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Monthly Archives: April 2013

  • Pennies for Prepping - Urban Girl's April Update

    Pennies for Prepping Banner


    Hi, friends!

    Did April fly by for you? It did for me, so I’m juuuuust sneaking in under the deadline for posting my Pennies for Prepping update in time for you to take advantage of the April sales! In April I followed the plan I had in March—take out a $20 bill in advance, and if I need it, I’ll use it. But I didn't need it, and I was able to save another $6.37 on top of that. Combined with the $1.28 I had left from last month, my budget for April was $27.65.

    There were a lot of great items on sale this month, but I’ll tell you what: if you can get in on a group order, do it! That’s what I did this month, so I got the Eight Pack Utility Flame Gel Packets (because I probably couldn't start a fire from scratch to save my life—no pun intended [okay... some pun intended]).

    Utility Flame fire-starting gel

    I also got the Hydropack 10-pack. If you don’t know how these work, they might seem a little weird to you—but they are awesome. You just drop the pouch into water (NOT salt water, anti-freeze, or water rife with spilled chemicals), go about your business, and 8-12 hours later come back and get hydrated! The water gets pulled through the pouch's membrane by forward osmosis, and the filter holes are so small, no viruses, protozoa, or bacteria will even think about making it through. (Do they think at all? Probably not. But you knew what I meant anyway, right?)

    10-pack Hydropack

    So, that’s what I got this month. If I hadn't joined in on a group order this month, I would have bought these items instead:

    The Nokero N200 Solar Powered Light. Solar power is awesome, and this lil’ light o’ miiiiine, I’m gonna let it shiiiiiiine. As soon as I buy one. You should today, before the sale is over. Right now it’s $11.99 on sale (MSRP is $19.99). I’m thinking I’ll get a couple in the next few months, and hang them off my patio railing during the day, then use them for reading lamps at night so I can save on the electric bill. Every little bit helps, right? Plus, then I’ll have them on hand for power outages. I’m all about killing two birds with one stone when it comes to preparedness.

    Nokera N200 Solar-Powered Light

    At least one, but probably two, packs of Emergency Essentials Nylon Emergency Rope. $1.99? Awesome. Having rope on hand in an emergency at home or on the road is so beneficial—how many times have you wished to yourself that you had a length of rope handy to stabilize something or tie something to the roof of your car to get it home? (Or tie your trunk lid down once you’ve finally managed to maneuver said item into your trunk?)

    Emergency Essentials Nylon Emergency Rope

    I would also want to buy a Bear Grylls Fire Starter. On sale this month for just $10.99. I would have to spend a little time practicing my fire-starting skills to make that purchase worth it (remember that I have no fire-starting skills whatsoever), but it’s a great investment—and I should learn how to start a fire anyway.

     Bear Grylls Fire Starter

    Alright, my preparedness peeps. That’s it from me. What did you get this month? If you’re saving pennies like me, were you able to save much in April?

    Let’s meet this time tomorrow to talk May sale items, shall we? See you then!


    --Sarah (a.k.a. Urban Girl)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Pennies for Prepping, Budget, Prepping on a Budget, Urban Girl

  • Pressure Canning: Making Memories (and Making Mother's Day Awesome)

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    I remember hot summer afternoons back in the 80’s, feeling sticky and tired from pushing piles of peach skin and pits off the counter. I can see my mom’s red cheeks, puffing with exertion and her hair all frizzed-out from laboring over the pressure canner. I also remember the stress and frustration; Mom yelling “be careful it’s hot!” and “¡Rapido, rapido! ¡Apúrate!” I know, it sounds like that wouldn't be a cherished memory, but it is.


    903 All-American Pressure Cooker/Canner

    Come fall my dad would pull out the pressure canner and put on the juicing adapter as I washed grapes in the sink. I’d stack the fruit inside; he would fasten the lid. Then we’d wait until the purple gold pushed its way into the Mason jars. “Stand back just in case it splatters,” he’d warn me, and I’d wish I was one of those farm kids who get to squirt milk straight in their mouths from the teat.


    I remember, months later, wrapped in a sweater on gray winter evenings, digging into soft, sweet peaches and feeling the warmth of summer shine into every corner of our tiny kitchen. Nothing, and I mean nothing, tasted as good as cottage cheese running with sugary peach juice. The grape juice was saved for special occasions like somebody’s birthday, or Thanksgiving, or a Sunday dinner when my dad thought we should celebrate for no particular reason.


    I learned a lot in those days; how to keep a sink full of soapy dishwater to clean as you dirtied dishes, how working now meant pleasure later, and how important precision is. These are lessons that I use as an adult; and it all came from my mother and one little machine.


    Pressure canning is still one of the most reliable ways to preserve food, especially produce. Preserve food and precious memories—get an All-American Pressure Cookers, and take a look at our pressure canning accessories. A pressure canner is a great gift for moms* who want to store their fresh produce for later. If you've never preserved food before, read up on Home Canning Methods, Canning Basics, Canning Tips and Tricks, and get some canning recipes before you start.


    ~ Steph


    *And dads, of course. But Mother’s Day is May 12th, so we’re just dropping some hints on behalf of the mothers in your life. [Nudge, nudge]

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: home food preservation, canning, home food production, Food Storage Tips, emergency preparedness, skills, food storage

  • Meet Angela

    |9 COMMENT(S)


    Hey everyone!

    As the newest blogger at Emergency Essentials, I am excited to get to know you and to share experiences in emergency preparedness together. Growing up near the Washington, D.C. area has given me some unique insights on the definitions of emergency preparedness, and food storage in general.

    As a child, the term emergency preparedness referred to:

    • The 55-gallon water barrel that my mom purchased and then left in the back yard being filled completely by rain water for about 10 years (shameful, I know).
    • Making an emergency kit and having my brother eat the granola bars from it later
    • A map, route, and meeting place to reconnect with the family in case of emergency.

    As a college student, I learned the value of food storage. I had heard many other students express difficulties at building a food storage supply in college, so I began to collect cans of food, and built a basic supply over the years. One thing that I did learn from my mom about food storage was how to use it to create unique meals in a bind. In college I created a bean dip-like concoction that my husband affectionately refers to as “southwest in recession.”

    I know a little bit about emergency preparedness, but I still have a lot to learn. This is why I am so excited to work at Emergency Essentials and to learn from all of you.

    I am probably most excited to learn more about the various food preparation and cooking techniques used to create great meals in the midst of natural disasters and emergencies, like I started to do in college. I also want to start collecting supplies for emergencies and storing food.

    As a somewhat recent college grad, I think that the poorness of school has left me under- prepared. I would love to hear about how others stored up for emergencies during tough financial times.


    Stay tuned to hear what I have learned and other interesting tidbits that I discover and can share with you! I would love to hear your comments that would help me in my quest in emergency preparedness, food storage, and even camping. Especially since I might go on a camping trip with the in-laws soon . . .



    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, Prepping on a Budget, food storage

  • Storing (and Understanding) Heirloom Garden Seeds

    Garden seeds probably aren't the first thing most of us think of buying for our long-term food storage supply. But if you’re thinking ahead, or you’re working on becoming more self-sufficient, then seeds should be on your list. You can’t just throw any old pack of seeds into your storage room or freezer and expect them to last, though. When you’re planning to store seeds, look at the seeds themselves, how they’re prepped for storage, and the packaging they come in.

    Heirloom Garden Seeds (canned)

    Heirloom seeds are the way to go when adding seeds to your long-term food storage. Emergency Essentials offers non-GMO (not genetically modified) Heirloom seeds that are non-hybrid and open-pollinated. That means these seeds will breed true or that they will produce a plant with the same characteristics, not just once, but over and over. You’ll be able to harvest seeds and replenish your storage. It’s a perpetual storage program! (Learn more about non-hybrid, open-pollinated plants on Granny Miller’s blog.)

    Our supplier tests each seed variety personally and on a regular basis to make sure that we get the best non-GMO seeds on the market. Here’s what they test for:

    • adaptability to a variety of growing conditions
    • ease of growing, so even a first-timer can successfully grow a garden
    • nutritional density so you’ll get as much nutrition per square foot as possible

    Now let’s talk about how they prepare the seeds for storage. In order to preserve seeds for long-term storage, you have to get the right balance of moisture. Too much moisture means the seeds will rot over time or, if frozen, will burst. Too little moisture means the seeds will die. Emergency Essentials’ Boxed and Canned Heirloom Seeds are prepared to ensure optimum moisture content. You’ll be able to store these seeds in a storeroom or freezer with the confidence that they’ll sprout when you plant them years later.

    How long will your seeds last? Let’s assume a base storage temperature at 70° F (storing your seeds at temperatures above 70° F will reduce their longevity). We generally say that seeds stored at 70° F will sprout for up to 4 years. But, if you refrigerate or freeze your seeds they’ll last even longer. We estimate that every 6° drop in temperature will double the life of your seeds. You could really extend the life of your seeds and turn them into a true family heirloom! Our supplier’s tests show that these seeds will successfully germinate even after 13 years of storage! (We don’t know at which temperature they stored the seeds for this test.) However, because seeds are living organisms we suggest that you rotate your stock at least every four years.

    Grandfather teaching his grandkids about gardening.

    Much of the longevity of our Heirloom Seeds is due to packaging. The seeds are heat-sealed into triple-layered foil bags before being packed into a box or #10 can. Each bag has an E-Z Lock seal so the bag is reusable – you can return the seeds to storage in the same bag—even after you’ve opened it.

    All in all, storing a few seeds now means more independence later. Emergency Essentials’ Heirloom Seeds will allow you to oversee your own food production. You’ll be able to plant a garden on your own time. You’ll have fresh produce during a time when you might not be able to get it from the grocery store. Best of all, you may just create a family heirloom for the next generation to inherit.







    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: garden seeds, gardening, food storage

  • Thinking Outside the (Planter) Box

    Flowers in an old boot

    “If you feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash,” the Internet recently told me, “you live in Washington.” As a native Northwesterner, I can personally vouch for this. Yes, we wear sandals with socks; yes, we assume you’re a tourist if you’re carrying an umbrella; and yes, we can be a little fanatical when it comes to the environment. Which is why this Seattle times article from a few years ago, titled “Turn your old junk into garden treasures,” struck a chord in my rainy little heart. Recycling? Gardening?! And DIY?! Swoon!

    Of course, the trend of repurposing rubbish for use in container gardening is hardly brand new. Home and garden magazines have been telling us for years how cute our herbs would look peeking out of old bathtubs and galvanized watering cans. And using containers you already have on hand both reduces waste and saves money. But before you go ransacking the woodshed, here are a few points to consider.

    Materials. Growing food in containers requires some extra diligence. According to the University of Louisville’s Center for Environmental Policy & Management, one major consideration in safe container gardening is chemical leaching. Fantastic flea market furniture could contain lead paint; galvanized metals may contain zinc or cadmium; and even salvaged lumber has sometimes been treated with creosote or asbestos. Additionally, the container’s color can affect soil temperature (darker = hotter), which might harm small shoots. And materials not meant for outdoor use could break, rot, or dry out.

    Succulents growing in rusty oil can

    Size. Yes, your husband’s collection of Scooby Doo lunch boxes could be put to better use than taking up space in the coat closet. However, a tall tomato or deep carrot won’t really thrive in something so shallow. Consider the size and depth of the container in relation to plants’ needs. The University of Maryland’s Home & Garden Information Center offers a handy set of recommendations by plant. (P.S. They also have an ingenious how-to for a self-watering container out of a five gallon bucket!)

    Drainage. No matter what container you find, be sure it will stand up to a quarter inch drill bit. Proper drainage is crucial and can get tricky with containers not originally meant for garden use. Drill, poke, or punch enough holes to allow for quick drainage; consider lining the bottom of the container with gravel; and, if possible, mount the container on blocks—even one or two inches is better than setting it flush on flat ground.

    So, even if you’re not the sock-with-sandals, guilt-ridden-because-you-threw-paper-away type, think carefully before making that next dump run. And if you think that “reduce, reuse, recycle” needs to be your new gardening mantra, here are a few other ideas to make your greens even greener. Look for later posts on these!

    • Seed harvesting
    • Natural pest deterrents
    • Foraging for mushrooms and edible weeds
    • Sprouting beans and seeds
    • Re-growing from kitchen scraps

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: DIY, recycling, gardening, garden, skills

  • Solar Power: Clean, Quiet, and Safe

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    field of grass and sunset

    Hey, did you know that today is Earth Day? So let’s talk about getting prepared by using one of our planet’s incredible eco-friendly (and free!) resources: the Sun.  Gathering sunlight and turning it into power is one way to be prepared for a variety of electronic needs in an emergency.

    It seems like the electricity goes out during almost every disaster situation, so it’s wise to have items on hand that will provide light and power when you need them. Solar power is a clean, quiet, and safe source of electricity. And, bonus: No gasoline or propane is required for solar power, so no flammable chemicals will be hanging out in your basement or garage.


    How does solar power work?

    Goal Zero, a company that makes solar power products, gives three steps on how the system works:

    1. Collect Power: As sunlight hits a panel made out of silicon, electrons begin to move in the material and it creates electricity. The silicon material can vary between different panels.
    2. Store Power: Once the electricity is created the panel can charge a battery for future use. This can be done with a large battery or a smaller internal battery in a cell phone or tablet.
    3. Use Power: You can use the stored power to run a variety of needed devices.

    Remember that there are different sized solar panels for different needs.  A portable panel that fits in a backpack may only produce 7-13 watts an hour.  This can only power small electronics like radios, UV purifiers, tablets, or GPS units.  Larger panels charge batteries used for T.V.’s, CPAP machines, or even a fridge.


    What are some items that use solar power?

    The Nokero Light: this light has a solar panel built into the top.  You hang the light in a window or outside during the day to charge the internal battery, and a built-in sensor turns the light on when it gets dark. The battery can last 6+ hours between charges.

    Voyager Radios: a built-in solar panel is one of several ways these emergency radios can be charged. The solar panel will still charge the radio as it plays important information during an emergency.

    Goal Zero Nomad 7 and Guide 10 Plus: the Nomad 7 is a solar panel that can produce up to 7 watts per hour.  It charges AA or AAA batteries in the Guide 10 Plus.  The battery charger has a USB port that charges cell phones, tablets, or other hand held electronics (cool, huh?!).

    Goal Zero Boulder 30 and Yeti 1250: the Boulder 30 is a larger solar panel that can draw up to 30 watts per hour. Multiple panels together can charge various units, up to a Yeti 1250.  The Yeti is a large battery with enough stored power to run some fridges up to 48 hours per charge. This system can light your whole house—and it’s surprisingly compact, considering all the power it offers!

    Goal Zero Yeti

    Click here to see all our solar-powered items. Have you used solar power before? What’s your favorite thing about it?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Goal Zero, solar power, emergency power

  • Baby Steps: The Great Utah ShakeOut


    It’s not glamorous but the ‘Drop! Cover! Hold on!’ method will protect you during an earthquake.

    On April 17, Emergency Essentials participated in the Great Utah ShakeOut. At 10:15 am thousands of Utahns dropped, covered, and held on during an earthquake drill.

    The event gave me some valuable insight. I learned that I need to clear out a few things under my desk and organize some cables that are in my way. My coworker had his doubts about how much protection his cubicle would really give him, but he learned that his desk will in fact provide sufficient coverage. (Here’s a picture of him sliding into position.)


    Today’s Baby Steps are really small, but will make a big difference in your ability to survive an earthquake.

    1. Find out when the ShakeOut is happening in your state or territory and sign up. If there isn’t a ShakeOut in your state, consider starting one or holding your own family/community drill

    2. Learn to Drop, Cover, and Hold on.

    3. Teach your family.

    Every step toward preparedness is a step in the right direction. If you feel silly practicing in public, practice at home. It only takes a few seconds to Drop, Cover, and Hold on and actually doing it will help your body develop the reflex.

    I hope that an earthquake won’t hit your area, but if it does, you know what to do. Drop! Cover! Hold on!

    ~ Steph


    We partnered with The Deseret News to create online information about earthquake preparedness and recovery. Get Ready to Shake Out has tips for prepping, and What to Do When Disaster Strikes will teach you what to do during and after an earthquake. Click the images below to access the information (and download them for free, if you'd like).

    Get Ready to Shake Out

    What to do When Disaster Strikes

    Click here to read The Deseret News’ report.

    Get detailed information about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.

    Click here to read more about Drop, Cover, Hold on.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Drop Cover Hold On, Great Shake Out, Earthquake, baby steps

  • Celebrate Spring (or Pretend it's Spring) with Food Storage Pasta Primavera

    Spring has been a little hit and miss so far this year. Whether or not it’s Spring outside in your neck of the woods, you can enjoy a little Spring flavor. Just whip up this delicious Pasta Primavera made from 100% food storage ingredients.

    Food Storage Pasta Primavera Food Storage Pasta Primavera

    Food Storage Pasta Primavera

    *all ingredients measured dry



    Whisk one tablespoon broth and two tablespoons soup base into one cup hot water. Set aside.

    Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add one cup water, the carrot dices, onion flakes, and minced garlic. Simmer, adding more water as needed, until the carrots are almost tender. Reduce heat to medium. Add clarified butter, and sautee the veggies until the carrots are fully tender. Set aside.

    Meanwhile, start some water in a medium pot to boil for the pasta. Measure out all of the veggies you’ll add to your pasta (add the ones we’ve suggested, or come up with your own combo!) and set them aside in a single large bowl.

    Once the pasta water is boiling, add the pasta. While the pasta cooks, completely cover the veggies with warm water and let them rehydrate for 5-8 minutes (that’s about how long it will take the pasta to cook). Once the pasta is al dente, drain and set aside.

    Also drain the veggies, and sautee them with clarified butter until they are hot and some have browned. Put the veggies back in the large bowl, and add the carrot mixture and pasta to the bowl.

    Add 1/3 cup flour, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, and 2 T clarified butter to the skillet to make a thick roux (we used whole wheat flour, but just use what you have on hand). Add the chicken broth mixture to the roux until it's the consistency you would like for your sauce.

    Add the sauce to the bowl of pasta and veggies. Mix well to coat everything. Enjoy!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: vegetarian, pasta, freeze dried, vegetables, recipes, food storage

  • Water Storage Innovation

    |19 COMMENT(S)

    You've just read about a new desalination technology. We've got a new water technology of our own at Emergency Essentials. A monster of a water storage container. I’m not kidding—it’s huge. It holds 160 gallons of water (that’s the equivalent of three 55-gallon barrels) while taking just 7.2 square feet of floor space. It’s called the WaterPrepared 160 Gallon Water Reserve.

     Here are some quick reasons why we think the Water Reserve is so great (and why we’re sure you’ll think so, too):

    • It’s made with BPA-free plastic.
    • The plastic has been enhanced with UV resistance properties (more sun protection!) to increase the life of your water and the life of the barrel itself.
    • It’s FDA and NSF approved.
    • It’s stackable (up to two high).
    • It fits through a standard door frame so you can put it just about anywhere.

    In reality, you should be storing water even when there’s no drought in sight. If a disaster or emergency were to hit your city, it could be a while before potable water (water that’s safe to drink) became available. For example, after Hurricane Sandy, it was a month before some areas could use their tap water without boiling it first.

    Consider the following: The minimum recommended  amount of stored water per adult is 1 gallon per day. That’s 14 gallons for two weeks. Per adult. And that’s going easy on your water. FEMA guidelines tell people to use ½ of the gallon for drinking and ½ for cooking and washing. On one gallon of water per day you’re gonna feel like you’re camping, even if you’re still living in your house.

    If you have a family of 4 (two adults and two children under 12) you’ll need at least 4 gallons of water daily. That’s if you don’t have to wash up any sticky hands, muddy feet, or poopy diapers/clothing. Or flush the toilets. We recommend that you count your kids as adults; you’ll definitely be able to use the “extra” water. So if you were to store four gallons a day, times 14, you’ll have 56 gallons of water. You may have a bigger family, or pets. You’ll probably also want to drink more water, wash dishes, do a little laundry, wash your hair, flush toilets, and not feel pressured to conserve so strictly. You’re gonna need more water than you think.

    You’ll also need more water if your food storage is built on freeze dried and dehydrated foods. Most food storage is. Generally the food requires less than a cup of water per serving, but you should still factor that info your water supply needs.

    With the Water Reserve you don’t have to rotate your water as frequently, especially if it’s stored properly. And when you do want to access the water there are two taps—in addition to the hose outlets—for easy access.

    The Water Reserve is an innovative solution to many of the common water storage troubles. Get your Water Reserve from Emergency Essentials and save on shipping.

    Here are three articles that give you good information on the basics of storing water.

    1. Water Storage Overview
    2. Water Storage Options 
    3. Water Filtration and Purification





    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: water storage

  • Water Purification and Storage


    A couple of weeks ago Popular Mechanics wrote about Perforene which Lockheed Martin is developing as a new desalination technology using reverse osmosis.  Here’s how it works. 

    A membrane separates two chambers, and the side holding the salt water is subjected to pressure, forcing the water to pass through the membrane and leave the salt, which is too large to cross the barrier. 

    (Aside: The Hydropack sold by Emergency Essentials works in a similar way, but through forward osmosis. And to be clear, you cannot use the Hydropack in salt water.)

    By making desalination more efficient and less costly, this new technology can provide clean water to more people around the world. (Read more: Lockheed's Better, Faster Way to Desalinate Water)

    But lack of water in the U.S. is still a concern. NOAA published their Spring 2013 Outlook and they’re predicting a warm spring. Unfortunately that means warmer-than-average weather and drought conditions for parts of the country. (Watch the video for details.) For areas with snow, a warm spring might also mean flooding.

    Possible drought in your area means, on a household level, that your garden and lawns might get less water this year. Flooding brings possible contamination of water lines, though they are generally safe. I would take this as a nudge to start storing water. Even if you don’t end up using the water for drinking, you can use the water on your garden, houseplants, or for washing your car.

    Now the question is, “How should I store water?” Emergency Essentials has three articles on how to properly store and purify water.

    1. Water Storage Overview
    2. Water Storage Options 
    3. Water Filtration and Purification

    You may also want to check out FEMA’s website.

    And last, but not least, click here to read more on Emergency Essentials newest water storage option! (A lot of Emergency Essential Employees are clamoring to get one.)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: floods, purifier, water storage, water

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