Monthly Archives: March, 2013

Oven Canning Dry Goods for Long Term Storage

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

oven canning 1

I have been looking for an easy way to save dry goods like rice and flour for a while. I buy a little just about every time I go to the grocery store and have been looking for an cost effective way add them to my long term food storage. During my research I learned about oven canning and thought it might by a great solution for me.

Unlike many people who store food I do not buy in bulk; for two reasons. The first being that I do not have any stores nearby that sell bulk dry goods and the other is I don’t have the extra money to buy 100 pounds of rice and then all the Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers and food grade buckets. What I do have is a few extra dollars every week and lots of jars that were in grandma’s out building. So I can buy a few 3 pound bags of rice at the end of the week, oven can it and I am done.

The other great thing about oven canning is that if you can your dry goods correctly they can have a storage life of 15 to 20 years. So if you are at the grocery store and find flour or sale and decide to pick up a few extra bags you will know that you can store it long term and you will not have lost any money. The other great thing is that the jars are a good size so you can rotate the dry goods easily. We use ½ gallon jars for our oven canning. When needed my wife will just open one up and keep it in the pantry. When that jars is empty, she washes it and puts back in the box with the other empties and gets another full jar out of storage. We have found that the half gallon Ball jars hold about 3 ½ pounds of rice and 2 ½ pounds of flour. Any size jar will work from pints to half gallons.

What can be oven canned?

Dried goods like oatmeal, rice, whole wheat flour, white flour, cake mixes, and potato flakes can all be oven canned. Sugar and products that contain oil cannot be oven canned.

How to oven can Dry Goods

The first thing you need to do is pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees (depending on the size of jar you are using you might have to remove the top rack in your oven). While your oven is heating up make sure that you have the correct size lids and bands to fit the jars. Fill your clean jars with the dry goods you are canning. Once the oven has pre-heated place your full jars (no lids) on a cookie sheet in the oven. We always place the cookie sheet in the oven first and then place the jars on the cookie sheet. The cookie sheets job is to keep the jars from tipping over in the oven.

Leave the filled jars in the oven for one hour. While they are processing get a clean towel and place it on your counter so the hot jars want damage it when you remove them from the oven. Once the jars have processed for an hours use hot mitts to remove a jar and place it on the towel. Carefully wipe the rim with a damp (not wet) paper towel. Lastly place the lid on the hot jar and screw the band firmly in place. Carefully grab another jar and repeat this process until all the jars have lids and bands firmly secured. As the jars cool you will hear them start to make a “clicking” noise. That is the sound of the lids sealing. Let the jars cool completely, remove bands, label and store.

The Advantages

Oven canning is an excellent way to prolong the shelf life of dry goods. It also kills bugs and eggs that you might not know are in your products. The big one for me was that if frees up valuable freezer space and helps me take advantage of sales at my local grocery store.

oven canning 2


Please be extremely careful when handling hot jars and remember I am not a professional and I am only sharing what has worked for my family and me. If you have any question about safety please feel free to check with your local extension office.

The Art of Making a Prepper Notebook

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

binders

I find myself spending hours at the computer downloading, coping and pasting information into “documents” to refer to later. It seems that there is so much information on the internet and I want it all!

After I had all these wonderful documents saved to my computer I had a massive computer failure and lost it all. I was young (in my mind) and dumb and did not have any of it saved on a flash drive or printed out. This made me wonder, “What if we had an EMP or an extended power failure, how would I ever remember how to make homemade washing powder?” That is when I decided to make a Prepper Notebook.

This Prepper Notebook is different from your library of book you have been collecting. Every seasoned prepper I know has a collection of books on gardening, wilderness survival, cooking, sewing, animal husbandry, plant identification, wild edibles, and nutrition and so on. In the notebook you keep quick reference material and topics of interest that isn’t book length or might only be found in article found on the internet in amazing blogs like the one you are reading now.

To start off with you will need a good 4 inch heavy duty 3 ring binder, plastic paper insert clear sheets protectors and a pack of dividers with tabs. If you can find these items on sale I would buy several because these notebooks will fill up fast.

Next take your tabs and mark the following titles on them. You can add to this basic list later, but these are the ones you will want to start with.

– Preparedness Supply List
– Food storage Info.
– Recipes Using Food Storage
– Homemade Versions of Store Bought Items
– Wild Edibles
– Health Care Info.
– DIY Direction

By having these tabs already in your notebook you will find yourself searching the internet for great articles to place in your notebook. As your notebook grows you will find yourself adding lots of additional tabs.

When the power goes out and you have to adjust to life without Google you will be happy that you printed out your favorite recipes using all those jars of food you canned over the years.

Have fun and get searching!

What to Do When You Country Dog Gets “Skunked”

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

skunk

While Urban or suburban dogs are largely confined, the same is not true for your country dog. Country dogs have more freedom and spend their days exploring the hills, pastures and creeks nearby. Sooner or later your family pet will be on the wrong end of the country skunk. No matter how hard you try to protect your favorite canine, there curiosity will end up with them in one big aromatic mess.

As their caregiver we will have to fix the problem. And let me tell you it is hard to snuggle up with your beloved companion when they have been “SKUNKED”. Below you will find an easy remedy that will help fix the problem!

Destinking your “Skunked” Dog

– 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
– ¼ cup baking soda
– 1 teaspoon liquid soap

Mix together, rub deeply into your dog, and rinse thoroughly. This will not be a pretty scene, weather done outside in a tub, or inside in the family bathroom. But the joy of the newly cleansed canine will make it a worthwhile effort – Storey’s Basic Country Skills, John and Martha Storey

The Basics of Pressure Canning

By: Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

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When I first started canning I found several sites that provided information/list on how to properly pressure can food safely in canning jars. The lists all varied a little bit, but were pretty standard. Always check your recipe for exact directions and make sure that your recipes came from a modern canning book, manual or other reliable source. I stated out using the Ball Blue Book of Canning.

The basic steps in pressure canning are as follows.

1. Place food in a clean jar, leaving the required headroom (headroom is the empty space left at the top of the jar. Your recipe will tell you how much to leave).
2. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth.
3. Place a hot, previously boiled lid on the jar and screw down the ring hand tight (don’t over tighten).
4. Place the jar on the rack in a canner which has about one inch of water in it to create steam. Please check the directions that came with your canner, mine indicated to place 3 quarts of water in the canner.
5. Turn on the heat with the petcock open.
6. Exhaust steam forcefully for several minutes. Again check the direction that came with your own canner.
7. Close the petcock and allow pressure to build to that needed to process the food. I live at an altitude that is not higher than 1,000 feet and I use 10 pounds of pressure. Check your recipe if you are over 1,000 feet.
8. Hold the pressure at this reading for the entire time you must process the food.
9. When this time is up, turn off the heat and wait for the pressure to drop to zero.
10. Carefully open the petcock and allow any steam to escape. (Warning – steam is very hot).
11. Open the canner and remove the jars to a dry towel in a draft free area to cool. (Do not touch the jars until they are cool). Once cooled remove the metal rings for the jars.
12. Check for a complete seal. There should be absolutely no give.
13. Store jars with the rings removed and do not store the jars by stacking them on one another.

I hope this helps. I cannot stress the importance of following whatever recipe you are using completely.

Happy canning!

You can always check me out on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper?ref=hl

12 Low-Cost Ways to Start Prepping

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

Prepping can be a very expensive and scary when you first start out, so I have put together a short list of inexpensive things you can do to get started.

1.   Make a Plan: The first and most critical step in becoming more prepared is to make a plan.  Consider what you are prepping for and what you need to be prepared if that event happens.  Consider what you already have and what would be needed to be prepared.  Lastly prioritize you purchases, plan your time and focus on what are the most pressing things first.

2.  Research: Prepping is more than just buying and acquiring stuff.  Prepping includes learning new skill set.  You can find lots of the information you need by visiting the library, searching on-line and by having like-minded people teach you these new skill sets.  As you research new skill sets and obtain new information, it is important to organize your new information so you can revisit it later.  This can be done by making your own prepper book.  A prepper book will be a vital part of your prepping.  It will contain copies of article about all kinds of reference material.  I hope to do another article later on the Art of Making a Prepper Book

3.  Make a Budget: Plan out your expenses ahead of time rather than just spending money on things you think you need.  If you do not have a budget you will find out that you have over spent or spent money on things that were not important to whatever prepping event you are currently working on.  I wasted lots of money early on and found that my money did not always last as long as my month did.

4.  Collect Books: This is different from research.  Look for books on homesteading, emergency first aid, hunting, cooking, canning, gardening and animal husbandry.  Lots of these books can be found cheaply at used book stores, thrift shops and garage sales.

5.  Start a garden:  I use the Square Foot Garden method (raised beds) http://www.squarefootgardening.org/ It is easy if you follow the direction.  You can start small and add beds as needed.  Seeds are inexpensive but the knowledge needed to grow a good garden takes years to master.  That is why it is important to start before you really need the food.

6.  Knot Tying:  Knowing 5 or 10 basic knots could save your life and help you make the best of your resources.  With knots you can secure a temporary shelter, make a snare to catch food or tie off a safety rope used to get you out of a dangerous situation.  You can learn most of the knots you need from the Boy Scouts.  http://www.outdoorlife.com/photos/gallery/hunting/2012/02/essential-knots-how-tie-20-knots-will-keep-you-alive

7.  Filler Up: Make it a practice to keep your gas tanks full in all your vehicles.  When you see the gas gauge get to the half way mark, filler back up.  Keeping a full tank of gas will help with life’s little emergency’s as well as a SHTF situation.

fuel empty

8.  Make an Every Day Carry Kit: Making a small EDC Kit that can easily be carried with you every day is not hard to do.  I am sure you already have items in your home that you can use to make this kit and you will feel more prepared by just having it.  Some items that can be used are matches, cotton balls, duct tape, Band-Aids, safety pins, small tablet, pen/pencil or any other thing you can think of.

9.  Learn about Wild Edibles: Many of us walk past edible plants every day without even knowing it.  Did you know that you could make a meal from dandelions, violets, chickweed and acorns?  Check out this site for a place to start … http://www.trails.com/list_2390_edible-wild-plants-north-america.html

10.  Get Home Bag: You need the necessities that will get you home if you get stranded for a few days.  Put together a bag that will tide you over for a few days and keep it in the trunk or your car.  You will need water, food (energy bars are good source of protein), blankets, change of clothing and anything else that you think would be helpful.  It just needs to be something that will keep you going for a few days if you get stranded.  I would include a good book to help pass the time.

11.  Get in Shape: Starting a survival incident in good shape will give you a good advantage.  I started by taking my dog on a simple walk every other day.  What started out as a ½ mile has ended up being 3 miles several times a week.  I am not in perfect shape but I am in a much better place then I was 2 years ago and my wife likes the fact that I am 20 pounds lighter.

12.  Practice:  I think this is the most important of all these tips. You can read about it but actually knowing how to do it is something to still be seen.  Practice building a fire without matches, canning green beans or finding wild edibles.  Keep practicing as you learn new skills, you might not always have your Prepper Book with you.

Knowledge is power!

To learn more please check out my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper?ref=hl

Cash is King: Keeping Cash on Hand for Emergencies

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

There is a lot of information out there today about “prepping” which is really nothing more than following the old Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared”.  In everyday life there are many things that we might be prepping for that we did not even know would come up.

There are moments in life that will change everything and shake things up for you.  It may be the loss of a job, a positive pregnancy test that you were not trying for or a natural disaster.  Not all unexpected events are negative, but they are all unexpected and that is why we “prep” or prepare in advance for what life has in store for us.

One of the first step in preparing for the unexpected is to have a solid emergency fund in place.  An emergency fund is money that you have set aside that will allow you the freedom to take care of these unexpected emergencies.

In a real emergency such as a large winter storm or anything that could cause a prolonged power outage where debit or credit cards would be completely useless, having cash on hand could be a game changer.  Not all emergency would make these types of financial transactions impossible, but we need to prepare for the worse so I strongly recommend having cash on hand.

I recommend keeping cash in small denominations in both a home safe as well as a bug-out bag.  Most people don’t carry much cash anymore so if the SHTF you will be one of the few who will have cash to purchase items like gas, food, water or other supplies that you might need.  Hopefully as a prepper, you already have most or all of these things stored at you home.

My goal is to have a three months’ supply of cash on hand.  This should be enough to keep my family with enough cash to make the house payment, buy groceries, paying bills and generally living life while I try to get ahead of the moment that has shaking up my life.  I recommend starting with about $100 in small and medium sized bills (nothing larger than a $20) and work up from there.  When you have a spare five or ten dollar bill at the end of the week add it to your stash.  It will add up faster than you think.  Good luck and happy prepping.

For more information on prepping please visit and like my Facebook page at:

http://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper/posts/382263251881683?ref=notif&notif_t=like#!/PalmettoPreppermoney

 

Getting Started – Prepping To Be Self Sufficient

By:  Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

I put together a qucik checklist for new preppers.  I have had several people ask me what do I need to get started, so I put this together as a quick list for the newbie.

  1. LED Flashlight
  2. Batteries – 10 for every item
  3. First Aid Kit
  4. Water – two ways to purity water
  5. Fire – two ways to start
  6. Food
    1. 20 lbs rice
    2. 20 lbs dried beans
    3. 20 can fruit
    4. 20 cans vegetables
    5. 20 cans meat
    6. 2 cans peanut butter – large
    7. 2 containers of Tang – large
    8. 2 bags flour
    9. 1 bag sugar
    10. 1 bag salt
    11. 1 bag oats (rolled)
    12. 1 gallon Olive Oil
  7. Corded phone/Hand crank radio
  8. 100 % Wool Blanket – one for everyone
  9. Vitamin Supplements
  10. Ammo – 250 rounds for each weapon