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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Herbs and Spices for TEOTWAWKI

A mixture of black peppercorns from the Malaba...
Chefbear58 has come through again with more great ideas for your TEOTWAWKI pantry.  This time he’s got some great advice on what spices to store and what they’re used for.  Read on…
-Jarhead Survivor
Hello again everyone in SHTFblog land! Today I am going to walk you through some herbs and spices you will probably want to bolster your foodstuffs with. After each Herb/Spice I list, I will offer a brief explanation of its usefulness. So let’s get started, the sooner some of these items are on your shelves, the sooner you can start counting on them!
***Just so we are clear, some of the items are not technically herbs/spices, however because of their multiple uses and the fact that they are edible, I include them in my herb/spice inventory***
Item       Flavoring Uses       Secondary Uses -
Rosemary – good for meats and fish, tames “gamey” taste of wild animals, soups/sauces used in cures/brines
Mint- Accentuate and amplify fruit flavors, some savory uses. Can soothe sore throats/headaches
Thyme- good flavoring for veg, meats and seafood, soups/sauces
Parsley- adds a fresh flavor to many dishes, accentuates other seasonings.  Romans- used for oral hygiene
Stevia- ~1000x sweeter than sugar(by weight), takes limited space, can be used in teas and some other cooking
Sage- one of the best all around flavorings for meat, offers some preservation options.  Used in cures/brines
Juniper Berries- used for cures, especially for fish (i.e. nova-lox, grav-lox)
Peppercorns- GREAT flavoring for almost anything.  Used in cures/brines/rubs
Salt- Flavoring, preservation, wound cleaning/sterilizing.  The MOST important ingredient used in cures/brines
Nutmeg, WHOLE- flavoring savory/sweet, helps soothe cough/cold.  Mild topical anesthetic properties
Cloves, WHOLE- flavoring sweet/savory, helps w cough, sore throat, headache.  STRONG topical anesthetic
Chili Peppers, dried & Smoked- VERY flavorful, food preservation; Can be made into improvised “less than lethal” weapons, can be used as a topical muscle soother-CAREFULLY
Cocoa Powder, regular and DARK- mix with water and powdered/canned milk- Instant hot cocoa, can be added to many different recipes or everyday items like oatmeal/grits, possible improvement to morale
Bay Leaves, WHOLE- Flavoring for boiled/braised/stewed dishes.  Add a few leaves to flour to keep out bugs
Paprika, Smoked SWEET- Base in making many spice blends, flavors small game well, a little goes a long way!
Mustard, SEED- a little goes a long way, good for flavoring meats, soups, sauces (especially cheese sauce)must grind
Transglutaminase- THIS ONE IS COOL!! This chemical is used to “restructure” protein, if you only have the meat you could scrape off the bones of whatever game you managed to get, add a little touch of this, then you can form that “glob ‘o’ meat” into a “steak” with VERY similar taste/texture! Will also allow you to form 2 different pieces of meat into 1 (I have used this on a piece of Ahi tuna and a piece of Chilean Sea Bass, the result was like a mutant fish steak, they were completely bonded together like it had come off of 1 fish!)
Horseradish, POWDERED- AKA Wasabi powder, flavorful and can mask unpleasant flavors.  Use in rubs/cures
Alum- used in pickling and some other preservation methods ; Can be used to stop minor bleeding, fight infection
Garlic- DELICIOUS, helps with even the worst tasting items! Sulfites in the garlic can kill some pathogens in foods
Cardamom Seed, WHOLE- lemony pepper flavor, savory/sweet applications.  Can soothe coughs/colds
Cream of Tartar- used to “stabilize” whipped foods, like frostings ; Can be added to white vinegar to form a disinfectant/cleaning paste
“Grains of Paradise”- used by the Romans, before they found peppercorns.  Used in cure/brine/rub. Tastes like black pepper and citrus, slight floral flavor/smell
Vanilla Beans, WHOLE- They can be split and seeded, the seeds can be used in baking, the hull can be used to make vanilla extract by soaking in alcohol (bourbon/vodka), hulls can then be used to flavor sugar
Sugar, WHITE- good for baking and some savory cooking, sweeten beverages.  Used in cures/brines/rubs
Sugar, BROWN- adds moisture and extends shelf life of baked goods.  Used in cure/brine/rubs
Sugar, RAW- Best of both worlds between brown and white, easier for the body to process, pleasant texture
Powdered HONEY- NEVER crystallizes, good choice for LTS sweetener, difficult to rehydrate properly
Arrow-Root- Thickening agent, requires only water to use, allergies are RARE, cheap, lasts forever if kept dry
Corn Starch- Thickening agent, adds crispy texture to breads/cookies, SOME allergies have been reported
Glycerin- can be used in production of candy and baked goods; studies show it allows people to “super-hydrate”
Prague powder- AKA Pink Curing Salt- GREATLY increases the shelf life of meats cured with it, meats can be cured in a simple brine, cheap- I can buy enough to cure 100lbs of meat and it costs about $2-$2.50… ESSENTIAL if refrigeration is unavailable/unreliable!
So that is a simple list of some Herbs/Spices you may wish to stock in your pantry and why. Now it’s your turn! Do you have any of these items in your preps? Have you considered any of these items that you may not currently have? Is there anything important that you think I missed? Do you have anything to add to this BASIC list? Are there any items you know of that may replace or work better than an item or two on this list?
Hope everyone found this informative, please if you have any questions, simply ask them in the comments below and I will answer them to the best of my abilities! Thanks Guys!
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Guest Post: Budget Emergency Survival Kit, by Christopher Young

Australian "duct tape".(This post is inspired by Kurt Hoffman
who wrote a very fine web site. The text
below was copied off the web page, and then
very severely edited by Chris Young,  on
Jan 25, 2011. It is good to look at the
web site, the pictures are helpful.)

What is the Budget Emergency Survival Kit?

First, it made of items you purchased at stores
in your area. Items which have good value for
the price. Which are  simple and easy to buy,
and easy to use.

Second, inexpensive enough that you can  make
kits for each of your vehicles. And for each of
your family members - even the ones that dont
really care about survival stuff.

Lastly, items easy to use by the average person
who has little training in outdoor survival.

I started out with a $20 target price. Of course,
the items here are suggestions. You can add to the
list, or buy higher quality items. Suppose you have
a good knife. You don't have to go buy a 97 center
and leave your good knife in the drawer. See what
you have at home, before you go run and buy every
thing on the list. You can make one trip to your
local retail store, end very quickly have a kit
ready to go.

Lets look at the kit.

1.Knife - 3.5" stainless steel, plastic handle $.97
    Anglers Edge Bait Knife
2.Matches - 128 strike on box type $.49 Blue Diamond
3.Tarp - plastic 6 x 8 $3.98 Ozark Trails
4.Flashlight - sealed battery, disposable $2.24
    Garrity Life Lite
5.Knife Sharpener - Ceramic rod type $1.17 Rapala
6.Compass $2.96 Ozark Trails
9.Fish Hooks (Snelled) - with line $.46 Renegade
10.Twine - nylon, 260, 15 lb. $1.89 Wellington
11.Canteen - 24 oz. plastic bottle $1.00
12.Food - dried, enough for 2 meal $.20 Ramen Noodles
13.Aspirin - 100 tablets $.99 Walgreens Generic
14.Band-Aids - 60 adhesive band-aids $.99 Band Aid
15.Soap- anti-bacterial bar $.59 Generic
16.Tent pegs, 10" steel $1.96 Ozark Trails
17.Lighter - Disposable or Butane $.97 Bic/Robinson
18."Tea" lights $.10ea. misc.

TOTAL $21.00

** I included the bottled water here at $1.00, but
that can be free if you use an empty plastic coke

The Knife:

Originally designed and sold as a bait knife at
Walmart, this knife is a good, very inexpensive
blade for $.97. It is very durable and stainless
steel. The handle is of good size, giving you a
good grip. You can enhance the grip by wrapping
either nylon cord or duct tape around the handle
till it fits your individual hand. The blade is
a usable length at 3.5" for most chores. Your
knife is one of your most important pieces of
equipment, do not abuse it.

Knife Sharpener:
This is one of the most overlooked items. If your
dull,  it is useless. Even the best of blades will
dull with usage. Sharpening a knife to some people
is a gift, to others it is a skill, that can be
eventually learned.

First Aid Kit:

First thing to do for any wound is get it CLEAN.
That means wash it out with simple anti-bacterial
soap and water. The next thing is to KEEP it clean
by using clean bandage materials. You may need a
LOT of bandages.  This kit includes 60 band-aids,
which cost about $1.00 and a bar of soap, costing
around $.60.

Most pain relievers last 4 to 6 hours. Then after
it wears off, what do you do? Get a real bottle,
it costs about $1.00 and averages 100 tablets.


Being exposed to the weather is what kills most
people. Hot or cold, will kill you. Pack a poncho
and all weather foil blankets.  I include a 6 x 8
foot Plastic Tarp with 4 - 10" steel tent pegs.
You can easily make a long lasting shelter with it.
With a little practice, you can design a large,
Lean-To, a basic pup tent or a tubular tent. The
tubular is the best of the bunch because it is low
and less likely to take wind damage and gives you
a plastic floor to lie on instead of the ground.
The smaller size helps keep heat in.

The steel tent pegs, that I have included, are heavy
compared with plastic or aluminum. You will have to
drive them with a rock. Plastic pegs will shatter
and aluminum pegs will bend. The 10" steel pegs also
can be used to break up hardened ground to help you
dig and can be used to make very good falling traps.
In an extreme emergency, the steel pegs can be used
as a weapon. I think this offsets the weight issue.
You can decide for yourself.

The plastic, aluminum and steel pegs all run about
$2.00 at any of the above stores and the tarp costs
about $4.00.

Why the tarp instead of sheet of plastic? The tarp
has corner rings for tying. The tarp makes a good
sun shade. The tarp is durable.

Emergency ponchos are needed in case it rains or
snows while you need to be moving.

Foil blankets are also useful. When they are tightly
packed, they tend to break into ribbons. Its a good
idea to unfold the foil blanket, and refold it to
fit in a sandwich bag.

Duct Tape:
Duct tape can be used to fix your tarp, poncho,
canteen, flashlight, gloves, boots, hat, jacket,
bags, boxes, etc. You can use it to "tie" things
together. It works to improve your outer garments
against the wind. It is water resistant. And on
and on and on. A small roll will run you about
$2.00 up to about $4.00 for a large roll. Get it.
Pack it. Youll be glad its around.

Compass/Whistle/Thermometer tool:

This is a really good item for its cost of $2.97.
The survival wisdom, IF there will be a rescue,
is STAY PUT. So you dont need a compass, but I
like to keep the options open. It is the basic
directional finding equipment. This compass
is reasonably accurate if you need it.

The whistle is a signaling device. A whistle is
louder than shouting, and takes less energy to use.
A whistle can be heard at great distances. Which is
good, if someone is paying attention and knows what
to do.

This handy little device also includes thermometer
and a magnifying glass. I like to know the temp
outside. The magnifying glass is good for finding
splinters in your finger, but its too small to
start a fire with.


Fire starting is essential. Fire can be used for
light, cooking, protection and proves a general
mental state of calmness, which is so important
to any survivalist. Buy good quality matches.
The waterproof and life boat matches are good.

Fire lighting involves A) the spark and B) the
tinder. c) Kindling, D) fire wood. The spark is
easiest with a lighter or match. It takes 3-5
matches or more to get a fire going. Sound crazy?
Try it. Then try it in high wind. Then try it
in wet grass. Youll see. Plenty of matches.

Include a couple diposable lighter in this kit.
Often, it is just easiest to use the lighter.
The long neck Aim N Flame are excellent. Most
have a "lock" on the button. This will help you
keep from accidentally releasing all the butane.

Tinder is next. Many survivalists try various types
of tinder. Some like wax and cardboard, others like
trioxane, or pretroleum jelly, or hand sanitizer.
Fire starting is important, so try several ideas and
use what works for you.

I also suggest that you add a couple of "tea lights"
to use as tinder. They are easier sometimes to
light. Put the entire tea light under your tinder
or kindling,  they are cheap enough to use and
forget. This will on your matches. Light a candle,
let the candle light the kindling.

Keeping your matches dry is important. You can use
a pill vial or 35mm film can. Many pharmacy pill
vial are long enough to house the Strike Anywhere
matches. Put in a black striker, with the scratchy
side towards the wall of the pill vial.

The Garrity "Life Lite" and has a sealed battery
which lasts for 8 hours of continued usage and 2
years in storage (per their packaging). It is
cheap and effective for the price of $3.00, which
as noted, includes batteries. Here is a good place
to upgrade. Buy a strap on head lamp, so you can
work and have both hands free.


For a canteen, plastic soda bottles, empty and
washed out, work well. Upgrade to a one or two
liter bottle. With a piece of nylon cord tied
around the top of the bottle, you can loop around
your belt for carrying. If you can find one of the
little carry pouches made for hikers, that are
made to carry a bottle on your belt, they work
even better than the cord.

Fish Hooks:

For the most part, survival situations dont allow
enough time for fishing. Your time would be better
used for signalling, or hiking out. I dont consider
fishing a use of time in a short term survival


Waterproofing your gear is simple with zip lock
bags or using the duct tape. I like the 1 gallon
freezer bags. Its easy. Add several to your kit
to keep
things dry.

What to pack your kit in?

Simplest is just to use the plastic grocery bags
that you got from the store. They have a trashy
look, and every other thing in the car is in
shopping bags. Other containers might include
coffee can with lid. These tend to roll around.
Have you tried to carry a round coffee can down
the trail? Not good !

The best is some sort of backpack or over the
shoulder bag. Such as a diaper bag. A plastic
tool box can work. Any of these can be better

One of the other containers I like is a used
cat litter bucket. The newer ones have nice
lids as well. Carry handle, and large enough
for your kit and maybe clothing and shoes. This
container doesnt scream STEAL ME. It can also
be used for field carry and water collection
and water holding.


Safety pins; simple but effective ways to fix
buttons and zippers.

Needle and thread; repair things.

Small mirror from Dollar store. Signaling device.

plastic cups, dinnerware and bowls; containers
to collect water, drink from, or keep things dry.
Kids cups from a restaurant have little lids
that work as a funnel to pour water into your

Clothing; T-shirt, hat, gloves, socks, anything
just to have extra if you need them. Especially
sturdy shoes.

There you have it, the Budget Emergency Survival
Kit. It is simple, easy, and it works. With the
price of this kit, you can afford to put one  in
all your vehicles. Then when you get jammed you
will be covered, no matter what vehicle or where
you are.
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