(NaturalNews) Few of us like to think about what life would be like if our society were to break down, even temporarily, due to internal or external factors like war, insurrection, famine or natural disaster.
But most of us do indeed plan for the worst, don’t we? That’s why we purchase health, homeowners, life, automobile, flood and other types of insurance, right?
We ought to add “food insurance” to that list, and that’s the concept behind “gardening when your life depends on it.”
As with any preparation strategy, planning and resultant implementation should begin now, while things are calm. If you wait until times actually get tough, you’ve waited far too long. It would be like buying car insurance after you hit a tree or buying flood insurance when the water is three feet deep in your living room.
Here are five food production and gardening strategies that will help keep you alive during hard times. Just remember that you will get out of this what you put into it; if you just plan on things being “broken” for a few days, your meager preparations won’t matter much if the crisis lasts weeks, months or even years.
Canning: All sorts of fruits, vegetables and other foods can been “canned” – that is, cooked down and placed in sealed jars and containers for later consumption. As noted by the National Center for Home Food Preservation (yeah, I didn’t know there was such an organization either, until I began researching this piece), it is necessary to can most fresh foods because the high content of water they contain.
“They spoil or lose their quality for several reasons: growth of undesirable microorganisms-bacteria, molds, and yeasts, activity of food enzymes, reactions with oxygen, moisture loss,” says the organization.
The NCHFP provides detailed instructions about canning and juicing – techniques, equipment and additional preservation ingredients – here.
Dehydration: Have you ever had beef jerky? Meats are only one food product that can be dehydrated and stored for emergencies; fruits and veggies can also be dehydrated and later reconstituted with water or consumed outright.
Dehydration has a number of advantages. For one, it is a low-cost way to preserve foods that are free from concerns about botulism and so forth. Also, dried food takes up less space than cans do and you don’t need a freezer to keep them “fresh.”
Check out dehydration techniques here.
Old-fashioned food storage: Purchasing a variety of long-term storable foods is a wise decision for variety of reasons, and one of them is, well, variety. When times are tough, food is food, right? Not necessarily; having a variety of foods to eat not only improves nutritional intake, but it is a huge psychological boost as well.
Just make sure whatever you buy a) will be placed in a darker, cool place; and b) has a shelf life of at least 15 years.
Sprouting: Even during a prolonged crisis it is possible to obtain a supply of nutritious superfoods through a gardening strategy known as “sprouting.” As noted by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger and editor of Natural News, “sprouting is no more complicated than having a ready supply of sprouting seeds, then adding water and sprouting your own living nutrition for mere pennies a serving.”
There are three reasons for sprouting: vegans and vegetarians use them to make up the bulk of their diets; as a superfood alternative to grow food indoors, without soil, to save space; and as an economical way to prepare.
Check out this video to learn how to sprout.
Curing/Smoking of meats: Everything from deer to fish to other sources of meat, in the wild or from your family farm, can be cured and smoked for later consumption.
“Curing is the addition to meats of some combination of salt, sugar, nitrite and/or nitrate for the purposes of preservation, flavor and color,” says the NCHFP. “The cure ingredients can be rubbed on to the food surface, mixed into foods dry (dry curing), or dissolved in water (brine, wet, or pickle curing).”
For techniques and instructions in curing all kinds of meats, click here.
You may have noticed that some of these strategies involve heavy use of one precious commodity – clean, potable water, which will be hard to find when times are hard. You should always keep a supply of water in storage as well, but understand that the lack of water will hamper the “stay alive” strategies listed in here after disaster strikes.
So don’t wait. Get started today.