Food for Survival
Let’s start by discussing your food preps. If you decide to use every bit of food, never wasting any, you will save on your food budget. But most people don’t want to eat the same foods every night until it is gone. My old habit was to eat leftovers until we tired of it, then it eventually got thrown away or fed to the family dog. I realized that my leftovers were free food for my survival stockpile. Here are just a few of the ways I make this work for me
1.Dehydrate all leftover rice, pasta, and beans.
We rarely eat these leftovers, and they work wonderfully well as dehydrated meals. Dehydrated rice and beans become the “instant” version that only need a few minutes in boiling water to become a tasty dish again. Many people make their hiking and camping meals this way. I just apply it to my leftovers. Once they are dehydrated, I use my food saver to vacuum pack them for storage.
2.Can leftover meats and some meat dishes.
Did you have a quart or two of chili leftover from dinner? Put it in canning jars and pressure can it according to proper canning procedures. I usually save a pint or two here or there in my freezer, then when I have a canner load, I do them all at once. Of course, sometimes we pull it out and have it for dinner, too. Additionally, with the leftover fat you can render lard
3.Dehydrate leftover bread.
n my area, local food pantries give away a lot of bread. I take what I can use, and extras are dehydrated and turned into “Instant Stuffing Mix.” You will find recipes for stuffing mix with a simple Google request. Experiment and find one your family likes. I use my food saver to create single meal stuffing mixes.
4.I also attended a couponing class to learn the secrets of getting food for free.
I became good at it, and am able to score quite a bit of free food. I’ve gotten pancake mix, cornbread mix, muffin mix, lots of free pasta, some frozen foods and lots more. I don’t go overboard, but I can tell you that when you stack coupons, you can get free food. I even scored a bunch of free mixes where I was paid 12 cents each to take them home.
5.Free fruit from the neighbor’s trees.
In our area, many yards have fruit trees. But often, the fruit will just rot on the tree. The family eats what they want, but they don’t bother with the rest. When I see a tree full of ripe fruit, and no-one picking it, I will stop and ask the owner if I can have a few (or buy a few.) Usually, they’ll reply to take as many as I want, as long as I pick them. I can fruit, make jelly, and sometimes dehydrate fruit that I get this way.
6.Free food samples.
Many of the food storage companies are willing to send you free samples to try their products. They are hoping you will try them out and order more. However, you can certainly order the free samples and put them in your 72-hour kit or bug out bag. Then, when you do have money to spend, try them before ordering.
Do you ever order takeout? If so, stock up on condiment packs to go with your order. I keep a gallon jar of condiment packs that I use in my kits. These don’t keep forever, though. You’ll want to replace them every year, at least.
8.Yes, strangely enough, I find people giving away food on Craigslist all the time
A few weeks ago, a guy in my area gave away several 100 pound bags of navy beans, pinto beans, and red beans. Often, you’ll find free vegetables when gardens are overflowing. Can them, dehydrate them, or freeze them. Of course, be careful when meeting people you don’t know.
I signed up for a coupon list for babies when my grand-kids were born. One day I found free formula samples in my mail box. Those went straight to my prepping supplies. I don’t have any babies here, but someone will be happy to receive them in a time of need. I also get reams of coupons for formula which I pass on to young mothers.
10.I save my drink bottles, wash them, and refill with water for storage.
When we first moved to Florida, I would spend way too much money on gallons of water when a hurricane was nearby. We would keep them through hurricane season, then use them and buy more the next year. I realized I was wasting money on water that I could easily get for free. So, I just started refilling our drink bottles with tap water. We don’t drink much soda, but my husband works outside in the heat, so he drinks a lot electrolyte drinks. These are nice quart bottles for storing water and other supplies.
11.Here is another place where couponing really pays off
You can regularly get toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, shampoo, razors, and other personal care products for free with coupons. And don’t forget to ask the dentist for free samples when you go in for your checkups.
12.The most valuable freebies in my garden are the seeds that I get from my heirloom plants.
It is easy to save seeds from year to year. I vacuum pack mine and store them in a cool cupboard.
13.Free plants, grown from the roots of your kitchen vegetables.
We live in Florida, so we have a long growing season. I plant the tops of pineapples, root my celery and regrow it. There are a lot of vegetables that can be planted this way. One lady near me simply replants either the roots or seeds from everything they eat. She has a thriving hydroponics garden combined with quite a few fruit trees.
14.Free plants from neighbors who have extra.
Most herbs outgrow their space quickly and you end up dividing them. Ask your neighbors for roots or cuttings from herbs, medicinal plants, and edibles that you might enjoy. And, of course, share you own excess.
15.Free compost and mulch.
Often you will be able to score free compost and mulch from your county or from tree trimmers in your area. You need to be careful about these items, however. I’ve found that they are sometimes full of insects and other pests.