Treats and Snacks in Your Food Storage

Treats and Snacks in Your Food StorageIn the movie Zombieland, one of the goals of Woody Harrelson’s character had was to find a store that had Twinkies.  He was obsessed with getting a hold of a Twinkie stash he wouldn’t let anything, including a bunch of zombies get in his way.  It might have been just some product placement but they still had a valid point – a disaster does not make you stop craving for treats.

At the worst of Hurricane Ike, which sent me on my path to preparedness, I really wanted cheese and crackers.  When the stores finally opened, there was no dairy to be found, including any kind of cheese whatsoever, even Cheez Weez was gone.  After that, I made sure I have cheese on hand, including cheese spread  – I know it’s fake, but it’ll do.  I admit I happen to like artificial cheese flavor – Doritos and Cheetos Cheese Puffs.

Adding snacks and treats to your food storage

What Snacks and Treats should you Include?

The answer really depends on you – the items you really crave, as well the amount of space you have.  Some ideas:

  • Chocolate   A lot of people crave chocolate; I do enjoy a good bar of plain Hershey’s on occasion, as well as my all time favorite, Heath Bars.  You can even rationalize that it is good for you, especially dark chocolate.  You do need to make sure you buy it well ahead of expiration dates, and the packaging must not be broken.  When I first started working, I had the misfortune of opening up a bar of Rocky Road Marshmallow Chocolate (these used to be my favorite) and it was full of maggots *shudder*  I bought it from a convenience store in my office building at the time and it must not have been stored properly.
  • Crackers and cookies   Cookies and crackers can be satisfying treats, and not just for the kids.  Again, pay attention to the packaging and dates.  You already know what you and your family like, just pick up a couple of boxes and save them.
  • Nuts and seeds   Nuts and seeds are both satisfying and healthy – pick up a few cans or jars of peanuts, cashews, macadamia, almonds etc.
  • Dried fruit   Again, they are both tasty and good for you.  Pick up raisins,  dehydrated strawberries, blueberries etc.  Or better yet, pick up a food dehydrator and dry them yourself.  (one of my “to-do’s”)
  • Chips   Okay, these are not so healthy but I like them.  Between salty and sweet, I am partial to salty snacks.  Go on, pick your favorites and have a few bags on hand, just in case.
  • Bacon   The only person I know who hates bacon is a vegetarian, everyone else loves it.  Bacon comes in a can, so you have options.
  • Soda   I am not a soda drinker, but I do like carbonated water.  Some people swear by 7-Up to relieve stomach aches so who am I to judge.  Keep a liter or two in your pantry, you can always use the plastic bottle for water storage.  Or, learn to make your own soda at home.

Tips:

  • Make sure the items you keep are shelf stable, that is, no refrigeration needed.
  • Buy items that have long expiration dates.
  • Pick up items while on sale and stock up.  Halloween is coming up in a few weeks – now is a good time to stock up on chocolate and candy.  You can even freeze them for later use and use them for making other desserts.
  • Follow the same tips to avoid food storage mistakes, as you do other foods.

As an added benefit, your non-prepping teen or spouse will feel a little more receptive to preparing if you include their wish list to your storage.  In an emergency, having favorite snacks would boost family morale.  And, if nothing happens, then you still have your favorite treats on hand for cravings.

 

 

 



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Monday Musings 10/13/2014

Monday Musings 0132014This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

As I write this, we are hearing about a nurse who tested positive for ebola in Dallas.  The articles state she was wearing protective gear during the time she had contact with Mr. Duncan the first ebola patient who has died, however there was a breach in protocols.  Seeing a lot of searches on the blog about this; I urge you not to panic but stay informed and read all you can about it.  If you haven’t already, read previous articles I’ve written here and here.  I am sure we will be discussing this more in the coming weeks.

Lot’s of giveaways!  Don’t forget to enter the Cox’s Honey Giveaway that’s going on right now.

We’re doing two more this month, so please check back.  Today’s Monday Musings is likely to be the last one for October, as we will be announcing those giveaways the next two Mondays.  I’ll still be posting my regular articles as usual.

Good deal on non GMO seeds.  We also have the great discount offer from Seeds of the Month Club for Apartment Prepper readers – 25% off their regular price if you sign up through our Link below:

Seeds of the Month ClubBook Tour at Survivor Jane’s  Check out the Book Tour over at Survivor Jane’s site.  I’ve already done one review, and plan to do another one soon!

Now for the links…

How to be a Prepper…But Not One of Those Crazy Ones

Practically Free Egg Carton Dryer Lint Firestarters

Hands-Only CPR and When to Add the Breathing

5 Lessons on Self-Reliance at The Pathfinder School

I want Christmas to be debt-free

21 Survival Uses For Dental Floss

The boiling bag

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Monday Musings: 9/29/2014

Monday Musings 09272014

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

I haven’t had as much time to work on Apartment Prepper this past week due to a tight work schedule.  I hope this week will be much better.

Fall is here and I am so glad the weather is starting to cool off (not a let yet, but I am grateful)  I have some interesting projects coming up, one of them is how to make a heat retention cooker aka, a wonder oven, thanks to instructions from fellow blogger Megan who runs the My Food Storage Cookbook site.  As always, I will let you know how it turns out.

Now for the links…

One Awesome Article site launch

Todd of Prepper Website has a neat new site: www.oneawesomearticle.com. The idea is that guys will receive one AWESOME article in their inbox a day.  It is geared towards guys, but you ladies will want your guys to get this to make them a better…..guy.  The article will include a link to an awesome article on the web, special offers, book suggestions or cool products.  This great info will only come through the daily email, so make sure you sign up.  This is not a paid endorsement.  I just know that after visiting  Prepper Website for several years now, I can always count on Todd to point me to some great leads on the web.

oneawesomearticle.com

 

New NatGeo show

The new show is called Live Free or Die.  While not prepper focused, the series focuses on self-reliance and homesteading which is always of interest.

Ep105_006_LiveFreeOrDie

Live Free or Die photo, Courtesy of National Geographic, with permission

 

Live Free or Die examines one of America’s most remote subcultures, following five individuals living in the country’s backwoods and swamps with few of the trappings of modern society. Freed from the constraints of a technology-fueled existence, they are modern-day pioneers who rely only on skill and intuition to harness the natural environment. Here is a clip, courtesy of National Geographic.

Live Free or Die: Road Kill: It’s What’s For Dinner!

North Carolina homesteaders, Tony and Amelia, cook road kill given to them by Amelia’s Dad.

Link: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/live-free-or-die/videos/road-kill-its-whats-for-dinner/

Embed:

More links…

Chlorine Bleach For Sanitizing Raw Fruits And Vegetables

I’m Going To ???

An Open Letter to My Past Female Students Entering College

A Prepared Cook’s Guide To Creating An Ideal Kitchen Space

From Dehydrated to Dinner

17 Clever Food Storage Tricks

Castile Soap – Make Chemical Free Products for Your Family

Getting a Child and Yourself Ready for College

 

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

National Preparedness Month: Put Your Preps to the Test with 24 Hours Unplugged

 National Preparedness Month Put Your Preps to the TestWritten by Daisy Luther

This article first appear in The Organic Prepper

It’s National Preparedness Month, and the Professional Prepared Bloggers Association is celebrating by providing you with tons of information from some of the best writers in the niche in our 30 Days of Preparedness round-up!

It’s Day 28!!!! It’s time to take your game up a notch with 24 hours unplugged! No fair doing this on a day when you will be away from your normal activities anyway – you want to put your preps to the test!

A grid down scenario doesn’t have to be a massive EMP that detonates over the middle of the country, throwing us back to the 1800s.  It can be as simple (and likely) as a winter storm, a hurricane, or a computer issue at your local power station. While this is a fairly common occurrence, many people still seem taken completely by surprise when it happens. Without back-up heat, cooking methods, and lighting, the unprepared family could be in for a very unpleasant time until the lights come back on. Every family should be prepared for a minimum of two weeks without power.  Nearly 2000 families were still without power 94 days after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast.

Here’s why you should test your preps.

A couple of years ago, my youngest daughter and I spent a year in the North Woods of Ontario.  It was a grand adventure, totally different from the city life we’d had previous to this.  Our small cabin was on the banks of a beautiful lake and the edge of hundreds of acres of forest wilderness.  It was heated only by wood, and although we had electricity, we were warned that it was sporadic, since we were fairly remote and regular maintenance was not always performed on the lines of the area.

As a prepared family we were pretty sure we’d be just fine when the power went out.

The first time it happened was on a mild early autumn morning. The power went out for no apparent reason, and we high-fived each other. Game on!

Since it was afternoon and the weather was nice, it really wasn’t much of a challenge. The power returned before daylight, we had some stuff in the fridge for sandwiches, and we basically just needed to entertain ourselves sans grid. No big deal – we are bookworms, so we spent the day curled up with some good reads.  We did make one unexpected discovery – our well was pumped by an electric component, so when the power went out, we also had no running water, including water to flush with.  Of course, we had stored drinking water, and we brought a couple of buckets of water up from the lake for flushing, so this was a minor inconvenience.

However, it did get me thinking about how we would flush if the weather was cold enough that the lake was frozen, but there wasn’t snow on the ground.  Hmmm…#1 Note to Self – store water for flushing too!

The next power outage occurred a couple of weeks later and it was a much bigger deal. The initial outage hit at about 7 o’clock on a chilly fall evening. It was dark and cold. We stoked up a fire in the woodstove, and began to search for our lighting solutions. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had the forethought to set up off-grid lighting in each room, so after digging for my candles in the dark closet, I had to carry one around to light candles in subsequent rooms.

#2 Note to Self: Keep candles, holders, and lighters in each room in a place which is easy to access in the dark.  After this, we placed candles in holders are part of the decor all around the house.

The wind roared around outside the cabin and our power did not return for 3 days.  We used the woodstove to heat up meals, but we couldn’t find all of the bits and pieces for a game we wanted to play. #3 Note to Self: Keep off-grid entertainment well-organized, especially if there are children in the house.

On the second day of the outage, we dragged our chest freezer out onto the deck to keep our food from going bad in the cozy cabin. #4 Note to Self:  Get something sturdy to store food in outdoorsthat won’t draw wild animals to your porch that also doesn’t require you to drag a 200+ pound appliance outside.

By the time the next power outage rolled around, we had learned many lessons. At the first sign of windy weather, we immediately filled the bathtub. A bucket right beside the tub served as a container to transfer water from the tub to the toilet so that we could flush. A sturdy Rubbermaid storage bench with a lock resided on our deck, waiting to be pressed into duty as an outdoor freezer.  Each room boasted of decorative candles.  Home canned meals in jars lined my kitchen shelves, and a beautiful cast iron Dutch oven sat at the ready to simmer a delicious stew or pot of beans on the woodstove. A couple of pretty baskets were filled with art supplies and games (with all of their pieces) and a couple of kerosene lamps that were bright enough for reading sat at either end of the sofa.  Since the fans that blew the heat into the bedrooms obviously did not work without power, we had a couple of air mattresses to set up in the living room on the coldest nights, so we could stay cozy by the fire.

The next time the power went out, we were excited because it meant a break in our day-to-day routine of work and school.  Power outages had become mini-vacations, and were no longer even a blip on the radar for us.

We don’t live in our little cabin in the woods any more, but the lessons we learned allow us to take power outages in stride in a way that most people don’t. Even though we don’t expect a shaky grid where we live now, our home is organized in the way that we learned up North. Lighting, extra water, sanitation, cold food solutions, and off-grid cooking tools are all close at hand should they be needed.

Are you ready to test your preps?

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to go for 24 hours without the grid. This means no electrical power, no central climate control, and no running water!  Some people will go hardcore and turn of the main water valve and flip all of the breakers. Others will just opt not to use those items.

 

  1. During your 24 hours off-grid, you’ll eat three meals, go to the bathroom, keep your family clean and at a comfortable temperature, and entertain yourselves. This a tall order in some locations!
  2. Plan ahead of time how you’ll overcome the challenges – you can learn a lot this way.
  3. But the real learning experience will come from the challenges you didn’t expect and plan for. This is how you will fill the holes that exist in your preps. It is far better to discover those gaps now, when back-up is as close as the breaker box in your basement, than it is to discover it when disaster strikes.
  4. Give every family member a notebook so they can jot down what works and what doesn’t.  Once your Grid-Down drill is over, compare notes.  You may be surprised at the observations your children have made.
  5. Make a shopping list based on the notes and fill those gaps!

 Testing…1,2,3…

Have you tried an off-grid drill before? What did you learn? If not, what’s stopping you? Share in the comments below.

Supplemental Reading:

One Second After

Alas, Babylon

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

 

About the Author:
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

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

What would You Do if Ebola Were to Spread in Your City?

What would you do if ebola were to spread in your city

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is still very much in the news.  Most news articles keep stressing that it is unlikely to reach the U.S. and downplay any threats.  On the other hand, the CDC has released guidelines for hospitals should an infected person were to present himself.  New projections estimate that 500,000 may be infected by the end of January.  (Note:  Since the article was written, the estimates have now been revised to 1.4 million)

Earlier this week, Urban Survival had a good discussion about it:  When Will Ebola Infect the Markets?  Mr. Ure brought up a good point that if people got desperate enough, they would say anything or do anything to get out of their area and fly somewhere.  The problem would be if they were already infected and didn’t know it, then get on a plane, potentially exposing hundreds of people.

How people can get exposed in a hospital

Consider for a moment what could happen when a person who appears to have flu-like symptoms but has Ebola were to go the emergency room.

  1. The person signs in and sits down before getting called.  If they appear to be in urgent need, they may get seen quicker than others, but either way, they sit in a waiting room with people on either side, in front and behind them.  These people could potentially be exposed.  I should state that all reports say they virus is not airborne, yet a few healthcare workers who have suits on still seem to catch it somehow.  Let’s say just four people are exposed, being on the conservative side.  There would be more if the hospital is in a busy urban area.
  2. The patient then gets called to speak to a billing person who interviews him or her regarding insurance and payment.  That person could now be exposed.
  3. Finally, the patient is sent inside the emergency department.  While waiting for the doctor, a nurse or assistant takes their blood pressure, temperature, questions them about symptoms, etc.  None of these personnel were protective clothing.  Now we have seen five people exposed, from the minute the patient came in.
  4. Finally, the person is seen by a doctor, who then orders that the patient be admitted.  The doctor is now the 6th person who came in contact with the infected patient.

If the patient is not immediately identified as contagious, more workers will be taking x-rays, wheeling the patient around in elevators, etc.  By now, there could be at least 10 people exposed.

At a recent doctor’s appointment, I asked the doctor if he was at all concerned about the spread of Ebola in the U.S.  This was around the time the first patient was sent to Emory University Hospital.  My doctor indicated was not too worried, since he was very familiar with Emory and they have the best infection control policies and equipment.  However he said, “unless some grievous error were to happen,” in other words, a medical mistake, which can happen if there were more infected patients.  I’ve worked in hospitals in the past, and accidents do happen.  Even the most careful, rigorous protocols occasionally fail.  I don’t want anyone to panic by any means, but to consider the possibility and make a plan just in case.

A few things to think about:

  • Are you at risk for infection if the virus spread to your town or city?  Densely populated areas tend to have people living closer together, thus increasing the risk of exposure.  If you live in an apartment building that has common areas such as coffee rooms, reception areas, swimming pool, management office and elevators, you may need to away from these areas should there be a pandemic.
  • At what point would you keep everyone at home?  When would you skip work, have your partner stay home, and keep kids from school?
  • Would you stay in your apartment or home, or leave and go to a safer, less populated location?  Many city dwellers do not have a bug-out location, but do have family or friends outside of town who may be in a less crowded area.  Now is the time to think about this, before anything happens.
  • Are you prepared for a lockdown?  You’ll need enough food and supplies for a couple of weeks without having to shopping.  You won’t want to run out of toilet paper, prescriptions and other essentials if you are trying to avoid crowds and exposure.
  • If someone at home were to get sick, do you have supplies to get you through?  You would need sick room supplies such as protective clothing (gloves, protective goggles) lots of disinfectant such as bleach, antibacterial wipes, basic first aid supplies, etc.

I don’t have all the answers, but I hope this exercise gets you thinking and getting a few supplies just in case.  If nothing happens, then we can all be relieved and grateful.  Just like with any other disaster, if the dreaded event happens, it’s best to be prepared.  See What to Do If you are Worried about Ebola

When the CDC Tells Us to Prepare for the Ebola Pandemic, Things Are About to Get Real

Get updates from the CDC website

Apartment Prepper readers know I am not given to fear-mongering and I try to take a common sense approach to preparing for disasters.  I pray the troops who are sent to help with the outbreak stay safe and  hope that current measures are enough to contain the ebola outbreak and it will burn out soon.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

 

 Ebola Survival Handbook now available

Ebola Survival Handbook

SunJack Solar Charger – Product Review

SunJack1 (5)I had the opportunity to test out the SunJack portable solar charger.  

What is the SunJack?

It is a portable solar charger by GigaWatt that can charge any USB device – phones, tablets, GPS, cameras, speakers, lights, and more.

Here is how it works:

The SunJack harnesses solar energy for direct charging or it can store power in a removable UltraSlim battery for use 24/7, rain or shine. After only 5 hours of direct sunlight, the 14 watt SunJack can power either 4 iPhones, 0.7 iPads or 8-9 hours of LED light using the SunJack USB CampLight. Unlike many other chargers, the SunJack kit includes a 1-2 batteries enabling you to simultaneously power 4 to 6 USB devices at a rate equal to on-grid charge speed (2 Amp).

Here is the SunJack right out of the box.

SunJack1 (2)

It comes with the four solar panels with USB charging unit, the battery pack, two carabiners and instructions for use.

I tried it out by leaving the SunJack outside on a small coffee table exposed to direct sunlight.

SunJack1 (3)You plug the battery to the charging unit and leave it alone in direct sunlight.

I left it out there for three hours

After three hours, I checked on the charge and found it was almost fully charged:

SunJack1 (1)There was only one more light indicator not lighting up at this point.    I asked my contact at SunJack about this and here is what he told me:

The last 20% charges a little slower to protect the battery and maximize the battery life. This is characteristic of Lithium batteries charge circuitry. Most likely if the battery is left in full sun for 5-6 hours the last led would also light up. 4 hours in full sun usually gets the battery 80% charged. Note this also occurs with iPhones as they charge to 80% really fast then charge speed slows down for last 20%.

It does make sense, as my own phone does the same thing.  After the final two hours, the fifth one lit up.

After the SunJack was fully charged, I charged up my phone and was pleased that the SunJack charged as quickly as am electric wall plug.  I’ve tested other solar chargers and the charging time is much slower than this one.  Granted, it was a smaller one with only three panels, but regardless, I was impressed at the fast charge of the SunJack.  Using the fully charged battery, I was able to charge my phone four times

The SunJack would be handy while camping to power up small devices – you can harness the power of the sun since you are outside already.  I think the SunJack is a great backup power source in the event of a power outage, or other emergencies.  As of this writing, it is available for $145 on Amazon and is currently on sale for $135 at LPC Survival.  The SunJack is well worth it.

 

Super Simple Tips to Trim Ounces from your Bug Out Bag

Super Simple Tips to Trim Ounces from your BugOut Bag

Written By Morry Banes

What’s the difference between a really smart prepper and an average one?

Let me get straight to the point, I believe that a really good preppers out there take things a step further. That one extra step is being prepared for the fact that a real life situation will probably prove that you can never be completely prepared.  Sounds complicated but it really comes down to making your bug out bag (BOB) more flexible.
Do not take what I just said the wrong way and start packing things for every scenario that you can think of, but think in terms of what you can do to include things in your BOB that can be used in more scenarios.  This will help you trim weight off your bug out bag, making it easier to carry.

Let’s take a step back here and look at the basic things that are most likely in your BOB right now and see if we can spot places where you could’ve done a better job.  So, it all comes down to walking straight down that yellow brick road that stands between having a BOB that’s versatile enough on one side and having one that will be bulky and heavy and only make things more difficult on the other.

1. Water – you would think that everything there is to say about water needs has already been said, but we are looking at things from a different angle here, trying to trim down some weight and bulk.
We can’t shrink down our 3-4 liters of water but we can:

  • Use a collapsible water bottle to save space
  • Extend the life of our water purification filters by adding coffee filters

2. Food – Think dense. When I say “dense” I mean calorie density.  I am all for simplicity here – to cover my food needs my 3 day BOB only includes: energy bars, 3 cans of anything protein (one for each day) and a light backpacking stove.  It’s so easy to overkill with bulky backpacking meals.

3. Clothes – boots, military style pants, a poncho, 2-3 pairs of socks, 1 pair on long underwear and one pair of thermo skin tight underwear suit, 2 short sleeve t-shirts.
Mentioning thermo skin tight underwear here might raise some eyebrows, but it packs so small and can make so much of a difference that it’s shame not to have it there.
Most of the preppers I know and talked to had significant space to peel in their BOBs just by cutting down on those 5 t-shirts and that second pair of pants. A skin suit a huge space-saver and much more versatile.  And yes, if you don’t have a bandana in your BOB, it’s back to the drawing board for you.

4. Shelter and sleep – again, simplicity is key to effective packing. Two tarps, a thin foam pad and a light sleeping bag adjusted to the temperatures you are expecting. I’ll never get onboard with the concept of a tent in a 3 day BOB.  A simple tarp is much more versatile.

As I said, when thinking about your BOB, don’t list endless scenarios in your head but think about items that can cover scenarios you’ll probably never think of.  You might want to read that sentence again.

5. First aid – one more thing that I’ll never get on board with is getting a factory made, pre-packed first aid kit. Building your own kit will not only save you space but the research alone will develop neurological pathways that will just deploy in the time of need.

6. Tools – this one is a biggie. First of all it’s essential to get it right because it’s the “outer wall” of everything we talked about and secondly, it’s the single point that can shave the most weight of your BOB.  If you are thinking screwdrivers, scissors, knives, bottle and can opener, let’s take a step back.

How about a multi tool?   I have to tiptoe in my wording here because many preppers might be offended if I talk about a multi tool like I came up with the idea.  But you would be surprised how many people aren’t really awake to the true value of a multi tool, and a lot of those who are don’t give that much thought to two basic questions:
1. multi tool pieces vs. standalone pieces
2. survival knife vs. a multi tool

Let’s get some clarity here:   If you play your cards right and choose wisely you’ll probably be able to replace a lot of standalone pieces of tools like pliers and wire cutters with a single tool.  No beating around the bush, my BOB includes a regular heavy-duty multi tool, a medical multi tool and a survival knife.

Allow me to give you my reasons here that also might give you some pointers for choosing your tool:

  • I stay away from glitter and shine and go for sheer usability in a multi tool (think Leatherman and Gerber).
  • Scissors in a regular multi tool will never be sturdy enough for your BOB. So, I’ll need standalone scissors. But instead of getting regular scissors I go for a medical multi tool that comes with sturdy heavy duty scissors. This covers the scissors issue but gives you so much more.
  • There’s no way around a proper survival knife for your BOB. None of the blades in the multitools are not even close to being as sturdy as that in standalone knife.

Getting things right here will probably cut the weight of the tools you carry in half.
I promised some clarity so let me share my choices:

Gerber 600 with a blunt nose
Leatherman Raptor
SOG Seal pup knife

Final thoughts

You can trim some serious “fat” from your 3 day BOB just by rethinking a few things using the pointers I offered in this article.  The end result – a lighter more flexible BOB free of fluff that you’ll probably never use and packed smartly with things you’ll really need and use.

Live smart and survive smarter,
Morry

About the author:
Morry Banes is an blogger in the field of multi tools, safety and preparedness. He runs a multi tool blog at bestmultitoolkit.com.

Morry is an ex multitool factory worker and today he owns a small hardware store in Tigard, Oregon, collects multitools and shares his passion by writing about them.

 

10 Easy Tips to Avoid Food Storage Problems

10 Easy Tips to Avoid Food Storage ProblemsThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

A lot of people are now considering storing food for emergencies but feel they have obstacles that prevent them from doing so.  Perhaps they feel they don’t have any free space, or become overwhelmed by the task.

Having limited space and living in a hot humid climate for at least 120 days out of the year, I am very familiar with storage problems.

Ideally, food should be stored at around 50-55 degrees, with no more that 15% humidity.   Does that mean you cannot store food if you do not have these ideal conditions?  Of course you can!  The conditions described are “in a perfect world” type scenario, and we all know it’s not perfect, otherwise we would not need to store food.

Summer temperatures in Texas reach over 100 degrees with 80% humidity.  To save electricity, we keep the air conditioning at around 78-80 degrees.  The A/C cuts down on humidity, but moisture still seeps in.  This is something we cannot ignore.  We just factor in that the food stored will not last as long as it would have at cooler, drier temperatures.

Here are some tips:

  • Clear out an area before getting started, or as you supply grows.  Clean out the junk closet and sell or donate items, leaving free space for food storage.  Try using underutilized spaces such as under the beds, inside empty suitcases or TV cabinet.
  • Avoid waste and store only foods that your family eats.  Resist the urge to stock up on sale or discontinued items just because of the low price.
  • Choose canned foods that have the longest expiration dates.  Do not buy cans that are dented or misshapen even if they are heavily discounted.  Although some studies have shown they can last a few years past their expiration dates, I prefer not to risk it, especially after a friend’s unfortunate experience.  Getting ill from eating spoiled food is not worth it.
  • Rotate your food constantly.  I mark the expiration date with a Sharpie marker on top of the canned food and on the sides to make sure I use them before those dates.  At least twice a year, go through your supplies and use anything close to expiration.
  • If you are storing bulk foods in mylar bags, observe the proper technique by using oxygen absorbers and letting all the air out.  Label your buckets with the contents and the date the food was stored.  Plan on using these stored foods within five years, instead of ten, if your storage conditions are not ideal.
  • Find out that pests got into your stored food such as rice or flour would be disastrous, not to mention expensive to replace.  Clean the area surrounding your food storage thoroughly.  Make sure the area is dry and pest free.  For additional protection from pests, keep stored foods in five gallon food grade buckets with tight lids.
  • For maximum shelf life, choose dehydrated or freeze-dried foods.  Mountain House, a provider of food for recreational and emergency purposes, just increased their stated shelf life from 10 years to 12 years on their pouches.
  • If you are storing water in containers for drinking, use and replace the water after a year.  Mark the date of storage on the container using a label or sharpie marker.  Mold or moss may develop after the container been sitting in a warm, humid area for a while.  If you do use water that has been stored for a long while, have a backup water purification system by running it through a filter, boiling etc.
  • Make sure your food and water storage is not close to gasoline or other chemicals that emit fumes that will contaminate your supplies.

This tips will help minimize mistakes,  and ensure your stored food and water will be available when you most need them.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Don’t let those expiration dates get past you.  An inexpensive but helpful tool to keep track of supplies:

 For beginning preppers

Monday Musings: 8/25/2014

Monday Musings 8252014This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links as well as updates on the blog and preps.

First the blog updates…

Thanks for taking the survey!  We had a great week at Apartment Prepper.  A good number of readers responded they like Monday Musings “as is” with both blog updates and link sharing.  We also got some great suggestions for future posts and I am working on those articles now.  Thank you everyone for responding to our first poll!

Who won Countdown to Preparedness?  Kathi won the random drawing.  She left the following comment:

When I travel, I drive and am pretty well prepared from most things. Walking home wouldn’t be fun though.

Hubby flies to his jobs and refuses to do much in that regard. He does carry his meds in his carry on and that is an improvement. Sometimes, if he is going to be gone a couple of weeks, he will put his pocket knife in his checked bag.

Don’t forget to enter the Potty Box giveaway.  It’s going on now, and ends Friday, 8/29.

Now for the links…

New site that gives free resources: TopSecretSurvival.com

20 All Purpose Remedies Using Essential Oils

EMP: What You Need To Know To SURVIVE

What to Watch on Food Labels

Smart Survival Strategies for Kids: Forbidden Items at School

Is It Really That Easy to Live Off of Your Garden?

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

The Potty Box – Review and Giveaway

The Potty Box Review and GiveawayToday we are reviewing the Potty Box – Complete Toilet Set.  I received a review sample from Emergency Zone  I agreed to review it because I wanted to see if it would deliver on the product features as named in the website:

  • Triple-wall heavy duty design
  • Light weight & compact storage
  • Easy to set up and reuseable
  • Biodegradable
  • Enough chemicals and liners for 10 uses
  • Each scoop of Blue Gel will treat up to 1 gallon of liquid waste
  • Designed to hold up to 250 lbs
  • Fits under your bed, in your trunk, or under your desk in your office

This is how the box looks like:

Pottybox1

You turn the box over and you can already see how it will be constructed.

Pottybox2

Here is a photo of the box with contents.

Pottybox3The potty itself comes with:

10 trash bags

1 red bag labeled “biohazard”

small roll of toilet paper

Blue Gel porta potty chemical

small bottle of hand sanitizer

Pottybox4The instructions on how to construct it are right on the side of the box.  The Potty Box is easy to assemble.  All you have to do is unfold the cardboard and insert the cardboard tabs into the grooves.   Then you take a trash bag and fit it over the opening and tuck it under the sides.  It is as simple as putting together one of those filing boxes at work.   I wondered whether this construction would be flimsy like the filing box.

Actually this box is much stronger and sturdier.

I had a few people in the family of varying builds and weights try it out (no one weighed over 200 lbs. in this test, so I cannot vouch for anything above 200).  The box shows it can support up to 250 lbs.

At first, I imagined the cardboard might cave in but actually, it held up pretty well.  Some of the ones who tried it said it was comfortable enough, and some felt it was tight.

The plastic bag cushions your tush somewhat against the edge of the box.

Another comment was “You can’t do #1 and #2 at the same time,” but that is just something that would have to be worked out individually.

The lid of the box also functions as a toilet lid.

What I liked about it was it was very compact and lightweight.  It is very easy to assemble.  I also has the basic supplies needed for hygiene purposes and it functions as described.

As far as emergency potties for an apartment, it is very space efficient, however there are other choices such as 5 gallon buckets if you wanted a multi-purpose item.  If you are someone who does not want to assemble a potty kit, and want something quick that you can store under the bed or furniture, then the Potty Box would be good to have.  I would advise storing lots more toilet paper than the one roll.  You’d also have to consider how many people would potentially be using it in an emergency and the number of times used – each box has enough supplies for 10 uses.

I think the Potty Box would be ideal for a car survival kit – I’d certainly be grateful to have one if I were stranded somewhere.  It would also make a great gift for a non-prepper who would otherwise not have any hygiene supplies for an emergency.

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY…

Emergency Zone is giving away one Potty Box.   Please answer the following question for a chance to win

 What is your biggest concern about hygiene in a disaster?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Friday,  August 29 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.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Vote for Me at Top Prepper Websites