The apocalypse is upon us! Ok, well maybe it's not. But let's pretend it is for a bit. Maybe a super volcano has erupted or maybe there's an alien invasion. If you had to jump up and run to the woods or some far off place to survive, there are lots of things you'd think to take with you. Food, water, a first aid kit, some clothes, some compact tools, maybe even some weapons. But there's one great item you should consider adding to your bug out bag that you might not have thought of before: coffee.
The health benefits of coffee are well known, but what's lesser well known is that a good volume of coffee beans or grinds can be a smart addition to your survival inventory. Let's talk about it.
Caffeine, that magical chemical that gives coffee it's kick, provides a quick burst of energy. While coffee itself contains a negligible amount of calories, the caffeine it contains can really help jump start your body when you need a quick energy boost.
In a survival situation, running out of energy is last thing you want to do, so having a quick way to pep yourself up will give you the advantage. What many people don't know is that you don't get all the caffeine out of coffee on the first pass. So you can stretch your supply out by reusing coffee grounds a few times before you use them for the other things we'll talk about below.
Pest Control in Your Survival Garden
When you find a new far off place to settle and start rebuilding our own little piece of civilization, agriculture will be incredibly important. Growing your own food will help keep you independent and less reliant on trading with potentially hostile neighbours.
But your garden has its own hostile neighbours. Slugs, snails, and insects could feast on your growing food before you can and ruin your survival chances. Fortunately, coffee grounds are an excellent repellent for these pests.
Sprinkle some used coffee grounds around the perimeter of your garden. You can also put some in the garden itself but as we'll talk about in the next section, a little goes a long way and overdoing it could harm your plants.
Compost for Your Survival Garden
Another great use for your survival garden, used coffee grounds contain high amounts of nitrogen which makes them great for compost you can add to your garden. You'll have to be sure to use them sparingly because they can make the soil overly acidic if you add too much, which is harmful to plants.
Mix coffee grounds with other organic waste in your compost pile or container. Once the compost is ready, you can use it as a natural fertilizer for a variety of plants and vegetables. Even root vegetables like potatoes and carrots will benefit.
Coffee beans can be ground up into a paste and used as a meat tenderizer. For this you'll need whole coffee beans, old used coffee grounds won't work.
Out in the wilderness, you're not likely to find meat that's tender. You're going to be hunting game like deer, squirrels, & rabbits. These animals are muscular and have notoriously tough meat. Having a way to tenderize the meat will make it much more palatable and increase your chances of survival.
You can grind the beans using a stone or if you're lucky enough to have one, a mortar & pestle will do the job nicely. Once you have a paste, you'll want to rub it into the meat vigorously so it penetrates the muscle fibres. You can also create a coffee brine or even a marinate.
Allow the meat to sit for some time so the coffee bean tenderizer can do its job and then cook the meat on a grill over an open flame. If you don't have a grill or a grate you can cook the meat by placing it on a flat rock that's sitting on the fire, it'll cook right from the heat of the rock.
Up Your Fishing Game
If you've never heard of a worm farm, take note. Your apocalypse settlement should be near water and where there's water, there's fish. A healthy source of protein and fats. What's the best bait for catching fish? That's right, worms! Fish love big juicy worms on the end of your hook and having a good supply of worms will help you catch lots of fish.
This is where the worm farm comes in. You can set aside a small section of land, you only need about a 10 foot by 10 foot square. Choose an area where there's moisture and a lot of organic material like leaves and grass. A good place would be any place you might dig and find worms not too far below the surface.
Once you locate your worm farm, what you'll want to do is cover the area with fine netting so the birds can't eat any worms that come to the surface. Then you can lightly turn over the top layer of dirt with a shovel and mix in some coffee grounds. Worms love coffee grounds and it helps them get big and multiply. Whenever it's time to go fishing, you just dig up a shovel or two from your worm farm and you're bound to get a handful of perfect worms to use as bait!
While your coffee won't last you forever, it can certainly help you get started on the road back to building a life for yourself after the apocalypse. Unfortunately, unless you've begun building your new civilization in the tropics, there's very little chance you'll be able to grow your own coffee to renew your supply. You'd be limited to trading other survivors, or raiding leftover stores for this precious commodity.
Regardless, if the apocalypse ever comes, I'll be sure to head to the mountains with some coffee in my survival kit along with all the other very important things I need. Make sure you put some coffee in your bug out bag today!