Category: SHTF Preparedness

How To Keep Fruit And Veggies Fresh Longer

How To Keep Fruit And Veggies Fresh LongerHow To Keep Fruit And Veggies Fresh Longer

Graphic © off-grid.info. Photo © Adobe Stock (under license)

We found a great tutorial on keeping fruit and veggies fresh longer. The link is at the end, after our additional tips.

If you find yourself surrounded by a mountain of fruit and vegetables, either after a big shopping run or at harvest time, you’ll want them to last as long as possible while you try to use them all up. It’s sad to know that many people tend to throw food away. If you want your produce to last longer, this post by Sparkpeople will teach you how to store them the right way.

Banana storage tip: Bananas contain ethylene. It is a colorless gas that speeds up the ripening process. I remember we once had a couple of bunches of unripe bananas on the counter and I placed one ripe banana in the middle. I left it there overnight and when I woke up, the bunches of bananas turned mostly yellow.

If you want your fruits to last longer, don’t store ones that can easily ripen together with the unripened ones. This makes it easier for you to gradually consume all of your produce. Unless you’re planning to make desserts out of them, then it’s okay.

Related: Top 6 Food Storage Safety Tips

Veggie storage: When it comes to vegetables, you have to remove ties and rubber bands and you should also trim the leafy ends. It’s considered good to store them in bags that have holes so that there will be proper airflow – though with vegetables such as broccoli and kale, I have managed to keep them fresh longer by adding a little fresh water to the plastic bag that they are in, and keeping them in the fridge. It’s the same principle as keeping cut flowers fresh.

Pack them loosely in the refrigerator. The more compact they are, the quicker they’ll spoil. Green leafy vegetables should be washed thoroughly before storage (this makes sense because you will be washing away mold spores and other matter that can accelerate decomposition. Mushrooms and herbs shouldn’t be washed until right before the time that you use them for cooking.

Rinse fresh fruit using vinegar to clear mold spores: Another great tip is to wash the produce in water with some apple cider vinegar added, then rinse. The vinegar has a natural disinfectant effect and many have testified that soft fruit such as raspberries will last longer when washed carefully this way.

Another way to help store fruits is to cut them up into pieces and make fresh fruit salads. Make your own fruit combinations and store them in plastic containers. You can then bring them together, add a little bit of honey and yogurt and you have something that you can eat for snacks. It’s a healthier alternative to sugary, unhealthy desserts!

If you’re going to the grocery store to buy some food, it is a very good idea to plan your meals for the week. This can save you from buying too much stuff, or from additional trips into town.

Ok, here’s the link to the full tutorial: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1103

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How To Keep Fruit And Veggies Fresh Longer
Graphic – off-grid.info. Image – © Serghei Velusceac – Fotolia.com

How To Make Fermented Vegetables (video tutorial)

How To Make Fermented Vegetables
Video: How To Make Fermented Vegetables Graphic – off-grid.info. Photo – Stocksnap (CC0)

When you think of kimchi, pickles and sauerkraut, you can’t help but feel your salivary glands kick into high gear. There’s something about fermented vegetables that makes everything so appetizing! If you have a lot of vegetables lying around the house from a bountiful veggie patch, why don’t you try to preserve them? Lucky for you, We’ve discovered a basic fermenting technique in this video by Sandorkraut that will help!

Fermentation has been around since the Neolithic age. The ancient Chinese, Egyptians and Africans are just some of the cultures that started to make use of this method. To be a little scientific about it, fermentation is a metabolic process that converts sugars into acids, gases or alcohol. People in the ancient times started to use salt, water and spices to help preserve their vegetables. It’s well known for it’s familiar sour taste (thanks to the acids that were produced during the process).

Related: How To Make Your Own Kombucha Tea

These preserved vegetables are widely regarded as very good for your health. They actually contain beneficial bacteria. Many people are suffering from yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems, which may be caused by a lack of good bacteria in their gut. Eating some of your favorite sauerkraut or kimchi with your daily meals will be able to provide a good amount of friendly bacteria. It will also help absorb the nutrients better.

In the modern world, we’ve become so afraid of germs that we tend to forget that we also need them to keep our bodies strong and healthy. The goal is not to wipe out bacteria. The goal is to help the “good guys” to win and be in control, keeping the bad guys at bay. Did you know that people who have taken antibiotics are sometimes advised to drink Yakult (a fermented milk drink) or take probiotics? This is because antibiotics can also kill the good bacteria found inside the gut. This just goes to show that not all germs are bad.

Aside from their nutritional value, there’s one reason why people keep on preserving their vegetables – they taste so good! Fermented vegetables also make a great appetizer for meals because they make your tongue more sensitive to the taste. You might feel a little weird about eating them the first time, but trust us, you will become addicted! Ok, here’s the video tutorial on How To Make Fermented Vegetables:

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Video How To Make Fermented Vegetables
Graphic – off-grid.info. Images – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i77hU3zR-fQ

30+ Essential Things You Should Keep In Your Car

30+ Essential Things You Should Keep In Your Car
30+ Essential Things You Should Keep In Your Car Photo – © corepics – Fotolia.com

Every car owner should have a dedicated in-car survival kit. It is just common sense and could even save your life or that of your loved ones.

Here we proudly present our full updated / expanded check list of 30 44 Essential Things You Should Keep in Your Car – together with useful notes and tips.

Go through this checklist, make a note of which items are already in your car and which ones you need. The links we provided are to our pick of highest rated products on Amazon. Ok, let’s go!

Maintenance And Repair

1: Spare Tire And Tire Change Accessories. Your spare tire should be in good condition and checked regularly for air when you check the air of your other tires. So many people forget this! If the spare tire is flat then it is of course useless. You should also have a jack and lug wrench to take off the wheel nuts. These are usually supplied with new cars but might be missing – so be sure to check if there is one already in your car, typically in the spare wheel compartment. Not all lug wrenches are created equal so if you need to buy one, get a good one. Some wheels have security nuts requiring a special adaptor / security key and so you should check that this item is present if required.
A quick note on jacks – include a 12″ square of sturdy plywood (one-inch) in your tire change kit. It could be a lifesaver… here’s why: The portable “diamond jacks” that come with most cars are “just about ok” if the car is on hard tarmac – but let’s say you ran off the road and popped a tire. Have you ever tried jacking up a car with one of those jacks on even slightly soft ground? Not only is it very difficult, but it is also potentially extremely dangerous. If the jack subsides even a small amount when the wheel is off, as those little jacks are prone to, it can VERY suddenly collapse. Just pray that you are not under the car when it happens! Your square of plywood will greatly help prevent the jack from sinking into the dirt and potentially save the day. For even better results, you could create some kind of recess in the center of the plywood square that fits and holds the foot of the jack securely.

Related: VIDEO: In-Car Emergency Survival Kit!

2: Tire Inflater / Sealer. The brands everyone knows are “Fix-A-Flat” and “Slime”. These can provide a short term repair sufficient to get your car to the repair shop.

3: Jump Leads aka Jumper Cables. Note that there is a big difference in quality between cheapie ones (typically thinner cables) and higher quality ones (typically chunkier). Don’t skimp here. Buy heavy duty long ones such as these 2 gauge cables which got loads of rave reviews. The thickness of the wire does matter as it increases the current carrying capacity of the cable – and the quality of the clips matters too. A very useful alternative / addition is an emergency car starter power pack – which is essentially a small portable rechargeable battery with clips to attach it to your car’s battery, giving it a boost when required.

4: Sturdy Work Gloves. Indispensable when you are required to do any kind of work on your car or deal with any other rough work that could tear your hands. Definitely the most commonly used thing in my car survival kit.

5: Box Of Disposable Gloves. These have numerous uses including wearing when refueling, so as to prevent getting gasoline on your hands!

6: The Manual For Your Car. This contains all kinds of useful information from correct tire pressures to how to change fuses and bulbs.

7: Digital Tire Pressure Gauge. Regular checking of tire pressures can reveal problems before they become hazardous. Keeping tires at the correct pressure also improves fuel economy, prolongs tire life and optimizes handling.

8: Utility Wire / Rebar Wire. This is not electrical wire, but a sturdy single-stranded iron wire. If you are for example in a fender-bender and part of the car is hanging loose, you may be able to do enough of a quick-repair with the wire that is good enough to get you home.

9: Spare Car Fuses. Most often there is a little holder for these in the fuse compartment, but check it and make sure it is well-stocked with all the fuses your car needs. You can check the manual for the exact fuse ratings you need and while you are at it, be sure to check all the fuses currently in use and make sure they were replaced with the correct rated fuse! Here is a pack of car fuses that got great reviews; you can keep this pack in the garage and re-stock your car with a few spares as needed.

10: Set Of Spare Bulbs For All The Lights Of The Car. This could not only be the difference between getting pulled over, but could potentially be a life saver. There have been fatal accidents caused by a blown bulb; which can result in both loss of ability to see well and also the loss of ability to be seen! Missing brake lights can be dangerous as in the dark it would be significantly harder to tell that someone in front of you has braked suddenly. Regularly have a friend help you check all the lights of the car – it only takes a minute to run through them all.

11: Roll Of Repair Tape. I personally use gaffer tape, the cloth-backed kind as I find this both strong and easy to use. Gaffer tape also has the advantage of being easy to tear off the size of strip you want, but you might also want to check out Gorilla All-Weather Tape or the cheaper Duck Tape.

12: Zip Ties. Another quick-repair essential!

13: Gallon Of Water in a screw top plastic bottle. This is extremely useful for refilling your radiator or windscreen washer in a pinch.

14: Piece Of Old Carpet. If you have to get under the vehicle for any reason, this will be much less uncomfortable than the road surface. And if you are stuck in mud, it can be put under the stuck wheel to provide additional traction.

15: Power Inverter. There are lots of cheapie ones but I would advise a good quality pure sine wave inverter. For the more serious survivalist, a high power pure sine inverter such as this one (2000W) will provide the ability to not only charge phones and power laptops but also run various other electrical appliances, even power tools and more.

16: Basic Tool Kit containing a socket set (this one got tons of 5 star reviews) with the sizes and correct system (metric or inch scale) typically found in your car, multi-bit screwdriver, pliers with wire cutter, multi purpose wrench (this one is amazing) and other essentials. Some cars such as BMW used to provide a small tool kit. Check your car manual to learn where it is and see what you’ve got!

17: Multi-tool such as a Leatherman or Gerber. This is a survival kit essential. This one got loads of great reviews and is low cost.

18: All Purpose Survival Tool such as the Trucker’s Friend All-Purpose Survival Tool (a serious piece of kit which has tons of uses!)

19: Fire Extinguisher though do note that putting out a vehicle fire is difficult and can be dangerous. Your primary objective should always be to get yourself and other occupants out of the vehicle and to a safe distance away asap. Make sure your fire extinguisher is somewhere within easy reach in the cabin of the car and learn how to use it beforehand – so that you can deploy it swiftly when the time comes. You won’t have time to read the instructions when things are burning!

Survival And Safety

20: Essential Paperwork. Driving License (in your wallet of course), Proof of Insurance, AA / AAA card if you are a member.

21: Emergency Cash. Essential survival tool! If you are stranded, cash can get you a room for the night, food, water, gas, public transportation, all kinds of things. Another beauty of this emergency supply is that one day, you are bound to get to the grocery store and realize that you have forgotten your wallet. Bingo! Your emergency cash-stash just saved you a journey. Keep $100-$200 tucked away somewhere hidden – maybe inside the user manual or in some other obscure / secret place no-one will look.

22: First Aid Kit. Many cars now come with one, perhaps under the front passenger seat. Be sure you know where yours is and check that it is stocked. Also keep any medications or remedies that you require, in case you are ever stranded away from home longer than planned. This is a great starter survival / first aid kit – 268pcs – rave reviews.

23: Flashlight. Get a purpose-built Roadside Emergency Flashlight such as this one that has a flashing light option. If your car breaks down due to total loss of electrical power, your hazard lights will not work. An additional flashlight that can function as an emergency hazard light is a very wise investment. Honestly I would get two of these.

24: Drinkable Water. If you buy some typical bottled water, note that sunlight / heat can degrade the plastic and this can affect the water. It’s a good idea to leave a spare bottle of water in the cooler shade of the trunk and replace regularly.

25: Energy Bars Or Some Other High Energy Snack Food. Dried fruit / nuts, MREs. etc. If you break down or there is a very long unexpected traffic jam, you could potentially be stranded for several hours. The longest traffic jam I have ever been in turned a normally 6-hour journey into a 27 hour journey. It can happen! While we are on the subject of energy, pack some coffee, tea and vitamin C sachets such as Emergen-C.

26: Emergency Seatbelt Cutter And Window Breaker. Note that you should ideally keep this in the central compartment within easy reach of both driver and passenger, NOT in the trunk and NOT in the glove compartment! These are very inexpensive and one option is to get a pack of 4 like this one so that you can put one in each occupant’s door pocket.

27: Reflective Emergency Triangles Or Flares. These will reduce the risk of you and your vehicle getting hit if you break down or are in an accident after dark.

28: Hi-Visibility Jackets / Vests. The fluorescent / reflective kind that highway construction workers and emergency personnel use. These could save you from getting run over in the dark. Pack enough for your family to have one each.

29: Road Atlas. Despite the fact that most people have GPS-capable smartphones or actual GPS, there are some instances in which it might fail. Your phone might get lost, dropped or stolen, or the charger could break. A road atlas – the paper kind – will be a great backup.

30: 550 Paracord. A survival kit essential with countless uses!

31: Tow Rope / Tow Strap for vehicle recovery.

32: Ice Scraper.

33: Folding Survival Shovel. Another survival kit essential with countless uses.

34: Ratchet Straps. Numerous uses including securing loads and holding the trunk closed if it will not close.

Creature Comforts

35: Blankets. Perfect for keeping warm in emergencies, having something to wrap up in if you need to take a nap, but also as a picnic blanket for outdoor adventures

36: Thermos cup/flasks. These are superb for keeping hot drinks hot, keeping cold drinks cold, are unbreakable and with the closable lids, protect your drink from flying insects and save your beverage (and your carpets!) in the case of an accidental knock-over. An essential.

37: Outdoor Shoes / Boots. Keep a pair of boots of some kind in the car, so that you can put them on when going for a walk. Then you can take them off when you get back to the car and not get mud all over the car interior.

38: Pen And Paper.

39: Towel.

40: Wash Bag / Personal Toiletries with soap, toothbrush and paste, deodorant, shampoo, razor, personal sanitary products etc.

41: Hand Sanitizer – this has now become a modern essential of course.

42: Change Of Clothes. Include something warm, something waterproof, something cool. Keep a change of underwear & socks in a ziplock bag to keep them clean and dry.

43: Toilet Roll – because you never know!

44: Umbrella.

Note – links to Amazon products are ‘affiliate links’ which means we earn a small commission on sales.

Can you think of any more Essential Things You Should Keep In Your Car? Let us know.