Off The Grid

What Are MRE’s And There Alternative

Many people have no clue about MRE’s  / Meals Ready to Eat. MRE’s are specially prepared meals that the military have been using for years and was introduced to the general public several years ago.  Each meal is developed to provide all the nutrients needed to survive but also be easy to transport while on the move. This is why the military still use these meals today for the military personal that out away on maneuvers.

MRE for backpacking or for survival food

MRE’s or other prepackaged meals come pretty much ready to eat, this makes very easy and ideal for many different uses. My family and I use these meals while we are out camping or backpacking out in the wilderness of northern Minnesota. These meals can be eaten cold right out of the package or they can be warmed over a camp fire or be heated by the MRE heater.

I was really introduced the MRE’s about ten plus years ago when Florida was hit with several hurricanes back to back and we had lost electric for over a two weeks. With the different varieties of meal options that MRE’s have one does not get sick of eating the same thing over and over again.

History of MRE’s

A little history on the MRE meals.  In 1963 the Department of Defense (DOD) knew that they needed to come out with a meal for soldiers that was better packaged and had more nutritional value then what the soldiers were carrying during World War II. So this was the beginning phases of experimenting with MRE’s. Then in 1966 the DOD came out with a dehydrated meal plan called LRP or Long Range Patrol Meals, this did not work out to well. In 1975 more work went into developing a dehydrated meal that was stored in plastic retort pouches which went into standard use in 1986 for the military.

Backpacking Meals

Now for me being an outdoor enthusiast I spend many days in the wilderness in the Boundary Water Canoe Area every year. I love the serenity of the outdoors

These options for food are great for backpacking and hiking expeditions.

and love being out in nature. I have found that the ready-made backpacking meals give me the nutrition and energy I need to make it through the days. Being that the food is

dehydrated the packets weigh very little and there is no cooking involved. Just heat some water on the campfire until it is boiling and add the water to the open packet. The meals that I prefer and all natural and contain no MSG Mono Sodium Glutamate which is a preservative that many people are allergic too.

 

Ideas For Food That Are Not Pre-Packaged

A lot of people that I come across while backpacking purchase food from the grocery store that is less expensive and can be lightweight and compact. Here are a few ideas of foods that are lightweight and compact that you may be interested in.

  • Instant oatmeal, comes in many varieties and just need to add hot water and mix to get a great tasting breakfast meal that can be ate at any time of the day.
  • Rice, can be a little heavy but it is easy to make and tasty
  • Pancakes, another meal that just needs hot water and cook over an open fire or camp stove.
  • Pasta, again just need boiling water. Instant spaghetti sauce is easy to make and taste great.
  • Dry soup mixes, a lot of varieties to choose from and just add hot boiling water.
  • Granola bars are easy to carry and gives you the protein to make it through the day on the trail.
  • Coffee packets, must have for the morning. Boil water and add coffee packet for a delicious morning pick me up.
  • Flavored water packets, when you are tired of drinking lake or river water these little packets come in handy for adding a little change in taste.

These are some ideas of food that you can store for when we run into a food shortage or for when a major storm hits and you cannot make it to the grocery store for a week or two. For my family we have about a months worth of food stored. Living in Florida you never know when mother nature may strike and we lose electricity or the roads are blocked and we cannot make it to the store. It has happened to me more than once and ‘I do not like being unprepared.

Posted by Tom in Lifestyle, Off The Grid, Urban Homesteader, 0 comments
Food Prepping For Emergecy

Food Prepping For Emergecy

Prepping for changing times

If you are like a lot of people, you have already responded to much of what you see in the news about being ready for the coming crisis by storing up food. The signs of the times are everywhere, one would have to live in a cave not to notice them. The good news is that many people have already started to store food for the future but if it is not stored properly then it will be money down the drain. You will want to make sure that you have good food and plenty of it for those emergency times.

 

The Shocking Truth About Food Prepping

When storing food for emergency times vigilance is the key. Be careful when you purchase your food, read the expiration dates, look at storage issues, check supplies, take inventory you do not want to much of one thing. It does not hurt to purchase a little extra of one item over another as long as you know it will be eaten. Just make sure that you and your family will use the items and that you are not wasting good money on things that will not be used. Here are a few simple guidelines that may be helpful to you.

Don’t Trust Generic Plans

It doesn’t take long being a prepper before you are faced with the problem of competing suppliers, each telling you that their food prepping plan is the best. Further, these plans often boil down to telling you to buy X pounds of rice, X pounds of beans, etc., multiplied by the number of people you have in your family, and how many days you are planning for. The truth is that it’s an easy trap to fall into. After all, nobody wants to be caught unprepared. Further, how can anyone realistically determine what is best for your family?

Every family has its own needs, likes and desires. It’s that easy. And the only likes you have to satisfy in an emergency situation is your own, not satisfying what others say you will need. Let’s say that a member of your family has an allergy to peanut products, but the prepping experts say that since peanut butter is such a good foodstuff to stock up on because it will keep for a long time, you should do so? What good will that do the family member who is allergic to peanuts? The plain truth is that it will do far more harm than good.

Another problem with a generic food prepping plan is that it is entirely likely that following such a plan will create shortages of one type of food while you have a surplus of any other. This is just as bad a situation as if you had a shortage of everything. In an ideal situation, you will want to keep a balance of nutritious food that will continue to be in as similar supply as all the others, for as long as needed.

Admittedly, this is a difficult trick to pull off, but it can be done. Perhaps the most difficult part of the problem is dealing with so many different unknowns when you are planning. For example, how many days is it realistic to plan for you to be in such a situation? How can anybody really know with any great degree of accuracy? In most cases you will need to rely on rules of thumb, but with other factors such as what percentages you will need of different sorts of products, it is much easier to estimate what you would need as opposed to what you will need less of.

A Workable Plan

The best guide you can use to determine what you will need in a given future situation is to rely on the past. What, for example, have you eaten in the past two weeks that could be repeated in a crisis situation? This is as good a place to start as any.

Once you have your list, look at it carefully to decide what might not be available and/or affordable in a crisis. Meat is a good example. If you don’t have a stockyard in your backyard, you probably will not have access to fresh meat in a crisis. If so, it will probably have such a high price tag that it would be better to make a staple of something else.

Variety is the spice of life, whether you’re in a crisis or not, so make sure that everything you think you could use is accounted for. You will reap the benefits for some time to come.

Posted by Tom in Off The Grid, 0 comments
Protein Powder Drink Mix Should Be On Every Preppers List

Protein Powder Drink Mix Should Be On Every Preppers List

Protein Powder Is Not Just For Bodybuilders Anymore.

The reason for this is that protein powder should be an essential product for all preppers to have in their storage room. Many of us store legumes, MRE’s, beans, milk, water and other forms of food, but many of us don’t think about storing protein powder.  

The benefits of protein powder.

A good protein shake made of protein powder is a great way to add protein and many vitamins and minerals to our diet. If you were to use a green super-food powder this also will add fruit and vegetables to your diet. A person needs to have plenty of protein in their diet in order to maintain body mass and strength. Ideally, a person should have about 15 grams of protein at the minimum. The protein that I use has about 25 grams because it is made up of eggs and dairy. Having enough protein in your diet will help many things like

  • Repair and build up muscle tissue
  • Heal the body of injuries
  • Gives a person long lasting stamina
  • Helps boost the immune system of our body to fight off illnesses

 

Our body is made up of about 45% protein, it can be found in our bones, muscle, hemoglobin and etc. Without a daily supply of protein our bodies will not function properly and we will start losing many bone density and muscle mass.

One of the better protein powders that I like to store is Whey Protein. Again many people think that only bodybuilders benefit from whey protein but in reality this protein is beneficial to almost anyone. For preppers whey protein is easy to store. Here are some reasons that I like whey protein over other forms of powdered drinks.

  • Whey protein is inexpensive and it has less additives than many other powders.
  • Great for reducing high blood pressure
  • Many studies have proven that whey protein can reduce the risk of heart and cardiovascular issues.
  • Whey protein cleanses and removes waste products by maintaining renal filters through stimulating urination so wastes and toxins can be release in order to cut down the risk of bladder infections.
  • Whey protein is great for helping to regulate your digestive system and aids in reducing bloat and flatulence.
  • This protein is loaded with potassium which helps to offset much sodium in your system. By doing this it supports the elimination of excess fluids in your body.
  • By reducing blood pressure in your body this will cut down on you having a stroke.
  • Whey protein has been proven to have higher levels of antioxidant glutathione which is known to suppress the free radicals which often lead to cancer.


Ideal protein product for storage.

Our body needs daily protein intake in order to keep us healthy. Protein shakes can be made simply by adding the required amount of protein powder in a shaker bottle mixing and drinking, this is great especially if you have no electricity for a blender. The shelf life on most protein powders is twenty plus years as long as the seal on the container is left unopened.

What to look for in protein powder drinks.

When doing your own research on what protein powder to purchase for your storage supply here are some things to check out.

  • What sweetener is used, stay away from artificial sweeteners. Find one that has coconut or cane sugar or stevia.
  • Be careful if you are lactose intolerant of the type of protein that you purchase. Some protein drinks can taste terrible. Try a few out before purchasing large quantities for storage.
  • Check the ingredients. Some drinks and powders may have a lot of artificial ingredients, stay away from anything that you do not know what it is.
  • Purchase some unflavored protein, this is a good addition to meals like cream soups, pasta dishes, potatoes, and any dishes that have sauces.

Conclusion

Have you thought of adding protein powder to your food storage list? If this is not part of your stored products you may want to consider picking up some containers of protein, I feel that you cannot have too much protein on hand for an emergency.

Posted by Tom in Off The Grid
MRE Food For Disaster’s or Emergency’s

MRE Food For Disaster’s or Emergency’s

MRE Food For Disaster’s or Emergency’s

Have you ever had a situation when you wished you had some MRE‘s (Meals Ready To Eat) on hand? Personally I have had three times when I was glad to have MRE’s so we did not have to go hungry. One of the times was about 20 years back when a tornado went through our town and had no electricity and there was so much damage that we could not leave the neighborhood to go to the store. Luckily I had my family prepared with MRE’s and stored water, our neighbors were not prepared but I had plenty on hand to help them out.

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What is an MRE?

MRE’s are self-contained meal that come pre-packaged including a way to heat the food. These meals are great to have on hand for any emergency. They offer you a warm meal which is packed with all the nutrients your body needs during an emergency or disaster. MRE’s were founded by the military many years ago and today many people use them for camping, backpacking, outdoor enthusiast, and preppers. The nice thing about MRE’s is they are easy to store, convenient to keep in a closet or basement, and will last for many years stored. There are other options on the market that you can pick up from any sporting goods store or off the internet.

Why Should I Have MRE’s?

A person does not have to be a doomsday survivalist in order to be prepared for disasters. When we were hit by tornado’s back in 1990 I was not a doomsday prepper but I kept food and water on hand knowing from my upbringing to always be prepared for storms or any other kind of natural disaster. Now living in Florida every year we have roughly six months when we could be hit by a hurricane and since we live close to the coast tornado’s or water spouts can pop up at a minuets notice. In Florida or along any coast people need to have food and water stored for natural disasters like hurricanes and tornado’s.

Having canned food on hand is great to do but canned food is bulky and can take a lot of room in your storage area. MRE’s are easy to store and the packages are easy to grab and go if you need to back pack out of an area or carry in a car or take in your bug out bag.

Nutritional Value of MRE’s

The nutritional value of these meals vary from 1200 to 2000 calories per day, it just depends on the ones that you purchase. Most MRE’s come with eating utensils and when opened a heat pack is activated to warm up your pre-cooked meal. This is nice so you do not have to start a fire or have a camp stove to heat up your food. Some meals do require water, so make sure that you have fresh drinking water on hand.

Be Prepared

Always be prepared for an emergency or disaster. When we were hit by a tornado we lived in the Midwest, now we live in Florida. It does not matter where you live, you could have a disaster happen at any time. Having food and water on hand for a week or longer is the key to surviving. MRE’s is a good way to begin to your preparations for any emergency or any catastrophe.

Related Links:

MRE Shelf Life

MRE Information

History of MRE’s

Posted by Tom in Off The Grid
Make Your Own Pemmican Recipe

Make Your Own Pemmican Recipe

Pemmican for emergencies

Probably a majority of you have never heard of pemmican, this food was created by the Native American Indians and then it was discovered by the European explorers that settled this land. When it was first discovered by hunters and trappers it was commodity that was in high demand. The reason it was sought after was because Pemmican was great for traveling and it was easy to store for the cold hard winters.

The idea behind pemmican is to make sure that the meat is separate from the fat, some people call this rendering the fat from the meat. Once this is done the pemmican be stored without refrigeration in airtight containers and if done correctly it can be stored for years.

Steps for making your own pemmican

  1. Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature setting. While this is being done trim off all the fat from the meat and slice the meat as thin as you possibly can. Once sliced place the strips of meat on the oven rack and place in the oven. If you are looking for the meat to last a long time add a layer of salt to the meat. Once the meat is dry from the oven you will be able to crack the meat when you bend the pieces. Basically you are dehydrating the meat. Lean meat should be dehydrated somewhere between 100 – 115 degrees.
  2. Grind the meat is the next step. You will need a food processor or a good blender in order to do this. You will want to grind the meat to a powder. You may want to mix in nuts or dried fruit into the meat at this time. Just remember that if you do this it will reduce the shelf life of the meat.
  3. Render the fat. Take the cut off fat from the meat, or take pork lard and heat it on the stove in a pot or put it in a slow cooker and cook for several hours on low. Stir occasionally and keep cooking until the fat stops bubbling. Take the liquid and pour through a mesh strainer.
  4. Add the liquid fat. At this time slowly add one part fat to two parts meat and mix thoroughly. Do not use to much liquid fat as this could cause the meat to go rancid, the key is to mix just enough to moisten the mixture.
  5. Form the mixture. The way that I form my pemmican is to spread the mixture in a 9×13 casserole dish about the same thickness across the bottom of the dish. Let the mixture get firm and cut into bar size pieces. Some people like to take the mixture and form it into ball shapes. Taste the pemmican and if needed you may add salt to the bars or balls.
  6. Storage is easy. Once the bars are cut place them in airtight containers and store them in a cool, dark and dry location. If you prefer to store them in the freezer you can use storage freezer bags.

How much easier can it be. If you choose to make your own pemmican let us know how it went. If you have other options for your recipe feel free to add them in the comment section below.

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Posted by Tom in Off The Grid, Recipes
Great Light For Camping or When The Lights Go Out

Great Light For Camping or When The Lights Go Out

Brilliant Energy Efficient

Light up the evening sky with FengChi Portable Outdoor LED Lantern. It features an omni-directional design yielding 360 degree of high-intensity, long-lasting illuminance. The low power consumption allows you to keep the lantern a glow in regular brightness for up to 10 hours. When the battery power of the lantern runs low, the brightness will dim to an energy saving mode to provide longer lasting illumination

Military Grade Reliability

The lamp is collapsible and portable, offering you convenience when you need it most. It is designed for easy storage, promising reliability should you need it for emergencies such as a power outage. The lantern also has a lightweight, durable build for any outdoor adventure you may go on, produced from military grade plastic. Sturdy Retractable Hook is PERFECT for hanging in your tent or any other area that needs bright and beautiful overhead lighting,Camp lamps have built-in magnets that can be sucked wherever you need them

Hanging Camp Lamp

Your new camping buddy!Available here: http://amzn.to/2mE9Arz

Posted by Odd Things on Saturday, March 18, 2017

Posted by Tom in Off The Grid
Portable Camping Hunting Fishing Cook Wood Stove

Portable Camping Hunting Fishing Cook Wood Stove

Here is another great idea for a portable wood stove that I came across today while doing some research online about going off-grid.

This is a great stove you can use to cook your dinner, dry your gear, heat your shelter, or just warm your hands and feet at a cold winter’s night. Safer than an open fire. Small enough to transport in your car and easy to carry. The ample cook top space gives you room to cook up lots of tasty dishes. When you’re not cooking, you can rotate the cook top outward to dry wet socks and gloves. In areas where open fires are not permitted this portable stove could be a handy item to have. A great gift idea for campers, fisherman (great for ice-fishing), hunter, or lover of wood-burning stoves.Stove Measurement: 18 inches long × 10 inches wide × 12 inches tall.

 

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Posted by Tom in Off The Grid
Solar Window Box Is A Good Start For Going Off Grid

Solar Window Box Is A Good Start For Going Off Grid

Make sure you like Urban Homesteader on Facebook or Twitter to be updated every time we find something that is innovative and help you to become self-sufficient on a budget.

If you are like me I am constantly looking for ways to live off-grid. With today’s economy it is my passion and it should be yours also to save as much money as possible. One of the best and easiest ways is through solar. Solar can be used for so many things, from producing electric, heating your hot water, and even heating your home.

I remember as a child my mother made a window solar panel and then she made a window solar box heater and this was back in the 1970’s. These are simple to make and the expense is minimal if you are the type of person that is handy with a few simple tools.

When I read this article I was amazed that I had not thought of building a window solar box heater for myself. I had one many years ago but I totally forgot about it till I came across this article. This great little project can add warmth to a room when it is cold outside and if need be it can serve as a little oven. All you will need for this project is a couple sheets of corrugated plastic panels (like what is used for a greenhouse) and a few simple tools.

To help with air movement you can add a couple solar fans to move the warm air from the window box into your living space.

Information for how to build a window box solar heater is available on survivalkit.com here…

Link For More Information About Building a Solar Box

 

Posted by Tom in Craft, Off The Grid
How To Live Without Electricity

How To Live Without Electricity

How To Get By Without Electricity

In today’s age of technology it is hard to imagine that people live without electricity but many do. One of these people is my sister and brother-in law. The power lines stop about fifteen miles from their home so the cost to deliver power out to their home would totally out of this world.

Life Without Electric For Lights

Home in Guatemala with no electricity is not uncommon.

In my travels through Central and South America it is amazing how many people live with just one light bulb burning in their home or they have no electricity at all. According to some there are over one billion people that do not have electricity in the world. Now us here in the United States and over in Japan and Europe almost everyone has electric and most of us would not know what to do without it. Most of the electric that the world uses are controlled by powerful countries like the United States and a few other major players. We call this the power grid.

Cooking Without Power

Cooking in many homes in Central and South America is done with an open fire and no ventilation inside the home.

Many people around the world do not even have the capabilities to cook there meals on a stove like we do here in the U.S.A. Many of the places I have been in countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Belize, Honduras and etc. wish they could have an opportunity to cook on an electric or gas stove. Most of these people have to cook on an open fire or on some sort of make shift wood burning stove. There are many injuries or illnesses from cooking this way, everything from lung cancer to repertory problems to death. If you think life is rough when the burner does not work right on your cook stove, just imagine what life will be like when the power goes out.

No Communication

Most of our communication and technology depends on electricity. Most homes today rely on cellular communication to be our lifeline to the world. The days of picking up a handset and dialing a landline phone is a thing of the past. If the power grid goes down are we going to be prepared to use some sort of other communication?

What Will Cause Us To Lose Electricity

Power blackouts can be caused by many things, such as thunderstorms, natural disasters, solar flares, EMP attacks, and so on. In some situations a backup generator is all you’re going to need to get by on for a short time without electric. But what if some huge natural disaster or an EMP takes out the power grid for a long period of time, will you be ready. For additional information on EMP click here.

Lighting Ideas

Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article my sister and family have been living without electricity for close to forty years. I have learnt a lot from them in how to live off the grid. When it comes to lighting it really is not hard to adapt to using candles and oil lamps to get by on. Since my family and I live in Florida we are always losing power do to storms and hurricanes so we make sure that we always have a good stock of batteries and flashlights for when the power goes off. Some other alternatives for lighting that are available today is hand crank flashlights, these are great because they never need batteries. Solar powered lights are great for having light during the night and they re-charge during the day. With today’s solar powered led lighting you can light a whole house with just a few of these lights. Our security lighting on our home and land is done by solar powered motion controlled lighting.
                

Propane Cooking

Most of us have done some sort of camping in our lives. Cooking over a camp fire is nice for a short period of time, but eventually you will run out of firewood to keep cooking. For not to much money pick yourself up a two or two burner camp stove that uses small propane tanks. These come in handy when you want to boil some water for coffee, or soup, or make spaghetti or any other kind of cooking you need to do.
                                       

Life Without Electric Using An Alternative Source Of Power

There is a constantly new source of solar energy coming on the market every time I do any research on solar. They claim this next year we will be able to purchase shingles that will be a solar source. There are other forms of alternative energy that is becoming more and more accessible to the general public. One source is wind power, or wind turbines that produce electric for the home owner. Another source which also uses wind is the old fashion wind mill connected to a generator system that stores power like solar in batteries.

Life without electric can be daunting and uncomfortable especially for us that depend on electric for everything we do. But if you are like me and plan ahead for the day when the lights go out you and your family could be fully prepared.  Being prepared is the key to this situation and what better time than the present to get your family ready for that dark day that lies in front of us when the grid goes down.

Posted by Tom in Homestead, Off The Grid
Google Changing To Renewable Energy

Google Changing To Renewable Energy

Google Going Off The Power Grid:

Google announced in 2016 that in 2017 Google will be able to power all of it global centers and their corporate offices using 100% renewable energy. Google uses the same amount of energy as the city of San Francisco uses. With all of the offices, data centers and all their production companies around the country and world this is a large undertaking by Google to turn towards renewable energy and not rely on fossil fuels.

In the last several years Google started to look at signing long-term agreements to purchase renewable energy from solar and wind turbine farm suppliers. A lot of effort took place by top level executives behind the scenes to make these large purchases of carbon-free renewable energy purchase
agreements with twenty plus renewable energy projects. Technology companies similar
to Google use a lot of power to make their systems work and with electricity cost continue to rise electricity is one of the largest expense for these technology firms.
The Technology Giant
This technology giant is already the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy. Technology firms are one of the
biggest users of fossil fuels even more so than the aviation industry. Other tech companies like Apple and Microsoft have announced that they are looking into plans to power their data centers with forms or renewable energy. Apple has even entered into partnership with First Solar to invest 850 million in a solar plant. More and more corporations are looking into renewable power as their sources of energy. In the next several months we should be hearing updates about how the change is taking place for corporations like Google and Apple to switch from traditional electricity from the power
grid to renewable energy in an effort to reduce the carbon environmental footprint.
Posted by Tom in Off The Grid