Being from the south, we eat a lot of cornbread, so I would have to add cornmeal to this list. I think that cornbread would be an excellent option for a grid down situation. It’s very simple to make, cornmeal, and water, plus salt or any extra veggies you may have. I would also add dry pasta, and oil, for cooking and seasoning your cast iron. I may have missed this, but what about peroxide and alcohol? But you thought of a lot of things I never would have. Great list!
In his 2016 book, Can It! The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods, Gary Allen, a food writer and adjunct professor at SUNY Empire State College, traces the evolution of food preservation as a source of culinary innovation. “The original food-preservation methods—like salting and drying and all that—actually turned the food into something else,” he told me over the phone. “Cabbage sauerkraut is not the same thing as cabbage. Wine is not the same thing as grape juice.”
The irony of this didn’t escape me: While I’d been drawn to freeze-dried food as a convenient way of preparing for a cataclysm that may never come, there I was, toiling away for hours in the kitchen to prepare a dish I’d be eating that night and the next day. It was the most fortifying meal I’d eaten all week, and a minor achievement: Thanks to the premeasured portions and easy-to-follow instructions, I’d learned how to make a chicken pot pie from scratch.
Another best practice is to store a variety of foods in a single bucket. So, for example, instead of creating a bucket filled with a single food type, create a bucket that include a variety of foods plus appropriate condiments. If you are ever forced to use your food storage, you can pull a single bucket with everything you need to get by instead of riffling through a dozen or more buckets to gather what you need for meal-preparation.
Don’t fret over that: below I have provided a handy checklist for what I think are think are the most essential supplies to stock and steps to implement if you are starting from zero or close to zero. This article will not be detailed step-by-step guide on any one skill, discussion over what foods have the best calorie-to-shelf-life ratio or the absolute best way to store water. All of that has been discussed in detail with expert input here and elsewhere. What the list will be is your jump-start to taking simple, positive action that will give the you of today better survival odds in a crisis over the you of yesterday.
I was brought up as a poor country boy. Our family did all the old-fashioned methods of living. We heated with wood, canned food, did the garden and had a well, killed pigs/hogs, and had a cow for milk and butter. Oh yeah, we also had a two-seater for comfort and had that luxury until I graduated from high school. I still appreciate the information you try to get out to upper level folks. It takes me back in time.
The way I think of it is, it depends on the food. How long will it last once you open it? Will it last long enough once opened for your family to consume it before it goes bad. Also, only buy foods you know how to use and that you will actually like to eat. No point in buying wheat berries if you dont have the manual grinder to process it and if you don’t know how to cook with it. I have a family of 4 including 2 small children. If I store rice in a 5 gallon mylar, will we use it before it goes bad once it’s opened? Possibly not. So i put it in 1 lb mylar bags. We can pull out smaller amounts at a time.
A long-range nuclear missile is incredibly sophisticated. It needs to be; it has to deliver a warhead – possibly up to a dozen warheads for a MIRV’d missile – to a precise location. A Trident II submarine-launched missile can drop half its warheads within 65 feet of the target, letting it destroy even hardened bunkers with a relatively small weapon. An EMP attack doesn’t need anything like that precision. As long as the rocket can get the weapon to a high enough altitude, it can detonate anywhere in a circle hundreds of miles wide and still blanket a huge area with its pulse. Every country that currently has nuclear weapons and several that could be very close to building them has the ability to attack with high-altitude EMP – and that includes rogue or unstable states like North Korea and Pakistan. An EMP might not be the worst thing that could happen, but it’s a real risk.
Bogwalker, a Washington state native with a degree in ecological agriculture who built much of the compound with her own two hands, says she considers herself much more of a homesteader than a prepper. Still, she says she’s seen many women who identify as preppers take her courses. “I think no matter where you are on the spectrum with your definition of prepper, a lot of the people, probably 65 percent of my students, are curious about the future,” Bogwalker says.
We talk a lot about the 80-20 rule (the “Pareto principle”) on The Prepared. For example, 20% of the total possible work gets you 80% prepared. To go from 80% to 100% prepared requires a lot more work and money. Another example is that you should prepare for the 80% of likely scenarios, not the unlikely ones like fascist zombies arriving on a radioactive alien asteroid.
Last thought. I live in a small subdivision, in a small southern town, and a lot of the stuff I mentioned, are very natural to us, because we grew up around it. I can’t even remember the last time I bought a tomato at the grocery store! Our small community established our own disaster plan in an effort that if there was a great catastrophe or crisis, we can block off our subdivision and go straight into “survival mode”…it is not that hard to do, and remember there is always safety in numbers.
Expert advice isn’t always as expert as we’d like to believe. There have been many times when I tried to follow how-to advice, only to get frustrated that I can’t seem to do what they did, or I sometimes figure out a more efficient method on my own anyway. This is especially true for the prepper lifestyle. When the internet started exploding with prepper advice a few years ago, most of the bloggers and self-proclaimed experts were learning as they go along with their readers.
The same goes with flour. To make flour usable, you also need yeast and baking powder plus the skill and know-how to bake. Not only that, you most likely will need an outdoor oven of sorts – especially if the grid is down post disaster. That, and more, will come later, but for now, while covering the basics, it is much simpler and far more practical to stick with easy to cook foods that can be combined into interesting meals without the need for much experience other than opening a can or a package.
I agree. A suppressed 22lr subsonic round is about as loud as a pellet rifle but other larger subsonic cartridges simply make shooting without hearing protection less likely to cause permanent hearing injury and are quite audible for quite a distance. The nice thing about suppressed subsonic 22lr shooting is that if hunting small game the noise signature is minimal so easier to hunt stealthy and could still be used for defense since many people have been killed with 22lr . If you already have firearms for all your group ( most of us cannot shoot multiple rifles at same time) then why not then use force multiplier for your group such as communications and night vision gear to increase the effectiveness of the group. You are right about the costs for suppressors. There is also about a 10 month delay after suppressor purchase for government approval. Don’t mention that night vision can cost about $3000 and thermal can run up to about 13k. That’s why I would list it as a big ticket item- but what a force multiplier it can be!
Don’t forget a small stash of your favorite comfort foods to store in the buckets also. Like candy, chocolate, coffee, fruit drink mixes (to make OLD water taste better). I also store the left over fast food restaurants tiny packets of (salt, pepper, ketchup, salsa, taco sauces & other tiny things like–shampoos, soaps, etc.) for bartering in the event of a SHTF scenario. Keep it high up or under lock & key from your ever hungry children. Lol
Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze dried foods as well as home canned and “store bought” canned goods. These varieties will help to balance out your cooking options and even add a variety of textures and flavors. Another take on this point, is to not store all of your food storage in one location. Instead of having all of your food storage in one location, it may be wise to have other hiding locations. False walls, under floor boards, another building on your property, at your emergency bug out location or even a storage facility.
Basically I would think in terms of mixed contents for five gallon buckets. I always use Food Grade buckets only combined with good Mylar bags and oxygen absorbing packs. By mixed contents I mean bags of rice (white) beans various types along with pasta products etc. this way you do not expose five gallons of rice or beans all at once. This extends the overall life of your food supplies.
I find generators that can be transported easily to be a way better idea than just regular generators – don’t know why and let me know if you agree/disagree in the comments. Thanks to the fact that generators have been around for a long time (unlike solar panels I mean), you can get some great products for what’s, in my opinion, a perfectly reasonable cost. And while I’d prefer to have a solar generator like the one listed at #6, something like this is much more affordable, and gas is easy to get, so I will likely end up with a portable gas generator first.
In practice, the process can be a bit tricky. Freeze-dried meals require that you have potable water lying around, which might not be the case in the event of a serious calamity (some Wise Company kits include water purifiers). The cooking instructions for the Wise products I tested call for using the entire four-serving bag at once, which means that you have to have a container on hand to store what you don’t eat, and a fridge to keep it from spoiling. Even at my office kitchen, the only way I could make it work was by pouring about a fourth of the packet in a mug, filling it with water, and putting another mug on top of it.