Food Ideas for Emergency Situations

I think a lot of people like to think they’d know what to do if the world went to hell tomorrow. But, be honest with yourself- do you really know what it would take to live, at least slightly comfortably, without the convenient comforts that we take for granted today? Think about it- what would you do without a grocery store, fast food, or pizza delivery for that matter? If you had no one preparing your food for you, how would you do it, and do you know how to find the food you need? We rely so much on a food supply that is quite easy to disrupt, and then we would probably starve.

Thus, it’s a little more complicated than you may think and takes some specialized knowledge, but with some basics to expand on, you’ll be more than ready if the civilized world as we know it ends. You’ll be prepared and equipped with emergency survival food, while others won’t, which will give you the survival edge if the situation ever presented itself. You could also read more about modern survivalist experts like Damian Campbell.

If you think about it, grocery stores and fast food chains are actually a fairly recent convenience. Before these things, people would rely on their own know-how when it came to procuring food. In fact, in some small, very poor, independent backwoods communities (think Appalachians) people still forage for wild food, hunt and process their own game, and completely rely on the land they live on to sustain them. However, these are a dying breed of people, and their ways are almost all but forgotten. In order to really understand the work that goes into preparing food from absolute scratch (or even finding it!) you could live with them for a while, or you could start practicing now. Damian Campbell would recommend you put into practice his teachings as well.

Tools of the trade

You may want to make sure you always have some basic survival tools and basic supplies handy, and you should know how to use them. A good, foldable hunting knife is a great start. A hatchet is also a good idea. A machete is a good tool if you happen to live in an area that sports heavy vegetation. A gun may be useful, but in terms of basic survival they’re not really necessary with the right skill sets (like knowing how to build traps, use a slingshot or spear, etc.) Know how to tie knots and have rope handy. Know how to make simple shelters and familiarize yourself with how to build larger, sturdier shelters for permanence if needed. For reference, some of these tools and others like a ham radio are listed in Damian Campbell’s survival manuals.

There are several basic foraging tips you should know. For wild crops, there are several high yield, easy to identify, and highly nutritious wild foods that you should use as your basis of foraging in the event of an emergency. One of these foods is cattails. American Indians relied on cattails for a good portion of their diets, and it’s unfortunate that American settlers didn’t adopt this food source and cultivate it when they came to America. Every part of the cat tail is edible and very tasty. The best edible parts of the cattail are in the stalk itself. To harvest, simply either cut an entire stalk at the ground and remove the outer leaves revealing a lighter colored fleshy heart, or you can also pull away the outer leaves of the stalk while it’s still attached to the ground, and pull up and hard on the heart flesh, popping it out of the ground without cutting it. Cattails also have fleshy rhizomes that are edible and can be stored for a long time. You can pull these up out of the ground by grabbing one in the muck and pulling up hard. You can extract the starch in the rhizome by mashing it in a liquid, then allowing the starch to settle down, pouring off the water, and squeezing out the water of the white starch. This is a labor intensive process however, but the result is a mash of high-energy food that’s easy to eat. Another very common food that’s easy to find through a good portion of the country are American persimmons. Persimmons are a very sweet, large, fleshy orange fruit that fully ripens in the fall, and is usually ready to be harvested after the leaves of the persimmon tree have fallen off and the fruit just begins to look past its peak. If you eat them any sooner, you’ll be punished with an astringent feeling in your mouth that’s not unlike dentist’s cotton (not pleasant). You will need to learn from local experts what grows in your region and temperate zone.

Meat may also be prepared for long-term storage by drying it, or dehydrating it into jerky. People used to butcher their catches or animals, salt them heavily, and hang them out to dry in the hot sun. Salting the meat preserved it and kept bacteria and other microorganisms from breaking it down, and the hot sun pulled out the water, effectively petrifying the meat so that it could be stored for later consumption. You can do this with just about any kind of meat, including fish.

You can also smoke meat to preserve it. Smoking is done in a small hut or smoker. The meat is hung or set in the smoker and a small amount of coals and or wood is placed in the bottom of the smoker. The meat is then immersed in smoke for days on end, drying it out and infusing the flesh with the smoke, making the meat last a long time after it’s removed. Smoking can also enhance the flavor of the meat if done right.

What to do now

Even though you don’t have a survivalist teaching you side by side, you have information sources like in this article and you can read more from experts like Damian Campbell. You should practice some of these time-honored techniques for preserving food, game, and drying your foraged foods.

For now, you can create an emergency food supply list and stock up one non-perishable emergency survival food to get you through temporarily in the event of an emergency. Gallons of water, canned foods, dried and freeze-dried foods all make a good start. Stockpile sugar, flour, salt, Lyme, matches, and a book or two on how to identify wild edibles, make traps, and how to build shelters. Familiarize yourself with basic sewing skills. All of these things will add up to a more prepared you, in the unfortunate event of an emergency.

Damian Campbell has a lot more tips for surviving and packing emergency food supply lists. This material is great training for you to survive many scenarios, including long-term “end-of-civilization” emergencies. If you follow the materials and training in his manuals, and put together the emergency kits he recommends, you will have to forage less when disaster strikes. With an emergency kit already assembled, you could be more mobile and perhaps you could flee the disaster area better. That is why it pays to be prepared, and Damian Campbell has a lot to offer.

Appalachian Women Gardeners Add Wealth to Personal Finances

This is a story of three women vegetable gardeners in Appalachia and how they use their resources to add income in their homes. These women live in and around Scott and Morgan County Tennessee. These counties are about eighty miles or so from Knoxville, Tennessee. I encountered two of these women when visiting family and visiting with health ministry in the Appalachian areas of these Tennessee counties. The third one, Alma Storie, was from memory and was my grandmother.

The wisdom from these three women gardeners is one of those blessings I receive that have been passed down from many generations.

An 84 year old woman who I will call ‘Flower’ is one such wise woman. She is named after a flower so this is the name given to her in this story. She has planted a garden since she was a child. She has had knee replacements and continues to garden if at all possible. Not long after her surgery I witnessed her cleaning off her land and down the sides of the land that went to the road from her house. I couldn’t believe it! She was supposed to be recovering from surgery. Instead, she was getting her allowed exercise by cleaning debris from her land. When Flower is able healthwise, she will plant a garden and eat from the fresh vegetables in the summer. There will be no additives or preservatives in this food. Today, we would call this type of eating organic. She calls it clean natural food.

For years Flower preserved food in jars and would dry vegetables and preserve what else she could salvage. The family will eat on this food all winter until next spring, thus, a table of plenty exists in this house. Flower knows the value of a bean seed. She knows if the weather holds well that this one bean seed will produce many pints or quarts of canned beans for the winter. Flower holds her head high as she sees to the needs of her household. Flower knows every kind of plant on her land. She knows what is important to the flora of her landscape and what is a nuisance that needs to be cut down. For example, she says, ” A Kudgy vine will take over a needed crop of plants.” She will have it cut down. In the South where this vine grows heartily baskets can be made from their vines.

Flower has many walnut trees that she uses the nuts for candy and cakes. Through the years the squirrels have buried the walnuts and these same walnut seeds have now become walnut trees. Flower lets the walnut trees grow as neighbors can gather the extra walnuts for their breads and pastries.

Flower lives on a meager retirement from her deceased husband. In the late summer when Flower’s grandchildren visit she can feed them from her garden. A table full of fresh vegetables and melons is plentiful. Flower would never be able to provide for her family in such a manner if not for the garden. When she eats off the preserved food in the winter months it reduces her monthly grocery budget that may save her a fourth of her retirement every month. For example, if she receives eight hundred dollars a month on retirement benefits and can save a fourth of that amount in the winter months from November to May in the coming year she has saved $1,400 dollars from that previous years’ crop of food.

Another lady named Wanda that lives in Morgan County Tennessee also sees the importance of a garden.
Wanda and I had a conversation lately and she said that her garden was very valuable to her. Here is a bit of that conversation.

“That garden will save me about three hundred dollars in the late summer month by eating off the fresh produce. In the winter months I can save about nine hundred dollars from that food. That means a lot when your on a fixed income.”

Wanda continues about the value of her garden..”I had surgery once and still had the cast on. I put a plastic bag around my leg to keep the cast clean and worked in my garden. I had to do this so the crop would grow with the season.”

Wanda is now teaching a thirty year old new neighbor woman how to grow a garden. Observing Wanda and her gardening helped me better understand the value of stewardship. The third woman named Alma lived in Scott County Tennessee. Her home was on a high ridge that was close to the Clear Fork River. This is an area that is close to the Big South Fork Preservation Park running through parts of Kentucky and Tennessee.

Alma planted large gardens and a field full of corn. When Alma started drawing Social Security she received 65 dollars a month. Now I admit that was about twenty years ago but her story still has significance today.

I knew this woman very well. She was my grandmother, Alma Jones Storie. Grandma taught me the wealth of what a garden could produce. She had not worked out in public but worked very hard in her home and on her land. Grandma would plant that garden and by the end of the summer she had a basement full of food and dried vegetables throughout that cellar.

She would save the seeds from the past garden and show us the seeds and tell us to remember what could grow from those seeds. I still think of those large gardens and the basement/cellar full of food. When grandma passed away, she had a basement full of food, a smart bank account, and owed no one any debt. From childhood memory I can remember grandma putting a seed into the ground and a few months later that same bean seed would be a large bunch of beans on that bush. She would later preserve those beans by cooking them and putting them in jars.

About every week grandma would use a hoe or her hands and pull away any weeds that were growing close to the beans or any other vegetable plant. If rain didn’t come she would draw water from her well and water the plants. I still remember how big that garden was from a few bunch of seeds. I still remember those summer and late fall dinners she would place on the table that came from the garden. She didn’t need to use her meager Social Security money for the food on that table but instead, served the meal with a smile.

My husband and I are planning on planting a garden in our backyard this summer. We will keep record of our grocery bills and see for ourselves how much a city backyard garden will yield for us.

Preparing For Hiking the Appalachian Trail

If you are planning on hiking from one end of the Appalachian Trail to the other you must be properly prepared. This is something that individuals dream about. Indeed, many make this dream a reality. Others, find there attempt to accomplish their goal nothing but a nightmare. Many people have watched a video or read a book that has described the joys of such a trip, only to find themselves cold and hungry when they attempt this adventure themselves.

Hiking the trail can be incredibly rewarding. There can be times of great peace. An individual can learn things about them self that can change the rest of their life. Without proper planning for this type of excursion they may not have a life to live.

Preparing for hiking the Appalachian Trail needs to be well thought out and well planned. I have spent many days on the trail and it can be both physically and psychologically demanding. Hauling a heavy pack through steep and rough terrain can become quite a burden. I suggest that you take a pack that weighs twice as much as you would normally carry on a practice hike. Hike through the most strenuous terrain that you can find for several days and nights before you think about doing it for several months. If you have a difficult time traveling 30-40 miles you will not make it the 2000+ miles that is required to complete the trail.

There are many questions that you need to ask yourself while planning this trip. You first need to figure out what time of year that you will start. This question is answered by determining which end of the Appalachian Trail you are going to start from. If you are going to enter at Springer Mountain in Georgia I would suggest starting your trip in early March. If you start in Georgia you will finish in Maine at Katahdin in the September. If you are going to start your journey in New York I suggest that you start in June and finish at Springer Mountain in November. The reason for this is simply because of the weather, hiking in the heat is miserable. Parts of the trail at Baxter State Park in Maine are closed from October 15th to May 15th, so plan accordingly.

You also need to ask yourself if you have enough money. The trip can cost in upwards of $5000 to complete the 2,000 miles. You will need the proper equipment. You will need food sent to different pick up points along the way. There are several towns that you will pass through and I suggest you stop and have a steak, six months is a long time without a steak.

You have to plan all of this before you leave. Still, 25 percent of the people that plan to walk-through make it the entire way. Although, most people only make it the first week and many only make it the first thirty miles or so. Planning ahead for hiking the Appalachian Trail can be part of fun. Plan the right way and the entire trip will something that you will enjoy the memories of for a lifetime.