Alternative Storage Techniques using Mylar Bags

We recently covered the step-by-step process of storing food in Mylar Bags and went over some of the advantages of them, key of which is protection from air and moisture. It’s pretty clear that you can store most any dry food in Mylar Bags, but what else can be stored in them? A Mylar Bag is an easily portable, strong, waterproof bag – there are lots of things you can store in them! Here are a few ideas (we welcome any other ideas!):

  • Cough Drops – wintering TEOTWAWKI will probably lead to a cough or two, better be prepared for it! We purchased 20 bags of 50 cough drops each from the dollar store. Each Mylar Bag received 2 big handfuls of drops. The normal shelf life of a Halls cough drop is 2 years. I think I’ve probably at least doubled that by storing them this way.

coughdrops

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How To: Adventures in Food Storage with Mylar Bags

There are several options available to us for long term storage of bulk food – 5 gallon buckets, #10 cans and Mylar Bags are some of the most popular. In this post we’ll be going over the advantages and disadvantages of Mylar Bags and how to use a Mylar Bag Sealer. Specifically, we’re going to show how to turn all of this:

There are several options available to us for long term storage of bulk food – 5 gallon buckets, #10 cans and Mylar Bags are some of the most popular. In this post we’ll be going over the advantages and disadvantages of Mylar Bags and how to use a Mylar Bag Sealer. Specifically, we’re going to show how to turn all of this:

2200 pounds of food

Into This:

packaged food

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Home Canning – In #10 Cans

I came across this great post today on the Safely Gathered In blog about canning your own food at home in #10 cans. The blog itself is well written and provides a lot of really great info about Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness. They have weekly posts on Tuesdays that guide you in purchases to build up your 72 hour kits and food storage. If you have a hard time deciding what you need to purchase, or you feel overwhelmed by everything you need to buy to be prepared, these kind of guides are invaluable!

I came across this great post today on the Safely Gathered In blog about canning your own food at home in #10 cans. The blog itself is well written and provides a lot of really great info about Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness. They have weekly posts on Tuesdays that guide you in purchases to build up your 72 hour kits and food storage. If you have a hard time deciding what you need to purchase, or you feel overwhelmed by everything you need to buy to be prepared, these kind of guides are invaluable!

Today they have a great write-up on canning food you’ve purchased in #10 cans. They have several pictures that walk you through the process of using a canner at home to dry pack food you’ve purchased at the store. This can be wheat, rice, pasta, sugar, salt, or any other dry food you can buy in bulk.

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Making it Yourself: Cheese

One of my favorite comfort foods to have around is cheese. While I do not consider myself any kind of cheese-snob by any means, I do have several varieties that I like to have on hand, and really care about the flavor and texture of those cheeses. These cheeses make up a very important part of my regular diet, and having to go without them would not only cause me and mine to feel the lack of something, but our bodies would probably quickly notice it, and our digestion would likely suffer.

One of my favorite comfort foods to have around is cheese. While I do not consider myself any kind of cheese-snob by any means, I do have several varieties 180px-emmentalerthat I like to have on hand (Cheddar, Jack, Gouda, to name a few), and really care about the flavor and texture of those cheeses. These cheeses make up a very important part of my regular diet, and having to go without them would not only cause me and mine to feel the lack of something, but our bodies would probably quickly notice it, and our digestion would likely suffer.

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Reading Country Code From Barcodes

I love the tips that get passed around online that just make your life work a little easier.  This quick tip was posted to me today.

I love the tips that get passed around online that just make your life work a little easier.  This quick tip was posted to me today.

Example UPC barcode
Example UPC barcode

I’d always known that standard barcodes included country information, but wasnt’ sure how to parse it out, or where the numbers matched up to.  Well, here’s a few quick answers:

Howto Read Country of Origin Codes

Wikipedia’s List of all country GS1 codes

The short of it all is this, the first digits tell you where it’s from.  000 – 139 are US, though most unused still.  Just as a note, older products didn’t have a leading 0, such as the posted example, so assume 0 padding for the full length when calculating.

690 – 695 is China.

The Cost of Food Storage

I was recently directed to this link via a forum, and knew it was one to share. Among other great resources on his site, this gentleman has done a cost breakdown of purchasing a years food supply for an adult. Haven’t we all seen breakdowns before? What’s so special here?

Well, besides providing a relatively varied amount of food, with precise product lists, he makes sure the overall calories meet the needs of an adult in a moderately stressful situation. This also gives breathing room for possible caloric loss or variations in product levels.

But the best thing of all, each month he has taken the time to compare the cost of purchasing the total package from your local stores. Yes, up to date costs, with trending information.

Some of the highlights of his information:

Calories : Cost

1,107,460 $1,574 One-Year Emergency Food Supply for One Adult

And the really interesting part:

The following retail Cost of a “One-Year Emergency Food Supply” is based on prices as of November 1, 2008.
The total cost of the following one-year emergency food supply increased in price by 13.6% in ten-months from January 9, 2008 to November 1, 2008.
This equates to an annualized 16.3% increase in food price

Yeah, just the cheaper food that he refers to here is up 16.3% this year. Yet more proof of the importance of food storage. Chalk up another reason in Why We Prep.

Costs of creating a one-year food storage

Awesome Firestarter – cotton balls and vaseline

All Preppers know that in a TEOTWAWKI or WTSHTF situation or any other crisis event you’ve got to be able to start fires, especially in a Bug Out situation. We’re not talking about being able to get a spark here, we’re talking about strong tinder lighting capability. If you add moisture to the mix you’ve got an even more complicated and risky situation.

Lets say you’ve bugged out, you’ve got all your Bug Out Gear with you, and it’s been drizzling a bit. The ground is wet, found tinder is going to be wet, the only thing that might be dry is your last couple squares of toilet paper – and you’ve got to have a fire. So what do you do? You put your last precious squares of TP wadded up on the damp ground and then set your damp twigs on top of it and use one of your 27 lighters or 6 other fire starters you have in your BOB to get it going. In less than a minute your TP has burned out and the ground and twigs are still damp – and your SOL.

Enter a very simple prep – taking regular old cotton balls (100% cotton, none of that fake junk) that cost about $1.25 for a bag of 120 (that’d be the LARGE size cotton ball) and cover them with Vaseline which costs about $3.00 for a good size jar. Now you’ve got a very compact and light-weight water resistant starter that will burn strong for several minutes.

Here’s the step-by-step and a demo:

Transfer the cotton balls into a decent container – we used ziploc sandwich bags.

cottonprep1

Put a handful of Vaseline into each bag and seal with a bit of air in them.

cottonprep3

Knead the cotton into the Vaseline until each ball in the bag is covered nicely (this takes a little bit of time)

cottonprep4

Voila! You just made a baggie full of really killer fire starter. We made up a few.

cottonprep2

There are dozens of ways to make these, this just illustrates what I’ve found useful and easy. One of these baggies will go into mine and each kids Bug Out Bag (BOB) with several baggies going into my regular long-term storage. There are lots of ways to store them too, right now I’m just storing them in their baggie.

To light the ball, you rip it part way open to expose the inner threads of cotton and spark against them. They ignite very quickly and the rest of the ball acts like a candle due to the vaseline covering. Once the ball has sat in jelly for a few days it will be water resistant.

For about $14.00 we just put 600 reliable fire starters into our storage – not bad at all!

This video demonstrates how long and how well the cotton ball burns once it’s covered in jelly, the other balls in this video are plain ole regular cotton balls.

In the video I’m lighting the cotton ball with a
BlastMatch which is by far my favorite sparker of all time – grab one here if you don’t have one!

Don’t be caught without the ability to easily and reliably make fire! Take the little amount of time and money these puppies require and you’ll always have the security of reliably starting many fires.

– Phil801