On one of the websites or forums that I regularly visit, some basic questions were asked about freeze-dried food which comes in #10 cans. I think sometimes those of us who have been doing the “prepper” thing for a while take for granted that everyone will automatically know what to do with food which comes in a can much larger than what they may normally be used to. With that in mind, I thought I’d write up a this little post, which covers the basics of freeze-dried stored food in the big ‘ol #10 cans.
One of the most common questions related to whether you had to use the entire contents in one go or if you could put the plastic lid on it and put it back up on the shelf. The simple answer is that you can use only what you need and shelve the rest. The caveat to this is that once you open the can, you’ve started the countdown clock on it’s freshness. While unopened cans, when stored properly and in ideal conditions, may be stored for 20-30 years, an opened can has only a few months, perhaps a year on the outside before the food is no good.
To make your supply last as long as possible, only open the cans when you’re ready to begin consuming its contents and store it, along with all your storage food, in a cool, dark, dry place when ever practical. At my house, we have the cases stored that way, but the cans we’re currently using are on a shelving unit in the kitchen for easy access. Another trick is to keep the included oxygen absorber in the opened cans, even though the manufacturers tell you to toss them. They can’t actually hurt you unless you eat what’s inside of them, so as long as you don’t puncture it with your measuring cups or spoons, you should be alright.
Another question asked was whether you have to seal the can back up when you’re not using the product. Most places give you a plastic lid to use once the can is opened. That’s about all you need to keep it fresh for a while, and using the tips above will give you even longer shelf life on opened cans. Most people don’t have a way to reseal the cans, and I’ll almost put money that any methods to do so will either provide an inferior seal to what the manufacturer uses or will just cost more than the hassle is worth. Keep it simple and only open cans you’re going to use within a couple of months.
Creating a meal plan which incorporates your stored and canned food goes a long way to helping you make it last longer and only open the cans you really need. If you know your menu for the next week, grocery shopping is easy, and if you know your menu for the next 12 weeks, you know what cans/cases need to be accessible and which can be in storage area. A really great benefit to freeze-dried foods in #10 cans for menu planning is that you can get complete entree in large quantities. If you know beef stroganoff is on the menu for the first five Wednesdays for two people, you can just grab a #10 of it and set it on the kitchen shelf; very handy!
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There are no hard, fast rules with storable food, whether it’s canned, dehydrated or freeze-dried. As long as you store it in a cool dry place with little temperature fluctuation, you can get decades out of more stored food methods. I’ll be going over how to make the type of menu mentioned in future posts, and I’ll also talk more about storage and rotation of stored food, water and fuel.
Merry Christmas, Blessed Yule, Happy Hanukkah and all the rest. Also have a Happy New Year!
For several years now, and certainly during 2011, there has been an increasing level of chatter regarding stockpiling precious metals like gold and silver with the understanding that WTSHTF they’ll have a worthwhile currency with which to conduct business. This chatter is usually within the context of life in the U.S. after an economic collapse.
While I’m not suggesting that I have all the answers, I do have to question the logic behind hoarding gold, silver, nickles and dimes for use as a currency after an economic collapse. I might be in the minority here, but you can keep your precious metals and plans to melt down coins, which is currently illegal, by the by, I’m more interested in real goods that you’d have to trade or skills. I can’t eat gold, nor can I smelt nickels without a lot of effort and energy (copper’s melting point is almost 2,000°F, nickel is 2650°F). I’d much rather exchange some zucchini for tomatoes or some welding time for water filtration parts.
Let’s suppose that all the things needed do occur and now we live in a lawless wasteland; a place where we must survive through our own means, like growing food, filtering water, repairing shelter. It’d be like living in most of the western United States in the late 19th and early 20th century except there is no single economic mechanism telling you the value of one thing compared to another. All commerce happens independently of all other commerce. Just because an ounce of gold gets your a motorcycle on the out skirts of Las Vegas, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to sell it for more than a pound of potatoes in St. Louis.
If you really want to see what a post economic collapse United States will look like, you don’t have to guess about how much gold or dimes you need to hoard, you have only to look at a majority of third world countries today. Viewed objectively and with intellectual honesty, you should see pretty quickly that money doesn’t matter nearly as much as real goods and skills, and in the first few years at least, skills will probably fetch a much better rate than real goods will.
What say you?
It’s 14F this morning as I write this post, and I have an old 3×5 index card in front of me from the first time I figured out what would go in my winter emergency car kit. It’s pretty beat up and has several revisions, and with good reason. No emergency kit is perfect, heck, no kit out there is perfect, but this one has been relied upon several times while living in the Colorado Rockies for over a decade. Weather up there is no joke and when you break down in such cold weather as this morning, in the middle of no where, you’re life is literally in your own hands. Many places still don’t even have cell phone coverage there!
So I’m going to provide you with my tried and tested PapaBravo’s Winter Emergency Car Kit. Please feel free to revise this for your situation and needs, that’s the great beauty about lists, they can be revised! After I list the items, I’ll talk about why I chose the items and why I revised the list.
The weather and road conditions which prompted this suplemental kit, are quick to change and kill people not prepared for them every year. Determined to not ever become such a stastitic, I researched kits in both books and online and came up with the original. The food and water are self-evident, if I get stuck in my car for a day or two, I want to have those basics. I can use the car to provide warmth, as long as I keep the tail pipe clear of snow. The thermal blanket goes toward me, and the wool blanket over that, if needed. You have to stay warm if you’re stuck. The warmers are for that as well, but I figured if I’d have to change a flat in near-zero temps, even with decent gloves and coat, I could risk cold damage because I’d be working with metal. I needed a way to provide some pretty quick, deep heat once back in the car.
The lightsticks are for signalling more than personal light, which the car or flashlight on my belt-line kit provide. The candles, mathes and lighter were another source of heat and light if needed. The first aid kit is COTS (complete, off the shelf) that I picked up at the local big box mart. It contains much of what you need for common minor injuries. If figured the radio could provide an information/entertainment source if the car battery was inoperable, due to an accident or something and the multi-purpose tool would help out if I needed one, although I carry a Leatherman Wave as part of my belt-line kit.
After needing to use this kit more than once over a ten year period and being lucky enough to survive those situations, which was never a great worry, thankfully, I’ve made some revisions over the years. The main change was that I originally planned for myself, but after getting married, had to update all my kits for the possibility that another person would be around. That made me realize that I had been pretty selfish to begin with because what if someone else had been in the damn car anyways?! Now I suggest that if it’s even a remote possibility that you’ll have passengers, kit up accordingly BEFORE needing it all because 5 passengers and preps for one means some much tougher times than needed to happen!
Some of the energy bars were swapped out for self-heating MRE’s because they were less shocking to the system. If you’re situation is bad, don’t make it worse by eating cardboard and getting demoralized. I also boosted the water content for consumption and MRE use although in a pinch, ice or snow could be used for the MRE. It’s very foolish to rely on snow and ice for your water consumption needs because it can actually cool your body too much too quickly when in an emergency situation and your body is already on edge. The hand warmers I’d originally used ended up being total crap, and was one of the occurrences that led to my personal pledge that I wasn’t ever again going to rely on kit that I hadn’t tested myself before hand. I’ve since swapped them out for a Zippo-type hand-warmer, which really heats the whole car. Just remember to ventilate the vehicle if using in that small space.
I’ve added some extras to the first aid kit; things likely to help out during winter-time accidents, and there is a third thermal blanket too. The candles got replaced with a LED flashlight which has a sort of traffic guide attachment, which also works great as a “candle”. the flashlight also stays lite much longer too. In one situation, where I actually had to help rescue a big tough guy foolishly drive his big SUV like a moron (speeding, wreckless lane changes and such on bad roads, you know the type!), after he’d flipped it and came to rest in the median. I pulled up in my little PT Cruiser and broke my basic multi-purpose tool getting him taken care of. It’s a good thing the Leatherman on my hip was there for back up! Now I have a tougher one in the kit to match the tough one on my hip.
The duct tape, bailing wire and rope are honestly items I haven’t needed to use, but have always seemed to help MacGuyver out in a pinch, and while I don’t foresee the need to turn my exhaust pipe into a flamethrower or whatever, I do see the practical nature to having some amount of these items on hand.
How about you, what’s in your winter car kit or do you even have one?
If there was ever a reason to live a financially independent life, this has got to be in the top 5 for me, and it should be for you as well! California welfare regulations for years have allowed, and even required, counties to go after minors for the debts of their parents, state officials told the Associated Press. California has made $133 million in overpayments in the past fiscal year, and has collected about half of that back, but says it has no way of tracking how much of that was from the children who never incurred the debt to begin with.
How can they hold children responsible for this debt and not have a system to track it’s collection? How this can even be legal is beyond me and just speaks to the inefficiency of many government programs. This type of sick law wouldn’t even be necessary if they didn’t make the overpayments to begin with. In the case linked into the child was a minor when the debt was incurred, but is now an adult with her own life to lead and is now facing State Tax Refund garnishment. Not every state conducts business so repugnantly, thankfully, but for a government so hell bent on spreading democracy and doing the “right thing” abroad, it sure does like to dump on it’s own citizens. Even the United Nations banned this type of debt slavery in 1956!
While researching more information for this article I discovered that while some states elect to engage in this form of debt bondage regarding the collection of state aid, other forms of debt, such as credit cards, cannot be transferred to your children, even if they’re the executor of your will. As long as they’re not a cosigner to the debt, they’re not obligated to nor can they be compelled to pay the debt. Having said that, if the executor of your will doesn’t use the money form the settlement of your estate to repay it, they may still wind up in trouble with the law.
The best solution, of course, is to live debt free, but that isn’t always feasible or even practical. The second best option is to have enough money reserved or invested to cover all the debts in the most liquid form possible. A separate savings account is probably easiest, even though it won’t earn you a bunch in interest. My philosophy is that money is there to help my family in the future, not me in the present.
I’ve always had the view that prepping doesn’t just mean that my family is taken care of if the power goes out or the government collapses, but also if everything else is workable, but I’m no longer around. How about you?