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Monthly Archives: May 2013

  • How to Clean Seeds for Sprouting

    Sprouts are one of the most nutritious foods out there. When you sprout at home, they can also be some of the cleanest food produced. You can usually guarantee the quality of what you create because you oversee every step of the sprouting process. However, it’s still important to know that improper sprouting can lead to the growth of bacteria like e. coli.

    FG-S151-Bean-Sprouter-Blend

    The three basics you’ll need for healthy sprouting are clean seeds, clean water, and a clean sprouting dish. If you’re purchasing your sprouting seeds from a commercial supplier, those seeds have already been cleaned.

    You probably won’t ever need to know how to clean the seeds, but since knowledge is power, we’re passing on this information from our supplier.

    It's seems obvious but we'll say it anway; you need to start with clean supplies:

    Water – it is absolutely necessary to ensure you have a clean water supply; if you're not sure that your tap water is clean use a filter or bottled water.

    Sprouting vessel – whether using a jar, sprout tray, or hemp bag ensure that you have either sterilized, or at least sanitized, all items that will come into contact with your seeds and sprouts.

    Sterilizing – this is the safest option, just boil items for 10 minutes.

    Sanitizing – there are a number of good options for sanitizing:

    • Bleach – follow the directions on the container, usually 3/4 cup of unscented bleach per gallon of water.  Soak for at least 5 minutes and then rinse with clean water (see above).
    • Star San – available at most brewing stores.  Our supplier likes this sanitizer because it does not leave an “off flavor”.  Follow directions on package.

    Seeds – though generally not dangerous, seeds can actually be the start to bacteria especially when not cleaned.  Commercial sprout houses typically use a 2% hypochlorite solution for 10 minutes to treat their seeds, but at these levels this procedure is not recommended for the average home user.  Our supplier uses the procedure recommended by UC Davis in publication 8151.

    1. Heat 3% hydrogen peroxide (what you will typically find at the store) to 140°F (60°C).  You really need to take your time here [and be accurate], the temperature range is key to maximizing your ability to kill bacteria, but you also want to be careful to not get the solution too hot or you will kill the seed (i.e. lower the germination).
    2. Put seeds in a small mesh strainer and lower them completely into the solution for 5 minutes, swirling every minute or so to ensure all seeds make contact with the peroxide.
    3. Rinse seeds for a minute under room temperature water and discard peroxide solution.

    As mentioned earlier, if you’re getting your sprouting seeds from Emergency Essentials, you’ll never need to sanitize them. Still, it’s interesting to know what process our supplier uses and of course it’s wonderful to know that your sprouts are clean.

    Go sprout!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Sprouts, baby steps, food storage

  • How to Build an Emergency Car Kit

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    As the seasons change we ought to be sure our car is prepared for them. Depending on your circumstances and location, your level of preparation may vary. You may need snow tires, new windshield wipers and fluid, anti-freeze, heater/air conditioner service, recommended scheduled tune-ups, etc. For everyone it should mean preparing your car for whatever could happen.

    When preparing your car it is wise to remember to make preparations also for your family. An emergency car kit is crucial for breakdowns and unusual weather conditions. It is always good to keep essential supplies in your car in case you get stranded for a few hours or even a few days.

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    What should I keep in my auto emergency kit? First, you want to make sure you have the basic essentials such as water, food, and warmth. After these basics are included, then you can add other necessities such as an emergency light, first aid items, tools and other accessories.

    Water:

    Drinkable water is of utmost importance. Most people can actually survive days without food, but your body will dehydrate without water, leading to organ failure and death. We take the abundance of water for granted when things are normal, but in an emergency it becomes critical. Water is also useful for washing wounds and for sanitation. Water can also be helpful if your car overheats. Because of the limited space in automobiles, storing water must be in small packages. Water is available in small drink boxes (8.45 oz.), in pouches (4.2 oz.) or a Deluxe Sanitation & Water Kit.

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    Food:

    If your car breaks down and you are many miles from any town or store, you will want to have food stored in your kit to make sure your body has enough energy. It is very difficult to keep food in your car because it is exposed to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, and the food is likely to spoil. The best thing to store in your car is high Calorie Food Bars. These bars come in packages of 2400 calories and 3600 calories. They can be exposed to extreme temperatures. They have a tasty flavor that won’t leave you thirsty. The bar helps activate the salivary gland and reduce your demand on emergency water supplies. They also expand in your stomach so you feel full. Be careful that you don’t over-consume them because they are so high in calories.

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    Warmth:

    You may have plenty of food and water, but if you’re cold you’ll feel miserable. Especially in the winter, warmth is a must for an emergency car kit. If you get stranded on a desolate road or stuck in a snowstorm, you will be glad you have a source of warmth in your car. There are several options: 6 to 20 hour warm packs, wool blankets, emergency bags, and emergency blankets. Also, for shelter from the rain, include a poncho or other rain gear

    Warm packs are nice for quick, concentrated heat. You can put them in your pockets, shoes and gloves to stay warm.

    CW-W100

    Wool is one of nature’s warmest fibers. It provides warmth even when it’s wet. It is best to get a wool blend blanket because when synthetic fibers are added to it they provide softness, washability and durability.

    Emergency blankets and bags are lightweight and fold to pocket size. They’re made of a reflective material which reflects up to 80% of your radiant body heat to help keep you warm. Our company did an in-house test of the emergency bag. We sent a few employees and family members outside in an emergency bag. They got so warm they had to get out of the bag.

    A poncho is nice if you are in rain or other bad weather and need to go outside to change a tire or do other work on the car.

    Light:

    It’s important to always keep a flashlight in your emergency car kit. It comes in handy for all types of circumstances. Be sure to keep charged batteries in the flashlight so you aren’t left in the dark. The Innovative LED Lights have a much higher battery life than conventional flashlights and are essential for emergency car kits. Other lights that could be useful in your auto emergency kit are lightsticks, emergency candles with a wide base and waterproof matches.

    Lightsticks last for 12 hours and are safe for children. They are visible up to one mile away, and they are non-toxic and non-flammable.

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    Emergency candles or liquid paraffin candles are long-lasting, reusable, odorless and smokeless. A wide base adds stability which helps prevent accidental spills which is especially nice for the car. Also, be sure to keep waterproof matches in your emergency car kit so you can light it.

    First Aid Items:

    If injury occurs, every second counts because help may be hours or days away. A first aid kit allows you to assist with injuries until help arrives. Keep items such as pain relievers, sterile pads, alcohol prep pads, bandages, soap, gauze pads, and micropore tape. You may also want to include tissues, toilet paper, safety pins and ace bandages. All of these items will come in handy when you are in need of first aid on the road.

    Tools:

    Consider tools such as a multi-purpose knife or a collapsible shovel for your car. A shovel may come in handy if you are to get stuck in the snow or mud. A multi-purpose knife provides many different tools for you to work with in a time of need. A Samurai survival tool provides an axe, hammer, and pry tool all-in-one. A basic tool kit and a roll of duct tape are also good items to keep in your car.

    Other Accessories:

    Road flares may also be useful in your auto emergency kit, but they should only be used for a warning signal, and should NEVER be used for light. Once a road flare has been lit, make sure you set it on a non-flammable surface. The by-product from its fire drips to the ground and may cause a fire if it lands on flammable material such as grass or if there is a gas leak. Be careful because the fumes are extremely nauseous and must be used only in a well-ventilated area.

    There are several kinds of pre-packaged emergency car kits available on the market, or you can customize your own. If you are purchasing a prepacked kit remember that you may need to customize your kit according to your needs (medications, glasses, etc.) Keep your kit in a compact case so it fits easily in your trunk or under a seat.

    As you are preparing for the unknown, don’t forget to prepare your car with an emergency car kit. When that snowstorm causes you to be stranded from home, or if you get a flat tire, or your auto overheats far from any town, you will be grateful you took the time to think ahead. The more conveniences you include, the better your situation will be.

    Posted In: Emergency Kits, Insight, Uncategorized Tagged With: Car Preparedness, emergency kits

  • Communication During and After a Disaster

    Even though we cannot predict or prevent earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, or other natural cataclysmic events, we can prepare our families to cope and survive as optimally as possible. Learning what communication options are available during and after a disaster will bring confidence that you can better protect you and your loved ones. Establish a "meeting place" where family members can gather in the event of an emergency. You may want to select a local school or church. In a case where it is not possible to gather, having a common message center is vital.

    One of the most important keys to receiving and sending information to family members who may be in various places when a disaster occurs is through an out-of-state contact. This is a friend or relative designated to handle messages should you not be able to call or locate your local family members. While most local private phone lines may be out of order for hours after a disaster strikes, pay phones are usually operable much sooner. The out-of-state contact can receive and relay messages from family members so you will know they are safe.

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    Tips for Communication

    1. Everyone should carry with them a card with the out-of-state contact's name, address, and day and evening phone numbers. Let your children's teachers know who the out-of-state contact is for your family. That way, if your children are at school and you cannot pick them up, school representatives will know whom to relay a message concerning where your children will be taken.
    2. Each family member should carry a phone card or enough change for several phone calls.
    3. One woman whose family lives in California has designated her sister who is a stay-at-home mom in Michigan as the out-of-state contact. Family members carry laminated cards in their wallets with the following information: (1) emergency meeting place with the address (outside the home); (2) alternate meeting place and address (outside the neighborhood); and (3) name and day and evening phone numbers of out-of-state contact.
    4. It may be helpful to find out in advance if you have a ham radio operator in your area. They are very helpful and can deliver messages from both private and community sources during and after a disaster. If a pay telephone isn't readily available, and your out-of-state contact is several states away, you can communicate via this type of relay system. Your local ham can contact another ham that will contact another ham, and so on, until they find one within your out-of-state contact's area. The ham operator closest to your contact can then phone the contact and deliver any messages.
    5. A battery-powered or hand crank radio is helpful in monitoring the status of the disaster. Be sure to keep a fresh supply of batteries on hand. Check expiration dates on the batteries and rotate them regularly. Do not keep batteries inside the radio because they expire more quickly and may leak.
    6. When charged, most cell phones are able to call 9-1-1 even when they are not active. It is wise to have a cell phone (even not activated) when traveling or for emergency use.

     

    Remember that preparation brings confidence. When planning for an emergency, don’t forget that communication with your family members will be especially important. The tips provided in this article will assist you in creating a plan to contact loved ones during unexpected events.

    Posted In: Insight, Planning, Uncategorized Tagged With: survival skills, communication

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