Crisco is not just for making the perfect piece crust anymore – at least not if you are a prepper. There are copious amounts of survival uses for this shelf-stable that for far too long has been considered merely a baking staple.
Crystalized cottonseed oil – or Crisco, was invented as a lard substitute in soap making by Procter and Gamble over 100 years ago. It is made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil as well as fibers and fats that are processed into a solid. While cottonseed oil was used when the Crisco recipe was created in 1911, soybean oil and palm oils are typically used in our modern times.
Hydrogenated vegetable oils, fibers, and fats liquify at room temperature and then return to a solid. This process makes the saturated fats much more shelf-stable because unsaturated oils or fats tend to turn rancid extremely easily.
An unopened tub of Crisco is recommended for use up to two years, according to the manufacturer.
Top 16 Crisco Survival Uses
Our ducks and chickens lay more eggs than we can eat or I have the time to dehydrate, during any given week. To make sure we do not waste a single egg and keep plenty stockpiled for consumption during an SHTF event, I use Crisco to preserve them.
The bloom on the eggs left by the hen that laid them will extend their shelf life, but not as long as a coating of Crisco will. Wash the eggs and pat them dry. Once the eggs are thoroughly dry, gently rub Crisco all over the eggs and place them in an egg carton. Store the eggs in a cool dry place, like a garage or basement and they should keep for about 9 months.
Conduct the old-fashioned float or sink egg test to make sure the eggs are still likely safe to consume before eating. If you are unfamiliar with the old homesteading egg test, simply place enough cold water in a bowl to cover the eggs by about two inches. If the eggs float, they are not safe to eat. If they sink, the eggs should be safe to eat. Should the egg stand up in the water but remain mostly submerged, the egg may still be safe to use for a little while longer.
Keep some shelf-stable in your bugout bag, get me home bag, or INCH bag to deal with sore chapped skin. Rub just a little Crisco on your chapped lips, hands, or another body part that was overly exposed to the elements and let the soothing begin.
Dealing with chapped skin might sound like a minor problem, but that can all change quickly during a long-term disaster. If disaster strikes during the winter or a dry summer heatwave, your skin can be subjected to intense dryness and chapping – especially during a bugout or long trek home to reach safety. Not only will the chapping feel horrible, all of the little tears in the skin it causes can open the door for germs and bacteria to easily get inside your body. A tiny cut that would otherwise be no big deal during “normal” times can become deadly during an SHTF event where you are forced to become your own doctor.
Melt the Crisco so it liquifies – or just set it out at room for a little while. Pour it into your emergency lamps to use as lamp oil to provide light for your home or to shed light on a path you are walking. Shortening, the common nickname for Crisco, boasts a higher smoke point that either margarine or butter – meaning it is less flammable.
Lather some liquified Crisco onto a rag and make a torch to outdoor lighting. Typically, it takes about two or three minutes of soaking the rag in the hydrogenated vegetable oil compound to saturate it enough to make a torch that will stay light for a decent amount of time.
Simply place a store-bought or homemade wick into a tub of Crisco and light it to make an instant emergency candle.
Depending upon the size of the tub, the candle should burn for multiple hours up to 45 days.
Snow Shovel Helper
Grease up both sides of a snow shovel to help lessen your load when moving snow or ice from your path. Even during a long-term disaster, shoveling the walks is a chore that will not go away. Being able to get outdoors to gather wood for the fire that is heating the house, hunt, go ice fishing, and to get to the outhouse that had to be built once society went pear-shaped.
If there are wee ones in your survival tribe – or are likely to come along during the years of an apocalyptic event, Crisco is going to come in handy on nearly a daily basis. Simply rub a little bit of the shortening on the baby’s bottom to alleviate the redness and pain associated with diaper rash.
Have a piece of equipment on your survival homestead or around the house that is stuck or making way more noise than your OP/SEC plan allows? Lubricate the squeaky part or door hinge with Crisco – it makes a superb cheap and natural WD40 substitute.
Cast Iron Seasoner
Like many survival homesteaders, I use my trusty cast iron cookware both inside and out regularly. But, even if you cast iron skillets and pots are reserved for camping or prepper training weekends, they will likely get conscripted into full-time use during a long-term disaster.
Grease the cast iron cookware both inside and out to prevent rust and to season the durable cooking tools after each use.
If you are bugging out or merely trying to get around during the SHTF event or rebuilding years that will follow such an epic nationwide disaster, your vehicle’s headlights may be the only light on or around the road. Being able to see clearly in inclement weather will help you get where you intend without wrecking.
Clean the headlights with Crisco to remove bugs and debris and to prevent snow and ice from building up on them. This will be an especially helpful tool to keep in your vehicle’s emergency kit if you need to dim the headlights with mud for safety and security reasons during part of the journey but need them cleared to be able to remain on the road or trail later.
Keeping strong and healthy during a long-term disaster will surely increase your chances of survival. When food is scarce, calorie intake will drop and that will weaken the body – at a time when manual labor and physical exhaustion are peaked.
Add a teaspoon or so of Crisco to any food you are eating to bolster your calorie intake and prevent energy loss.
Keeping a fire going can prevent frostbite, hypothermia, allow the ability to purify water, cook, and sterilize medical tools. When building a fire outdoors during the rain or with damp kindling, slather some Crisco onto the tinder to help it light more quickly and sustain the growing flame.
Protect your vital tools from rust by coating them with a layer of Crisco. The barrier will help prevent water, moisture, and humidity from reaching the finish and deteriorating it.
Make soap by mixing either solid or liquid Crisco with water and lye to create a slushy type consistency – adding in any herbs or essential oils you choose.
Allow the cold pressed soap to harden completely before removing it from the mold. It is best to let the soap age for a month or two before using it.
Remember, lye is highly dangerous if it gets onto your skin, in your eyes, or is inhaled without being in a properly ventilated area. Always work with lye while wearing protective gloves, and eyewear in an outdoor space.
Crisco can be used as a carrier oil when making natural remedy infusions from the plants and herbs growing in your survival apothecary – or the ones you have preserved.
Wood Cutting Board and Kitchen Utensils Preserver
Keep your wood chopping board, wooden spoons, rolling pins, and other manual kitchen supplies made out of hardwood in proper working order by coating them with Crisco and allowing it to seep into the wood overnight. Rub the Crisco away with a dry clean cloth in the morning. Woodcutting boards, utensils, and bowls that are allowed to become too damp will not only have a shortened life span, but permit bacteria to seep deeper inside and allow it to breed and ultimately create a hotbed for disease.
Crisco might just be one of the most versatile and shelf-stable preps in your survival stockpile. Even though the manufacturer’s label indicates Crisco is only safe for use for 24 months from the date stamped on the can, that does not necessarily mean it cannot be used for the majority of the preparedness tips on this list.