Using Canning Jars For All Food Stores and More – Part 2, by Sarah Latimer

What We Store In Jars Dry, bulk goods. This category of items includes grains, dried pasta, dried potato flakes, dry beans, and rice for long-term storage. We buy these in 40- and 50-pound bags from the Mormon storehouse, Costco, and online vendors and then repackage them into the half gallon jars, which are then vacuum sealed, using our FoodSaver Jar Sealer connected to an electric vacuum pump system that Hugh installed into my kitchen. It takes less than a minute to put the lid on, vacuum seal a jar, and put the ring on. All I have to do at that point is label the jar and place it in storage. I can easily open the jar without damaging the flat lid by using the dull side of a butter knife laid flat along the jar’s screw-top thread and slide the knife along the threads upward toward the top of the jar until it lifts the lid and breaks the vacuum seal. Then, it’s just 30 to 45 seconds to once again put the contents back into a vacuum seal, using the same process, after I’ve retrieved whatever portion I need from the jar. I haven’t heard of an easier … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Prepper Auctions

HJL, In my 26 years as an auctioneer I have conducted over five of these type auctions. Three were defaulted storage auctions. Normally, we don’t know what we have until the door is opened. The first one that I remember was around 1993. It was a 10 X 20 unit. In it were three crossbows, boxes of climbing gear for mountain climbing (crampons, pitons, ropes, and harnesses), first aid kits with blood expander, packs and pack frames, firearms, various brands of dehydrated food, small cook stoves, and so forth. The next one I remember was a 5 X 10 heated unit full of new guns, ammo, packs, food, portable gasoline-operated winch (it worked off of a chainsaw engine and was new from factory), and many other items. The third was a 10 X 15 unit where the person had passed and the relatives said, “Sell it.” It was full of over 100 boxes of books on every subject imaginable, with many on the same subject by different authors. Another was an estate where there were over 75 firearms, many new unfired but in odd calibers, and literally a ton of ammo; some was from the factory and some re-loads. There … Continue reading

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The Survival Mule Secure Locker/Trailer Combo

I’ve been posting SurvivalBlog for more than 10 years. I’ve seen a lot of great products come to market, but very few of them have been truly novel concepts. Most of them are just variations on a theme. But I recently had some conversations with a consulting client that amazed me. This former Marine has truly “built a better mousetrap”. He calls it The Survival Mule. This is a fantastic solution to a common prepper dilemma: “How do I get a trailer load of Get Out of Dodge gear on the road, quickly?” What he came up was a wall storage locker/gun locker that quickly converts into a versatile trailer. These Survival Mules are assembled in Minnesota with primarily U.S. and Canadian components. These photos tell most of the story. The Survival Mule can be towed with the weather-tight door on for secure transport; with the lid removed, turning it into a box trailer, for transporting bulky items; or with the entire locker removed and replaced by a standard sheet of 1″ plywood, turning it into a small flatbed trailer. The locker itself can be bolted to a wall or floor, making it a decent gun and ammunition storage locker. … Continue reading

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A New Kind of Bucket List, by C.W.- Part 2

Now that I have explained the advantages and disadvantages of using a bucket system for storing preparations, allow me to share a few other ideas that may also be of interest, should you decide to attack your household with buckets. I believe that families who have homes that are kept clean and organized will be much better prepared for whatever comes at them. We all know friends or relatives who have lots of stuff (a.k.a. chaos), yet they have little idea of how to find an item when they want it or need it. So, off they go to the store to buy another one. Can you imagine how they will react in an emergency? The following ideas may help you and your family to keep your home more organized and easy to clean: Laundry I had stored up a number of packages of laundry soap– the individual, 55-60 use count variety. I simply opened each package and dumped all of the individual packs into a bucket. I can get twice as many into a bucket that way. They are dry and stored for future use. If you make your own laundry soap with borax, washing soda, and Fels Naptha, … Continue reading

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Letter Re: DIY Desiccant Packs

Hugh- Many preppers (those that are going for the long term) use moisture absorbers in their food, ammo, and other storage containers and caches. I recently re-discovered an old technique for DIY desiccant packs that is much less expensive than purchasing them complete and outright, even when one makes bulk buys. As background, the actual desiccant medium used for moisture absorption is Silica Gel. Now one can look at places, like Amazon, and confirm that this stuff sells for upwards of $15 per Kg (2.2 pounds). Even then one is faced with the task of packaging it in suitable sizes to fit in their containers. So many people just buy the prepackaged size they need at the time, resulting in a lot of wasted funds over a good DIY method. A great redeeming feature of Silica Gel is that it can be “re-activated” simply by placing it in a 250 degree oven for an hour or two, thus it can be reused indefinitely. (I always save and reuse/repackage the desiccant packs that are sometimes packaged in electronics and other things I buy, as I am sure others do also.) Bulk Silica Gel can be reasonably purchased LOCALLY if one knows … Continue reading

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Advice on Caching Containers

I recently had a consulting client ask me about sources for waterproof containers that she could use for caching guns, ammo, food, camping gear, and so forth. I generally prefer military surplus ammo cans and shipping containers for two reasons: They are made to rigorous military specifications (“mil-spec”), and They are relatively inexpensive, compared to their civilian counterparts. For ammunition caches, I generally prefer military surplus (“mil-surp”) 20mm ammo cans. The larger 30mm cans hold even more, but they are so heavy when full that they are a pain to transport any distance. If you opt for the 30mm size, then I recommend that the upper half of their available volume be filled with lighter weight items, such as cold weather clothing, socks, tentage, or bedding. One key proviso: It is not a good idea to store anything that is oily, greasy, or flammable in the same container as any cached food, since such volatiles can quickly taint foods in even very heavy duty plastic packaging. You are better off burying separate, sealed ammo cans side by side with those items segregated. For long items, such as a rifle that cannot be easily broken down into short lengths, I recommend … Continue reading

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Letter: A Two Year Experiment

Two years ago I buried cash and silver coins on some property I own as an experiment to see how well the cash and silver would fare. Oct 31st 2014 was the day it was recovered. The vessel was a white plastic PVC pipe about 6” round and about 1.5 feet long capped and sealed with PVC Glue. The cash was placed in standard zip lock sandwich bags and a moisture absorber pouch was placed in each. The silver was placed in the standard coin tubes you receive when buying 20 coins at a time. No absorbers were placed in the tubes of coins. Also, no absorbers were placed in the general compartment outside of the zip lock bags. The results. CASH – There were no signs of mold or decay. The cash was dry. Silver – There was a bit of tarnish on the edges of the coins. Otherwise, there was no difference between these and other coins purchased at the same time. What was done correctly. The PVC Tube was sealed correctly, as no moisture was present in the tube. I used a liberal amount of glue on both the tube and the cap. Then, I added more … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Calcium Hypochlorite Reminders

Hugh, A reminder that Calcium Hypochlorite WILL corrode metal stored anywhere nearby. Also, many articles appear stating that you can siphon gas from your gas tank. ALL late model cars and 1/2 ton trucks and vans have a restriction in the filler neck that is designed to prevent leaking gas in the event of a rollover. Siphon hoses will not work in this application. They will work in 3/4 trucks and up, because they fall into different federal class regulations. -F.M.

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Letter Re: Storage Without a Basement

I’m writing in response to the discussion about how to keep food in the Southeastern United States in the heat of the summer. My mother-in-law is in her 80s. I asked her how her parents and grandparents kept their food. For things like apples, potatoes, tomatoes, they would just store it above ground, sometimes packed in sawdust, usually in open air. For canned food, her mother had a little room off the house with shelves in it. It didn’t have a window, but it also got just as hot as the house. They would keep the canned food in jars for maybe three years. It would have kept longer, but that’s about the most that they ever got stocked up. Since it was an agriculturally based society then, they were constantly producing more food, so it was never necessary to keep more than two years’ worth of food. It would get so hot in the summertime that the morning milk would sour by the end of the day, if they didn’t keep it in the spring. So, they put it in a half gallon jar with a rope around it, and set it down in the spring to keep cool. … Continue reading

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Letter: Silica Gel Packets

Jim, Hoping you could answer a quick question. I put two jars full of silica gel packets in a glass jar and set them in a oven at 200 degrees over night to dry them out. I noticed that a couple of the bags broke open and the silica gels were brown. Does that make them non effective. I thought they were white to start with. Thank you and may God’s blessings be upon you and your family. P.S.- I liked your comment on one of your interviews where you stated your prayer is for God to put you in the right place at the right time with the right people. Very nicely said. – G. HJL Replies: I had to ask one of our long time readers, and he had this answer for you: Cobalt chloride (incorrectly called Silica) will usually turn blue when reactivated. It is pinkish/purple or just light blue when “wet” and is a heavy metal salt that is toxic. Brown “silica” (which isn’t silica at all) is usually “chippy” and turns dusty with age. I guess it depends on what color they started life out as. Actual silica gel is a porous granular form of … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Constructing In-House Caches

Captain Rawles, In response to the excellent article regarding hidden wall caches I have some feedback. I work in the tiling industry for an unnamed mid-south distributor. As a distributor for Schluter Systems I have sold many of this kit for installers / homeowners to use for concealed access panels. Schluter Rema is the trade name. They come in quite handy for whirlpool tubs wherein access is required for frequent pump maintenance. I have sold many of these and have had no complaints. Best wishes, – Matt in Ohio

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Letter Re: Constructing In-House Caches

JWR, I hope all is well. I Was reading the reply to the post on “Constructing In-House Caches.” I have been thinking on this one lately and working on solutions to the problem of attachment, actually came across the solution while working for a contractor on a client’s high end project and trying to build false panels to hide a security control panel. The solution we came up with was rare earth magnets found here http://www.rare-earth-magnets.com/ or elsewhere on the net as well. you can google it! If you have plywood paneling you can attach the magnets with a screw to the surface of the paneling and then countersink the magnet on the framing side into the studs, you could also if your paneling is thick enough countersink a larger magnet into the ply panel and use an epoxy similar to the Simpson SET-XP® 10 that can be found at most home improvement or hardware stores, this stuff is sticky and will adhere to the back and sides of the magnet if you rough it up with an abrasive wherever you want the epoxy to adhere. (NOTE: You must countersink the magnet below flush in the panel and use a generous … Continue reading

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