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Monday, March 17, 2014

They who control the Spice...

Sorry my dears, couldn't resist the opportunity for that title.  Yes, we are going to be looking at spices and herbs again today, both for bugging in and bugging out.

Now, packing some bug-out spices may be something new to you, but for a long time I have always packed at least ground pepper, salt, garlic powder and bullion cubes of beef and chicken.  The bullion cubes are great to throw into a pot of boiling water that has your evening squirrel cooking away, and now you no longer have plain boring tree rat for dinner. Now it's tree-rat ragoĆ»t!

These days, I have taken out the bullion cubes (due to an allergy to some of the preservatives they use) and replaced them with cumin and curry powder.  The salt and garlic are combined into one bag/container, and  I also have a bottle of Tapatio (pretty much the best hot sauce ever - second to Sriracha) in the pack.  (A note on the salt: try to make sure it's iodized.  Iodine is both necessary and unlikely to be in your other food storage, even supplements.)

As for the containers the spices are in, I mostly use zip-lock bags.  They take up the least amount of space, but as you can guess, the bags tend to wear from frequent use.  I'm still investigating options that are just as space and weight economical but also within my very small budget.

As for our bug-in preps on spices.... my partner has to keep my spice and herb spending on a leash.  I love different spices and herbs.  We have a full shelf of oregano, thyme, cumin, curry, garlic, chili powder, cayenne powder, curry, ginger, allspice, cloves, rosemary, creole seasoning, etc.

Once we are in a bigger place (we're in a small apartment at the moment -- think roughly 475 square feet), we'll be able to switch back to the prior system of spice storage I used to use, which was buying the BIG containers of the spices I used the most like sage, garlic, salt, black pepper and cumin.  You get a much better deal that way and you are refilling smaller containers from the large ones.  The larger containers that you can find at stores like ethnic grocery stores, Krogers, and even Wal Mart or Big Lots are very conducive to being stacked.

Ideally, you want to throw the spices and herbs you use the most into your bail out bag.  A couple pinches of black pepper and garlic sprinkled onto your umpteenth package of Ramen noodles (gag!) can go a long way in lifting spirits.

Double stock up on your most used spices!  Those are going to be pieces of normalcy that will help keeping the panic everyone will be feeling down.  Plus, if you find someone willing to trade, a "dime bag" of black pepper, salt and sage may go a long way towards establishing some goodwill.

One way to make small spice packets is to use a straw.  You heat up a pair of needle nose pliers, pinch off one end, fill to desired size, and pinch off the other end. (This trick also lets you make small pockets of things like oil, antibacterial cream, aloe, etc. Very useful.)

Now, it's not possible to truly replicate your kitchen in miniature for your bail out gear.  Trust me, I've tried. The point is have something that helps you stay feeling like you're civilized -- even if it's just a few dashes of hot sauce on your roasted tree rat.

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