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7 Ways to Use the Prepper Skills You Learned During Quarantine to Protect Your Family if There's Post-Election Chaos

Canning is a skill that may come in handy if there is widespread violence after the election.

If you lived through the first half of 2020, you have no valid excuse for not becoming at least a beginner prepper. Gone are the days when being called a “prepper” put you in the same category as those people who believe Hillary Clinton is a reptilian alien shapeshifter. If the COVID panic of 2020 taught us anything it’s that those backwoods people who invested in shelf-stable food are the smartest among us.

But there’s no need to ever again get caught off guard with a toilet paper or food shortage. Now that you know your world can be turned upside down overnight, you’d better change your habits. Anyone who gets stuck racing around town for the last chicken deserves to go without when the election chaos arrives. The left is already promising widespread violence and unrest if Trump is reelected, which is looking more likely than not.

Violence on America’s streets disrupts our food supply lines. Truckers avoid taking jobs or refuse to go into dangerous cities. If this happens again (and it’s only a matter of time) are you ready? Here are seven ways you can get started right now. (And if you don’t, do not come complaining to me about toilet paper shortages or anything else, please.) Much like the people who lived through the Depression and never wasted anything, veterans of the 2020 Chinese WuFlu pandemic should be forever affected and changed for the better by it.

1. Buy guns and ammo

I’m going to be honest, if you haven’t done this yet, it’s probably too late. Bullets are scarce. But if you get lucky and some gun store near you has inventory left, buy it. We have a responsibility to be our first line of defense for our families. When seconds count, police are minutes away. Never forget that — and act accordingly. If you don’t have any guns or the ability to buy them, and you live near a city that is likely to explode in anti-Trump mania, it might be a good time to go visit a relative who lives in a rural area and has guns and ammo.

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2. Learn how to make bread (with and without yeast)

Did you learn how to make bread during quarantine? If not, get going. Yeast and flour are things you need to stock up on if you haven’t already. And if yeast isn’t available, like it wasn’t during the lockdown, learn how to make a sourdough starter. It’s so easy there’s no excuse not to. Put white flour in a jar and add water; stir and let it sit. Feed it flour and water every day until it’s bubbly and frothy. That’s it. Then you can follow this simple bread recipe using your sourdough starter.

3. Buy an extra freezer and fill it

If you don’t have an extra freezer to store at least 1/4 of a cow (preferably 1/2) then you’re doing it wrong. Not only is it a good idea to have lots of protein on hand, but you will also get a much better deal buying your meat in bulk. Many butcher shops will sell freezer packages for a flat rate per pound, usually between $3 and $4 per pound. This is a huge savings over grocery store prices. It has the added benefit of supporting local farmers and butchers who are not taking part in the animal mistreatment that happens at so many factory farms. Smaller farms are more ethical farms. My favorite farmer likes to say that his cows have a great life and one bad day. Every day (until butchering day) is spent grazing on rolling hills and coming home to a warm barn full of hay and treats and kids to play with. I prefer buying my meat from a peaceful farm that cares about the quality of life for its animals.

4. Become a chicken farmer

Chickens are an excellent source of fresh food every day. They also have the added benefit of being able to live in small backyards or balcony coops. You don’t need a ton of room to have a few chickens to supply your kitchen with fresh eggs every day throughout the year. It occurred to me when our supply lines were interrupted at the beginning of the year that my chickens could save my entire family from starvation. We might get sick of eggs every day, but we wouldn’t run out! Chickens also make funny pets and are very entertaining. Not only do they eat pesky bugs such as mosquitos and ticks, but they also will gobble up any leftovers or scraps you have from dinner, so nothing goes to waste. Take a look at my set-up here. It works quite well. The eggs I don’t use, I sell by the side of the road and it pays for my coffee money.

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5. Growing your own food

Did you plant a COVID garden this summer? I hope you did. If you didn’t, you have to be questioning your choices right about now. If you had, you would have an entire pantry full of canned goods from that garden. Canning is a hot and tiresome job, but the end result means fewer trips to the grocery store and lots of yummy fresh food for your family. Here are my favorite things to grow for my pantry:

Tomatoes: I grow Romas, heirlooms, and regular tomatoes. This fall I canned about ten quarts of tomato sauce for spaghetti, four quarts of salsa, and thirty or so ice-cube-sized portions of frozen tomato paste. I’m still not done. Tomatoes are still on the vine as I type. My favorite way to preserve tomatoes is paste! The best way to process tomato paste is in a slow cooker on high uncovered for many hours. It’s a super easy recipe and yields a highly concentrated summer tomato flavor that can be added to sauces for thickening. Here’s a video on how to make homemade ketchup that I use for making tomato paste. I just leave out everything but the salt and use this method to cook down my tomatoes, straining out seeds and skins as it cooks down. When it gets to a paste consistency, just pour it into ice-cube trays and freeze.

Cucumbers: My family devours pickles. Cucumbers are easy to grow and even easier to pickle. This year I made garlic-dill, sweet bread and butter, and spicy dill pickles as well as a few different kinds of pickle relish for sandwiches and hot dogs. Sadly, we’ve eaten most of them already.

Eggplant: Eggplant is easy to pickle and tastes great as an antipasto appetizer. I slice it and pickle it in an Italian oil-and-vinegar brine and serve with cheese and Italian bread. It can also be added to spaghetti sauce. Eggplant can also be chopped and frozen to toss into curries and stir-frys.

Green Peppers: A great Chicago delight is the pepper-and-egg sandwich sold during Lent at all the diners. I always make my egg sandwiches with roasted green peppers. Roasting peppers is easy to do, cooking it under the broiler until the skin pops up. After peeling and de-seeding, roasted peppers can be loaded into a jar and filled with seasoned garlic oil and vinegar and either processed or refrigerated. These don’t last long in my house, so we usually refrigerate them, but my garden was in such overdrive that I got a few quarts processed as well.

Jalapenos: Jalapenos are used in salsa or roasted and canned whole. Much like the green pepper recipe, I roast whole jalapenos until soft and then pack in jars with water and vinegar. They are great on taco night or used to flavor dips.

Herbs: I experimented with drying herbs for my spice cabinet and processing herbs and flowers for beauty products and medicines. The best mosquito balm I’ve ever had is an easy mix of herbs I had on hand. I made enough to last several years. The herbs I grow are rosemary, lemon verbena, citronella, oregano, thyme, lavender, basil, and sage. The Russian sage and white sage I use with lavender to make smudge sticks for burning (like incense). The mosquito balm is a mix of rosemary, lavender, lemon verbena, citronella, thyme, coconut oil, and beeswax. I also made rosewater toner out of my rose petals this year. These things might not seem like necessities, but if you can’t get to a store, it’s nice to have some of the finer things of life around. I tried making soap out of wood ash lye and bacon grease, but it was a disaster. I’ll let you know if I ever figure it out. But the good news is that bars of soap are plentiful and cheap and last a long time. Just buy some. I’m obsessed with making things out of raw materials, but that doesn’t mean you have to be.

6. Sewing

Can you sew? Knit? Quilt? If not, winter is a great time to learn. There’s nothing going on and those of us in cold climates are all going to be locked up more than usual due to COVID restrictions, so why not learn how to make necessities like blankets and clothes? YouTube has a lot of great tutorials. I’m teaching my daughter how to make her first quilt this year for a family Christmas present. Not only is it a nice thing to have on hand and a good memory-maker, but extra blankets are always good to have on hand. Don’t forget to put one in your car for emergencies.

7. First Aid Kit

I don’t mean to get a first aid kit from Target and call it a day, although that’s better than nothing. I mean a full-fledged medical bag with everything you might have to have in an emergency. Do you have a suture kit? If not, consider getting one. There’s no reason you can’t sew up a wound if you have to and medical help isn’t nearby. Also, stock it with as many medicines as you might need, from decongestants to ibuprofen and everything in between. Cough medicine, cough drops, zinc, vitamin C, silver gel, antibiotic cream, and don’t forget the children’s versions if you have kids. This will save you endless trips to the store when someone gets a cold. Don’t forget your pets, and stock up on their heartworm meds and tick collars too.

You’ll notice that I did NOT list “buy ridiculous amounts of toilet paper.” There is no reason to ever do this. If you run out of toilet paper, just rip up some towels and wash them. It’s not hard. Don’t be an idiot.

 

What steps have you taken to prepare for the uncertainty of this “new normal”? Let me know in the comments below.

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