Category Archives: Epicurean

Prep on the Cheap

To the beginning prepper with limited resources, the task of gathering supplies and stockpiling food seems daunting, and nearly impossible when it is difficult enough to have the money to pay bills and still have enough food to last until next payday. Having 3 days, let alone 3 weeks or months’ worth of food and supplies set aside seems like a pipe dream. However, with a bit of common sense, and careful budgeting, it is possible to plan for tomorrow’s meals as well as when the s**t hits the fan.

1. Incremental Prepping

Don’t feel as if you have to buy 5 year’s worth of food at one time. Concentrate on the staples first, such as rice, dried beans, oats, a gallon of water or two, etc. which have a very long shelf life, and can be bought fairly cheaply. Plan for the larger budget items one at a time, such as a hand crank radio, or a weapon. Even $5 a payday, though it seems small, can be saved for the larger items, which later on can at the very least defray the cost when you have more money at hand (such as when you receive your tax return).

2. Store what you eat – Sort of

In an earlier post, I talked about the importance of adapting your lifestyle now to be fit to survive later, and that storing things like Twinkies will only keep you fat and unhealthy for a longer period of time than the other survivors. HOWEVER, there is no point in stocking up on 5 years of hominy and anchovies if those are things you will not eat now. Adaptation is the key to survival, but so is common sense. It may be, and probably will be, necessary to eat a lot of beans and rice in a survival situation. In the meantime, why not come up with some favorite recipes which can incorporate them now?

3. One for now, one for later

When you are purchasing canned or dry goods or other items that will keep for long periods of time, or indefinitely, buy one more, just one, to set aside. It’s not necessary to buy a whole cartful, just one at a time will slowly but surely build your stockpile without breaking the bank.

4. Seize the deals

While buying in bulk seems to be the complete opposite of what I have been just saying, there are times when you have to take advantage of a really good deal. For instance, my wife and I were at the store last week and she happened to notice that fresh peaches were on sale for .25 a pound. We knew we would not see a deal like that again for a while, or possibly ever. So, even though money is EXTREMELY tight, we bought $5.00 worth. Since we are just getting started prepping, we do not currently have the means to can the peaches, so we did the next best thing in our situation, and we cut up and froze them. While they may not make it to the apocalypse, it will provide us with fresh fruit for some time to come. And for many of us, a SHTF situation does not necessarily involve the collapse of society. It may be the loss of a job, or an injury, or the car breaking down which pushes us and our families to the brink. And in times like those, bulk peaches can help a lot.

5. Don’t fall for the Dollar trap

It’s easy, we’ve all done it. “But it’s only a buck! What a deal!” Marketers count on us to have that reaction. They have engineered ever-decreasing sized bottles of soda, packets of pre-seasoned rice mixes, and other items boldly emblazoned with the one-dollar sticker just to have us waste our precious hard-earned money on scraps strategically placed at eye level or near the checkstands for our temptation. As preppers we think – “Wow – at a buck, I could get a bunch of these for storage! I could get 20 of them and fill a food-grade bucket!”

Stop right there, put down the rice-a-roni, and step away from the shopping cart. Now look carefully at the shelf tag, right on the corner or side of the price tag where it tells the cost per ounce. For .59 cents more, you can get a 2 lb bag of rice which will last far longer than that 8oz box of instant crap. You’re welcome.

About The Author: The Blue Collar Prepper is a project to help working families prepare for a post-collapse world in ways they can afford, preparing and adapting sustainably now and in an uncertain future. Check us out at

Water Treatment: Ensuring That Your Water Is Safe


In addition to having a bad odor and taste, water from questionable sources may be contaminated by a variety of microorganisms, including bacteria and parasites that cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis. All water of uncertain purity should be treated before use.

To treat water for consumption and/or hygiene, follow these steps:

  • Filter the water using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid particles.
  • Bring it to a rolling boil for about one full minute.
  • Let it cool at least 30 minutes. Water must be cool or the chlorine treatment described below will be useless.
  • Add 16 drops of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water, or 8 drops per 2-liter bottle of water. Stir to mix. Sodium hypochlorite of the concentration of 5.25% to 6% should be the only active ingredient in the bleach. There should not be any added soap or fragrances. A major bleach manufacturer has also added Sodium Hydroxide as an active ingredient, which they state does not pose a health risk for water treatment.
  • Let stand 30 minutes.
  • If it smells of chlorine. You can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, add 16 more drops of chlorine bleach per gallon of water (or 8 drops per 2-liter bottle of water), let stand 30 minutes, and smell it again. If it smells of chlorine, you can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.


About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

Three Picture Tutorials – How To Build A Fire & Cook Over It

By Admin | From | On Monday, March 18th, 2013

1955 Training Manual From The Department Of The Air Force

1955 training manual from the Department of the Air Force
1955 training manual from the Department of the Air Force

1955 training manual from the Department of the Air Force


We can thank Bushcraft USA for the last image –

Camping & Wilderness Survival: The Ultimate Outdoors Book

SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition: For Any Climate, in Any Situation

U.S. Air Force Survival Handbook

U.S. Air Force Pocket Survival Handbook: The Portable and Essential Guide to Staying Alive


About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

SHTF Water Sources

SHTF Water Sources –

“Emergency SHTF water sources are useful to urban dwellers who’ve bugged in, depleting their water reserves. The electricity is off, this means the pumps are no longer working and water’s nowhere to be found. Don’t sweat it; there are ways to get the water you need…”

Read More:

About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

Survival Water Storage

By Ken (MSB) | From | On Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Emergency water storage should be a survival preparedness priority BEFORE you think about storing food.

We cannot survive without water for more than a few days, and rarely as long as one week.

The human body is approximately 60 percent water by weight. Not only do we get our water from what we drink but also from the foods that we eat and the way that we prepare them.

We can survive much longer without food than water. 3 weeks is an often referred number when asked this question, or as long as 6 to 8 weeks with attributing favorable factors such as remaining hydrated with water, climate, etc.

Because we will not survive a week without it, this is why it is so important to build a water storage supply first, BEFORE you think about food storage.

Survival Storage of Safe Drinking Water

A minimum storage recommendation is one gallon of water per person, per day. That’s 30 gallons for two weeks supplying two people. This may or may not be an adequate storage reserve depending on your proximity to a non-municipal fresh water source. If you live near a pond, spring, river or lake, you could haul water in a 5-gallon bucket on a wagon, and then filter and/or boil it for drinking or add to your reserves.

There are specific designed containers that are safe for drinking water storage, available in all sorts and sizes. An important consideration is the fact that water is heavy, and weighs about 8 pounds per gallon. You’re going to have trouble handling and moving containers that are exceeding 5-gallons (40 pounds).

An example of one solution to water storage is the use of ordinary 5-gallon buckets, but with one caveat… they should be ‘food grade’.

This five gallon food grade bucket, could be used with a convenient Gamma seal lid that screws on and off easily. The overall cost of this solution may be less than purchasing a specific water storage container, heavy duty enough to be adequate for long term storage.

When looking for a food grade bucket, look for a label (usually on the bottom) that reads HDPE #2.

Important: All food grade buckets are made of HDPE #2 (high density polyethylene) but not all HDPE #2 buckets are food grade. Buckets that are not food grade will slowly out-gas and leach into the container, to whatever is in the container.

HDPE #2 buckets that are not food grade will have been manufactured with a non-food-grade “mold release agent”.

A mold release agent is what is used to help get the newly shaped plastic off of the hard mold that it was shaped from during the manufacturing process. Without the release agent, during the manufacturing process the plastic will stick to the mold. Some mold release agents enable much faster production than others, but may be toxic to your health if later used with food and the like.

If the bucket is marked specifically as food grade or USDA approved (or FDA or NSF approved), then it is food grade. Otherwise contact the supplier or manufacturer to confirm.

How to store water for an emergency

First, be sure the storage container is CLEAN. Disinfect it if necessary by using a solution of 1 tablespoon of regular bleach added to one gallon of water. Clean and dump out the excess.

If filling the container with tap water, it will typically contain about 1 ppm (parts per million) of chlorine, which technically is adequate to ensure that bacteria germs and other organisms have been neutralized.

You can sample the chlorine level in your water by using a swimming pool chlorine test kit.

swimming pool-water-chlorine-test-kit

An ideal chlorine level for water storage is from 1 to 3 ppm. Without it, the water will be at risk to develop or grow bacteria or other unhealthy organisms.

My experience to boost 5 gallons of tap water containing 1 ppm chlorine to 3 ppm was to add 3 one-eighth teaspoons of regular household bleach (no additives, 5 or 6% sodium hypochlorite). One-eighth teaspoon is equivalent to 16 drops in this case.


Start by adding one-eighth teaspoon of bleach to the five gallon bucket of storage water, mix (stir), then measure the chlorine level (with a chlorine test kit). Add more as necessary to achieve your desired level (2 to 3 ppm). Once you discover the total quantity needed, the rest is simple. Just add that same quantity to all subsequent buckets.


5 gallon buckets can be conveniently stacked. Keep them in a darkened environment, away from direct sunlight and heat, so as to prevent growth of algae, etc.

Chlorine will breakdown over time (especially if exposed to sunlight), but so long as you started with purified water in a sealed container stored properly, it should be in good shape for 6 months to a year. Not that it will go ‘bad’, but it is advisable to renew and replace your water storage every six months to a year.

This article was originally posted at

About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

“So God Made A Farmer”

So God Made a Farmer was a speech given by the radio broadcaster Paul Harvey at a 1978 Future Farmers of America (FFA) convention. The speech was used in a commercial by Dodge Ram during Super Bowl XLVII.

About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

The Prepper’s Kitchen: Choosing A Hand Grain Mill

By Ken (MSB) | From | On Sunday, January 6th, 2013

The Country Living Hand Grain Mill made entirely in the USA.

The Country Living Hand Grain Mill made entirely in the USA.

How do I choose which hand grain mill to buy?

There are quite a range of prices for various hand grain mills, and it may seem difficult to decide which one to choose, but you can narrow your choice by considering two basic questions…

1. Do you intend to grind/mill into flour for breads (versus only for courser grinds)?

2. Do you intend to use it frequently?

If you will be milling wheat to make flour for bread, you will want to be sure that the mill will grind the wheat berries into fine enough flour. Many cheaper models apparently do not, although many claim that they do. Just read the reviews of the product in consideration and you will usually get to the truth.

If you will be using the mill frequently, then it will be important to choose quality construction that will hold up to the test of usage and time. Many of the cheap mills have reviews that indicate that the unit falls apart or fails in one way or another after a relatively short time.

The phrase, ‘you get what you pay for’, is usually true enough. Unfortunately it often requires a higher than expected amount of money to purchase a product that is at least ‘good’, and even more money for a product considered to be ‘excellent’.

It seems that nearly every grain mill priced under $50 has generally poor reviews. This hand mill however rated fairly well…

Victorio Hand Grain Mill, originally named the ‘Back to Basics 555′ (now called the Victorio Hand Mill), has fairly good reviews for it’s price range (~ $50). This might be a ‘good enough’ mill for the occasional user who isn’t too concerned that the flour may not grind as fine as more expensive mills or may not hold up as well under heavy usage.

This hand mill is apparently a quality mid-range choice…

Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Grain / Flour Mill, which may be the best mix of value for quality and price. This hand mill comes with stone heads and stainless steel burr heads to accommodate different conditions, and will apparently grind fine flour (and everything else) without issue. It’s pricey though (~ $200), but will no doubt hold up to more heavy use.

The top-of-the-line hand grain mill on the market may be this one…

Country Living Hand Grain Mill, which will last generations and is built with the highest quality. It is very pricey (~ $400), but it may be the best, while you get what you pay for…

For those who are also interested in an electric grain mill, we have been using this one for years and have been very happy with it.

NutriMill Grain Mill

Browse around and read reviews. This will hone your choice. Keeping a hand grain mill is for the serious prepper who is preparing for the possibility of living without electricity for a time. Grinding / milling your own wheat is fairly hard work and it takes awhile to process the berries into flour. However the results will be unbelievably delicious and healthy. Don’t forget to stock up on wheat berries too!

This article was originally posted at

About The Author: Erica M. is the Managing Editor of Radical Survivalism Magazine.

Cooking Skills: Tamale Making Tips and Techniques


Homemade tamales are the best. If you have not made them in your own kitchen, here are a few tips and tricks.

The taste of tamales made at home is almost beyond description. It’s quite a process, however, and should be planned over a two-day period. The second day will be a long one. Tamale – or tamal – cooking will go much easier if you can round up two or more friends or family members to pitch in.

Since making tamales is a bit tedious, it’s best to go ahead and make a bunch. They freeze and reheat well and you’ll always have some handy for readymade meals.

About the corn husks

If you can’t find corn husks, or hojas, locally, purchase them online. Basically, it’s not worth the trouble without corn husks. It is their flavor that adds so much to a true tamale.

Second, you can save quite a bit of money if you have access to a local, small, Mexican market. Buying husks by the pound instead of pre-packaged in larger stores is much cheaper.

There are tradeoffs with husks by the pound and from small markets. They may have a few bugs and you’ll certainly find bug holes. Remember, these are corn products and it is no different than finding a bug in a bag of flour or similar product. It is best to freeze the husks for at least 24 hours and that will eliminate any living creatures. Let the husks come to room temperature.

You may also find a few husks with traces of old mold in some spots. Toss the worst of them; the majority of these husks should be fine for use.

A pound of hojas equals about 110 corn husks. You will get approximately 86 usable husks out of this batch. That excludes the husks you will need to tear into strips for tying the bundles (if you choose to use that method).

If you do use the tie-down method, save back some of the longer husks. The longer the string, the easier it is to use as a tie.

Soak the husks for a couple of hours. You should use a large pot as you will need the sink for other preparation.

Rinse really well and remove any silk – there shouldn’t be many strings. Even after a thorough rinsing, don’t be surprised if the husks still feel lightly gritty. Lay out on paper towels. You can stack the paper towels/corn husks in several layers.

The meat

It’s better to have too much meat than too little. Any leftover meat can be re-frozen or used in enchiladas or any number of other recipes. We had nearly a double batch with: 7 pounds pork shoulder butt, 2 three-pound hens, and 5 pounds of legs and thighs. We used a heaping tablespoon of meat for each tamale. If the corn husk was large, we used more masa mixture and more meat.

Remove as much fat and skin as possible after the pork and poultry has been simmered. Do not allow to boil for any length of time as that breaks down the proteins. Use a meat thermometer to determine when the pork and poultry are done (approx. 160/180 respectively).

Use latex gloves and the de-fatting/shredding process will be much less messy.

When shredding, use a fork with the tines facing “up.” In other words, press the fork face up into the edges of the meat and you should get a good shred. Plowing into the meat with the fork upside down is not as effective.

The process

You’ll need about 3 pounds of masa flour for 1 pound of husks. That’s about 3 tablespoons of dough per husk, give or take. Keep spare masa on hand in case you need to make a quick batch.

You will use quite a bit of broth to bring the dough up to peanut butter texture. We found that the broth from the pork and the whole chickens was easier to skim. While our broth from the legs and thighs (cooked separately) look really good just off the heat, when it was refrigerated it gelled. The other two types of broth were easy to skim after overnight refrigeration.

For the broth, you will need approximately 2 quarts. Mix one quart chicken broth and one quart pork broth together in a large bowl and warm in the microwave. Then pour into the masa a cup at a time as you mix.

You’ll want to mix up the dough with bare hands. It will be like playing in thick mud and you need to sort out all the balled-up bits of masa flour. That’s why it’s best to have a second pair of hands that can pour the broth as you squeeze and mix.

Make sure you have plenty of steamer space ahead of time. The recipes I found for tamales stated from 1-2 hours. Our tamales usually take about 3 ½-4 hours for steaming. You won’t have time to do several batches.

One large turkey fryer with a deep steamer basket should hold the tamales (bundle-style, not open-ended). Just place corn husks in between the layers. A super-sized turkey roaster with warming trays will hold about 46 tamales.

Add as much or as little salt as you wish. The same for chili powder. It will not affect the process of cooking tamales and you can adjust these to your own tastes. The same goes for garlic powder.

We use the double-string method of tying bundles. They look pretty and hold up well when stacking in a steamer. Bring the two sides together and fold them over together as tightly as you can. Bring one end up over the fold and tie it; the repeat by folding the opposite end and tying around the tamale. Takes a little longer and other methods.

As with any recipe, you’ll find so many variations on the recipe. Apply these techniques and you will be the most popular tamale-maker in the neighborhood!

This article was originally posted at

About The Author: Erica M. is the Managing Editor of Radical Survivalism Magazine.

How to Use the Jar Attachment for a Vacuum Sealer

By DesertSafire | From

This video explains how to prolong the life of your dehydrated foods by vacuum sealing them in standard canning jars.

About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

Sour Dough, Sweet Dough, But We All Love Yeast

Jamie from Weed, California writes, “If the end of the world as we know it will happen in December, how to I stock up on yeast?”

Great question Jamie. Yeast is a not a bacteria, it is a fungus. A plant. So if you are going to stock up on carrots for a collapse, you can stock up on yeast seeds. Wait, you’ve never heard of yeast seeds? Well, they don’t exist. As we use seeds to restart a new generation of plants, we can do the same with yeast. And the best way, the yummiest way, is to make yeast. There are many ways of doing it, but the best way I think is from the Amish Friendship Bread recipe. Here is the starter:


  • 1 (0.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup milk


In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes.

In a 2 quart glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added.

Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture.

Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. For the next 10 days handle starter according to the instructions for Amish Friendship Bread found here:

  • Day 1:
    • Do nothing with the starter.
  • Days 2-5:
    • Stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Day 6:
    • Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Days 7-9:
    • Stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Day 10:
    • Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Stir. Take out 3 cups and place 1 cup each into three separate plastic containers. Give one cup and a copy of this recipe to three friends. To the balance (a little over one cup) of the batter, add the following ingredients and mix well.

Note: When you make a starter from scratch, you can sometimes end up with a much greater yield than 4 cups depending on the temperature of your kitchen and eagerness of your starter! If this happens, reserve one cup for baking and divide the remaining batter into Ziploc baggies of 1 cup each to freeze or share with friends.

As long as you continue to “feed” your starter, it can stay at room temperature indefinitely. One of the wonderful things about the starter is that you can bake almost anything with it, pancakes, bread, biscuits. It is a sweet dough, not a sour dough because of the sugar.

Just give it a bit of flour every week or so and it will continue to survive and you’ll have a lifetime of yeast. Run out of flour? Then dry some acorns, and ground them up fine to be a flour substitute. Any carbohydrate like flour, rice flour, will work.

See the original article here:

About The Author: TheCovertPrepper is the editor of,, the host of the PPRN News Show podcast, and is a Contributing Columnist for Radical Survivalism Webzine.