Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Preparation



I noted in a previous post that I'm in the middle of putting together an emergency plan for my family. Who knew how extensive it would be? How involved? There are sites out there for every imaginable calamity. I try to avoid the survivalist sites as they are often doomsday, and political in nature.

Of course there is absolutely no guarantee all of my hard work will be there for us in the event of an actual emergency. The fact that we sit right on a fault line reminds me that in the best case scenario I will be prepared, and my family will not need immediate emergency services, leaving more resources for those that do. In the worst case scenario I won't be in need of any type of services, and someone else will be able to use all my hard work.

My dehydrator is working perfectly, and I'm having fun dehydrating broccoli, corn, peas, mushrooms, etc. My plan is to have some in mason jars in my pantry to use as backup to fresh. After doing enough for my pantry, I will create my own special soups, with everything complete in the package - just like what you buy in specialty shops - only I can use organic veggies. I can't wait for the farmers markets this summer, and I hope to have a small potted garden of my own. But it's just as easy to spread out frozen veggies and dehydrate them that way. Frozen is often picked at the height of freshness and already blanched for you - keeping the pretty color when you dehydrate.

With the huge storm passing through much of our country today, it reminded me that we are at the mercy of Mother Nature - always, no matter where we live. Just ask Australia and Pakistan. They have been dealt catastrophic blows. Egypt is now having transportation issues, and their ATM's are out of cash. It behooves all of us, that have the ability and wherewithal, to put something away for a rainy day.

That being said - a word to the wise - do not dehydrate five trays of chopped onions in your house! Even our bath towels are odorous! 

34 comments:

Rebecca Bany said...

I've never dehydrated anything before. But after reading your post, I'm inspired to do so now!
www.rebeccabany.com

gypsywoman said...

ok, must first comment on the onion fragrance permeating throughout your home!! too funny! i know, so easy for me to be laughing at just the thought!

and very curious your post today as i've been thinking along the same lines in terms of just having extras on hand for emergency use - something i think we all should have no matter what - and the thing of cash, absolutely - even an ice storm can power which would disable atm's - preparedness just makes sense, period!

other than food, i'm curious as to what measures you are taking, nancy - i mean, have you stocked batteries, candles, tissue, water, first aid supplies, etc, in your home? are you maintaining a full tank of gas in your car, along with food & first aid items, clothing and water? do you have a cb radio?

i've often considered a dehydrator but have not yet made the plunge - would you recommend one brand over another?

thanks for a great do-not-do on the onions, by the way!

gypsywoman said...

oh, well, your turn to LOL at me, nancy - had i taken the time just to follow your link, i would have saved myself many of those questions - now, back to your previous post! thanks!

Nancy said...

Rebecca - It's actually fun.

Gypsy - To answer your questions - yes to all of those things - but I'm not quite there yet. I'm also trying to help my daughters prepare as they live so far from me and don't have much money to put towards this endeavor. By the way, my daughter and I will launch a new blog entitled "Life In These Times" which will have a tab "Storing Nuts" - in which I hope to talk about all of the things I learn along this endeavor. Emergency Prep is time consuming if you don't know where to begin, not to mention expensive. I did quite a bit of research before buying the dehydrator - just click on "emergency plan" and it will take you to the post that talks about it. I think the best ones have the fan in the back of the unit. But dehydrated foods, properly stored, will last 30 years. And they are much less expensive than freeze dried foods that you have to buy.

gypsywoman said...

oh, gee, nancy - and here you are with more of my own situation - my children who are also scattered and without the means to do the same thing! my son and i have discussed this very issue time and again - he is in the rural dallas area and began a while back just putting together the bare necessities of preparedness - but the main thing is just having the means for it all - so i had already decided to do that very thing - start stock piling things a bit at a time as i can for each of them - i had no idea of the life span of dehydrated items - unbelievable! my first thought was to stock pile canned food with expiration dates as far away as possible and then, before expiration, use them and replace with another batch - a very rudimentary plan but one that seemed economically feasible and immediate - now think i may invest in the dehydrator and start there with food items since the shelf life is so long - now, when you mention rice, pardon my ignorance on the subject, but are you dehydrating rice??? and beans?

and for what kind of stove are you looking? a cook stove? heating? found anything you like? where did you find these 5gallon buckets? a hardware or feed/seed store? or surplus store?

again, thanks so very much for all the info, nancy!!! ;)

Nancy said...

Gypsy - All very good questions! With dehydrated foods having a long shelf life, and are very light weight, you can almost make the products and send them to your children. In my case, because my daughter and son in law live near my other daughter, and get CSA boxes of local produce each week, I gifted them with a dehydrator as well. The have over 30 lbs of dehydrated food already! (They have been much busier at it than I've been.) As for the beans and rice - those are not dehydrated, just brown rice and beans that can be soaked and cooked in a crockpot with the dehydrated veggies. I think canned goods are also a good part of the plan - especially for short term. You can always buy on sale, and rotate as you use them. I found a 3.5 lb package of fozen broccoli at WalMart the other day for a fraction of the cost at other places. It dehydrated right out of the bag!

I am working on a good cooking source. So far I have looked at solar ovens and a little stove that uses wood, briquettes or propane, and a camp stove. My husband is supposed to be helping me with that. As for the buckets, I haven't found a cheap source yet, but I'm looking. Also, my children live in small spaces so I'm looking for food-safe bins that can slide under beds. I will let you know when I locate these things. Once I get this all organized I can just forget about it and hope we never need to use it. :-)

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Can you now come to Florida and do this for me in time for hurricane season? This is very cool, Nancy, but looks like a lot of work! What's involved??

Brian Miller said...

haha on the onions...oh my...very cool that you are making great head way for this ...preparedness is always good....

Friko said...

I hope you will never need to make use of your preparations in an emergency; but, knowing that you are prepared, makes any prospect of an emergency easier to face.

Well done you, if only all of us had the foresight.

Natalie said...

Excellent post, Nancy. had a bit of a chuckle about the onions too...tee ,hee. Oops sorry.

Nancy said...

Trish & Rob - Actually once you get organized, it's really easy. Buy veggies on sale and dehydrate them while you work. I'll have a section in the blog with Jen on where to buy stuff, what to look for, quality, websites, etc. I think I'll call the tab "Storing Nuts." But you can start with some mason jars and a dehydrator. The food becomes very small and lightweight - so you don't use as much of it when you cook.

Brian - Word to the wise? Dehydrate onions OUTSIDE, or buy freeze-dried. :-)

Friko - It's not too hard once you get the hang of it. Hopefully, it will be for naught!

Natalie - I knew I was in trouble when I could smell them when I pulled the car in the garage...

Wendy said...

Oh boy, had to laugh at the onions too! This winter has been hard, hasn't it? We had a bad ice storm in 1998 and lost power for 2 weeks. I was lucky enough to have a daughter who had power in her apartment, so we all moved in for the duration. Some had to be moved to shelters.
Hope you never have to use your emergency supplies, but good to know they are there.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

what a great endeavor! i don't have a dehydrator but someone said my nuwave oven will dehydrate. haven't tried it yet. your organic soups sound wonderful. can't wait to read the new blog.

Miss Sadie said...

We're not on a fault line, fortunately, but we live beside a river in a place that can get "interesting" blizzards. We should have a better plan that what we have. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jayne Martin said...

If there's an emergency, I know who's house I'm going to, because I will be completely screwed. ;)

ds said...

Will try to remember your advice re onions ;) In all seriousness, we do need to be reminded that we are at the mercy of forces that we cannot control.
I was never a good Girl Scout, though. Sigh...

Nancy said...

Wendy - All we can do is plan. Glad you had your daughter's to go to.

Teresa - Our plan is March for the new blog - our idea is guest writers, some younger writers - including my daughter who is into holistic nutrition, and then my eclectic view of life. Let us know if your oven works to dehydrate.

Miss Sadie - Let us know if you come up with some good ideas. We are all in the path of something. Making even a rudimentary plan is probably a good thing. Start with some water and canned food. I'm still working on the candles, flashlights, etc.

Jayne - You are always welcome here - trading on your wit is most appreciated in this house.

ds - Niether was I! Lol!

DJan said...

I think this is a great idea. I've wondered whether we could start thinking this way again. My husband's family had, in California, a well-stocked fallout shelter in the fifties. I am thinking maybe it's time to start doing this again. I look forward to your new blog!

Reya Mellicker said...

A good warning about the onions. Thanks Nancy!

ellen abbott said...

how long do dehydrated foods keep? I had a dehydrator once and we used it some but it is so humid here most of the time that noting would ever really dry out all the way. Now that I am in a house with central air and the thermostat can be set to control the amount of humidity as well, maybe I'll try it again.

Nancy said...

DJan - I think people always used to plan ahead. Now we rely on grocery stores always being stocked. I'm excited about the new blog. It will look at life during these exciting times, and how we may want to view our future. I hope to have it interactive, but it's in the planning stage right now.

Reya - Who knew?

Ellen - The dehydrator I have pushes the air from the back of the unit. Properly stored (shrink wrapped/mylar bag) it will last 30 years. But you can use mason jars with an oxygen absorber, a dark cupboard, and it will last a couple of years. Oxygen and light are the things you want to avoid.

Amanda said...

my basement is stocked with canned food and i think it goes back to my childhood and bomb shelter mentality. snowstorms, earthquakes, the idea of being ready for anything.

but no hydrator in this house -- wouldn't begin to know how to use it! i'm trying to imagine the smell of onions in bath towels! ;-0

Amanda said...

sorry, make that DE hydrator ;-)

Pat said...

You are a smart cookie to prepare, and many folks in the Midwest could probably use some things if they didn't run out to the grocery store ahead of time! Nobody is allowed on the roads today except for an emergency.

Nancy said...

Amanda - I think it's only prudent to be a little prepared these days. Bath towels and onion smell = not good.

Pat - It makes you wonder what would it be like if the roads were closed for more than a day or two?

California Girl said...

Very cool. I am impressed. Wish I had the time to attempt it. I have a dehydration feature on my new range and I've toyed with the idea. I should print your post and keep it for inspiration.

susan said...

I admire your forethought and energy. May all your days go well but it's good to be prepared.

d page said...

I think what you are doing makes good sense. "Back in the day" (before quick marts and all night stores) people lived this way. I grew up in Upstate New York, and we had supplies to last several months. We often had winter blizzards (including the Blizzard of 77)that cut us off for days. At one time, we were snowed in for 10 days.

I'll make a note about the onions...

gayle said...

This is a great idea! At the very least I should have some stuff put away for an emer.

Cloudia said...

Better to be ready!




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Nancy said...

California - It is kind of fun, actually.

susan - Yeah, you just never know. Life is nothing if not an adventure!

d page - I don't think people expected to be cared for as much as we do now. We sort of expect that our government will do the preparations for us. At least that's how I thought about it for a long time, when I thought about it at all.

gayle - I think much of it is peace of mind that you've done all you can, and the rest is up to forces out of your control.

Cloudia - My husband should have a good year - the Year of the Rabbit.

Grandmother said...

My husband is a big emergency preparedness guy so we've always had packs and food and whatever. No need for them in 37 years but it feels good to be ready. Hadn't thought about no ATM's though. Hmmm.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Where are you??

Nancy said...

Grandmother - Exactly! Hopefully it will never be needed.

Trish - Portlandia.