About Steve Berg

Steve is a former United States Marine, serial entrepreneur and businessman with over twenty years of business start-up and management experience. He is the founder of Patriot Surplus and continues to oversee eCommerce operations for the business following an acquisition by US Patriot Tactical out of Columbia, South Carolina. Follow Steve as he shares his conservative views on fiscal issues, military news and our constitutional rights.

Preparing for Disasters and Common Emergencies

preparing for disastersPreparing for Disasters and Common Emergencies

Most people have never thought about preparing for disasters. Their thought process is usually, “It will never happen to me.” However, what about some everyday common emergencies that could present themselves when you least expect it? Would you be able to survive a relatively common emergency situation?

In January 2014, thousands of people were stranded on Atlanta area highways after snow caught the South unprepared. Thousands of drivers were hopelessly stuck for one day and then subsequently a second day on Wednesday January 29, 2014. Many drivers were stranded without food and water, on paralyzed interstates around Atlanta after a winter storm took the city by surprise. This is a very basic situation that caught many unprepared. Some people abandoned their cars altogether and walked to warmth and shelter. Would you be prepared for such a situation?

Three Basic Emergency Principles to Follow

There are three basic factors to keep in mind when preparing for disasters or an emergency situation. I am not talking about a 9/11 type event. Some of the most basic emergencies can wreak havoc on every day life. The following three points will keep you safe and sound in an event such as the surprise ice storm that hit the south in January of 2014.

1. You’ll need access to shelter within 3 hours should you have to abandon your vehicle.
2. You’ll need access to drinkable water.
3. You’ll need access to nutritionally viable food.

XMRE MR MealsWithout these basic staples, an emergency situation can become unbearable in no time at all and deadly over extended periods of time. For the purposes of this article, I will focus on an emergency that catches you off guard in your vehicle. After securing shelter from the elements and a source of clean water is available, food becomes your priority. Storing some shelf stable food in your car is an excellent idea and simple to do. One good short term option is the tried and true MRE, a “meal ready to eat.” These meals require no cooking, water or refrigeration.

Make sure that you have enough food and water for 1-2 days available for every member of the family. Don’t forget to take into consideration any special needs if you have any infants or individuals with special dietary needs in your family. If your pet regularly travels with you, don’t forget to take that into consideration as well.

Because you should store emergency food supplies in a cool, dry location at 40 -60 degrees, you need to take that into account during the different seasons. If you are going to store MRE’s during the winter months, consider storing the MRE’s that come with chemical heaters in case you need to warm up your food. If you have MRE components, make sure to follow the directions on the packaging for both storage and preparation.

Meals ready to eat (MRE) generally have a shelf life of up to five years. Make sure that you check dates on your food supply. Replace those that are close to expiring as needed. Lastly, don’t forget to include utensils. Even though stable food items are easy to store and prepare without the need for water, cooking or refrigeration, a fork and spoon always come in handy. Check out our full line of MRE meals from XMRE. All XMRE meals are made in the USA and are the highest quality MREs on the market.

Complementing the Bug Out Bag

Complementing-the-Bug-Out-BagComplementing the Bug Out Bag

Stuck in TrafficDriving in to work, you notice traffic is heavier than normal. You turn down the radio to concentrate on the road and you hear distant sirens that grow louder as you near the city. You decide to turn on the local news station to see what they have to say. You quickly learn that there is a regional disaster, and you will not be working today. The only problem is that your bug-out-bag is at home, and the roads are clogged as people flee the city towards the suburbs.

The fastest way to get out of the panic is by foot, so you set off towards home. This is where your bail-out-bag, get-back-home-bag comes into play. Similar to your Bug Out Bag, your GBHB has everything you need for an emergency situation. The difference though is that your GBHB is smaller and easier to carry, but is only going to help you for 24 to 48 hours.  The idea is to use this bag to get you back home to shelter, or back home to grab your BOB. In this article, we will go over the basics of what to put into your GBHB.

Just like the BOB, you will need food, water, shelter, and security, but the amounts will be reduced from 72-96 hours’ worth of gear to 24-48 hours.

FOOD: A few granola bars, a foil pack of tuna, and perhaps a few pieces of candy will do well. You can also throw in an MRE, but food is your bottom concern as you should be home before you get too hungry.

Water: A Camelbak® should be in the bag. Some people choose to use a hydration bladder carrier with added pouches for the GBHB for their small size. In addition to the bladder, you should have 2 water bottles, as they can be used to filter water in a pinch. Also, bring a bottle of water purification tabs. You should have a minimum of 3 liters of water.

Shelter: By throwing in a jacket, a Mylar blanket, and a wool cap, you should be good. If you live in an extreme temperature location, take that into consideration, whether it is extreme heat or cold.

 Fuel Hydration Pack by CondorSecurity: As always, bring fire. This will help to make your shelter more effective as well as provide some security from animals. A good knife for bushcraft and self-defense should be added. If you are unable to carry a firearm at work, you can carry a firearm in the bag. If you leave the bag in the car at all times, however, you should either find another way to carry your gun, or make sure your remove it from the bag when you are not in the car.

By carrying a GBHB everywhere you go (at least keeping it the car), you can increase your odds of surviving the trip home to get your larger, more complete BOB. Just remember, this bag is supposed to be light, small, easy to carry, and quick to grab. Check out the Fuel Hydration Pack manufactured by Condor. This compact hydration pack has enough room to store 24 to 48 hours worth of survival necessities and includes a 2.5L TPU material baldder with bite valve for plenty of water storage.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.

 

Complying with Police – Hands Up Don’t Shoot

Jarrett Maupin isn’t known for complying with police officers. He is a Phoenix, Arizona activist who has been extremely critical of the police. Specifically, he has been very vocal about police use of force. In an interesting turn of events, he agreed to undergo a day of law enforcement training that focuses on use of deadly force on the job. He underwent a use of force scenarios exercise with a local police department recently. Guess what? He completely reversed his view on the police and the use of deadly force. In short, he had a change of heart.

According to local television station KSAZ-TV in Phoenix, Maupin helped lead several marches on Phoenix police headquarters in recent months. He was protesting a recent police shooting of an unarmed man. Maupin was caught on video at a protest shouting, “We want his badge, we want his gun, we want his job.”  But what would happen if Maupin experienced what it’s like to actually wear a badge, and be put in a life or death situation? The activist agreed to undergo a standard use of force training exercise with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department where he was had to decide whether to shoot or not to shoot in three different scenarios.

Complying with the Police

Image Source KZAZ News

In the first scenario, Maupin was tasked with breaking up an argument. “What’s going on today gentlemen, what are you doing?” he asked the suspects. The situation quickly escalated and got physical. One of the unarmed subjects rushed Maupin and he shot the suspect. “Hey, he rushed me … I shot because he was in that zone, I didn’t see him armed, he came clearly to do some harm to my person,” he explained to the Fox affiliate. “It’s hard to make that call; it shakes you up.”

FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

In his second training scenario a suspect hides behind a car where he pulled a gun and shot him. “When he came to the back of the vehicle and started hiding, I could sense something was wrong,” Maupin said he didn’t react in time. Had it been a real world scenario, he would be dead.

In the third and final scenario, Maupin successfully managed to detain a suspect on the ground. Unbeknownst to Maupin however, the suspect had a knife in his waistband. Once the training exercise was completed, the activist said he had a change of heart. “I didn’t understand how important compliance was, but after going through this; yes my attitude has changed, this happens in 10-15 seconds. People need to comply for their own sake.”

Complying with police officers is critical. If a law officer tells you to get on the ground, do so. If an officer tells you to put your hands behind your back so he can cuff you, get handcuffed. When you choose to not follow a police officer’s commands and make the decision to fight, there is a strong chance you are going to get hurt at the minimum or at worst killed. It is not worth fighting a police officer who is simply enforcing the law and trying to make it home to his family safe and alive. Live to fight another day in the court system. Yes, there are some cops who abuse authority. Yes, the court system isn’t always fair. But, by complying with police officers during a police involved situation, you will live to fight another day.

Here is the full body camera footage from Maupin’s simulation, and how police debriefed him on what happened.

Pet Survival Kit

pet survival kitPet Survival Kit

There can be any number of reasons for you and your family to need access to a survival kit. Natural disasters, civil unrest, you name it, there are many situations that could make it necessary for you to grab your kit and go. However, what about your pets? Do you have a pet survival kit prepared for Fido? In an emergency, the pets are the last the last thing on our minds until it is go time.

For many individuals and families, their pets are members of the family, and leaving them behind when an emergency evacuation is called for is just unthinkable. If you fall into this group, here are some tips to help you get a pet survival kit of essentials prepared.

Food for Your Pet Survival Kit:

Collapsible Dog Bowl for Your Pet Survival KitDo not assume that you will be able to buy pet food during an emergency situation. If the power grid, for instance, has been disrupted, stores will be shut down, making access to fresh pet food difficult. Try to have 1 or 2 weeks of food held in reserve. You can rotate this food to prevent spoilage, and remember to keep dry food in an airtight container as this will keep dry food safe for a longer period of time. It can also be a good idea to include treats for your pet as he or she may be stressed during these times. Lastly, have a can opener and bowls (collapsible bowls are a good idea).

Pack Water in Your Pet Survival Kit

When you plan your water requirements for your family survival kit, include enough water for your pet. The amount of water needed will depend on the type of pet you have and how long you believe you may be without safe drinking water.

Medication and First Aid Supplies

If your pet is on medication, remember to have an ample supply on hand that you can take with your kit. You may also want to buy a pet first aid kit (yes, these are available). Pets can become injured, and you may not be able to find medical assistance in times of trouble. As an added precaution, consider adding flea powder or flea collars to your kit.

Collar and Leash:

Again, your pet may be stressed during this time, and having access to both a collar and leash will be useful. Depending on your pet, you may also need access to a travel cage.

Miscellaneous Items:

You may also want to pack a few toys for your pet to play with to reduce stress. Also, have blankets or other items to help keep the pet warm during cold weather and don’t forget bedding.

pet survival kitDog Backpacks for Your Pet Survival Kit

It only takes a few minutes to put together a pet survival kit. There are even special backpacks for dogs that you can attach to your pet so he is carrying his fair share of the load! A few tips on using a backpack on your dog. Put the backpack on without anything in the pockets at first. Let Fido get used to it before bugging out. Go for 2-4 walks with the backpack empty. If your dog is ignoring the backpack after 2-4 walks begin adding weight a little at a time. Go by the size of your dog. For large dogs try a 12-ounce bottle of water on each side. For a medium dogs, start with 4 oz or less.  Many dogs become eager to put it on once they connect the backpack to a walk.

Once you have your pet survival kit set up and ready to go, you will feel better. Knowing that you have done all that you can to make any time of trouble more comfortable for your loved ones and pets is a reward in and of itself.

The Call to Serve

The Call to ServeThe Call to Serve

The urge to enlist and the call to serve in the military is hard for many people to understand. In a world that has become so centered on the needs of the individual instead of the needs of the many, it can be hard for those who have never served to understand. It can be even harder on those who served themselves when a child seeks to serve during a time of war. Families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice deserve our utmost support.

The following is an incredibly moving short film. Get your tissues.

The Ragged Old Flag of The United States of America

ragged old flag

The Ragged Old Flag

This morning, like many early mornings, I sat at my computer flipping through Facebook with a cup of coffee. This typically takes very little time because most of the drivel that emanates from my Facebook feed is virtually worthless. No, I do not care that you got a bikini wax or that you “Like” some post from a Facebook friend you probably wouldn’t be able to have a conversation with in real life.

However, today was different. A buddy of mine shared a video on his wall that caught my attention. It was entitled The Ragged Old Flag. We are friends on Facebook and in real life. He is a true warrior. My friend is a long time US Army Special Forces operator, a Green Beret. He has been on multiple deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and a few other places he cannot really talk about. He did this well into his late forties until his body finally gave out on him. To me, he is not only a warrior and a hero, he is the embodiment of the American spirit. My friend joined the Army late in life. In his late twenties, he enlisted in the US Army and later volunteered for, was accepted into and earned his place among the elite US Army Green Berets.

The United States Army Special Forces are known as the Green Berets because of their distinctive service headgear. They are a special operations force with five primary missions. They conduct unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, and counter-terrorism missions. My buddy has pretty much done it all. And he doesn’t talk about it at bars bragging of his bravado. He is a silent warrior. Like all true warriors, he doesn’t want or need the recognition.

My friend posted a video that I have embedded at the bottom of this article. It is an old gritty Johnny Cash video where Cash relates the story of the American Flag in a small rural town that has become ragged and worn. It is a story as much about our flag as much as it is about my friend and all service members after years of service and dedication to the homeland that I love. It reminded me of how sickened I am by all of the politicians in our country who have hijacked my homeland and perverted politics to cater to their special interest cause of the day. Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, I am talking to all of you. You make my stomach turn. You’ve stolen the America I grew up in and turned it into a freak show of politics.

Forget the Republican and Democratic parties. Forget the Tea Party. Whatever happened to the American Party? When I was growing up there were people of opposing views just like today. Some of my friend’s parents were democrats. My own parents were and still are democrats. Some of my friend’s parents were republicans. However, you know what? I would never have known that. Heck, I did not even know what I believed in politically until I was in my late twenties. To me, all of my friends were just Americans. I had Black, white, Asian and Hispanic friends growing up. Their skin color never mattered to me. It was who they were on the inside that mattered. To this day, I couldn’t care less what color your skin is. It is the color of your integrity that matters to me.

The media have become that proverbial middle child many families have that gets drunk at the holidays and proceeds to gossip about and criticize everyone under the sun just because deep down inside, they are not at peace with themselves. Sure, it garners good ratings to spread gossip and denigrate those who have opposing views, but it does no good for anyone. For all that attention you are getting at that moment; know that when you aren’t looking, we think your actions are idiotic. We are Americans and we need to start acting like it. We need to stop pushing each other down trying to force the agenda of the day in which we happen to believe. We need to start acting like the Americans who fought and died for the Ragged Old Flag. We need to come together as one and be Americans again. We cannot lift each other up if we keep pushing each other down.

To the politicians of all political parties, I have this to say to you. Fuck you. We are your constituents. If government were a business, we would be your customers. I know it is hard for you to understand at times. But you need to start acting like you give a damn about your customers. Stop telling us one thing to get elected and then doing the exact opposite once you are in office. In my world, we call that lying. In the business world, we call that bait and switch. You’ve cheated the American people and I for one am sick and tired of it. Don’t tell me you are going to fundamentally change the country for the better when you are trying to tear down the Ragged Old Flag and raise one for a country I don’t fundamentally recognize anymore.

Like Johnny Cash states in the video, I thank God for all the freedoms we have in this country. When I enlisted in the Marine Corps I knew that I was willing to lay my life on the line in defense of my homeland and fellow countrymen. I still would today, even for someone’s right to be stupid in America. Because, if we lived in Iraq or Afghanistan or any other oppressed nation, stupidity is not tolerated, it is murdered. Just like the homosexuals, Christians and people merely fighting for freedom that are being martyred, crucified and beheaded by ISIS (or ISIL or whatever flavor of radical perverted Islam they are claiming today.)

Freedom is not free. It never has been. It was won by the bloodshed of our ancestors as they fought the Revolutionary War. It was won as the ocean waters of Normandy ran red with the blood of my countrymen. It was won in Korea and Vietnam. Freedom was fought for in Iraq and Afghanistan. History will judge whether our causes were just, but I believe all of these wars were fought in the name of Freedom. I will always feel our cause was just.

It is time to wake up America. It is time for the American party to rise from the ashes like a phoenix and lead America back to her greatness. Like the Ragged Old Flag, Americans have been “abused, burned, dishonored, denied an’ refused” by the very government for which she stands. Americans are being scandalized throughout the world. We have liberated oppressed people and asked for nothing more than a plot to bury our dead soldiers. We may be thread bare and wearing thin, but I still believe in America. As Americans, we can survive Presidents with whom we disagree. We can survive corrupt politicians of all parties. We’ve been through fire before and we shall prevail because we are one nation under God. We are Americans and I am still mighty proud of that Ragged Old Flag.

We Have a Problem with Homegrown Radical Islam

 We Have a Problem with Homegrown Radical Islam

Homegrown Radical Islam

This is hard to stomach fellow citizens. Homegrown radical Islam has reared it’s ugly head in Colorado. I struggle to understand why in the world a natural born US citizen would want to join ISIS, a barbaric terrorist group consisting of radical Islamists who hate America. Their stated mission is to kill us all. A 19-year-old Colorado teenager, Shannon Conley, plead guilty Wednesday to trying to help the militant Islamic State. The plea deal in the terrorism case requires her to give authorities information about other Americans with the same intentions.

Shannon Conley was wearing a black and brown headscarf over her striped jail jumpsuit as she entered the plea in federal court to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine is what she faces when she is sentenced in January. But don’t worry fellow Patriots, the prosecutor has already stated they will seek a reduced sentence for her as long as she cooperates with authorities. Is it just me or shouldn’t a citizen who willfully sought to join a terrorist organization hell bent on killing us be given no reduction in their sentence? This is homegrown radical Islam folks.

Conley’s public defender, Robert Pepin stated after her hearing that she has been horrified by the atrocities committed by the Islamic State group since her arrest and offered her condolences to those who have been caught up in its slaughter and oppression. Really? I’m sure James Foley and Steven Sotloff’s families are supremely grateful for her regrets. Court documents showed that she wanted to aid ISIS swith her skills as a nurses aid and the skills she learned during her time in the US Army Explorer program.

The following news report is an interesting peek into the lamestream mainstream media coverage. My question to the news station is why they had to so opportunistically and repeatedly show this homegrown terrorist in her US Army Explorer battle dress uniform with her traditional Islamic headwrap. They show the same images over and over throughout the report. Why do you think they did that? Here is the video.

Tell us what you think fellow patriots.

Military Homecomings

Military Homecomings

Have you ever been at an airport and seen the many military service men and women waiting for flights? I always wonder if they are leaving or coming home. At times, we tend to take for granted all the service men and women serving our country at home and abroad. These brave men and women bravely leave their families behind as they deploy and do their jobs. They spends months in less than ideal conditions. Many stare into the face of the enemy on a daily basis. When they return home, some of the best military homecomings occur.

Over the last decade, these heroes have endured deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have been separated from their families for extended periods of time. They have done their job and deserve the best when they come home. These homecomings have been caught on video time after time. We’ve found one of the best videos of these military homecomings.

Get the tissues out, this video is an awesome compilation of military homecomings.

Military Homecomings Video

Didn’t get enough tears out from our video pick? Welcome Home Blog is a whole website devoted to military homecomings. Check them out for some happy tear moments!

Social Media on the Modern Day Battlefield

How Social Media on the Modern Day Battlefield Has Affected the Military

social media on the modern day battlefieldWith continually developing technology, the ways in which members of the military connect with friends, family and the civilian world are changing. We need to take a hard look at social media on the modern day battlefield. Think back to the days of World War I, where the only means for soldiers to keep in touch with their families was by writing letters. Since the Internet and social media were invented, nowadays communication is a whole lot quicker and easier.

Social media was at the epicenter of the military operation to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. A coffee shop owner in Abbottobad Pakistan unknowingly tweeted commentary about the sound of the helicopters carrying Seal Team Six operators as they were en route to the Bin Laden compound. Sohaib Athar quite literally broke the first news about the Bin Laden operation when he tweeted “”Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)”

The Use of Social Media by Terrorists

Just this week, we have seen the barbaric acts of ISIS in Iraq and Syria being splashed across social media by ISIS itself. In fact, the Department of Defense believes that a US born America is behind the social media blitz. Ahmad Abousamra, a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston with a degree related to computer technology, is suspected of being the social media manager of ISIS. He is on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. The terrorists are literally embracing social media on the modern day battlefield as a terrorist tool.

In the 1980s email was introduced to workplaces, and the whole world’s communication changed forever. In those days, information was sent out via email, and it spread only as quickly as people checked their emails (not counting the time it took for dial-up Internet to connect, as well!). Now, with just one click, an enormous amount of potentially crucial information can reach millions of people within seconds.

Social Media on the Modern Day Battlefield Risks Operational Security

This has had a tremendous impact on the way the military operates. Social media is not something which can be ignored; the majority of serving members of the military have grown up with social media. It has to be accepted and embraced as it has become such a big part of everyday life. The Department of Defense did exactly that in 2010, making social media accessible to service men and women on work computers.

The cause for concern comes in where there is such a fine line between what information is official, and what is not. Twenty or thirty years ago, an official statement was made, and that was taken as fact. Fast forward to now, and anyone can post information, thoughts, opinions, viewpoints, experiences, pictures and hearsay, which some people may mistakenly take to be an official statement. This can be damaging, and even dangerous.

As it has become so much easier for information to enter the public domain, soldiers have also been placed at a much higher risk than they were in the 1980s and 1990s. It was much easier to keep details of their locations and operations secret before the days of social media. Information was kept on a need-to-know basis. These days, with the uploading of a single picture or a simple message posted about homecomings, details are put out there which can potentially put soldiers’ lives at risk, if it gets into the wrong hands.

Once information has been sent into cyberspace, there is no way to get it back, and even if it is deleted, there’s no way of knowing just who might have seen it or what website archived it. All you need to do is check out twitchy.com to see some of the best archived tweets around. This is one of the major downsides to social media and the military, as it’s so hard to tackle. There are guidelines for service personnel and their families on how to conduct themselves online, but this is certainly something which soldiers of years gone by never even had to think about. Always remember operational security when posting to social media sites.

Whether we like it or not, social media has affected all of our lives. It is something which the military has had to tackle head on, and it definitely has its advantages. On one hand, the ability to release information quickly and easily is a useful tool for the Department of Defense. On the other hand, there are always risks surrounding what information is released and when. Keeping in touch with friends and family is always a plus point, but communicating with potentially dangerous individuals is risky. It seems as though social media has both advantages and disadvantages for the military. It is, however, something that they don’t really have a choice about. Social media is growing exponentially these days, or so it seems. When you consider how far technology has brought us over the last thirty years, where will the next thirty take us? Post your comments below!

Home Canning Vegetables for the Self Sustained Family

Home Canning Vegetables

As a child, my parents had a huge garden. We were not poor but were far from rich. My mother canned everything. Heck, one year we had so many tomatoes, she made homeade ketchup for my one brother who ate everything with ketchup on it. She grew up on a farm during the 40’s and 50’s. I suppose it was in her genes. We spent numerous hours during the summer as “endentured servants” weeding and picking vegetables. I swore when I was an adult I would never have a garden or can anything. As an adult, I have come to realize that my parents actually had a lot of sense. Also, they saved a lot of “cents” with the garden and mom’s canning.

Growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs can be a rewarding experience. It is a lot of work yet fun. The sense of satisfaction you get when you see something that you have planted and nurtured grow into something delicious is incredible! Gardening is a wonderful way of gaining quality family time by getting kids to interact with gardening. Although, I will admit total failure in that department! In order to turn this hobby into something more serious, such as to become a self-sustained family it is a good idea to start canning your vegetables. This will make them last as long as possible as well as add a variety to your diet.

Despite the name ‘canning’, food is usually preserved and stored in glass mason jars. These jars are available from a wide variety of retailers. By using the canning method, your food has a shelf-life of about one year, which is hundreds of times longer than fresh food. An additional benefit to canning is you will know exactly what you are putting into the food you serve your family. Not only are home canned vegetables healthier they can also be tastier than store-bought canned food.

The process is actually rather simple. There are two types of canning methods, water bath canning and pressure canning. I’ll cover pressure canning later in the article. For water bath canning, all you need is a large pot filled with boiling water. Most big box stores sell the familiar grey speckled canning pots. You need to make sure you have thoroughly washed and sterilized your jars, lids and rings. This can be done by washing in the jars hot soapy water and rinsing thoroughly with hot water or you can simply run them through the dishwasher. For the lids and rings, simply put them in a pot of boiling water with the heat turned off. Do not boil them, simply submerge them in the boiling water until you need them. If you are using a hot pack recipe where you will be filling the jars with something like boiled tomatoe sauce, you need to fill jars with hot water until ready to fill.

Prepare your recipe and fill jars, leaving at least an inch of head space. Once the jars have been filled, carefully wipe off the mouth of the jar with a sterile cloth and secure the lid with the metal band. The jars are then put in the water bath canner and completely covered with hot water. Bring to a boil and process for the period of time designated in your recipe. The type of food being preserved and the size of the jars you are using will determine process times. The time can vary between anything from a few minutes to over an hour. Sealing the jars in this way not only kills bacteria, it also removes extra air from the jar. This allows the food to last longer and ensure it is less likely to spoil.

The most important thing to be aware of when home canning is the use of proper sanitation. When you are home canning, there is a possibility of botulism if items are not properly processed. You have to use the proper canning method for yoour food items as well. Botulism is a form of food poisoning that can cause serious illness, paralysis and even death. While it is a rare occurrence in high acid foods, it can occur in low acid foods if the proper method is not used. The bacteria that causes botulism cannot be killed by using water bath canner, so low acid foods need to be processed in a pressure canner. Using a pressure canner is the only way to be certain the bacteria are killed, as the temperature reaches far higher points than the water bath method canning water does due to the pressure. This is essential, as botulism is usually undetectable. You should not eat any canned items that appear cloudy or have a slightly sour smell or taste.

Take care to avoid endangering yourself, your family and others, by using a pressure canner for all low acid foods. Remember however, this only applies to foods that are not very acidic. High-acid foods such as tomatoes are acidic enough to kill the bacteria, whereas foods like beans, corn, meat, fish and poultry are not. It is not necessary to use a pressure canner for high acid foods. Most high acid recipes will include the processing time for it. Low acid recipes will always include a time and pressure at which to process the jars.

The internet is filled with countless recipes, tips and suggestions on how to prepare your canned food items. However, the best way for you to master it all is just to jump right in and try things out! As long as you are careful and follow the basic guidelines, then you are well on your way to becoming a home canning aficionado!