A Food Storage Failure

food storage failuresoybeansThe other day a friend dropped a five-gallon bucket of organic soybeans off at my house.  The container was dated as being sealed 1/24/84.  In other words, these soybeans are over 30 years old.  Now being that old does not automatically make this a food storage failure.

As soon as I took a good look at the bucket, I knew there was a problem.  The bucket had a label on it showing that it had held dryvit Quarzputz finish.  This is a product that is still manufactured and is a 100% acrylic based coating that is used for wall coverings.

food storage failureA couple of minute’s research on the inernet found the material safety data sheet on this product, which states the following.  “If ingested, product may cause irritation of mouth, throat, stomach, and digestive and central nervous systems; signs and symptoms may include headache, drowsiness, dizziness, swelling, abdominal discomfort, and/or burning sensation”.

Now in 1984 Mylar bags were not available, so when I opened the bucket I was not surprised that the beans had been placed directly into the bucket.  The bucket appeared to have been well cleaned prior to putting in the beans.  But there is no way I am going to eat these.

However, my curiosity got the best of me so I have a few of the beans sitting in the kitchen getting soaked, as I am going to see if they will still sprout.  I will let you know if they do.

As you can see, there are a couple of food storage failures here.  First, they didn’t use food grade buckets (Food Grade Containers and Why You Should Use Them)  that had only contained food.  Second, since this was packed so many years ago without the use of Mylar bags, the beans should have been rotated years ago.  Sealing Food in 5 Gallon Buckets   

There is no way I will use these beans; the age does not bother me, but the chemicals do.

Howard

How do You Carry Your Prepping Information in a Bug Out?

prepping informationOne problem with the idea of bugging out is that I have this nice library of prepping information.  Now it is in books and three ring binders and takes a lot of space.  Now I have downloaded a lot of this information onto a thumb drive which I keep with my everyday carry.

Thumb drives are small, inexpensive and hold a lot of  prepping information.  The downside of a thumb drive is that you need a computer to access the information.  Recently I was given a Kindle as a gift and have been pleasantly surprised at how useful it has become.  I have downloaded quite a few free books on to it and am adding more information all the time.

Now a kindle is fairly small and can hold a tremendous amount of prepping information.  The problem with a kindle is that it requires electric power to operate.  Now this turned out to be an easy problem to solve since I always carry either a Goal Zero Nomad 7 or a Sunjack in my bug out bag.  Either of these is capable of charging a Kindle as well as charging batteries and other camp chores.

A tablet such as the Ipad will also work and be able to read the thumb drive, but in the past there have been problems with using small solar chargers to charge them.  If you decide to go the tablet route, verify that it will work with available small solar chargers.

So now with a thumb drive in my pocket and a Kindle with me, I have a good store of prepping information that I should be able to access.  This has turned out to be surprise for me; I never thought that I would be recommending a Kindle to use for prepping.

Howard

 

Salt, What Type Should You Store?

saltUntil I was asked a question about the different types of salt that are available, I had no idea there were so many types.  Since then I have done some research on the varies types and how they are best used.

Iodized table salt is the most common.  This is the typical Morton Salt that most of us have in our saltshakers at home.  The reason it’s called “iodized” is that today, most salt manufacturers fortify the salt with iodine.  Iodine deficiency causes thyroid gland problems, including “endemic goiter”.  In many countries, iodine deficiency is a major public health problem. Unless you have an alternative source of iodine such as kelp, I recommend that you stock iodized salt.

Rock Salt is normally used for making ice cream and deicing sidewalks.  Because of the methods that are used to mine rock salt from the ground, rock salt is not sold for use directly on food.  It is usually sold in large chunky crystals that would need to be ground before it would look like table salt.

Pickling or Canning Salt is normally used for canning, brining pickles and fermenting foods.  Like table salt, pickling salt may come from the earth or the sea.  However,  unlike table salt, pickling salt does not contain anti-caking ingredients or iodine, which can turn pickles cloudy, or dark. In addition, fine granules make pickling salt easy to dissolve in a brine.  Pickling salt is 100 percent sodium chloride and the purest of salts.  What Type of Salt Should You Store for Brining?

Sea Salt is salt produced from the evaporation of seawater.  Many people claim that because of the increased mineral content that using sea salt is healthier.  In addition, some people say that sea salt tastes better.  Personally, I can’t tell the difference in taste, but I can tell the difference in price.  Sea Salt can cost $2 to $15 a pound.

There are many other specialty salts on the market, but for our purposes, I recommend that you stay with table salt and pickling or canning salt.  These are by far the most cost effective.  Now I know that some of you are strong believers in sea salt and are willing to spend the extra cash to purchase it.  I still suggest that you get some cheaper salts for preserving food and trade.  Salt is inexpensive and I think that you should store up to a 100 lbs per person.

Howard

 

The Problems of Bugging Out and Freeways

problems of bugging outThis morning I have been thinking about traffic jams and the problems of bugging out, because of an incident that happened yesterday.  There was another large wildfire about 15 miles from where I live.  It started alongside the freeway in several different locations over a two or three mile stretch.  At that time, I was traveling from my son business to my home and could see the smoke up the freeway.  So having family and friends living in that direction, I decided to drive up the freeway to see exactly where the fire was located.

At the time I did not have a radio scanner with me and had no good information other than, I could see a very large column of smoke.  So happily up the freeway I go.  The traffic is moving along at a normal rate, until suddenly it comes to a screeching halt.  Now here I sit stuck on the freeway between off ramps in a hug traffic jam.

Now I know this area fairly well and there were other routes I could have taken.  In fact, where I am sitting I can see the frontage road that is about 50 feet away with no traffic on it.  I ended up sitting in this jam for not quite two hours before we traveled the approximately three miles to the next exit.

While sitting there I am thinking of how I can get to the frontage road, I saw one spot that I may have been able to access it, but I would need something to cut the chain link and then four wheel drive to get up the bank.  With the stuff in my car, I probably could have done this in a real emergency.

This whole situation got me to thinking about the problems of bugging out.  Now I had a good vehicle, plenty of fuel, food and water and knowledge of the area.  Yet here I sit stuck in traffic, because of mistakes that I made.

Number one if I had a scanner with me I would have known that the freeway was being blocked and could have turned off before I was stuck.  Number two, I could have used one of the alternate routes right from the beginning.  Number three, if I had gathered a little intelligence beforehand I would have known which side of the freeway it was on and that none of mine were involved.  How Do I Know When to Bug out?

Now this was just normal freeway traffic in a relatively rural area.  There was no evacuation or panic affecting the traffic.  This traffic jam was just normal Wednesday afternoon traffic combined with a wildfire.

Sitting there thinking about the situation, I decided that in the future, I would go to side roads as a first choice of routes.  The problems with freeways are that if you are stuck in traffic you have very limited options.  If I had been on an alternate route, I would have had more options and no problems. Unless you have very good information that a freeway is open, I would recommend avoiding them in an emergency.

Even without panic caused by a serious emergency, the freeway rapidly because jammed.  The highway patrol were doing their best to keep traffic moving.   Now imagine the problems of bugging out if there was panic and no highway patrol.  People running out of gas, cars breaking down and traffic accidents.  I have no doubt that I would have had to abandon my vehicle and proceeded on foot.  News reports say that the fire was started by people who were seen throwing burning paper from a car.

Howard

 

Using Butter Powder and Other Long Term Storage Foods

butter powderOne thing that I have found is that many people are storing lots of long-term storage food and never trying them.  A good example is butter powder.  Everybody assumes that it will taste like normal butter.  Well the truth is that there are some tricks to using it and the taste is not always exactly the same.  For instance, butter powder is unsalted.

The butter powder we use and how to mix it.

 Here is a video showing the way we mix our butter powder.

Baking with butter powder

Powder butter can be used to replace butter in a 1-1 ratio in most baking recipes.  If you have a recipe that calls for 1/4 cup of butter, you would substitute 1/4 cup of powder butter and 1/4 cup of water.  You do not need to mix them together first.  It works best to mix the butter powder in with the dry ingredients, and the water in with the wet ingredients in your recipe.

Will My Recipes taste the same?

Probably not powdered butter tends to make things turn out a little lighter and fluffier.  You need to try the brand of butter powder you are purchasing to make sure you like it and learn how best to use it.

Can I spread butter powder on bread? 

Yes, but you may want to vary the mixture slightly to get a consistence that you like.  Adding a small amount of salt may make it taste more like fresh butter.

Can I Use Powdered Butter to Fry Foods?

No, powder butter will not melt like regular butter so it will not work in recipes calling for melted butter to fry your foods.

Whatever foods you are storing you need to try them now and make sure, they work for you.  Different brands vary in storage life and taste.  Every brand has a few tricks that improve their taste.  Whether it is butter powder or some other food, if you are storing it you need to try it.

Howard

Desiccant Packs, What They are and Why You Need Them

Desiccant Packs

The desiccant packs that come with many electronic items

I live in a fairly dry climate and have not had problems with preps rusting from the humidity.  However, I know that it is a big problem in parts of this country that are subject to high humidity, so I thought that I would write about the use of desiccant packs and how to use them.

As an oxygen absorber is to air, a desiccant is to moisture.  A desiccant pack will draw moisture from the air the same as an oxygen absorber will draw the oxygen from the air.  Desiccant packs are used all the time in electronics and can often be found at any store that sells electronics.

Most of them contain silica gel which is dry and looks like white sand.  It’s commonly used for drying flowers, so you can find it at most craft stores in the floral department.  Put an amount of silica gel in a clean fabric bag appropriate to the size space you are protecting, and tie up the opening as tight as possible so no gel escapes.  Now place your desiccant anywhere you want to absorb moisture.  Understand that the desiccant packs will only absorb so much moisture.  They are best used when placed in small confined areas.

Desiccant Packs

Homemade desiccant packs

Most desiccant packs are reusable.  As desiccants absorb moisture, they stop being as effective.  But you don’t have to throw them out; they just need to be dried out.  Leave the desiccant packet out in bright sunlight for a day and it will be ready to use again.  They can also be dried out in an oven. Dump the silica gel out onto a cookie sheet and bake at a very low temperature for 2-5 hours.

Many kitty liter type products can be used, such as Tidy Cat and Fresh Step Crystals, look for ones that mention “crystal litter.  In a pinch, rice can be used as a desiccant.  Calcium Chloride is an good desiccant, but I suggest that you avoid using it because it can be a health hazard under certain conditions and can damage some materials.

Depending on the area in which you live and how high the humidity is, you may want to consider placing desiccant packs in any preps that you seal into airtight containers that can be damaged by moisture.  In addition to rust, they can prevent mold and mildew. They can be included with clothing,  metal items and possibly dry grains.  Personally, I would try to keep the desiccants from coming into direct contact with foods.  If you are putting together any caches, you may want to consider adding desiccant packs.  They are also a good addition to gun safes, but you should check them periodically to make sure they are still functional.

Howard

Preppers Need to Think About Recycling Bad Ideas

Recycling Bad Ideas

The Notox Water Filters

About 30 years or so ago a company named Notox put out a water filter that consisted of a funnel made of a “Unique Charcoal Filled Paper”, needless to say it was a bad idea and useless.  However, they sold a lot of them and they ended up in many preppers supplies.  Some people may still even believe they work.  Now me, I like recycling bad ideas.

The other day an old friend gave me a couple of hundred of them.  My first thought was to throw them away and then I got to thinking about recycling bad ideas.  Now there is a stream right across the street from my house and most of the time it looks pretty clear, but lately with the drought, it has been looking a bit gunky.  I played with them and found that they made good pre-filters.  They do a good job of taking out the bigger chunks that will clog my more expensive filters.

Every time someone wants to get rid of some old food, I take it.  One reason is to check on its shelf live.  The second is that it can be good animal feed.  Dog and pigs systems are different from ours and they can eat rancid food without any ill effects.  The food is usually being gotten rid of for one of three reasons.  One they purchased from a less than reputable company.  Two they stored it incorrectly, normally in a hot area.  Three they did not rotate their food and even the best foods will go bad eventually.  Their mistakes have often been my gain.

Now these are just a couple of example, any prepper who has been doing this for very long will make mistakes.  My idea is we need to think about recycling bad ideas.  Re-purposing somebody else’s bad ideas can save you money. Most things can be used for an alternate purpose if we just take the time to look for that use.  I have scored big on this several times.

Howard

Kidney Beans can Poison You and Make you Sick

kidney beansNow that headline is slightly misleading in that it should say raw kidney beans can make you sick.  Kidney beans contain the toxic compound phytohaemagglutinin, a lectin.  This compound is actually present in many varieties of common bean but is especially concentrated in red kidney beans. The good news is that it won’t kill you but phytohaemagglutinin poisoning will cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The onset is from one to three hours after consumption of improperly prepared beans, and the symptoms will last for a few hours.  Eating as few as four or five raw kidney beans may be sufficient to trigger symptoms in some people.  Phytohaemagglutinin is deactivated by cooking beans at 212 °F for ten minutes.  However, for dry beans the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recommends an initial soak of at least 5 hours in water; the soaking water should be discarded.

The ten minutes at 212 °F that is required to destroy the toxin is much shorter than the time required to fully cook the beans.   However, lower cooking temperatures may have opposite effects of concentrating the toxic effect of haemagglutinin.  Beans cooked at lower temperatures without being boiled for 10 minutes are reported to be up to five times as toxic as raw beans.  Outbreaks of poisoning have been associated with the use of slow cookers, the low cooking temperatures of which may be unable to degrade the toxin.

Now I know this is not a common problem today, most kidney beans come from a can.  Even if you got sick, you may not tie it to the beans.  However, in bad times, you can’t afford to be sick, and worst if you thought the beans were making you sick and didn’t know why, you might throw them away.

The following is what US food and drug administration has to say on this problem.

1. Name of the Organism:

Phytohaemagglutinin (Kidney Bean Lectin)

This compound, a lectin or hemagglutinin, has been used by immunologists for years to trigger DNA synthesis in T  lymphocytes, and more recently, to activate latent human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1, AIDS virus) from human peripheral lymphocytes. Besides inducing mitosis, lectins are known for their ability to agglutinate many mammalian red blood cell types, alter cell membrane transport systems, alter cell permeability to proteins, and generally interfere with cellular metabolism.

2. Nature of Acute Disease:

Red Kidney Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) Poisoning, Kinkoti Bean Poisoning, and possibly other names.

3. Nature of Disease:

The onset time from consumption of raw or undercooked kidney beans to symptoms varies from between 1 to 3 hours. Onset is usually marked by extreme nausea, followed by vomiting, which may be very severe. Diarrhea develops somewhat later (from one to a few hours), and some persons report abdominal pain. Some persons have been hospitalized, but recovery is usually rapid (3 – 4 h after onset of symptoms) and spontaneous.

4. Diagnosis of Human Illness:

Diagnosis is made on the basis of symptoms, food history, and the exclusion of other rapid onset food poisoning agents (e.g., Bacillus cereusStaphylococcus aureus, arsenic, mercury, lead, and cyanide).

5. Associated Foods:

Phytohaemagglutinin, the presumed toxic agent, is found in many species of beans, but it is in highest concentration in red kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). The unit of toxin measure is the hemagglutinating unit (hau). Raw kidney beans contain from 20,000 to 70,000 hau, while fully cooked beans contain from 200 to 400 hau. White kidney beans, another variety of Phaseolus vulgaris, contain about one-third the amount of toxin as the red variety; broad beans (Vicia faba) contain 5 to 10% the amount that red kidney beans contain.

The syndrome is usually caused by the ingestion of raw, soaked kidney beans, either alone or in salads or casseroles. As few as four or five raw beans can trigger symptoms. Several outbreaks have been associated with “slow cookers” or crock pots, or in casseroles which had not reached a high enough internal temperature to destroy the glycoprotein lectin. It has been shown that heating to 80°C may potentiate the toxicity five-fold, so that these beans are more toxic than if eaten raw. In studies of casseroles cooked in slow cookers, internal temperatures often did not exceed 75°C.

6. Relative Frequency of Disease:

This syndrome has occurred in the United Kingdom with some regularity. Seven outbreaks occurred in the U.K. between 1976 and 1979 and were reviewed (Noah et al. 1980. Br. Med. J. 19 July, 236-7). Two more incidents were reported by Public Health Laboratory Services (PHLS), Colindale, U.K. in the summer of 1988. Reports of this syndrome in the United States are anecdotal and have not been formally published.

7. Course of Disease and Complications:

The disease course is rapid. All symptoms usually resolve within several hours of onset. Vomiting is usually described as profuse, and the severity of symptoms is directly related to the dose of toxin (number of raw beans ingested). Hospitalization has occasionally resulted, and intravenous fluids may have to be administered. Although of short duration, the symptoms are extremely debilitating.

8. Target Populations:

All persons, regardless of age or gender, appear to be equally susceptible; the severity is related only to the dose ingested. In the seven outbreaks mentioned above, the attack rate was 100%.

9. Food Analysis:

The difficulty in food analysis is that this syndrome is not well known in the medical community. Other possible causes must be eliminated, such as Bacillus cereusstaphylococcal food poisoning, or chemical toxicity. If beans are a component of the suspected meal, analysis is quite simple, and based on hemagglutination of red blood cells (hau).

This is something that I have not known and this information may keep me from throwing good food out.

Howard

Ebola Virus can Go Airborne According to the US Army

This was sent to me by a friend early this morning and I have decided that this information about the ebola virus should be shared ASAP

Howard

According to the Center for Aerobiological Sciences, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland:

(1) Ebola has an aerosol stability that is comparable to Influenza-A

(2) Much like Flu, Airborne Ebola transmissions need Winter type conditions to maximize Aerosol infection

“Filoviruses, which are classified as Category A Bioterrorism Agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, GA), have stability in aerosol form comparable to other lipid containing viruses such as influenza A virus, a low infectious dose by the aerosol route (less than 10 PFU) in NHPs, and case fatality rates as high as ~90% .”

“The mode of acquisition of viral infection in index cases is usually unknown. Secondary transmission of filovirus infection is typically thought to occur by direct contact with infected persons or infected blood or tissues. There is no strong evidence of secondary transmission by the aerosol route in African filovirus outbreaks. However, aerosol transmission is thought to be possible and may occur in conditions of lower temperature and humidity which may not have been factors in outbreaks in warmer climates [13]. At the very least, the potential exists for aerosol transmission, given that virus is detected in bodily secretions, the pulmonary alveolar interstitial cells, and within lung spaces”

Its clear that when Ebola is in the air it is at least as hardy as Influenza. Its also clear that coughing and sneezing is what makes Influenza airborne; the same should be expected of Ebola.

Moreover, just as sun, heat, and humidity along the Earths’ Equatorial regions serve to ‘burn’ Influenza out of the air, the same should be expected of Ebola. The difference with Ebola is that physical contact with even the tiniest amounts of infected bodily fluid can cause infection, hence unlike flu it also readily spreads in equatorial regions. When Ebola spreads to the regions of the Earth which experience Fall and Winter Flu seasons, airborne Ebola infectious routes are to be expected in conjunction with direct contact infection.

Ebola has the capability to infect pretty much every cell in the entire human respiratory tract. Similarly, our skin offers little resistance to even the smallest amounts of Ebola. How much airborne transmission will occur will be a function of how well Ebola induces coughing and sneezing in its victims in cold weather climates. Coughing and nasal bleeding are both reported symptoms in Africa, so the worst should be expected. In that regard, co-infections with Flu, Cold, or even seasonal Allergies will readily transform Ebola victims into biowarefare factories.

Unlike Flu, a person need not inhale airborne Ebola to be infected via airborne transmission. Merely walking through an airspace (or touching the objects therein) where an Ebola victim has coughed or sneezed is potentially enough for a cold weather infection to occur. As such, all indicators are that Ebola’s potential rate of infectious spread in cold weather climates is EXPLOSIVELY greater than what is occurring in Equatorial Africa

In that regard, the government’s Filovirus Animal Nonclinical Group [FANG] is standardizing on a Airborne Ebola Infectious “challenge” of 1000 PFU that all proposed medical countermeasures must defeat in order to gain acceptance.

Given that the experts are keenly aware that most mutations lead to viral dead ends and given the ARMY’s public research documents make such a clear case that the Ebola airborne risk is here and now, the question remains: why are the experts pushing a “future mutation” fear on the public?

The primary benefits of the media mutation gambit are:

1) When the public becomes aware Ebola is airborne, the public will default to blaming a mutation rather blaming the experts for having prior knowledge of Ebola’s transmissability

2) A scary future fear makes for great immediate fund raising from a public seeking to avoid it.

3) The expert clique comes down hard on experts that do anything which is perceived to immediately raise public fear, an accurate warning to the public can immediately negatively affect a forthright expert’s budget and prestige

4) Public knowledge of imminent Public Health threats negatively affects supply chains and the logistics planned responses

The next time some expert pushes the Ebola mutation risk ask them to specify exactly what mutations would be required to do as they claim. When they refuse, ask why experts spelled out the mutation steps of Avian Influenza and why they won’t for Ebola. The answer is: Ebola can already infect pretty much every cell in the human respiratory system

Here are links to the original story

http://socioecohistory.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/us-army-says-ebola-flu-in-airborne-stability-needs-winter-weather-to-go-airborne/

The author correlates ebola to other filovirii and goes from there based on his research. His claimed Sources:

http://vet.sagepub.com/content/50/3/514.full

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1997182/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4113787/

More Free Books for Preppers

free booksI am firmly convinced that the single most important prep is the knowledge that you carry in your head.  This information can be obtained one of several ways, the school of hard knocks, watching others or reading.  The one to avoid is the school of hard knocks.  Watch others and reading can be a much easier route.  Me I like to train with others or read free books.

That is probably why I like to accumulate many of the free books that are available on the web.  So here are a few more free books for you to add to your collection.

Survival and Austere Medicine:  This an excellent book written by a group of volunteer medical personnel for people interested in preparedness.

Tactical Combat Casualty Care and Wound Treatment  This is another good medical book that has been developed by the US Military.  While this is written from a battlefield point of view, the techniques taught in the book can be used in any first aid situation.

Ranger Handbook 2011 This book is filled with  information on survival, map reading, communications, and much more

LDS Preparedness Manual   This book has been prepared by members of the LDS Church (Mormon) but is not an official church publication.  The information is a collection of members experiences in many areas of preparedness. The manual is a free download.

Whenever I download one of these free books from the web, I first review it and if it is one I want.  I then go ahead and save a copy to my computer and print at least one copy.  The printed copy is then bound with a spiral binder and stored away for future reference.

Now don’t make the mistake of simply downloading the manuals with the idea that you will read them sometime in the future.  Read them now, and practice what you learn as much as possible.

Howard