down and you want homemade lasagna, that shouldn’t be a problem with this and freeze-dried mozzarella cheese on hand!

These 10 unusual foods will go a long way toward letting your family diet stay closer to normal in a disaster.

 

Lisa Bedford is The Survival Mom. She is the author of the best-selling book, Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios.  You can read all about it on her Harper Collins author page.




The Organic Canner – Interview with Daisy Luther and Giveaway

The Organic CannerThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Today we are featuring The Organic Canner by Daisy Luther.   For anyone who is not familiar with Daisy Luther, she runs The Organic Prepper and her articles are widely publicized in alternative media.

I was excited to read The Organic Canner.  Canning is a great skill to learn for self-sufficiency, and it’s a way to add to your food storage supplies at a low cost.  Learning how to can has been in my to-do list for some time, but I have not undertaken the challenge due to lack of space and a degree of uncertainty.  Let’s face it, a lot of dedicated DIY folks are intimidated by canning.  “What if my home canned food turns bad?”  is a common objection.  Well, The Organic Canner is exactly the type of book for newbies like us.

Written in a conversational tone, Daisy makes you immediately comfortable you picked up the book.  She walks you through the most basic steps, in easy to understand directions – you will feel she is right there with you.  You can tell she speaks from a wealth of experience, which gives you confidence that she knows what she is talking about.

The recipes are simple with easy to find ingredients.  I enjoyed reading The Organic Canner, and contacted Daisy with a few questions of my own.

Here is the interview:

1.    Many apartment dwellers feel reluctant to try canning due to the equipment involved and space required.  How might a person who lacks space get started?

As much as we’d all love a Better Homes and Gardens kitchen, it’s not necessary for preserving your food. Canning doesn’t take up as much room as you would expect. You need a small amount of counter space – enough for a canner load full of jars, and a stove.

2.    The book gives great instructions for water bath canning and pressure canning.  If you had to choose between the two, just to get started, what minimum equipment would you recommend?

If you’re just getting started, the easiest way is with water bath canning. The equipment is far less intimidating, and you’ll find that jams, jellies, pickles, and salsa are difficult to mess up.

3.    I already own a pressure cooker, how is this different from a pressure canner?  Can a pressure cooker do the same thing?

It isn’t advised to pressure can in a pressure cooker. Canners have a valve and gauge, and it’s vital that you be able to accurately monitor the pressure. Underprocessed food can be  source of deadly food poisoning.

4.    Another issue people worry about are the risks of contamination.  There is always some story in the news about people getting sick from home canned food – what are your thoughts about this?

There are definitely risks involved if you don’t do things properly. It’s important to follow the instructions very carefully. If you err, err on the side of adding more time. Your pressure must be held consistently in order to be assured of safety.  Botulism is a type of food poisoning that can cause symptoms as extreme as permanent paralysis or death. Now that I’ve sounded really scary, I want to reassure you that if you follow the instructions, your product will be safe and nutritious.

5.    What are some tips that you personally use to save money on organics?

I buy a lot of our food from people I know. Many local farmers raise their crops and livestock organically, but they can’t afford to jump through all of the hoops the government requires of them to become “certified organic”.  If you can get to know people well enough to learn about their practices, you can save a substantial amount of money over “Whole Foods” prices.  You can supplement your groceries with things that can be grown in a small yard, on a balcony, or even in a sunny windowsill. Pick your battles – not everything has to be organic. Every year, the Environmental Working Group comes out with lists of the foods that are most important to buy organic and those which aren’t as bad when purchased conventionally-grown. Finally, shop in-season. Even organic produce is much more reasonable when you buy it at the right time of year.

A big thank you to Daisy Luther for answering our interview questions!  If you have an interest in canning, you should read The Organic Canner.
Now for the giveaway:
I am happy to add that Daisy Luther also provided a copy for giveaway.  One lucky winner will be chosen via a random drawing.  To enter, please answer the following question in the comments:
Have you done any home canning, and what is your biggest challenge in this area?
The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, March 7th at 8 pm Central.

*Winners will be notified via email. 

*Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

© Apartment Prepper 2015




Is Expired Food Safe to Eat?

Is Expired Food Safe to Eat

Written by Julie

This post originally appeared in Home Ready Home

Last week, I went through my pantry, trying to get an idea of how much food storage I have. By the time the organizing session was complete, a dozen or so “expired” items sat on my kitchen counter.

In the past, I didn’t hesitate to throw a can in the trash if it was expired. And according to an article on Urban Survival Site, I’m not the only one tossing the goods. More than 75% (and some studies claim it’s as high as 90%) of us believe that food is unsafe to eat after the expiration date. This time, though, I’ve decided to change my ways and put the expired items back on the shelf.

Why?

Because it turns out that none of those dates stamped on canned goods have to do with safety.  A recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic claims that expiration dates aren’t regulated like we would believe. There is no standardized system for expiration dates.

The study found manufacturers determine for themselves how to set dates, if they want to put a date on packaging, what kind of date they will use, and what that date means.

So what do those dates mean? 

Well, it gets confusing because there are several different types of dates used on packages—like “sell-by”, “best if used by”, “best before”, and “use-by”. Here’s how the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines of each of these dates:

Types of Dates

  • A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires.
  • A “Best if Used By (or Before)” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
  • A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.
  • “Closed or coded dates” are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer.

And here’s what the USDA has to say about expiration date safety:

Safety After Date Expires: Except for “use-by” dates, product dates don’t always pertain to home storage and use after purchase. “Use-by” dates usually refer to best quality and are not safety dates. Even if the date expires during home storage, a product should be safe, wholesome and of good quality if handled properly.

The only exception to this is the “use-by” date on infant formula, which is mandated by the Food and Drug Administration.

The bottom line is after the expiration date, the food may not be as fresh and it may have lost some of it’s nutritional value, but generally, it is safe to eat.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking—if you can’t rely on the date, how do you know when the food is unsafe to eat?

The simple answer is open it and inspect it. If it smells bad, looks off-color or has a funny taste, get rid of it. And don’t eat the food from rusty, bulging, dented or otherwise damaged cans.

There are also some online resources that can help you determine shelf life of your pantry items. Eat By Date  is my favorite resource and here’s one that my friend, Shelle of Preparedness Mama refers to: Still Tasty 

These sites can help you avoid throwing away still-good food as well as learn the best way to store food for optimal freshness and longest shelf-life.

P.S. If you need a little help keeping your pantry organized, I highly recommend The Preparedness Planner.

The Preparedness Planner

About the Author:

Julie

Hi! I’m Julie, a suburban mom during the week and mountain mama on the weekend blogging about my transition from country club to country living and from fast food to food storage. Follow along as I learn how to garden, cook-from-scratch, build a pantry, master back-to-basics skills and more.
Please visit Home Ready Home for the latest posts.

Can Food Shortages Happen Here?

Can Food Shortages Happen Here

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I’ve been seeing news articles about the food shortages happening in Venezuela:  people standing in line for hours just to get their basic necessities, their National Guard closely watching shoppers to prevent fights from breaking out, and rows of empty shelves inside the stores.

This got me thinking, what would happen if there were food shortages here?  Can you imagine having to get in line just to enter the grocery store?  Or worse, you get in line at dawn and by the time your turn comes, there is nothing left on the shelves.  What if you were not able to find your basic food items at the grocery store?  

Actually I did have one experience of having to wait in line for an hour just to enter the supermarket.  And when I did manage to get in, the shelves were bare and most of the items were completely gone.  This was back in 2008 right after Hurricane Ike swept across Houston.  The streets were flooded and truck deliveries were not coming.  That was when I learned about “just in time” inventory – grocery stores keep just enough stock until the next truck delivery.  I ever asked a store clerk if they had any food “back in the store room” and was told “stores don’t do that anymore.”  Luckily, the problem I experienced was short term, and stores started getting deliveries as soon as flood waters receded.

But this experience showed me that our system is vulnerable.  If the trucks stop coming, supplies aren’t delivered.  All it takes would be an interruption in that supply chain.

Back in World War II the US had widespread shortages of essential items and many things we take for granted today were rationed:  butter, meat, cheese, sugar, canned fruit and vegetables, oils, even coffee.  Shoppers could only purchase certain items on certain days.  It was then that people put up “Victory Gardens” to supplement their food and learned to conserve food and plan their meals.

If there were a food shortage today, I think people would be a lot angrier and more demanding and food riots would result.  I haven’t forgotten this experience: Up Close Reminder to Continue Prepping from a year ago.  And this was just for roast chicken running out!

What can you do?

Build your food storage pantry.    While things are available, and nothing is interrupting the supply chain, now is the time to add to your food storage.  Build up a few weeks worth of your most used foods:  rice, sugar, salt, coffee, olive oil, peanut butter, oatmeal, cereal etc.  While you’re at it, stock up on toilet paper, toothpaste, soap and other personal care items.

Avoid wasting food.  Learn a few skills to avoid wasting food.  I tell my kids, “Don’t waste food, because one day, you may miss a meal for whatever reason – getting picked up late, forgetting your lunch, and you will think about the food you threw away.”  This actually works because they do remember.

Start a garden.  It may be the middle of winter now, but spring is not far off – it wouldn’t hurt to start planning your garden, even if you only have a balcony or a sunny window.

Back to the original question:  Can food shortages happen here?  Some may say, no way, that only happens in countries like Venezuela.  But the true answer is, Sure they could, and they have happened before.  We hope it never happens but just like insurance, it’s better to have it, and not need it, than need it and not have it.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Puritan's Pride

 

 

 

 

Review of Valley Food Storage Mango Habanero Chili

ValleyFoodStorageChili1

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I was contacted by Valley Food Storage regarding trying out one of their entrees.  I am always looking for long term storage foods that are tasty.  As you know, long term storage foods can be a hit or miss, but I am always willing to try new ones and offer an balanced review.  (Note we do not have any connection with Valley Food Storage and are not compensated for doing reviews.)

When I received the packet for testing, I saw it was called “Mango Habanero Chili.”   To be honest, I was quite sure what to expect.  I am a big fan of chili, but I was not sure if mango really belongs in chili.  But I figured I would give it a try.

ValleyFoodStorageChili1

The instructions are simple:  Bring to a boil five cups of water, then add the chili mix.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until beans are tender.  Let cool for about five to seven minutes before serving.

I actually let it simmer for 25 minutes.  The mixture seemed a bit watery at first, but it thickened slightly as it cooled.

Now comes the taste test.  I took a spoonful and another one just to make sure.  In spite of my uncertainty, the Mango Habanero Chili was actually pretty tasty.  The chili is vegetarian – there is no meat listed in the ingredients at all.  I admit I like having meat in chili, and the instructions did say you can add meat if you like.  The dish is fine on its own, I actually ate a bowl (as pictured above) for lunch.

ValleyFoodStorageChili3

I examined the chili pieces and you actually find diced mango (pictured above) in the chili.  I can tell you I actually did not mind having mango pieces, it added an interesting twist.  The chili had the right amount of spiciness, and had enough flavor and not overly salty like other long term food storage entrees.

According to their website, Valley Food Storage uses natural food ingredients and a nitrogen flushing process will ensure the food’s shelf life up to 25 years without any added preservatives, MSG, or GMO.

Quality ingredients and a long shelf life are definite advantages for a food storage entree.   Mango Habanero Chili also has a good flavor, which makes it a viable choice to add to your food pantry.

Mango-Hab-Chili-gf-240x159

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

Is it Safe to Refreeze Thawed Meat?

Is it safe to refreeze thawed meat

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Whenever there is a power outage, we always avoid opening the refrigerator and especially the freezer to avoid letting the cold out.  A big worry is that freezer items will thaw out and go bad.  Some food items are salvageable, but some are not so clear-cut.

This also happens in everyday life:  you take out steaks or chicken and leave them in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, only to run out of time and get takeout after staying late at work.  Does it have to go to waste?

Is it Safe to Refreeze Thawed Meat?

An informal poll of cooks in our family yielded various results:  my husband’s aunt said, “Sure you can refreeze meat that has thawed, but it will be dry when you do cook it.”  My Mom says she would never refreeze food, just cook it and eat it the next day.  Other friends say you can refreeze if it was in the fridge but not if it was taken out on the counter.

I did a bit more research and tested it for myself.  Here is what I found out:

  • If the meat still has ice crystals in it, and the temperature never went over 40 degrees Fahrenheit, then it is safe to refreeze.
  • If the food was thawed in the refrigerator, it is likely to be safe to refreeze if you refreeze it the same day.  However, if it has been there more than two days, it is not a good idea.  I have checked on thawed meat after two days, and it is already does not smell fresh.
  • The meat will dry out a bit if it has been refrozen.  I have tried this and found it to be true:  the meat does appear drier than it would have been originally.
  • Do not use the meat if it smells “off.”
  • Do not thaw meat by leaving it out on the counter.  The best way to thaw meat is in the refrigerator.

Again, if you have any doubts at all, just toss it.  Don’t risk eating spoiled meat-you can get really sick.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

 

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