Apocalypse shopping

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Apocalypse shopping

Postby NeilFann » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:23 am UTC

Suppose there were to be an event that caused a breakdown in society and you wanted to be prepared for it. I'm thinking of some obvious potential examples such as a proper banking crisis or oil shock.

I've got a house with reasonable grounds that could become self sufficient with luck, skill and preparedness. Also reasonable cellar and storage space. The house would be pretty secure with minor enhancements. Water is not an issue as we are on a spring.

Question open to the floor: What is a sensible shopping list in advance of such event? Thus far I'm thinking:

Seeds (lettuce, root veg, corgette are our most reliable croppers)
Fertiliser
Large amounts of dried pulses
Protein packs as per weight training
Salt
Large pack of dried herbs (want to continue to eat reasonable food)
Dried dog food (for the dogs)
Matches
Wood

I've not got any hunting skills hence not put an airgun on there yet - would be a sensible move though since there's no shortage of rabbits and squirrels around here.

Anything obvious I've missed?

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Swlabr » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:35 am UTC

You could get a back-burner for your fire, so you can still have hot water.

You might want an axe for getting more wood.

A wind-turbine wouldn't go amiss either...

Also, you might still want to get that air-gun, especially if the apocalyptic event involved zombies/angry bankers.

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby TimelordSimone » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:57 am UTC

I think a bicycle would be good, in case you need to get anywhere.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:08 pm UTC

a pressure cooker maybe? you could cook with it and sterilize stuff in it quite effectively
a wind up radio and a bunch of wind up torches
portable solar panels
a water pump
a still for purifying water, maybe something like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_still
a camping shower, because you'll want to stay clean obviously.
a well stocked medical/first aid kit

a bike is a good idea, also possible to hook it up to a generator, for electricty when there is no wind?

edit: just noticed the bit about you being on a spring, so the still would be pointless for you,
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby JamesP » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:34 pm UTC

I don't know what you mean, exactly, by "reasonable grounds" but if it's quite big then you could keep a few goats. Milk, cheese, butter all on tap. Chickens to if you can feed them.

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby NeilFann » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:05 pm UTC

Bike is a good call. I've got one but am short on puncture repair kits and that would be a single point of failure. The water related kit is worth mentioning for those without their own supply but we're alright on that front. Pressure cooker - presumably needs electricity to run? That wouldn't work for long. Fair point on the wind up torches - also batteries.

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby NeilFann » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:06 pm UTC

Goats would be too ambitious for our garden - also liable to eat the veg. Chickens on the other hand are on the to-do list. They will require some proper planning though....

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:34 pm UTC

NeilFann wrote:Bike is a good call. I've got one but am short on puncture repair kits and that would be a single point of failure. The water related kit is worth mentioning for those without their own supply but we're alright on that front. Pressure cooker - presumably needs electricity to run? That wouldn't work for long. Fair point on the wind up torches - also batteries.


nah pressure cookers mostly just go on the hob, which assumedly you could also use on a normal fire.

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby JudeMorrigan » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:49 pm UTC

If you live anywhere near a river, lake or ocean, fishing gear would seem like a good investment. Needles and thread for sewing. At least one spare pair of rugged eyeglasses for everyone who wears them. A stock of luxury goods like coffee, chocolate and tobacco might make sense. Even if you don't want them for yourselves, they could be good bartering material. If you're assuming bartering opportunities, bees are kind of an interesting possibility. And yes, I'm basically reciting the plot of Alas, Babylon here.

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:54 pm UTC

Antibiotics. Crates and crates of them. And iodine water purification tablets.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Pandorly » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:56 pm UTC

JudeMorrigan wrote:...fishing gear... Needles and thread... rugged eyeglasses... luxury goods like coffee, chocolate and tobacco... bees

Some excellent ones here. Bees are an especially good idea if there are severe environmental changes because eating local honey is a good way of building up immunity and resistance to any health threats there may be.

Also, flint. Matches and lighters aren't reliable enough for me. Heat, light and cooking can all be provided for with this much safer source of fire, which can also be an effective weapon if it comes down to it. You can purchase it on various sites, including the obvious ones like Amazon and eBay. If you buy a few pieces, perhaps ten, and store them appropriately, it will last you for your entire lifetime. Purchasing an abundance of candles and combustible materials would probably also be a good idea, for that matter.

Learning how to use grain to one's advantage is an important thing to do if you plan on growing (which, for survival's sake, you really should). With grain, you can make fuel, essential foods and best of all, alcohol!

A langerload of tinned food and huge amounts of bottled water would be a good backup in case there's some reason being self-sufficient in terms of food isn't possible (irradiated soil and water or other environmental instability like climatic abnormalities).

Izawwlgood wrote:Antibiotics. Crates and crates of them. And iodine water purification tablets.

You're right that it would be stupid not to think to keep medicines, but in a hostile world it would be more important than ever to resist the infections prior to illness instead of combating them after they happen. Antibiotics are only really necessary for severe bacterial infections such as dysentery, blood poisoning, pneumonia, meningitis and anything else life-threatening. Ear infections and colds are shit but it's better to stick them out until they go away or better still, avoid getting them altogether.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:48 pm UTC

Storage of antibiotics is.. problematic. Best case scenario - you can get five or six years out of them, tops.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Pandorly » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:03 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Storage of antibiotics is.. problematic. Best case scenario - you can get five or six years out of them, tops.

Moreover, if you take expired drugs unknowingly you can damage the lining of your stomach or if you have liver problems already you can become seriously sick. (http://www.helium.com/items/828149-the- ... ired-drugs)
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Steax » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:09 pm UTC

Books and other forms of information stored on them. A lot of things we take for granted are in the form of knowledge. I'd keep:
- Maps, all shapes and sizes, nautical ones too
- Star charts for night time navigation and telling time
- Medical information
- Documentation for topics like computers, physics and chemistry; these may well be crucial in the future, for recovering lost knowledge
- Manuals on everything from cars to laptops; useful for finding components you may need for various purposes
- Farming and gardening manuals and references
- A good, clear log of every day events, also for datekeeping

It kind of scares me how vulnerable I really am towards this kind of thing. I live on a pretty over-populated island with diminishing amounts of natural resources (transportation to other islands is, however, viable). Any sort of breakdown would be pretty hard to survive through.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:14 pm UTC

Pandorly wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:Storage of antibiotics is.. problematic. Best case scenario - you can get five or six years out of them, tops.

Moreover, if you take expired drugs unknowingly you can damage the lining of your stomach or if you have liver problems already you can become seriously sick. (http://www.helium.com/items/828149-the- ... ired-drugs)


Sure, treat them like any other perishable. You may need to freeze them. I've also read that when not in liquid form, many drugs last significantly longer than the posted expiration date.
http://www.terrierman.com/antibiotics-WSJ.htm
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:19 pm UTC

And some antibiotics become poisonous after so long. Fuck if I know the difference between the ones that are fine if frozen and the ones that'll kill me six years later.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:21 pm UTC

Well right, which is why you could read the labels. I'm not saying you're wrong that expired antibiotics are dangerous, just that there's evidence that some antibiotics last longer than posted, and not all antibiotics become antiSecondTalonics after their expiration date. Just the good ones.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Eseell » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:30 pm UTC

Alternatively, you could learn to grow penicillin and other medicinal plants.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:43 pm UTC

Spices. Lots of spices.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby PAstrychef » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:02 pm UTC

If your goal is Civilisation:The Re-Boot, then you need the tools and information to make other tools and get foods. A good library of "forgotten" skills, such as the Foxfire books will be very helpful. You will also need plenty of labor, so make sure your friends know that they can work for food.
Never have only one of anything. It may seem odd to collect hand tools, but better to have an extra than go without if you can't make a good replacement. Same goes for stocks of replacement parts, including materials such as sheet metals.
How extreme an event are you interested in planning for?
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby yawningdog » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:12 pm UTC

1. First of all, guns. Not only do you need to hunt for food, you need to defend yourself in what sounds like a term of lawlessness. A .22 fur hunting because it's small, accurate, cheap, and will kill pretty much anything medium-dog-size or smaller. A 9mm handgun or carbine to dispatch marauding...uh...marauders. And in a zombie situation, a shotgun.

2. Fire. Gotta cook stuff and not freeze. Either in the form of matches, zippo, firesteel, or a high degree of skill in making fire with what you can forage.

3. Basic tools. Machete, axe/hatchet, lots of rope, sharp knife, adjustable wrench, pliers, some sort of small portable saw.

4. Fish hooks and leaders.

4. A sturdy pair of boots.

5. Durable, warm, Gore-tex rain gear.

6. I like the bicycle idea, I wish I had thought of it. But if we're shooting for the post-apocalypse cliche (And who doesn't want to do that?) Then you need either a Harley Davidson Sportster or a big dirt bike.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby NeilFann » Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:38 am UTC

Cheers guys. Keep them coming! Some of these are more leaning towards a wilderness strategy which is fine if that's your terrain. I'm however going for the stay at home strategy. I should be able to grow enough food to survive and defend my patch from marauding zombie bankers. Also - I'm in the UK which thankfully means guns aren't widely available - much as they'd be useful for pinging bunnies, squirrels and longpigs (since I have no intention of going vegetarian if I can help it).

How extreme an event are you interested in planning for?


I'm thinking of a case where there is no food in the shops. Can't remember how many missed meals we're said to be from anarchy but I'd give it about 2 days. Anecdotally I heard of fights after the first petrol strikes that lasted 3 days in 2000. Suppose that situation went on a year or more - I don't want to be depending on anyone else for my food etc.

Fair point on information stored in a non-electronic medium and also some training would be handy too....

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby NeilFann » Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:40 am UTC

A good library of "forgotten" skills, such as the Foxfire books will be very helpful.


True - just looked up the Firefox books. They're specific to a region that doesn't exactly apply here since you don't get so many snakes on the Penines. Will have to find a local version.....

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby MadBob » Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:49 pm UTC

You need to get yourself a reasonably priced recurve bow (spare risers) several spare strings, couple of dozen carbon fibre arrows. Cheap set of sites. Then you can defend yourself, hunt edible lifeforms etc.

You can get a semi beginners kit cheaply, don't buy a long bow, you're trying to hit things and not be bleedin' robin hood.

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Pandorly » Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:51 pm UTC

What's the difference between that and a crossbow (like, for example, the one the hillbilly has in Walking Dead)? I'd definitely go with crossbow over guns; not nearly as messy upon impact or complicated in its assembly, has easily replaceable parts, and isn't as loud.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby MadBob » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:03 am UTC

Crossbow has a shorter range slower rate of fire, but more accuracy at shorter range.

Recurve requires a little more skill and strength, but you don't have to go heavy on the poundage.

A compound bow would be more accurate than either, heavy poundage is easier to pull and hold, (once they break over you can hold forever, almost) the complexity means more to go wrong for compound or crossbow.

Recurve therefore is a good compromise for me.

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Magnanimous » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:05 am UTC

I imagine it'd be most practical to learn about electrical engineering (and keep more advanced books around), so the power grid going offline doesn't necessarily mean you're stuck. Things like rewiring a motor to work as a manual generator are going to help, and they have to be done right.

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Jumble » Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:29 pm UTC

Timekeeping can be important, both psychologically and for navigation. Quartz is reliable and accurate but will give out when the batteries die (to say noting of EMP related events). I'd acquire a good quality but tough mechanical wrist watch (e.g. Tag heuer, don't need to go for an omega or roles - no fashion points in the apocalypse). Probably back it up with a wind up ships chronometer. I've also got an old station wall clock which isn't that accurate but I like the tick. If you are alone then you will need background noise to stay sane!
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:53 pm UTC

MadBob, you should read World War Z. Firepower isn't an issue; all you need is something that can penetrate a skull. Who cares if you've got a rocket launcher with two rockets; a .22 with a mountain of ammo is going to be more useful.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:28 pm UTC

Pandorly wrote:I'd definitely go with crossbow over guns; not nearly as messy upon impact
Very wrong. Bows and crossbows kill by opening a vein or artery and bleeding the animal to death, unless you hit a lung, brain or kidney. If you hit a kidney or brain, yea, it'll be a quick and relatively clean death, but it would also be so with a small caliber firearm. If you hit a lung, you now a slowly dying animal supping wet breaths and bleeding and probably trying to run away. If you hit anywhere else you have a bleeding animal trying to run away or struggling and hemorrhaging. Firearms can cause the same kind of deaths, but they are also more likely to cause hydrostatic shock or aneurysms. Ballistic trauma for both bullets and arrows (or bolts) is a pretty complex science, and blanket statements are difficult to make, but for the most part bullet deaths are cleaner, quicker and less painful than bolt or arrow deaths.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:42 pm UTC

Would there ever be a case where hitting the same part of an animal with an arrow produced a cleaner death than a bullet would have?
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:58 pm UTC

I would imagine hitting a kidney or brain with an arrow would be cleaner, but that depends on the bullet used as well as the arrow head used. Some hunting arrows have backfacing barbs so that they won't fall out of the animal as easily, and can continue to sever veins as the animal flees and the arrow bounces up and down. On the other hand, some bullets will just go through and through, leaving pencil wounds, while some bounce around the body but stay inside, and some will enter, deform and exit grotesquely. Like I said, ballistic trauma is almost more of a science of statistics ("it's very likely it will happen like this") rather than absolute facts ("it will happen like this") because of the sheer amount of factors involved, both when it comes to arrows and bullets. Thinking back on what Pandorly said though, non-hunting arrows would probably produce cleaner wounds than most bullets, meaning once you clean up all the blood there would be a nice little hole or two, but from what I've learned from hunters and research, it's a much messier, painful and slower death.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Jumble » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:55 pm UTC

Surely the point is that if you are hunting (animals, not zombies, etc.) and you use a bow then the noise is minimal. If you miss (& we all do, no matter how good), you get the chance to carry on hunting in the knowledge that all other game within 500 yards has not legged it at the noise. You may even get a second chance at the original target.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:28 pm UTC

You're right, that is a huge benefit to a bow and arrow, and incidentally, one of the legitimate uses for silencers and calibri style cartridges. I was commenting on Pandorly's statement that a bow is less messy than a gun for hunting. Everything else he said was true: quieter, easier to jerry rig repairs, and is generally mechanically less complex.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby poxic » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:30 pm UTC

Been around a while, but worth reading the history in this guy's blog (yes, it's FerFAL). He writes about his experiences during and after the economic collapse of Argentina in 2001.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Qaanol » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:46 am UTC

If you’re serious about farming staple foods, you’ll almost certainly need a plow. A small plow can be operated by two people, one pulling and one steering, although it’s much easier if you have a horse or an ox to pull it.

If your staple food is a grain, say wheat, oats, or barley, you’ll probably want a scythe. If it’s a root, namely potatoes, you might be able to do without the scythe, although you may still want it for hay.

If you’re picturing a situation where it is necessary for you to produce your own food, it can be expected that many other people in the area will be starving, and thus willing to steal your food for their own survival. We can debate ethics until the cows come home, even if you don’t own any cows, but you’ll want some way to protect your farm from thieves, including angry mobs. This likely will involve getting a lot of your friends to help run the farm, and arming them with spears/pitchforks/bows. Some dogs can also help with defense, if properly trained.

Goats, sheep, and chickens are milk, wool, and eggs, plus the occasional main course if you have space to raise them. A couple sheepdogs may come along, and double as a security measure. Cats can protect your grain silos from rodents.

You’ll also want plenty of knives of various sizes and shapes.
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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby semicharmed » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:51 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:If you’re serious about farming staple foods, you’ll almost certainly need a plow. A small plow can be operated by two people, one pulling and one steering, although it’s much easier if you have a horse or an ox to pull it.

If your staple food is a grain, say wheat, oats, or barley, you’ll probably want a scythe. If it’s a root, namely potatoes, you might be able to do without the scythe, although you may still want it for hay.


Yep - a plow will be necessary to break up the ground in spring, after the last frost. And a hoe of some sort to make rows and actually plant the seeds.

I highly recommend potatoes as a staple crop - because the potatoes grow underground, and potato plants are fairly robust, they're more resistant to too much rain/not enough rain/acid rain than grain crops. Also, potatoes are simple to plant & grow, and depending on where you're located, the harvest can start in early July if you plant in late April/early June. You simply feel around the roots and pull out the largest potatoes, leaving the smaller ones to finish maturing. And then potatoes can be pretty easily dug up with a hoe, although depending on scale you might also want to shallowly plow.

/I'm living in Ukraine right now. In a rural village. I planted potatoes this spring on the piece of field that came with my house, to the utter amusement of my neighbours since I was totally incompetent until right about when I finished planting.

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby Ptolom » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:06 am UTC

Potatoes are easy and nutritious. We got enough to last two weeks from a couple of grow bags.

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Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby NeilFann » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:41 pm UTC

Cheers guys! Quite timely given that the apocalypse may be starting.....

Potatoes are going to be the staple diet - I've just got 25kg out of half a row and could do three rows of them. That's a pretty good start! I have terraces though so I'm not sure how useful a plough would be compared to hand planting - good suggestion though. Don't think I've got the climate for grain so will stick to veg for now. Anyone know how long dry seeds last? And are the seeds of plants you've grown likely to be fertile? I'd heard that garden shops breed them infertile to keep you coming back.

Security will be a problem - realistically I've no protection against a mob other than hoping I'm out of the way enough - only time will tell. I can handle a small number of people though.

That leads us to plan B which is stockpiled food. I've been looking at the following:

Tilda Pure Original Basmati Rice 20kg
£28.61 (£1.41 / kg)

KTC Chick Peas 2kg
£2.96 (£1.47 / kg)

Whitworths Red Split Lentils 3kg - Pack of 4
£26.24 (£2.09 / kg)

Chef's Larder Table Salt 6kg
£3.02 (£0.49 / kg)

Rapeseed Cooking Oil Vegetable Oil 20 Litres
£24.01 (£1.20 / ltr)

What else do I need to give me the comfort of being able to survive a winter or two? Would dehydrated rations be a good investment?

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AvatarIII
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:28 pm UTC
Location: W.Sussex, UK

Re: Apocalypse shopping

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:53 pm UTC

talking of dried veg, i recently disovered Dried Marrowfat Peas (as opposed to tinned, which i always got before), which are only about ~£1.30 per kilo, if you like mushy peas (and i do) you can't really go wrong, since it's something that you would generally eat with the water you cook it in, therefore retaining any nutrients lost to the water by cooking.

also you have got salt down, but what about sugar?


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