Prepper Shopping Basket Shows Surprise Decline in Food Prices

Despite what we see at the grocery store, our prepper shopping basket held surprisingly stead since January. Fuel prices, however, are up an average of 13 percent.

Back in January, we established a basket of goods that a prepper might buy when they were stocking up. This contained common prepper foods like Spam and Tuna, baking goods like flour and yeast, rice and beans, and noodles, including ramen and mac and cheese. We shopped at four stores online: Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Costoco.com, and SamsClub.com. Our plan was to shop the same items at the same stores to determine how inflation has affected the Prepper Food Basket.

When we compare prices collected yesterday, May 8, with those collected on January 24, 15 weeks ago, the average prepper shopping basket price dropped 9 cents, from $75.42 to $75.33, a decrease of less than 1 percent. Not the inflation we were expecting to see. (Not we detected and corrected an error in our original data. The $75.42 reflects that correction.)

The average price of individual items, however, varied considerably. For example, Quaker Oats jumped 32 percent, due to a price increase at Sam’s club, while chicken-flavored ramen dropped by 42 percent, due to prices normalizing at Amazon.com and Walmart.com

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Why Preppers Should Stock Herbs and Spices

In our global world, we rely on distant countries to produce many of the things we rely on every day, from spices to shoes. That will go away in a collapse.

When my wife read the book World Made by Hand, which I reviewed here in early April and encouraged her to read, she said to me, “I am going to stock up on black pepper and cinnamon.” Why? Because the characters in the book had run out of spices and other products they did not produce locally, including black pepper and cinnamon. They could grow all sorts of spicy peppers in their gardens and make hot sauce, but they could not get peppercorns or grow the tree from which cinnamon is produced.

I should note that my wife grows herbs, including rosemary, basil, thyme, mint, and chives. She often runs out the front door while preparing dinner and returns with a handful of greenery. My wife has multiple recipes that use rosemary (which grows prolifically once established) and has made her own pesto sauce from our basil. We could also grow garlic, onions, oregano, and mustard, but can we grow vanilla beans, nutmeg, or cloves? I don’t know.

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Long Term Storage Foods: Why Ingredients are Better than Mixes

We picked up some of old long-term storage food from our retreat this weekend, and it demonstrated why storing just-add-water mixes is a bad idea.

I am just back from another trip to our retreat. I turned the keys over to the realtors and picked up many of our remaining personal items. Some of these items are redundant, but I am dispersing as many as possible to relatives.

For example, I brought home a 20-foot extension ladder and an 8-foot folding ladder. I already have ladders this size, so they will go to my daughter and her fiancé, along with other tools. Kitchen goods, including two cast-iron pans, will go to my other daughter. I also brought home some scrap lumber, from partial sheets of plywood to 2x4s to pressure-treated 2x6s. None of them are eight feet long, but given the price of lumber today, I didn’t feel right about leaving them there. I hope to use them in building bee hive components.

I also grabbed two gasoline cans, which my wife groused about because we already have multiple gasoline cans, kerosene cans, and propane tanks. Maybe I’ll give these away. Not knowing how old the gas was, I took the empty cans.

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I’m Building Infrastructure to Support My Future Food Supply

If our society collapses in a TEOTWAWKI event, we’ll struggle to hang on to our remnants of modern society. Building it to last and building it now will be keys to success.

There is a three-piece article on building prepper infrastructure by 3AD Scout that is appearing this week on SurvivalBlog.com. It struck a cord with me and is well worth reading.

3AD Scout makes many good points, some of which should be familiar to our readers, including:

  • The complexity of our modern society and how one interruption can cause a domino effect;
  • The need to be a generalist after a TEOWAWKI event, competent in many areas, rather than a specialist who can do only one thing; and
  • That our stockpiles will run out and we will need to supply water, food and medical care for ourselves, even after we have eaten the last can of food or used the last antibiotic.
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A New Beekeepers Guide to Feeding Your Bees

You would not think twice about feeding your chickens, your goats, your pigs, and other livestock. Feeding your bees is important for hive health and honey production.

In the wild, bees manage without a kindly beekeeper feeding them.  Of course, no one is robbing their honey, except for the rare bear or other critter. 

You will find plenty of arguments online over whether you should feed your bees, when to do so, and what to feed them.  That decision is ultimately up to you. 

I consider my bees are a type of livestock, and I feed them when they are short on natural food, just as I would offer pasture-raised cows hay or other feed during the winter when the fields are covered in snow or the animals are locked in their barn due to the weather.

Because I believe my job as a beekeeper is to make sure my beehives are healthy and the colony can overwinter successfully, I feed them. It increases their survival rate, can boost hive size, and can ultimately increase your honey harvest.

My thoughts on what to feed, when, and how to feed your bees follow. Click on 2 learn about various foods, 3 to learn about feeders, and 4 for the four best times to feed your bees.

A Quick and Easy Way to Add Important Macronutrients to Your Food Storage Plan

Many long term storage foods leaving you short of important macronutrients because they are carb-heavy and starch-based.

Many of the commercial survival food packages out there are very heavy on carbohydrates and light on protein with almost no fats.

You should look at your stored food because you don’t want to find out about the lack of these important nutritional building blocks when you find yourself in a serious survival situation and must rely on the food you have in buckets and #10 cans.

Go down to your basement, out to your garage, into that closet, or wherever else you store your emergency food and inspect your emergency foods. I bet you fill find lots of fruits, grains (rice, wheat oatmeal, and baking mixes like pancake and biscuit mix), pasta (also grain based,) potatoes, with some vegetables (also heavy on carbs). Most of the protein in your commercial package is going to be from things like powdered milk and textured vegetable protein (TVP) which is a polite way of saying soybeans that have been flavored to taste like meat.

The Recommended Daily Value of the big three macronutrients set by the Food and Drug Administration for a 2,000 calorie diet are: 300 grams of carbs, 50 grams of protein, and 78 grams of fat. How close are your stores?

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Survival Diary February 24: We Make a Trip to the City

We made our first big shopping trip to the city in two months and it drove home the difference between living in big cities, small cities and rural areas.

Today was our first trip to Sam’s Club in two months.  Since we were going to the city, we also went to Target, a bookstore, Home Depot, and had lunch at Chik-fil-A. 

Since the city is on the other side of a mountain range and takes more than an hour to get there, it was a very full day.  We left at 9 a.m. and didn’t get back until after 4 p.m.  Then we had to unload, unpack and put away all the food. 

We used the trip to Sam’s to stock up for everyday meals and to add some food to our long term-storage.  Canned good are very much in stock at the Sam’s Club we visited.  They had a very robust selection of dry goods as well.  They had excellent sales on pasta, some of which was 60 cents a pound when you bought a six-pack.  That’s a remarkable price when you consider that pasta is often a dollar a pound on sale and anywhere from $1.20 to 1.50 for a box.  We bought 12 pounds of pasta and added six jars of spaghetti sauce.

We bought other tomato products as well, including tomato paste and diced tomatoes.  Don’t overdo it with these products because canned tomatoes tend to have a shorter life in cans than they do in jars.  I have had more cans of tomato products on my shelf leak through than all other products combined.  This is a good argument for canning your own tomato products using Ball canning jars.

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Introducing the Prepper Shopping Basket Inflation Report

We can all feel the pinch of inflation in our pocketbooks, but how can we measure it? The Prepper Shopping Basket Inflation Report will track inflation for goods preppers buy.

To track inflation and its impact on preppers, we have developed a price-tracking spreadsheet that we will use to track the cost of a basic shopping cart of goods a prepper might buy to prepare their prepper pantry.  Based on this data, we will produce a report that reflects the changes in item cost and total shopping cart cost over time.  The time period will vary based on the velocity of change.  For example, if prices remain steady, we won’t need to update the report very often.  If prices change frequently, we will produce the report more often.

The products chosen for the basket include traditional grocery items.  These are consumables an include canned goods, dry goods, baking goods, and paper products.  The list is based in part on the Pickled Prepper’s 30-Day Shopping List which is designed to help you buy a 30-day supply of foods with a shelf life of at least 18 months.  Separately, we will be reporting on the average cost of a gallon of gasoline, diesel, propane and heating oil as reported by the EIA, the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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Product Review: What’s Better, Beef Jerky or Biltong?

When it comes to dried meat, jerky is an American stable. But how does it compare to biltong, the favorite snack food of South Africans?

This is not a review of a specific brand or flavor of dried meat, but more of a comparison between the two: Traditional jerky, often made from beef, and Biltong, a thinly sliced dried beef that is South African in origin.

Let’s look at them both:

Jerky

Who among us has not enjoyed a chewy strip of beef jerky?  And I bet many of you have made your own, possibly with venison or another game. 

Ripping off a piece of beef jerky when on the trail makes me think back to our forefathers who probably did the same thing, possibly even on the same trail.  It seems to me to be a very traditional American trail food, but apparently the native Americans in both North and South America made jerky and it was adopted by both the Spanish Conquistidors and the early North American fur traders and settlers.

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What COVID-19 Problems will Recur and How to Protect Yourself

We’ve seen what COVID-19 can do to the economy and the nation. We’ve all lived through a recession. Let’s combine those lessons learned and prepare for 2021.

It will be interesting to see how much of this spring’s COVID-19 crisis repeats itself as we head into this latest surge which is already worse and shows no sign of slowing down. 

Here’s one example: Five meat packing plants have already been shut down. While these shutdowns appear to be shorter than those in the earlier outbreak, it clearly illustrates that vulnerabilities remain in the food supply system. 

Meat is only part of the equation; we all remember scenes of dairies dumping milk and farmers plowing under crops while store shelves were empty. 

Changes to where Americans buy food and how many meals are eaten outside the home wreaked havoc on food suppliers and processors who could not quickly transition from selling to restaurants and institutions to selling directly to consumers.  Today, spending on food at home is 11 percent higher and spending at restaurants and hotels is down 30 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.  As the coronavirus spreads again, lockdowns grow, states limit indoor dining, and weather reduces those willing to eat outdoors, those numbers could worsen.  Food outages may again become a possibility.

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