Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Survival Planning: Additional Foods to Add to Basic Storage Foods

I've been working on our plan to buy and store enough basic foods for my family for 3 months. Our goal this year is to concentrate on the 7 basic foods I talked about in a couple of other blog posts.

But we also need other supplies to supplement our basic stockpile. Extra supplies include long-term foods that help give variety to meals and add nutritional value.

If I just had my 7 basic foods PLUS dried soup mixes (I didn't mention those before but I'm hooked on stockpiling as many dried soup mixes as I can!), I could make oatmeal with milk and honey for breakfast, a tortilla and soup for lunch, and tortillas, rice and beans for supper. That's pretty decent in terms of helping to fill someone up but let's look at nutritional value.

1 cup cooked oatmeal, 2 tortillas, 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of pinto beans and 1 cup of  beef vegetable soup made from water and dried soup mix provides one adult with the following % of my daily needs for these nutrients:

Fats 55%
Salt 95%
Fiber 83%
Vitamin A 5%
Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 59%
Iron 133%

It's pretty obvious that I need more of Vitamins A and C as well as Calcium. I can live without the fats but I'll start losing weight pretty fast. And more fiber would certainly help.

The question now is to find out what foods will give us those missing vitamins AND have a long storage life. Foods that are high in Vitamin C that my family likes are raspberries (1 cup = 54%) and potatoes (1 large - 37%). The problem is they don't provide enough and I'd have to lay in a stock of dried raspberries or potato powder and those are expensive.

Sprouts The Magical Powerhouse

But I have a solution. Sprouts. Sprouts are an amazing powerhouse of nutrition. They also give high yield of edibles compared to the small amount of raw seeds you start with. As an example, 1 cup of sprouted kidney beans provides 119% of your daily Vitamin C needs! So start sprouting right now. You want to be sure you know how to do it in case of an emergency. I'll talk more about how we grow our sprouts in future blog posts.

There is one caveat - kidney bean sprouts are toxic if eaten raw, so must be cooked. To be safe, cook all bean sprouts (mung, lentils, navy etc) before eating. Just toss them into stews or soups or stir fry them to remove the toxins. Soaking beans overnight prior to sprouting will also help neutralize the toxins present in them but better safe than sorry, especially if you are in a crisis (emergency) survival situation where little or no medical help is available.

You can eat most other sprouts such as alfalfa raw. Think about what a great "salad" you can toss together during a crisis - 3 or 4 varieties of sprouts and some homegrown herbs such as parsley make a tasty (and nutritional) addition to an emergency survival meal. Or stuff them into your tortilla with a few beans. Yum!

Vitamin A Foods

1 cup of dehydrated carrots provides 1013% of daily Vitamin A needs. Wow. So that means to have 100% all you need is 1/10th of a cup. Now dehydrated carrots are expensive but what a magical food!

This will blow your mind - did you know that you can get 44% of your daily Vitamin A needs from 1 Tablespoon of chili powder or cayenne pepper?  So why not stock up on one or both of these spices? There's another magical spice you might want to have on hand - paprika - it gives 71% of your daily Vitamin A needs in 1 Tablespoon.


We need 41% more of our daily calcium needs.  How can we do that? Well, we could stock up on Calcium Pills but they are expensive and gradually lose potency over time. So let's look at foods rich in Calcium. 1 cup of cooked rhubarb gives us 35% so if you have rhubarb in your garden (as I do) you've got a great source of extra calcium when it's in season.

Those magical dehydrated carrots are helpful and if you're eating them to get their high Vitamin A, guess what - you've just given yourself an extra 16% of your daily calcium and iron needs too! They sure pack a nutrition punch in every cup. 

I'm going to talk about menus and recipes and dried soup mixes in another blog post so stay tuned. I'm also going to show you my successful sprouting of Alfalfa and share how I save and store my seeds.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Survival Planning; Providing for a Family of Four for 3 Months

Hubs and I have a lot of food stored for an emergency. We watch the grocery store flyers carefully so that we can stock up on needed food items when they are on sale. Every family should have at least 3 months of food on hand in case of a disaster or emergency situation.

Sometimes families want to start stockpiling food but they are overwhelmed by the challenge and don't know what to get and how to store it. We aren't experts but we've done a lot of research and a lot of trial and error so we have a pretty good idea of what nutritional value is in certain foods, which foods have the longest shelf life and which are best value for the money (in terms of shelf life, ability to extend the ration, variety of meals possible, and cost)

I've already given you the list of 7 basic essential foods which will keep you alive. I explained how much of each you need for one adult for one week. I know you can do the math but let's look at how much of these basic essential foods an average family of 4 needs for 3 months.

It is going to shock you. But it's doable! An important fact to remember is that any child over the age of 7 is considered a adult in terms of food storage.

I am using mostly metric measurements but you can convert for a fairly accurate measurement by using the following:

1 liter = 0.26 US gallons
1 kg = 2.2 pounds
1 US cup = 236.6 ml but you can convert using 250ml=1cup and remember that 1,000 ml or 4 cups is pretty close to 1 L














3/4 cup

36c (9L)

forever if vegetable oil


2/3 c

32 c (8 L)













20yrs if powder

Friday, May 27, 2011

Using an Antique Coffee Grinder to Grind Corn to Make Flour

Hubs just used my double wheel antique coffee grinder to grind corn into flour. Very cool! 
But I'm not using the flour until he totally disinfects the grinder... the coffee grinder was patented in 1898... 
This is  one of the ways we store food for Emergency Survival Planning. Ground corn or other flours have a shelf life of 2 or 3 years. Hard corn, not ground, has a shelf life of 20 to 30 years.
We never buy and store flour. Instead we buy hard corn and whole wheat and store that. With our antique coffee grinder we are set if we need to grind wheat or corn to make flour during an emergency situation.
Here is the corn that we buy.  It costs $12.00 Canadian for a 25kg bag. For those who are metric challenged, that is just over 55 lb. 
Hubs adjusted the settings on my antique coffee grinder to grind the hard corn into a nice fine flour. 
1 lb of hard corn grinds into 4 cups of flour.  That's a bit less than 1/2 kg of hard corn to make 1000 ml  (1 L) of ground flour.

Hubs is holding a handful of hard corn and in the measuring cup beside him you see the corn after it is ground. 
What can I do with this? Make tortillas or flatbread or bannock every day. I can make 12 tortillas every day for almost 5 months using 1 25kg bag of hard corn. 
I need to stock up on baking powder, salt, vegetable oil and water to make those tortillas. To make 12 tortillas every day for 5 months I also need wheat or all-purpose flour. 
We have a plan for purchasing wheat which we will grind to make our own flour. I don't know how many bags I need for those 5 months of tortillas since I haven't got any wheat yet. As soon as it arrives (it was a special order) I'll let readers know how much it is going to take.
Most tortilla recipes use shortening or lard. But  the shelf life of shortening  is not as good as vegetable oil. Shortening is only good for about 3 years maximum. So every 3 years I would need to replace my old shortening with fresh. That's why I came up with a tortilla recipe that uses liquid vegetable oil which I never have to replace.

Doing this and labeling these specific food items as earmarked for tortillas means that I have guaranteed my family 12 tortillas every day for 5 months. Of course this  supply would last 10 months if we cut back to 6 tortillas daily which is enough for hubs and I to have one tortilla with each daily meal.

All in all it's a very cost-effective and easy way to store some of the food needed for an emergency survival plan. Remember that tortillas are versatile - you can stuff them with almost anything! Rice, beans, sauteed vegetables, cheese, eggs - all it takes is a little imagination.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Basic Suvival Foods to Keep You Alive

Let's start our Disaster Plan with learning what basic foods are needed to keep a person alive. The basic survival foods you should be storing are:

Grains (Rice, Pasta, Wheat, Oats, Cornmeal)
     One adult needs 3.5 kg or 7.5 lb of grains for one week

Legumes (Beans, Peas, Lentils)
     One adult needs 1/2 kg or 1 lb of legumes for one week

Fats and Oils (Vegetable Oil, Mayonnaise, Peanut Butter, Olive Oil, Shortening)
     One adult needs 3/4 cup of fats or oils per week

     One adult needs 70 grams or 2/3 cup of salt for one week 

     One adult needs between 1 to 3 L of water daily which is 7 to 21 L of water per week.  Water requirements depend on the temperature,  the amount of exercise the person is doing (how hard they are working) and their body weight. 

I also include in my basic survival needs plan Sugar (sugar or honey) and Milk (powdered or canned)

Sugar (sugar, honey)
    For one adult you should have 1/2 kg or 17 1/2 oz. or just over 2 cups or 1 lb of sugar per week

Milk (powdered milk, canned milk)
     For one adult plan on 140 grams or about 1 cup of milk per week

These 7 essential basic foods will keep you alive for one week. You won't have very interesting or fun meals as you will mostly be eating such things as rice and beans but you'll survive.

Note that there are only 15 L of water (30 bottles) in this photo on the right. I personally store the maximum per adult per week which is 21 L. 

I've included oatmeal and rice as my weekly grains as that gives me more variety in meals. What meals can I make with these basic foods?

Not much! That's the reality. But I can make hot oatmeal every morning with a bit of sugar (or honey)

I can make beans and rice for supper. Lunch could be lentil soup. I think you get the idea.

Remember, these are BASIC survival rations. They will keep ONE adult alive for ONE week.

I'll show you how to expand your food rations and make more variety of meals cheaply and easily in future blog posts.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Preparing for Emergencies & Disasters

Do you have a plan in place for your family in case of emergency or disaster? Hubs and I decided long ago that we should always have a 3 month supply of food and water on hand.

Like many other families we began with saving  a 2-week food supply. Eventually that became one month of food, and now we are prepared for 3 months.  One month of food for your family is a realistic goal and I'm going to help you figure out what you need and where and how to store it.

We're not alarmists. We don't think the world is ending in December 2012 (or this weekend May 21st!) But natural disasters happen - floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires, earthquakes to name a few.

Ice storms also occur where we live and power can be knocked out for weeks. If it's winter and you have no power, can you survive? Do you have a plan for staying warm? What about cooking your food IF you have food stored - how will you accomplish this?

Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. Some are short-lived - perhaps a few days or a week or two of power outages and inconvenience. Some could be longer - even up to a few months. Do you have enough stored food on hand for your family for that long?

In a series of blog posts I'm going to share with you the plans that hubs and I have in effect. I'll show you what foods we have stored and tell you our reasons (mainly shelf life and ability to extend to feed many people)

There's so much to research and learn before you start buying and storing food. Hubs and I started as most families do - we bought in bulk whenever something went on sale. So we ended up with many cans of pork 'n beans and soup. But guess what - canned goods have a short shelf life (less than 3 years) so unless you're prepared to eat a lot of beans and soup when that 3 years is up, it's not the best emergency supply food.

So stay tuned, check back frequently, and follow the topic in the right hand menu bar "SURVIVAL FOOD STORAGE" or "DISASTER PLANNING" to read all the great tips I'm going to be sharing with you.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

How to Build a Chicken Coop for less than $400.00

Believe it or not, this will eventually be our new chicken coop.

Right now the chickens are in a very nice barn with an attached run. It has one half for chicken and animal feed, the other half has perches for the chickens and my guinea fowl to sleep.

Why are we going to use an old trailer instead? Because the chicken barn is really nice! So I want hubs to clean it out and use it for storage of such things as snowmobilies, lawn mowers and other large items.

The run can be moved and attached to this trailer. The trailer will be moved to the back corner past where the existing chicken barn is. We have 100 acres so space is not an issue.

Right now hubs is building a door for the new chicken coop. He's gutted the insides and it will make a nice cozy barn for our chickens and guinea fowl. Hubs tries to do everything for free or as cheaply as possible.

The only reason it is so near the house is because hubs needs electricity for his power tools.

If you are thinking of getting chickens you need to build a proper home for them. The book on the left is pretty good with ideas an photos to go with it.

So if you aren't sure where to start, this book might just be for you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Planting the Vegetable Garden

Planting Onions
Today we planted part of our vegetable garden. Hubby finished putting up chicken wire around the newly tilled land so that the pigs and chickens and guinea fowl could not get inside.

The new garden is about 25x30 feet and is close to the house. One area, defined by railroad ties, is our rhubarb patch. It's about 12x12. A second area about 12x18 is for zucchini.

Then we have a few rows each of spanish onions, cooking onions, green onions, garlic, red peppers, chives, mint and horseradish.

A final patch of tomatoes will complete the planting. Then we cross our fingers and hope!

Planting Mint
Most of the herbs we bought this year are planted in window boxes on our back deck but we wanted the mint and chives in the vegetable garden.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Plastic Made Using Chicken Feathers

Researchers have developed ways to substitute chicken feathers for petroleum in some plastic products, and at least two companies are working to bring items ranging from biodegradable flower pots to office furniture to market.

Read More

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Planting Pommes de Terre (Potatoes)

Planted potatoes today.

We've never done that before so should be interesting to see if they grow. If they do, we'll have 350 lb (yes POUNDS!) of potatoes in the fall. Sure hope our friends and family can use some because we still don't have a root cellar.

We planted Yukon Gold and some other kind, hubs doesn't recall the name.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Putting in a Vegetable Garden

Started to dig a vegetable garden today. Got it dug. Now need a fence around it to keep the piggies out.

'Reen can see it from the back deck and the mudroom. She wants me to plant tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, two kinds of onion, bell peppers, and horseradish.

She can freeze the grated zucchini and make zucchini bread all winter. Yum yum! 

I tilled the soil to make the garden around the existing rhubarb patch so we hope it spreads now.