Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday's Thoughts and Other Stuff (Food Storage)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
Sgt. Sinthia Rosario

Last week, I wrote about starting a Medium-Term food storage plan for your family. Today, I'm talking long-term.

Different Meanings
A long-term food storage plan has a different meaning to different people. Some folks think long-term is having one year of food storage, in your home. While other people might think a long-term food storage plan is having food that will last longer than one year. Lastly, there are some folks that think a long-term food storage plan is about a three to five year supply of food for their family and a few friends.

One Year
Currently, one year's worth of food is considered long-term food storage. As we have seen during other events, one year may not be enough, so your family may need to store two, three, or even five years worth of food.

If you're careful, a one year supply of food can be easily stored using 'normal' grocery store bottled, boxed, bagged, canned, and frozen food. You might even be able to store two years of this type of food. You just need storage space, a lot of storage space.

Once you get past the two year mark, your family is going to have to store bulk whole foods, such as whole wheat, dried beans, oats, pasta, white sugar, and salt. (Dang, I forgot white rice, too)

Luckily, these whole foods also cover some folks concept of long-term food storage because they last eight to thirty years. That's right, dried beans will last at least eight years while white sugar, white rice, whole wheat, oats, some pastas, and salt will last up to thirty years!

To be in fact, 3.000 year old wheat was recently sprouted. (Ooops, that's false!)

Needless to say, you and your partner are going to have to change your family's food preferences from McDonald's to whole foods "If" you're planning to use whole foods in your food storage ; - )

Where to Purchase
There are various places to purchase your family's long-term food storage. You can buy it at the local grocery store, speciality stores, or on the internet. The most inexpensive place that I have found is from the Later-day Saints. They have whole wheat (two kinds), dried beans (only one), oats, pasta, and other food storage items.

How Much
There are one or two food storage calculators from folks like Julie and Jodi at Food Storage Made Easy and Provident Living or The Food Guys. These food storage calculators will give you a general idea of your family's needs for long-term food.

Needless to say, they are based on the Latter-day Saints recommendations, except for the Provident Living calculator. It is a simpler model, just seven items.

What to Purchase
Before I begin, you have to answer this question, 'How bad is it?'

Let me explain.

Is the collapse happening or are you able to slowly and rationally gather your family's long-term food storage. If it's happening, right now, I suggest, per person:

* 400 pounds of White Rice
* 200 pounds of Dried Beans
* 365 multi-vitamins

Because these three items will keep one person alive for one very boring year, food wise.

So, ... A family of four would immediately require 1600 pounds of white rice, 800 pounds of dried beans, and 1460 multi-vitamins. (I suggest purchasing adult vitamins for the adults and children's vitamins for the children. But, ... You can improvise a kid vitamin by cutting an adult's vitamin in half)

I read that one pound of rice and a half a pound of dried beans will supply enough protein (plant, not animal) and enough calories to keep a person alive.

But, ...

I have not done the math or the experimentation to prove this statement. You have been warned.

A Little More Time
If you have a little more time, your family can purchase, what is called, The Mormon Basic Four. Needless to say, this long-term food storage plan is based on wheat. It is, per person:

* 365 pounds of wheat
* 100 powdered milk
* 100 pounds sugar or honey
*   12 pound salt, iodized preferred

As you see, it has its problems. It's all wheat, so you have to know how to cook wheat, a whole lot of different ways. There is a whole lot of sugar, and ... It's all wheat ; - )

12 Months or 52 Weeks
Now, the Latter-day Saints have been doing this a long time, so they have other recommendations that build on the 'Basic Four.' It is a 52 week or 12 month buying plan.

In this 52 week or 12 month purchase plan, a family buys certain supplies to help them acquire enough food to last one year. Of course, "If" you use this plan, you need 52 weeks to get everything purchased.

Of course, it's going to get complicated because the Latter-day Saints (Mormons) recommend different amounts for each family member.

Don't Have That Much Time
Now, if you have time, but not 52 weeks, your family can use a basic plan that Cresson Kearny (Nuclear War Survival Skills) developed many decades ago called The Kearny Basic Survival Foods plan. This plan uses seven items, per person:

* 360 lbs of whole wheat
* 120 lbs of dried beans
*   48 lbs of dried milk
*   24 lbs vegetable oil (I think that is 3 gallons, but I'm not sure)
*   48 lbs of white sugar
*     8 lbs of salt, iodized preferred
* 365 multi-vitamins

The Basics
Now, all of these plans, I have covered, are basics, except of course the 52 week or 12 month plan. They are meant to be supplemented by other food that your family may store, barter for, grow or harvest (hunt/trap) during the event. Plus, other options have become available in the last thirty years.

Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated Food
Like Xerox for copiers, Mountain House has become the common name for freeze-dried food, even though, there are currently many, many manufactures of freeze-dried food. Some of these other manufactures, I believe, are contracting with Oregon Freeze Dried (Mountain House) to prepare their products ; - ) (Don't ask me which ones because I don't know)

Now, Mountain House products come in two different containers, a plastic foil package and #10 cans. The plastic packages have a shelf life of about seven years (cool, dry place) while the #10 cans have a shelf life of about twenty-five years. Yes, twenty-five years! Of course, the plastic foil packages only have two servings while the #10 cans have from about ten to twenty servings, depending on the product.

Next, these products come two ways, already combined and as ingredients.

My brothers and I have bought freeze-dried foods from Mountain house for our families. Scout, my brother, buys his food in the plastic foil packages because his family is bugging out. They are coming to my house "If" it's bad enough. Plus, they use them for camping.

The plastic foil packages are opened, hot water is poured in the bag, allowed to sit for about 10 minutes, and eaten. The food can also be placed in a pan, water added, then heated. The food is divided up when finished cooking.

Spartan, another brother, buys all his Mountain House as prepared food in #10 cans. He doesn't want the hassle of having to cook, real cooking that is.

My family has bought our freeze-dried food as ingredients, corn, peas, green beans, and carrots. These ingredients will be used to make food like dirty rice, stews/soups, and casseroles. We will also eat it as regular veggies with our meals. (more about that latter)

Now there are some companies that aren't selling freeze-dried food. They are selling dehydrated food. These dehydrated foods are less expensive then freeze-dried because it is a different process. You can look it up on the internet or just go to the links.

Draw Backs
There are draw backs to both of them. Dehydrated food has a shelf life of about eight years, even in #10 cans. Freeze-dried foods are expensive. Plus, they both take precious water to rehydrate before you can use them.

It's Latter
You will notice when I was talking about freeze-dried food, I said 'We will ...' Because freeze-dried is soooo expensive, we 'normally' don't use it. We use dehydrated food for our practice meals and as a less expensive alternative in our food storage.

Practice, Practice, and More Practice
Needless to say, at least, you and your partner need to practice cooking with all these different foods, whole food, freeze-dried, and dehydrated that you and your family store for an event. These food also need to be eaten as part of your family's normal food, so during an event, you don't go hungry.

We do this a couple of ways. First, is the 'camping.'

We go camping about twice a year. During our camping trips, we practice our skills putting up the tent, building a fire, cooking with cast iron, pooping in the woods, and many others. Kind'a like the scouts ; - )

Second, ... We have 'practice' sessions. Yes, we pretend the heat has gone out, so the family can practice closing off the house and using the wood stove, making a meal using the wood stove, and other skills.

Third, we have made changes in our diet to include foods like beans and rice, eating meatless stews (made with dehydrated veggies), and planting a garden.

Lastly, ... 

Specialty Equipment
Of course, you're going to need some specialty equipment such as ...

* Grain Grinder, a quality model

* Pressure Cooker with spare seals

And, ...

* Several Cookbooks

The Latter-day Saints: Self Reliance - Home Storage

Food Storage Made Easy - Food Storage Calculator

Provident Living - Food Storage Calculator

The Food Guys - Food Storage Claculator

Millennium Ark - The Mormon Basic Four

Millennium Ark - 52 week or 12 month Purchase Plan

Millennium Ark -Mormon's Food Guides

Millennium Ark -The Kearny Basic Survival Foods

Food Storage Made Easy - Freeze-Dried Foods versus Dehydrated Foods - Food Storage


Anonymous said...

A great article! Thanks for sharing. I started Prepping prior to Y2K (1999)and agree with everything that you say, except for length of storage time. In my experience, you can keep ordinary grocery store canned food and dried beans, rice, etc. much longer than "one year". For instance, this year (2015)we regularly eat canned baked beans, brown rice stored in sealed glass jars, canned green vegetables and canned meat (spam, corned beef, roast beef w/gravy, fish, turkey,chicken) dated "2007" and later, with never any stomach upset. It is all just as tasty as fresh canned food. I store this in a below-ground basement, on shelves behind heavy curtains.

For water, in 1999 I purchased from my fuel oil dealer, a 300 gallon plastic tank intended for storing industrial acid - new, of course. My plumber installed a faucet. I sterilized it by dumping in a gallon of clorax, filling up the tank with fresh well water, and letting it stand for a month. Then I drained it, filled it again with fresh well water, and added water stabilizer. I change it every two years; it's fine.

For heat (we live in the Pennsylvania mountains) as backup to my oil-fired furnace (requires electricity, of course)I installed an Alaska gravity-fed oil stove, which taps into the same 1,000 gallon fuel oil tank that feeds my furnace.

Someone You Know said...

Dear Anonymous,

You are correct. Commercially canned food will last longer than one year, but rotating the canned food, by eating it, will allow a family to have the freshest canned food for an event. Plus, it gives a family the chance to change their tastes.

I have some questions:

Where do you store your family's 300 gallon water tank? Do you get your well water tested?

Does your family have a backup to your backup heat source? Where do you buy oil for your heating fuel tank? Is there a delivery fee? How long does a 1,000 gallon tank last, normal usage? minimal usage?

Lastly, do you use a canning manual or handed down 'family' recipes? If you use a canning manual, which one?

Sincerely, SYK

Thanks for the compliment.