This is a guest post by Kim B
[This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win a number of prizes including an 84 serving storage bucket of Wise Food Storage, 500 rounds of 9mm ammo, a NukAlert a copy of my book The Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat and a copy of my CD It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – And I Feel Fine . For complete rules and list of prizes see this post.]
If you really want to survive when times get tough, then save all of the oil that you can. I do not mean just car oil but used corn and bacon oils because they can be reused even if they go rancid. Like my mother, which taught me to do this, I have regularly practiced saving oils because “you never know”. Besides, why throw out something that you can use when the lights go out, the flame of a lamp is all the heat you are able to have and it is cost-effective for the budget.
After food has been cooked in them they can be poured into a stainless steel bowl or container, cooled, filtered into a glass jar with a lid and stored in an area where the container will not break from freezing or overheating. Bacon grease is the exception because it can be stored in a refrigerator or freezer for a very long time, without filtration only when it is to be used for cooking. It should be thrown out when the smell is not right when it has been heated or it is suspected to be bad.
Corn oil, no matter how old it gets, can be poured into an oil lamp’s tank in place of the traditional fuel and the wick wetted, the excess squeezed from it’s length, prior to lighting it. I have a few lamps with cheap liquid oil in them and used them during a short power outage last year without a problem. I added nothing to the oil and it burned just fine. Many of us use liquid cooking oils so much so that there is always a little left over from fries, hash browns, eggs or other foods that it would not take us more than a year to have around a gallon collected.
It is amazing just how much oil you will see fill up a container when you save every bit of it that you can. Several years ago, when I began to change how I ate, that “change” led me to tilting every pan and pushing the food to the high end and pressing it out with a spatula to see if anything more would drain from it. The first time I tried it I was amazed because I got between one-half and one teaspoon of oil. No matter how little oil I used I always found some left over that I could pour into the salvaged oil container.
In my stock piles of foods, I have several gallons of very old, extremely rancid, cooking oils and that is where they are going to stay. I will never throw them out because one day, sooner than I would like it to come, I or someone else is going to be in need of them. I know what it is like to be without a home and heat for longer than a year and it is miserable at best so experience tells me that I would rather save now and be warm later, than to suffer because I did not do anything when I had an opportunity. Corn oil is good for other things such as oiling moving parts of tools, lubricating squeaking hinges, easing sticking locks and treating a pair of steel toed leather boots prior to and after breaking them in. There is no limit to the uses of corn oil and you should never be afraid to try it on something at least once.
Car oil, the weight of it does not apply here, is one of my favorite non-edible oils. Unlike corn oil, I never filter it because on a cooler day it would take a very long time because cold always thickens engine oil. When I change my vehicle’s oil I use a large square pan, a six dollar cheapy, to catch and hold it in. One that has a few screw-type plugs in it’s top to allow oil to enter inside after they are removed and to keep it contained after they are installed. At one end it has a cap that can be unscrewed so the container can be tipped and the contents drained.
It is the most ideal oil collection pan because it allows me to pour it’s contents right into a kitty litter jug or wide mouthed bottle of sorts. I never skip salvaging the filter’s oil because if I throw it out then I am being wasteful, costing myself money and helping some company get richer. Unless oil gets water in it which is where it will turn strange colors such as tan, brown, yellowish and/or white, or the elements do not destroy it, then I will keep it.
I never understood why my father would douse some outdoor wood piles with engine oil before starting them alight until I was absolutely unable to start a fire because the wood was far too wet. My first oil-assisted fire was amazing because of the oil’s ability to catch quickly, burn rapidly and I did not have to use much. Years ago, I used to perform certain types of work during an agriculture/horticulture class where it was required to wear leather work boots and every student had to oil their boots to keep them in top condition.
To this day it still amazes me just how water proof my boots were and I believe that I owe it, in part, to having oiled them regularly. Although engine and other oils can become sticky and dry out when warm temperatures arrive and heat them up, from where I sit, all that I am collecting now may be all that I will have to use in the future. I do not care because it is better to have something than nothing at all.
Times are becoming more difficult financially but they could get so tough that it would be painful. Considering that a loaf of bread is going to cost a day’s wage, according to the reliable Holy Bible, on my side of the country that could be more than one hundred dollars, then oil and other essentials may be equally expensive. When comparing what a gallon of gas costs to the price of a loaf of bread at this time, a gallon of gas costs about four dollars more than a loaf of bread.
So, if a day’s wage for a loaf were to cost one hundred dollars then a gallon of gas will cost five hundred dollars or so. If, because of inflation and the cost to manufacturers and others down the line, wages were not increasing as they should but prices continued to increase then there is no way in the world that I, for one, would be able to afford anything. If you think it is not possible, then I would reconsider because not more than thirty years ago I learned that in a few places on the other side of the world, a person had to pay a day’s wage for a single apple.
I was young with little economical education so I did not understand the world and how it worked. I was always puzzled and wondered how that could be. The answer did not come until I delved deeper into the inner workings of commerce, banking, finance and inflation, to name a few. Today, knowing what the good book says about the cost of food one of these days , I am nervous and hopeful that what I have been preparing for will last but it will not go bad or be destroyed for some reason and I will make it through that time.
There is no better time than now to get a container and start filling it with used cooking oil. Empty plastic coffee cans, kitty litter jugs, clean bleach jugs, lightweight bins with lids and other containers will suffice as long as they have lids, they are stored in an area where animals cannot have access to them and they will not break due to outdoor elements or stacking. There is no requirement as to how much you have on hand but to make sure that enough to get you by in a pinch, when stores may be out of fuels or for a few weeks or more is the main idea.
Have you saved your oil today…