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Archive for the ‘Bargains’ Category

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.

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This month’s project is to store some bulk items such as rice, flour, pinto beans, sugar etc.

I was originally hoping to participate with the local Latter Day Saints (LDS) Cannery that I had found out about after doing a search for mylar bags and bulk food storage.  I called them and found out information and pricing.  The facility is about an hour away, but it sounded good so I planned to go as the prices were very reasonable.  You don’t have to part of their church to participate, but you do need to be “assigned” to partner with a church group to do bulk storage.  Unfortunately, the week I was all set to go, I called ahead and found out they were having major construction and was not accepting any appointments in the near future.  They also did not have an estimate for when the work would be completed so it was back to the drawing board for me.

My husband and I decided we will shop for the bulk items wherever we can find a good deal.  We do not belong to a warehouse club; the membership fee is too steep for me for number of times we shop and items that we need, but that is for another post.

This past weekend we visited a couple of ethnic groceries and found good deals on many of the items on the list.  We found out about these stores by chatting with people at work about where to find good deals on groceries.  The Mediterranean store had excellent prices on rice and pasta.   They also had great prices on spices, honey, vegetable and olive oil.  These items were not on the “bulk grain” shopping list but they were too good to pass up.  We also checked out a Hispanic market and they had good prices on flour, sugar, pinto beans and legumes.

Now all we need to do is repackage the foods into mylar bags and 5 gallon buckets.  I will post about that adventure as soon as I get all the packaging materials together.

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My favorite survival cookware are cast iron pans.  For anyone who is unfamiliar with cast iron, they are the black heavy iron pans that have been around for hundreds of years.  They must be “seasoned” or coated with oil or they can rust.  But a pan that is used constantly and kept dry after use will last for generations.

My mother-in-law actually introduced me to cast iron pans.  Whenever I helped her cook anything in her kitchen, I marveled at how the cast iron pans cooked everything so well, retained heat evenly and performed like nonstick pans.  In those days, I used teflon pans, but they peel and shred after a while.  Teflon pans were also found to pose a health hazard.  If overheated, they release a chemical:  perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), known to cause cancer and birth defects in animals, according to a Consumer Reports article.  I tossed out all my teflon pans and asked my mother-in-law to help me find some cast iron pans.

She did not take me to a cookware store; instead she took me to Goodwill.  She said she found the best seasoned cast iron pans there.  In those days, new cast iron pans were not pre-seasoned and you had to work on it a while.  But people would toss them out thinking they were inferior to Calphalon or other name brand cookware.

If you are in the market for one, try second-hand stores like Goodwill first.  Only buy it is if you find a slightly rusted cast iron pan, all it needs is a little TLC.  The same process to salvage it, is the same process to season a new pan.

  • If you have a new pan, just wash and rinse, no scraping needed.  If you are working with a used, slightly rusted pan, wash with a strong dishwashing liquid and scrape out the rust with a steel wool.
  • Dry completely with a dish towel.
  • Coat the pan with cooking oil all over.  I have used vegetable oil, olive oil or peanut oil
  • Turn the oven on low heat, around 250 degrees and leave the pan in the oven for 4 hours.  Do not leave unattended.  It may get a bit smoky if the heat is too high.
  • Turn of the heat and leave the pan in while it cools.
  • Repeat the process over a few months until the pan turns black.  You now have a well-seasoned pan.

As a benefit for us preppers,  they can be used over an open flame in an emergency, and will cook evenly.  Also, use of the pan adds iron to your food, which helps avoid an iron deficiency.  Because they will last a lifetime, you don’t need to spend money for replacement pans.

Cast iron pans are now available pre-seasoned.  You don’t have to go through the process if you don’t feel like it.  Just remember the pan should not be left sitting in a sinkful of water.  It should be rinsed and dried after use and coated with a thin layer of oil.  They are still fairly inexpensive, around $10 for a non-seasoned pan, and about $20 for a pre-seasoned one.

Since I am still new at prepping, I know I still need a few more items to round out the survival cookware.  Leon over at Survival Common Sense has an excellent article about Dutch ovens.  Check it out at http://www.survivalcommonsense.com/2010/09/27/dutch-oven-survival-kitfeed/ .   I have not tried Dutch ovens but will not add it to my list, along with the sun oven.  Once I try them, I will be sure to post about my experience.

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Now is a good time to shop for emergency supplies at a discount.

Back to School Sales

While shopping for school supplies, stock up on glue, duct tape, binders for your grab and go binder and informational binder, notebooks and paper for emergency lists.

Late summer sales at discount stores and sporting goods stores

A lot of camping supplies are on sale, since stores are clearing out stock before the summer ends.  We  went shopping at Academy Sporting Goods, and found they were also having a good sale on backpacks.  Their selection of backpacks was better than the ones I found at Target or Wal-Mart.  A lot of tents and sleeping bags were marked down, along with various camping items such as compass, camp shovels, camp stoves, etc.  These items can supplement the bug out bag nicely.

Supermarkets

Grocery stores are also having clearance sales at 50% off or more.  These items are not advertised and do not appear on the shelves.   They are usually found at an out-of-the-way shelf in the corner of the store.  I checked the clearance shelves and found a lot of good first aid supplies:

-antibiotic cream

-bandages

-band-aids

-burn cream

-antacids

-vitamins

In addition, I found great discounts on cooking oil, salad dressings and other condiments.   When buying clearance items:

  • Examine items closely-make sure they have nothing wrong with them, such as lids that have been tampered or opened boxes
  • Check expiration dates
  • Consider whether item is something you would normally use or is needed for emergency supplies
  • Watch the price scanner at the check-out to make sure the items are priced correctly

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