List of No-Cook, Ready to Eat Foods

candyAs much as we like to live well as preppers and maybe even cook the occasional gourmet food storage meal, there’s also plenty of room for making your life as easy as possible when times are tough. In this case, it’s about food that can be eaten without much–if any–work whatsoever.

This list of no-cook foods may be obvious to most but it never hurts to have a reminder as to what can be eaten without any additional effort. After all, if you’re truly trying to survive the immediate aftermath of an emergency then I’m sure the last thing you want to do is to cook a meal. Sometimes the best we can do is grab something quick to fill our tummies.

Hopefully this list helps you more easily prepare yourself and your family for even the smallest of disruptions in your life. Note that this list is in no particular order:

  • canned meats (tuna, chicken, spam, etc)
  • canned soups (beef stew, clam chowder, chili, pork and beans, etc)
  • canned fruits (mixed fruit, pineapple, etc)
  • canned veggies (anything is edible)
  • most anything packaged (except for foods that require boiling water, for example)
  • emergency bars (Mainstay, Datrex, etc)
  • trail mix (a great snack food)
  • granola bars
  • beef jerky
  • fresh fruit and veggies
  • popcorn (pre-popped, of course)
  • snack foods (chips, pretzels, crackers, etc)
  • sweet foods (cookies, graham crackers, pastries, etc)
  • breakfast grab-and-go foods (poptarts)
  • sports drinks (Gatorade)
  • juice drinks
  • applesauce
  • baby food (for the baby!)
  • mres
  • shelf stable milks (almond milk or dry milk powder)
  • peanut butter
  • cereal (you name it, you can eat it)
  • freeze dried foods (will need water)
  • nuts, seeds
  • dried fruits
  • candy
  • bread, rolls
  • oatmeal (yes, you can eat it dry but even hydrated in cold water is better)
  • gum (not exactly something to eat but it keeps your mouth busy)
  • pudding and jello (shelf stable, of course)
  • ramen noodles (same considerations as for oatmeal)
  • fruit leather
  • various ethnic foods (Indian food)

So, what did I miss?

5 Skills Every Prepper Should Learn

fiveI happened upon a link to a post at SurvivalPreparednessBlog.com with a very similar title (I “borrowed heavily” for this post) and began reading because, after all, who doesn’t like lists?

To summarize, the list included 10 skills: stick welding, small engine repair, how to fish, how to butcher animals, learn to trap, gunsmithing, basic carpentry, auto repair, ham radio, hunting, advanced first aid.

I looked at the list and thought, “ok, I understand, sort of” but it’s not what I would consider skills that everyone should learn. After all, I can’t think of a time I’ve ever needed to stick weld anything, after all, I’m pretty sure that’s why they invented duct tape. 😉 Most of the rest of the list is understandable and would also be good skills to have.

For this post I’m thinking about 5 skills that preppers should learn. Of course, this is just my humble opinion. Take from it what you will…

  1. Basic wound care – I think we tend to underestimate how critical proper wound care is to our health given that we not only have the proper supplies to care for wounds but the knowledgeable personnel to help us we we need more than just a bandage. The same can be said for the fact that we live in fairly sanitary conditions with proper waste disposal and clean water. When these things either disappear or become compromised then the possibility for disease from a simple cut increase substantially. Just knowing how to properly clean and dress a wound is good knowledge. Likewise, supplementing that with knowing how to pack a deep wound, understanding when (and when not to) close a wound, what an infected would looks like, and more could mean the difference between life and death. These are important “basic” skills to have and should not be underestimated. There are any number of ways to learn these skills, including watching various videos I have in the Video Vault, buy some first aid books, read medical references I keep in my Guide to the Net pages, etc.
  2. The ability to shoot a firearm – Your ability to protect not only yourself but your family as well cannot be emphasized enough. We can talk all we want about alternatives to firearms and home security precautions but nothing beats a firearm in the hands of a well-trained and confident individual when it comes to stopping bad guys from doing bad things. The keys to firearms are many, including the experience that only comes from training (repetition is what it’s all about), familiarity (with your weapon, how to operate it without looking, how to load it, clear jams, etc), and confidence (to do what needs to be done should the need ever arise). Of course, firearms provide for more than just protection. Look for local training resources; the NRA is a good starting point.
  3. How to make a fire – I was never a boyscout and I never had interest in learning survival basics such as these (which I now regret) but I can’t think of anything more basic yet so crucial to general human survival than fire. I know it doesn’t tend to play much of an obvious role in our lives in modern society but I would suspect that it will be front-and-center in any significant emergency situation. Remember that fire fulfills many critical functions, including making food safe to eat, water safe to drink, and warding off predators to name a few. In fact, I consider it so critical that I’m going to see Jerry Ward of OzarkMountainPreparedness.com in March to learn firecraft skills for a day. Come join me if you’re anywhere near Arkansas. If not, watch videos and start practicing while you have the the opportunity to do so without a true NEED for fire. And, of course, do it safely.
  4. Food preservation techniques – Considering that refrigeration may be a thing of the past in any significant emergency situation, then a basic root cellar may be all we can muster with regards to extending the longevity of foods in their natural state; we need to do better. Fortunately, we’ve known how to make foods last a long time and that’s utilizing various food preservation methods, including canning, drying, pickling, smoking, and fermenting to name the most recognized options. If you haven’t tried any yet, pick one and run with it! Get a few books on the subject and try it. I thoroughly enjoy dehydrating. Maybe canning or smoking meats is what gets you hooked. I don’t know. But I do know that these skills will last a lifetime.
  5. How to cook with basic ingredients – I grew up in what I would consider the “microwave” generation. If you needed to know how long something should cooking in the microwave I could tell you down to a few seconds! Yeah, I’m no longer proud of it and I’m beginning to realize how important it is to be able to make foods from scratch. After all, there could quickly come a time when you have to make any number of foods from just what you have stored in your pantry or that which you can procure from the wild. For example, there’s a reason why wheat is suggested to be stored in such large quantities and that’s because it is used as the basis to make many foods. Rice could be used in a similar way. There are plenty of other examples, such as if you had no idea that refried beans are made from pinto beans simply by pureeing them then maybe you would be enjoying your tenth bowl of pinto bean soup instead of burritos. Or, if you didn’t know that you can make evaporated milk from powdered milk simply by reducing the water used to reconstitute it then you may be enjoying really watered-down potato soup. 😉

I hope these few examples make it clear why a bit of knowledge and skill will prove invaluable. I’m not saying I have any of the aforementioned down pat whatsoever, far from it. But I do recognize how crucial these skills can be to survival and are something that our ancestors just knew how to do.

So, what would you add that I did not? What’s so important to you and your survival?

Review of Tenergy T-2299 Universal Smart Battery Charger With AC/DC Plugs

A while back I purchased this Tenergy Universal Smart Battery Charger as my primary battery charger. I did so for two main reasons: it has the capability to plug directly into a car’s auxiliary outlet using a provided DC plug and it can charge all manner of rechargeable batteries, from the common AAA- and AA-cells to C- and D-cell batteries and even 9-volt batteries as well. Though I currently do not have any rechargeable batteries besides AAA- and AA-cells, I do eventually intend to purchase several D-cell and maybe even some 9-volt rechargeable batteries in the near future.

My first impression after unpacking was that the unit was BIG or, at least, bigger than I had anticipated; in fact, it is two or three times the physical size of my previous battery charger. I’m not sure what I was honestly expecting because it does need to fit up to four D-cell batteries so it has to be much larger. Anyway, it’s now a permanent fixture on my countertop. 😉

Obviously, the first thing I wanted to do was to test it out. As I only had one battery that needed to be charged I had to scrounge up another one to test the unit because, unbeknownst to me, you need to charge batteries in pairs. Normally this isn’t a problem but there are some devices I own that use an odd number of batteries (my recent headlamp purchase that uses 3 AAA-cell batteries comes to mind) so this could be a slight annoyance at times. Since the initial test I’ve used it a handful of times without any trouble and quickly adjusted my “charging behavior” to charge pairs so it’s no big deal to me any longer.

A much larger annoyance is that the unit expects batteries to be the same capacity. As I have and use at least three or four different rechargeable batteries at any one time, this is a problem for me. While I usually use the same batteries in any one device, that’s not always the case such as with the batteries that end up in my kids’ Wii remotes. As such, if you use an assortment of batteries like I do then this is a huge detractor. If not, then no need to worry… just note this for the future.

Like I mentioned in the beginning, a major reason for buying this unit is that it can plug directly into a vehicle’s auxiliary outlet (or my small solar setup with a female DC adapter connected). So, assuming I can keep the car running, am on the move, or can use my solar system, then I can easily recharge batteries without any loss or need for an inverter. This ability isn’t critical but it more versatile than only having a wall plug, which means I have more options open to me should I need them.

How about charge time? Well, it all depends on what’s being charged (AAA, D, 9-volt, etc) as well as the battery capacity. I’ve found that a typical rechargeable AA-cell battery that I use takes about two hours to charge. This is actually quite a bit slower than my previous charger but it’s my understanding that a slower charge is supposed to be to better for battery life. That said, there is such a thing as way too slow of a charging time and having to wait several hours to charge a pair of AA-cell batteries is likely too long to wait. So, no more than a few hours seems to be the recommendation for a typical AA-cell battery (note that something like a D-cell battery will take a lot longer because it has a much larger capacity).

Overall, if I had to purchase this charger again I probably would not do so for the simple reason that it’s not as “smart” as I would like it to be. While I like the fact that it can connect directly to a DC adapter and I like that it can charge D-cell and even 9-volt batteries, I really don’t like the fact that requires me to always charge the same size batteries in pairs. Though I can deal with the requirement I just don’t like it. Of course, there are benefits to Tenergy Universal Smart Battery Charger that could make it useful as an good emergency charger but as my primary, I think I’ll eventually find something better.

How to Make Bread in 30 Seconds

I thought I would try my hand at making “bread in 30 seconds” which is something that Steven Harris says can be done (I ran across a link to his video about it).  I figured that was easy enough so I quickly retrieved my small propane burner and gathered the ingredients to make it, which include:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tbsp oil (I used olive oil but I think he used vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I used a heaping teaspoon)
  • 1 cup water (he didn’t specify an exact amount so I assumed it was similar to other recipes which is roughly half the flour used)

Since I didn’t want to do too much work today, I halved the recipe. For those that have done some baking from scratch I’m sure you’ve realized that we’re missing yeast and maybe a few other ingredients. Remember, this is REALLY simple bread and isn’t meant to be leavened and, yes… it’s flat bread. And, hence, the reason why we can make it so fast. Following are the steps as I see them (click any picture to enlarge).

Step 1: Mix Ingredients

30-sec-bread-1

Mix everything like you would any other bread recipe expect there’s no waiting period for the yeast to work and no need to use warm water, etc. The picture above actually shows the original “ball” of dough on the left and roughly a golf ball-sized chunk of it on the right which is about the proper size to work with, though, you can certainly make it larger if you like. You want the dough wet enough to stick together yet dry enough to not be sticky. I consider it a bit of an art form that I have yet to master so it’s best to not add all of the water called for in the recipe at one time; instead, use most of the water in the beginning and then small dashes as needed to get it to finally clump together.

Step 2: Roll Flat

30-sec-bread-2

Take the golf ball-sized chunk and roll it flat. Then do it again! You want it to literally be flatter than a pancake. Really, thinner is better. I used a rolling pin but I guess you could use just about anything cylindrical if you had to. It helps to sprinkle a bit of flour on the cutting board (under the flour you’re rolling out) as well as atop the flour and definitely on the rolling pin in order to keep the bread from sticking to the rolling pin as you work. Maybe there are some other/better tricks that you seasoned bakers know of but that’s what I do.

Step 3: Finish and Gather Bread

30-sec-bread-3

Once flat transfer to a plate. The above picture shows them stacked together. If you want to stack them like I did them sprinkle (and spread out) a bit of flour atop each piece of bread before laying down another otherwise they may stick together. I ended up with five rolled-out pieces of flat bread.

Step 4: Cook Fast

30-sec-bread-4

A simple single burner propane stove like this is perfect for making flat bread like this. I intended to take pictures while I cooked but I got so wrapped up in watching the bread and timing each one that I completely forget. Sorry about that! Anyway, I used what I would consider a medium-high heat setting. While I really like the single-burner stove I have there isn’t much range when it comes to heat output; it’s almost either on or off.

Step 5: Admire Your Work

30-sec-bread-5

I actually decided to test different times (and even using oil) in order to see if there was any major difference in how the bread came out. I can definitely say that there was a difference. I basically tested times from between 30 seconds and two minutes, mostly without using any oil. The bread is numbered in the order that I tried and every bread used NO oil except the first attempt. Here’s what I found:

  1. 90 seconds (with oil) – I’m not accustomed to cooking things in a pan without any oil and, though I don’t recall the video showing he used any oil, I went with what I knew to start. I basically cooked it until I felt like it was done but I’m not sure I had the pan quite as hot on this first attempt as I did the others so maybe that made a difference too. I would suspect that if I had used oil on future attempts I might still want to cut the time back a bit.
  2. 60 seconds total (most of it on the first side) – this turned out descent but still felt just a little gooey to me in the middle. It wasn’t a big deal.
  3. 30 seconds total (about 15 seconds on each side) – this was NOT completely cooked in the middle. If you ask me, 30 seconds total was not enough. Perhaps if I had flattened out the bread even more then maybe it’s enough time but I can’t imagine flattening it much more than I did.
  4. 2 minutes total (cooked until I noticed very significant bubbling) – this was too long as the bread obviously burned.
  5. 60 seconds total (30 seconds on each side) – since I felt like 60 seconds was a good time I wanted to ensure each side got the same cook time. This bread seemed to be cooked fairly well.

Step 6: Taste Test

30-sec-bread-6

It seems to me that I gravitated toward the 60 second breads (numbers 2 and 5 in the previous step’s photo) more than either the 30 second bread (number 3) and definitely more than the cooked until serious bubbling bread (number 4). I didn’t mind eating my first attempt which included the oil in the pan. Overall, I would say that 60 seconds turned out to be a good amount of time. Using oil would be helpful to avoid burning but doesn’t appear to be necessary.

So, bread in 30 seconds? Not quite but close. Let’s call it bread in 60 seconds for sure. The best part is that you could repeat this dozens of times on a single one-pound canister of propane because it’s so quick.

Here’s the original video from Steven Harris if you’re interested:

Hope this helps.

[EDIT: In response to a few comments, I completely understand I just made a tortilla. And, like it or not, a tortilla IS bread. In this case, it’s bread made in roughly 30 seconds or so. I apologize if the title is misleading as I should have titled it better. My interest in doing this post was to try what I learned from Mr. Harris as referenced in the beginning of the post. Rightly or wrongly I essentially copied his tagline as my own. With the assumption that fuel is a precious resource, time is short, nerves may be shot, this type of bread may be the best we can do.]

Notes About reThinkSurvival This Coming Week (and in the future)

If you read my recent post about “bad things happen” then you know the past handful of days have been rough and besides we’re going to have a lot of family in town too. As a result, I’m not sure how much writing I will get done so if the coming week is sparse that’s why. I will try to keep the “daily youtube” and “quick reference” posts coming as best as I can.

As for the future, I’m not sure what I intend to do on Sundays but today I’m taking it easy. Traditionally, they’ve been sun oven posts but with it being winter I haven’t had any interest. I tried to fill the void with infographics but they’re not taking off much at all so I’m losing interest there as well. If anyone has any bright ideas I’m all ears.

The same goes for Saturdays. They’ve traditionally been quizzes but I’m not sure people are very interested (recent polls bear that out for the most part) so I’m doing my egg experiment instead. Maybe I can make Saturday’s an experiment day? I don’t know.

I’m still strongly considering changing how I do things, especially my “quick reference” links. I really feel like they’re not timely enough as I often schedule these posts (and most others) up to a week later, which might as well be a year late on the Internet. 😉 The same can be said for my “daily youtube” videos. Maybe we’ll give a few changes a shot here, maybe not. I know you guys and gals don’t seem to like change too much but it might be a good thing. For now, however, I don’t see me doing much differently.

 

Egg Storage Experiment – Week 4 Results

Here’s where we’re at in week 4…

This is the mineral oil egg (doesn’t float and didn’t smell funny):

egg1-wk4

This is the control egg:

egg2-wk4

Notice anything different? Yes, it’s floating. So, I cracked it open on a plate:

egg2-wk4-open

I know the plate is red so it’s not really easy to see but everything looks perfectly fine. There was no smell either. If I hadn’t done the float test I would have had no inclination that the egg was bad. Needless to say, I didn’t bother to eat even though I was working up the nerve to do so.

Here’s the mineral oil egg being cooked up (it tasted fine):

egg1-wk4-cooking

I’m not sure whether to keep the control eggs or not since I now have zero intention of eating them. If anyone has a good reason why I should keep checking them I will do so otherwise they’re going in the trash before next week. I will, however, keep checking the mineral oil eggs to see how long they’ll last.

Bad Things Happen, Life is Short, Prep Hard Anyway

Bad Things Happen

Things have been rough around my house the past few days since we found out that my brother-in-law passed away in a freak fishing accident. Long story short, two of my brothers-in-law were fishing off a cliff edge in Hawaii (they live there) when the one fell off the edge and drowned. The other brother actually jumped in to save him but couldn’t do so. Needless to say, my wife, her parents, and her siblings are taking it hard and our lives have been very stressful with a lot of tears shed. As he was younger than I (in his early 30’s) his passing on does put death in my thoughts lately.

Yes, bad things happen.

Life is Short

It’s amazing how short life is. Even if you live to be a ripe old age of 115 it’s still not nearly enough time to do God’s work. That said, it does also make me think of so many people that I’ve known who have passed away far too early, from people literally dying while exercising, to friends and family younger than I who suffered fatal heart attacks to a friend who, on his last day of work before retirement, had a massive heart attack and died right there in the cafeteria lunch line.

These are just a few personal examples, though, there are plenty more including the Sandy Hook tragedy, the Colorado movie theatre shooting, soldiers dying on the battle front every day, or even a myriad of individuals I don’t know who die from any number of fatal diseases. None of it makes much sense to me… never has, never will.

Yes, life is short.

Prep Hard Anyway

A week or two ago I wrote a post about What if the Mistake is With Preparation? where I questioned why in the world I spend so much time, effort, and money on my preps. I probably knew the answer all along and some of you so graciously commented explaining WHY I should prep. I know that I should prep and I doubt I will ever change my ways but I do occasionally question my sanity. 😉

It seems to me that there is so very little we can control in the grand scheme of life, from untimely deaths such as that of my brother-in-law to whatever our lawmakers and those who actually pull the strings have in store for us. Fortunately, one of the few things that we really can control in our lives is our preps…

For example, while I can’t control the stock market (and I’m certainly not smart enough to figure it out) I can control where my money goes which, in my case, is occasionally to equipment and food that my family can use in hard times. Likewise, though I may not be able to control whether there’s any food at the grocery store I can control my ability to feed my family should that ever happen, at least, for a short period of time. Certainly, there are plenty of other examples as to why prepping can prove useful.

The point is to realize that, though much of life cannot be planned for or even remotely controlled, those few things that we can do we are obligated to do in order that we stick around for as long as we’re supposed to and, apparently, not a moment longer.

Yes, prep hard anyway.

Wilderness Survival Skills to Keep You Alive – Part 2 of 2, by Jerry Ward

[Editor’s note: Today we finish up our feature post by one of our sponsors, OzarkMountainPreparedness.com. If you’re anywhere nearby Arkansas then I encourage you to attend a class to brush up on skills or even learn new ones like me. You may read his author bio at the bottom of this post.]

Shelter

Shelter is needed to protect and regulate core body temperature; 98.6F. The inability to regulate core temp will lead to death through either hypothermia or hyperthermia. Without spending a lot of time on these conditions, suffice to say that a body temperature swing by roughly 10 degrees in either direction will kill you. Look for a shelter location that is safe and the most conducive to comfort and survival. Avoid areas on ridges and in canyons due to weather conditions such as lightning and flash flooding. Always look overhead for aerial hazards like widow makers and loose rock. Choose the geographical aspect that will offer you the appropriate temperatures for the season. South facing slopes offer more sunshine and warmth whereas the north face tends to be shadier and cooler. Adding a large trash bag, USGI poncho, space blanket, or small tarp to your kit will go a long way in getting you out of the elements. One hundred feet of 550 Cord rounds out a way to secure your tarp/poncho. Another recommendation is to always have a wool or fleece jacket and a poncho liner in your pack/bag; even in the hot, humid summer. If you are unprepared or have the inclination, constructing a debris hut, wikiup, or leanto is an option. These shelters rely on natural material for the structure and the thermal insulation needed to regulate body temperature. The more leaf litter and pine duff, the more insulation and weather resistance. Whatever shelter system you choose, ensure that it will be effective in staving off the wind, rain, intense sun, and other weather phenomena that can compromise life.

wilderness-survival-4

Medical

Medical concerns need to be addressed in the survival kit as well. A medical emergency can happen at any time and may be the reason for the survival situation in the first place. Couple that with the usual bumps and knocks from living outdoors and can see why it is so important to prepare for injuries. Therefore, a well-stocked first aid kit is a must for anyone heading to the field. Most pre-packaged first aid kits are basically just a few adhesive bandages, some tape, and a packet or two of pain reliever. Skip them and assemble your own using high quality components and tools that will actually perform should the need arise. First aid supplies to treat trauma and deal with the everyday injuries of blisters, sprains, minor cuts, burns, etc. should be included. Don’t forget to add prescription medications if there is anyone in your party that requires them. If you are dead set on purchasing a premade kit, there are a few outfits that specialize in backcountry medicine and offer quality kits tailored to emergencies in the field. The two that come to mind are Atwater Carey and Adventure Medical Kits. In conjunction with a quality first aid kit, I highly recommend seeking professional wilderness medical training. There are several national organizations that offer courses in wilderness medicine and nationally recognized certifications. The two most popular are NOLS and SOLO. The Advanced Wilderness First Aid certification is the minimum standard I recommend.

Signaling

Signaling is an often overlooked component of survival education and survival kits. It’s all fine and good to have a plentiful wood supply stacked neatly next to your roaring fire, a lake full of clear water and easy to catch fish, a veritable garden of edible plants, a picture perfect debris hut and tarp shelter, and be in good health with no injuries. But this is a survival situation and you want to go home! You need to have the means to signal for help and let people know you would like a little help getting out of the predicament you are currently in. I like low-tech devices/methods to get someone’s attention. Signal mirrors, whistles, hot pink surveyors tape, smoke grenades, flare pistols, etc. Spreading your collection of gear out around the camp will also draw attention to your location. It was once common knowledge that anything in a cluster of three meant “Help”, but not so many people adhere to that practice anymore. Give it a try though because the aviation and marine communities are still packed with the proverbial old guys who abide by those standards. Three whistle blasts, gunshots, mirror flashes, signal fires, etc. all indicate the need for assistance. Do anything you can to attract attention and lead a rescue party in.

wilderness-survival-5

That about covers the basic techniques and equipment needed to make it through a short-term situation. Combining those skills and tidbits of gear with a positive mental attitude and a good knife ensures a high probability of coming home alive. Of course this has been a very condensed view into the world of wilderness survival. There was no talk in depth talk about knives, dangerous wildlife, seasonal weather patterns, navigation, xyz gizmo whizbang gear, etc. Don’t fret because this is just the first of many articles to come in which I’ll delve deeper into the many facets of survival and bushcraft; from foraging for wild edibles to brain tanning hides. I’ll discuss the good and bad of certain pieces of equipment, fire by friction, land navigation techniques, flint knapping, water procurement and purification, and other topics of interest to folks looking to lead a more self-reliant and prepared lifestyle. If you’d like to participate in professional survival training, please visit the website of Ozark Mountain Preparedness, LLC for more information at www.ozarkmountainpreparedness.com. Until next time, take care and God Bless! Jerry

Jerry Ward Bio

Jerry Ward is the owner and operator of Ozark Mountain Preparedness, LLC located in Berryville, Arkansas. He has been teaching survival skills since 2004 and opened Ozark Mountain Preparedness in 2010. Before becoming a full-time survival skills instructor he worked as a rock climbing guide, wildland firefighter and gunsmith. Jerry studied wildlife biology at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He is an avid fur trapper and student of history. His outdoor pursuits have taken him all around the United States and abroad, including fur trapping in Alaska, fighting wildfire in the American West, researching primitive cultures in the Desert Southwest, trekking the rainforests of Belize, and exploring the Highlands of Scotland. He has been featured in numerous publications, including Currents and American Survival Guide magazines. Jerry is a member of The Wilderness Medical Society and The Society of Primitive Technology. He can be reached via the web at http://ozarkmountainpreparedness.com or phone at (870)350-6995.

jerry-ward-bio

The Top 5 “Top 50 Lists of Prepper Web Sites”

I was just made aware that Survivor.com complied a “list of lists” of top 50 prepper website lists and guess what? We made the list! The Top 5 “Top 50 Lists of Prepper Web Sites” starts with linking to sites/pages that have a top 50 list (our “top 50 rss feeds” page is here) and follows with hundreds of the best preparedness blogs out there… we made that one too. Happy Days. 🙂

Review of Thermos Stainless King 16-Ounce Food Jar

I’m a fan of vacuum thermos jars and have always stuck with larger (1 quart or more) Stanley brand jars. This particular Thermos brand food jar is simply a smaller option that seemed like a better idea for our bug out bags or short term emergency because it takes up less space and is lighter-weight. At 16 ounces (one-half a quart) it is really a one meal per person (at least per adult) food jar.

According to the Amazon product page: “The stainless king food jar has thermax double wall vacuum insulation for maximum temperature retention, hot or cold. The unbreakable stainless steel interior and exterior keeps the food jar cool to the touch with hot liquids and sweat proof with cold liquids. Wide mouth is easy to fill, serve from and clean: lid doubles as a compact and insulated serving bowl. Full-size telescoping stainless steel spoon included.”

When looking for a food jar such as this one, double-walled vacuum insulation is the way to go. This design can keep foods hot (or cold) for several hours. In fact, one of the best reasons to have a few of these thermos jars is for the fact that you can heat up food to a boil and then transfer it directly to the thermos to finish cooking over the course of a few hours or even overnight. This fact alone is the single most important reason to have these vacuum jars around. Just think about how much fuel you can save if all you have to do is heat up the food and NOT finish cooking it! This is the beauty of thermal-heat retention cooking at its best.

Though most thermos jars that are meant for food are wide-mouth jars, just ensure that they are wide-mouth as it makes eating from and cleaning out quite a bit easier. There are also “classic” vacuum jars that are not wide-mouth and are not necessarily meant for food, just liquids. Since this unit has an all stainless steel interior, it’s easy to clean, won’t rust, smell funny, etc.

Of course, the food jar is designed so that you won’t burn yourself when holding the jar (due to the vacuum insulation) which is obviously a good idea. This food jar also includes a fold-able spoon that fits conveniently atop the screw on lid, which is a nice plus. And, last, you could use the snap on lid as a small bowl if you like but I just tend to eat from the thermos itself.

To test this one, I decided to heat up two servings of oatmeal (just to a boil) and then let it finish cooking for a few hours in the thermos. As it’s smaller than I’m used to, I found that two servings didn’t quite fit but I got most of it inside and screwed on the lid with no problem. I should point out you need to be a little careful with foods that expand a great deal (rice and dehydrated foods come to mind) so be sure to leave a little head-space for meals that expect to expand while cooking. The best thing to do is to simply experiment a few times and you’ll get the hang of it.

That said, this Thermos brand food jar is something that I expect to last for many years on end is a perfect addition to your short term emergency preps or bug out bags.