Fire Roasted Vegetables for Food Storage

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg Blend4At last week’s Monday Musings, I mentioned I was catching up on product reviews.  Therefore, in lieu of the scheduled posts, this week is Review Week!

I had the opportunity to test out the new Mountain House Fire Roasted Vegetables.

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg BlendLong time readers know we’ve tested a few Mountain House entrees, and brought them on camping and backpacking trips.

I was a little iffy about how fire roasted vegetables would turn out, as this is one of my favorite foods and some restaurants don’t even cook them properly.  But I gave it shot so here’s the result.

Here is what the vegetables look as you open the packet.  It contains freeze dried fire roasted bell peppers, onions with corn and black beans.

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg Blend2

As usual, I followed the instructions to take out the oxygen absorber then just add 1.5 cups boiling water.

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg Blend3Then mix up the contents to make sure the water has covered the vegetables.  Then seal up the bag and wait.  The directions said leave it alone 7-8 minutes.

I checked it after the 8 minutes were up and the vegetables were ready the the black beans were still a bit tough.  So I left it for another 7 minutes for a total of 15.  By now the black beans were perfect.

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg Blend5I tasted the vegetables and they were excellent.  They had a sweet, fresh taste and a firm, not mushy consistency.  The pouch contains 2.5 servings.  I had it plain for lunch and it was satisfying.

I think it’s actually better than some of the frozen fire roasted vegetable blends I’ve tried from the supermarket.  They would be great for camping, backpacking and long term food storage.  I highly recommend Mountain House Fire Roasted Vegetables.

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Save a Spot in Your Food Storage Shelf! MEGA ONE SHAKE MIX Review and Giveaway

MegaOneMealReplacementShake

I’ve been considering meal replacement and protein products as a supplement to my food storage and even contacted a few companies about information about their products in terms of long term storage.  I did not get a single response.  That’s why I as excited to hear when Preparewise introduced their  Mega One Meal Replacement Shake from Legacy Premium, which offers 10+ years of shelf life.

I had to try it. Here are MegaOne Chocolate Shake Features –

  • Total Servings: 15 Hearty / 30 Light Servings
  • Total Calories: 4,290
  • Total Weight: 2.59 lb
  • Hearty Serving Size: 3 Scoops (286 Cal)
  • Light Serving Size: 1.5 Scoops (143 Cal)
  • All Natural Ingredients
  • Made from 28 super foods including Chia, Acai, Goji & more
  • Incredibly Delicious
  • Long Shelf Life: 10+ Years
  • Just Add Water and Shake to Prepare
  • Perfect addition to emergency food storage
  • Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Non-GMO
  • Low Fat – Trans Fat Free
  • Complete Amino Acid Profile
  • Dairy & Soy Free
  • High Protein (30 grams per hearty serving)
  • Low Sugar
  • Complete Vitamin B Complex
  • Good Source of Fiber
  • Immune Booster
  • Cholesterol Free
  • Great for breakfast, weight loss, nutritional supplement
  • Great for hiking, camping, disaster supply & more

Here’s what it looks like right out of the pouch:

MegaOneMealReplacementShake_powderJust add water, and mix well.

MegaOneMealReplacementShake_mixedNow for the taste:

As I always do with taste tests, I share with another member of the family.  I liked the shake, but Apt Prepper son was not wild about the low sugar taste.  However, he does like the nutrients and protein provided by the shake so he still drinks it.

I also wanted to share a few recipes from Amy, my contact at Preparewise.

Recipe 1
2 cups water
1 full serving Mega One
1/4 cup flax seed
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
banana
4 cups spinach
1 cup frozen fruit
Mix all together in a blender or Nutribullet.
Recipe 2
Large Handful of spinach
Handful of frozen berries from Costco
Handful of frozen fruit from Costco
Water to consistency
Three scoops (one serving) of chocolate or vanilla flavored Mega Meal One
Mix all together in a blender or Nutribullet.
Additional notes:  Some replace the water with:
yogurt
almond milk
milk
ice chips
ice cream
Additional ingredients people have added:
various fruits, bananas, berries, pineapple
peanut butter
malt powder
frozen berries
spinach
I can vouch for adding bananas, berries and lots of ice.  It’s filling too.
Why I think Mega One Meal Replacement Shakes are a great addition to your food storage pantry:
  • Quick preparation
  • Just add water- does not require a lot of ingredients
  • Great source of nutrition
  • Occupy very little space
  • Long shelf life
Now for the giveaway!
Prepare Wise is giving a packet of Mega One Meal Replacement Shake (as pictured in the title above)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

 

11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime

11 Emergency Foods that can Last a LifetimeThis article originally appeared in Ready Nutrition

By Tess Pennington

Did you know that with proper storage techniques, you can have a lifetime supply of certain foods?  Certain foods can stand the test of time, and continue being a lifeline to the families that stored it.  Knowing which foods last indefinitely and how to store them are you keys to success.

The best way to store food for the long term is by using a multi-barrier system.  This system protects the food from natural elements such as moisture and sunlight, as well as from insect infestations.

Typically, those who store bulk foods look for inexpensive items that have multi-purposes and will last long term.  Listed below are 11 food items that are not only multi-purpose preps, but they can last a lifetime!

Honey

Honey never really goes bad.  In a tomb in Egypt 3,000 years ago, honey was found and was still edible.  If there are temperature fluctuations and sunlight, then the consistency and color can change.  Many honey harvesters say that when honey crystallizes, then it can be re-heated and used just like fresh honey.  Because of honey’s low water content, microorganisms do not like the environment.

Uses: curing, baking, medicinal, wine (mead)

Salt

Although salt is prone to absorbing moisture, it’s shelf life is indefinite.  This indispensable mineral will be a valuable commodity in a long term disaster and will be a essential bartering item.

Uses: curing, preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, tanning hides

Sugar

Life would be so boring without sugar.  Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container.

Uses: sweetener for beverages, breads, cakes, preservative, curing, gardening, insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches).

Wheat

Wheat is a major part of the diet for over 1/3 of the world.  This popular staple supplies 20% of daily calories to a majority of the world population.  Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita­mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.

Uses: baking, making alcohol, livestock feed, leavening agent

Dried corn

Essentially, dried corn can be substituted for any recipe that calls for fresh corn.  Our ancestors began drying corn because of it’s short lived season.  To extend the shelf life of corn, it has to be preserved by drying it out so it can be used later in the year.

Uses: soups, cornmeal, livestock feed, hominy and grits, heating source (do a search for corn burning fireplaces).

Baking soda

This multi-purpose prep is a must have for long term storage.

Uses: teeth cleaner, household cleaner, dish cleaner, laundry detergent booster, leavening agent for baked goods, tarnish remover

Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa

Adding these to your long term storage will not only add a variety to just drinking water, but will also lift morale.  Instant coffee is high vacuum freeze dried.  So, as long as it is not introduced to moisture, then it will last.  Storage life for all teas and cocoas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by repackaging the items with a vacuum sealing.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

Non-carbonated soft drinks

Although many of us prefer carbonated beverages, over time the sugars break down and the drink flavor is altered.  Non-carbonated beverages stand a longer test of time.  And, as long as the bottles are stored in optimum conditions, they will last.  Non-carbonated beverages include: vitamin water, Gatorade, juices, bottled water.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

White rice

White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, cheap and has a long shelf life.  If properly stored this popular food staple can last 30 years or more.

Uses: breakfast meal, addition to soups, side dishes, alternative to wheat flour

Bouillon products

Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved.  However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered.  If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags.

Uses: flavoring dishes

Powdered milk – in nitrogen packed cans

Powdered milk can last indefinitely, however, it is advised to prolong it’s shelf life by either repackaging it for longer term storage, or placing it in the freezer.  If the powdered milk developes an odor or has turned a yellowish tint, it’s time to discard.

Uses: beverage, dessert, ingredient for certain breads, addition to soup and baked goods.

Prepper's CookbookAbout this author

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.

 

 

Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett: Review and Giveaway

Food StorageI had an opportunity to review a copy of Food Srorage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett.

I like the way the book is organized, with a separate chapter covering food needs for 72 hours, short term emergencies (two weeks to three months) and long term emergencies (three months or longer).   There are more sections dealing with water storage, preserving, packing dry foods for long term, maintaining balance, sustainable food storage, organizing and using your food storage.  In short, this book covers everything you need to know about storing food.

If you are just starting out with your food storage plan, then you are fortunate to have this guide, but if you already have some food stored, you can still find a lot of good ideas.  With this book you will also learn to make the most out of your food storage, avoid waste and use your storage to save money and time.  For example, there is a section on what to do with oil that has gone past its edible prime.  The book also covers how food storage can actually improve your financial situation as you get through some lean months.

I found a lot of ideas on how I can improve my own food storage plan.  The author gives practical steps that anyone can implement right away.  I highly recommend this book.

Now for the giveaway…

What aspect of food storage do you find the most challenging and why?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Friday,  May 16th at 8 pm Central.  *Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

Using Four Year Old Rice

FourYearOldRiceThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

We are rotating the first batch of rice we stored away and replacing it with the new batch.  I bought the rice back in April 2010 but did not repackage it for for long term storage until November 2010.  Usually, rice that is left in a pantry with no special packaging will last one to two years.

Since this is the first time I am using my rice storage I was really curious as to how the mylar bag/oxygen absorber packed rice held up.  We don’t keep it especially cold in our apartment – usually 75-78 degrees, and it does get humid indoors sometimes.

First, Mr. Apt Prepper opened up the five gallon bucket.  I didn’t realize they are not the easiest things to open, which is actually a good thing, because you know the contents are safe.  After he released the plastic zip seal, he had to slowly pry open the lid with a butter knife.  It would have been easier to have a bucket opener so I added one to the Amazon wish list.

Rice in mylar bagOnce opened, we examined the mylar bags inside and found them to be the same as when we packed them nearly four years ago.  The bags were still very much air tight as they shrink around the food once the oxygen absorber activates.  When I opened a bag, I found that the oxygen absorber was still soft and fresh, and did not harden as expired ones do.  I poured the contents into a jar, and cooked up a batch.

Pouring rice from mylar bagThe rice tasted good and there was no difference in taste or texture at all.  I am really glad the process works, and feel confident the food storage will hold up for many years.

Buying food in bulk and repackaging it yourself is a cost effective way to store for emergency long term storage.  As long as you keep rotating your food, it will not go to waste.  If you’d like to get started repackaging bulk food for long term storage, the easiest method is described here.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Avoid Boring Survival Food: Include Spices and Seasonings in Food Storage

Avoid Boring Survival FoodThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Once you’ve stored at least a couple of weeks worth of food and water, you’ll want to store a few of your favorite spices and seasonings.  Though it would not be life threatening to leave them out, your survival storage diet would become quite monotonous without a few basic spices.

Start with the basics such as salt, sugar, pepper.  Then add a variety of spices and seasonings such as: cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, basil, oregano, parsley, chicken and beef bouillon, cumin, bay leaves.  Store only the ones you know you are going to use.

How long do spices stay fresh?

If you keep them in your cupboard in the original package, you can count on herbs and spices staying fresh for about a year to two years.  After that, the flavors will start to deteriorate.  Although they won’t turn completely bad (I’ve used them over the two year mark with good results) they will not be as flavorful as when you first bought them.  The older they get, the blander they get, until there is no point in keeping them.  It recently tossed out a few spices I never used after the initial recipe, after I noticed

Enemies of spice storage

Just like other food storage items, keep spices away from heat, light, moisture/humidity and air.  It’s best to keep them in an airtight container.

Long Term Storage

To make them last longer than two years, you can repackage spices and seasonings for long term storage.  I stored a few seasonings for long term by repackaging them in mylar bags, the same way I stored bulk foods.  The only difference was I used small mylar bags

Don’t forget to label and date your stored items.

Here is another method to store spices, nicely illustrated over at Are We Crazy or What:  Storing Herbs and Spices for Long Term Storage.

Final Tips

  • Seeds, roots and leaves will last longer than powder form, but will need a grinder for use.  I stored the powdered form to avoid the extra step.
  • For best results, rotate your stored items after a couple of years.
  • As with other food items, keep your stored spices and seasonings away from chemicals such as gasoline, kerosene etc. – these fumes can permeate and contaminate your food storage.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Spam for Survival Storage

can of Spam

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

For anyone who has never tried Spam, it is a canned meat by Hormel, made of pork shoulder and ham.  It looks like a pink brick when you first take it out of the can.  A lot of people hate it, but there are a great number of fans out there.   My parents actually introduced me to Spam.  Since they were kids during World War II, they grew up eating Spam as a special treat.  Meat was scarce back then so having a little meat, even from a can, was a good thing.  My Mom made me Spam and cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise on white bread up until high school when I got too “grown up” to bring Mom’s lunches to school.

spam-pieces

When our family visited Hawaii a few years ago, we found fast food places like McDonald’s actually served Spam, egg and rice for breakfast. We tried it and it was pretty good.  They love Spam they actually had a Spam Festival.

There are lots of ways to cook Spam, but here are my favorites. 

Spam and rice 

Slice Spam into thin slices.  Fry in a bit of oil until browned and sprinkle sugar on top, and a few drops of soy sauce.  Serve with scrambled eggs and white rice. 

Breakfast sandwich

Make a breakfast sandwich with Spam, a fried egg and American cheese between two pieces of sliced bread.

I’ve had good results pan-frying Spam as well as cooking it on the grill, oven or convection oven.   I know it comes fully cooked but I prefer is cooked crisp and slightly browned.

This is not a paid endorsement and I have no connection to Hormel.  I am always on the lookout for inexpensive foods with have a good shelf life that the family likes.  It comes in various flavors such as bacon, black pepper, turkey, jalapeno and hickory smoke.  I think Spam is a worthy addition to the larder, as it is actually pretty tasty if you cook it the right way.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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The Difference Between Oxygen Absorbers and Silica Gel

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I was telling a friend who is new to preparedness about packing bulk foods for long terms storage, when she asked me if oxygen absorbers are the same thing as the little  packets you find in new purses and shoe boxes that say “Do not eat.”   This reminded me that I was confused about this at one time so I thought I’d do a quick post about it.

oxygen absorber

Oxygen Absorbers

Oxygen Absorbers

Oxygen absorbers are tiny sachets that contain iron filings, salt and clay.  The clay provides moisture, and works with the salt to activate the iron filings.  The process starts as soon as the oxygen absorber packets is exposed to oxygen.  What happens is the iron filings begin to oxidize, forming rust which then releases nitrogen.  Nitrogen helps the food keep fresher longer.  The lack of oxygen in the stored food will keep weevils and other insects from living in there.

Most oxygen absorber packs come with a little pink pill that turns blue if the oxygen absorber is no longer effective.  A few other notes about oxygen absorbers:

  • Sugar and salt for long term storage do not need oxygen absorbers as they will turn rock hard.
  • Once you open a pack of oxygen absorbers, take what you need and keep the rest in an airtight jar, not a plastic bag.  Keep their exposure to air as little as possible.  Otherwise they will all get activated and useless by the time you need them.
  • To be effective, you need to use the right number of oxygen absorbers for the food you are packaging.  This site has a handy chart on how much oxygen absorbers to use. (We have no connection to this site, just found the chart helpful.)
  • Oxygen absorbers cannot be reused.
Silica gel

Silica gel

Silica Gel

Silica gel is made of silicon dioxide, essentially, porous sand.  It is used to reduce condensation and allows the stored item to stay dry even during humid, damp conditions.  You find them in bottles or packages when you buy vitamins, purses, shoes, even computer equipment.  Because silica gel inhibits moisture, it therefore prevents mold to grow.

If you are packing a 5 gallon bucket with silica gel to keep moisture at bay, you will need a 10 gram silica gel packet.   Some items that can be packed with silica gel include:

  • photos
  • camera equipment
  • prescription and non prescription medicines
  • ammunition cans and gun cases
  • seed packets
  • tool boxes
  • luggage
  • important documents

Silica gel packets can be reused.

I haven’t tried it, but silica gel packets can be reactivated – see these instructions from eHow.

Can oxygen absorbers and silica gel be used together?

The answer is NO, they should not be used together.  The reason is, oxygen absorbers require moisture in order to work.  If the silica gel absorbs the moisture, it will halt the activation process of the oxygen absorber, rendering it useless.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Repackaging Salt for Long Term Storage

Because salt is one of those essential ingredients with multiple uses, I decided to add more of it to my storage.

I bought a huge bag of salt at Costco, but knew I’d need to repackage it for storage sooner than later to preserve its quality.  I know you can always break it up if it were to clump up, but it’s so much easier to use if it does not have clumps and is free-flowing.  I’ve posted about bulk food storage a couple of years ago, but this time, I am doing it a bit differently.

Salt for long term storageMaterials I used:

Mylar bags (one gallon size)

measuring cup or scoop

hair straightening iron

food grade 5-gallon bucket

Steps:

  1. Wash and dry hands thoroughly.  You don’t want any moisture around when doing this.  It’s best to do this away from kids or pets, to avoid accidents with the hot straightening iron.
  2. Scoop salt into the mylar bag with a cup or scooper until it is about 1/2 – 3/4 full.
  3. Gently shake the bag to make sure the salt is evenly distributed throughout the bag.
  4. Squeeze all the air out by placing hands on each side.  Now you are ready to seal.Sealing a mylar bag with straightening iron
  5. Use the straightening iron, set on the high setting, and start sealing one side to the top of the bag.  When I did this process a couple of years ago I used a clothes iron.  But ever since I read the tip from Gaye, Survival Woman, I wanted to try using the hair straightening iron.  I found that it is so much easier this way.
  6. Do the same thing on the other side. DO NOT TOUCH the Mylar bag after you’ve run the iron across it – bag will be hot!
  7. You do not need oxygen absorbers for salt or sugar.  But if you are storing flour, rice or some other bulk food, you will need them.
  8. Label the bag with the item name and date.  This way you’ll know what bag to use first when you rotate your food storage.
  9. Store the bags in a 5-gallon bucket with a lid.  Store in a cool, dry place, with temperatures around 72 degrees or lower.

Here is a photo of the results of my salt storage project before I placed them in a 5-gallon bucket:

Salt Repackaged for Long Term Storage

How long will it last?

Properly stored bulk foods should last 10-30 years, however, other factors such as light, heat and humidity may affect the stored food.  If the food is stored at higher temperatures, the shelf life would be shorter.  Storing food in less than ideal conditions may be a bit of a challenge but don’t let that stop you.

Always rotate your food storage

To avoid food going to waste, periodically go through your food storage and rotate your stores.  Use up the foods with the oldest dates, and replace with a fresh batch.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

 

You’ll find lots of great food storage tips from Gaye Levy’s latest e-book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage, which I reviewed here Preppers-Guide-to-Food-Storage-268-x-403

Self Sufficiency Saturdays: Homemade Dog Biscuits

Dog Biscuits in a JarWe were looking for all-natural, made in the U.S. dog treats at the pet store.  The affordable brands had a long list of unpronounceable preservatives and additives, and were made in China.   (I haven’t forgotten about Deaths of 500 dogs blamed on jerky treats, FDA says  so we don’t buy pet food from China.)  I found some that fit the bill at the farmer’s market, and at specialty stores, but they were too expensive.

I decided the only way to know what ingredients are being used is to make it myself.  I searched for an easy recipe, with ingredients that are already in my storage, and found the recipe for basic dog treats on the Cesar Milan website.  I adapted the recipe to what I had on hand.

This is how I made the dog treats.

IngredientsdogbiscuitsIngredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (you might prefer whole wheat)

1/2 cup hot water (you may use chicken broth instead)

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (omit if you are using chicken broth)

1 egg

bacon grease

Directions:

1.  Grease two cookie sheets generously with bacon fat.

2.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

3.  In a large bowl, mix the hot water with the bouillon

4.  Add the egg, flour with the bouillon water and stir well.

5.  On a floured board, mix well and keep kneading until the dough is stretchy but no longer wet.  I’ve had to add 1-2 teaspoons of flour.

Rollingdough6.  Roll the dough flat.  I don’t own a rolling pin due to space issues so I used a bottle.  It worked fine.

DogBiscuitsCutouts

7.  Cut out the dough in your desired shapes.  I’ve used various cookie cutters before; this time I used bone shaped cookie cutters.

8.  Place dough pieces on the bacon greased cookie sheets and bake for 30 minutes.

DogBiscuitsReadyIt took me about 30 minutes to mix and shape the dough, and another 30 minutes is needed for baking.  The recipe is easy to make, and does not take long  at all.  Our dog loves them.  And now, I don’t have to run to the store to buy them.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Preparewise

Preparewise Lots of great tips for everyone: Bernie’s Book is Available in Amazon