The official website of the Northshore Tea Party, the official Tea Party organization of St. Tammany, Washington and Tangipahoa Parishes in Southeast Louisiana.

Vegetable Storage

Vegetable Storage: Getting to the Root of the Problem

"Here is a hypothetical situation that some of you may have thought about in the past. You are self-sufficient, either relying very little or not at all upon pre-packaged food. In point of fact, you grow your own. Living off the grid as you do, this makes your life easier. If you have ever wanted to cut the shackles of the grocery store and its processed, chemical and preservative-laden food, then you are in luck. There is a way you can do this, keeping your larder full and furthering your independence from local and municipal goods and services. Gardens are all well and good, but one avenue you might consider, if you have not done so already, is the root cellar. The root cellar provides a stable, year-round foundation from which you can store a wide variety of produce; many of the vegetables you find in a store or farmerís market can be stored in a root cellar. But first, the basics."
Read more here.

Urban Gardening

Urban Gardening: Indoor and Balcony Gardening Tips

"It is possible to grow your own food even if you live in an urban space and have no outdoor room to garden.  If you have just a bit of space on a balcony or rooftop, you can grow even more.  Hereís an overview of how to grow food for yourself and your family if youíre living without a large yard and transportation to move large quantities of plants and supplies to your house." Read more here.

Food Storage 101

Food Storage 101 (from AsAMom.org)

Q. Where do I begin?
If you have never stored food before then there are 3 basic methods:

1. Store bulk basics, Wheat, rice, beans, dry milk etc. If stored properly these items can last 20-30 years. The down side is you need to learn how to cook with some of these basics.
2. What you already eat. Build up a supply of what you eat gradually buy buying double or triple of what you would use. This method often uses a menu that rotates at a certain interval. Rotation is key to this as many products have a 6 month - 2 year shelf life.
3. Prepackaged supplies. Usually freeze dried, MREs (military meals ready to eat) and some bulk products. They give a wider variety and shelf life can be 20 years or longer depending on the product. Several companies offer these that can be found on line or through some warehouse club stores.

Those who have been storing for a long time usually have some hybrid of these three methods.

Whatever methods you use remember rotation is a key. The first thing you need is a permanent marker to write dates on each food item you buy. ACTION ITEM GO BUY A PEN

My advice Start small: Aim for 3 month supply
Start small and do the best you can. Begin by purchasing a few extra items to add to your storage each week. Strive to build a one-week supply; then expand it to a one-month supply, then a three-month supply. By building your supply slowly, you can avoid financial strain and start down the path toward self-reliance.
Water:
Store 2 Week supply 1 gallon per person per day. Water can be stored PETE bottles. The type apple juice is comes in the non refrigerated section of your store, look for the PETE in the recycle symbol on the bottom. NO MILK JUGS they can leach and even break at the seams. Good guide lines can be found here on safety can be found here.


Bonus: Want to start today? Get salt. 5 lbs per adult per year and as long as it is kept dry it will last forever!

More on Food Storage

Be Prepared: An Introduction to Food Storage

(Info from GlennBeck.com)

November 21, 2010 - 1:30 ET

In the age of the 24 hour supermarket, food storage may seem like a crazy concept. But economic forces are converging in such a way that skyrocketing food prices no longer seem like a possibility, more and more they appear to be an impending certainty. While Glenn could be wrong about inflation, thereís no harm in being prepared. Donít be the person holding up a sign looking for help, be the person with a life raft. Look at the information on food storage and decide whatís best for you and your family.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

- No refrigeration, plan for emergency assuming no electricity.

- Be nutritious, there may be some more physical activity required (ie. Blizzard requires more shoveling)

- Keep calorie count

FOOD

- Recommend you start with 2 week supply of food
- Good no-cook food items

- Energy bars / breakfast bars
- Almonds
- Peanut butter
- Tuna packages
- Canned pasta
- Dried fruit / canned fruit
- Dry milk
- Instant coffee
- V-8 juice

- Plan around the way you already eat.

- Build around 3 categories of food

- Grocery store goods:  often inexpensive, and itís all familiar stuff.  (i.e. mac & cheese)
- Freeze dried foods:  lightweight and donít take up much room.  more expensive up front, but priced out per serving, itís budget friendly. 
- Bulk dry food:  rice, beans, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, cornmeal, wheat, dried milk, etc.  It will be the backbone of your food storage and last up to 20-30 years.

- Donít stock up on it unless you know you like it.

- Look at ingredients. You donít want something high in sodium or preservatives

- Pay attention to shelf life. Take a look at package, can. Soup doesnít need water and can store this for a few years.  Plastic bags and cardboard boxes Ė 1 yr max

WATER

- Easiest way to store is by using cleaned out 2 liter soda bottles. You can easily clean out with hot water, drop of soap. Rinse thoroughly. That type of plastic is safe for storage.

- Recommend 2 liter soda bottle / per person / per day. For consumption and washing.

-
If a situation where water is an issue, be sure to have stash of paper plates & freeze dried meals.

- If you can heat water, then at least you can enjoy a hot meal (i.e. mac & cheese, pasta, soup)

STORAGE

- 5 main enemies to storing food

- Temperature:  ideal is 40 degrees -  72 degrees.  For every 18 degrees above 72, food will lose itsí nutritional value by half
- Humidity: Store food off the floor and away from outside walls
- Pests: Keep food in air-tight containers clean up food particles on the shelves or floor
- Oxygen: Use oxygen absorbers, rotate food, vacuum packing food to reduce oxidation
- Light: Keep your pantry area dark.  If food is in clear containers, keep them in labeled boxes with lids.

- Look for places where can you declutter (I have water bottles stored under my kidsí beds)

- You can store food in bin under a bed, clear out space in closet and designate a shelf.

-
I recommend pieces of furniture that can double as storage. (i.e. Bench that opens up with a storage component Ė especially good for small homes)

- Store in a place that you wonít be dipping into constantly.

NON-FOOD ITEMS

- Items like toilet paper, can be bulky but it can be stored in garage, attic, shed, etc. moisture will affect it but temperature wonít.
- Non-food items, purposefully 1-2 weeks supply
- Go through entire day and jot down every non-item used.
Soap, shampoo, contact solution, etc. buy extras of those.
- Keep easily organized in buckets (i.e. dental, laundry, etc.)
- Give serious consideration to how your family will cope when power is down. Communication, entertainment, What would we do to take care of pets? Keep things cool in the home, etc?

Source: National Center for Home Food Preservation

Storage information
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/store.html

Canning information
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_home.html

Drying information
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/dry.html

Sheltering In Place

The 9 Essentials to Sheltering in Place

(From theReadyStore.com)

When it comes to emergencies thereís items that are necessities and thereís items that are luxuries. Generally speaking you want to tackle the necessities first and then add additional items to increase the comfort level of the situation.

Here are 9 essentials you should have during a sheltering in place scenario, (keep in mind that you may be required to shelter in place somewhere besides your own home):

1. Water - Plan on 1 Gallon per person, per day for drinking and sanitation. Our water storage category includes items like Datrex Water Pouches and 5-Gallon Water Containers that can help you with your water needs.

2. Food - A supply of 3-5 days per person. For a lot of people the first couple of days can be supplemented by whatís already in the house. However, to insure that you always have your emergency food supply ready to go I recommend one of our 3-21 Day Food Supplies.

3. Clothes - In your 72-Hour Kit you want to be sure you have an extra pair of clothes and shoes for each person in your group/family.

4. Medications - Itís a good practice to collect 3-5 days worth of any prescription medications that youíre taking. Also be sure to note expiration dates so that you can rotate them appropriately.

5. Flashlight - When it comes to flashlights, donít go cheap. There are good flashlights out their that are very affordable. Hereís some great options: Ultra-Bright 3-LED Dynamo Flashlight, 12-LED StreamLine Flashlight, or the ULTIMATE Dynamo Solar Powered Survival Radio.

6. Can Opener - This is another item that you want to be sure is high quality. Thereís nothing worse than a can opener that wonít open cans.

7. Radio - The ideal option for a radio is one that has multiple options for powering the radio including, batteries, hand-crank, AC/DC, and/or

solar. The ULTIMATE Dynamo Solar Powered Survival Radio is a great option for this.

8. Hygiene Kit - Start with just the basics, soap, toilet paper and a toothbrush is enough to get most people by for 3-5 days.

9. First Aid Kit - Again, from a starting point perspective make sure that your first-aid kit at lest includes, antiseptic, gloves, bandages and your non-prescription medicine such as aspirin or Tylenol.

Put these 9 essential items in place and youíve got a good foundation for a sheltering in place emergency kit!