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Old 10-14-2011, 03:12 PM   #1
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Long term food storage

I watched this 3 part video about long term food storage and it prompted me to get off my duff and get it done:


I have found a few places selling food and supplies:
It's been an adventure comparing the $/lb cost for staples across different vendors because of different shipping policies, etc. I was really surprised that my local Whole Foods supermarket actually had a lower $/lb cost for most beans than any online bulk vendor.

If any of you peeps have been doing this for a while now know of another vendor (other than what I've listed above) that offers bulk (organic preferred) grains and legumes (beans) at good prices, please share.

Oh yeah, this is pretty useful info when planning your own food storage stash:

http://www.tribwatch.com/artStorageLife.htm
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:03 PM   #2
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You can get beans and rice from Costco. Sam's Club has popcorn (which can be ground up same as regular dent corn). Your local mormon cannery sells bulk.

also: check out walton feed if you want a turnkey super pail (6 gallon bucket with mylar and o2 absorber; ships via hundredweight trucking; usually $40/100lbs.)
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Old 10-20-2011, 10:16 PM   #3
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How long does most of that stuff last?
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Old 10-20-2011, 10:17 PM   #4
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See the last link I posted in the OP.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:04 PM   #5
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I've made 2 purchases from www.efoodsdirect.com They sell food by the week, month, and even year. 15 year or so shelf life. One purchase I made over the internet for a years supply came on a pallet in a timely manner. At that time it was free delivery, so I saved about 250 bucks. My latest purchase I handled over the phone with them in response to a veterans day sale (for all you fighting types out there). They were courteous and helpful, and I got a second years supply of food for nearly 50 percent off, even though shipping on this particular offer was not free.

It sounds like they are going to offer regular discounts, all you have to do is ask what they have on special at that time. They also have a large supply of extended shelf life vegetable seeds, water purification systems, and other goodies worth looking at.
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Old 11-21-2011, 04:25 PM   #6
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I have found that Emergency Essentials, www.beprepared.com has some very reasonable prices for their freeze dried food products and also on shipping costs, both for smaller orders, and for larger orderds of the 5-6 gallon superpails of grains, beans, etc in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.
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Old 11-21-2011, 05:12 PM   #7
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Mountain House is what we have. Mostly entrees with some dried fruit from a generic producer for sweetness and a little variety.
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Old 11-21-2011, 06:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Unobtanium View Post:
... Emergency Essentials, www.beprepared.com ...
Whoa. How did I miss that in my OP? They have the best deal on food grade 5 and 6 gallon buckets (no lid) that I have found (when I was searching). Also good deals on mylar bags and oxygen absorbers.
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Old 11-22-2011, 01:47 PM   #9
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I'd promised to show some of what I'm doing here about a food stash. This doesn't cover all, but shows the philosophy. I'm not of a mind to buy the high priced dehydrated stuff and keep it forever, mostly, my thinking along those lines is different, and perhaps differently motivated.
For one, thing, should I suddenly need a food stash, I know I won't want to totally upset my eating habits and feel like I'm downgrading, or exposing my body to such a sudden shift that it makes me slightly ill in doing it. If anything, I'll need to feel better than usual should I need it! To me, the stuff that keeps forever just doesn't satisfy that, costs too darn much, and is likely to get messed up in deep storage that I won't be paying much attention to.

So I have a different strategy - and at least one different reason to be doing this at all. Right now, food is a much better investment than say, SPY, so pulling demand ahead means I'm eating food at around 6 months ago prices. And thus, the stuff I stash is what I'd eat normally anyway.
Now, that might be a good bit different than most. I went all solar in '79 or so, and at first, couldn't have a refrigerator, or afford gas to the store (30mi round trip) all the time, so I had kind of an enforced boot camp in all this anyway, and got used to it. Like some in Detroit say, when it all goes down into a worldwide depression, we won't notice, we're in practice already.

I'm assuming you can go with a semi-oriental style - you have some things that are main calories, that are dirt cheap in bulk, then some lesser quantities of things that make it taste good enough to eat. In my case, those base things are rice, pasta, and wheat products (flour-bread).

Those store easily in old airtight ammo cans. I take say a 50 lb bag of rice, divvy it up into half full gallon freezer bags, and put it in the can. Ditto beans. I leave pasta in the box it came in (including mac and cheese). A neat trick - you can put a lump of dry ice in the bottom of the box, set on the lid, let it fill the box with CO2, displacing the air, then go ahead and clamp down the lid. This works pretty well for almost everything, though I've not found anything that can keep corn meal from going buggy - leave that out, or experiment with it in another box. I've also toyed with putting a fitting and valve on a couple of the larger boxes, which I can connect to a vacuum pump, remove the air and water, then let in argon/CO2 welding gas mix. Both work, and since I have welders, for me the second one works nicely for the boxes I'm opening now and then. You do have to put in some box stiffeners/dividers so the vacuum doesn't implode the ammo box.

Most canned food lasts nearly forever, if not longer. And you can tell if it goes bad usually. This is a great way to store things like meat (not self-canned, the "pro" stuff). Doesn't take much of that over rice or pasta to feed a big crowd. And veggies are nice to have. It's important to remember all the other stuff you'd normally cook with, or figure out a way to do without it. Spices, sauces, salt, sugar - all those are real important. For some people tobacco is a good one and can be bartered. Some med supplies, the basic stuff goes in with the food kit - aspirin, vitamins, small bandages and the like. I also built a more-advanced 1rst and 2nd aid kit separately.

Most of the time you won't need too many calories if hunkered down, but you need fiber (those veggies) particularly if you're not eating as much. Keep that in mind. If you're going to be busting hump, and need the calories as a result, it's hard to beat MRE's. I like those enough that they rotate through the system and I've never found out how long they can last(!). Again, a little of that rich stuff converts a lot of cheap calories into a more edible meal when you're stretching things out.

So, here's some pix of the "ready to bolt" stash. In addition, there are some shelves full of self-canned garden produce - which is just normal if you're living the rural lifestyle, and more MRE's on their own pallet elsewhere. This is kind of the "good stuff, variety" pack.
FoodStash1.jpgFS2.jpg
Obviously, even a condo dweller such as DoChen can do it at this level, and it gives you some peace of mind well ahead of a similar amount of fiat cash (which you should also have a bit of).

Did I mention there's a cheap "saturday night special" in every box somewhere? Might be a nice place to have one just in case someone is too demanding about the content of a box. I suppose you should have a combo lock on these as an excuse to be the one closest to that...

Oh, the ammo boxes on the left have, duh, ammo in them. A few different kinds for the various guns I own; I have a LOT of guns, not for defense, but for competition and general fun, but they are obviously "dual use". Again, that's far from my ammo stash total - since I reload I tend to have a lot around, and a lot ready to reload and full supplies. I lucked out on some of that. Being known as the "uber gun guy" in the 'hood, when people die off, and leave their stuff to people, those people tend to give me any gun related stuff, like powder, bullets, dies, primers, brass. So I'm in an overstocked condition by any measure - not from paranoia, but from "hey, it was free!" I should probably either shoot a bunch of it up or file to pay the armory tax...hmm, which is more fun?

The key here to all this is that you rotate through it to keep it reasonably new and fresh (applies to ammo too). Just use some along with whatever fresh you're also eating, and when you see a good deal at the store, like "10 for the price of..", or "a case for xxx off", now you have a reason to go for it, and get a good deal. Saves money in the good times too! Which in my philosophy is the best way of all - a corollary to looking for everybody-wins solutions to problems. And the glass being half full.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:41 PM   #10
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Don't me to necro-bump a thread but this is a topic I'm currently investigating - looking to expand my logistics.

Just ordered a couple things from Honeyville and eFoods.

I'll let everyone know how it works out.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:13 PM   #11
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I'm curious if anyone does any eating out of their stash, and how that affects decisions around it. Most of that self-declared emergency food is pretty high priced, for example, and perhaps not exactly gourmet quality (I have had some that was really good, though). Does that mean it's just a security blanket, being too expensive to eat except in emergency that may not come before it spoils?

If a sudden emergency comes, would there be danger that your food stash had gone largely bad and you never know till it's too late? The situation commonly arises with say, emergency power generators that don't get tested regularly.

I'm rotating through my stock. It discovers the true storage life of the stuff - what you should really eat and replace more often. I'm finding canned food is eternal, or close enough. MRE's are not forever, but pretty close - and one can really make a lot of other food edible (say rice or beans) as the good flavor - like the Chinese do, a little rich stuff poured over a lot of cheapo stuff.

Are people remembering how important herbs and spices are, or are they going to condemn themselves to eating bland food when the time comes?

Dried foods (mostly freeze dried stuff, not rice or beans as much) - well, unless stored in argon or nitrogen, and tested once in awhile, not so much, they kind of get something like freezer burn (oxidation, going rancid) and taste nasty after too long a time unless you have a real hermetic seal.

Seems to me that unlike PM's this is a thing where active management of inventory is required, you can't just stack the stuff and forget about it. So far, I'm liking my plan of having pretty good to eat food, that doesn't last forever, because then it doesn't have to - I'll eat it in normal times and replace it with fresh stock as things are on sale at the grocery store - or a neighbor (or myself) finds they have way too much of something canned.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:22 PM   #12
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bravo
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:46 AM   #13
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I tend to agree with you DC in that I prefer more normal food/storage methods in contrast to the tailor-made 30 year shelf life stuff. I'm not sure I want to eat what may be in those anyways.

Rice, bean, grains, canned goods, and nuts can all last quite a while.

And then there is the local deer population...
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:51 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DCFusor View Post:
I'm curious if anyone does any eating out of their stash, and how that affects decisions around it. ...
I'm not stashing freeze-dried foods. I've mostly got whole wheat berries which I intend to start grinding into flour and baking my own breads (haven't started yet even though I have all the tools), beans (eating), grains (eating), salt and sugar / honey (not eating - they keep forever). I've got a stash of yeast too, but should the power go out, they have a fairly short shelf life outside of a freezer, so I'll have to cultivate that like they did in the old days.

I haven't really started stocking spices (I'm gonna be lost without tumeric ), but I'm growing plenty of fresh herbs and peppers in the garden.

ddbmb - nuts have a high oil content and do not keep well for long term storage. The oils turn rancid at room temperature after a while.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:17 AM   #15
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Excluding oxygen will prevent most things from going rancid (but not from rotting, there are anaerobic bacteria). I have to deal with that one here when storing some of the lab stuff - say things like sodium or lithium metals. So far, what's worked best is Argon (cheap from welder supply), since it leaks out of things less than say, helium. We're testing CO2, as you can get it in dry ice form, and there's that trick I mention above - essentially canning in CO2 - letting it slowly rise in a container to displace the air. But it's a little bit reactive (and dissolves in water) and might have taste issues for long term - I'll be finding that one out.

But flushing all the air first is actually pretty hard. Just like dipping your hands in water doesn't get all the soap off. Argon is about the same density as air, so just blowing a bunch in there doesn't necessarily displace all the air, which tends to cling to surfaces pretty tightly. You can do the flushing thing, but it takes a long time and a lot of wasted gas. When I can, I use containers that will take a vacuum, and pull the air out first for awhile, then let in the argon back to STP conditions, then seal.
At that point, a screw lid with black tape wrapped around it seems to be good enough for things like sodium and lithium - they stay clean and untarnished, and if it's working for those, it should work pretty well for food. You can't do the vacuum trick well if there's much water present, as water boils at 20mm pressure at room temperature...at that point, you're in the freeze drying business.

I have an herb garden too, but gosh, I just can't seem to get A1, soy sauce, etc to grow in it on demand I do dry some of what I grow and put it in little airtight bottles for later. A little dried habenero goes a long way in winter.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:13 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by DCFusor View Post:
Most of that self-declared emergency food is pretty high priced, for example, and perhaps not exactly gourmet quality (I have had some that was really good, though).
DC - which vendor and what item was "really good"?

Curious about your experience here.

Thanks!
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:18 AM   #17
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I'll have to ask the friend who had it - I don't know.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:18 PM   #18
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I have a bunch of Mountain House stuff that we keep for emergency bug-out [mainly hurricanes] and I do eat some from time to time. It's not bad, but it ain't great either. I kind of liken it to cafeteria food, sort of like what you would get at a Golden Corral.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:21 PM   #19
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A few comments from the peanut gallery:

1) PMBug: I suggest you go ahead and try grinding up your own wheat and baking bread now. It is not as easy as one might think. It will probably take you a few tries before you something edible! Better to make those mistakes now.

2) WATER!!! I do not know how many people I have run across over the years that have massive amounts of food and ammo stored, but have maybe a week's worth of water stored. You can live weeks without food, but you will die in days without water. I was reading an article earlier that most municiple water facilities only have enough chemicals stored for a week or two. Imagine if the water coming out of your sink wasn't safe to drink or stopped flowing all together!
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:23 PM   #20
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We discussed water issues in depth in another thread: http://www.pmbug.com/forum/f6/fresh-water-seawater-78/

... and yeah, I keep telling myself that I'm gonna bake a loaf of bread on Saturday. Then Saturday comes and ... I need to break my rusty cage.
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