'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

11 October 2012

Food Storage

It's no secret that Lu and I live in a small town in southern Utah. It's where she was born and raised and where she's related to...well, pretty much everybody. We like it here. The crime rate is low, the area is beautiful and the people are friendly. They're also predominately Mormon which means food storage is simply an every day fact of life. The Mormons advise every family to have at least a one year supply of food. Lu and I, though no longer Mormon, have taken that to heart. In fact we have been working on our storage and pantry for years.

I'm going to give a shout out to Rourke at Modern Survival Online. You can find him on my blog roll and he's absolutely worth your time. Take a few minutes and peruse his posts and side bar. He has a lot of good information and links on preparedness including some downloads that are fantastic, especially his Survival Database Downloads. Rourke is my go to guy for all things prepper. I'm not getting a thing from Rourke for recommending his site just as I paid for everything in this post.

And isn't it great that the moniker prepper is no longer a slur? With the economy sliding into oblivion prepping is now seen for what it really is. Just good sense.

On to our food storage. Lu and I concentrated for many years on dry goods; beans, rice, pasta and canned veggies/meat. It's all in our rotation and we replace it as we use it so the pantry is always full. We have a flour grinder, water storage and alternate means of heat, power and cooking. What we were missing was a goodly supply of dehydrated and vacuum sealed very long term foods. A couple of weeks ago we finally addressed that.

That's 400 pounds of miscellaneous dehydrated/ vacuum sealed foods.

The manufacturer is Rainy Day Foods.We chose them because they're a source of quality foods, they're relatively inexpensive and we were able to buy them locally so I could inspect what I was buying in person before plunking down our money. There are a lot of good suppliers out there so shop around.

As I said, we bought locally. I got the chance to talk to the store owner and feel him out for his expertise and see his products. I liked what I saw so we went with him. The alternatives were a 3 hour drive or buying online. Either was acceptable but this was a lot easier. We spent $800 on this supply which, while seemingly pricey, is actually a very good deal. This is long term storage. Most of this food is good for 20 years or more if stored correctly. We have it in our cool and dry basement where the temperature never varies greatly. It's even cool in Summer. Think root cellar.

With that purchase Lu and I decided it was time to do a bit of clean up and reordering of the pantry. We had the sugar, salt, rice and beans, etc. stored in plastic bins. Ok but not really efficient. You can see them at the back left of the picture. The green tubs that are in the process of collapsing under their own weight. And a certain black dog who seems to be becoming a camera hog.

We decided to replace the bins with 5 gallon plastic buckets with sealing lids. 6 bucks each at WalMart.  Fill 'em up, pound the lid on with a rubber hammer and you're set. There's no way to vacuum seal them that I am aware of but this is part of our rotational storage so no worries. They're also very sturdy so mice won't be an issue.

And they stack so much better. 8 of the buckets have plain lids while the two that are in the rotation have screw on lids to ease access. Those are the ones with the X lids. When we exhaust one of the rotation buckets we re-fill it from another bucket and then buy replacement food. Oldest used first.The food is on shelves and is easy to access and keep track of.

Using the buckets for the heavy stuff allowed us to put some lighter foods, like Ramen, in the old bins. Yes Ramen is an excellent food storage item as long as you store it well and rotate it regularly.

Lu and I are far from expert in this area but we do have a plan, such as it is. We have a years supply of long term storage/emergency food and about 6 additional months in our rotational supply. Everything from grains and beans to vegetables and condiments. We can make flour and cook. There's even drink mixes and 60 pounds of dried/dehydrated milk in there. Rotation of perishables is vital. If the food doesn't spoil most of it is edible even well after it's 'best when used by' date but it's nutritional value decreases as it ages. Use it and replace it are the watch words. Do your homework and spend your money wisely. Don't rely on a single source of emergency food. That creates a single point of failure and could be disastrous should you ever find yourself in need.

And that's the whole point to all of this. It doesn't have to be TEOTWAWKI to find yourself short of food. Natural disasters, gasoline shortages/outrageous cost or even a job loss can all create a situation where a well packed larder could be the difference between life and death. You can create a nice back up just by buying a few cans of food every week and sticking it away. Just like firearms and self defense, food storage should be a large part of your 'Go To Hell' plan.

This is our food storage plan. Others do it differently. If you decide you want to do something similar I suggest doing a lot of homework and arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Most of the preppers I know are only too happy to share and don't forget one of the best organizations out there for food prep information. That's right, the Mormon Church. They're experts on this stuff and more than willing to share their knowledge.

Of course any food supply will only last as long as you store it correctly and have the ability to defend it. Fortunately the Big Dog is on the job. Good Boy Angus! And yes, we do have a plan to feed him in dire circumstances.



Anonymous said...

Bottom of the fifth and looking grim Six. Might want to send me your mailing address at: flurme@yahoo.com. Damnit! regards, Alemaster

Dan said...

Did you remember to put in a supply of food for your pup. They deserve to be planned for.
Many people forget to plan for pets.

Six said...

We did. There are animal specific dehydrated foods out there. I'll have a post about that later.

LauraB said...

I may be a bit late to this one, too but...we use the canners from the Mormons (that seals the lids on the #10 cans) - you can fill the cans with dog food, put in an oxygen thingy or two and seal it up.

One year later it was still in very good shape - gave that nice whoosh when opened - and the dogs ate it with no issues. (We feed Blue Buffalo so that was what I canned.) I have tried the shrink bags on it but it always develops a leak or just doesn't retain air-tight status. Good for shorter storage...

If it is a better price, the Home Depot orange buckets arem food safe - those and the Gama lids are our preferred solution for things like flour, sugar, oats.

Anyone just starting out and not knowing what to do...tinned meat (tuna, hash, chicken, beef) and the mixed cases from the Mormons. The cases come already in #10 cans with rice, milk, etc. No thinking, no worry, just buy a case a month if that is all you can do...

And no, we aren't Mormon - we just think they rock for selling reasonably priced stuff and allowing the use of their canning machines. (Yes you can seal anything in a tin can...ahem...)

Six said...

I was hoping you'd weigh in on this Laura. Thanks for the great tips!!