By: Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)
Several years ago I was minding my own business watching TV and a crazy show called “Doomsday Preppers” came on the screen. I watch about a half an hour of those weird people before turning it off. But the concept of the show sparked an interest in the back of my mind and got me thinking about the safety of my own family. I really started wondering if they would be taken care of or if they would be safe if anything (SHTF) bad happened. I concluded that we were grossly unprepared and our family’s journey began.
I am a list maker so the first thing I did was make a list of what I needed for my family to have just two month’s worth of supplies (food, water, soap, toothpaste …). Once finished I looked at my list and then at my checkbook, I am a father of six with a stay at home wife, and I quickly got over whelmed and then I panicked. After a few days I got brave enough to broach the subject with my wife and we figured out where the disposable income needed would come from. Like most of you, the economy has not been good to me. I have not had a real raise in years and the price of everything keeps going up, even while the government is telling us there is no noticeable appreciation.
My wife came up with the idea of prepping in little bits and watching it all add up. We spent one evening going over our budget and found ways to save money. I cut out my bi-weekly trip to Starbucks, started taking lunch to work a few day a week. We even cut out some of our soda habit and we realized we could easily find $10 a week to put towards our preps, and that is what we did.
You will not believe what $10 can buy until you really start paying attention. Here are just a few things you can get from a discount store like Family Dollar or Dollar General:
Rice (3 lb. bag) $1.69 – you can store 5 bags for $8.45
Dried beans (1.5 lb. bag) $1.99 – 5 bags = $9.95
Sugar (4 lb. bag) $2.39 – 4 bags = $9.95
Toothpaste $1.79 a tube – 5 tubes = $8.95
Kraft Easy Mac (2.05 oz. container) $1.00 – 10 containers = $10
The list goes on and on. Again I can’t say it enough that you can quickly store lots of supplies for as little as $10 a week. When we found a big item we wanted we would just save our $10 weekly prepping money until we could afford to buy the item. I think the first big item we got was a propane burner. In just a few weeks we had the money needed.
The key is to be consistent and disciplined and make that $10 purchase every week. In just a few months into your prepping journey you will be amazed at what you’re accomplishing. Then at the end of the first year you will look into your prepper closet and feel a lot better about your preparedness.
Once you get the basics of prepping started, you will quickly start doing things like gardening, canning your own food, seed saving and other inexpensive prepping activities that will quickly increase your safety and preparedness.
For more information on prepping please visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper
By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)
I have had many people ask me over the last year or so, “why do I need to can my dried beans? They should last for years in the bags they came in from the grocery store.” Well this is just not true. There are two reasons why I can dry beans instead of keeping them in dry form.
First, according to the US Bean Council ( http://www.usdrybeans.com ) dry beans keep up to a year in an airtight container in a cool, dry environment, away from direct sunlight. During storage, beans may either absorb or lose moisture, which will affect the soaking and cook time. If stored longer that 12 months, or exposed to unfavorable storage conditions, beans may never soften sufficiently, no matter how long they’re soaked or cooked.
The other reason I can my dry beans is because when you need them they are already cooked. All you have to do is heat and eat. Canning turns your favorite foods into the ultimate fast food! If you can them, they will last for years.
Supplies Needed for Canning Dried Beans
– Pressure Canner
– 4 pounds of dried beans (your choice of variety)
– Canning Salt
– 2 gallon stock pot
– Long handled spoon
– Small sauce pan
– 7 quart canning jars or 14 to 16 pint canning jars
– Jar lifter
– Magnetic lid wand
– Canning funnel
– Measuring spoon
– A few old towels
Preparing for Canning
– Wash beans and remove any dirt, foreign debris and bad (broken) beans
– Place beans in two gallon stock pot and cover the beans with two to three times the volume of water as beans
– Bring the beans to a boil and simmer for one hour
– Stir occasionally and add water if needed
– Wash jars, lids and rings
Filling and Closing Jars
– Put 2” water in small sauce pan and bring to boil
– Remove from heat and place lids in water
– Fill sterilized jars with drained beans to about 1 ¼ inches from the top
– Add ½ teaspoon canning salt per pint or 1 teaspoon per quart
– Top off each jar with juice (from cooking beans) leaving ¼ inch of head space
– Wipe rims of jars with wet dish cloth or paper towel (I use a paper towel)
– Assemble lids and rings and apply to jars
– Tighten lids to hand tight
Canning Dried Beans
– Put 3” water in canner and bring to boil (don’t put cold jars in hot water)
– Place jars in canner and lock down the lid
– Vent the canner for 7 to 10 minutes
– Process at 10 PSI for 45 minutes for pints or 55 minutes for quarts (Check you canner directions for proper PSI if you live at high altitudes)
– When done allow pressure to drop off naturally
– Remove jars and place them on counter to cool (I usually place them on a towel on the counter)
Jars may take up to an hour to seal, but wait until they have cooled to room temperature to be sure. Remove the bands before you store them.
If a jar does not seal, which is uncommon, your beans will need to be eaten right away or placed in the refrigerator.