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Sunday, May 1, 2022

 Kits and Lists for an Emergency!

Why isn’t a 72-hour kit first on the list of things to prepare? A 72-hour kit is also called a Grab-and-Go kit—something you take with you when you leave your home if you need to evacuate. A lot of emergencies don’t require us to evacuate our homes. Winter storms, other natural disasters, civil unrest, food supply shortages, power outages, loss of employment and sickness and quarantine - these are all examples of emergencies where we would stay in our homes, not leave. So a 72-hour kit is useful, but not needed for every emergency.

There are other kits that are good to prepare for use every-day. What if a bad winter storm came up while you were running errands on a typical day. Would you have what you need to make it home already in your car? What if you are driving during an earthquake. Do you know what to do, and do you have supplies to last a few days if it takes you that long to get home? These are some examples of times a 72-hour kit wouldn’t be used, but another kit would. In this post, we are going to discuss the kits you should make for every-day possibilities, as well as evacuations.

Here is a video you can start with:

Here is a rundown of the kits I will be recommending:

  1. Every-day Carry Kit. These are items that will slip in a purse or bag easily wherever you go. It’s light and portable and will cover a lot of basic needs.

  2. Get Home Kit. This fits in a duffel type bag, and stays in the vehicle
    at all times. It’s to cover you if your vehicle fails you, for whatever reason, and you will be walking home. What would you need to handle that situation? Those things are in the bag.

  3. Car Emergency Kit. This stays in the vehicle all the time, and contains the things you will need if your car has problems, or if you will need to stay with the car for some time if you are stuck in traffic, have a flat tire, are challenged by a weather emergency or other problems.

  4. 72-hour Kit. This bag is to sustain life and comfort for at least three days under conditions of evacuation FROM home on foot. It really should be in a backpack, and be limited to what you can fit in a back- pack. In three days time you’re going to get hungry, cold, thirsty, sleepy, and need to use the restroom. What can you take in a backpack to deal with those needs?

    You will also need an Evacuation List. This is a list of items you will take from your home in the event of an evacuation. The list will also organize your needs into time frames. For example, you should have a list of things to take if you have 10 minutes to prepare, and another if you have an hour to prepare.

  1. Create Your Evacuation Checklist

Here is how to create an emergency evacuation list:

I walked through my home with a clipboard, looking at everything in every room. I made lists for what I would take if I had 5 minutes before evacuating, 30 minutes, 1 hour and 1 day. Then I sat down with my family and went through the lists, making sure I included all of the necessities, as well as priceless sentimental items.

We then talked about what we would need to DO in those same periods of time. The things that are absolutely essential to grab or do are at the top of each list. I printed off multiple copies of my lists and put them in the garage, my bedroom, the kitchen, and my storeroom. We should all be able to find one in an emergency.

After you have your list, practice at least once to make sure you can get through everything on your evacuation checklist as quickly as possible and so you know how to fit everything in your car. Make needed adjustments, then practice yearly.

A few ideas:

  • If the house is on fire, get yourself and your family out and don’t worry about anything else.

  • Keep 72-hour kits in a place where they are easy to grab. In the garage, near the back door...

  • Keep shoes by the door at all times. My friend had a pair of flip flops by her door, so that’s all she took with her in the wildfire..

  • Put power out supplies, such as flashlights, light sticks and extra batteries together together in case you need to find things in the dark.

  • When traveling, we always take a 72-hour kit and an extended car kit with us.

  • Create a binder that has all of your important documents in it so you can grab it quickly. 

To Do This Month:

  • Prepare your everyday kits - Every-day Carry, Every-day, Get Home Bag and Car Emergency Kit.
  • Prepare your Evacuation Checklist with your family.
  • Prepare your Emergency Binder with all of your Vital documents in one place.
  • Prepare your 72-hour kits for your family 

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Gardening in an Emergency

The time to start preparing to grow your own food in an emergency is TODAY, not when the power goes out or fuel shortages have stopped the trucks from delivering food.

Gardening is a skill, much like being able to shoot a gun accurately. Gardening is much more than simply scattering some seeds, watering them a bit, waiting a few days and then harvesting some food. It takes time to prepare the land, nourish the soil, purchase or save seeds and grow the seeds! You also need to do things that work, make some mistakes, realize the good and the bad, and learn from them to become a better gardener.

Places to start:

  • Acquire some emergency seeds

  • Acquire some sprouting seeds. These will provide fast fresh food no matter what time of year it is.

  • Look for a space you can grow in

  • Ensure a source of water

Why it’s important to grow a garden, if possible, during emergency situations.

If an emergency occurs, you will be surviving on emergency foods. They are lacking in nutrients and you will quickly have nutrient deficiencies. If possible, you need to grow live foods that will provide those missing nutrients.

Starting on the day the power fails or the emergency occurs, let’s look at a timeline of what is possible, things to have in preparation and how every- thing can tie together to feed your family in the short and medium term 

  1. Emergency

  2. First day — Start sprouts in a jar. Will sprout in 4-6 days. Soak overnight then rinse and drain. Let sit in sunny window and rinse and drain 1-2 times per day.

  3. Day 3-7 — start more sprouts every other day. Start fast growing seeds outdoors (see list below)

  4. First week — should be able to eat out of your refrigerator and freezer. The refrigerator will keep things cool for 2 – 3 days. The freezer will become your fridge in 3 – 4 days as things thaw out but stay cool. Try to conserve canned or dried goods for later

    Fast-growing crops to plant ASAP after an emergency:

    • Asian or Mustard greens – 21 days for baby, 45 days mature

    • Beets – 35 days for beet tops, 50 days mature

    • Broccoli Raab/Rapini or De Cicco – 40 – 45 days for first harvest, can harvest again and again

    • Carrots – 50 – 70 days depending on weather

    • Kale – 30 days for baby kale, 60 days mature

    • Lettuces – 30-45 days depending on variety. Leaf lettuce will grow to harvest quickly.

    • Radishes – Bulb radishes 25 – 35 days

    • Spinach – 30 days to baby, 45 days mature. Works best in cooler


    • Swiss chard – 30 days baby, 55 days mature

      Being able to use this fresh garden produce to supplement the dried, canned, freeze-dried and other foods in your short and long term food storage will make meals much more interesting, nutritious and tasty.

Make sure...  Only buy Non-Hybrid and Heirloom seeds! You collect and use the seeds from these plants for future planting, so you never have to buy seeds again. This is essential in an emergency when seeds may not be available for purchase. Hybrid Seeds are sterile and CANNOT be collected and reliably used for future planting. 

Growing Sprouts in a Jar

The easiest way to grow sprouts for eating is in a jar. Almost any seed can be sprouted in a jar, following these basic guidelines.

Instructions for sprouting in a jar 

1. Choose a jar and lid.

  • Any glass jar will do for sprouting, though one with a wide opening makes it easier to rinse, drain, and remove sprouts. Choose a jar large enough to contain the seeds and sprouts - which will fill up at least 10 times as much space as the seeds alone.

  • You need a mesh-like, breathable 

    covering. This can be cheesecloth, a tea towel or very fine-gauge plastic or wire mesh. You use this when draining the seeds. While sprouting, you want the sprouts to get air flow.

2. Rinse Seeds.

  • Rinse seeds well with cool water and drain. Remove any stones, loose fibers or broken seeds if large enough to see.

3. Soak Seeds.

  • Place a small amount of rinsed seeds (1-2 T) in a jar and fill about 3⁄4 full with cool water. Cover with a mesh lid or cloth, secured with a rubber band, to allow air flow.
  • A general rule- soak at least 8 hours. Soak until the seeds have doubled in size. Larger seeds like chickpeas or kidney beans may require a 24-hour soak.

  • In warmer temperatures, the soak time is shorter. In cooler tempera- tures, soak time is longer,

4. Drain Seeds

  • Drain the seeds well, for several hours, while allowing plenty of air circulation. This is why you need a secured mesh lid. You need to keep the bottle upside down and draining for some time.

5. Rinse, Drain, and Repeat 3 times per day

  • Rinse seeds with cool water and repeat draining. Usually 2-3 days of rinsing and draining about 3 times per day is sufficient.

  • If it’s very warm, rinse more frequently. If it’s cold, less frequent rinsing may be fine, but keep in mind that seeds may not sprout as well.

 6. Final Rinse and Drain

  • Once sprouts are ready to harvest, rinse one final time and remove un-sprouted seeds and seed hulls if you don’t want them with your finished sprouts. Drain thoroughly one final time before eating or storing.

Using sprouted seeds

Sprouts are ready to eat at any point after a sprout tail appears. Taste daily during the sprouting process and eat or refrigerate once they taste good to you. Many seeds will become spicier if sprouted too long.

Storing sprouts and sprouted seeds

Sprouts are easy to grow in small batches every few days so that there are fresh sprouts to eat daily. However if you want to store them, drain them completely and store in a sealed container in the fridge. Can store for a few days. 

To Do This Month:

Grow something. Anything. Sprout some seeds in a jar. Start some seeds in a pot on your patio or inside a warm window. You need to learn that growing things is possible anywhere, anytime!

Buy some heirloom seeds for the things you would most like to grow. Store them somewhere cool.

Start preparing your soil by adding organic matter. Save your kitchen scraps.

Look into one way you could grow food in the winter.
Learn what Zone you live in and when you should plant for your area. 

Sunday, January 30, 2022

February 2022 - Short Term Food Storage

When I ask people what they think they should store first for an emergency, they always say food. They are close – that’s the second thing to store, but the food you should store first is not the food most people are thinking of.

I bet when you think of food storage you probably envision silver #10 cans of wheat and big bags of dried beans. Those are called Long-Term Food Storage foods because they will store a long time. They are food staples or what you might call “ingredients”. They require preparation, and sometimes special preparation, to be able to use them for meals.

Long-term stored foods are. essential in long-term emergencies, and the next chapter will be devoted to them, but they are not what you need to have on hand for a short-term emergency or the start of an emergency.

The simple definition of an emergency is something that you haven’t planned for, and that involves some sort of immediate consequence or struggle. In an emergency situation, the last thing you need to be doing, day one, is trying to figure out how to use wheat and dried beans!

You will be hungry and stressed and need energy to get through the next little while. That is what short term food storage if for. It’s food you can use easily and with very little preparation for a short time (up to three months).

What are short-term foods? The foods you eat every day at home now. These may be packaged or canned foods, fresh or frozen items, and things you can make simply with what you have on hand. In an emergency you and your family will want foods that are familiar and filling to get through the first few days and weeks.

Watch a video about short term food storage here:

What should you store?

Kitchen Staples

Baking chips
Baking chocolate squares Baking powder and soda Cocoa
Corn meal
Extracts (almond, vanilla) Flour
Canned Milk
Nonstick cooking spray Nuts
Cooking Oil
Rice – quick cooking Oats
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper Shortening
Sugar - all kinds
Eggs, powdered
Lemon Juice
Dried Onions
Cooking Spray
Dry Milk Powder Evaporated Milk

Raisins and other dried fruits Jams/ Jellies

Baking Mixes

Brownie mix Cake mix
Corn bread mix
Muffin mix Frosting Pancake Mix Pudding, instant Quick bread mix

Canned or Bottled Foods

Applesauce Beans
Chicken or Turkey Fruits

Green chilies Jam and Jelly Ketchup Mustard Meats

Olives Peanut butter

Prepared entrées (chile, ravioli, spaghetti, soups, stews, etc.)

Pumpkins or Yams Salsa

Sauces (Alfredo, cheese, picante, spaghetti, etc.)

Soups, condensed Stew


BBQ Sauce Parmesan Cheese Spaghetti Sauce Apple or Fruit Juice Candy


Bouillon granules Hot pepper sauce Onion soup mix Soy sauce

Taco seasoning
Salad Dressing
Peanut or Almond Butter Teriyaki sauce Worcestershire sauce Powdered drink mix


Bread crumbs, dry


Noodle mixes

Pasta (noodles, macaroni, penne, spaghetti, etc.)

Rice, instant
Rice mixes
Stuffing mix
Packaged scalloped potatoes

Mac N Cheese
Food Bars
Potato flakes
Cold or Instant Cereal

Storage, Long-Term

Dried beans (black, kidney, navy, pinto)

Nonfat dry milk powder Oats (regular, Instant) Potato (flakes, Pearls)
Rice (instant, long grain etc.)
Wheat (red or white)

Egg powder

Non-Food Items

Multi-vitamins Baby food Formula Diapers

Baby wipes
Bar or liquid bath soap Toilet paper rolls
Facial tissue
Feminine items Deodorant/antiperspirant Razors
Shampoo & Conditioner
Dental Floss
Lip balm Sunscreen 

How much should you store?

You should store extra. It’s pretty simple. When you’re at the store, get a couple more cans of whatever you’re buying. Buy an extra box of garbage bags or get an extra bottle of salsa. If you get extra of everything, it will be enough to last for three months before you know it.

The long-term staples – beans, rice, wheat, oats – these can be the foundation for the meals and you can use the rest to make sure it’s familiar, filling, easy on your gut and easy to prepare.

How should you get prepared for these foods in an easy and economical way?

The best way to prepare is little by little. This month or while you are working on this section, buy extra of whatever you are able to afford. These are items that often have coupons. Buy one get one free, and other deals. And they are the items on case lot sales. Look for warehouse stores that sell things in bulk for less. You can find cases of things for much less per piece than in your regular grocery store.

Make a game out of it – how much can you get for the least amount of money? I think you will be surprised at how quickly you can get food stored that you and your family could live on for three months.

Pay attention to holidays and seasons. Everything will be less expensive when it’s in season and there are always great sales around holidays.


Sunday, January 2, 2022

 January 2022 - Water Storage!

“How are we to deal with both the somber prophecies and the glorious pronouncements about our day? The Lord told us how with simple, but stunning, reassurance: ‘If ye are prepared ye shall not fear’ [D&C 38:30]. What a promise! It is one that can literally change the way we see our future. Temporal, spiritual, and emotional preparation is our key to embracing this dispensation and our future with faith.” Pres. Russell M. Nelson, Oct 2020

Why is water so important to store?

Think about the kind of emergencies we may be faced with. Right now, many of us are having to quarantine from the spread of a virus. You may have an unexpected layoff. In these instances, as well as extreme weather, a chemical or biologic attack, or even most natural disasters, you would stay in your home. We would weather most emergencies in our homes, rather than be evacuated from our homes.

If you are confined to your home, you will need stored items to be able to survive for an unknown length of time. This is when the Survival Rule of Threes comes in:

The Survival Rule of Threes means you can live: 

• 3 minutes without AIR.

• 3 hours without SHELTER.

• 3 days without WATER.

• 3 weeks without FOOD.

Everyone stresses storing food, but you can live MUCH longer without food than you can live without water. That’s why Water Storage is January's topic!!

This video has been watched by people around the world - it's a great place to start to answer your questions and get you started on preparing for water storage!

Goals for this month:

  • To find the water you already have in your home–water heater, pipes, etc.

  • To learn an easy way to store at least 3 days of water, today.

  • To learn the difference between filtration and purification and store at least one way to do both.

  • To look around your environment to find water where you may not have noticed it before.

First steps to preserve water and protect your water during an emergency

If an emergency occurs that affects your water supply, you need to take immediate steps to preserve what you have in your home. What type of emergency would require this? Anything that moves or disrupts the ground, which is where all of the water pipes are. This means earth- quake, flood, and other natural disasters.

  1. Fill bathtubs with cold water, making sure you have plugged the tub with something that seals well like a bowl turned upside down.

  2. Turn off the water supply to the house so no contamination comes into your home.

  3. Drain your pipes. HOW TO: Turn the highest faucet in your home on to cold and collect all of the water that comes out of the faucet. Also turn the lowest faucet in the home on to cold and collect all the water that is coming out. All will drain from the top to the bottom so have the largest collection container at the bottom

  4. Drain your water heater using the instructions included below. You don’t have to do this immediately.  This is why you turn the faucets to cold so it doesn’t drain the hot water heater as well

How to Get Emergency Drinking Water From a Water Heater

Most water heaters hold 30 to 60 gallons of water that can be used in an emergency.


  1. Shut off the valve that leads to the hot water heater immediately after the emergency to prevent the water from becoming contaminated.
  2. Turn off the water heater’s electrical supply (or gas) for your own safety and to prevent the water heater from running without water.
  3. Allow the water inside the heater to cool before you attempt to drain any water from it.
  4. Disconnect the hot water line at the top of the tank. If you can’t get the line off, turn on a hot water faucet in the house to ventilate the water heat- er’s tank and prevent a vacuum from forming.
  5. Open the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and collect the water in a clean storage container. The gate valve does not have a traditional handle, but has a slot at the end of the stem where a handle would normally attach. The slot allows for operation with a screwdriver, or coin. Work this valve gently, as these valves are seldom used more than once or twice per year under normal service conditions, and could be damaged if forced.
  6. Check the first few gallons for rust and sediment. If the water contains rust and sediment, throw it out until clean water starts to drain.
  7. Treat the water by adding six drops of liquid household bleach for every gallon of water. The bleach should contain 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Stir in the bleach and let the water stand for 30 minutes. If, after 30 minutes, the water doesn’t smell like chlorine , add another 6 drops of bleach and let it stand for 15 minutes. The water can now be stored.


  1. Store a short length of potable water hose (white hose) next to the water heater.
  2. Before disaster hits, mark which valve is for the water supply. Run some hot water from any sink. Go back to the hot water tank and feel the two pipes attached to it. The supply line will be the colder one. Somehow mark the valve as “supply”. This will be the one to close in an emergency so that contaminated water will not go into the tank as you drain the clean drinking water that is stored in it.
  3. It is a good idea to flush some water from the bottom of the tank once or twice a year. Sediment can collect on the bottom of the tank. Draining some water under pressure will clean out the sediment.  Regular flushing will keep your heater free of debris.


  1. Turn off the power supply to the tank first. Even if there is a power failure you must unplug, turn off the circuit breaker, or close the gas valve first. If the tank is empty of water when service is restored damage to the tank will occur.
  2. Allow the tank to fill before restoring power to the water heater. Open the supply valve and wait for the water to run out of the open hot water faucet.

Things You’ll Need

  1. A flashlight to find the circuit breaker, plug, and valves in the dark.
  2. Pliers to remove your garden hose.

Tool #1—Emergency Water Storage Inventory

It is recommended that you have 11⁄2 gallons minimum stored per person, per day. This is for drinking and hygiene.

  1. Figure out how many gallons you need to store for 1 week, 1 month, 3 months:

    • # people in your home x 1.5 gallons _________ gallons needed per day

    • Gallons needed per day x 7 = ________________ gallons for 1 week

    • Gallons needed per day x 30 = ______________ gallons for 1 month

    • Gallons needed per day x 90 = ______________ gallons for 3 months

  2. Discover sources of water in your home:

  • Pipe Water - turn on the highest faucet in your house. Then, collect water from the lowest faucet when you turn it on.

  • Hot Water Tank - turn off gas or electricity, whichever heats your water. Turn off the water intake valve to the heater. Follow instructions in Tool #2 in this chapter. Be careful not to burn yourself. You can wait to drain the water heater until the water has cooled and you need it. Do not heat the tank when it is empty.

  • Toilet Tank - the tank of water behind the toilet, not the water in the bowl.

  • Freezer - you may have a quart or so of frozen water in your icecube tray.

  • Bathtub- you can fill your tub if your water supply is not contaminated.  Fill with cold water so you don’t drain your hot water heater. You can use a WaterBOB to save all of this tub water and prevent the drain from letting it leak out.

3.Storage options:

  • Commercial water bottles.Typically 16.9 oz. and come in packs of 36. (Each person needs 11 per day. So a case of 36 would last for 3 days per person.)
  • 2 Liter soda bottles. (Each person needs 3 per day.)

  • 1 gallon jugs. DO NOT USE MILK JUGS! They will not last.

  • Water containers of various sizes – 2-5 gallons

  • 55 gallon water barrel

  • Larger water tanks

Water Inventory

# I have         


I Have

I Need

Pipes 1

Water heater 1

Commercial water bottles

2 liter bottles

Water containers

Water Barrels or tanks


2 gal

40 gal

11 = 1 gallon

2 = 1 gallon

2 gal

40 gal

What is the difference between water filters and purifiers?

You have to filter and purify found water. Filters strain out particles as water is forced through a filtration mate- rial. Purifiers chemically kill particulates.

Filters and Purifiers can treat for most bacteria. These bacteria are about 0.2 microns and larger in size, so the filters can catch them as long as the filter pores are at least as small as 0.2 microns. Purifiers can also kill bacteria. Some common bacteria that can be in the water are Cholera and Typhoid Fever.

Only purifiers can eliminate viruses. Viruses are so small (0.004 microns) that filters can’t reliably catch them. Some examples of viruses are Hepatitis A, Polio, and the Influenza Virus. Viruses can be killed by purification (chemical disinfecting) and boiling.

Only filters can treat for protozoa like the Giardia parasite, which is often in water and causes diarrhea. Protozoa are immune to chemical purification treatments because of their hard, protective shell. This is one reason that many purifier manufacturers choose to also have some sort of filter element on their purifiers as well.

Join us next month for Short Term Food Storage!

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Getting Organized in Preparedness

 This has been a season of challenges and trials, and we have all learned alot about who we are and what we are capable of.  In his October 2020 General Conference address, Elder Bednar said, 

The year 2020 has been marked, in part, by a global pandemic that has proved, examined, and tried us in many ways. I pray that we as individuals and families are learning the valuable lessons that only challenging experiences can teach us. I also hope that all of us will more fully acknowledge the “greatness of God” and the truth that “he shall consecrate [our] afflictions for [our] gain.”4
Two basic principles can guide and strengthen us as we face proving and trying circumstances in our lives, whatever they may be: (1) the principle of preparation and (2) the principle of pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ." Elder Bednar

As a Mount Mahogany Stake Self-Reliance Committee, we would like to support and guide you in the principle of preparation.  Elder Bednar goes on to say, 

Some Church members opine that emergency plans and supplies, food storage, and 72-hour kits must not be important anymore because the Brethren have not spoken recently and extensively about these and related topics in general conference. But repeated admonitions to prepare have been proclaimed by leaders of the Church for decades. The consistency of prophetic counsel over time creates a powerful concert of clarity and a warning volume far louder than solo performances can ever produce.

We are going to work to get prepared in 12 Steps in 2022.  

Please join us in the efforts.

  1. Check out the resources found on this site and on the youtube channel for the 12 steps to Emergency Preparedness Youtube Playlist
  2. You can also request a discounted copy of Be Prepared, Not Scared- 12 Steps to Emergency Preparedness by emailing and requesting copies for $7 each.

In December, please inventory your existing preparations and make goals for your efforts in 2022.  Let's get prepared together!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Preparing for Cooking in An Emergency

 Cooking in an Emergency

Do you have stored food? That’s step one. The next step is knowing what to do with it! 

When preparing for an emergency, one of the first things you need to do is determine how you’re going to cook and prepare food. Nearly all stoves are electric, so if the power goes out, you’re forced to find alter- native cooking methods

Some things to consider:

What foods to use first:

During the first week of an emergency, you should eat out of your refrigerator and freezer. The refrigerator will keep things cool for 2 – 3 days. The freezer will become your fridge in 3 – 4 days as things thaw out but stay cool. Try to conserve canned or dried goods for later.

Some simple meals you can make without cooking:

An emergency is not the time to make three course, multiple ingredient meals. Make one-pot meals and use the fresh foods you have in the fridge to stay nourished and use your time for other priorities.

How to quickly preserve your frozen foods:

If you have a freezer full of food and the electricity is out, if it’s in the winter, move the freezer outside and use mother nature to help. If not, you will need to preserve the food as quickly as possible. Some fast methods of food preservation – drying in the sun for fruits and vegetables, salting and curing for meats. Make sure to store plenty of salt for cooking and for preservation.

What to do before the emergency:

  • Store foods that are easy to heat and eat, along with foods that take time and know-how to prepare. Example - canned beans and dried beans.

  • Have people powered tools instead of electric tools for cooking. Electric can openers do not work when the power is out.

  • Have pots and utensils that can be used with your cooking option of choice. Fires and grills are very hot and you will need long handled utensils (found for next to nothing at thrift stores) and hot pads or over-gloves.

  • Practice with your cooking option of choice.

  • Practice cooking with minimal equipment.

  • Choose methods that conserve fuel

  • Plan to be able to cook indoors and out, in the home or evacuated, in cold and hot weather

  • Remember, any flame can produce carbon monoxide — the cooking area must be well ventilated

  1. Options for cooking indoors without electricity

    Even if it’s warm outside, it’s still more convenient to cook inside than out, and if it’s cool, it may be nice to have the added warmth. Here are a few ways that you can cook your food inside:

    • Wood-burning stove: This is the type of stove that you use to keep warm. The tops of these get plenty hot enough to heat a skillet or a pot of water; you can most certainly cook anything that you’d like on them. All you need is wood or coal.

    • Fireplace: Use it like a campfire. Use grates to place your skillet on. You can also wrap some foods, such as potatoes or veggie packs, in aluminum foil and put it straight into the fire. Make sure to maintain the fireplace properly.

    • Sterno stoves: Sterno stoves are small warming stoves that run off of jars of a gel called Sterno. Sterno stoves can be used indoors or out and get hot enough to heat water or cook something small like a can of soup.

    • Kerosene heaters: The tops of these heaters get hot enough that you can heat soups, canned vegetables and water.

    • Butane stoves: These are compact stoves that run off of small canisters of butane. They are portable and can cook most things. However, they must have a supply of the butane canisters to run.


Options for Cooking outdoors Without Electricity

Cooking outdoors gives you several more options than cooking indoors. You don’t have to worry about smoke, deadly carbon monoxide or burning your house down. There are many ways to cook outdoors as long as the weather is good.

  1. Gas or charcoal grill: You can use the gas until it’s gone then continue to use the grill burning wood inside. A grill traps heat inside of it so your food will cook faster and more evenly.

  2. Camp stove: These are handy for short term use. The disadvantage is that they require gas to run. DO NOT use them inside!

  3. Open fire: Build a good cooking pit by stacking blocks or stone stacked a couple of feet high around the rim and digging a pit at least a foot deep in the center. Set a grate over the top. This allows room for your wood below the cooking area. Iron skillets and dutch ovens are great for cooking over a fire.

  4. Solar ovens: Solar ovens work well when it’s warm and clear out. They cook using only the power of the sun.

  1. Rocket stoves: Rocket stoves are compact, efficient stoves that use small pieces of wood in a combustion chamber. You put the small pieces of wood in, light it, then the heat travels up a chamber and out the top. Since they use small pieces of wood extremely efficiently, they’ll save your wood supply while quickly cooking your food.

  2. Volcano stove: A volcano stove is a collapsible stove that can use wood, charcoal or propane as the heat source. You can heat relatively large amounts of food with it. It folds right into itself and is fairly lightweight.

  3.  Wonder Oven/Hay Box/Insulated Cooker: To use this cooker, you bring food up to temperature, put it in an insulated cooker, and it continues to cook without any fuel. You still have to have a way to bring food up to temp before putting it in, but these are easy to make at home. It is like an electricity-free slow cooker.

  4. Cube Stove, Stove in a Can: These are small, lightweight, single use options for heating food.  They cannot be used inside and will only last as long as your stove in a can stores last.

  5. Earth or Cob Oven: This is a clay oven that is made out of earth and straw and sand. After curing, it is heated with wood and can cook everything from bread to grains to full meals. Must have this made before your emergency! 

How to get the most nutrition out of your stored foods

Most of our long term stored foods is grains and beans and other seeds, along with things to make those grains and beans taste good. These are great storage foods because they won’t sprout because of a coating on the outside that keeps them from sprouting. I am grateful that they don’t sprout in my storage, but this same coating can also cause these foods to be less nutritious than they should be if you don’t handle them correctly before cooking.

This sprouting inhibitor is called phytic acid. This phytic acid holds tightly to the phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc in these foods. As long as the phytic acid is still coating the grain, the nutrients in the grain are not available for you.

Why is it so important to remove/reduce phytic acid (phytates)?

Phytic acid not only grabs on to, or chelates, important minerals, it also also inhibits enzymes that we need to digest our food. These include pepsin needed for the breakdown of proteins in the stomach, amylase needed for the breakdown of starch into sugar, and trypsin needed for protein digestion in the small intestine.

The presence of phytic acid in so many of the foods we are told are “healthy” for us–seeds, nuts and whole grain–makes it crucial that we know how to prepare these foods. The phytic acid needs to be neutralized as much as possible, and these foods should be eaten in a complete diet that helps to counteract the effects of phytic acid.

Consumption of high levels of phytic acid leads to:

  1. Mineral deficiencies, leading to poor bone health and tooth decay

  2. Blocked absorption of zinc, iron, phosphorous and magnesium

  3. Leeching of calcium from the body

  4. Lowered metabolism

  5. Anemia

Make the nutrients in grains available for your body

People living in traditional cultures throughout the world had lives filled with time-consuming daily activities. Yet they soaked, fermented, and ground their grains before using them. They often removed the hull of the grain before use as well. Why did they take the time? Because they knew it was the only way to get all the nutrients out of the grain.

What are these traditional ways of handling grains and legumes?

You must pre-treat the grains, seeds and nuts in one of two ways:

Soaking grains/flour in an acid medium at a warm temperature–helps to reduce, or even eliminate phytic acid.

Souring—think sourdough bread with natural yeast. This is the preferred method for reducing phytic acid in breads and bread-products.

In general, the best means of significantly reducing phytic acid in grains and legumes is a combination of acidic soaking for a long time, followed by cooking.

One important thing to note is that not all grains contain enough phytase to eliminate the phytic acid, even when they are soaked. Oats and corn are two of these. So when soaking, if you add a small amount of a high phytase flour (rye, wheat, spelt and kamut) to the soaking water for corn and oats, it will help reduce the high phytase in these two grains

Bottom line...If you want to eat grains and/or legumes, you must soak or ferment them before eating!

How to Soak

Soaking isn’t hard, in fact, it’s really easy. The hard part is that you have to plan ahead, which is difficult in today’s fast paced world.

Here is what you need to soak grains, seeds, nuts, flour & legumes:

  • Filtered water ~ warm water is necessary to properly break down the phytic acid and other minerals.

  • Some kind of acid – yogurt*, buttermilk*, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, whey, milk kefir* and coconut kefir. *If using dairy it needs to be cultured.

  • Baking soda for legumes

  • Time

Put grain into a glass bowl and cover completely with filtered water. For every 1 cup of liquid you will need 1 tbsp of acid. (Most grains: soak for 12-24 hours. Buckwheat, brown rice and millet: soak for 7 hours).

  1. Cover bowl

  2. Rinse in a colander after soaking.

  3. Use in the recipe (may take less time to cook after they are soaked)

  4. You can grind these grains wet in a Food Processor

Soaking flours

If soaking flour, you start making the recipe the night before, adding the flours and the water, oil and sweetener. Mix in a glass bowl and cover overnight.

Add the other ingredients in the morning and continue making the recipe (eggs, milk, etc). Remember this includes nut flours, like almond flour, that are high in phytic acid as well.

Soaking Beans

  1. For kidney shaped beans, add enough water to cover the beans and a pinch of baking soda. Cover and allow to sit in a warm kitchen for 12-24 hours, changing the water and baking soda once or twice.

  2. For non-kidney-shaped beans such as northern beans or black beans, place beans into pot and add enough “hot to the touch”water to cover the beans.For every one cup of beans you can add 1 tbsp of acid like vinegar or lemon juice, however it does slightly change the flavor and texture of the cooked bean. Soak for 12-24 hours and change the soaking water at least once.

  3. After soaking is done, rinse the beans, replace the water and cook for 4-8 hours on low heat or for 6-8 hour on high in the crockpot until beans are tender.

Rice—Use partially milled white rice or brown rice that has been soaked overnight and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse rice, then cook as normal.

Corn—Maize, or corn, has been a staple food in central America for thou- sands of years, with indigenous peoples soaking the dried corn kernels in alkaline lye or quicklime before cooking. This is called “nixtamalization,” and it increases the bioavailability of bound niacin (Vitamin B3) in the corn by converting it into a water-soluble free compound, allowing it to be absorbed by the gut.

Making Lime water

Pickling Lime or Cal Mexicana (calcium hydroxide) (Can be found in the canning section of a store, in a Hispanic Market, or online.)

Place about a 1/2 cup of the pickling lime into a 1 quart Mason jar. Fill the jar with water, screw on the lid and shake. Let the jar stand on the counter for a few hours until the lime settles, leaving you with a mildly cloudy liquid.

Use the cloudy liquid at the top as your lime water. Save the rest for use later – it does not go bad when stored at room temperature.

  • 2 C dried corn

  • 1T pickling lime

  • 8 C water

Rinse the corn, then add to a non-reactive pan. Cover with the water and add the lime. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 30 min. Remove from the heat and allow to sit overnight. After soaking, rinse in water with a strainer and rub the kernels between your fingers to remove some of the skins.

If using cornmeal

If soaking cornmeal, use 1 cup of the lime water for every 2 cups of cornmeal. Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature for 12 hours then proceed as needed for your desired recipe.


  • 1 cup oat groats or flakes

  • Warm filtered water to cover the oats 1 T apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

  • 1 T spelt or wheat flour, rye flour or rolled rye flakes -or- ground buck- wheat groats for a gluten-free version

    Soak for a full 24 hours, drain and rinse in a fine mesh strainer and cook as usual. 

These are all things that can and SHOULD be practiced before an emergency happens!  Practice, and you will be prepared!