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I am happy to announce The Apartment Prepper’s Blog is now in the following website:  http://apartmentprepper.com/

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Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will visit my new website!

These last couple of days I have been working on a new project to move The Apartment Prepper’s Blog to a new self hosted site.  Since I am fairly new at this, I am still learning and it has taken me a while to make the move.  I am excited about the upcoming change and hope to announce the new site very soon.  Please stay tuned for the latest.  I thank you for your support!

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.   It is a day of celebration with no pressure to buy gifts, put on a costume or be the perfect host if you don’t feel like it.  Sure, you may have to cook, but if you choose, you can go celebrate at someone else house.  Adopting a preparedness mindset I have become aware of all the things that can fail in our system.  But I am grateful for things that have not failed.  We have a roof over our heads, we turn on the lights and they go on, get in our cars that have gas, find a variety of food at the grocery and enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.

I also want to express my appreciation to all my readers; this is a work in progress for me and I thank you for your support.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

There are lots of supermarket sale items this Thanksgiving week, so it is a good time to stock up.  You can easily supplement your emergency food supplies by picking up a few extra cans or boxes of the following:

  • canned corn
  • canned green beans
  • instant mashed potatoes
  • canned cranberry
  • canned mandarin oranges
  • canned peaches
  • gravy packets
  • pumpkin puree
  • flour
  • sugar
  • yeast
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • bread mixes
  • canned evaporated milk
  • canned condensed milk

Make sure you check expiration dates before you buy.   Don’t pick the items from the front; those usually have the shortest expiration dates.  Reach way back in the shelf.  I realize some store clerks don’t like this, one pointed out there is no difference in reaching way back.   The stores usually keep the earlier expiration dates in front, so I reached to the back of the shelf anyway.

These deals won’t last.  Last year I waited until after Thanksgiving, thinking the low prices would continue.  But I found out that inventory gets really low after Thanksgiving, and prices go back to normal levels.  This time, I am not waiting around.  If I had more space, I’d have picked up more.

We started watching the new zombie series on AMC called “The Walking Dead”  I actually found out about it from reading the following post over at TEOTWAWKI website:  http://teotwawkiblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/review-walking-dead-premiere.htmlPlease know that the series is very intense, with much blood and gore, especially the 2nd episode.  We had the kids play in another room as the show is not appropriate for children.

Now that I have covered that disclaimer, I have to admit, I actually like the show.  We had recorded the first and second episode and since our relatives missed the show, we invited them over to watch with us.

After watching the two episodes, we got to talking about what would we do if something like that happened to us, hypothetically, of course.  Everyone agreed the first thing to do would be to leave the city.  But then the discussion progressed to what would we do if some other disaster, a more real one, such as pandemic, really did happen.  Questions came up regarding what would we do as a family.  This topic then led to a discussion about being prepared for anything.   To be honest, we had never told our relatives about our prepping efforts because we did not know how they would feel about it.  Turns out, they were just as concerned about the times we live in and have already taken some steps to be more prepared.  They had not brought it up before either; they did not want us to think they were wacky.  They even have a suitcase packed with seasonal clothes for each member of the family that they keep in the trunk of their minivan.  While not a true bug out bag, it’s a good start.

Before you know it we were having a lively discussion about long term food storage and where to buy mylar bags and other supplies.  I feel relieved the “big secret” is out, as this family lives closest to us of all our relatives and I was worried how they would fare in an emergency.   It was purely unintentional, but watching “The Walking Dead” was a great way to get a conversation started on a very important, but possibly touchy subject.

After shopping around for bulk survival food https://apartmentprepper.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/survival-food-shopping/ and storage materials, https://apartmentprepper.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/items-needed-for-storing-survival-food/ I am finally ready to start storing.

First, I gathered up all my supplies on the dining table:

  • Food items such as rice, pasta, pinto beans, etc.
  • 5 gallon food grade buckets
  • 1 gallon size mylar bags
  • oxygen absorbers (300 cc)
  • measuring cup
  • iron
  • masking tape and sharpie marker for labeling
  • cardboard to place over the table (under the iron)
  • airtight jar to keep extra oxygen absorbers
  • bay leaves to ward against weevils

The photo shows the mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, masking tape and jar.

  • A few things to note:  Before you start, set the iron to the hottest setting.  Make sure you set the iron on a covered surface to avoid burning.  I used recycled cardboard from a large pizza box, but you should determine what works best for you.
  • While these steps are doable with one person, it is easier to do them with two people, so you have someone holding the bag while the other person is ironing across.  My husband helped me out on this so it went a bit faster.
  • You will need to set aside a solid block of time to do this:  Oxygen absorbers start activating as soon as you open the package.  If you have to stop and leave them for later, you must store them in an airtight container or they will become useless.
  • DO NOT use oxygen absorbers for storing sugar.  This will cause the sugar to harden into a block.

We did the following to steps:

  1. Place one oxygen absorber in the bottom of the mylar bag.
  2. Pour 12 cups of rice (or whatever you are storing) into the bag.  I used a 2 cup measuring cup to as this was quicker than doing it one by one.
  3. Add another oxygen absorber and one bay leaf on top of the rice.  There should be about an inch clearance from the top edge of the bag to where the rice fills up to.
  4. Line up the sides and across the top of the mylar bag flat.
  5. Carefully iron across the top, leaving a 1 inch space open on the left corner.  Don’t worry, the iron will not stick to the mylar, it actually stays smooth.  Do not try to make a fold across the top and iron it:  we tried this and it does not seal as well.
  6. “Burp” the bag to let any remaining air out.
  7. Now you can iron the remaining space and seal it up.  Careful, as the iron can get too hot.  About an hour after we started, we noticed the bags were not sealing as well, then we realized the iron had gotten too hot and the automatic shut off activated.  Make sure your iron does not overheat.
  8. Label the bag with a sharpie pen.
  9. Place the mylar bag in the food grade 5 gallon bucket.
  10. Keep packaging the same food item into mylar bags following the above steps until the bucket is full.
  11. Seal up the bucket.
  12. Label the bucket.  I used a masking tape and wrote the contents of the bucket with a sharpie market.
  13. Store any remaining oxygen absorbers in an airtight jar.
  14. Store the bucket in a cool, dry area.  I cannot store food in the garage as we live in a hot and humid area.  Heat and humidity will shorten the life of stored food.  For now, the buckets are hidden under the dining table with a long table cloth.

The next day, you will notice the bags look shrunken.  This is the oxygen absorber doing its job.

That’s it, the process was actually easier than I thought.