Some Survival Tips On
Food Storage

(in regards to an emergency)

by

Kraig J. Rice
Bread On The Waters (BOW)
www.breadonthewaters.com

TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these internal links will move you down this page)

Do you think my kids are going to eat this stuff?
The 4 Main Problems of Food Storage

moisture

insects

oxygen

animals

Where and how are you going to store this food?

Containers

How much food do you need to store?

Are you going to grow your own or buy it?
      Dehydrating Your Own Food Buying Your Food to Store Away
      Some Store (Supermarket) Foods The shelf life of some store foods
      MRE Freeze Dried Foods
      Life Boat Rations Jerky
      TVP  
What kinds of food are you going to store away?
      Flour (Red Winter Wheat) Sugar
      Milk Salt
      Eggs Corn
      Rice  
How long do you want to store this food?
Do you plan on rotating your food supplies?

Then there are several other things to consider for your survival in an emergency:

                              Where are you going to get water?
                              How are you going to prepare and cook this food?
                                                                   if you have no electricity or natural gas available?

      Some cooking utensils A cooking stove
      A cooking fire A coffee pot
      Some eating utensils  

                              A few additional "survival tips"
      A grinder for Wheat and corn A mortar and pestle
      Medical Supplies Shelter
      An electric generator Miscellaneous items
      An emergency checklist  

                              A few frequently asked questions"
      Hardtack Water on sailing ships
      Pilot Bread Space Food Pills
      Astronaut Space Food K Rations (World War 2)
      Cooking stove additional equipment Food Insects
      Make your own jerky Some foods from your local store
      More dehydrated food info  

                              Conclusion

Do you think my kids are going to eat this stuff?

I hate to eat lima beans now as an adult. Do you know how many lima beans I have placed in storage for me to eat later? That's right- none! And your kids have similar likes and dislikes. So how do you work around this seeming problem? It's simple- store food for them that they like to eat. If you name it you are likely to find somebody who makes it. But it has to taste good, look good, and be socially acceptable to their peers also. Take ice cream for example. Ice cream powder can be stored for awhile. Ice cream made from powder is sweet and it tastes good if made right. So there's the answer for the rest of the menu that you need to store. If you don't have an ice cream making machine at home ask your kids what you should do. Take a vote and then go out and buy one!

Store good stuff because somebody is going to eat it eventually. If your kids don't eat it then trade it to somebody else's family who will. It's fun to swap food, a menu, a recipe, or what-have-you with folks who share common interests. I have stored away food myself and have a few tips to share with you. The quality and quantity of food that you want to store will depend on how much you want to put into it- in time, effort, and money. Consider this activity as a hobby- you usually get out of it what you put into it. But you also want to make this hobby as fun and enjoyable as you can for yourself and others. You can also donate your food to others.

In the past I have taken some of my stored food and given it to homeless and hungry individuals who appreciated it. I have donated some of it to hungry American indians on a desolate reservation, and donated some of it to the local rescue mission "in the name of the Lord" to help feed hungry transients. And I can tell you from experience that if your kids don't want to eat it then a large colony of hamsters that you are raising for profit will love to eat it.

One time I bought some Canadian life-boat rations that had been stored for 20 years. I bought the 30 large vacuum sealed metal cans at a military surplus store. The "Graham crackers" inside of the cans are called pilot-bread. The pilot-bread inside of the cans not only looked like graham crackers but was nutritious, and tasted surprisingly good. I didn't eat the contents of all of the cans at once. I stored most of the cans away again for a "rainy day" even though some of them were getting kind of rusty. So it's good to store away food that tastes good, looks good, and is nutritious.

The 4 Main Problems of Food Storage

    The 4 Main Problems of Food Storage
  • Moisture
  • Oxygen
  • Insects
  • Animals
  • You have to be ready to tackle these 4 challenges before you begin this hobby. Let's take a brief look at these 4 challenges as we go along and I will give you some tips on how I handled them. There may be many more things to consider in storing food and preparing for survival.

    Moisture In Stored Food

    If a stored food item has too much moisture in it that food item will develop mold on it and then spoil. All of your time, effort, and money will have gone to waste.

    When you purchase food for long term storage the food company will have already gotten most of the moisture out of their product before they sell it to you.

    When I dehydrated my own fruit there was left as much as 30% moisture in it. That was so I could eat it at my leisure and enjoy it. That fruit was in short term storage. However, I could dehydrate it longer until the fruit was hard as a rock. By doing it that way I dropped the moisture level down to 2% or 3% and I could put it away for a little longer. I didn't have to worry about the amount of moisture being a problem. But I knew it was going to take me longer to reconstitute it, as well.


    Insects In Stored Food

    One day I walked into our kitchen and there were a lot of little insects flying around. Right away I knew what they were. They were food moths. I told my wife about them and she started looking in our pantry. She found a box of cornmeal that she had forgotten about. Bug worms had hatched in the meal, eaten and grown fat, spun some webs making a cocoon, turned into moths and then flew off into our kitchen. She threw the cornmeal out- and the bugs with it. That is an example of what can happen to your food stocks if left untreated.

    If you go down to your local store and buy cornmeal, rice, and powdered flour and put these away into long term storage without treatment- then you are going to have a similar problem. The bug eggs are in the grain. You cannot see them but they are there. And they are just waiting for you to ignore them so they can come out to play.

    You can store powdered flour only for a short time. Powdered flour contains flour beetles. You can temporarily treat this flour by placing it into a deep freezer and freezing it at 0 degrees Farenheit (F) for 14 days. Some like to keep it permanently frozen but this takes up too much freezer space. Some folks recommend freezing it -10 degrees F (-23 degrees Centigrade) for only 24 hours. This should effectively kill all of the life stages of the insects. But you can't hold back the inevitable. Once you remove the paper sacks of powdered flour from the freezer, other beetles, unknown to you, are going to worm their way into it and contaminate it. Once you remove it from the freezer it's best to eat it up as soon as you can before this happens.

    Most folks do not place powdered flour into long term storage (30 years or more) due to this reason. Rather, it's better to store red winter wheat. You can store this much easier and better than powdered flour and it will keep much better and longer. Then when you want powdered flour you take out your wheat from storage, grind it into powdered flour, and then eat it before it also gets bugs in it.

    I used diatomaceous earth to preserve my red winter wheat and it worked great. What is diatomaceous earth? It's a powder that you mix in with your red winter wheat. You can also mix it in with your dry pinto beans instead of freezing them if you want to. I bought a small 10 pound bag of it because I had one ton of grain to protect as I placed it all into the appropriate containers. The recommended amount is about 7 pounds for every 1 ton of grain you are storing away.

    To use, you mix it thoroughly with your grain or beans. Some recommend using one level cup full of diatomaceous earth powder with every forty pounds of grain or beans you are storing. You need to make certain that every kernel is coated so it is better to do the mixing in small batches where you can insure more even coating. I poured some red winter wheat from the grain sack into a clean empty 5 gallon bucket. Then I added the powdered diatomaceous earth and mixed it all together very thoroughly with my hands. There are other ways to do it but this method worked good for me.

    How does this stuff work? When a bug hatches out inside of your grain inside the stored container it starts moving around. When it comes into contact with the diatomaceous earth it dies. Some say this powder covers over the insect's breathing holes in it's side thus causing it to suffocate.

    That's a good thing because it gives you a little extra bug protein to go along with your flour when you eat it all:) No- it's not that bad- I'm just kidding!

    There are two kinds of diatomaceous earth. Be sure you get the food grade and not the stuff used to clean swimming pools with. The U.S. Department of Agriculture assures it is safe for both humans and animals. You should be able to buy this at your local feed store or your local garden and hardware stores. I have always had good success with it and recommend it.

    In past years the chemical treatment of wheat and beans with malathion, ethylene dichloride, or ethylene dibromide was used successfully for a number of years, but the use of these chemicals is now banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as being harmful to humans. If you purchase food from other countries make sure none of it is preserved with these chemicals.

    Oxygen In Stored Food

    What's so bad about oxygen? It is the oxygen that causes most foods to spoil through decay and mold, and most microbes and insects that eat your stored food inside of it's container require oxygen to live. You don't want any more air than is necessary inside of a food container. Air contains about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and about 1% for other gasses. Let's get rid of that air. By getting rid of the air in a food container we also get rid of a lot of oxygen as well. If the oxygen is displaced, what remains is 99% pure nitrogen in a partial vacuum. By removing the free oxygen from your storage containers, you can greatly extend the storage life of the foods in the containers. There are a few ways that we can do this.

    But first I want to make a point about how harmful bacteria can be to your food. One time my family and me went to see my uncle and aunt who lived in the state of Washington. My insensitive older cousin welcomed us into his parent's house and then fixed some toast for us to eat. We took some butter from his refrigerator to put on our toast. We should have smelled it first. The butter was rancid and we could not eat it. That's a good example of what bacteria through oxidation can do to your food. He thought the butter was preserved inside of his refrigerator but it wasn't. And that's not good hospitality! But I think you get my point.

    Most folks want to preserve and store food without destroying it's nutritional value. Some think that the old ways were the best ways. Some of the "old methods" of home food preservation were canning, dehydration, and freezing but now there is "oxygen displacement" and "nitrogen gas packaging."

    Oxygen Displacement

    This is mostly done at a food factory by purging nearly all of the oxygen (air) out of a can or plastic bucket with nitrogen gas before the container is sealed air tight. In with the nitrogen and out with the oxygen. Nitrogen should not be confused with hydrogen. Hydrogen gas is explosive whereas nitrogen gas is relatively safe and friendly. Therefore, "Nitrogen Packaged" foods have almost all of the oxygen replaced (or displaced) with nitrogen. Therefore, if you see an add that reads like "air dried foods in #10 sized cans- nitrogen packed" you will know what that means.

    If you are preserving your own food you can use dry ice which gives off a carbon dioxide gas that works good also. This method will displace a lot of the oxygen. Always make sure that your food container is sealed air tight after you do this.

    Either nitrogen gas or carbon dioxide gas is a good inert gas. What is an inert gas? An inert gas is one that does not react with either the food or it's container. You never want to open a vacuum sealed can only to find rust or mold growing on the inside of the can. Eating food from that kind of can will make you sick or worse.

    Oxygen Absorption:

    Oxygen absorption is a method of greatly reducing the amount of oxygen in a food container by using oxygen absorption packets. These packets come in various shapes and forms. The smaller round ones can be mistaken for food and swallowed by someone not familiar with them so be careful if you use these. If you want to get rid of some oxygen without messing around with gasses then this might be the way for you to go. Some think that you can reduce the amount of oxygen inside the food container to less than 1/2%.

    A general rule of thumb is to use one packet for every quart and a half (1430 ml) of remaining air volume in your filled storage containers. Here is a table I created that helps you figure this out:

    % of Remaining Air Volume in a Food Container
    After it's loaded with Food
    (for the number of Oxygen Absorber Packets to add)
     
      22% remaining air volume   11% remaining air volume
    *Elbow macaroni *Powdered milk
    *Dehydrated fruit (packed tight) *Granulated sugar
    *Hard kernel field corn *Iodized salt
    *Red winter wheat *All Purpose Flour
    *Potato flakes *Cocoa Powder
    *white rice *Cheese Powder
    *Dehydrated vegetables (packed tight) *Peanut Butter Powder
    *Cornmeal *Powdered garlic
    *Pinto Beans *Butter or Margarine Powder

    You can use these packets in just about any kind of food that you want to store away. The oxygen absorbers are iron dioxide crystals imported from abroad and are used to try to keep the weevils from germinating in stored food containers. They are also used as one method to try to extend the shelf life in cans of dehydrated foods. I never did think they were very good, however. I always thought that the bugs would have too much oxygen to live on, anyways, while they kept on chomping on my food. That's why I preferred the freezing and the diatomaceous earth. However, this is only my opinion and who knows what that is worth?

    Using Nitrogen Packing and Oxygen Absorbers:

    You can use both methods at the same time if you are preserving your own food for long term storage. Or, you can purchase sealed containers that contain nitrogen and oxygen absorbers, extending shelf life to 30 years or more, depending on storage conditions. All of this kind of food is packed in air tight, sealable cans or buckets with oxygen absorbers. How do they do this? Buckets are first purged with nitrogen and then oxygen absorbers are placed in the bottom of the bucket before the food is added.

    Animals Getting Into Your Stored Food

    Animals like to eat, too. If your food is accessable to large animals that can smell it then they will probably make a try for it. Large wild dogs, wild hogs, hungry bears, feral cats, racoons, opossums, rabbits, and squirrels are just a few animals in the United States that you might have to watch out for. Assuming that your food is confined to the protection of your house then you probably only have small animals to deal with- mostly wild rats and mice. I knew that the wild field mice would want to eat the hard kernel yellow field corn that I had stored away in the 2 liter plastic bottles under my parent's house. So I placed all of these plastic bottles in a 40 gallon metal garbage can that had a tight fitting metal lid. That way the bottles of corn were safe and never bothered. I didn't have to worry about the mice knawing through them.

    Were the mice around? Oh, yes, they ate the paper labels off of my #10 size cans of powdered egg yolks. They probably used this paper to help make their nests. After 30 years of this food being in storage they never bothered any of my rice or pinto beans stored in glass coffee containers with plastic lids. They never bothered any of my powdered milk in plastic 2 liter soda bottles because I also had them stored in another 40 gallon metal garbage can that had a tight fitting metal lid. They never bothered any of the red winter wheat that I had stored in the 1 gallon glass jugs with aluminum lids. And they never bothered any of the emergency life boat rations I had stored away in metal cans. So, I think I did a pretty good job of protecting my stored food from wild animals.


    store your food is a cool dark place

    Where and How are You Going to Store This Food?

    Food should be stored in a dark, cool, and dry place. A great to place to store your food is in a cool dry cave. Many wine makers keep their expensive bottles of wine in a cave or dark basement beneath their winery. A basement is a good location if you can keep the food off of the ground. Never place the cases directly on a concrete floor or against a concrete wall, as concrete will sweat and the moisture may cause any food cans to eventually rust. Put them on pallets, shelves, or boards so that the air can circulate freely around these containers.

    Burying food is not too good of an idea, in my opinion, for a couple of reasons-
    you cannot rotate your food too easily without digging it up first,
    you cannot easily check on this food from time to time to see how it is doing, and
    the movement of the earth or a rising water level might push it above ground. A neighbor of a friend of mine had a sunken concrete swimming pool installed in his back yard. It was beautiful and convenient. Then one winter there was a lot of rain and the underground water level rose significantly. The water pressure pushed the swimming pool up out of the ground. For years that swimming pool sat in that back yard at such a crooked angle that it could not be used- and the plumbing pipes into it and out of it were also broken. What a waste!

    Do not store any gasoline, diesel fuel, oil, or battery acid on top of or around your food supplies.

    Do not store any food in any container that once held a poison or a strong smelling liquid such as gasoline, paint thinner, or vinegar.

    Do not store away any little packets of condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc.) that you get from fast food restaurants. These will eventually spoil if placed into long term storage.


    These are 5 gallon poly buckets for long term food storage

    Some Food Storage Containers:
    You can purchase many food items in filled polyurethane plastic buckets called poly buckets for short. These buckets are made of sturdy plastic that help keep bugs and rodents out of the food. They are used in long term storage. Some come loaded with grains, beans, seeds, and legumes. Others come loaded with other tasty foods. If you don't want to use glass containers like I did, or metal containers, you can purchase empty plastic poly buckets and fill them yourself.

    Many folks like metal cans. They come in all shapes and sizes. The problem with metal is that it will corrode and rust. To prevent this in long term storage purchase treated rust-resistant cans. The outside of the can is treated and they are usually enamel lined which also prevents the inside of the can from rusting. Metal cans are good storage containers unless you bury them near water or place them directly against concrete walls. Be careful if you reuse a can. Remember that food flavor can be tainted by the steel it comes in. The same holds true for glass bottles. Never place food in a container that clorox or vinegar originally came in.

    No not store any food only in it's original cardboard container. Moisture, oxygen, and insects will find their way through cardboard walls. The same for plastic baggies and paper sacks.

    Everyone seems to have their own way of doing things. I will tell you what worked for me. Glass containers with hard plastic or aluminum lids are excellent storage containers if they can be stored without the possibility of breakage. You never have to worry about them rusting.

    Some Inexpensive Household Food Storage Containers:
    How did I store my white rice and my pinto beans to keep the bugs from getting it? I used 7 ounce glass empty instant coffee jars with plastic lids. I had a lot of these kinds of containers available from drinking coffee. How did I store my whole kernel yellow field corn, white sugar, salt, and dry powdered milk to keep the bugs from getting it? I used 2 liter plastic empty soda bottles with aluminum lids. Plastic lids are ok, too. I knew that the sugar, salt, and powdered milk would harden over time so I used plastic bottles that could be easily cut open and the contents removed. I could always pulverize the contents using a mortar and pestle. I got these plastic bottles from soda that my family members drank and from friends and neighbors who saved them for me. How did I store my 1 ton of red winter wheat to keep the bugs from getting it? I used 1 gallon glass empty jugs with aluminum lids. I used over 100 of them. I purchased them from the local recycling center. Another reason I used these was to hold water in (if I needed to) after I emptied the wheat out of them. In the old days rain water ran off a person's roof and was caught in a cistern. The water from the cistern was used to drink, cook with, used to wash clothes and dishes, and used to bathe with. And it can always be stored away in 1 gallon glass jugs so the water doesn't evaporate if you have the containers available.

    Plastic bottles are somewhat pourous but still good for dry milk, sugar, salt, and corn. Don't use biodegradable plastic bottles because they fall apart. They are made to decompose easily in landfills. Most of your modern day milk containers are made of this cheap biodegradable plastic.

    I used what was convenient, easy to obtain, and inexpensive. Not everyone uses the same methods. Everyone has a different way of doing things and that's ok. And that's the beautiful thing about this hobby- it's as diverse as any individual wants to make it.

    One person eats one ton of food per year

    How Much Food Do You Need to Store Away?

    Many food commodities can be purchased in bulk quantities fairly inexpensively and have nearly unlimited shelf life. Store away as much of these items as you can afford. The following amounts are suggested for 1 adult for 1 one year:

                                       Food Item                                        Amount of Food (in pounds)

    red winter wheat300 pounds
    powdered milk100 pounds
    hard kernel field corn300 pounds
    iodized salt10 pounds
    white rice250 pounds
    white granulated sugar300 pounds
    dehydrated banana chips100 pounds
    potato flakes250 pounds
    pinto beans60 pounds
    dehydrated fruitsAMAP
    dehydrated vegetablesAMAP
    jerkyAMAP *

    * AMAP= As Much As Possible

    You may want to store your food using a monthly amount for the number of people in your family or group. A suggested amount per month per person is:
    25 pounds of wheat, white rice, corn, and other grains.
    5 pounds of dry beans.
    You may also want to add other items such as sugar, nonfat dry milk, salt, baking soda, and cooking oil. To meet nutritional needs, also store foods containing Vitamin C and other essential nutrients.

    Are you going to grow your own or buy it?

    Growing Your Own Food

    If you own fruit trees and or grow vegetables then you can preserve your own food. There are two main advantages to this:
    cheaper in cost savings, and
    no preservatives.

    This is really a great way to go. You can store a lot of food that your trees and garden give to you. I dehydrated a lot of peaches, figs, apricots, pears, and apples that grew on our own trees.

    I grew pinto beans one time in my garden. I didn't spray any pesticide on my small crop. It was a beautiful crop of dry beans when I harvested them. My mother cooked up a big pot of them. When we looked in the pot to see how they were cooking we saw many little dead weevil worms floating around. These weevils had gotten inside of some of these beans while they were still in my garden and I couldn't see them or know that they were there. We threw that pot of beans out. But I learned something about weevils...

    For those people who don't have gardens, you can visit produce sellers and ask if they have any produce they are about to throw out. Often, the produce has been damaged in shipping and really has nothing wrong with it. Small spots of spoilage can usually be cut off and the rest canned or dried. The produce seller will often let you have this food for free or for very little money.

    You can also trade for food items (barter). I've done a lot of swapping in my time. If you have apple trees and your neighbor has pear trees it's always a lot of fun to trade some of your surplus for some of his.

    Some ways you can preserve your own food include canning, freezing, brining and dehydrating.

    Dehydration:

    Dehydration is a method of food preservation by removing the moisture content from food.

    You can purchase a dehydrator or use your kitchen oven to dehydrate most all foods. You should follow all instructions for this in any good book written on the subject. I have dehydrated apples, peaches, watermellon, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and more.

    In dehydration nearly 70% to 98% of the moisture content is removed from the food to prevent spoilage. The food retains it's nutritional value because the vitamins are not cooked out of it. You can dehydrate food to store for a short period of time or for a long period of time. Dehydrated foods are compact, tasty, and convenient. If you own your own fruit trees and/or raise your own vegetables in a nice garden then you should look into purchasing a good dehydrator and storing some of this food away "for a rainy day." If you are going to put it away for awhile then I recommend that you freeze it first to kill any pests inside of the container. The freezing won't usually harm the food inside of the container. I always preferred glass containers when storing my dehydrated food away but others like metal cans. I don't recommend plastic containers or metal containers with thin plastic lids as insects will find their way through the thin plasic into your stored food.

    After about 5 years, certain dehydrated foods begin to lose some of their nutritional value. How fast this continues depends a great deal on the temperature at which the food is stored the cooler the better. A general rule of thumb is to rotate it (eat it and replace it) after 5 years.

    If you live in a city or don't have any means to grow your own food you can always purchase the items that you want.

    "If man made it, don't eat it"
    -Jack La Lanne

    Buying Your Food

    You can purchase dehydrated food ready to store away. Dehydrated and dried storable food is available in cans, buckets or bags in any size or quantity. How do the food companies preserve it? They use foods that have been picked fully ripe and then clean and trim it to leave only the best parts. These foods are then dehydrated with 98% of their moisture removed. This is done by a highly sophisticated drying process.

    If cans are used the cans are of a heavy base-weight metal and have an extra heavy electrolytic coating of tin plating for protection of the steel to prevent rust and corrosion due to atmospheric conditions. They are made to last a long time. The food companies then fill the can with the particular dehydrated food. The oxygen is drawn out- which, if left in, will deteriorate the food and then the can is shot full of an inert gas (nitrogen) which will not react with the food or can, but will ensure that less than 2% oxygen remains in the can. Then they seal the can and sell it to you. All you have to do is store it away in a cool dry place.

    There are over 1200 dehdyrated food products that you can purchase. Some of these include dehdyrated onions, carrots, peas, broccoli, whole grains, drink mixes, a huge selection of beans, buckwheat, cabbage, butter, margarine, milk, eggs, cheese, mushrooms, peanut butter, peppers, tomato powder, and TVP. You can also purchase dehydrated vinegar, dehydrated fruit cocktail, and dehydrated cottage cheese.

    Some Store (Supermarket) Foods
    Your local store (supermarket) stocks food items inside of plastic, glass, paper, and metal containers. This food is made for quick consumption- not long term storage. Many of these temporary containers let in oxygen, moisture, and harmful bugs, and eventually the food will spoil over a period of time. But you can store a lot of it for at least one year safely if you have to.

    As you stock food, take into account your family's unique needs and tastes. Try to include foods that they will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition. Foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking are best.

    For longer-term needs, and where permitted, gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time and that you can use to stay alive, such as wheat, white rice, white granulated cane sugar, dry yellow corn, dry instant nonfat milk, salt, baking soda (good for soaking beans), vitamin C in tablet form, and pinto beans.

    Use up all of your store bought food first as soon as you can following an emergency. Then fall back on your long term food supplies in storage (if necessary).

    Here are some foods you should NOT place into long term storage:

    Some Store Foods NOT recommended for long term storage:
    Bread crumbs Bread and rolls
    Bulgur Breakfast cereals
    Hot cereal Coffee lighteners
    Flour Marshmallow cream
    Marshmallows Mayonnaise
    All refrigerated items Shortening
    Brown sugar Pancake syrup
    Ketchup Mustard

    It is not recommended that you store away any canned goods from your local store past 18 months (1 1/2 years). Why? Because they aren't made for it. Sometimes a canned good purchased at a local store in the U.S.A. will have a pull date stamped on it. This is the date after which they can't guarantee it's top quality. It just goes downhill after that. For example, if a can of store-brand cranberry sauce is stamped NOV 10 this means to eat it before November 2010. It should be eatten up before that date. After that date it will eventually spoil.

    Your local store wants to move out (sell to you) their old stuff before their new stuff. They rotate their supplies also. So try to buy new items from your local store rather than any old items that they may be selling at a discounted price. Buy "fresh-looking" packaged items- torn labels can indicate age or damaged stock. Do not purchase leaking, bulging, or dented cans.

                                  The Shelf Life of Some Store Foods

        Some Store Foods with only a 1 Year Storage Life
  • Bouillon cubes (from the store)
  • Cornmeal
  • Grits
  • Honey
  • Jellies and jams
  • Canned milk
  • Pectin
  • Jerky
  • Salad dressing
  • Dry Whole Milk (with fat)
  • Dried fruit (semi-dried)
  • Soda crackers
  • Whole potatoes
  • Canned condensed meat
  • vegetable soups
  • Canned fruits
  • Canned fruit juices
  • Canned vegetables
  • Peanut butter
  • Hard candy
  • Canned nuts
  • Dry Buttermilk
  • Vegetable oil
  •  

        Some Store Foods with only a 1 1/2 Year Storage Life
  • Baking powder (from the store)
  • Cornstarch
  • Gelatin
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Tea bags
  • Most canned goods
  •     Some Store Foods with only a 2 Year Storage Life
  • Baking soda
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Coffee (not instant)
  • Molasses
  • Pasta (from the store)
  • Corn syrup
  • Vinegar
  • Dehydrated potato products
  • Brown rice
  •  

    Meals Ready to Eat (MRE):
    The U.S. military's food scientists came up with this invention and named the kits "Meals Ready to Eat," because of their pre-cooked condition and their easy-open packaging. "Meals Ready to Eat" were soon called MRE's. This food is just like the military MRE's only made for general civilian use by the food companies. It has a seven year shelf life (and maybe more) if stored in a cool dry place. The kits are light weight, easy to store, and easy to use. They can be heated by any number of methods, or eaten cold (as they are fully cooked). In other words you can eat it with your fingers if you want to as there is no cooking required.

    The food is cooked and then sealed and not exposed to air until opened. The food is actually sterilized in the pouch and blocked from future contamination. The food retains it natural moisture and juice. MRE are not freeze dried foods, but were designed by leading nutritionists and chefs to be tasty, yet nutritional. There is approximately 1300 calories per meal and most meals can be torn open with just your fingers.

    MRE full meal kits are made up of pouches- they are triple-layer foil and plastic "retort" pouches. MRE's are the first rated and easiest food to use in most any emergency.

    Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) Shelf Life
    (based on official testing at the U.S. Army's NATIC Research Laboratories)
    Storage Temperature (degrees Fahrenheit) 100 90 85 80 75 70 60
    Storage Life in Years 2 Years 4 1/2 Years 5 Years 6 1/2 Years 7 1/2 Years 8 1/2 Years 11+ Years

    Freeze Dried Foods:
    Freeze dried is a type of dehydrated food that you have to purchase. With this method of food preservation the aim is to get rid of the moisture and the oxygen at the same time. When freeze-dried food is combined with nitrogen gas packing, the result is food that will keep for long periods of time, retaining its nutrition and flavor.

    Freeze dried foods have a shelf life of over 30 years if stored in a cool dry environment. This is one of the best ways of food preservation. Some of it comes in "paper" packages. Some of it is "packaged" in #10 size rust proof cans. How do you prepare this stuff to eat? All you have to do is add water, wait 10 minutes and eat- there is no cooking involved. Hot water makes a hot meal and cold water makes a cold meal. Freeze dried foods are the second easiest food to use in almost any emergency.


    I know it's not a life boat but we can make it one with our imagination:-)

    Life Boat Emergency Rations:
    You can purchase Life Boat Emergency Rations. This is also called pilot bread "graham crackers." Sometimes this meal unit comes in a large metal vacuum packed can containing the pilot bread and some small cans of water good for drinking. I have eatten this pilot bread and the crackers are tasty but dry. They are packed full of nutrition. Included is purified and bacteria free drinking water. The water is in plastic lined metal cans.

    Jerky:
    You can purchase Jerky or you can dehydrate meat and make your own jerky. I have made my own and I also have purchased it. Just remember that if you make your own it only has a shelf life of 1 year. You can use jerky as the perfect supplement to your survival kit. I suggest that you freeze all your jerky products. When the electrical power goes out, the one year shelf life begins at the time the jerky is thawed out. It's nice to have some meat to go with your bread and beans!

    I used to have a problem getting the "wild taste" out of fresh venison meat. I tried soaking the meat overnight in salt water, tenderizing it in vinegar, and what-have-you. Nothing worked. But then I got wise and decided to use spices on this meat and make jerky from it. The wild taste actually enhanced the flavor of the jerky. How did I do it? I added the salt, seasoning, and spices to the raw meat surfaces before I slowly dehydrated it. My jerky was done when I could crack it but not break it. It was delicious.

    If you don't want to use a dehydrator you can also use a stove oven or barbecue smoker to make your own jerky. Add a spice like cracked black peppercorn, rub it into the raw meat real good and put the heat to it. Be careful not to over-salt it. Buy some hickory wood and smoke it with that- this will enhance the flavor of the meat. Some adventurer's like to take this along in their "Davy Crockett" ammo bag when they shoot black powder during hunting or in a reinactment because this is one food they ate during that time period. Some like to throw some hardtack in the same bag along with their jerky. It makes for an interesting lunch to say the least.

    You can also purchase jerky. Some food companies make it from beef, buffalo, elk, alligator, turkey, venison, or antelope meat. It's usually high protein and low fat but is sometimes hard to chew. Most companies don't put any preservatives in it because the salt and lack of moisture do a pretty good job in that category.

    I have more on this subject at the bottom of this webpage in the frequently asked questions section if you are interested.


    Some TVP in large quantities

    Textured Vegetable Protein:
    Don't place any kind of meat into long term storage. I recommend using a meat substitute made out of vegetables instead. Don't complain- it still tastes good! Food companies call this stuff by it's initials: TVP. You can purchase TVP- (Textured Vegetable Protein) in various flavors:
    TVP (Bacon Flavor)
    TVP (Sausage Flavor)
    TVP (Taco Flavor)
    TVP (Beef Flavor)
    TVP (Chicken Flavor)

    Some folks don't like TVP because they are allergic to it's yeast extracts, or they don't like it's monosodium glutamate (MSG), an added chemical taste enhancer. Some of these folks use oxy-powder instead.

    What Kinds of Food are you Going to Store Away?

    Besides foods that taste good you need to store away foods that contain good nutrition. The nutrients our bodies need to properly metabolize foods are always found in foods before processing. A lot of these nutrients are found in the food's peeling or directly under the peeling. For example, a lot of vitamin E is found in wheat germ. This is lost when the wheat germ is processed away and white flour is given as a result.

    What's the problem?
    A lot of food nutrition is decreased while being processed. "Processing" protects the food against microorganisms such as bacteria, mold and yeast. What is essentially lost from the food during processing? Vitamins, minerals, nutrients, essential fatty acids, and enzymes.

    Only animal protein- eggs, meat, milk, and cheese, etc.- contain all eight essential amino acids. If the protein is to come from vegetable sources you must combine the correct vegetables to get all eight essential amino acids.

    My point is that whole food is better for you than processed foods. And these are the kinds of food that you want to store away.

        The 4 Most Important Food Staples
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Iodized Salt
  • This food pyramid will give you some idea of what kinds of food to store away.

    Do not store away any citrus fruits due to their acid content. Do not store away any nuts due to their fat content. If you do they will eventually turn rancid. No not store any fats or oils past 1 year because they will turn rancid. Some folks prefer to store dehydrated shortening instead that has a long storage life. If you decide to store some oil, anyways, and the container leaks- this is an added problem. If the leaked oil gets into some of your other food that is stored away it might ruin it. Butter or margarine can be kept frozen until you have no electricity in an emergency and then you will have to decide what to do with it.

    How do you prepare and store your staples?

    You can probably purchase the red winter wheat and dried whole kernel yellow corn at one of your local stores. If they don't have any on hand they can probably order it for you. I had to order the one ton of red winter wheat that I stored. You should be able to purchase the white rice, white sugar, pinto beans, and dry powdered milk at your local grocery store.

    Sugar
    You can purchase white cane granulated sugar at your local store. Make certain that the package at the store is clean, dry and damage free. Other than that, there's very little that should go wrong with it. Granulated sugar can be found in varying textures- coarser or finer. Pour it granulated into an appropriate container and seal it air tight. White Granulated Sugar does not spoil, but it will cake up or get lumpy. That means that once you remove it from long term storage that you are going to have to pulverize it again in order to use it. You can use a mortar and pestle for this if you want to.

    Do not store away any brown sugar because of it's high moisture content. This sugar will spoil if placed in long term storage.

    Nonfat Dry Milk
    You can't place liquid whole milk into long term storage but you can store powdered instant non-fat dry milk. Dry milk products are especially sensitive to storage conditions, particularly temperature and light. Vitamins A and D are "photo sensitive" and will break down rapidly if exposed to light.

    Like your other stored food, dry milk should be stored in a cool dark area.

    I placed my dried milk in empty plastic two-liter soda bottles but some folks like to use metal cans, boxes, or plastic bags. Your aim here should be to make it last longer, stay fresher, and taste better. Dry milk will usually keep it's flavor up to about 2 years or so in storage. I recommend that you use it then. I kept my dry milk in a cool dark place for over 10 years and it lumped up on me but was great to feed then to my breeding hamsters who loved it in lump form. "Old powdered milk" can also be used in cooking if you think it's flavor has deteriorated.

    Make sure that your dry powdered milk contains no fat (fat will cause it to turn rancid in long term storage). Pour it granulated into appropriate containers. I recommend that you freeze it after you place it in it's storage container just in case it has some insect eggs inside of it. Freezing it won't hurt it. I froze the dry milk I had stored in the plastic bottles and then placed them in the large "garbage cans" under the house where it was cool and dark so any rodents couldn't feast at my expense. Assume that any sugar or powdered milk that you store away yourself is going to get hard. That means that once you remove it from long term storage that you are going to have to pulverize it again in order to use it. I recommend a mortar and pestle for this.

    Salt
    I recommend that you purchase iodized salt for long term storage. This salt is available at your local market and is inexpensive. Some folks like to store rock salt instead of the fine granulated salt so it does not lump up and get hard on them. Salt is not a luxery but a necessity. It comes in handy for brining some vegetables and meats. It's also necessary for making your own jerky and can be a trading commodity.

    There is generally no problem in storing away dry beverages such as instant coffee and tea. Freeze these items in glass jars before storing them away long term.

    Powdered Eggs
    Do you want to store away some eggs? If so, you'll have to buy them. You can choose from an assortment of powdered egg whites, whole dried eggs, and even dried egg yolks. These items are usually available sealed in a (#10 size) can for long term storage.

    I think if there has ever been a food that was hated by U.S. military personnel more than spam it had to be powdered eggs. During World War 2, Korea, and Vietnam most service personnel ate so many scrambled eggs made from the powdered stuff they never want to eat any of it again. I know- I cooked a lot of it on an aircraft carrier in the Navy. Nevertheless, newer generations don't seem to share this opinion because the powdered eggs are processed differently and they taste better.

    The Boy Scouts take this stuff along on hiking trips because they don't have to worry about breaking raw eggs that way. All they have to do is just add some water and then cook up some scrambled eggs in no time. (And they better hope there are no hungry bears around in their neck of the woods when they do this:). I know- I am an Eagle Scout and have the cooking merit badge!

    How do the food companies make this stuff? Powdered egg mix (dehydrated egg mix) is mostly whole egg powder with a small amount of powdered milk and vegetable oil which has been blended into the powder. Powdered whole eggs (dehydrated whole eggs) are an alternative to fresh eggs and are more convenient to use and store. The dehydrated whole egg is blended with water to produce liquid eggs, which can then be used just like fresh eggs.

    Without sounding like a commercial for the stuff there is a lot to be said about it. Whole eggs, egg yolks, and egg whites are sometimes combined to make a blend that (when mixed with water) can be used for a variety of baked goods- especially scrambled eggs, omelets, and French toast.

    You can store powdered egg yolks that are great for adding to sweet dough, egg noodles, ice cream or (when the recipe calls for it) egg yolks. To make 1 egg yolk from this stuff you have to mix 2 teaspoons of powder with 2 1/2 teaspoons of water. Roughly 1 pound of powder equals 50 egg yolks.

    Corn
    Cornmeal is great to eat. Don't store cornmeal that is already ground- rather, store dried yellow whole kernel corn. Place this into suitable containers and then freeze it. When you are ready to eat it, take it out of storage and grind it into cornmeal. My wife used to bake home-cooked cornbread from our ground corn. She also made corn muffins. Yum yum. The natural corn was so sweet that she didn't have to add any sugar to it- and it was healthy for us and our 3 children at the time.

    Corn must be stored at 12 percent or less moisture content or it will mold and become inedible. You can usually purchase a fifty-pound sack of corn at a time. I recommend the storage of whole corn kernels rather than cracked corn to extend the shelf life. Corn is lacking in two essential amino acids- lysine and tryptophane. Therefore, a diet of corn must be augmented with pinto beans, soy beans, or rice.

    Some other grains that may be available for purchase include soy, red winter wheat, wheat bran, oats, and hard kernel dry yellow corn. Some of these may come in 100 pound sacks.

    Rice
    Don't store rice powder that is already ground- rather, store whole grain white rice. You can buy this at your local market. Place this into a suitable container and then freeze it. Then you can take this right out of long term storage, cook it and eat it. Don't store brown rice because it will turn rancid on you in long term storage.

    Dry Beans
    It's ok to store pinto beans right out of the store bag. Pour them into an appropriate container and freeze them first.

    How Long Do You Want to Store This Food?

    The basic rule of thumb is that you can store your food longer if it is cooler. You need to store you food storage in as low of temperature as possible to increase its shelf life and to retain nutritional value. Not only do colder temperatures affect the shelf life of food products, temperature fluctuations affect shelf life too. Keeping your food stored at a constant temperature will help you achieve the maximum shelf life. Finding a cool, dry location, such as a basement or root cellar is perhaps your best insurance on maximizing the shelf life on your stored foods. I placed mine under my parent's house where it was like a basement and this worked great. Even with the very best packaging methods, if you are planning on storing your food in a warm environment, it won't last as long as if it was stored in a cool, dry place. You can expect good storage life if your storage temperature is at 60 degrees F or below. Optimum storage temperature is at 40 degrees F or less. It is important you also find a place where the temperature remains constant. Frequent temperature changes shorten storage life.

    One man stored his long term food storage in his basement where the temperature remained around 60 degrees F. This was a good move on his part because he was able to get his food's maximum storage length by doing that.

    Storage Life of Foods
    Here are some tips to help you determine the shelf life of food stored in air tight containers at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You might be able to add an additional 10 years of storage life if you store these items at close to freezing temperature. A shelf life of 30+ years is perfectly feasible for many products stored this way. I have highlighted the staple foods that are the most important for you to store away.
      Years  

    Years

      Years

    Adzuki Beans

    8 - 10Gluten 

    5

    Powder Eggs  

    15

    Alfalfa Seeds

    8 Granola

    1

    Powdered Milk 20

    All Purpose Flour

    5 Great Northern

    8 - 10

    Quinoa 8

    Bakers Flour

    5Groats

    8

    Refried Beans 5

    Barley

    8 Red winter wheat

    20

    Ribbons 10 - 15

    Black Turtle Beans

    8 - 10Hard white wheat

    8 - 12

    Rolled Oats 20

    Blackeye Beans

    8 - 10

    Salt and Sugar

    Indefinitely

    Rye

    8

    Broccoli

    8 - 10Hulled Oats 

    8

    Small Red Beans8 - 10

    Brown Rice

    2 Kamut

    8 - 12

    Soft wheat 8 - 12

    Buckwheat

    10 - 12Kidney Beans

    8 - 10

    Soy Beans 8 - 10

    Butter/margarine Powder

    15Lentils

    8 - 10

    Spaghetti10 - 15

    Cabbage

    8 - 10Lima Beans

    8 - 10

    Special bakery wheat8 - 12

    Carrots

    8 - 10Macaroni

    20

    Spelt  12

    Celery

    8 - 10Millet

    8 - 12

    Sprouting Seeds 4-5

    Cheese Powder

    15Mixes 

    5

    Triticale 8 - 12

    Cocoa Powder

    15Morning Moo 

    5

    Jerky1

    Corn

    8 - 12Mung Beans

    8 - 10

    Unbleached Flour 5

    Cornmeal

    5Noodles

    10-15

    Wheat flakes 5

    Cracked wheat

    5Onions

    8 - 12

    Whey Powder  15

    Durham Wheat

    8 - 12Peanut Butter Powder

    4 - 5

    White Flour  5

    Flax

    8 - 12Pearled Oats

    8

    White Rice

    20

    Dehydrated Fruit

    15Peppers

    8 - 12

    Whole Wheat Flour 

    5

    Garbanzo Beans

    8 - 10 Pink Beans

    8 - 10

    Yeast

    2

    Vitamin C Tablets

    10Pinto Beans

    20

    Apple slices

    20

    Germade

    5Potato Flakes

    20

    Vegetable Oil

    2

    Do you Plan on Rotating Your Food Supplies?

    When I was in the U.S. Navy in 1967 aboard a World War 2 aircraft carrier I handled all of the dry storage food commodities in my "issue room" before it went to the galley to be cooked for the crew. My job title was "Jack of the Dust" and I had to order the food out of 6 warehouse compartments after looking at the weekly menu. I had sailors working for me on mess cook duty who were called "mules" because they had to carry the cases of food on their backs with canvas straps. I would send them from my issue room with their food orders to the 6 warehouse compartments where they picked up their burdens. Most men could carry 3 cardboard cases of 6 #10 sized cans at a time. Each case weighed about 25 pounds or so of weight apiece. Some of the dehydrated food cases were a lot lighter. My mules had to traverse on foot from deck to deck, up and down stair wells, through the bowels of the large ship with their burdens- until they got to my issue room which was their destination. Then I took the food that they brought in and had to stack the cases on top of each other with the labels facing out. Why did the labels have to face out so they could be read easily? Because the Navy believed in rotating it's food stocks- out with the old and in with the new. The expiration date for that case of food was stamped on the label. We were on a warship and couldn't take the chance on being put out of action due to bad food.

    I really recommend that you rotate your food supplies. Cans of food from the super market make good storage foods, but you should use the oldest ones first and replace them. This is called "rotating" your food. The easiest way to do this is to put the date that you bought the food on the top of the can with a magic marker. This makes it easy to use the oldest first. Canned foods will keep for at least one year, if kept in a cool, dry place and not allowed to freeze. Try to arrange your "survival food" shopping list so your perishables get priority attention at home- put purchase dates on packaging and rotate your food supplies on a regular basis. Be sure to always date food packages and use the oldest first when rotating your food. Many cans have a date stamped on the bottom. Use this "best if used by" date as a rotation guideline.

    Food storage rotation is important in avoiding rancidity. Too many times we buy and store the types of unhealthy foods we are accustomed to eating. In the United States an average adult consumes each year the following approximate amounts of dietary fat in these various forms:
    24 pounds in cooking and salad oils and mayonnaise-type dressings;
    23 pounds in shortening and frying fats;
    20 pounds of dietary fat from meat, poultry, fish, and cheese; and
    13 pounds in butter, margarine, peanut butter, and other foods.

    If you don't have a cool place for your food storage, plan on rotating your storage quickly enough to prevent food loss. Was my "issue room" on the aircraft carrier a cool dry place in which to store food? Absolutely not. It was located above number 3 boiler so it was hot much of the time. As a consequence some of the cans would bulge out or burst open and when this happened I knew that the food inside of the cans was spoiled and I had to throw it out. Why? As bacteria grow and reproduce inside of canned food, they produce gases that can cause contaminated cans with botulism to swell and burst. Health officials say the extremely potent toxin from the bacteria causing botulism can adversely affect people if it is eaten, inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the eyes or breaks in the skin. Beware of moldy wheat, botulism-bulging cans and oozing bottled goodys. The regular shelf-life of a canned good is 18 months max- past that discard it.

    Some basic foods need more frequent rotation, such as vegetable oil every 1 to 2 years.

    Don't procrastinate on your food rotation saying, "Oh, I'll let it go for another year"- this is not a good idea. One fella stated that food storage is like doing laundry- you may catch up from time to time but the task is never truly finished. If left undone for too long the food may turn bad, hence, you have lost some money needlessly.

    Remember- don't place anything refrigerated or frozen in long term storage.

    Where are You Going to Get Water?

    Water is crucial to survival. You can't live without it. You have to have water to drink, to clean with, and to use to reconstitute dry and dehydrated food stuffs.

    How Much Water do I Need?

    FEMA and the American Red Cross advise to store at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking.

    You should keep, at least, a three-day supply of water on hand. It is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water if you can afford it.

    How to Store Water:

    The question is not only where are you going to get water but how are you going to store your water once you get it?

    I stored my red winter wheat in one gallon glass jugs. Once the wheat was out of them I could use them to store water in. That way I got a double use out of each one. I also used plastic bottles commonly used for soft drinks as well as small glass containers used for instant coffee to store food in. I could get a double use out of these as well. You can also use fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic substances. You can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums. A large water holder called "a Jerry Can" is good for this purpose and is portable. Seal water containers tightly, label them and store in a cool, dark place. You don't need any mold to start floating on top of your water. Rotate this water every six months.

    Some emergency outdoor water sources:
    If you need to find water outside your home, you can look around and see what is available. Here are a few ideas of where to look:

    Rainwater (from a cistern)
    Streams, rivers, and other moving bodies of water
    Ponds, lakes, and swimming pools
    Natural springs, wells, and water pumps (need electricity)

    Avoid water with floating material or water that has an odor or dark color. Use saltwater only if you distill it first. You should not drink any flood water.

    Hidden Water Sources in Your Home:
    If a disaster catches you without a stored supply of clean water, you can use the water in your hot-water tank, water pipes and ice cubes. As a last resort, you can use water in the reservoir tank of your toilet (not the bowl).

    Contaminated Water:
    In addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water can contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis. You should treat all water of uncertain purity before using it for drinking, food preparation, or hygiene. Before treating, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth. There are many ways to treat contaminated water. Find the way that is best for you.

    A few ways to treat contaminated water-

    Water purification tablets:
    When I was in the Boy Scouts I carried water purification tablets with me on all major outdoor camping expeditions. After all, the Boy Scout motto is:
    "Be Prepared." U.S. military personnel fighting in the jungles of New Guinea and Burma during World War 2 carried water purification tablets with them. Any canteen full of stagnant creek or river water had to have these tablets added so the soldier wouldn't get sick. Tablets for this purpose are still available for purchase today. Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.

    Boiling:
    Boiling is the safest method of treating water. Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking.

    Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This will also improve the taste of stored water.

    Treatment with bleach:
    You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms in water. A sanitizing solution can be prepared by adding 1/8 of a teaspoon (8 drops) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to every gallon (4 liters) of water. Do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches, or bleaches with added cleaners or thickeners.

    Distillation of salt water:
    Distillation of salt water will kill most microbes in water, and will also remove any heavy metals, salts, and most other chemicals. This is really a good way to go. I drank this kind of water on the aircraft carrier that I served on in the Navy and it tastes good.

    Here are a couple of websites that might give you more emergency water info if you are interested:
    http://www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/water
    http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/0,1082,0_3_,00.html

    How are you going to prepare and cook this food
       (with no electricity or natural gas available)?

    Well, we've gotten this far. Let's say that we have the food and the water available but what are we going to do now? We need to cook what we've got.

    Cooking Utensils:
    So, let's break out our cooking utensils and let's just take an inventory of what we have or what we should have in order to do some cooking.

    We need to soak our food. Whether I am soaking pinto beans or rehydrating some dehydrated food I need a large "soaking pot". Let's pick one out. Eventually, on other cooking projects, you will also need a frying pan and other pots as well. There are several pots and pans on the market but I recommend that you purchase cast iron ones. Why? What's wrong with aluminum pots? Or stainless steel ones? Aluminum and stainless steel cooking utensils are light duty- they are not made for heavy slamming, bashing, and banging around. It's too easy to burn the bottom out of a light duty pot. In a survival situation you want cookware that is going to last and last over a period of time and just keep on working for you. So, it is my opinion to go with the durable and proven cast iron. I had my cast iron cooking utensils in storage for years and I had no trouble with them except I had to make sure they stayed rust free because they will rust if neglected. Here are some pictures of Dutch Ovens. There are more on the market but I think you get my point.


    A heart shaped Dutch Oven

       Cocotte Dutch Oven

          Cast Iron Skillet Set

    Cooking Stove:
    My food is now ready to cook but how am I going to cook it? I need a stove, a griddle, a fireplace, or open fire pit in which to light a cooking fire. A wood burning cook stove is ideal for this goal. It can actually serve two purposes- it can help you cook your food and help you stay warm at the same time (if in wintertime). A cook stove is a good survival tool to help with baking corn bread, biscuits, or home made bread.



             

    Or you can cook your food on a griddle. You can't bake home made bread with it but you can cook your food over red hot coals. It will put out some heat to warm you (if in the wintertime) and is easy to store away when not in use. It doesn't use any stove pipes and it's handy to have in an emergency but some folks say they can do just as good cooking over a camp fire or fire place.

    Cooking Fire:
    We need to build a fire in our stove so we can cook our food. Besides wood, we need matches or a magnifying glass to start our fire. These may sound like simple everyday items that we take for granted but have you ever tried starting a fire without them?

    When I was in the Boy Scouts we used to take "strike anywhere" kitchen matches and waterproof each one by dipping it's head into molten hot parafene wax. That's a great way to also preserve them for long term storage if you can keep them cool and dry. Never try to store away Bic lighters or portable cigarette lighters that are full of lighter fluid in long term storage. Especially do not store them around your food or near a fire source.

    Coffee Pot:
    Now that we are cooking our food let's put on a pot of hot tea or hot coffee to go with our meal. What's a meal without a hot drink to help settle it down? And if it is cold it will warm you to your bones. The pot will get hot on the wood stove about the same time the food does if you time it just right. If you don't have instant coffee but have only regular ground coffee you can place some coffee grounds in an old dirty stinky sock and boil it in the hot water. That's called hobo coffee. The stinky sock adds flavour. No- I'm just kidding. You can use a clean sock!

    Eating Utensils:
    We can eat MRE's with our fingers and don't need any silverware. Other than that we are going to need some help to eat our hot food. There are a lot of options one can choose from. The picnic favorite is paper plates and "plastic silverware." We can eat off of plastic or glass plates. Or we can do like I did aboard ship-




    I ate off of a mess tray like this one when I was in the U.S. Navy on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War era. Don't forget the sugar bowl and salt and pepper shakers. A good butcher knife is not an option- it's a must have item. Protect it against rust if you place it into long term storage with your food. A stainless steel tray like this one is ideal to store away for any emergency. It's strong and is fairly easy to wash- I know- I washed thousands of them while on mess duty. And it won't rust. Stainless steel silverware is also a good way to go.

    I'm proud of you if you have followed me this far without getting hungry. So far we have covered the basics and yet there is a lot left to be said and done.

    The secret for survival:
    everyone needs to work together-
    "no man is an island"

    A few additional "survival tips"

    How are you going to pulverize any winter red wheat or hard kernel corn that you break out of storage? What if you have no electricity available? You basically have two options. You can use a grinder or mortar and pestle.


    This grain grinder can also use an electric motor to power it

    The wheat grinder:

    Your food storage plan needs to include a hand powered grain grinder. I bought a wheat and corn grinder made of sturdy aluminum that I mounted on a slab of thick wood to make a sturdy base. That way it was portable so I could move it around and it was steady so I could attach an electric motor to it to turn it. It had a hand crank if I had no electricity available. I had electricity at the time so I purchased a large pulley wheel and fan belt for a small car to fit it. I mounted a small electric washing machine motor (that had a small pulley on it) to the wood base and put it all together. It worked great and I was able to grind up my red winter wheat and hard kernel corn. This food tasted delicious and it was healthy for me, my wife, and our 3 children. I recommend that you purchase a good grain mill that has an external, removable hand crank- and one that can be fitted to attach to an electrical motor.

    Wheat needs to be ground into flour for bread, rolls, and pancakes. It's one of your staple foods from the leading major foods groups. Corn needs to be ground into corn meal so you can make corn bread and corn muffins. My late father loved to eat hot buttered corn bread more than chocolate cake with icing!

    If you don't have coffee stored away, soy beans and chick peas can be roasted in your oven until dark brown, like coffee beans, and then ground up for a pretty good coffee substitute. Some folks like to mix this with a 1/3 volume of real coffee if you have it, but it is doesn't taste too bad all by itself in an emergency. And, of course, it will lack the caffeine that some folks like. When I was in the Boy Scouts in California I made manzanita bark tea. The manzanita bush grows wild in the California hills and it's outer bark is red in color. Cut the bark in long strips and peel it from the bush. Separate the green inner bark from the outer red bark. Boil the green inner bark strips in hot water for a few minutes. The liquid looks and tastes like store bought tea. Add more bark strips to make it stronger tasting.

    The mortar and pestle:

    If you don't have a grain grinder you can use a mortar and pestle. In the small town of Volcano, Calif. there is a state park called Grinding Rock State Park. It's named that because early American indian women made surface holes in the surrounding rocks by grinding their grain and acorns that way. Wheat and corn grain is hard so it will take a lot of effort to "grind" them this way.

    A mortar and pestle also comes in handy for pulverizing dry garden herbs and for pulverizing food lumps. Dry milk powder and white sugar are just two items that can get lumpy over time and need to be pulverized back into powder as much as is possible.

    Medical Supplies:

    Besides emergency food and water you should also consider storing away some medical supplies. You should be able to choose from many good first aid kits at some of your local stores. Storing away extra prescription medications has its risks as some needs to stay refrigerated and some have a short shelf life. Taking expired medication can be dangerous because some legal drugs have a change in their chemical formula after their expiration date.

    Shelter:

    Some folks like a portable house trailer that can be pulled to any where at any time during almost any emergency. It's kept stocked with emergency food and water supplies. The small refrigerator can run on propane gas or off of a car battery for awhile. And most of these refrigerators can run on electricity, if available. FEMA uses house trailers many times to help give displaced persons emergency shelters. But some folks like a tent. That way they can use it to camp out on family vacations. Also they can eat some of their stored food that is ready for rotation. Some folks like a secluded cabin up in the mountains where they can live in peace.

    If you want to plan for a permanent emergency shelter- an underground one is the best. Some folks like to live in underground "berm houses" that stay cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter, are safe from tornadoes and hurricanes (but not earthquakes), use less energy, and serve as an underground bunker in case of a local hostile nuclear detonation. I have written a little more about this in another one of my web pages at
    How to survive a nuclear attack

    Electric generators:

    Electric generators come in all shapes and sizes. Some are powered by gasoline and some by diesel fuel. If you need emergency electricity then this is a handy tool to have. Run a machine like this safely outside of your house so no one can breathe any harmful exhaust fumes.

    In 1982 I was a maintenance superintendent at a local geriatric hospital in Cloverdale, Calif. The facility was required by law to have a nice backup electric generator and I was required to test it from time to time. I had to make sure it always had enough fuel and oil and I had to stop it from leaking oil that it was prone to lose. One night the lights went out and the generator came on automatically and powered the entire facility. I have liked generators ever since. I don't recommend hamster generators because the cute little critters are nocturnal and won't work for you during the daylight hours:-)

    Miscellaneous:

    You might also want to store away some books, clothes, valuables, and anything else you want to use in an emergency situation. Don't forget a non-electric can opener. You can use a meat cleaver for opening any cans when you don't have a can opener. Store a few extra knives, axes, shovels, and other usable tools for bartering purposes. As long as you can- keep your freezer clean and at 0 degrees F or lower. Keep it full of emergency food. Rely on some old-fashioned common sense for anything else.

    Here is a basic
    Survival Kit Checklist
    (no electricity)

    The very first item on this basic survival kit for surviving an emergency is food.

      emergency food
      plenty of water
      cooking and kitchen utensils
      wood burning stove or charcoal briquet grill
      wood or charcoal briquets to burn
      liquid "charcoal lighter" or Sterno cans
      lots of matches and/or magnifying glass (for fire starting)
      portable tent or shelter (if necessary)
      extra flashlight batteries for your flashlight(s)
      portable radio(s) and/or cell phone(s)
      cloth rags (for many uses)
      hygiene supplies (especially toilet paper)
      blankets, sleeping bags, extra clothing, etc.
      clothing for infants and small children
      portable camping shovel for latrine and garbage burial use
      first aid kit
      camping cookstove and fuel (if possible)
      electric generator (if possible)
      extra gasoline for the generator (if possible)
      fire extinguisher (if possible)
      money in a waterproof container or extra items to barter with
      tools: hammer, saw, axe, knive, guns and ammo, etc.
      a good Bible or two to read and study
      a good book on survival techniques

    When in doubt
    Throw it out

    A Few Frequently Asked Questions"

    Question:
    How was food preserved aboard the old time sailing ships 500 years ago?

    Answer:
    The sailing food of yester-year mostly included but was not limited to:

    hard tack (flour) preserved meat
    salt beef salt pork
    molasses raisins and dehydrated fruit
    suet biscuits
    pickles rice or oatmeal
    peas potatoes
    lime juice (to prevent scurvy) beans
    coffee tea
    water (collected rainwater) mustard
    pepper salt

    Meats were kept in salt for preservation. Some fresh foods, such as potatoes, could be kept for long periods in the hold of the ship (a dark, cool, dry place).

    Great explorers like Columbus, Magellan and Cook carried dried foods and foods preserved in salt and brine.


    A Hardtack biscuit

    Question:
    What is Hardtack, is it still available today, and if so, how can I make it?

    Answer:
    Hardtack is a simple type of cracker or biscuit, made from flour, water, and salt. It is inexpensive and long-lasting but can be hard as a rock. It is and was used for sustenance in the absence of perishable foods. Historically known as Hardtack (or hard tack), the name derives from the British sailor's slang for food, "tack."

    Hard tack was used during long sea voyages and military campaigns as a primary foodstuff usually dunked in water, brine, coffee or some other liquid to soften it up or cooked into a skillet meal. This biscuit was little more than flour and water which had been baked hard and would keep for years as long as it was kept in a cool dry place. It was also known as sea biscuit, sea bread, ship's biscuit, tooth dullers, sheet iron, molar breakers, or dog biscuit.

    Because it is so hard and dry, properly stored and transported hardtack will survive rough handling and endure extremes of temperature.

    "Life aboard an old time sailing ship was anything but comfortable. Seamen lived in cramped and filthy quarters. Rats gnawed through anything, including a ship's hull. Food spoiled or became infested and fresh water turned foul. One staple of most ships was hard tack, which seaman often ate in the dark to avoid seeing the weevils that infested the hard biscuits. To soften hard tack and make it more palatable, cooks might soak and boil them in rum and brown sugar to create a porridge-like mixture." 1

    "During the American Civil War, 3-inch by 3-inch hardtack was shipped out from Union and Confederate storehouses to front line troops. Some of this hardtack had been stored for 20 years or so as it was left over from the 1846-1848 Mexican-American War. With insect infestation common in improperly stored provisions, soldiers would just drop the tack into their morning coffee, and wait for the insects to float to the top so they could skim off the bugs and resume consumption." 2

    Some folk currently buy or bake hardtack in the United States. Most of these folk are Civil War reenactors or devout survivalists.

    Here's how you can make this stuff today if you want to:
    Ingredients:

    
        * 2 cups of flour
        * 1/2 to 3/4 cup water
        * 6 pinches of salt
        * 1 tablespoon of shortening (optional)
    

    Procedure:
    1. Mix all the ingredients into a batter and press onto a cookie sheet to a thickness of 1/2 inch.
    2. Bake in a preheated oven at 400F (205C) for one hour.
    3. Remove from oven, cut dough into 3-inch squares, and punch four rows of holes, four holes
         per row into the dough (a fork works nicely).
    4. Flip the crackers and return to the oven for another half hour.
         * Some recipes also recommend a second baking at 250F (120C) to thoroughly dry out the
            bread. 3

    1 This info comes from the web. Web address is http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/pirates/72165
    2 This info comes from the web. Web address is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardtack
    3 This info comes from the web. Web address is http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Hard_Tack

    Question:
    How did they get fresh drinking water in the days of the sailing ships?

    Answer:
    While at dock in a port a ship "took on" food, water, fuel, and ammunition supplies. But during rain showers at sea, the sailors spread a canvas and funnelled the fresh rainwater into empty water barrells stored below decks.

    How did we get fresh water on the old World War 2 aircraft carrier that I served on? We had desalinization plants on the ship that converted sea water into drinking water. When I took a shower on the ship I had to turn on the fresh water only long enough to get my body wet and then turn it off. Then I had to soap my body down. Then I had to turn on the water again only long enough to wash off the soap. This rinsing could last no longer than 30 seconds. We had a Master at Arms person who monitored the ship's shower rooms and would "write up" any sailor he caught violating the ship's fresh water shower privileges.


    pilot bread

    Question:
    Can I purchase pilot bread?

    Answer:
    Yes. You can purchase commercially baked pilot bread in the continental United States. Commercially available pilot bread is a significant source of food energy in a small, durable package. Just one store bought "gram cracker" can contain 100 calories, 20% from fat, 2 grams of protein but practically no dietary fiber. I have eaten pilot bread that came out of some Canadian life boat food tins I purchased one time from a military surplus store. The crackers were tasty and nutritious but extremely dry to the mouth.

    Some think that this is the modern day equivalent of Hardtack. It is used in emergency life boat food kits. The Japanese keep pilot bread in their national disaster kits. Some campers, hunters, and hikers in the U.S. like to take it along for a quick and easy lunch when away from civilization instead of trail mix. It's great to put into long term storage when packaged in vacuum tins. Keep an eye on some of the metal containers as they will rust over time and you might have to paint them to prevent this.

    Question:
    Can you tell me a little about Space Food pills?

    Answer:
    In a nutshell Space Food pills have the best possible nutrition in the smallest possible volume. They are made that way because there is not a whole lot of room on any space craft going into orbit. They are also called Survival Food Tablets. They are good for emergency food rations and for disaster preparedness.

    Survival food tablets (tabs) evolved from the early space program. Back in the 1960s the U.S. Federal Government was searching for a food source that could be used in specialty situations. The objective was to find a food product that would last a long time and yet be nutritious. The research was involved and intense. Eventually, a food tab was perfected and used widely as an emergency food. It came to be known as "Survival Tabs".

    These things will keep you alive for quite awhile in an emergency. They are nutritious, have a 10 year shelf life, and taste ok. They are convenient, compact, and lightweight.

    What's the difference between these tabs and regular sugar pills? These tabs have more vitamins and nutrients added to them. 180 food tabs will last one person for 15 days. That's 12 tabs a day- over 2,000 calories per day. The total weight of this amount of tabs is under 1 pound.

    What's in these things? Calories plus 100% of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 15 essential vitamins and minerals. I would eat these things up after keeping them in storage for 10 years because the vitamins and minerals will start decreasing in potency after that time and they won't be as nutritious.

    You can purchase these tabs if you want to use them rather than storing emergency food. Some food companies sell these tabs in plastic bottles. The bottle does not allow either light or outside oxygen to penetrate and deteriorate the product. But you will have to place them somewhere where rodents won't be able to chew through them. A good place to store them (in long term storage) might be in a 40 gallon steel garbage can that has a tight fitting lid. Or you might want to store this food away in empty 5 gallon poly buckets. Store them in a cool dry place with low temperatures, if possible.

    Question:
    What can you tell me about freeze dried space food?

    Answer:
    Freeze dried space food or Astronaut Space Food, as it is also called, is more bulky and more filling than the space food tablets or pills.

    Most food for the Apollo missions was preserved through a process then known as freeze-drying. Prior to packaging, a food was quick-frozen and then placed into a vacuum chamber. The vacuum removed all moisture from the foods. They were then packaged while still in the vacuum chamber. This is a common practice today among certain food companies.

    Some of these Apollo foods, the cereal and cookie cubes, for example, could be eaten without cooking. The others must have hot or cold water added through the nozzle at the end of the package. The food is then squeezed into the mouth through the flat tube stored in the package. After the food has been eaten, a small tablet is inserted into the package to kill bacterial growth because air has gotten into it.

    Freeze dried food is readily available today for purchase and it varies in price from food company to company. So shop around and get the best buy. Freeze-drying allows food to keep it's nutrition. That means it will also taste better after a long period of time. Foods preserved this way are extremely light and compact and require no refrigeration. Many folks prefer this kind of food over the food tablets or pills. The paper wrapping on many of these kinds of packages are thin and flimsy and will tear easily. You will have to place them somewhere where rodents won't be able to chew through them. A good place to store them (in long term storage) might be in a 40 gallon steel garbage can that has a tight fitting lid. Or you might want to store this food away in empty 5 gallon poly buckets. Store them in a cool dry place with low temperatures, if possible.
    This info comes from the web. Web address is http://www.nasm.si.edu/exhibitions/attm/a11.jo.es.2.html

    Question:
    What were some of the preserved foodstuffs that the U.S. Army give to it's front-line fighting men during World War Two?

    Answer:
    Front line U.S. infantry troops during World War Two ate mostly k-rations among other things. This food was nutritious and well preserved. This food was a marked improvement over what front line troops ate during World War One. How so? A larger variety of biscuits was increased, newer and more acceptable meat products were introduced, malted milk tablets and D bars gave way to a variety of confections, additional beverage components were provided in improved packages, and cigarettes, matches, salt tablets, toilet paper and spoons were ultimately included as accessory items.

    You've probably heard the old expression, "the navy gets the gravy but the army gets the beans." Well, one day when I was in the Navy while at sea during the Vietnam War era we ate k rations left over from World War 2. How did this happen? The military had this stuff in storage for at least 21 years and they wanted to properly get rid of it. It was still good. It was made for U.S. military personnel to eat so it was brought aboard our aircraft carrier for that purpose. The admiral told our division officer to use it up so we did. For one day we ate k rations for breakfast, for lunch, and for supper. We had thousands of men to feed so we distributed it to them fairly rapidly. It was pretty neat for me to eat the same stuff that I knew my father had eaten when he was on the front lines during World War 2.

    When my father was stationed in barracks in the United States he was given spam to eat. It was sliced and fried to served with eggs in the morning for breakfast. It was served uncooked inside of sandwiches for lunch, and "ground up" and served with stir fried potatoes for supper. He ate so much of it he got sick of it. He hated it and after he got out of the military my mother never served it to him but we 3 kids ate plenty of it.

    Question:
    I get boxes of cabbage leaves along with slightly limp carrots free from the local store. I dehydrate these so dry there is virtually no moisture left in any of it. I keep on storing these away for emergency use only because no one would want to normally eat them if I reconstituted them. Am I just wasting my time doing it this way?

    Answer:
    Well, it depends on how you look at it. Most folks want to reconstitute their dehydrated fruits and vegetables and eat them at their convenience. But this is not what you are doing. You are going for long term emergency food instead. You just store this food away and forget about it. A lot of folks like to do this. If you never use this food at all you are not out much. I would think that in an emergency you could break out this food (cabbage and carrots), reconstitute it, and cook a nice tasty stew out of it. If you added some onions, garlic, peas, rice, and beans it would even taste better. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I think it's time for lunch. Keep up the good work.

    Question:
    Can you get aluminum poisoning from cooking with aluminum pots?

    Answer:
    This was an old rumor that was going around during the 1970's. To my knowledge and in my opinion there is nothing to it. The rumor was that aluminum molecules would come off of the pan and get into the food that was cooking in it. And then you would eat the aluminum molecules along with the food. However, aluminum is at the present time the most widely used constructional material for cooking utensils. I had aluminum cooking utensils in my mess kit when I was in the Boy Scouts. We cooked on open camp fires and those pots worked real good.

    However, there is something else to be concerned about. Aluminum pots are thin walled. If you use them repeatedly over open fires you will eventually burn the bottom out of them. I burned the bottom out of one of them one time when I forgot and left a pot of boiling water on a lit stove burner. When I came back the red hot empty pot was practically welded from the heat to the burner. So aluminum pots are not durable.

    Using cast iron cooking pots over open fires will assure prolonged life in this regard. In my opinion all long-term survival cooking pots should be made of cast iron. Just protect them against rust if you store them away for a long period of time.


    Stove Pipe Damper

    Question:
    Besides getting a wood stove- what else will I need to buy that goes with it?

    Answer:
    You are going to need some fire retardant material, some stove pipe, and a stove pipe damper to help control smoke, heat, and air flow.

    One day I was given a broken cast iron boxwood stove. One of the legs had broken off of it so I welded it back into place using a "cast iron" welding rod. And I braced all of the legs so they would be sturdy and durable and do their job of holding up the stove. Then I wire brushed it real good to clean off the rust and painted it with silver heat resistant paint. Then I put it into storage for an emergency but the emergency that came was not mine.

    In the 1970's in the Graton, Calif. area there was a poor single lady and her 12 year old son who attended our Assemblies of God church there. There were massive rain storms, flooding, and lots of high winds that knocked down trees. Some of these trees fell across electrical power lines knocking them down and cutting off electricity for thousands of folks in that area for several weeks. Her and her son had food and water but were without propane and electrical power. She had been using a portable camp stove to cook their food on. Her house did not have a fireplace. She told the congregation in church that her small house was cold and she asked us for our help.

    After church the pastor and several of us men held a conference to see what we could do to help her. She wanted to stay in her house and not be put up in a motel. So I went home to Cloverdale and got my silver painted boxwood stove out of storage and drove to her house. I also brought along a damper and extra stove pipe I had "tucked away." She and I managed to set it up in her house. We ran the stove pipe out her small slide-up-and-down living room window. We had to use quite a bit of fire resistant material for the stove to stand on, for wall protectant, and around the stove pipe where it went through the window. She had lots of fire wood. We fired it up before I left and it worked perfectly. She was a very happy lady and I was glad to have helped her. She used that stove to cook on and to help her stay warm and toasty for the next few weeks. I was glad to have helped her in her emergency and that is only one example of how some stored away emergency equipment can be used.

    In some states in the United States new houses are being built without fire places. Some local, county, and state environmental concerns are touted to prevent this from happening. In my opinion this is a bad mistake. These officials, well meaning as they appear to be, are not planning for any emergency in their area. A fire place is one piece of equipment in a home that can be utilized for an emergency. It can provide heat and a place to cook one's food (if necessary).

    Question:
    I know a guy who placed all of his survival food inside of a 20 foot long metal shipping container and then buried this container in the ground with 3 feet of dirt over the top of it. He planned to store this container that way for 30 years. Is this a good idea?

    Answer:
    Well, yes and no. With 3 feet of dirt over the top of it the food is protected from any harmful nuclear fallout. That is good. You don't have to worry about somebody coming along and stealing your food if they don't know it's there. And you don't have to worry about bears or other surface animals rummaging through your expensive supplies.

    There are a lot of ways to store food. This is just one way- everybody has their own way of doing things. I used glass jugs and glass jars- not everyone likes to use glass containers because they might break in an earthquake. Some use plastic jugs and plastic buckets. Some use metal cans and metal buckets. I guess it all depends on what you like and how much money you want to spend.

    Some business people store food away like this as an investment. They spend a certain amount of money now in hopes of making a lot more money in the future. In an emergency they plan on selling the food for a handsome profit to needly individuals who can pay.

    The problems with placing a metal container under the ground might involve rust problems, water seepage, and collapse of the roof under the weight of the dirt. There is no easy accessability to this food- you will have to dig it out when you need it. There is no easy way to rotate any of this food. There is no easy way to check these food supplies from time to time to make sure they are still good. And you have to make sure that any underground water table won't push it to the surface.

    It just makes more sense to me to store the food away in a cool basement where you can continually check it, rotate it, add to it, change it, and eat it when you want to. You want to protect your investment the best way that you can. What good is it having a hobby unless you can continually work on it and have fun with it?

    Question:
    I have some thin rubbery plastic lids that just pop onto the top of my open cans of stored food. Will these keep out insects?

    Answer:
    No. Containers selected for storage of grains and dried foods should have a hard lid and tight seal that will not allow passage of tiny larva of the pests which may infest dried foods. These pests, either larva or adult, are capable of penetrating thin plastics. Stating it another way- only thin plastic lids on top of open #10 cans are not good enough to prevent insects from finding their way into insect free cans of stored food. And bugs can eat through plastic bags. Don't use any plastic bags or thin plastic containers or lids. Glass, metal, and heavy plastic, 5 gallon containers appear to resist insect invasion the best.

    Where to the bugs come from? The infestation may be in the food product, either as live insects or insect eggs at the time you buy the food, or the stored food may become infested during storage. You want to use the proper containers to keep the bugs out.

    You also need to protect your food against microbes and fungus. You can do this by keeping excess moisture out of your stored food.

    Question:
    I don't see any bugs or bug eggs in my sacks of grain. Are you "pulling my leg?"

    Answer:
    You can't see germs, either, but they will make you sick many times. Believe me, they are there and they are hungry. They will eat you out of house and home. I am not joking about this. Bulk grains, such as field corn and wheat contain insect eggs.

    There are other things to watch out for as well. Other things that cause food to go bad are moisture, oxygen, high temperature, and animals getting into the food. Good storage containers will most often keep outside insects and animals out. Watch out for a high moisture content in your food. Already dried foods such as dried beans, white rice, powdered milk, instant potatoes, pasta, white flour, etc. usually don't require additional drying and can be repacked the way they come from the super market. Dry beans, grains, and flours contain an average amount of 10% moisture. Although it is not necessary (and very difficult) to remove all moisture from dry food, it is important that any food stored be stored as dry as possible. Excess moisture can ruin your food stored.

    Make sure you kill all bug eggs before you store your food away. Either you are going to eat your food or they will...

    Question:
    I want to make my own jerky. Got any tips on how to do it?

    Answer:
    Probably the best thing you can do for yourself is to pick up a good book on the subject. The next thing to pick up is a good dehydrator. I had one and made some excellent jerky with it. If you don't want to use a dehydrator you can also use a stove oven or a smoker.

    Dehydrators are good tools to use to dry thin meat slices because they are slow and you don't have to baby sit them, other than rotate the trays once or twice. But they are typically the slowest method (12-24 hours depending on the wattage and brand name). Drying time varies depending on the thickness of the jerky meat. Spread the meat strips in a single layer on your dehydrator trays. Follow your dehydrators instructions for temperature and timing.

    Cut the meat into thin strips using a sharp knife or a meat slicer. Use selective cuts of meat such as flank, top and bottom round, and sirloin tip cuts. Cut your strips 1" wide, 3/16" thick to whatever length you want. Trim off all visible fat. Stay away from commercial hamburger even if it's labeled "lean" or "extra lean" as most store-bought hamburger is too fatty for making ground jerky.

    Some folks prefer venison (deer meat) because venison is considered by many to be leaner and more flavorful than other meats. Remove as much of the deer tallow (fat) as you can before cutting steaks and roasts. All the remaining cuts and trim (minus the bones, tallow and gristle) can be ground twice through a medium grinder. This is ok meat to use to make ground jerky. The leaner the meat the better the jerky!

    In volume, jerky meat shrinks as much as 60% from start to finish. In weight, you must lose 60%. In other words it must be dried to 40% of its starting weight. One pound of lean-ground meat will produce less than 1/2 pound of ground jerky strips, or if you start with five pounds of ground jerky meat (green weight), you'll net only two pounds of finished product.

    Here is how to prepare some original-style ground jerky

    
    5 lbs. lean meat (any meat of your choice)
    2 tablespoons salt
    1 teaspoon curing salt
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    1 tablespoon onion powder
    2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    2 teaspoons black pepper (or 1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper)
    2 teaspoons curry powder
    1/2 cup soy protein concentrate (or non-fat-dry milk)
    coarse black pepper
    

    I suggest keeping your jerky frozen as long as you can. It's one year only shelf life starts when you take it out of the freezer and put it in your pantry.

    Question:
    I have a 1 year plan and only shop at my local store. I can get a lot more shelf life from some of that food than what you say I can. Why are you being so conservative on shelf life?

    Answer:
    Well, I don't want you or others to eat spoiled food and die. Some folks gamble way too much when it comes to their food's shelf life. Some think that this happened in the bible days of Joseph in Egypt when the chief royal baker cooked up some delicious "tainted" delicacies for Pharaoh. The cup-bearer failed to sample any of the food, first, before he gave it to Pharaoh. Pharaoh ate it and got food poisoning and nearly died. Then Pharaoh executed his chief baker for his mistake. Here is the biblical account:

    "Some time later, Pharaoh's chief cup-bearer and chief baker offended him. Pharaoh became very angry with these officials, and he put them in the prison where Joseph was, in the palace of Potiphar, the captain of the guard. They remained in prison for quite some time, and Potiphar assigned Joseph to take care of them."
    (Genesis 40:1-4).

    That should give you some idea about my concern for being conservative on a food's shelf life. Be careful in this area- your life could be on the line.

    Here are some additional tips in regards to the 1 year plan on foods you can purchase yourself, directly from the super market, usually at considerable savings. Some of these foods are white flour, powdered non-fat milk, corn meal, instant potato flakes, dry beans, wheat, dried corn, dry pasta, white rice, and soybeans. You can store these in their original packages inside of 5 gallon sealable poly buckets- with the moisture and oxygen removed.

    You can store other items, unopened, in their original containers such as vegetable oils, baking powder, instant coffee, tea, cocoa, salt, sugar, honey, non-carbonated soft drinks, bouillon products, red pepper sauce, soy sauce, crisco (or the generic brands), vinegar, and even mayonnaise. These should be stored in a cool dry place. Note that mayonnaise may loose some of it's flavor over time.

    Sugar, salt, white flour, powdered milk, etc. mostly come in paper containers of some kind. Some of these such as salt and sugar, will attract moisture and cake or harden. This does not mean that the salt or sugar is not usable, but it must be pulverized before it will pour. By placing these kinds of food stocks in plastic bottles, or similar air tight containers, their shelf life can be greatly increased- especially if you are just storing them away in your cupboards.

    Grains and other such foods can be stored in 5 gallon buckets, and if properly done, will have about 5 years of shelf life instead of 1 year. Once you re-open one of your big buckets of stored food it will have lost it's air tight seal and it's nitrogen content will escape. How do you treat this surplus food that you don't eat right away? You treat it as being "on borrowed time" and consume it right away before spoilage can take place.

    Question:
    Got any more tips about dehydrated food?

    Answer:
    I have just a few basic tips to share with you. You can reconstitute dehydrated food by soaking it in water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Then cook it and serve it. In some cases this simple procedure will restore the foods to their original shape, texture, color and flavor. For example, apple sauce granules only require cold water and then you are ready to eat.

    However, many of the air dried foods will require some cooking to help rehydrate them. For example, potato granules will make instant mashed potatoes and if you add them to boiling water along with some salt and butter you are ready to eat. Also peas, corn, and carrots require a 10-15 minute simmer time to help rehydrate them fully.

    If you purchase canned dehydrated foods- this food should last from 9 months to 3 years after the seal on the can has been broken. There is no need to refrigerate- simply store in a relatively cool, dry place.

    Remember to reseal the opened cans with a plastic lid after using. This will maximize the storage or shelf life. When removing smaller portions from the can, dip the food out rather than pouring it. This method minimizes nitrogen loss and introduction of air and moisture, permitting the food to retain its freshness for the longest possible time. But the thin plastic lid will not keep all insects out so use it up as soon as possible.

    What are some of the advantages of using dehydrated food? Dehydrated foods are very much like fresh food when reconstituted. They maintain a lot of vitamins and nutrients. They store in 1/5 the storage space over wet-packed foods. They won't spoil too readily and can be kept for awhile without refrigeration. The cans from food companies are coated and enameled inside and out to prevent corrosion and chemical reaction. The food is sealed in the can with a special inert atmosphere to insure maximum shelf life. They are easy and quick to prepare after rehydration. This food is economical, especially if you grow your own.

    Question:
    Is there anything else you think I should know?

    Answer:
    Yes- just a couple of reminders. Make sure you have a manual can opener and disposable utensils available. And don't forget nonperishable foods for your pets. I don't know how many people you are storing food for but plan on storing more food for feeding others. Plan on being a blessing to them- remember, you reap what you sow. If you sow kindness and generosity, it will come back to you. You should plan for approximately 2,195 calories and grams of protein per person per day when you store your food. Don't forget to store a lid lifter for any stored cans of food, and you might need a whole grain cookbook. Other than that, I think you should be set.


    garlic is delicious and healthy for you

    Conclusion:

    Storing food away is a fun and rewarding hobby. You can preserve food that might, otherwise, go to waste. You can save money. Your money and effort is never wasted because you can always eat this food. And you are prepared, in this respect, for an emergency that might happen very suddenly. It's a win-win hobby that you can make as fun as you want to. I enjoyed storing food. I have written this so you can enjoy this hobby too.


    Bread On the Waters shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by this information. The contents of this web page or web site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Nothing reported in this web page or site is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

    Please do not email me with any specific questions regarding foods, food preservation, or food storage. Rather, please check with your local food store owner or others who also share the same interest in this hobby. Thanks:)


    Click Here- An Important Link For You To Click On

    Here is an invitation to you to view my Christian website (Assemblies of God)

    Here are a couple of other survival webpages I have written:

    How to survive a nuclear attack

    How to load your own bullets

    I encourage you to prepare for an emergency and trust in God at the same time. I don't want you to wallow in fear but to keep the uplook for His soon return.

      The PH of Alkaline and Acidic Forming Foods

    Additional links you might be interested in:
    Proof for the Existence of God The Bible Is Special
    Teaching Creation Versus Evolution Testimonies of Former Homosexuals


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    January 08, 2008

    Flour
    You can't do without flour in your storage. You should have it- it's one of your staple foods. So my recommendation is to place red winter wheat into storage rather than powdered flour. You can't store powdered flour very long unless you keep it frozen. I treated my red winter wheat with diatomaceous earth to kill any insects and it worked perfectly. I bought 100 pound sacks of red winter wheat- 20 sacks at one time.