When storing food storage products, it is important to store it correctly so it will store for the long-term, be free of insects, and free from food borne illness. Most of the things here really aren’t a secret, but they aren’t known by many people.
Oxygen Absorbers for Long Term Home Food Storage
Oxygen absorbers have benefits and disadvantages for long term food storage. When used with the right types of food, oxygen absorbers can extend the shelf life of those foods by many years. They can also reduce or eliminate the oxygen content to eliminate food borne insects. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve purchased a 50# bag of oatmeal only to find it infested with “visitors” because we didn’t immediately put them in the right container with an oxygen absorber. I like protein, but not that much.
As I did some research though and discovered this food storage secret. Using oxygen absorbers in the wrong conditions, can be useless or even harmful. I recently learned that if absorbers are used with moist products (more than 10% moisture), botulism could be the result. I don’t know about you, but I think that is an important piece of information that usually gets left out.
These absorbers can also be a waste of money. You see … they only work in non-porous containers such as glass bottles, cans and specially designed foil pouches. When used in plastic buckets or other containers that allow air to pass through, these absorbers will just suck in more oxygen. It just becomes useless and a waste of money at that point.
Using Plastic Buckets for Long Term Food Storage
Plastic buckets are great for home food storage. I use a lot of them myself. I use them for grains, but they can be used for other things too. Due to the location I am in, I just place the grains in my buckets and go from there. Depending on the location (high humidity, lots of insects, flooding, etc) and how the dry foods have been stored previously, you may need to use additional measures when using buckets for long term food storage. These can include using dry ice, herbs, or foil pouches (Super Pails).
Using dry ice is a good choice, but it takes awhile. Dry ice turns into Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and pushes out the oxygen in the bucket. The drawback is that you have to watch it so you can seal the bucket right after it has completely sublimated (become a gas). If you seal the bucket too early, the pressure will blow off the lid. If sealed too late, oxygen will return.
Please feel free to download our document on How to Use Dry Ice For Long-Term Food Storage.
Another food storage secret is that the food grade buckets are now being made even thinner by some companies. This means they may break easier.
How Much Home Food Storage is Enough: Do You Have A “Food Storage Fortress™”?
The Food Storage Fortress™ is a concept to help us understand the different preparedness levels for food storage. I will diagram it below, but first, let’s have a short discussion about food storage.
There are all sorts of opinions out there. Some say you only need about 72 hours of food storage because the government (FEMA, state, or other local agencies) will come to our rescue like fairy godmothers. And, they will have what we need.
Most agencies take about a week or more to get to a disaster area. Local agencies generally don’t have enough. Often, the agencies only have basic types of food and don’t have the food for special diets or food allergies. Plus, you get to stand in long lines while everyone else who didn’t plan gets their food too. Some groups are now recommending 96 hour kits.
Seventy-two hours worth of food is primarily for getting out of where you are to where you need to be. For instance, getting from work to home or getting from home to where you can hunker down for longer terms.
A 3 month supply of home food storage is for transition purposes. These are the types of foods that you eat everyday. For the purpose of emergency preparedness, it is the food you prefer to eat; the foods that taste good.
This food supply is also for a transitioning period. After about 1 month, you will want to start integrating your basic 1 year supply into your diet. Switching over without the transition will cause discomfort to most. Most people are not used to a diet of unprocessed grains and other food storage items. A sudden switchover can cause severe cramps and diarrhea.
1 Year Food Storage
There are a number of arguments in this area of food storage, but mainly it comes down to three ideas. You have to pick the right one for you. The three ideas come down to this.
Each of the ideas have good and bad points. Let’s take a look at them below.
Depending on what food storage calculator you use, the basic recommended year’s supply of food storage is about the following:
|Grains||300 lbs.||150 lbs.|
|Fats and Oils||25 lbs.||13 lbs.|
|Legumes||60 lbs.||30 lbs.|
|Sugars||60 lbs.||30 lbs.|
|Milk||75 lbs.||40 lbs.|
|Baking ingredients||8 lbs.||5 lbs.|
|Water (2 Weeks)||14 gal.||14 gal.|
Let’s put that in perspective. That is about a loaf of bread a day and a handful of beans. This will sustain life, but you will get really board with that diet. On the bright side, it costs a lot less to put together; usually less than $1,000 and can fit on slightly less than one storage rack.
The intermediate level here consists of cases of dehydrated or freeze dried foods similar to what you eat now. This offers a variety of flavors, but costs anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 on average and will take up 3-4 storage racks at a minimum due to the packaging size. The cost of such food storage is usually hard to digest for most people. Many of the food items only last for about 5-7 years. Unless you want to throw them away, you will have to use them as part of your normal diet.
However, others swear by doing their home food storage this way because it offers variety and they feel they will eat it. Just be sure to sample it (buy a small bag – smallest size) before you buy cases of if. If you don’t like the taste (some taste pretty bad), you will be stuck with it. Due to food regulations and past tampering incidents, most companies will not be able to accept returns of food products.
This is by far the most expensive option. The average family spends about $500-$1000 a month for food on a moderate to liberal food budget. If you were to buy a year supply of the foods you “actually” eat, it would cost $6,000-$12,000. Unfortunately, much of the types of foods you use on a daily basis will spoil before they can be use. There can be a lot of waste here.
Additionally, you will have to buy another house to store it all in. Okay, maybe not that big, but think of it this way. How much do you buy in a week? How much space does that take up? Now multiply that by 52. Not only that, but if you have to move, it will cost about as much or more to move it as it did to buy it.
On the other hand, a good supply of sauces and mixes can be a great thing. Bottling or canning fruits and vegetables can be good. This provides variety and can be a great time together as a family or neighborhood gathering. Knowing how to bottle, can, or use other methods (smoking, salting, drying, preserving) to prepare foods can be great if the power goes out. It is a great to keep the food from being wasted.
Food Storage Fortress™
A food storage fortress™ is the proper use of all the different types of home food storage. Each stage or “wall” of the fortress is designed to protect and/or prepare for the other. For instance, the 3 month supply protects your 1 year supply. It also gives you time to prepare in case you need to use your 1 year supply.
The 72 hour kit provides mobility in case you need to retreat to another location. There is even another step beyond what is mentioned above. I will get to that on another page. Each stage or step is designed to provide you with peace of mind. If you are prepared, you will have much less fear.
Do you have Everything Prepared?™