Last-Minute Preps on a Shoestring Budget

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Good Day, guys and gals! This piece will present you with some ideas for cost-effective preps to help round out your stockpiles and give you an extra edge. We’re all feeling the “bite” caused by the price increases everywhere: at the grocery stores, the gas stations, the drugstores, and the hardware stores. It’s only going to get worse before (and if) it gets better.

There are plenty of long-term food supplies and companies you can use for foods with shelf-lives of twenty-five years or more, I understand. I also understand that many of us can’t afford them. First, let’s put out one precept I hope you’ll adopt as your own:

There’s no shame in not having enough money for something: you do the best you can with what you have and keep a positive outlook on it. 

There! Now, let’s get into it!

Food

Regarding food supplies, there are different camps and different schools of thought. I’m a big believer in cans. Yes, I can my own stuff (always in wide-mouth Mason jars to better resist a freeze here in Montana), but this doesn’t stop me from stocking up on canned goods packed in good-old-fashioned cans made out of steel. I recommend canned goods for long-term storage on a budget.

Dried stuff (such as beans, rice, etc.) will keep for a long time, but they don’t really give you a lot in return, not to mention the fact that you have to prepare them.

Here are some basics about macronutrients for you to keep in mind:

Protein: The basic building block of life and absolutely essential for tissue repair and recovery. Protein has a high thermogenic factor. It takes more energy to digest, but you get more return on your investment.

Fats: Also very important as sources of energy and also as macronutrients that the brain (and other organs) rely heavily upon.

Carbohydrates: Believe it or not, you should stay away from these as much as possible, but they do have uses when not consumed to excess. One example is after you perform strenuous activity. It is good to replenish your body with protein, but also with some carbohydrates. This prevents catabolism, which occurs when your body is starving for sugar. Without carbohydrates or simple sugars, your body will “cannibalize” your muscle tissue.

The protein in your muscles is then converted into glycogen, which your body burns for energy. It can be devastating because replacement of protein lost in this manner is neither quick nor easy. This is a “deep” subject that I can go further into in another article, but I think you grasp the point.

A couple of references to help you on these topics: Grain Brain by David Perlmutterand Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas. The first book will take you into topics such as glycation: how excessive sugars and carbohydrates in the diet disfigure proteins and cause them to form blockages in vessels. The latter work details the differences in the way our ancestors ate and how our “system” of food production is causative, not curative, of problems.

Canned Foods

Cans can take a beating, handle a freeze, and most contain foods that are cooked. Go with organic stuff as much as possible, and if that can’t be done, “sift” the ingredients. Buy (in this order) generic brands and then name brands. Compare them. The store brands are sometimes much better in quality and at half the price.

  1.  Prepared “dinners” in a can: Most of this stuff is not optimal for your body, but this is about survival, plain and simple. My objective here isn’t to recommend any brand but just to give you a “feel” for what you’ll need. Look closely at the ingredients. You’re searching for the least amount of preservatives, artificial ingredients, or “substances” that are unfamiliar. You’re searching for high protein, moderate to low carbohydrates, and moderate fats. Canned chili is good, as are some of the soups and stews. Think beef stew with high protein content. Think lentil soups, bean soups, and pea soups. These all have protein, and you can augment them with the next category.
  2.  Canned meats: Canned chicken is your best bet. It’s already cooked, and you can either add something to it or add it to something (such as the soups mentioned in “item 1”. Once again, make sure it’s really meat, without a whole bunch of “fillers,” such as potato-starch, or some other grains. Tuna fish, sardines, fish steaks. All of these you can find even in the dollar stores.
  3.  Canned fruits: Avoid the ones in the high-fructose corn syrup. Go for things with high vitamin C content and some fiber. Canned grapefruit, pineapples, and mandarin oranges are among your best bets. Incidentally, bromelain is a chemical constituent found only in pineapples. It stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid in your stomach and enables you to digest meats more easily.

(Want to learn how to can what you grow? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning.)

preps

Now let’s cover some foods you can’t readily find in a can

You can obtain these for reasonably-low prices and store for fairly long periods of time.

  1.  Summer sausage, beef jerky, and fish: They can be good for years if protected from light, changes in temperature, moisture, and pests. Once again, go for quality, but an eight-ounce stick of summer sausage can be split between a family of four and lend protein for a quick meal when the lights go out and the music stops playing. There are also Mylar pouches of tuna fish and salmon, good for single servings. Make sure these pouches are made entirely out of Mylar; some pouches have a transparent plastic “bottom,” and that won’t cut it in the end.
  2.  Dried fruit: Raisins, apricots, banana chips, pineapple. The ones in mylar pouches will give you some longevity for storage. Dried fruits will help alleviate cravings for sugar. Make sure you drink plenty of water when you eat them, or else they can “rob” your body of its fluids and dehydrate you in the course of digesting them.
  3.  Nuts and seeds: Peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. The “buttered” forms will keep longer, and remember, they all tend to become rancid after prolonged storage, but they’ll help. You can store peanut butter for a fairly long time. They’re high in protein. Once again, drink plenty of water when you eat them.

The reasoning behind everything I’ve mentioned thus far is simple:

You can eat all of this stuff “as-is” without resorting to a stove.

In a grid-down survival situation, you don’t want the whole, hungry neighborhood to smell that tasty stew you’re cooking on the Sterno stove. You want to crack open those cans and pouches, eat that meal, and seal up anything left over. Don’t leave any signs or signatures that let others know that you’ve stored food, or your “popularity” will suddenly rise, and “company” will drop by…uninvited, of course.

Food storage: If possible, try to buy some of those large, three or 5-gallon food-grade buckets from the bakery department of your local food store. They only run about $5 a piece or less. Get the ones with rubber gasket rings on the inside of the lids. These “clamp” down into place. If you can’t get the gasketed ones, don’t despair. Use the ones you can find. Seal your cans and packages into these, and then make sure you store/stack them raised up off the floor. Mark the outside of your buckets so that you know their contents at any given glance.

With an absence/shortage of buckets, you can use bins, but I recommend Rubbermaid “Roughneck” bins, the 10-gallon size. They usually run about $10 to $12 or so. They’re worth it. The reasons: they’re durable, stackable, and each bin won’t weigh so much that it makes it impossible to move if the need arises. They’re also dark-colored and will block off light and sight (if you should have to move things, and being spotted by neighbors is possible).

Water

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This is a biggie. There are many ways to purify your water. Storing it is another matter. You need to make sure that they’ll take a freeze. Personally, I like those 7-gallon blue containers with a handy pour-spout you can find at happy Wal-Mart or another smiling big-box store. They can take a pretty good beating.

Remember: each member of your family needs at least 1 gallon of water a day to drink. Do the math. Your initial investment there is your water containers, but you can use your imagination and substitute. There are “codes” stamped on the bottom of plastic bottles. These tell if the container is safe and that the plastics will not leach into your water. You should have at least two weeks’ worth of water stored in your home.

Purification needs to be done quickly and effectively without being detected

Yes, boiling your water will do the trick, but this means the use of some type of fuel and a flame…possibly smoke. Trust me, smoke will bring other people to your location very quickly.

Sawyer makes a water filter that can clean up to a hundred thousand gallons for $20. That would last a family of four more than a decade. From a chemical perspective, bleach is often used to disinfect water of microbes, but bleach denatures rapidly. HTH, or calcium hypochlorite (also known as “pool shock”), can be found in your local hardware store for about $3 per pound. It stores more easily and can be reconstituted at any time.

It’s concentrated, powdered bleach, used primarily to keep microbes and algae under control in swimming pools. Try and get 70% concentration or higher. Keep it in a sealed container, as its fumes create “off-gassing” that can be toxic in a closed space. A pound can purify 11,000 gallons; one level teaspoon will take care of five gallons. It’s inexpensive, effective, and easy to store without degrading.

Iodine tablets are an old yet effective way to clean up the water. They still sell them in camping stores and outdoor sections of big-box stores. Sometimes you can find them in military surplus stores. One tablet in a one-quart bottle with a loosened lid and half an hour will do the trick.

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First aid, medical supplies, and supplements

This is really important. Your first priority is to identify any and all members of the family with underlying or chronic (long-term) medical conditions or needs. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to garner all of the medications they utilize. Set those aside in a container allocated for each person. This will save you time and effort should an emergency arise. Your job regarding storage as a “prepper” is to take the guesswork out of your supplies: good, legible labeling and organization of storage containers are the keys to success in this area.

  1.  OTC meds: These are over-the-counter medicines, such as your cold and flu medications, as well as first-aid and supportive care items. Your dollar stores are going to have a great deal of what you need. Benadryl, aspirin, and Tylenol. Band-aids, bandages, antiseptics (rubbing alcohol, Neosporin), and Ace wraps. Soaps and toothpastes. Antifungal cremes, hydrocortisone cremes, and topical pain relievers. All of these and more you can still obtain. Most people haven’t figured it out yet, so now is the time to secure these items for yourself.
  2.  Vitamins: A good multivitamin is really important. You’d be surprised at the depletion your body suffers in such traumatic circumstances just from stress. Injuries and poor nutrition compound it. Load up on Vitamin C and E. The latter is really helpful with wound and tissue repair. They’re synergistic, meaning that they work together, and when taken together, each potentiates, or enhances the effectiveness of the other.

Basic list of necessities

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s meant to help “get the ball rolling” if you haven’t done so already. Most of these items can be found in the dollar and big-box stores.

  • Disposable lighters
  • Matches
  • Sewing supplies
  • Small hand tools
  • Ziploc freezer bags
  • Candles
  • Clothespins
  • Clotheslines
  • Glues/adhesive
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Radio

Sources

To obtain the supplies you need, you’ll have to “think outside of the box” and approach things in an “unconventional” manner. Other sources include thrift stores, flea markets, church bazaars, yard sales, and local newspaper sales. Go to your grocery stores and department stores, and seek out the markdown sections.

You have to be shrewd, and at the same time, don’t draw undue attention to yourself. If you have a rapport with any of the managers, ask if you can take some of the “borderline” items away at a discount. Treat it as a challenge. Fortune favors the bold, right?

Don’t be afraid to ask. We have a government that just “allocated” about $30 billion to Ukraine…out of our taxes. Businesses write off everything they acquire. Don’t be afraid to inquire if there are extra blankets, sleeping bags, or markdown clothing at that Army surplus store.

Ask! If the lifetime of indoctrination and conditioning we’ve all been through makes you feel “guilty,” then offer to clean their store or their parking lot in return for what they give you if they don’t charge you for it.

To survive the times to come, you have to think outside of the box, and at times, color outside of the lines

This is what it means to adapt. You can do it! Set your mind to it, and you will succeed. A positive attitude and a desire to do good will carry the day. Bank on it!

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When a disaster occurs, be it natural or man-made, the most important tool you have is your mind, supported by a good heart and a steadfast resolve. Fill your mind with information you can utilize. If you search out those thrift stores, you’ll find used books on virtually every subject imaginable. Learn as much as you can about first aid, wilderness skills, preserving food, and creating/building your own equipment. The more you know and understand, the more you can do when the time comes to help yourself, your family, and others you care about.

In addition, you’ll want to save for the future. They deserve their own bins with a checklist of their titles and subjects. In the times to come, your children and grandchildren will need them. It’s both a short-term and a long-term investment. You’ll always need reference materials, and if you don’t, then others will.

I welcome any questions or comments, and I’m open to suggestions for topics you’d like to see covered. I’d like to expand on this piece for readers who live in densely-populated urban or suburban areas, if you’re interested. Take it day-by-day, budget shrewdly, and use time wisely to acquire your supplies. Stay in that good fight, and take care of one another. JJ out!

What are your favorite inexpensive preps?

Do you have some suggestions for folks on a tight budget? What inexpensive preps are you getting while you still can? Share your thoughts in the comments.

About Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson is the nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the U.S. Army Special Forces.  Mr. Johnson is also a Gunsmith and a Master Herbalist.  He graduated from the Special Forces course at SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) School, and is an expert in small unit tactics, survival, and disaster-preparedness.  He lives in a cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana.

Last-Minute Preps on a Shoestring Budget
Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

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  • Thank you! I’d love to hear recommendations for best sources for freeze-dried items like meat, fruits and veggies!

    • Dear M,
      You’re welcome! I’ll bring up your wishes to my editor. Have a good day, and thanks for reading…sorry about the delay in answering you.

      JJ

  • You forgot to mention guns and ammo, or whatever weapons are legal in your area. A big pile of preps is only as good as your ability to defend it.

    • Dear Amy,
      Please forgive my delayed response. I just submitted one to the editor today on my recommendations, and some tips that will help. Thanks for reading.
      JJ

  • Good article. I appreciate the perspective that not all of us can afford to buy an extra piece of wilderness property, buckets of freeze dried meals, etc.

    I’d like to see an article about dehydrating without an electric machine.

    Also, ways of doing other things without electricity, in case of grid down. Appalachian ways, specifically. Thanks!

    • Hi Carla,
      I hope you have gotten many ideas about how to do things the ways of our Appalachian grandparents. I grew up in Ky. and learned a few of those things from my grandmothers-both hard working pioneer stock. But a book I ran across–“What My Heart Wants to Tell”, by Verna Mae Sloane, is full of that kind of information–she lived the same kind of life that all my old folks, with the same old ways of putting food by for the winter, and such, and i hope you can get your hands on a copy.
      God bless,
      Elaine

    • Thank you, Carla H. Yes, I’m one of the ones who can’t afford much. I live off-grid, and watch every dime.
      I’ll bring up doing a piece on dehydrating (I use a hardwood smoker, and also a solar dryer), and I’ll delve into the other topics when I’m able, as well. You hang in there, and have a great day. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you.
      Sincerely,
      JJ

  • quick oats. has protein, carbs, fiber. stores well. no cooking required.

    a “rises as it fills” swimming pool. if of course you have a place for it.

    “Get the ones with rubber gasket rings on the inside of the lids”

    if you do then get an opener-wrench to go with it.

    “Load up on Vitamin C and E”

    pre-natal vitamins, they cover everything. get them now, because it’s all made in china and if trade is cut then all that is going to go away.

    duct tape. a good knife.

    • Oats can also be ground into flour so it’s one of those multi purpose foods that everyone should have on hand. Oh and you can also make oat milk.

    • All good ideas except for the PreNatal vitamins. PreNatal vitamins have Iron, and most adults don’t need extra iron. In fact, excess iron can cause problems. Just find a good national brand, it will store for 3-5 years and if you rotate as you use them, you’ll be in good shape. All top brands are made in the USA, (although many ingredients come from China and India).

  • JJ,
    I’ve been wondering what happened to you.
    I have never paid for a food grade bucket. The local stores give them away, and they’re washed out when I get them. I wash them again and let them air out for a few days before I use them or store them.

    • Dear Muddy1,
      I “bowed out” of the writing-reporting for a few years to take care of family matters: thank you for thinking of me.
      Believe it or not, I have a collection of cat litter pails that are exemplary to store a lot of different things. Best thing to do is put some kind of desiccant-pack in them, or make your own out of gypsum wallboard. Then just seal the edge of the pail up with duct tape. I use the food-grade ones when I can, but there’s been a shortage of them here in Montana.
      Thanks for reading, and I apologize for the delay in writing to you.
      JJ

  • Good article. I appreciate aspects of simplicity, limited resources and multiple options. Not necessarily new info but down to earth perspective and well said. Thanks

    • Thank you, Miss Laura. My main goal (combined with the topic) is to show others how to think outside the box, and to give ideas. Improvisation is critical to prep effectively now, and in the times to come when all supplies halt. Thanks for reading, and your comments: they mean a lot to me. Hang in there!
      Sincerely,
      JJ

    • Cia, I will do my best to cover that as soon as possible; it’s a vital topic. Keep an eye out for it. Thank you for your compliments, and you have a nice day!
      Sincerely,
      JJ

  • Another source for goods is your local feed store. For example: A one-pound box of baking soda costs about a dollar. But you can get a 50 pound bag of baking soda for less than $10 at the feed store.

    They also have bagged barley, oats, corn… If you were to buy these things in the smaller packages at the retail grocer, you will spend far more than if you get them at the feed store. It’s the same quality as human food, just in bigger packages.

    You can also get the equivalent of Pepto-Bismol for $19/gallon. The stuff is a good prep, and while it has a “best by” date, it lasts way longer than the stamped suggestion. Mineral oil, hydrogen peroxide, any number of items can by bought by the gallon for so much less than the smaller retail packages.

    If the sizes are too big for your preps, then talk to a friend or neighbor and split the cost, and enjoy an afternoon together, repackaging the product.

    • Pony are you currently eating animal grade grains in your family’s daily diet? If so, please advise how you clean the extra bits of rock and foreign materials from your animal grade grains.

      I’ve eaten horse grade corn and once you clean it decently it’s fine. But you have to remove the bits of dirt-rocks-bugs from it. I’ve a neighbor that ruined a set of nice griding stones due to not cleaning the animal grade well.

      If the horse grade feed bags are improperly handled or allowed to get rained on and dishonestly dried out, mold and mycotoxin can be a real issue. Feed stores generally TRY HARD not to accept such damaged goods as Horse Owners get really nasty when their trusted feed store sells them bad feed.

      Human grade grain is what a farmer loves to grow, Highest Dollar for the work involved. Also, Highest GRADE of grains. Horse Feed is generally safe for humans once you sift out the extras like bits of critters and rocks. Deer corn is nearly the worst grade of grains that fail the mold testing’s. Horse people don’t feed deer corn to their horses.

      The worst grades of grain go into cheaper dry dog foods along with chicken byproducts (feathers etc.)

      Farmers don’t like it when their grain is lower rated by inspection at the silo. Same amount of diesel-Fertilizer-seed costs-etc. and work goes into Human Grade Grains as Dog Food Grains.

      • So true about the animal-grade feeds! We had a weevil infestation in the pantry from a partially-filled bag of wheat we were storing (chickens did not eat all of the 50# bag that winter, we were saving it to feed to them the next winter). Needless to say the pantry got a deep-clean and we bought a trash can with a tight lid to store their winter treat outside now!

    • Excellent suggestions, P.M. Every source outside of the mainstream will hold treasures that go unnoticed. I might do a piece on “expiration dates,” to help others know just what you mentioned regarding “best by” date.
      Thanks for reading, and for the great advice.

      JJ

  • Most water filters have some problems you need to avoid or prevent. The problematic majority use tiny little capillary sized tubes that the water flows through. After even the first time use, some water will remain in those tubes — making them deadly if they ever subsequently freeze — which cracks those tubes and then can let disease-contaminated water through to make you sick. The safest method is to always keep such filters in stock in never-used condition so that an accidental freeze won’t hurt them. The second (and more troublesome) method is to make sure that once-used filters are then never allowed to freeze — which could involve either heated storage or even transport against your body to keep such filters from freezing.

    There is one freeze-tolerant filter that’s an exception to this problem (that doesn’t use the tiny capillary tube system), called a SurvFilter which runs about $99 the last time I looked online. But even it has some of the same limits as most other filters — such as the inability to remove industrial chemicals, prescription drugs, radiation and salt from water.

    If a local water test reveals that you don’t have to worry about ANY of those problems, then you can deal with water filters such as I have described. But IF you need to clean out contaminants that filters can’t handle, then you need to know about distilling water whether purchased or homemade. There are distillers on the retail market (typically electric powered for kitchen countertop design) or you can DIY make some yourself. One of the most interesting is a non-electric passive solar design that looks something like a pool table with a clear glass top on a slight slant above a waterproofed wooden frame with PVC tubing for plumbing. I squirreled away a discarded glass door left over from a neighbor’s remodeling for such a project. There are entire families along the US/Mexico border depending on such passive solar distillers because of the salt content in their local water that politicians would not allow to be properly cleansed. See the Sharon Buydens book below on Amazon for full details. There are some YouTube how-to videos as well but that book is better.

    DIY: How to Build a Solar Water Distiller: Do It Yourself – Make a Solar Still to Purify H20 Without Electricity or Water Pressure Paperback – September 4, 2015,
    by Sharon Buydens

    https://www.amazon.com/DIY-Distiller-Yourself-Electricity-Pressure/dp/1517216680/ref=sr_1_3?crid=30MLONOKXL5LI&keywords=Sharon+Buydens+books&qid=1653415374&s=books&sprefix=sharon+buydens+books%2Cstripbooks%2C142&sr=1-3

    Obviously that pool table size design is not portable, so if you want a distiller you can take with you while traveling or bugging out, there are some small electric-powered distillers available at retail plus some non-electric camping-compliant DIY designs on YouTube.

    It’s a shame in our era that you have to depend on a water test to know whether you can get by with a carefully selected water filter or whether you need to rely on distilling.

    –Lewis

    • Dear Lewis,
      Excellent and outstanding information, sir! Really good stuff. You are well-versed on an extremely-important subject. I wrote several articles years ago on a system for purification, and a “catchment” system for storing water.
      That SurvFilter I’m going to have to check out, because many of the filters take care of biological contaminants without addressing the hard-minerals and toxins that water may contain. I’d love to delve into it further.
      Thanks once again…for reading, and for sharing this good information.
      Sincerely,
      JJ

  • I think the most important prep we can do is to learn how to produce for ourselves.

    My favorite cheap food preps involve gardening. I get a lot of my original seeds from our local farm center far cheaper than I can buy the same variety of seeds online. I also save a lot of my own seeds as well. If I didn’t have seeds, I saw that they had vegetable and herb seeds 4 packs for $1. Some grow some don’t. We try to eat fresh directly from the garden and avoid preserving as much as possible. I buy a lot of food in bulk from the local Amish store. I also get my canning lids there in bulk as well. I have a food dryer (not a freeze dryer, they are too expensive).

    We also have chickens for eggs and use their manure in the garden as well. Our heating source is a wood stove. We have a rain barrel and I store water in plastic milk jugs that I have cleaned well. I change the water every few weeks. It may not be ideal, but it certainly beats dehydration. For longer term, we have a small stream that runs through our property 6-9 months out of the year. I have a charcoal water filter system that I probably should augment with pool shock. (Use the pool shock to kill germs, use the filter to remove the chlorine and other heavy metals.)

    Probably one of the least expensive things you can do is get to know your neighbors and learn to share skills (and perhaps exchange things you produce).

    • I’ve been re-using the 2 qt. size cranberry juice jugs to store water in, but your comment about the milk jugs got me to thinking. I can clean them out and store filtered water if not for drinking, then maybe washing or flushing the toilet. Or for drinking, because you’re right; maybe not ideal, but it beats dehydration.

      • Dear Carla H.,
        You’ll be able to find the “codes” stamped on the bottom of old drink/beverage containers that tell whether or not they’re suitable and don’t leach plastic into the drink.
        Your ideas are just fine. Make sure you also store some 1-quart containers, such as for “Gatorade,” or other beverages. The reason: easy to handle, and most purification measures run things by either the quart or the gallon (tablets, powders, etc.). Thanks for reading, and for contributing your ideas.

        Sincerely,
        JJ

    • Kudos on all of your suggestions, Cygnet! You have a good heart: the most valuable asset of all.
      Respectfully Yours,
      JJ

  • I’d add vet tape to the list of inexpensive first aid supplies, you can use it for:

    Compression bandages
    Hold a bandage on for scraped elbows and knees (parents take note)
    As an “Ace” bandage for wrists, ankles, elbows
    As a sling for an arm
    As an improvised split (add sticks or corrugated cardboard)

    It stretches and adheres to itself. No sticky residue on skin or hair.

    Buy it at your local pet supply store, farm co-op, or farm & animal supply store (TSC).

    Cost is around $2 for a roll 4 inches wide and 5 yards long. Comes in a variety of colors.

    • Great idea about the vet tape. We used to keep some rolls on hand years ago, and it’s a great sub for an ace bandage.

    • Sound advice, Marc M. It’s probably stronger, right? (The joints and limbs of horses and livestock being larger). I’ll be checking that out. I already obtain different blades for scalpels in my minor surgical wound kit there. Thanks for the advice!
      JJ

  • Collect a few cheap, outdoor solar lights for use indoors.
    Landscape with edible plants.
    Establish berry vines, shrubs, garlic, potatoes, Jerusalem Artichokes, onions, amaranth, water cress…whatever you can put in the ground, in the landscape at your home AND at your bug out place.
    Build up a stash of seeds to germinate for fresh greens.
    Chia seeds, for instance germinate in a couple of days & can be ready to eat as micro-greens in less than a week.
    For tiny seeds like Chia, set a pre-soaked terra cotta saucer in a shallow dish of water. The terra cotta will absorb enough moisture to keep the chia seeds moist until they are ready to eat.

    Steel cut oats, rolled oats, pearl barley & buckwheat can be soaked instead of cooked. Stir water, yogurt or milk into a cup of the cereal grains, cover the container & set it in a cool place for 24-48 hours. Add sweetener & enjoy.

    Lentils take just a few minutes to cook if you soak them for about 48 hours. Rinse them well & change the water evening & morning.

    Most legumes can be germinated, then steamed or stir fried to kill any bacteria that may be present.

    • Awesome advice, SewMuch! Especially with that sprouting. Broccoli sprouts have ten times the amount of nutritional value than full-grown broccoli florets.
      What you wrote here will help a lot of people out. Thanks for reading the article, and thank you for the comments!

      JJ

  • Aluminum foil pans:
    These can be used as a vege/seed “pot” (mini “raised bed” for salad greens), to cook in, to prep or store food in, to prevent things on the ground getting wet or dirty (even as a seat if needed!), to carry stuff, they can hold/collect water, won’t rust or degrade in the sun, lightweight, easy to clean, collect ash/hot charcoal for cooking…the list goes on.

  • Aluminum foil and/or pans with cardboard boxes (or similar) can also be fashioned into a solar oven if you understand the principles involved – videos on YouTube.

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