Food and Water First

 

Water-and-Bread-oil-12x16

In a SHTF event, those who fail to prepare will be lucky (but unlikely) to even have bread and water.

Homemade Native American Pemmican, easily sprouted seeds and beans, ‘miracle’ Moringa leaves – powder, fresh, high quality ‘beans and rice’ (a complete protein), biblical “ezekiel bread”, sourdough bread and dried fruits, along with a clean water source will keep you alive and in good health… indefinitely.

Gardening with heirloom seeds will be vital to long term survival. A mix of veggies, fruits and herbs, watered and fertilized with minerals derived from seawater, (important!) grown in the “square foot gardening system” will provide a plentiful supply of veggies and fruits. Herbs provide fresh spices. 

Rabbit manure is a superlative fertilizer. All natural and… earthworms, a garden’s best friend, love it. Domestically raised Rabbits can provide a survival source of meat.  Earthworms are the surest and quickest means to fish on the grill.

Constructing a greenhouse is a no brainer. As is a root cellar for food storage. The destroyer of both uncooked and preserved foods are oxygen, heat and light. Opaque, vacuum sealed containers in a dark, cool root cellar will greatly extend shelf life. Glass containers should be placed in light proof outer containers. Black trash bags work fine, the idea is to block light from the food.

150 years ago, a paddle wheel steamer sunk in the Missouri river and was quickly covered with river mud. Filled with goods, it was unearthed a century and a half later. Having had no exposure to  light, heat or oxygen, preserved food in recovered jars were still perfectly safe and… perfectly edible.

Stock up on coffee beans, honey, salt & pepper, peanut butter, flour‘red feather brand’ canned butter, mayonnaise, powdered cheese, powdered milk, homemade powdered coffee creamer and ‘shelf stable’ Milk are essentials for the well stocked larder. Carefully and properly handled, many staples like butter, mayonnaise and peanut butter once opened, do NOT ‘need’ to be refrigerated .

Even a few spices will greatly enhance the taste of your staples. Storing them in a deep root cellar will greatly extend their shelf life. Many non-electric methods of food storage are available to us. Popcorn is a good substitute for chips and has a very long shelf life.

Staples like beans, rice and pasta are invaluable. Growing your own tomatoes and potatoes is easy and arguably, a necessity. For morale alone, they are invaluable.

Harvesting of game and fish are essential to maximizing food stocks.

Large amounts of sugar and sugar substitutes are priceless. 

A non-electric coffee maker and manual coffee grinder, bread ingredients & storage materials along with an ice cream maker and a beer making kit will, at some point be G-d sends.

Some ‘vices’ like chocolate, good cigars and scotch are well worth accommodating. Part of the difference between just existing and relaxing contentedly.

A manual meat grinder and grain grinder are essential pieces of equipment for the self-sufficient household. Both can be driven by bicycle/exercise bikes (way better than hand grinding).

A non-electric food vacuum packing system is invaluable.

Various cooking utensils are invaluable additions.

I recommend: Cast Iron and/or stainless steel pots and pans. 

The Ringer Cast Iron Cleaner

A good ‘dutch’ oven is a necessity.

During a grid down situation, a good solar oven and solar dehydrator would be indispensable .

A ‘Big Berkey’ Water Filter, along with plenty of replacement filters is, an absolute  necessity.

Raising your own chickens for eggs and meat is another no brainer. 

Hunting with a crossbow is the quietest, stealthiest means of procuring bigger game. 

Game snares are not just for small game. Snares can easily bring down deer and wild pigs. After a grid down event, the normally illegal snaring of deer will not be a concern. Snaring deer and wild pigs is, by far the most efficient means of obtaining large amounts of meat.

A modern, powerful 22. cal air rifle loaded with Crosman ‘Destroyer’ pellets and old fashioned snares are an extremely quiet means of procuring small game animals, while also extending food stocks.

Fishing is of course, an excellent means of procuring needed protein and, adds variety, an important if not critical consideration. During a grid down SHTF event, sport fishing must yield to other harvesting methods. A small solar cell/battery system powering an underwater green dock light will attract fish like crazy. Add a cast net to harvest.   

Cooking methods: 

Normally, indoor cooking uses either electricity or natural gas. Both may be available in a SHTF event but the prudent prepper will avoid dependency upon those technologies. Outdoor non-electric options are plentiful. Indoor non-electric options are limited.

A small solar cell system, wind, hydro or gas/diesel/propane generator may provide the electrical power needed to power an inductive cooktop and refrigeration. A chest freezer can be easily converted into a refrigerator whose energy usage is dramatically less than an ordinary refrigerator.

Solar and wind cannot provide electrical power 24/7. Few locations allow for hydro electrical generation. Gas/diesel/propane electrical generation, in a grid down situation is limited by a predictable, difficult to impossible resupply of fuel. Combining these technologies can partially compensate for their limitations but many cannot afford the expense.

In a long term, ‘grid down’ event, long term viability of the cooking method(s) becomes paramount. Thus, my focus in preparing for a possible worst case SHTF event is on non-electric methods for cooking.

A Solar Oven, while limited to sunny/overcast days is nevertheless, priceless. No fuel issues, ever. Solar ovens can reach 350-550 degrees, more than sufficient. They can even be used indoors, when placed before a sunny, south facing window. 

Sterno fuel style stoves are safe indoors but limited in heating ability. Somewhat expensive, old time wood cook stoves are available. Rocket mass heater/stoves however, that use wood, charcoal or coal are an inexpensive, highly efficient means of both cooking food indoors and heating the shelter. During warm weather, when using  mass heaters is uncomfortable, cooking outdoors is then viable.

I favor natural hardwood charcoal for its very low cost and long term storage potential. Years worth of charcoal can be stored in very little space and, with the right equipment, very few briquettes are needed.

I like the Cobb Premier Grill  (8-10 briquettes!) in combination with the Volcano 3 Collapsible Stove used with a Dutch Oven. A unique, outstandingly innovative dutch oven is the CampMaid brand. I can personally testify to its quality and cleverness. Together, these items provide for every cooking method; frying, roasting, baking, steaming etc. is available and more than one dish can be simultaneously prepared. Examples; casserole + bread. Meat Spaghetti sauce + pasta. BBQ + baked potato + veggie… 

The French “sous vide” cooking method has much to recommend it. A relatively unknown but well established method that is used by top chefs. Get this: Hot water (140-160), an instant read thermometer and a good ice cooler are ALL that is needed. Get a 36qt or larger cooler, with a lid that latches. However the water is heated, the cooler can be used indoors, making it suitable for use even in harsh conditions. I recommend searing steaks over a grill first, then using this method for possibly the best steak you’ve ever had.

The ‘Wonderbag’ is a non-electric ‘crockpot style’, casserole cooking method, suitable for indoors. It requires bringing water to a boil, adding recipe ingredients to the water, placing the pot into the Wonderbag and then simply leaving it for 6-8 hours. Voila! A cooked meal will await.

The mid-western traditional  2 1/2 Gallon Cream Can Supper Can is an innovative means of cooking for a crowd.  The Orion convection BBQ smoker is innovative and recommended.

Before all else comes food and water.                                                           You can live in a tent, run away from danger.                                           But without food and water, all else is meaningless.

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