Food & Water Storage Conditions

conditions

What conditions should I store my food and water storage prepper supplies in?

Good question!  You must first understand that light destroys nutrients and shelf-life.  Oxygen also causes nutrient decay and increases risk of food-borne illness due to bacterial growth. Reducing oxygen levels in your food with Oxygen Absorbers is the best way to maintain food quality and shelf life.  Temperature plays a role as well, too hot and nutrients and proteins will be damaged, too cold and product quality and taste will suffer.  Pests can eat up your food storage and spread disease.  Moisture can cause bacterial and mold growth as well as rust to form on metal cans or canning lids.

So what conditions do I need?

Someplace COOL (around 6oF is perfect)

Someplace DARK (no natural or artificial light shining on your food storage)

Someplace DRY (no moisture to cause rust or bacterial or mold growth)

Someplace PEST FREE (no bugs or rodents to destroy and contaminate your food and water)

Storage Conditions

There are six conditions to be aware of when storing food for emergency preparedness food storage, or outdoor recreation.  The foods being referred to in this post are shelf-stable freeze-dried, dehydrated, dried commodities.  Optimal storage conditions can also be applied to wet pack:  retort, MRE’s, canned goods, and other specialty longer term wet pack foods.

  • Temperature– This is the primary factor affecting the storage life of foods.  The cooler the better. 40 degrees-50 degrees would be great. Room temperature (65 degrees-72 degrees) or below is generally fine.  Avoid above 90 degrees for extended periods of time. The longer food is exposed to very high temperatures the shorter the edible life and the faster the degeneration of nutritional value.  Note:  There are some “foods” available for emergency preparedness that are known as “emergency food or ration bars.”  These products are generally referred to as “life raft bars” because they were originally designed for life rafts and can withstand high heat for extended periods of time.  They primarily consist of white sugar and white flour, and were not meant to be the sole source of nutrition for a long period of time.
  • Moisture– The lower the better.  Moisture can deteriorate food value rapidly and create conditions that promote the growth of harmful organisms.  The moisture level contained in foods varies depending on the type of product it is.  Have foods in moisture barrier containers (metal, glass) in high humidity areas. Note:  Mylar bags or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 3 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  Note 2:  Be careful where you store dry foods in cans.  Very cold flooring or any condition where there is a dramatic temperature differential may cause a build up of condensation inside the container.
  • Oxygen – A high oxygen environment causes oxidation, which leads to discoloration, flavor loss, odors, rancidity and the breakdown of nutritional value in foods. It also allows insects to feed on dried food reserves. Without oxygen, insects cannot live, nor can aerobic (oxygen dependent) organisms. Whole grain and beans have natural oxygen barriers and can store for long periods of time in low humidity and if free from infestation. All other processed grains, vegetables, fruits, etc. must be in a very reduced (2% or less) oxygen environment for long term storage.  Note:  Mylar bags or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 3 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  The best long term storage containers are glass and metal.
  • Infestation – Examples include rodents, insects in all their stages of growth, mold, microorganisms, and any other creatures that get hungry – large or small.  The proper packaging and storage conditions are required to control infestation and not allow critters to both get into the food, or have the necessary environment for them to flourish if they are sealed into a container – such as in the form of eggs or spores.
  • Handling – Rough handling can not only damage the food itself, but it can also adversely effect and compromise the integrity of the container in which the food is stored.  Glass of course can break; any pouched item can develop pin holes, tears, or cracks.  The seams on buckets and cans can be tweaked, twisted, or damaged to allow oxygen to enter the container.
  • Light – Food should not be stored in direct sunlight.  Both for the potential of high temperature, and its affect on food value.  Sunlight directly on stored foods can destroy nutritional value and hasten the degeneration of food quality, taste, and appearance.  Foods packed in light barrier containers do not pose a problem with the affects of light.

 

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Prepping at the Dollar Store

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Think prepping has to be expensive?  Think you have to buy only from a dedicated prepping & survival store?  Think again.  You can get several prepping items at your local dollar store, whether that be Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, or any other knock-off dollar store!

Here is a list of items I like to look for at dollar stores that I can add to my prep buckets and bug out bags.

FIRE:

  •  Matches
  • Lighters
  • lighter fluid
  • sterno cans
  • tea light candles
  • candles
  • lamp oil (at some stores)
  • charcoal briquettes

FIRST AID & MEDICINE:

  • First aid kits
  • band aid & gauze
  • bandage tape
  • tylenol
  • ibprofen
  • antacids
  • cold & flu medicine
  • allergy medicine
  • cough drops
  • aspirin
  • anti-histimines
  • anti-itch cream
  • burn cream
  • bug spray
  • sunscreen
  • aloe gel
  • vitamins
  • antibiotic ointment
  • rubbing alcohol
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • anti-diarrhea medicine
  • children’s medicines
  • miniture versions of a lot of common OTC medicines that you can put in your BOB

HYGIENE:

  • hairbrush & comb
  • shampoo, conditioner, soap
  • hand sanitizer
  • tooth brush, toothpaste, dental floss, mouth wash antiseptic
  • dental repair kits (at some locations)
  • toilet paper
  • paper towels
  • baby wipes or hand wipes
  • baby powder & diapers
  • jock itch/athlete’s foot spray
  • deodarant
  • feminine menses pads (can double as a first aid item to control bleeding of wounds)

LIGHTS:

  • candles
  • flashlights & batteries
  • glow sticks

FOOD:

  • obviously a ton of canned and boxed foods (canned meats, canned fruits, canned veggies, mac n cheese, pasta, and more)
  • baking supplies like flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, lard, oil
  • rice, dried beans, oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat, cereal
  • sauces and condiments
  • storage containers to store food in that are air tight and pest proof

WATER:

  • water jugs
  • water bottles
  • bottled water
  • juice boxes or pouches
  • drink mixes like gatorade and kool-aid and crystal light
  • bleach for purification
  • iodine for purification and wound cleansing

CLOTHING:

  • shirts
  • pants
  • underwear
  • shoes
  • socks
  • jackets (some locations)
  • hats
  • gloves

HOUSEHOLD ITEMS:

  • cleaning chemicals
  • bleach
  • soap for washing dishes and clothes
  • rags
  • towels
  • blankets
  • pillows and pillowcases
  • auto fluids like oil and starter fluid
  • basic hand tools like hammers, screw drivers, and pliers

BABY ITEMS:

  • formula
  • bottles and bibs
  • pacifers
  • toys
  • clothes
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • baby powder
  • baby medications

GAMES & TOYS:

  • board games
  • cards
  • toys for all ages
  • great to kill boredom and keep kids entertained

COMFORT ITEMS:

  • besides games & toys,  candy
  • chocolate
  • dried fruit
  • nuts
  • trail mix
  • craft supplies
  • activity supplies like coloring books and crayons/markers and stickers

Any and all of these items are great to store as a prepper, whether that be in your home, your Bug out location, cabin, RV, or if you just want some smaller and cheaper items for your bug out bag or auto kit.  Check the dollar stores first for items before spending beaucoup money at a big box store or online.  These items are just as good as name brand items and are wayyyy cheaper!  You can also stock up on these items to have as Barter Items for when SHTF!  Great way to have an alternate currency so-to-speak for SHTF. Saving money is always a good thing and the kids will even have fun helping you stock up on prepper supplies at the dollar store!  Start saving while prepping!

Tips for Economic Collapse

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ECONOMIC COLLAPSE SURVIVAL TIPS

  • REDUCE YOUR DEBT: Reducing ones debt to as close to zero as possible is essential. That may involve selling off some of your real estate investment, moving to a smaller home, refinancing your home mortgage to a 15-year loan, and eliminating your credit cards. Stop paying interest. Pay with cash whenever possible instead of charging it.

  • Do not be dependent on the government for your well-being. Try and be as independent and self reliant as possible for your income.

  • Take control of your own finances. Read many alternate sources of information. Do your homework. Be careful to understand what is going on. Avoid states of denial. Become as independent as possible.

  • Make yourself save as much as you can. Most people live above their means. Learn to live below your means. If you save a minimum of 10% per month, you can grow your wealth very safely. Some can save 20%-25%.

  • Diversify your investments; include investing in Swiss money instruments, gold, different currencies. Or ditch investments all together. Purchase tangible gold, silver, precious stones, ammunition, food and supplies.

  • Avoid weak financial institutions. Get out of harm’s way. Many banks, brokerage house, S& Ls and insurance companies are tottering on the brink of disaster or close to it in the event of a market downturn. And in spite of the perception to the contrary, there is no substantive insurance safety net under these institutions. Remember the Great Depression? Banks collapsed and people went broke overnight. Banks cannot be trusted.

  • Avoid popular investment markets. There are few goof opportunities for conservative investors. Stocks are overvalued. If you own stocks have stops in place. Corporate bonds are vulnerable and will drop as U.S. interest rates rise. Be very selective in investment real estate. Commodities are out of favor and at bargain prices. All things are cyclical and go from being undervalued to overvalued.

  • Find investment safe havens. The three best and most conservative investments to put your money into over the next few years are gold and silver, and lead (ammunition). Don’t announce to the world what you are doing; keep a low profile. Keep your mouth shut so others won’t be tempted to raid your supplies.

  • Legally bulletproof your business and personal matters. America is the most litigious country in the world, with 700,000 lawyers and 187 million new civil lawsuits per year. Every doctor, professional business person or business owner has a nightmare about being sued into ruin.

  • Change your mind set about the news, about investments and about your financial security. To survive the coming hard times, you must change the way you do things, the way you think, and the way you save your money. You must read between the lines in today’s news report .and plan for the future.

  • Purchase a least a one-year food supply and have a large water source. Own tangible assets or commodities that can be bartered or traded.

  • Buy real estate in a small town or rural community that can serve as a retreat or place of refuge. Cities may become unsafe once economic collapse happens. Robberies, muggings, rapes, and murders will rise.

  • Buy gold and silver coins for barter, tender, and security. Shop at your local pawn shops. Look into BitCoin and other alternative currencies. Look into bartering and trade.  Purchase Iraqi Dinar (new, not Saddam Hussein Dinar). 

Follow your Emergency Scenario Preparedness Plan and use the above situations as guides during an Economic Collapse

 

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Water Purification

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WATER PURIFICATION INFORMATION

Boiling Is Best
Short of using a very high-quality water filter, this is the most reliable method for killing microbes and parasites. Bring water to a rolling boil and keep it simmering for at least several minutes. Add one minute of boiling to the initial 10 minutes for every 1,000 feet above sea level. Cover the pot to shorten boiling time and conserve fuel.  The flat taste of boiled water can be improved by pouring it back and forth from one container to another (called aeration), by allowing it to stand in a closed container for a few hours, or by adding a small pinch of salt for each quart of water boiled.

When boiling is not practical, chemical disinfection should be used. Common household bleach contains a chlorine compound that will disinfect water. The treated water should be mixed thoroughly and allowed to stand, preferably covered, for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight chlorine odor; if not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for an additional 15 minutes. If the treated water has too strong a chlorine taste, it can be made more pleasing by allowing the water to stand exposed to the air for a few hours or by pouring it from one clean container to another several times.

Guide to using 1% Bleach to disinfect water

 (Clorox Bleach like you buy to do laundry or scrub/disinfect bathrooms, etc.)
First let water stand until particles settle. Filter the particles if necessary with layers of cloth, coffee filters, or fine paper towels. Pour the clear water into an uncontaminated container and add Regular Clorox Bleach per the below indicated ratio. Mix well. Wait 30 min. Water should have a slight bleach odor. If not, repeat dose. Wait 15 min. Sniff again. Keep an eyedropper taped to your emergency bottle of Clorox Bleach, since purifying small amounts of water requires only a few drops. Bleach must be fresh for best use and results. See below suggestions for storage bottle replacement.

Don’t pour purified water into contaminated containers. Sanitize water jugs first.
Without water and electricity, even everyday tasks are tough. In lieu of steaming hot water, sanitize dishes, pots and utensils with a little Clorox Bleach.  Generic Bleach is fine as long as it is 1%.

Ratio of Clorox Bleach to Water for Purification
2 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per quart of water
8 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per gallon of water
1/2 teaspoon (or 40 drops) Regular Clorox Bleach per 5 gallons of water

1 teaspoon (or 80 drops) Regular Clorox Bleach per 10 gallons of water
If water is cloudy, double the recommended dosages of Clorox Bleach.

Only use Regular Clorox Bleach (not Fresh Scent or Lemon Fresh). To insure that Clorox Bleach is at its full strength, rotate or replace your storage bottle minimally every three months.  If using old (or unknown age bleach)- double the recommended dosages of bleach.

Clorox Bleach Sanitizing Solution
To sanitize containers and utensils, mix 1 tablespoon Regular Clorox Bleach with one gallon of water. Always wash and rinse items first, then let each item soak in Clorox Bleach Sanitizing Solution for 2 minutes. Drain and air dry.

 

 

Guide to Using Tinctures of Iodine to Disinfect Drinking Water

  • Iodine in clear water: 5 drops of 2% tincture of iodine per quart of clear water
  • Iodine in cloudy water: 10 drops of 2% tincture of iodine per quart of cloudy water
  • Other water disinfectant products based on iodine: the label will indicate the number of capfuls of disinfectant to use per quart of water
  • Iodine tablets, such as PotableAqua™ – (50 tablets per bottle) two tablets treats a quart of water and are effective against Giardia lambia.
  • Tincture of iodine: If you have no iodine tablets but have liquid iodine such as would be used to treat a wound, (typically this is a 2% tincture of iodine) try a teaspoon of iodine in a gallon of water.
  • Do not use iodine to purify water for certain people:
    • people who are allergic to iodine – possibly including people allergic to shellfish
    • people who have a thyroid disorder
    • people who are taking lithium (a medication)
    • women over fifty and women who are pregnant (without a doctor’s advice)

 

 

High-Test Granular Calcium Hypochlorite (Powdered Swimming Pool Chlorine)

In granular formation, this chemical is used to clean the water in pools and hot tubs. In a pinch, you can use it as part of a two-step process to purify drinking water. First, you dissolve the calcium hypochlorite in a smaller amount of water to create a hyper-chlorinated solution. The U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine suggests using a heaping tablespoon of calcium hypochlorite in 2 gallons of water. Once it’s dissolved, that solution can then be added to your main supply of water to disinfect it. The suggested ratio here is 1 part chlorine solution to 100 parts water, or use it like normal Household Bleach at this point, using the disinfectant ration above.

 

 

Wait Time & Water Temperature when adding a disinfectant, before drinking the water

  • Typical wait time before drinking treated water is at least 30 minutes from the time that the treatment tablet has become fully dissolved in the water. The necessary time could be longer.
  • Water temperature should be 65 degF or higher before treatment with bleach for best results. You may be able to warm your water by placing it in the sun. If the water is below 40 deg.F. you should double the wait time before consuming it.
  • Water temperature should be 68 degF or higher before treating it with iodine. Iodine is more effective than bleach in killing off Giardia contamination in water.
  • Be sure to read the instructions. Iodine, bleach (sodium hypochlorite), or other water disinfectants will require some wait time to permit the chemical to act on water bacteria before the water can be consumed.
  • Using any chemical to sterilize water will require sufficient contact time between the chemical and the water before the water can be consumed.
  • The chemical, bleach, or iodine, needs time to kill the microorganisms in the water.
  • If you have iodine tablets intended for purifying water, the tablet bottle label should indicate the number of tablets to use per gallon of water and also the length of time that you must let the water sit before drinking it.
  • If using liquid iodine to purify water, let the treated water sit for a day before using it to drink, if you can.
  • If your water supply is very cold you will need to increase the wait time for the chemical disinfectant to act before the water can be consumed.
  • If your water supply is cloudy you will need to increase the wait time for the chemical disinfectant to act before the water can be consumed. That’s why experts recommend filtering the water with a clean cloth first if you can. In an emergency you might also be able to use clean coffee filters or even plain white paper towels, or fabric like your shirt or socks, or a bandana.

 

Simple Food Rotation

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LONG TERM FOOD STORAGE

LAYING-IN FOOD (PUTTING UP FOOD)

When you purchase food to lay-in or put-up, consider this order in which you will eat your food in an emergency scenario.  Then rotate your foods often in the order below as well.

EAT FIRST-  What is in your freezer and refrigerator and what is already ‘open’ in your pantry and cabinets. Foods that will spoil without power or go stale within a week to two.

 

EAT SECOND- Canned goods (both commercial and homemade), unopened items in your pantry and cabinets. Home sealed/canned or dried foods. Foods that will spoil within in several months to a year.

 

EAT THIRD-  Commercial purchased freeze-dried, dehydrated, and powdered long-term storage foods.  Foods that have a shelf-life of 10 or more years.

 

ROTATE, ROTATE, ROTATE!!

IF YOU DON’T USE IT, YOU WILL LOSE IT!!!

LEARN TO ROTATE YOUR FOOD STOCK AND PRACTICE ROTATING:

Example:  I take fresh broccoli from my refrigerator (or a freezer bag from the freezer), a can of pinto beans from my pantry, and a #10 Can of freeze-dried pork chops from my long-term storage.

I cook dinner with these 3 items, replacing them when I go shopping the next time, and put the leftover/extra pork chops from my #10 Can sealed in a Ziploc bag and store them in the freezer. I can then use the remaining pork chops over the next month for several meals. I rotate my stock this way regularly.

I date all my food with Sharpie permanent markers on the packaging-  date with when I put it into storage, and then when I pulled it out of storage and opened it (if I have extra/leftovers).

Use the same methods restaurants use:  FIFO- First In First Out rotation to insure proper rotatation and use of your foods.  No sense in letting anything spoil or go to waste since food costs money!

What is BPA?

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What is BPA, and what are the concerns about BPA?

from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

BPA stands for Bisphenol-A.   BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s.

In particular, BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles, and baby bottles and cups. They may also be used in toys and other consumer goods. Epoxy resins can be used to coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, baby formula cans, bottle tops and water supply lines. Some dental sealants and composites also may contain BPA. And certain thermal paper products, such as cash register receipts, may contain BPA.

Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA or into your body when you handle products made with BPA. BPA remains controversial, and research studies are continuing. The National Toxicology Program at the Department of Health and Human Services says it has “some concern” about the possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. This level of concern is midway on its five-level scale, which ranges from serious to negligible. The Food and Drug Administration now shares this level of concern and is taking steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply by finding alternatives to BPA in food containers.

In the meantime, if you’re concerned about BPA, you can take steps to minimize your exposure by:

  • Seeking out BPA-free products. This may not always be easy to do, of course. Some manufacturers label their products as BPA-free. If a product isn’t labeled, keep in mind that most aluminum cans or bottles have linings that contain BPA, while steel bottles or cans don’t. Polycarbonate plastic is generally hard, clear, lightweight plastic. It often has the No. 7 recycling symbol on the bottom.
  • Microwave cautiously. The National Toxicology Program advises against microwaving polycarbonate plastics, although the American Chemistry Council says this is safe. The plastics can break down over time, possibly causing BPA to leach into food.
  • Wash safely. The National Toxicology Program advises against washing polycarbonate plastics in the dishwasher using harsh detergents, although the American Chemistry Council says this is safe.
  • Use alternatives. Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids instead of plastic containers.
  • Cut back on cans. Reduce your use of canned foods since many cans are lined with BPA-containing resin. Or store canned foods in cool, dry, dark places to minimize heat fluctuation.

Why Store Food & Water?

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WHY STORE FOOD & WATER?

You have:

Car Insurance

Home Owner’s/Renter’s Insurance

Life Insurance

Medical/Dental/Optical Insurance

Flood Insurance

Retirement/Pension Insurance

All “Just In Case” Insurance for the uncertain future-

So why not have FOOD INSURANCE???

Storing your own food and water properly can guard against unemployment, natural disaster, man-made problems, and economic collapse.

 

We used to be a mostly agrarian (farming) society- everyone had a water well on their property, a fruit orchard and vegetable garden, chickens and a milk cow.  These people were your grandparents and great-grandparents. For some, this was the way your own parents grew up. These people survived the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s because even if they didn’t have money or a job, they did have a way to keep food on the table. They turned and mended their clothes. They recycled EVERYTHING.  They lived and helped each other within their community and church group.  They may have been poor, wearing rags for clothes and unable to buy new shoes, but they SURVIVED.  They survived by their own means, their own hard work, and with a sense of community.  The folks who lived in the cities during the Great Depression had no jobs, went homeless and hungry because they depended on the Federal Government to hand out Federal aid in the form of loans, bread lines, and shanty town shacks.  City folk in a lot of ways, had it harder than country folk during the Great Depression. Everyone suffered, but some suffered more than others because they weren’t prepared.

This generation went on to fight and win the Second World War and they are known as the “Greatest Generation”, not because they won a global war by means of inventions, workforce and monetary means, but because they had Gumption. They weren’t afraid to work hard to protect their family, their values, morals and beliefs.  They were smart about their money, their situation, and used their Old World know-how to survive.  We have to become like this generation again. We have to find our way and our will to SURVIVE.