Off-Grid Cooking with the Amazing HERC Tea Light Oven

HERC-Tea-Light-Oven.jpg

One of the challenges during a power outage is cooking meals.  While there are many options, most require cooking outdoors using stove-type methods such as a rocket stove, BBQ grill, fire pit or camp stove.  These methods work great, especially if they are coupled with a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.

The problem, however, is that we can not predict or time when the power will go out.  Nor can we predetermine how long the grid will be down; it may be hours or it may be days or even weeks.  Not only that, what if the power goes out for a week during the coldest part of the year, with 10 inches of snow on the ground and a howling wind? 

Read More . . .

Everything You Wanted to Know About Mountain House + Giveaway

Everything-You-Wanted-to-Know-About-Mountain-House.jpg

When it comes to food storage, there are lots of options.  There are canned goods, bulk items, dehydrated meals, MREs and, of course, freeze dried foods.  Whatever you decide to choose for yourself and your family is somewhat of a personal choice and given proper storage conditions, there is no reason not to have some of each.

Given the many choices, some will say that freeze dried foods are cost prohibitive but I find that is simply untrue.  When compared to packaged foods, fast food and perishable food that spoils while lingering in the refrigerator or on the counter, freeze dried food becomes a viable and cost effective option that is quick, convenient, and with careful selection, healthy. 

Read More . . .

Fast Track Prep Tip #4: How to Use a FoodSaver for Vacuum Canning

How to Use a Food Save for Vacuum Canning

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a Backdoor Survival reader asking my opinion on a device she had seen being promoted to preppers.  It was basically a vacuum sealer that could be used to seal up packages of dry foods.  The cost was about $300.  Holy moly!  I could hardly believe that someone would consider something like this when an $80 FoodSaver would do the same thing.

I have had a FoodSaver for years.  I use it for all sorts of soft and dry goods, such as cheeses, meats, specialty flours, and even things like coffee beans and tea bags. 

Read More . . .

Survival Friday: Free Food Again!

Survival-Based.jpg

It is somewhat of a joke among my family and friends that I talk about food all of the time but never eat.  Let me re-phrase that a bit; I don’t eat all that often or all that much.  That does not, however, prevent me from having good, healthy food on hand not only for day to day meal planning but also for long term emergency needs.  And to that end, I am always on the lookout for something new, food-wise.

Given my penchant for all things food related, it should come as no surprise that once again, I have done a taste test on some pre-packaged meal pouches.  This time around, the meal pouches were provided by Backdoor Survival sponsor, Survival Based.  Not only that, Survival Based is providing an assortment of 12 different Food Supply Depot meals to one lucky Backdoor Survival winner.  More about that in a moment.

Read More . . .

Survival Basics: What the Heck are Oxygen Absorbers?

What the heck are oxygen absorbers?

When I first started getting serious about food storage, I found myself facing an entirely new vocabulary of food storage terms.  It should come as no surprise that one of those terms was “Oxygen Absorber”.

Now I am pretty sure that you have heard about oxygen absorbers.  But do you know what they are and that they are a necessary component when sealing up dry goods for the long haul?  Oxygen absorbers are a mystery to many so today I will provide you with the basics – just enough to get you started on the road to storing your bulk foods for the long term.

Read More . . .

Free Food! The Mountain House Moveable Feast Giveaway

MH-Assortment.jpg

The Backdoor Survival Winter Blast continues.  This week Mountain House is providing one lucky reader with a Mountain House “Just In Case” meal assortment.  Now how cool is that?  Before I get into the nitty gritty details about the giveaway, let me share a bit of background.

About six weeks ago I was contacted by Mountain House and was invited to participate in their Moveable Feast program.  The way it works is that a handful of websites (actually, just five) were selected and given an opportunity to share the Mountain House experience with their readers and also to offer an assortment of top Mountain House entrée and meal products as a giveaway.  Free food for Backdoor Survival readers?  I was in!

Read More . . .

Introducing The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage

Preppers-Guide-to-Food-Storage-268-x-403.jpg

After months of hints, innuendo and promises, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage is golden.  That’s right, after putting in a couple of all-nighters, I was able to complete the final formatting and get my new e-book launched on Amazon.  I am both thrilled and relieved – mostly because I know this is an up-to-date resource that will be useful to anyone and everyone that is serious about storing food for the long term.

Before I describe the book, I would like to mention that traditionally, when a new book title launches, there is a big hoopla.  Reviewers are lined up in advance, websites are flooded with ads, and readers are asked to make their purchase on a single pre-selected date.  If all goes well, there is a book bomb (meaning the book is dropped into the public eye like a “bomb”) and the title soars to the top of the rankings.  That all sounds great – for someone else.

Read More . . .

Unraveling the Mystery of Freeze Dried Foods

Freeze-dried-foods-from-Mother-Earth.jpg

Have you even wondered about freeze dried foods?  I know that when I first started putting together a survival food pantry, I was perplexed by the concept of “freeze-dried”.  Just what exactly goes into the freeze-drying process?  How is that different than dehydrated foods and the dehydrating process?  What does the food taste like?  And is it worth the cost?

In todays blast from the near past, I share an article I wrote about freeze dried foods and the freeze-drying process.  Of course I have come a long way since then but this is where I started.

The Big Deal About Freeze Dried Food

THE FINAL WORD

From time to time I feature bonus articles that are buried in the Backdoor Survival archives

Read More . . .

Cheap But Good! How to Cook Pinto Beans

pintos-in-a-pot-403.jpg

With the Fall weather comes the desire for some rib-sticking food.  And what better to fill our bellies on chilly evenings than an bowl of pinto beans?

Personally, I find it easiest to pre-soak my beans during the day then cook them overnight.  When I wake up the next morning, the house smells wonderful and I have a meal ready to go for later that day plus a lot of leftovers.  Add some rice, some cheese and some hot sauce and oh boy! Good stuff!

So what brought this on?  I made up a big pot of beans yesterday and plan to dive in tonight. 

Read More . . .

The Perfect Homemade Biscuit Mix from Food Storage

utah-ready-mix-gaye-reading1.jpg

For many, the backbone of food storage is bulk foods not the least of which is flour.  But in a crisis situation, what the heck can you do with all of that flour?  The answer, of course, is to make bread and baked goods.  But bread takes time and viable yeast may or may not be available.  The next best thing? Biscuits and pancakes!

Today I would like to share with you a fabulous DIY biscuit mix.  It comes from the Utah State University Extension Service and not only is it easy to make, but the resulting biscuits and pancakes are to die for.  (There is also a fabulous coffee cake but that is another topic entirely). 

The official name for this recipe is Utah Ready-Quick Mix.

Read More . . .

9 Strategies For Building An Emergency Food Supply

9-Crazy-Simple-Strategies.png

Are your overwhelmed at the thought of building a long term, emergency food supply? True enough, everywhere you look you will find advice telling you what to buy, how much to buy, where to buy it, how to store it and even how to eat it.  I agree it can be daunting.

Today I am here to tell you not to let yourself be overwhelmed! Instead use these nine crazy simple strategies for building an emergency food supply without hassle and stress.  None are difficult and if you go slow and use common sense, you will be on your way to having an emergency food supply in no time!

Read More . . .

Easy Peasy DIY Berry and Fruit Liqueurs

Basket_of_wild_blackberries.jpg

Here in the Pacific Northwest, late summer and early fall is prime picking time.  That is because in this neck of the woods, blackberry brambles are everywhere.  You will find them along trails, next to roadways and even in the backyard rose garden where they are an unwelcome visitor and impossible to get rid of.

There is a positive side to this however.  Blackberries are abundant and they are free for the picking, white clothing notwithstanding (more about that later).

I don’t know if blackberries are common in your area but surely there is some fruit that you can either pick yourself or purchase inexpensively from a roadside stand or farmers market. 

Read More . . .

Grinding Wheat with the Incredible WonderMill

Wondermill_2-403x330.jpg

When I first started prepping, the last thing on my mind was purchasing wheat for long term storage.  Heck, what was I going to do with 100 pounds of wheat berries?  Eat them raw?  Cook them? Sprout them?  Turn them into flour? I did not have a clue.  My my, how things have changed.

Today I am thrilled to share with you my experience learning how to mill my own flour with the incredible WonderMill.  Not only that, the nice folks at WonderMill have set aside one of their grain mills for one very lucky Backdoor Survival reader.  But more about that later.

Read More . . .

Survival Friday: Is Cooking From Scratch Worth It?

make-the-bread_403.jpg

One of the dilemmas we all face from time to time is deciding when is it worth it to buy something instead of making it from scratch.  As preppers, the dilemma is compounded because there may come a time when the items we desire are no longer available commercially.  When that happens, the choice is to go without or to make it ourselves from the crops in our gardens or from our food storage.

With that in mind, about a year ago I picked up the book, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch-Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods.

Read More . . .

The Remarkable EcoZoom Rocket Stove plus Giveaway

EcoZoom-Food-Storage-Chili_17-Medium-Web-view.jpg

When I first got my EcoZoom rocket stove in 2011, I  barely knew how to start a fire, let alone keep one going.  How things have changed since then!  Since that time, I have used my EcoZoom often – not so much because I was in a grid down, but because it is fun to use.  Yes, I know.  Prepper’s can be strange sometimes.

When I was recently contacted by EcoZoom about a review, I was excited because I already had an EcoZoom and was big fan of their product.  This was going to be easy. I suggested that as part of my review, they sponsor to give away an EcoZoom Versa to one of my readers and they graciously agreed. 

Read More . . .

Survival Basics: How to Build a Fire in a Rocket Stove

There comes a time when every prepper will say enough with all of the food and enough with all of the gear. Preparing a survival pantry, first aid kit and bug-out-bag are all important tasks but at some point we need to take a break from gathering stuff and move on to some of the basic skills needed to to insure our comfort in an emergency situation.

One of those skills is the ability to cook food outdoors.  Sure, we all know how to fire up the barbie and grill burgers.  But what if the backyard barbeque was not available?

If that happens, you are going to want to be ready to act.

Read More . . .

Survival Friday: Spices for the Survival Pantry

A commonly used idiom, “variety is the spice of life”, is used to mean that life is more interesting when things are not always the same.  And so it is when you are cooking and with your food storage pantry. Plain old rice and plain old beans will keep you alive but you may succumb to food fatigue from the boredom of it all.

Include some common spices with your other food storage items and everything changes.  As l wrote about in the recent article 20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan, adding some spices and condiments to your food storage pantry will allow you to vary the taste of your storage foods, thus mitigating some of the boredom that is likely to occur over time. 

Read More . . .

20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan

No matter how many times I write about food, there is always something new to consider or a new and different way to present the same old information in a more useful manner.  With that in mind, today I would like to share a method for getting started with your food storage program in an easy, step by step, and cost effective manner.

To be truthful, my initial goal with this article was to respond to readers who were just getting started and wanted a shopping list of things to buy for their food storage pantry.  I also wanted to compile a checklist that more experienced preppers could use to compare what they had to what they needed. 

Read More . . .

Read More . . .

Survival Friday: Learning to Render Fat

Old habits die slowly.  For years we have been told that animal fat is bad and to be honest, I personally subscribe to a diet plan that is primarily plant based.  That said, there is a place in my diet and my kitchen for organic meat and meat products, including the fat that is typically discarded after the fact.

For the longest time, something I absolutely tossed out was cooking grease. Healthcare experts, government and public health agencies and even the editors of popular cooking magazines all jumped on the fat is bad bandwagon. Low fat was good, no fat was better and animal fat?

Read More . . .

Read More . . .

Meals Ready to Eat – Not!

The concept of a meal in a pouch is not new.  For years, military organizations have contracted to have “Meals Ready to Eat” (or MREs) made for distribution to hungry soldiers in the field when a mess kitchen was unavailable.

The evolution of military grade MREs from the 1960’s era to now has resulted in light weight pouches that contain a complete meal sealed into a tidy packet.  A typical MRE contains a main course, side dish, bread, dessert, and flameless ration heater.  There will also be a napkin, eating utensil and condiments such as salt and pepper.  True U.S. military MREs are well marked with the designation “U.S.

Read More . . .

Read More . . .

Survival Friday: DIY Hardtack for Those Really Hard Times

One of the dilemmas we face in a long term SHTF situation is the lack of food.  For that reason, many of us stockpile grains. Grains have a long shelf life, are nutritious and will keep us going when fresh food is not available.  In an ideal world, we will mill our grains and bake up homemade bread in our cast iron pots that are cozied up to the campfire.

Sounds good and even a bit romantic.  Alas, although wheat and other grains can be milled into flour, yeast is a bit less hardy and after a few years, my not be viable. 

Read More . . .

Read More . . .

Survival Friday: Reasons You Need Salt in the Prepper Pantry

One of the very first things I did when I first started prepping was to bolster my pantry with basic staples that could be used for variety of purposes.  When it was suggested that I store salt, and lots of it, I was a disbeliever.  After all conventional mainstream wisdom had taught be that salt was the bad guy.  Or was it?

I made it my mission to determine whether  is salt a good thing, a bad thing or simply something best treated as an item to “use in moderation”.

SALT AS THE BAD GUY

According to the Mayo Clinic, lowering your salt intake can help lower your blood pressure and your risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Read More . . .

Read More . . .

14 Proven Tips for Bread Machine Users

In my opinion, no apologies are needed for admitting to  making fresh, wholesome bread in an automatic bread machine, commonly referred to as an ABM.

As I wrote in Making Bread in a Breadmaker is Not Just for Wimps, I was an early adopter of the bread machine and purchased mine before there were any related cookbooks or an internet to go to for tips on using the darn thing.  There was the old Prodigy network, though, and like minded bakers would congregate and share bread making tips as well as our own custom crafted recipes.

These days there are plenty of tips online for the first time owner of a bread maker but to make it easy for you, let me share my own tips for bread machine users – tips that have been honed from my own experience over the last 22 years.

Read More . . .

Read More . . .

Embracing Phytochemicals for Health and Survival

In a survival situation, all of the gear in the world will be of no use if you do not have a sound mind and body.  As far as the mind goes, you need to handle stress, cope and learn to roll with the punches.

But the body?  That is another story.  Whether blessed with excellent health or just teetering on the fringes of wellness, there are things you can do day to day to help you achieve maximum wellness given your own genetics and current body state.

You may have heard before about the Rainbow Diet and thought “Cripes, here comes the latest fad diet of the year”. 

Read More . . .

Read More . . .