Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's Not That Easy (Food Storage)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

First, I have been working on getting more pictures, and writing a little bit more, for the series of articles titled "It's Not That Easy (Shelter)" but I'm getting a little bit burnt out.

So, I am going to write a couple of articles about food storage.

Before we begin, I need to ask a question.

Are we in the beginning stages of a crisis?

If we are, I want you to get all your food first. Remember, food first. Once you have your food, I want you to buy the mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and plastic buckets to properly store your long-term food storage.

With that said, let's begin.

Gather Your Supplies

For this project, you will need ...

1 - Plastic Bucket or Cardboard Box
2 - Mylar bags
5 - Oxygen Absorbers
1 - pair of Scissors
1 - clothes Iron
25 pounds of dried beans

Time to Think

Next, as always on prepping, you are going to have to make some decisions.

What kind of dried beans are you going to store? Chickpea (Garbanzo), Black (Turtle), Small Red, Green Lentils (Split Pea), Lima, Great Northern, Pinto, Brown Lentil, or ...

What size bag are you going to use? I suggest cutting two big bags into eight smaller bags. Each smaller bag will hold about five pounds of beans.

Lastly, are you going to store your food in plastic buckets or cardboard boxes? Plastic buckets are rugged, but they cost more, up to $10. A cardboard box is easy to find, but mice can chew through it.

Getting to Work

One Plastic Bucket with Lid,
Five Mylar Bags recently cut down,
25 pounds of beans
This picture shows the 25 pounds of beans with five small mylar bags (I cut down from two larger bags), and the plastic bucket with lid that will be used to store the bags of dried beans.

At the time of this picture, I did not have any fresh oxygen absorbers, but I sealed the bags anyway then waited for my order of oxygen absorbers to arrive.

Remember, get your food first then the storage material.

Five Pounds of Beans
and One Mylar Bag
The first thing I did was to take five one-pound bags of beans and one smaller mylar bag. I opened each plastic bag and poured the beans into the mylar bag.

Because I wanted to make sure I had 5-pounds in each mylar bag, I kept the plastic bags until the mylar bag was full. Once I checked the number of plastic bags, I filled the next mylar bag.

I'm crazy like that.

After the mylar bags are filled, I add 1 to 2 oxygen absorber then seal the mylar bags using a household iron, set on medium heat.

To seal the bags, I take a bath towel and place it on a hard surface, then place the mylar bag on the towel and iron a 1-inch seam at the very top of the bag.

Once all the bags are sealed, I placed them in a 5-gallon plastic bucket.

Using this method, allows you and your family to store 25-pounds of beans in a plastic bucket.

Update: 12 Nov 2011
I forgot to mention that I write the type of bean, that's in the mylar bag, on the 1-inch seam. This helps identify what's in the mylar bag without opening the bag.

Where to Get Your Supplies
I bought my beans at a local grocery store. The beans were on sell for about 75¢ per pound. My buckets, I buy from a secret source. (They have asked me not to reveal the company's name) Lowe's has food grade plastic buckets for about five dollars. If you can't stand logos on your buckets, US Plastic has appropriate buckets for sale. You can also find food grade buckets for free to cheap at local restaurants and bakeries. The mylar bags and oxygen absorbers I used were purchased from Walton Feed, and/or Nitro-Pak.

The first option is to store your long-term food storage without oxygen absorbers. You can do this, but the shelf life of your food will decrease. Instead of 30 years, the food's shelf life will be reduced to, say, 5 to 8 years.

The next option is to store your food without mylar bags, but the food's shelf life will be reduced even greater, say, 1 to 3 years.

Why so much shorter?

The mylar bags protect the food from moisture and oxygen. Moisture and oxygen will easily go through a plastic bucket. The oxygen absorbers remove the oxygen that oxidizes the food. The absorbers also kills the bugs and microorganisms that destroy your food, in storage.

The third option is to store your food in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers in a cardboard box, (The Latter-day Saints do it this way) but you will have to protect the boxes of food from mice and other varmints.

Lastly, you and your family can place your food in mylar bags and add oxygen absorbers, later, like I did. Just seal a very small seam (about an 1/8 of an inch) at the top of the mylar bag. Once you get your oxygen absorbers, cut the small seam off, add the absorbers, and reseal an 1-inch seam with an iron set on medium heat.

GSIEP - Technical Tuesday: 20 September 2011