Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh, carrots are divine, you get a dozen for a dime, it’s maaaaaagic!

Some of you may have caught the Bugs Bunny reference in the title above, which seems appropriate given that I’m about to try my hand at dehydrating carrots. And I’m not imagining it will be too hard, as the only extra step between dehydrating carrots and spinach will be the dicing of the crinkle-cut frozen carrots I just bought at Wal-Mart. For just under $6, I picked up a Mainstays brand food chopper (pretty low capacity — maybe 2 cups?) that I will use to dice the carrots so the bits to be dehydrated will be as small as possible — exactly what you want, as small pieces dehydrate much faster. (Editor's note: No dicing of the carrots was necessary to speed up the dehydration process--which I discovered after my initial posting this article. Just thaw the frozen carrots, spread them out on your dehydrator's trays, and in several hours you'll have perfectly dehydrated carrots!)
Someone pointed out to me that frozen vegetables are already blanched before they are frozen, so that step is already take care of compared to fresh-packaged vegetables, and the frozen veggies are ready to be cooked and eaten…or dehydrated, as the case may be.

The price on the 1-pound package of crinkle-cut sliced carrots at Wal-Mart was 98 cents. Checking a couple different websites to see the going price for bulk dehydrated carrots, at a reconstitution ratio of about 1 pound of dehydrated carrots equal to 2 pounds of cooked carrots, pricewise I’ll be doubling my money by doing this myself instead of ordering an already-dehydrated bulk lot of carrots — one particular site I’ve ordered other items from is selling 20-pound lots of dehydrated carrots for about $3.95 per pound (which would be about $1.97 per pound for the equivalent volume of non-dehydrated carrots, twice the price of my package of carrots from Wally World). As I mentioned earlier, in most cases it will be cheaper to dehydrate fruits and vegetables yourself instead of buying pre-dehydrated products, with the caveats that high-sugar foods (especially tomatoes, apples and bananas) might be a bit trickier and stickier since their sugars will caramelize and get gooey and make it hard for you to remove them from your dehydrator trays. But obviously this isn’t a problem with carrots, so never mind. :)

I’d also like to reiterate the point I’ve made before that the food items I’m dehydrating for my long-term storage are either huge in nutrition, huge in flavor or both. Carrots (and spinach as well) are loaded with beta carotene, which our bodies turn into Vitamin A. Carrots don’t necessarily pack the flavor punch that other vegetables do, but they will add a huge nutritional punch to your food — 1/2 cup of dehydrated carrots (equal to 1 cup of cooked carrots) will give you about 130 percent of your daily recommended Vitamin A. Like Bugs said, it’s maaaaaagic!

I’ll post an update as soon as I get my first couple batches of carrots done.

UPDATE 5-17-10–I’ve gotten off to a later start than expected with the carrots, but the first thing I’ll say is that I’m amazed at the amount of shrinkage in volume once the carrots are dehydrated — but this is a very good thing, as it will give you more carats of carrots per quart! It looks like I’m averaging 8 pounds of pre-dehydrated carrots per one-quart mason jar AFTER dehydration–I’d estimate it’s about an 8-to-1 shrinkage in volume, similar to what I’ve encountered with tomatoes. I didn’t realize how much water was in carrots! But having said that, assuming reconstitution will work on the same water-to-carrot ratio of about 8-to-1, I’ll be able to fit the dry equivalent of 96 pounds of carrots per 12-jar case!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

100 items that disappear first in an emergency

Those of you who frequent other prepping sites know that this list appears all over the Internet, so in the interest of spreading it even further… :D
Some of these items might not necessarily be applicable to your particular situation, but keep in mind that this list doesn’t necessarily reflect what particular people might need, just what tends to get bought. Do your own due diligence in considering your particular needs and prep accordingly.
The first 100 items to disappear in an emergency, disaster, WTSHTF type situation:
1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. Noisy…target of thieves; maintenance etc.)
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 – 12 months to become dried, for home uses.
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice – Beans – Wheat
11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled etc.,)
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
13. Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.) Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY – note – food grade if for drinking.
16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur.
17. Survival Guide Book.
18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)
19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
21. Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
22. Vitamins
23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item)
24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products.
25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil)
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and Barter Item)
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
29. Garbage Bags (Impossible To Have Too Many).
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
31. Milk – Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4 months)
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
34. Coleman’s Pump Repair Kit
35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)
37. First aid kits
38. Batteries (all sizes…buy furthest-out for Expiration Dates)
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches. {“Strike Anywhere” preferred.) Boxed, wooden matches will go first
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators
44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime.)
45. Workboots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
46. Flashlights/LIGHTSTICKS & torches, “No. 76 Dietz” Lanterns
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experience; Historic Times)
48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting – if with wheels)
49. Men’s Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc
50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)
51. Fishing supplies/tools
52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
53. Duct Tape
54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
55. Candles
56. Laundry Detergent (liquid)
57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
58. Garden tools & supplies
59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.
61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
62. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)
63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
64. Bicycles…Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc
65. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats
66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
67. Board Games, Cards, Dice
68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & roosterroach magnets
70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks)
71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap (saves a lot of water)
72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)
74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
75. Soysauce, vinegar, bullions/gravy/soupbase
76. Reading glasses
77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
78. “Survival-in-a-Can”
79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
80. Boy Scout Handbook, / also Leaders Catalog
81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)
82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
85. Lumber (all types)
86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)
87. Cots & Inflatable mattress’s
88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
89. Lantern Hangers
90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws, nuts & bolts
91. Teas
92. Coffee
93. Cigarettes
94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc,)
95. Paraffin wax
96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
97. Chewing gum/candies
98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs
100. Goats/chickens

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another good reason to stock up: Looting will get you shot

I’d had the thought above running through my head for some time, but I hadn’t really put the concept on paper (or in this case, on screen) because I thought it’d be obvious to most people. But since you can’t cure stupid, I’ll waste a breath and state the obvious:

1. You need to stock up ASAP on food and other important things.
2. Looters will probably get shot.
3. If you eliminate your “need” to loot for food or other things, you’ll greatly reduce your chances of getting shot.
4. If your only plan for stocking up on what you need after TSHTF involves bullets, then you’re probably going to be stocking up on other people’s bullets…at about 1100 feet per second.

I think the excellent article “The Art Of Not Getting Shot” at the link below pretty much speaks for itself: