Build your Cash Emergency Fund

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Build your cash emergency fund

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Now that the new year is here a lot of people are making resolutions to “save more money.”   I am one of them.  To be specific, one of my goals is to increase my cash emergency fund.

I used to do all my spending using debit and credit cards,  until I realized I needed some cash set aside in case of emergency.   Think for a moment what would happen if you lost access to your bank or credit card accounts.  This sounds far fetched but it can happen:

  • Cyber attack – As we discussed in this previous article, stores and banks are increasingly being targeted.  There is always a possibility that consumers’ accounts would be frozen temporarily as banks investigate the matter.
  • Your account gets hacked – If there is a data breach or if your identity gets stolen, a bank will immediately freeze your account.  And if the credit card is linked to your checking and savings account, you might lose access to all your accounts at the same time.  I know… it’s happened to me.  I found small multiple charges made on a credit card and reported it to the bank.  Unfortunately, at the time, all my accounts were linked to one bank and all accounts were frozen until they could sort it out.  I have since learned not to keep all my accounts in one place.  Keeping “all your eggs in one basket” is a bad idea.
  • Widespread power outage – If there were a large scale power outage due to some type of emergency, cash machines, debit and credit transactions would not work.  I was in a grocery store once when the power went out, and the only transaction accepted was cash.

A cash emergency fund would protect you in the event you could not access your cash for whatever reason.  You would, at least, have money for food and gas.

Money is tight for many of us and it is hard to come up with extra cash to set aside.

How to build up a small cash emergency fund:

 

  • Pick up change!  I actually know people who throw away pennies.  Apt Prepper son tells me kids at his school are too lazy to pick up their own change when they drop coins on the ground.
  • Keep all “found money” in a change jar.
  • Use coupons at the supermarket, but keep coupon savings in cash.  If you had a $1 off coupon, then save that $1 in your emergency cash fund.
  • Sign up for any product rebates you qualify for.  When you receive the check, cash it and save it in your cash stash.
  • Conserve water and electricity; when you get the bill that is lower than your budgeted amount, even if it’s a few cents, save the difference and take it out in cash.
  • Call your cable, phone and cell phone provider and ask the rep to go over your bill.  Review each service you are paying for, and ask for help in trying to lower your bill.  Or, consider moving to a lower cost plan.  Set aside your savings in the cash fund.
  • Save any “gift money” received during birthdays and holidays.
  • If you receive gift cards you will never use, sell them (at a discount) at sites such as www.giftcardgranny.com
  • If you habitually spend money on lottery tickets, take the money you usually spend and save it instead.  It is fun to occasionally buy a ticket but you have to admit, it’s usually a losing one.  Save the money instead at least for a few weeks; in a few weeks you will have a nice cash cushion instead of lost dollars.
  • Save any windfalls, work bonuses instead of spending them.

How much money you will need to set aside depends on your family’s expenses and what you feel comfortable keeping in the house.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

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Emergency Uses for Old Socks

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Emergency Uses for Old SocksThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Some of the most commonly thrown out items of clothing are old socks.  Even if you are careful about keeping them together, invariably, one will get lost.  Don’t throw them out – there are some good emergency uses for old socks.  I keep a bag of clean, mismatched socks for cleaning.

Here are a few more ideas:

Dusting

Instead of using paper towels, save a few tube socks and use them for dusting. Put your hand inside the sock and dust your surfaces.  Even the ones with holes can be salvaged for dusting.

 Warm your hands

Put socks over your hands before putting on gloves to give you an extra layer of warmth.

Prevent Door Drafts

You can also fill up the sock with other materials such as rags and use as a barrier under doors or windows to keep draft from entering your home.

Layer up

Of course, you can wear old socks under other socks as another layer of insulation for when it gets really cold. No one is going to see them nor care if they are mismatched.

Heating pad for aches and pains

Fill up and old cotton sock (must have no holes in it) about 1/2 – 2/3 full with rice and sew the edge shut. You now have an instant warmer.   Microwave the rice sock for one to two minutes and apply it to the affected area.  Or, use it to warm yourself up in the winter.

Ice pack

Similarly, you can use an old sock when you need an ice bag:  Fill a baggie with ice, zip it shut and place inside a sock.  The sock acts like a barrier between the ice and your skin.

Hiding Place

I sometimes hide extra cash inside an old sock and throw them among others. Just make sure the sock does not have any holes and remember where you stashed it.

Weapon

A large handful of coins inside a sock with the open end tied together can be used as a makeshift weapon in an emergency situation if you are being attacked.

Filter for Water

If you are desperate, use a clean sock to strain out solids from water.  You will still need to boil or purify the water, but at least you can remove rocks and other debris.

Scrubber

A single sock can be used instead of a sponge or scrubber.

Shoe Polisher

You can use an old sock to polish old shoes.  See Basic Shoe Care for tips and use your old socks as rags.

Cushion for Packing

I’ve used old socks to pack away fragile items such as Christmas ornaments, porcelain etc.  You can also use them to wrap shoes before placing in your luggage.

Prevent Scuffing

When moving furniture, wrap old socks around chair legs and other furniture parts that may scuff the floor or walls.

With all these multiple uses, you’ll want to give your old socks a second chance before throwing them in the trash.

Please share in the comments your favorite uses for old socks.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

 

 

 

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10 Preparedness Steps for the New Year

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10 Preparedness Steps for the New Year

As we look forward to 2015, we continue to improve on our preparedness skills and supplies:

Here are 10 preparedness steps to take

  1. Power outage supplies  We checked our supply of batteries, matches, flashlights, camping stove and lanterns as well as solar chargers in case the power gets interrupted.
  2. Evaluate how long you can last without going to the store.  How much water and food have you managed to store so far?  For us, due to space issues, we have about a couple week’s worth of water, and about 12 weeks worth of food, including the refrigerator and pantry.  I’d really like to increase my water storage but we did add backup filters.
  3. Financial preparedness.  We had a tight year financially, but hope to improve our money situation this year by paying off debt, adding to our stockpile and learning more DIY skills.
  4. Continue adding self-sufficiency skills.  At Apartment Prepper, so far we’ve learned how to make bread from scratch, brew coffee without electricity, sprout seeds and make home made yogurt.  I tried making starter but that didn’t work out the first time-I am going to try that again this year.  I acquired the materials for an insulated cooker, and plan to make one this coming year.  I’d also like to learn more about essential oils and natural remedies.
  5. De-clutter and make more space for supplies.  We are always trying to find space for survival supplies, so we have to keep re-evaluating our space.
  6. Examine canned food expiration dates- we always rotate our canned foods to avoid this food storage disaster.
  7. Evaluate our home security.  Being in the big city, we are always conscious of security issues.  Make your doors and windows more secure and consider other alternatives for home security.
  8. Evaluate items you carry daily and consider personal security items as well.
  9. Update our grab and go binder.  I am sure we have new documents and records from 2014 that need to be added, and old ones replaced.
  10. Revisit our health and hygiene supplies.  This past year the country had the ebola scare, which thankfully did not spread, although it is still ravaging many countries in Africa.  This showed how pandemic threats can surface and supplies quickly sell out.

The above is not a complete list, but should hopefully get you thinking about your own preparedness and survival activities.  Don’t feel bad if you had expectations you did not meet.  Just getting started places you ahead of 70% of the population.

 

 

Happy New Year to Everyone!

 

 

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Monday Musings 12/29/2014: Best Preparedness Links

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Monday Musings 12292014 Best Preparedness Links

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to the final Monday Musings of 2014, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

This week finds me replacing supplies and re-evaluating plans for the upcoming year.  I plan to add more self-sufficiency skills such as dehydrating food, baking with natural yeast and making our own cleaning and hygiene supplies with essential oils.  We plan to continue our product reviews and giveaways as well.

Now for the links…

There are a few more links than usual, and most of them feature popular articles this past year from The Prepared Bloggers group.

40 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

22 New Uses for Old Pill Bottles

Homemade Hamburger Helper: 9 varieties

Methods to Determine Direction

Prepping Diversification

How To Build Your Own Can Rotating Rack

30 Reasons to Carry a Handkerchief

D.I.Y “Mom’s Super Laundry Sauce”

Home Remedies for Toothaches, Gingivitis and More

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

// ]]>

 

 

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Review of Valley Food Storage Mango Habanero Chili

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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

 

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Merry Christmas Everyone!

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Merry Christmas

 

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!  Thanks for stopping by and sharing this Holy Day with me!

 

 

Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.  For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.  She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:  19-21

 

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations* will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’  —   Matthew 25

 

 

 

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Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Review

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Tropical Traditions gold_label_virgin_coconut_oil_32ozLately, I have been using coconut oil a lot, both for cooking and personal care.  I prefer virgin coconut oil, and I am glad I found out about Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil.

I received a sample of Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil.

The first thing I noticed was how well the product was packaged.  They really made sure the jar was well-cushioned in a sturdy box.

Tropical Traditions gold_label_virgin_coconut_oil1

I tasted the coconut oil and it had a very mild “toasted coconut” flavor.  I was ready to try cooking with it.  For anyone who has never tried out coconut oil, this oil is solid but easily dissolves in low to medium heat.  Coconut oil tolerates high cooking temperatures well, and therefore ideal for deep frying.  However it can be used for other methods such as stir frying and pan frying, as long as your pan is sufficiently hot.

Cooking with Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil

I made Chicken Tenders using Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil. Here is a quick recipe:

1 lb. breast of chicken

corn starch

salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder

5 tbsp. coconut oil

Slice the chicken into bite size pieces.  Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.  Coat liberally with corn starch.  Refrigerate for 10-12 minutes.

Using medium heat, melt five tbsp. coconut oil.  When oil is hot, add the chicken and fry until golden brown.  Serve with your favorite sauce or gravy.

Tropical Traditions gold_label_virgin_coconut_oil2

At first I thought it may come out with a coconut-y flavor which I don’t mind but I was not sure if the family would like it.  I need not have worried:  the chicken turned out to be flavorful, but did not have a coconut taste or smell.  In fact, the chicken was delicious.

Tropical Traditions gold_label_virgin_coconut_oil3Other uses that I have tried:

  • Moisturize hands and face
  • Calm frizzy hair and add shine – add 1/2 teaspoon to palm and allow to dissolve.  Rub on hair, especially the ends.

In all cases, Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil performed well.  I liked it so much I signed up as an affiliate.  The quart size is currently on sale for $29.50

For more information, please visit:

•    Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil page (http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/virgin_coconut_oil.htm)
•    Embed our video on Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h6eycjf29M
•    Tropical Traditions Home Page (http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/)

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

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Is it Safe to Refreeze Thawed Meat?

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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

 

Puritan's Pride

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Are You Prepared for a Cyber Attack?

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Are You Prepared for a Cyber Attack

Years ago, I watched the movie Live Free or Die Hard which dealt with the hero, John McClane (Bruce Willis) versus a team of cyber criminals who were trying to bring down the country’s financial, transportation and power infrastructure.  At that time the idea was scary but seemed farfetched;  these days, it seems a lot more plausible.  Cyber attacks are increasingly common these days, from almost daily reports of department stores being hacked to a massive breach of security of a major motion picture company.  Many tech experts predict an ever increasing likelihood of cyber attack.

Although economic collapse is still high on the list of possible risks, I now believe the risk of cyber attack crippling or at least hampering an area of people’s lives is highly possible.  When personal financial information was stolen during the recent Target breach, a lot of people found their accounts frozen and inaccessible.  Many were unable to use their credit or debit cards for several days.  If you had all your accounts in one place, you could potentially be denied access to your own money for several days.  The threat could be even worse should the power grid be compromised.

No one can foresee the scale that a cyber attack could take:  it could be on a personal scale, where only select accounts are targeted, or large scale where infrastructure is targeted.  I don’t have all the answers, and hope nothing happens, but hope to mitigate some of the risks by taking a few steps:

Financial

  1. Use cash instead of credit or debit cards.  I know this sounds inconvenient, and almost sounds ancient, but to me, cash is still king – your personal information won’t be breached, and your purchases are not tracked if you went back to using cash.  Plus, since you only have a certain amount, you will not be likely to overspend.
  2. Use an RFID blocker  Because a lot of our information are stored in RFIDs, your cards can be stolen from afar using RFID readers.  These cards block RFID readers from scanning your driver’s license, debit or credit cards other RFID cards.
  3. When shopping online, use a credit instead of a debit card.  Credit cards offer more protection than debit cards if your information is stolen and you have to deny the fraudulent charges.
  4. Have a cash emergency fund in a safe place.  Find ways to increase your fund. Tell only people you trust, but don’t mention it to anyone else.
  5. Have a backup way to pay bills.  If you pay bills online, double check a few days after you set up payments to make sure the payments went out without any problems.  If your payments did not go out properly you cannot use the “bank glitch” as an excuse.  You may have to mail your payments late or pay at authorized payment centers such as the grocery store’s customer service center or the utility offices.
  6. Keep a book of stamps, as well as extra checks in case you do have to mail checks.  Many households no longer use checks but do everything online.
  7. Guard your passwords carefully and do not store them online.  Periodically change your passwords using more complex combinations of characters instead of easy ones.
  8. Avoid giving out your social security number and other personal identifying information unless absolutely necessary.  Every doctor’s office asks for it, but they don’t need it – most health plans have their own policy and group numbers.  Politely decline and insist they use the card number and not your social.  Every cashier tries to ask for a phone number even on a cash transaction.  I always refuse nicely.
  9. Do not click on unsolicited email links, attachments etc.  If you receive email from your financial institution, do not click on the link within the email, instead, log in directly to their website, or call the 800 number to find out the issue.

Office

  1. Have a plan on how to get out of your building.  I’ve been in the office when power went out and I got stuck in a crowded elevator for several minutes.  It is not an experience I’d care to repeat.
  2. You need alternate routes to get home in the event of an emergency.
  3. Backup your projects on a regular basis.
  4. Have an office emergency kit in your desk:  water, food, first aid kit, cash and comfortable shoes are a few items you can start with.
  5. Follow your office’s IT protocols regarding online security and confidentiality – you don’t want to be the one that inadvertently contributed to a data breach.

Home

  1. Store a minimum of two weeks worth of water and food.  Even if you lose access to your bank accounts, your family will survive.
  2. Prepare for a power outage.
  3. Have a backup source of power such as a generator, solar chargers, and backup cooking alternatives.
  4. Backup your documents and photos – don’t store everything online.  You can store your documents in your Grab and Go Binder, I know photos are too numerous to have hard copies of all of them, but you can keep copies of the precious ones, but back up the rest in a flash drive or an external hard drive.
  5. Backup your cell phone contact list in a hard copy.  If you are not able to access your phone contacts for any reason, you can still contact them via a land line, by mail or another network.
  6. If you live in an apartment building, know alternate ways to get into your unit if the remote control garage or gate opener does not work.
  7. If you have a newer TV that is connected to the internet, you need to be aware that information goes back and forth.  Your TV could be watching you and collecting data about you without your knowledge.
  8. Consider alternate methods of communication such as ham radio

As with other emergencies, there is no way to predict when a cyber attack will occur.  All you can do is be prepared for emergencies.

 

 

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Coconut Oil: A Prepper’s Panacea

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 Coconut Oil A Prepper's PanaceaThis post originally appears in The Organic Prepper

Written by Daisy Luther

What shelf stable item can be used (nutritiously) in place of butter, shortening, and cooking oil, and then pressed into duty as a health and beauty aid?

Coconut oil!

One of my favorite pantry items is my big jar of organic virgin coconut oil, and the crazy thing is, I don’t even like coconuts.  If you slip me a cookie that has those nasty little flakes of coconut in them, I’ll probably spit it out – I really, emphatically don’t like coconut!  I am stressing this point because coconut oil has a place in the kitchen of even the most die-hard coconut hater (like me!).
Sometimes people who are seeking a healthier lifestyle make the mistake of avoiding all fats.  Sure, eating a bag of Doritos covered in cheese is terrible for you (in more ways than just the fat content!) – but certain fats can be a healthy, and very necessary,  part of your diet.  In fact, these “healthy fats” can actually aid in weight loss, if that is your goal.  Some examples of these healthy fats would be those from nuts, avocados, seeds, certain fish, and coconut oil. Consumption of these fats will improve your hair, your skin, your immune system, and your organ function when consumed in moderate quantities. As well, certain nutrients are fat soluble and can only be properly used by your body in the presence of fat.  For example, Vitamins A, D, E, and K should be taken when you eat a small amount of fat.

All coconut oils are not created equally. There are a few basic types of coconut oil, and it’s important to get the “right” kind for your needs in order to reap the full benefits of your purchase.

Refined or Unrefined?

First, you’ll need to decide between refined and unrefined.  This relates to the process of extracting the oil.

A refined coconut oil is separated by heat.  Refined coconut oil is more heat-stable and can be used in cooking methods like frying.  Many people opt for refined coconut oil because it is flavorless and odorless. The shelf life of a refined coconut oil, according to the expiration dates is 18 months to 2 years.  A refined coconut oil loses some nutritional benefits but how much really depends upon the refining process that is used.

  • Expeller Pressed:  This is the traditional method of extracting coconut oil.  No chemicals are used in this method – the oil is extracted by a machine which physically presses out the oil, then is deodorized by distilling it with steam.  If you opt for a refined oil, look for “expeller pressed” on the label.
  • RBD:  The RBD (refining bleaching deodorizing) process often uses chemical solvents like hexane to extract the oil. (Hexane is a toxic chemical that can be used to dissolve adhesive, cement and glue.)  This process is generally performed on previously dried coconut kernel called copra, which is often made from lower quality or old coconuts.

An unrefined coconut oil is also called virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil.  This oil has the light scent and flavor of coconut, which disappears somewhat when used in cooking. This type of coconut oil has the most nutritional benefits and the shelf life has been documented as anywhere from 2-5 years, to “indefinite”.

Health Benefits

The number one health benefit of coconut oil is that about 50% of it is lauric acid, an essential fatty acid that is only otherwise found naturally in such high levels in human breast milk. The human body turns lauric acid into monolaurin, which contains antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal and antifungal properties, so basically, it boosts your immunity in every possible way.

The Coconut Research Center summarized the health benefits of coconut oil, based on recent scientific studies.  (Please follow the link for further documentation.)

  • Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.
  • Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.
  • Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.
  • Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.
  • Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.
  • Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
  • Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
  • Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
  • Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
  • Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
  • Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
  • Helps protect against osteoporosis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
  • Improves digestion and bowel function.
  • Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Supports tissue healing and repair.
  • Supports and aids immune system function.
  • Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
  • Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
  • Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
  • Functions as a protective antioxidant.
  • Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
  • Does not deplete the body’s antioxidant reserves like other oils do.
  • Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
  • Reduces epileptic seizures.
  • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
  • Dissolves kidney stones.
  • Helps prevent liver disease.
  • Is lower in calories than all other fats.
  • Supports thyroid function.
  • Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.
  • Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
  • Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.
  • Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
  • Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
  • Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
  • Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
  • Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
  • Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.
  • Provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
  • Helps control dandruff.
  • Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do.
  • Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.
  • Is completely non-toxic to humans.

Storage and Shelf Life

Coconut oil has a melting point of 76F/24C.  If it is stored above that temperature it will be a liquid, and below it will be a solid.  It doesn’t harm the coconut oil to be in the liquid state – keep in mind that coconuts originate from a tropical climate. The shelf life will be extended if the product is stored in a cool, dark place, however,  if you store it in the refrigerator it will be rock hard.  You can soften it by placing the closed jar in a pan of hot water.

If you are purchasing a large quantity of coconut oil (for example, a 1-5 gallon bucket) use a sterilized, completely dry spoon or scoop and dip out enough oil for regular use. I keep a 1 pint jar of coconut oil in the bathroom and a quart jar in the kitchen.

As mentioned elsewhere in the article, the shelf life declared by the coconut oil companies ranges from 18 months-2 years for refined coconut oil, and 2 years-4 years-beyond for virgin coconut oil.

How to use Coconut Oil in the Kitchen

Coconut oil can serve many purposes in the kitchen.  If you use virgin coconut oil it will impart a very light coconut flavor to your cooking, but it isn’t really comparable to the flavor you get from adding flaked coconut.  I suggest you get a small jar to test it out before investing in quantity, because there’s nothing worse than making a large investment in something that you find distasteful.

For the best results, raise or lower the temperature of your coconut oil to reach the consistency of the item you are replacing.  For example, if you are baking and the recipe calls for shortening, briefly chill the coconut oil until it is a firm consistency. You can use coconut oil in place of:

  • Butter (use 25% less coconut oil than the amount of butter called for)
  • Shortening
  • Vegetable oil for cooking
  • Vegetable oil for salad dressings
  • Lard

You can also make popcorn in coconut oil over popcorn for a lightly flavored sweet treat.

Cosmetic and External Uses

This is the way coconut oil first made its way into my home – the cosmetic uses!  When I was searching for a lotion and moisturizer that didn’t contain nasty parabens and petroleum products, while also being safe on my daughter’s extremely sensitive skin, I discovered coconut oil.  The pleasant scent is an added bonus. We use it in many different ways.
  • Facial moisturizer
  • Moisturizing body wash
  • Body lotion
  • Treating minor burns
  • Treating skin rashes
  • Treating insect bites
  • Deep conditioner for hair
  • Cuticle treatment
  • Make-up remover
  • Lip balm
Other uses that I can’t personally confirm, but that I came across when researching this article:
  • Aftershave
  • Deodorant (because of the antimicrobial qualities)
  • Toothpaste (mix with baking soda)
  • Sunscreen
  • Nipple cream for breast-feeding women (and non-toxic to baby, unlike the commercial products)
  • Diaper rash
  • Cradle cap
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Rosacea
  • Personal lubricant (do not use with latex condoms)
  • Insect repellent (mix with lavender or peppermint essential oil)
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Acne
  • Treating minor cuts and abrasions
In my own stockpile, the only fats I have stored are organic virgin coconut oil and organic olive oil, with the majority being coconut oil.  Because it is a nutritional gold mine, coconut oil is a very worthwhile substitute for many of the fats commonly used in our kitchens. I have limited storage space, also, so I like to store things that can serve many uses.

Once you try this multi-tasking superstar, you’ll wonder how you got by so long without it!

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca – See more at: http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/the-organic-canner-a-guide-to-preserving-real-food-12062014#sthash.UAWEQtVe.dpuf




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