Surviving WITHOUT a Long-Term Food Stockpile.....

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Garand69, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. Garand69

    Garand69 Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    Surviving WITHOUT a Long-Term Food Stockpile..... That's Crazy Talk

    Is it possible or is it crazy talk?

    I am going with yes.. and yes.

    For starters I have had the preparedness mindset for about half of my life. Funny how starting a family also starts a mindset recalibration ;) . My biggest issue was growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. The second biggest issue was always a lack of cash to “do it right”. It is way too easy to get all caught up in “lists” and “must haves” especially for the newbie.

    Being raised in the Gun Culture, that part was easy. I already had guns and ammo, and I started pulling the handles of my Grandfathers Star reloading presses and casting bullets when I was 9ish. For me the issue was food. I was never around anybody that preserved their own food so it never really popped into my head, I simply stocked up canned goods and dry goods.

    A few years down the road we started a garden, far too small to provide a years worth of food, but a great learning experience as well. We saved nothing, no seeds no veggies, what we couldn't eat was given away to friends. Silly, I know, but hey we were at least on the right track. A few years down the road I bought my first freezer and started saving excess veggies that way. Then finally, about a ½ dozen years or so ago, we were introduced to the pressure canner.


    20 years ago if a friend at level zero preparedness asked me where to start, it would be..

    #1 get a gun and some ammo
    #2 learn to shoot
    #3 get a bigger gun and some more ammo
    #4 stock up on rice and beans etc etc blah blah blah.

    Today my mindset has totally changed. Yes you need that stuff, but if I was asked today, I would say get a pressure canner.

    You all remember the good ole' single or newlywed days when food was hardly ever home cooked because the recipe makes too much food? Pressure cooker solves that issue and you have 3 or four meals for the price of that one crappy fast food meal. Canning leftovers would have saved me a ton of money over the years. More money = Higher quality gear or more dry goods on the shelf. Pressure canning preserves virtually every thing that can grow, swim, crawl, fly, or slither.

    OK tomorrow TSHTF.... How are you saving the meat from that deer you managed to bag? Of all of the survival books that I was into during the beginning of my journey, NONE of them mentioned pressure canning. They all mentioned drying the meat Indian style and other ancient ways. Don't get me wrong, those are skill-sets worthy of learning, but it sure is doing things the hard way. Think about that for a second, how much time and effort is it going to take to preserve a 160lb animal?

    How much help do you have? In the dead of winter if you don't work fast enough the meat will freeze before its dry enough for preservation and as soon as it thaws you will have spoilage. In the warmer months, by the time you have a 160lb animal cut into thin strips and on the smoker you might also have spoilage, either way, unless you have one hell of a team with a well laid out plan, you will be wasting a lot of food.

    Survival has always involved the ability to make it through the famine and get to the feast in the constant feast or famine cycle. With the ability to preserve your food for long term storage, you drastically lessen if not eliminate the famine portion of the cycle. A pressure cooker and the necessary canning jars will put stuff up fairly quickly compared to smoking, but there is also no reason you couldn't be canning while another teammate/family member is smoking/drying some.

    Canning jars are of course fragile by nature so running out into the woods with a pressure canner and a bag full of glass jars could be a tad problematic... But a few years ago, I stumbled onto a great account of a Feller doing just that, and that is when I discovered the JarBox and when I ramped up my pressure canning adventures.

    Bruce “Buck” Nelson intentionally went into the Alaska Wilderness without food for a 70 day adventure. What did he bring along? A pressure canner. The link at the end will take you to his trip (as well as his list of gear.)

    I often read the opinions of those who believe the planet will be void of any game within a ridiculously short amount of time in a Post SHTF event, I don't think so, but doesn't that make it even more important to be able to preserve your bounty? Is the pressure canner the be all end all piece of survival equipment? Of course not, you need to be proficient in many skill-sets and have the gear needed to protect you from bad things on earth. What I am advocating is that it should be far higher on the priority list than it is.

    Is it crazy talk to think one could survive with just a pressure canner? Yep, but it's a bit nutty not to have one in your pile of survival gear and high on the priority list of "If I can only take X"

    It's just food for thought... YMMV

    "Buck" Nelson's Alaska Survival Trip- Alaska Survival Trip Journal

    Gear list- Alaska Survival Trip Gear List

    JarBox- - Easily Transport and Protect Your Canning Jars
    Ganado, AD1, arleigh and 10 others like this.
  2. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    I concur with you with one exception if you ever have to move those jars are heavy!!!
  3. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    In southern Minnesota in the 1930s they ate off the deer, bear, ducks, geese, and almost anything else they could eat. They came back or were reintroduced but where I now live in New Hampshire, the game would be gone in a few days, killed and eaten, run off into the mountains, or just never there in the first place. Hunting during the season for deer on land I am used to and with no competition I can get maybe 50 pounds of meat and 30 or so pounds of bone from the small local deer. That is with a rifle and in an area with 1,000 acres beyond that is an Air Force Base, radar site, and no hunting allowed. The rabbits are gone, local house cats and dogs wiped them out, there is one flock of 20 to 30 wild turkeys in a 3 to 4 square mile area, perhaps 15 to 20 deer in the same area and perhaps 500 to 800 people. If we lined up and made one pass through town in a drive, the deer and turkeys would be gone and we would enough meat for that day and maybe one or two more. And this is the "wild area", with several large nature preserves, military reservations, swamps, etc where the "survivors" from the eastern cities ae going to go to. Better luck digging clams and catching sea gulls then coming here. In the early 1700's, there were a few hundred native Americans living in southwestern NH in an area measured in hundreds of square miles and they moved with the seasons and a lot of their food was fish and wild plants. That said, there were some areas where either fish and clams or farming supported fairly high populations off the land, but most of them lived in highly skilled enclaves with 100's of years of experience in maximizing the resources they had.
    While I agree on the use of the pressure caner, and would add storage bags and pails, for the medium run, SHTF until perhaps year two, you may well have to either depend on storage foods or the government for your survival, and after that one hopes you could supply your own food. Keeping it may well be a separate problem.
    BlueDuck, chelloveck and Seepalaces like this.
  4. Garand69

    Garand69 Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    Don't disagree at all duane, The 1930's compared to now is drastically different in some places. Skills need to successfully hunt and trap were far more common than now. In a post SHTF situation, ferel cats and dogs should be dealt with on sight. The 1st couple of weeks in a situation that desparate will probably be spent killing looters and protecting your AO from the un-prepared.

    Like I said, it is not the be all end all, it just deserves a far higher rung up on the preparedness ladder.
  5. Garand69

    Garand69 Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    @Witch Doctor 01
    Yeppers! A stash here and there wouldn't be a bad idea, and I wonder how they would handle temps in a hidden cache root celler type of set up.
    Witch Doctor 01 and Seepalaces like this.
  6. Seepalaces

    Seepalaces Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    I would completely agree that a pressure canner is essential. I would like to add that you can rehydrate beans and quickly cook lots of meals with it. I would also recommend that anyone who wants to do pressure canning get a Ball Blue Book canning guide and closely follow the guidelines. Botulism is the most effective human poison. Play it safe. Having said that, you are more likely to be struck by lightning twice than to get botulism poisoning in the US. Also, pressure canners are far less dangerous than you might think. To date I have met one person who has blown up her canner. My pal the genius couldn't get the canner open, so she pried it open with a crow bar. Shockingly, it exploded. Yeah, those are the folks I hang with.
    Dont, enloopious, Garand69 and 4 others like this.
  7. Legion489

    Legion489 Rev. 2:19 Banned

    duane said: Hunting during the season for deer on land I am used to and with no competition I can get maybe 50 pounds of meat and 30 or so pounds of bone from the small local deer.

    Most people don't realize that most animals are about 60/40. When you get rid of the hide/horns/guts/hooves/bones you are left with about 40% of the critter. 90% of the usable meat is in the hind quarter of most large game. And yes, you can pressure cook/can all that meat! Boil the bones down for broth and split for marrow. No freezer needed.
  8. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+++

    I agree with you and taught myself canning this last summer. I canned a lot of the garden vegetables that I was able to grow as well as home made chili, jalapeño jelly and tomato sauce. It's really pretty simple and the tools are pretty easy to master. The process is as old as the hills and you've mentioned that the jars and lids are the key to the process. As I was processing my first batch of summer squash I was thrilled with the sensation of following in my grandmother and mother's footsteps. It was as if they were in the room with me even though I'd never had the sense to stay and learn the process from them as a child, I still felt the connection backwards to and part of our heritage.

    Thanks for your post and leading this discussion. I've only begun to can and have over three dozen jars waiting for me to fill them with some form of loving goodness that'll protect my family come dinner time.
  9. chimo

    chimo the few, the proud, the jarhead monkey crowd

    Survival starts with surviving Murphy...and the reason for having x amount of actual food stores on hand is for those times when Murphy has had his way with you. Crops fail, game disappears, those responsible for doing the work to provide food get injured, etc. etc. Like security, I believe in a layered approach for food. First line of defense is a stash of easily prepared items and the things you always use. Next are the long-term sustainable food sources with surpluses that can be processed and preserved.

    We had a bunch of pressure canners, but lost them in the same barbed-wire accident flooding incident that I lost all of my firearms. :whistle: I hear they get you put on watch lists these days. :eek:
    Garand69 and chelloveck like this.
  10. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    My mother and grand mother caned and since I am 78, that takes it back to the 1890's. The thing I most miss was that the food was not prepared like today. The chunks of chicken, pork and beef that were caned were intended to be eaten in stews and in sandwiches, the tomatoes were prepared so you could make sauce, thick and seasoned, or used in soups or stews. The meals were mostly soups, stews, pastas, sandwiches etc. We ate rice for breakfast, with milk and cinimon, rice for dinner with a meat sauce, and rice for supper, with beans, or stuffed peppers etc. We ate oatmeal for breakfast, for dinner with meat as a filler, meat loafs, meat balls, meat substitute and fried with fat and syrup over it. Potatoes were used in stews, soups, fried, baked, mashed, used as crusts in shepherds pies, used as fillers in meat, scalloped with cheese, and so on. Meat or chicken was seldom eaten as a single item except for holidays. It usually added to something to make it go farther and cabbage, squashes, turnips, carrots, kolirobi, kale, spinich, swiss chard etc were 3/4 of the side dishes. Unti I was 9 years old, we never had electricity and only an ice box and in the winter we might not go to town for a couple of weeks. Thus 75 % of what we ate was grown, prepared and preserved on the farm. It is a very different diet and would take some getting used to if you have been eating at the golden arches and the steak house.
    GrayGhost, Garand69, oldawg and 2 others like this.
  11. T. Riley

    T. Riley Monkey+++ Site Supporter++

    I have 2 pressure canners and 200 quart jars which will hold about 400 pounds of meat. I plan to kill the hogs and deer I can ASAP post event and can it all. When I am all canned up I will start curing and drying. That's why I feed them now. No better form of preservation than leaving it on the hoof. I could kill the hogs any night but I do not want to start the clock ticking to spoilage.
    Gator 45/70, Garand69 and chelloveck like this.
  12. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    As a child, our family had no refrigerator. We relied on a different kind of ice man, than some do these days. My mother would prepare sufficient for each meal of the day, and no more. There was little wastage. If it was on the plate we ate all of it...being picky was not an option my parents encouraged. My mother would make preserves from plums, peaches, mulberries and blackberries that were growing in our yard or in the neighbourhood.

    Preserving and canning food are some of those dying arts that are worth rediscovering and encouraging in others.

    Interestingly, some cafes in Australia have used pickling as a method of marketing their wares, by holding workshops on fermenting, pickling and preserving.

    Pickle in the Middle » Workshops


    Workshops – Cornersmith

    Cornersmith cook book

    Edit: Roast chicken was an occasional treat. It didn't come frozen or from the butcher shop. My mother would catch one of the chooks we kept, wring its neck, gutted it, removed the feathers and then dressed it with herbs, and some salt 'n' pepper....there was always a (mostly friendly) fight for the parson's nose. :)
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  13. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    My grand parents always took a basket with them when they went to the garden. They kept and ate all of the things they thinned and over planted to get them, beet greens, small lettuce, kale, etc, took big leaves off from lower on the plant, a lot of the weeds, pig weed, dandylion, etc were eaten and the rest composted, stole small potatoes from under the hills and so on. Walked down along the fields and creek and picked burdock, thisille, cat tail, sun chokes, and I only wished I had paid more attention. It only lasted a short time. In 1944 most of our neighbors in rural Minnesota lived mostly off of the land and were self sufficient, by 1954, almost 100 % of the food was store bought and by 1994 the knowledge needed to do so was mostly gone. They had at least a dozen large crocks, 5 to 10 gallon size, in the basement and pickled a lot of veggies, not just cabbage, and salted or cured a lot of meat, ham, bacon, salt pork, salt beef, corned beef, etc. I never learned how to do any of that at the time. They also made butter, cheeses, cottage and hard, and a lot of yogurts and soured cream things that never had a name. Everyone had at least 2 caners, one boiling water, and the other pressure, and mom used the pressure cooker at least 3 times a week for caning almost all the year, often only 2 or 3 cans at a time, or cooking tough cuts of meat of for cooking beans and such. Like Chellovek said, there were no leftovers, you either ate them at the table, or they showed up 6 hours later in your next meal. Stews, hashes, refried potatoes, all were made up using some new and all the old. Dog had to watch out for himself in our house, us kids didn't leave much in the way of table scraps.
    Wasn't all sweetness and light in the old days, the cousins said that the old Lakota name for the February moon was the moon the horses starve and that boiled moccusins were said to be not too tasty, but filling. My cousin was a medical doctor and said that as near as they could tell from the records, most of the population of the northern US at least was suffering from vitamin problems, some form of scurvy etc, by the end of winter in the 1850's. We don't even know the words, scuvy, pigeon breasted, beri beri etc for the various forms of malnutrition, but your great grand parents did. Knew old women in the 1940's who had no teeth and the remark was made that the baby took them, pregnant at 17 and with out enough calcium, I guess things like that used to happen, or at least we were told so.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  14. Garand69

    Garand69 Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    Thank you all for the great responses! A layered approach is essential to all things preparedness. You would'nt want just one way to start a fire would you?? Food preps are no different.

    @duane , Thank you for your prespective! 1/2 of my Grandparents lived in Chicago during the Depression, the other half off the grid in rural SW Iowa. The city folks had it better cash wise and had gardens and raised rabbits and chickens. The country folk had it better food wise with well rounded farms and fertile ground. Unlike today, they raised and grew a little of everything. Today seeing a farm with both dairy and beef cattle, along with sheep, pigs, chicken, ducks, geese, and large garden and an orchard all on 160acres is pretty much unheard of. but they didn't have indoor plumbing until the late 60's. Overall times were tough for all of them.

    When my Grandfather was around 10 he started bringing a sawed off .410 shotgun to school every day. Crazy talk today, but it was not unheard off then, he used it to dispatch critters, mainly predators, caught in his trapline. They had a bad problem with wild dogs then, and if he was lucky he would get a coyote which had a bounty on them or a fox and make coin on the fur.

    Growing up, we were on the poor side. My Grandmother on my moms side wasn't much of a cook, so my Mom learned how to cook from my Grandmother on my dad's side. To this day, my favorites growing up were German influenced depression era meat stretching meals. A little meat and veggies stretched with a lot of sauce/gravy and served over either rice or potatoes. My mom made large batches and either froze the leftovers or we got it again on leftover night (Mom was a master at combining the leftovers of multiple meals and still have it taste great!)

    Thanks again everyone ;)
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  15. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Thankyou for an excellent thread topic. It is the kind of thoughtful thread that I'd like to see more of here. Welcome to SM....keep the contributions coming.
    Ganado, Seepalaces and Garand69 like this.
  16. Garand69

    Garand69 Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    Thanks chelloveck [beer]
  17. marlas1too

    marlas1too Monkey+++

  18. GrayGhost

    GrayGhost Monkey++

    Watching....I had a pressure cooker recently gifted to me and want to learn all about it.
  19. Garand69

    Garand69 Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    @GrayGhost They are very easy to use. Start out with the USDA and information from various University Extensions. That will get your feet wet and give you an understanding how things are suppose to look when done by the book. The recipies you get from those places are usually a bit blah, but you will soon understand what you can do going off the rails yet still being safe. Here are some links....

    USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2015 revision
    University of Minnesota Extension - Preserving and Preparing
    University of Minnesota Extension Newsletter
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  20. GrayGhost

    GrayGhost Monkey++

    @Garand69....thanks, I appreciate the link. Now I have a project for this weekend.
    Garand69 likes this.
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