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Home Food Preservation – 10 Ways to Preserve Food at Home

Comparison of home food preservation methods, including canning, freezing, freeze drying, dehydrating, root cellaring, lacto-fermentation and more.
A lot of us are trying to stretch our food budgets by growing our own or purchasing in bulk. Many are also joining CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, which provide them with produce (and sometimes other items) throughout the growing season. To take full advantage of local food sources, we need to find ways to store food after harvest. This post will give you a brief overview of different home food preservation methods, and direct you to addition resources. Then you can decide which methods works best for you.

Home Food Preservation – 10 Ways to Preserve Food at Home

There are many different methods of preserving fruits and vegetables. Some home food preservation methods are old, like cool storage, while others are new, like freeze drying. Many once common food storage methods are no longer recommended due to safety concerns. I use a mix of food preserving options. Each method gives a different flavor and texture, and it gives us more variety in our menus. Different fruits and vegetables also store better one way versus another.

Root Cellars - Learn how to build a root cellar, what to store and how to store it. Includes printable storage guide for over 30 fruits and veggies.

1. Minimal Processing – Cool Storage and Room Temperature Storage

If you can make it work in your home, cool storage and room temperature storage are the easiest home food preservation options. This includes cool, dry storage, such as an unheated pantry or porch, and root cellaring, i.e., cool, damp storage.

“Root cellars” type storage areas may include:

  • root cellars
  • unheated basement space
  • crawl space
  • in ground “clamps” (holes or trenches for food storage)
  • other options

Cool storage basics, including storage requirements for many crops, can be found in the post “Root Cellars 101” and “Above Ground Root Cellars – Enjoy Your Local Produce Longer“. Some good candidates for root cellar storage include:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Apples
  • Onions
  • Garlic

My garden always includes storage crops that can store without much processing, such as: shell beans, pumpkins and squash and root vegetables. You can read more about my favorites in the post, “The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Store”.

Learn home food drying basics with this quick guide to food dehydrators, plus tips for food drying and safe storage. Includes printable fruit drying guide.

2. Drying/Dehydrating

Food preservation by drying is one of the oldest home food preservation methods. Food can be dried using:

Dried foods are great when storage space is tight, but not all foods dehydrate well. Store dehydrated foods in a cool, dry location in an airtight container for longest shelf life.

The USDA recommends pasteurizing dried foods at 160°F/71°C for 30 minutes or freezing at 0°F/-18°C for 48 hours to kill insects and their eggs, but I haven't had any insect problems with food dried in my commercial dehydrator.

Foods that may dehydrate well include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit Leathers
  • Jerky

Check out “Home Food Drying – 6 Things You Need to Know to Dehydrate Food at Home” for recommended dehydrating equipment, plus dehydrating guidelines and storage tips and a printable quick reference chart for fruit dehydrating. See Vegetable Dehydrating 101 for a printable list of vegetable blanching and drying times.

How to Can Food at Home - The difference between water bath canning and pressure canning, basic equipment for home canning, general canning tips & recipes.

3. Canning – Water Bath Canning and Pressure Canning

Home canning is the heat processing of food in glass jars for preservation. For many years, food was heat processed in commercial facilities in cans (thus the term “canning” as opposed to “jarring”). The Mason jar was invented and patented in 1858, but didn’t see widespread use until later in the century.

Water bath canning can be done with any large stockpot or kettle with a lid, as long as you have a way to keep the jars from sitting directly on the bottom of the pot and can cover your jars with at least two inches of water. Water bath canning is used to preserve high acid foods (pH of 4.6 or lower), such as:

  • Fruits
  • Jams, jellies and other spreads
  • Tomatoes (with added acid)
  • Pickles and relishes

Can I use a pressure canner for water bath canning?

If you can a pressure canner, you may use it for water bath canning by leaving the vent open. If your canner has a rubber overpressure plug, that may also be removed.

Please be careful using a pressure canner for water bath canning. Some people have noted that they still get a slight pressure build up inside their older units, leading to a release of hot steam when the lid is opened. Loosely covering the canner with the lid (instead of locking it on) can help prevent steam buildup.

Read “How to Can Food at Home – Quick Guide to Safe Home Canning” for more information on water bath and pressure canning.

Pressure canning must be done in a pressure canner, which processes foods using high temperature, high pressure steam. A pressure canner is not the same as a pressure cooker, although some pressure canners can also be used for pressure cooking. Check with your owner’s manual.

PRESSURE CANNING MUST BE USED FOR LOW ACID FOODS, such as:

  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Meats
  • Soups
  • Sauces
  • Broth

Unsafe canning practices can lead to botulism poisoning, but it's easily avoided with simple safety steps. See “Botulism – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Tips for Safe Home Canning“.

Tips for fresh strawberry storage, my favorite ways of preserving strawberries for long term storage, and some fun strawberry storage ideas from friends.

4. Freezing

Freezing foods typically produces flavors and textures most similar to fresh, and can be done without much specialized equipment. It is recommended that you blanch or cook most vegetables before freezing to stop enzyme action and insure best quality.

What is blanching? Blanching involves heat treating the veggies, then immersing them in cold water to stop the cooking process. Three minutes in boiling water is a common blanching time.

Fruits are frozen “as is”, or with sugars or antioxidants to extend storage life and slow discoloration. With both fruit and vegetable preservation, I like to initially freeze them on a cookie sheet and then pack them into vacuum sealed packages for long term storage.

Sealing frozen produce in vacuum seal bags helps prevent ice crystal formation and can extend the storage life of frozen foods 3 to 5 times longer. I rarely store anything in the freeze without vacuum sealing.

Home freeze drying - All the information (including the messy bits) you need to decide if a home freeze fryer is right for your food preservation needs.

5. Freeze Drying

Freeze drying (lyophilization) is now an option for home food preservation. The company Harvest Right manufactures home freeze drying units in Utah.

Click here to order a home freeze dryer or compare prices.

How does a home freeze dryer work? From “Home Freeze Drying – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”:

  • First, you get a heavy duty freezer (the Harvest Right units drop to -30°F (-34°C) or colder).
  • Second, you pair this up with a completely airtight chamber that can hold a vacuum (no oxygen) every single time you use it.
  • Third, you tie in a high end vacuum pump strong enough to suck the stripes off a zebra.
  • Fourth, you add a heater and thermostat, so you can cycle the temps up and down, repeating the sublimation process for hours on end.
  • Fifth, tie in a humidity sensor to make sure the water is out, triggering the cycle completion.

Home freeze drying allows you to preserve many foods that do not store well using other methods, such as dairy products, full meals (hot dishes, cream based soups, etc), and leftovers. You can also store vegetables, fruits, meats and seafood. For a detailed review and more information, see “Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer Review”. You can also read a comparison of freeze drying and dehydrating.

Freebie: Fermenting Formulas Cheat Sheet

6. Lacto-fermentation

Natural fermentation can be used to change low acid foods into high acid foods, giving them a longer shelf life to store “as is”, or allowing them to be canned in a water bath canner instead of a pressure canner. (Remember, water bath canning is suited for high acid foods.)

Through the use of salt, whey or specific starter cultures, food is fermented. This improves its digestibility and nutrient content. It becomes what is referred to as a “live culture food”.

Because fermentation involves substances such as lactic acid and specific microbes, the flavor profile and texture of the food does change. Fermentation is responsible for treats such as chocolate, cheese, yogurt, and kombucha, as well as pantry staples like sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread and vinegar.

For detailed instructions on creating your own live culture foods, see The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting, or click here to download this free fermenting formulas cheat sheet from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS.

Easy tips for growing lavender and helping your lavender plants to thrive, and some of my favorite lavender uses for food, medicine and more.

7. Preserving in Salt and Sugar

Preserving foods in salt and sugar was more common before modern canning, freezing and dehydrating were available.

Salt and sugar draw liquid out of the food. (They are hydrophilic.) This interferes with microbe growth. Bacteria and molds need water to grow, just like us. These methods significantly impact food texture and flavor, so they have become less common.

Herb infused salts and sugars are a fun way to easily preserve your fresh herbs. Visit “Lavender – How to Grow It and Use It for Food, Medicine and More” to learn how to make a basic herbal sugar.

How to Make Homemade Extracts - Vanilla, Lemon and Almond. Save money, create custom extracts. Includes printable extract labels.

8. Immersion in alcohol

Like salt and sugar, alcohol draws water out of food, inhibiting microbe growth. You can submerge small amounts of food completely in the hard liquor of your choice, and they will store almost indefinitely. Don’t try to preserve too much food in too little alcohol. There’s a limit to how much water can be absorbed.

This food preservation method is best for making flavor extracts and preserving high acid foods such as fruit. Remember, low pH also inhibits mold and harmful bacteria growth.

See:

It doesn't get any easier than Betty's no can dill pickles. Just pack them in a jar, cover with brine, and in 3 days you have crunchy, delicious pickles.

9. Vinegar Pickling

Microbes can't survive in a high acid environment, so vinegar can be used for food preservation without heating/canning. Think old-fashioned pickle barrel. I make at least one batch of vinegar pickles every season.

How to infuse herbs - Make your own flavored cooking oils or flavored vinegars, delicious extracts and sweet treats, or homemade medicines from your garden.

10. Immersion in Olive Oil

This home food preservation method is very common is some parts of Europe, but it is not one I recommend for the inexperienced home food preserver. Food is immersed in oil, locking out the air, to preserve it. The problem is that if the vegetables are low in acid, they present a serious botulism risk.

For safe instructions on how to make herb infused oils, see “How to Infuse Herbs in Oil, Water, Vinegar, Alcohol or Honey”.

Which Food Preservation Method is the Best?

It really depends on what you're trying to store and your storage conditions.

The Case for Canning

The Natural Canning Resource Book states:

“While some nutrients are lost during canning, recent research has shown that refrigerating fresh fruits and vegetables also results in nutrient losses, especially of fragile vitamins like vitamin C. For example, broccoli loses 50 percent of its vitamin C and Vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene) after five days of refrigeration, similar in scale to the loss of vitamin C during cooking and canning. This is because plant foods are alive and thus continue to metabolize nutrients during storage.

It's safe to assume that root cellar storage causes the same magnitude of nutrient loss. Frozen food loses more nutrients than canned food after six months of storage. Dried food loses the most nutrients. With this in mind, canning is preferably done very soon after harvest, when nutrients are at their peak, thus preserving the most nutrients possible. “

The Case for Dehydrating

In contrast, Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook states:

When you dry foods at home under gentle conditions, you produce a high quality product. Compared with canning and freezing, both of which involve extreme temperatures, food drying is the least damaging form of food preservation.

The Case for Freeze Drying

The article “Freeze-drying fruit is top technique for retaining nutrients: Study” on Foodnavigator.com notes:

“Research conducted by Sheffield Hallam University found that freeze-drying strawberries resulted in zero loss of vitamin C and phenolic content an minimal losses in total antioxidant capacity (TAC) – only 8%. In contrast, fresh strawberries chilled for equal time showed a vitamin C loss of 18%, a TAC loss of 23% and a massive 82% loss in phenolic content.”

In terms of taste and texture, I generally prefer frozen, canned and freeze dried products. Fermentation adds nutrition, but fermented foods generally store for less than a year. Weeks or months of storage is more common. Dried foods can last for years and take up very small amounts of space. They are best used in soups, stews or other recipes where they will benefit from long, slow cooking with plenty of liquid, or as snack foods.

Freezing is probably easiest for the beginner with minimal equipment, but requires freeze space, which can be limited. Canning can be used on a variety of foods, but does require some basic equipment. Canned goods are best used within 1-2 years. No matter which home food preservation method you choose, properly ripened produce picked and processed quickly is likely nutritionally superior to most grocery store offerings.

Recommended Food Storage Resources

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

The Natural Canning Resource Book

Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook

Wild Fermentation

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fermenting Foods

Root Cellaring

Preserving Food Without Canning or Freezing

The Encyclopedia of Country Living

Stocking Up III

I hope you find this post useful. Please consider sharing it if you do, and let me know if you have any home food preservation questions that you'd like answered.

Comparison of home food preservation methods, including canning, freezing, freeze drying, dehydrating, root cellaring, lacto-fermentation and more.

Originally posted in 2012, updated in 2017.

The post Home Food Preservation – 10 Ways to Preserve Food at Home appeared first on Common Sense Homesteading.

This Article Was Originally Posted at commonsensehome.com Read The Original Article Here

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Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman

Learn to make your own homemade weapons so you’ll have a fighting chance in a survival situation where all you have is nature.

 [You Get One FREE] Weird Little Knife Drives TSA Crazy!

How to Make Homemade Weapons

Why Should You Learn to Make Homemade Weapons?

Let’s say you got lost in the wild, and you somehow forgot or lost your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT (or whichever is the best survival knife for you). What do you do?

While your situation is most likely not quite as bad as Tom Hanks had it in Castaway, let’s face it. The only way you’re gonna get out of this situation in good shape is to let out your inner caveman.

Let me explain. Our very primitive ancestors lived in a time when every day was a survival situation. Any tools or weapons they needed had to be made from scratch.

So, should you be unlucky enough to have only the shirt on your back while you’re lost in the wilderness, you’ll have to follow suit. Let the training of your inner caveman begin.

Today’s lesson: how to make DIY weapons in the wild with only the resources nature provided you.

How to Make a Knife | Homemade Weapons

Having a knife, any kind of knife is probably one of the best things to happen should you suddenly find yourself in a survival situation. You can use it to help you find food, build a shelter, and defend yourself against wild animals.

So it’s highly fortunate nature is waiting like a momma at a craft table with lots of materials you can use to create one.

1. Stone Knives

Bone, shell, bamboo, wood, or even an old aluminum beer can may work to perform the puncturing function of a blade. You know you’ve seen these a million times when you’re out hiking.

They’re easy to crack or break or shape into a fairly sharp point which will do in a pinch. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to use a chicken bone or an expertly-shaped aluminum can point to skin, chop, baton, or any of the other necessary functions of a survival knife.

This is where the stone comes into play. I’ll start by saying making a knife out of stone isn’t easy, but it can be done.

You’ll need three things: a core rock, a hammerstone, and a pressure flaker. Remember, you’re going to be smashing these together in true caveman fashion.

So, having stones you can reasonably grip in each hand is going to make your life a lot easier. Although, it’s definitely an option to stand poised over one rock smashing down on it.

You, with a two-hand grip, pounding until you’ve chipped away at it a bit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

2. The Core Rock

rock formation background | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

The core rock is what you’ll be making into a blade. Find any large stone, preferably made from obsidian, slate, chert, or flint with a relatively flat side.

In case you weren’t a rock collector in any of your previous lives, here’s another way to decide if a rock meets the requirements for good knife-making material. Tap or click a rock together with another rock and listen for a ringing sound (like glass).

The more rock sounds like glass, the better it is as a material for your core rock. If you can, choose a rock which is already a bit sharp to reduce the amount of time you’ll need to shape it.

3. The Hammerstone

The hammerstone is a medium-sized, spherical rock, preferably made of granite. It will be used to smash, chisel, chip and shape the core rock.

You’ll be using it to chip off pieces of the core stone and to narrow the edges to a blade shape.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Edge | Knife Sharpener

4. The Pressure Flaker

The pressure flaker, or flaking tool, is a rock with a sharp point to help you refine the blade’s edges. You’ll use your flaking tool after you’ve thinned the edges of the stone with the hammer stone to make the “blade” sharper.

When you start making your knife, you’ll want to be sure to wet the core stone to shorten the time it takes to shape it into a blade. Begin by striking glancing blows near the edge of the core rock with the hammerstone.

Chip away at the core rock until you get the general shape of a blade. Then, use the flaking tool to refine the edges you need to sharpen.

You can also use a stone with a rough surface such as a sandstone to sharpen the edge. Use some rope, cloth, or leather to lash the base and create a handle.

If you are having troubling shaping the rock into a knife, you can opt to create stone blades instead. Check out the videos below to learn how:

Part One:

Part Two:

How to Make a Spear | Homemade Weapons

south african zulu spear | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

We’ve talked about how to make a spear using your best survival knife in a previous article. The same principle applies here.

Even without your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT or whichever survival knife you normally bring with you, you can still make a spear using your newly made stone knife. To make a spear, you’ll need to find a five-foot-long stick tough enough to endure repeated short or long-distance throws.

  1. First, pick the end of the stick which has a more rounded tip and use your stone knife to start shaving to create a spear. Once you’re done, be sure to heat the spear over some hot coals to make your spear sharper.
  2. As an alternative, you can also make a spear by tying your knife onto a stick. Find a stick which is about an inch wide.
  3. Measure about 2 inches from one end of the stick. Mark the point, then split the stick into two until you reach the 2-inch mark, creating a sort of Y shape.
  4. This will create a space where you can stick your stone knife before you lash it on with some twine, cord, or rope. To lock the blade in place, put some moss or lichen in the remaining space.
  5. If you haven’t had time to fashion your knife out of stone yet, you can also use broken pieces of shell or glass or splintered bamboo or bone and secure it to the end of your stick.
  6. If you find a way to split your stick without a knife, you can insert the splintered bone or bamboo into the wedge and tie it off like you would when turning a knife into a spear.

How to Make a Weighted Club | Homemade Weapons

While sharp pointy tools are all well and good, you can never go wrong with a blunt homemade weapon. You can use it for hammering or bludgeoning something such as a weighted club.

The weighted club could be one of the deadliest ancient weapons. To make one, you’ll need the following: a piece of wood around 14-16 inches, a medium-sized rock, and some rope.

  1. Once you have all the materials, you’ll need to wrap some lashing 6-8 inches from the end of the stick.
  2. Split the same end until you reach the lashing in order to create a V-shaped notch. The rock you picked out should be shorter than the length of the split.
  3. Insert the stone then lash it securely (above, below, and across the stone). The lashing on the stick above the stone clamps both sides of the split together providing the first point of security, so it’s especially important to create a good, tight lashing above the stone.
  4. You’ll want to make sure you bind the split ends securely so the stone won’t fall off whenever you use it to hammer or pound on something.

This video from Wannabe Bushcrafter will show you how to make a bamboo knife:

Now, hopefully, you never find yourself in a situation where making homemade weapons is going to be a necessity for survival. But, if you do find yourself in such a quagmire, this little bit of information and inner caveman training may be what saves your life.

Which of these homemade weapons do you want to make? Tell us your progress in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 11, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

This Article Was First Found at survivallife.com Read The Original Article Here

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5 Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

Know these home remedies for chigger bites, or better yet, avoid the bug's bites in the first place with helpful tips included here!

RELATED: Top Ways to Deal with Insects [Especially Mosquitos]

In this article:

  1. What Is a Chigger, Exactly?
  2. Where Do Chiggers Live?
  3. Identifying Chiggers Bites
  4. Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
  5. Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

What Is a Chigger, Exactly?

Chiggers are members of the arachnid family. They are extremely tiny, and my guess is you won’t even see them as they jump from the tall grass onto your skin and/or clothing.

Adult chiggers are about 1/60 of an inch and have eight legs. The larvae are red, wingless, six-legged creatures which measure less than 1/150 of an inch.

Because of their red color, you might be able to spot the larvae when they cluster together, especially on white clothing.

What Is the Arachnid Family? It is a large group or class of invertebrate animals where the spiders and scorpions belong.

Where Do Chiggers Live?

Chiggers reside in tall weeds and grass, berry patches, and wooded areas. They could be in your backyard, by the lake, or your favorite hiking trail.

They are most active in summer and fall afternoons – the warmest part of the day.

Identifying Chiggers Bites

Only the larvae bite humans and they tend to choose warm, moist areas of the body.

Chiggers also have claws which help them grab onto your skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva.

The saliva contains an enzyme which breaks skin cells down to liquid form. Your body responds by hardening skin cells around the saliva, creating a tube (cyclostome) through which the chigger sucks the dissolved skin cells.

Chiggers can stay attached and feeding for several days before falling off.

When the chigger falls off, you are left with reddish bumps. You may notice a bright red dot in the center—this is a remnant of the tube your skin formed in response to the chigger's saliva.

The bumps may look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives. Bites generally appear in groups and get larger for several days to a week.

While many insects bite exposed skin which is easy to get to, chiggers like to bite in folds of skin as well as places where clothing fits tightly on the skin. Most chigger bites occur around the ankles, waist, armpits, crotch, or behind the knees.

Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

Just remember, no matter what, DO NOT SCRATCH THE BITES! I know, easier said than done. But, breaking the skin on a chigger bite can lead to infection.

Here are 5 home remedies to help with the itching and swelling.

RELATED: Spider Bite? Here’s How To Treat It

1. Vicks Vapor Rub

|
Vicks Vapor Rub can put an end to itchy chigger bites immediately and will even reduce the risk of blisters. It’s the cooling menthol in it which relieves itching by affecting itch receptors in the skin.

Steps:

  • Take a hot shower (use antibacterial soap.) Pat dry your skin with a soft towel.
  • Take a small amount of the vapor rub and add some table salt to it.
  • Mix well and apply to the affected area.
  • Repeat if the swelling continues (otherwise, there is no need to repeat the process)

2. Cold Compress

|
A cold compress can help reduce the itching associated with chigger bites. Its numbing effect helps reduce the sensation of itchiness.

Steps:

  • Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth.
  • Apply the compress to the bites for 10 minutes. Repeat if needed to relieve itching.

3. Baking Soda

|
Baking soda is another effective remedy to reduce rashes as well as itchiness. It acts as a natural acid neutralizer which helps relieve itching and reduces the risk of infection.

Steps:

  • Add 1 cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with cool water.
  • Stir well and soak in this water for 15 minutes and pat your skin with a soft towel. (Do this once daily)

Another remedy using baking soda:

  • Prepare a thin paste of 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a little water.
  • Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with cool water.

Note: Do not use this remedy more than once or twice a day. Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.

4. Oatmeal

|
Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties providing instant relief from itching–one of the common symptoms of chigger bites. It is recommended to use colloidal oatmeal, meaning oats which are ground into an extremely fine powder.

(You can accomplish this yourself by grinding regular oats in a sealed Ziploc bag, using the backside of a spoon to crush the oatmeal.)

Steps:

  • Add 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal to a bathtub filled with warm water
  • Stir thoroughly
  • Soak in this mixture for at least 15-20 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day

5. Olive Oil

|
Olive oil can also be used to get relief from the irritation and inflammation. It is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which reduce itching and facilitate healing.

Steps:

  • After rinsing the affected area with water, apply olive oil to the chigger bite.
  • Reapply several times a day.

Another option using olive oil:

  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply on the affected area.
  • Repeat a few times a day.

Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

As summer and fall are prime time for chigger bites, it is best to take the following precautions:

  1. When hiking, stay in the center of the trail and avoid brushing up against vegetation.
  2. Wear long sleeves and long pants when going into the woods.
  3. Apply mosquito repellent on your hands, feet, and exposed skin on your arms before going outside.
  4. Shower immediately after being outdoors and use antibacterial soap.
  5. Wash your clothes in hot water.
  6. Resist the urge to scratch because breaking the skin on chigger bites can lead to a possible infection.

This video from Online Pest Control will show you tips to avoid chiggers and ways to get rid of chiggers:

Chigger bites much like other insect bites aren't only discomforting, they can be dangerous too. Many of these insects including chiggers carry diseases in some cases.

The best way to deal with these bugs is to avoid them or control them with our tips here. But, if you're so unlucky, you also now know the best home remedies to chigger bites!

Have you had to deal with chigger bites before? Tell us how, including more useful tips which worked for you in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr!

***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites | https://survivallife.com/5-home-remedies-for-chigger-bites/

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 28, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

This Article Was First Found at survivallife.com Read The Original Article Here

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9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

Arm yourself with a survival stick, get savvy with it, but first, find out why as you read on!

RELATED: Deadly Parasols | Umbrella As A Self-Defense Weapon

In this article:

  1. Survival Hiking Stick
  2. Survival Stick for Support
  3. Fetching/Reaching Things
  4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense
  5. Balance
  6. Gauging Depth
  7. Carrying Gear and Supplies
  8. Club
  9. Fishing Rod

Survival Stick: An Underrated Multipurpose Tool?

The Survival Stick in History

A walking stick or a survival cane were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries as a decorative show of power and a defensive replacement for a sword. Yet, the truth is our ancestors have been using them for thousands of years, and for good reason…

…They work! Even the animal kingdom is smart enough to know just how useful these are:

(It may be hard to see, but this gorilla is holding a walking stick to gauge the depth of the water as she sloshes along)

A walking stick is not a new or revolutionary idea. In fact, the use of a walking stick predates history and its use continued on for generations including this present time.

Yet, it is one which is more often than not overlooked. When most people think of a walking stick, it is usually paired with a top hat or seen as a crutch for someone with a walking disability.

Far too few people even realize how important a walking stick can be, especially to someone in the outdoors. We will dig a little deeper into the many uses of a survival stick and maybe safely say, it could be the first multi-purpose survival tool.

Practical and Survival Uses for a Survival Stick

Walking sticks are also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles and hiking staff have quite a few different uses:

1. Survival Hiking Stick

Hold the survival stick in front of you and you can use it to clear your way by parting brushes and branches or leaves and thick tall grasses. You can also use it to clear spiderwebs, especially if you're not too fond of spiders.

Other insects, animals, poisonous plants, and even animal dung can get in the way. Use a survival stick to inspect or poke at those things if you are unsure, and never ever your hands or your feet.

2. Survival Stick for Support

Hiker in Caucasus mountains is crossing mountain river | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | hiking staff
Making your way through an uneven terrain will be more manageable with a walking stick for support. Whether you're going up or down, use the walking stick to either slow you down or hold you up.

You can use your walking stick like breaks to keep you from speeding down or use it to latch on to a rock or crevice when you're climbing up. Besides for yourself, you can also use your multipurpose stick as a support for your tarp emergency shelter.

3. Fetching/Reaching Things

It happens–a supply or gear falling on water, mud, puddle or in an area you dare not walk into. You can fetch or reach for those items with a stick.

It also happens where you need an item over a physical barrier and only a stick can fetch the item for you. You can also reach for fruits, nest, or other food sources up a tree or high structure with a stick.

RELATED: Unusual Weapons From Around The World And How To Use Them

4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense

To use a survival stick as a weapon, make sure it's a sturdy stick with a finished look and not just any stick you found along the way. You can use it to defend yourself from an attacker whether it's human or animals.

I would suggest to train yourself in some form of martial arts using a stick like a baton as a weapon to have a better handle at it.

You can also fashion a spear with your stick by tying a survival knife on one end. Don't throw this spear though or you risk damaging or losing your knife and stick.

Hold on to your homemade spear and only use it to thrust at your target.

5. Balance

Hiker is crossing the river in Sweden | Hiker in Caucasus mountain | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | survival hiking stickWhen you're crossing a log bridge over a stream or you're going through the stream itself or other bodies of water, a walking stick can help you balance so you don't fall over. If you're walking through a muddy or rocky waterbed, a walking stick will help you up.

If you're up for it and if the body of water isn't too wide across, you can also use a long stick like a pole vault to cross over so you don't get yourself wet.

6. Gauging Depth

Relative to crossing bodies of water, a survival stick is handy in identifying dips beneath the waters which could cause you to stumble. You can also use the stick to identify where it's safe to take the next step.

You can also use this simple trick with the stick when you're traveling in deep snow, marshland, and even the dessert.

7. Carrying Gear and Supplies

Use your survival stick to help you carry gear and supplies. Pack your supplies with a shemagh, tie it tight to one end of your stick then place the stick over your shoulders in hobo fashion.

You can also carry more supplies with your survival stick. Even today, a carrying pole is used by indigenous people all over the world to carry heavy supplies you never thought possible.

Hang bags of supplies or jars of water on either side of the pole or stick, putting a stopper like a notch or tie on both ends so they don't fall off. Place the center of the stick over your shoulders and balance your load to your destination.

8. Club

Man carrying blue backpack | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | walking staff weapon
Use your survival stick like a club to knock obstacle down. A pillar of rocks or other objects may be on your way and a sturdy stick can help you safely knock those.

If you are in a building with glass doors or windows or inside a car, you can break the glass with a stick. Make to knock over pieces around your entrance or exit with the stick, too.

9. Fishing Rod

You only need to bring a fishing kit and your survival stick will make a good fishing rod. Tie a line on one end of your walking stick and fish away.

A DIY fishing pole is actually effective and many a fish has been caught this way.

As you guys and gals already know, I am a stickler for carrying things only if they have multiple uses. This guy managed to fit almost an entire survival kit into a walking stick he built from scratch, for under $20.00.

Check out this video from SOS 2054 I found, and find out for yourself, too:

A humble walking stick will indeed surprise you with what it can do for your defense, convenience, safety, and survival. Since you know now the practical and survival uses of this primitive multi-purpose tool, it won't surprise me if it lands a top spot on your list of survival tools for camping, hiking, or SHTF.

What other uses can you think of for carrying a “survival stick”? Let us know in the comments section below!

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**Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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