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Monday, March 7, 2011

Save Money, Keep Edibles Fresh with Bulk Food Storage Secrets

By Emily Main

Bulk foods can save you as much as 96 percent! But don't let them go stale before you have a chance to eat them. Use airtight food-storage containers, and know which bulk foods need to stay in the fridge.

If you're not into buying food in bulk, now's a good time to start. Buying in bulk allows you to ditch excess packaging - even use your own, reusable containers and buy food for less. According to the Bulk Is Green Council, bulk foods like rice, grains, nuts, and dried fruits can cost anywhere from 30 to 96 percent less than their packaged counterparts. Given the economy, those savings are starting to register with people; bulk sales were up by 15 percent last year, according to the council.

But buying in bulk doesn't mean buying so much food that it goes stale before you have a chance to eat it. After all, a study published last year estimated that the food wasted in this country amounts to 1,400 calories per person per day. Keeping your food fresh for as long as possible really doesn't take much, says Mark Devencenzi, national sales director at SunRidge Farms, a company that manufactures organic nuts, grains, spices, granola, and other pantry staples. "For bulk-food storage, your three enemies are light, heat, and oxygen," he says. Most bulk foods will last a good while if stored in airtight containers, such as glass jars, in the refrigerator, he says.

For a more specific breakdown of popular staples, here's an easy guide to bulk-food storage:

Grains - Because they never seem to go bad, you may assume that leaving rice, quinoa, and oatmeal on the shelf indefinitely is fine. But these actually can get stale and rancid, particularly brown rice, which has oils that cause it to go bad much faster than white or wild rice. Left on a shelf in a cool, dark pantry, white rice will last indefinitely, but brown rice will only last a month after being opened. Store it, along with your other whole grains like quinoa, in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Not only does this keep them fresher, but it also prevents bugs from getting into your containers. Oatmeal, on the other hand, will last up to 12 months in a pantry.

Flour - In the pantry, most flours will last six to 12 months. However, like brown rice, whole grain flours contain oils (from the bran and wheat germ) that cause them to go rancid much more quickly. Store whole wheat flour in your fridge or freezer, in either an airtight container or sealed inside a plastic bag in its original packaging, and it will last up to 12 months. Some types of whole grain flours—buckwheat, oat, or rice flours, for instance will last only two to three months in the freezer, so it's best to buy just the amount you'll use, rather than large bulk quantities.

Dried beans - Dried beans are one of the best foods to buy in bulk because they're full of nutrients and are inexpensive sources of protein. Bring them home from the store, put them in airtight jars, and leave them in your pantry. They'll keep for up to a year this way. Freezing or refrigerating uncooked dried beans can cause them to absorb moisture and lose flavor, but, for convenience, you can presoak and freeze dried beans so you can use them in a pinch without having to soak them or boil them. To precook your dried beans, soak them overnight as you normally would, and then boil them for 45 minutes to an hour just until they start to get soft. Strain and cool them then pack the beans in freezer-safe containers, and they'll be ready to use the next time you need them.

Nuts - Another cheap, healthy source of protein, nuts can quickly turn rancid if stored improperly, thanks to their high levels of healthy fats. Pop them in the refrigerator, where they'll keep for up to six months, or in the freezer, where they'll last for a year—or more. Frozen nuts can feel limp once they've thawed, so you might want to save them for baking rather than eating them raw.

Dried fruit - Unopened packages of dried fruit should last up to six months, but since you're purchasing it in bulk, put dried fruit in glass jars in the refrigerator once you get it home, and it should last anywhere from eight months to a year. If the fruit gets too dried out before you get to use it, soak it in some warm water to plump it up again.

Granola - "Because it's baked, granola is not going to have the same extended shelf life that you'll see with beans and grains," says Devencenzi. Like most other bulk foods, granola is best stored in the refrigerator, where it can last up to nine months.

Original at http://www.rodale.com/bulk-food-storage?page=0%2C0


Be Nutrition Ready and Store Super Foods

Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang...

Be Nutrition Ready and Store Super Foods

Someone asked me once why I named my website Ready Nutrition.  Quite simply, I explained that it’s not enough to be ready for all hell to break loose.  You can have all the preps in the world, but without a well rounded diet, you wouldn’t have the strength to engage in any form of rigorous activity to benefit your survival.
Being nutrition ready means storing the right types of foods that will benefit you in the long run.  These types of foods are also known as super foods, and have health promoting or disease fighting properties beyond the basic function of supplying nutrients.  Ironincally, most super foods are some of our favorite foods, so stocking up on them for an emergency food supply should be a no brainer.

10 Super Foods To Store

Allium Family
Garlic and onions are front runners for preventing a multitude of ailments.  Members of the allium family (garlic, onions, chives, leeks) contain flavonoids that stimulate the production of glutathione which is an antioxidant in the liver.  Glutathione filters out toxins and carcinogens that would otherwise harm the body.  Members of the onion family also lowers cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, reduces blood clots, destroys infection causing viruses and bacterias and helps fight against brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  (Source)
Berries are rich in antioxidants and are packed with disease fighting properties.  Blueberries have the highest amount of antioxidant properties and vitamins.  Antioxidants such as Anthocyanin, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin E will assist in removing free radicals and fight certain cancers.  Berries also are a great source of Vitamin C.  One cup of strawberries offers 100 mg of Vitamin C.  Berries inhibit the growth of certain bacterias in the bodies which will assist in preventing urinary tract infections.  Since constipation from dehydrated foods could be an issue in a long term emergency situation, blueberries can also aid in preventing this uncomfortable issue.
Broccoli is a pretty remarkable vegetable.  Broccoli has the highest amounts of cancer fighting compounds and can prevent heart disease.  Studies show that rats who were fed broccoli extract were more resilient to heart damage.  Broccoli prevents the growth of bacterias in the stomach which can lead to stomach inflammation, ulcers and stomach cancer.  This vegetable is also rich in Vitamin C and Calcium.  Eating broccoli sprouts are also a great way to benefit from it’s nutritional properties.  Sprouts are a high source of antioxidants.
Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene, Vitamin E, Vitamin A .  The high amounts of carotenoids assist in preventing heart disease.  Carrots also protect vision, thus eating more carrots can help provide protection against macular degeneration and the development of cataracts.  Research has suggested that physiological levels, as well as dietary intake, of carotenoids may be inversely associated with insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels.

Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are Vitamin C powerhouses.  Citrus fruits are known to lower one’s blood pressure.  Citrus fruits also assist in the absorption of iron and would be of great benefits to those who are anemic.  They can also play a great role in preventing cataracts.  Due to the high Vitamin C content, citrus fruits break down phlegm and can be used as natural cold and flu medicinal alternatives.
Many preppers already know that oats are a invaluable prep item.  Not only is their storage life good, but their health properties are phenomenal.  Oats assist lowering cholesterol and fight off certain cancers due to their soluble and insoluble fats.  These grains are high in omega-3 vitamins which assist in good heart health.  Phytochemicals are also present in oats, thus making their cancer fighting abilities more potent.  Oats are also a good source of protein, Vitamin E, zinc and copper.
Nuts have a profound effects on one’s health.  They are good for healthy brain functioning, benefits the heart and lowers cholesterol, provides healthy unsaturated fats needed for the body, are high in omega-3 vitamins, are a good source of fiber which aids in digestion and is also a good source of Vitamin E.  The downside to nuts is their dismal shelf life.  Typically, nuts expire after 1 year of storage.  An alternative to this would be to buy a nut tree, such as the almond, pecan and walnut trees.  Nuts can be used for cooking purposes, to make nut flours, and some nuts such as almonds can be soaked and later blended to make a healthy milk alternative. (Source)
Red Grapes
Grapes are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B1 and vitamin B6, and contain powerful phytochemicals (especially phenolics) that may help decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. These phenolic compounds are housed mostly in the skin of the red grapes.  Resveratrol, which has been shown to have antioxidant, anticancer and anti inflammatory properties is also present in the grapes dark skins, and may be responsible for some of the health benefits ascribed to the consumption of red wine.
This leafy green is packed with flavonoids which act as detoxifiers for the body.  Spinach is loaded with Vitamin K, Vitamin A, iron, folate, calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, protein, copper, zinc, and dietary fiber.  Spinach is a versatile vegetable to grown in your suvival gardens.  In 30-40 days  a person can grow spinach, thus making this a fast growing survival food.
Tomatoes are high in antioxidants which assist in detoxifying the body.  Specifically, tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene which assists in fighting against cancerous cell formation.  Tomatoes are so rich in this antioxidant that they actually get their red color from it.  It takes as little as 540 milliliters of liquid tomato product to get the full benefits of Lycopene.  Tomatoes are also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitmain E, Vitamin 6, Folate, Copper and dietary fiber.

Be Nutrition Ready

Storing these types of food will provide members of the household with needed vitamins the body needs to sustain itself during an emergency situation.  Whether a person attains these food types by buying them fresh, frozen, in the canned food aisle, dehydrated or freeze dried #10 cans, the members of the house will benefit from the investment in the long run.
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Simple Survival Tips - The Rehydration Kit

Simple Survival Tips - The Rehydration Kit

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than you take in and as a result your body doesn't have enough water to carry out its normal functions. If the lost fluids aren’t replenished you may suffer serious consequences. The excessive loss of fluids by your body can lead to dehydration and seriously endanger your life.

While water is necessary for the treatment of dehydration, your body also suffers from the loss of other nutrients as well. Sometimes you need to add a little extra to your water to help replenish these other nutrients. Lemon juice when combined with a little salt and sugar can help to replenish the nutrients which may have been lost due to dehydration. Vitamin C is also present in very high amounts in lemon juice. Lemon juice is safe to use and is very well tolerated by most people. It is an excellent way to treat dehydration.

A simple rehydration kit can be made using several small packets of lemon juice in conjunction with a few small packets of salt and sugar. Adding a couple of packets of lemon juice, a small packet of salt and a small packet of sugar to your water bottle will help to prevent the effects of dehydration. These items are small and lightweight making them an excellent addition to your survival kit or B.O.B.

Got lemonade?

Staying above the water line!

Headlamps in Emergency Kits

Headlamps in Emergency Kits

Have you ever thought about what you would do if you were on a road trip with your family and you got a flat tire in the dark? How would you see to get out the spare or get the spare properly put on your car? You could grab a flashlight, but it's pretty hard to change your tire with only one hand!

This is where a headlamp could be a lifesaver. Headlamps are basically hands-free flashlights. They have adjustable elastic straps that will allow the headlamp to be worn over hats or helmets and they can also work for children.

Recently, one of our customers found out just how helpful headlamps can be in a power outage:

Endurance Headlamp
“The day after I received my headlamps, our power went out for 15 hours (I know…what are the chances right?). I had already loaded the headlamps with batteries and strategically placed them around the house so they were the first source of lighting I thought to grab. My husband liked them because they enabled him to use both arms to carry firewood back to the house and still have a light guiding him. Although the elastic band made my hair poof up, I found the headlamp invaluable in finishing up dinner preparations. Get some headlamps, they will come in more handy than you can know.”

Headlamps can be used in many situations in addition to when the power goes out. You can use them while working on your car, starting a fire at your campsite, reading a book in bed, or you could garden at night.

We have a variety of headlamps that can meet anyone’s needs. The High Uinta Gear Endurance Headlamp is a great basic option with three different brightness settings. On one set of 3 "AAA" batteries, the light will run for more than 17 hours in the 10-LED mode, more than 30 hours when in 4 LED mode, and more than three days with the red flashing LEDs.

The Princeton Tec Fuel has 4 LED bulbs and is lighter than the Endurance. It has a large push-button switch that will make it easier for any hands to turn on. The Fuel will run for up to 146 hours on the low setting and up to 50 hours on the bright setting with one set of 3 “AAA” batteries.

 Princeton Tec Fuel

The Princeton Tec Quad is one of our most advanced models with a tough waterproof housing. The light beam is very bright and the LED bulbs and housing can survive impacts and water submersions up to one meter. The built in battery power meter will let you know when the batteries are close to dying so you won’t be stuck wandering around in the dark trying to find the extra batteries.

 Princeton Tec Quad

Headlamps can be used for almost anything you can think of and should be an important part of any emergency kit.