Sunday, May 10, 2009

Food Storage

A friend just reported his completed food storage project. He was taught by Mormons how to do it. They showed him three ways of storage: a) plastic containers, b) tin cans and c) by drying. He has now 1 year of food stored away for his family. There are clearly more options such as d) boiling food in glass jars (marmalades, fish, etc.) , e) sealing in oil (veggies), etc.

Storing in Plastic Containers

From the three choices my friend went for the plastic containers. He bought the food in bulk in 25 pound bags - raw in the bag. He bought five gallon FDA approved plastic containers. He bought dry ice. The dry ice is frozen CO2 at -109F. Dry ice dances around vigorously at room temperature. First one puts a chunk of it in the bottom of the bucket; next one dumps the food over it; then one waits till the hissing stop (the dry ice is boiling). This does not take long. The released CO2 is heavier than oxygen and hence pushes the air/oxygen up and out of the container. Not all of it - but enough to suffocate possible bugs. Finally one closes the container with the lid. The food has a 30-year storage life. Once the container is opened, the food must be eaten, or the process repeated. It might be a good idea to mix foods in a container this way fewer containers have to be open at any point in time. y friend has selected raw wheat, black beans, sugar, oats, and pasta. Instead of 5 containers each one with one ingredient, it might be better to have each container holding a portion of all food items.

Storing in Tin Cans

To store food in tin cans they put a chemical pouch in the can that absorbs oxygen; then they have a can sealer. It ends up like regular canned food.

Storing by Drying Food

One can store fruit and veggies if dried. One can possibly use a solar oven to dry fruit. The Mormon church says that dried apple slices have a 30 year storage life. Dried carrots have a 20 year storage life.

How to Cook?

Do you have energy and water to cook it? Do you have a hand-powered mill to grind cereals? Do you have an emergency cooker such as a wood burner or a camping gas burner? Or a solar oven?

What to Store?

GreatDreams prepared this list for 1 person for 1 year: 300 lbs Wheat, 100 lbs Rice, 50 lbs Beans, 50 lbs Peas, 50 lbs Lentils, 50 lbs Oatmeal, 10 lbs Alfalfa Seeds, 80 lbs Dried Powdered Milk, 50 lbs Peanut Butter, 60 lbs Honey or Sugar, 5 lbs Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Herbal Seasonings, Dried Fruit, Canned food, Canned Sardines/tuna/ salmon. On my personal list I have added: cous cous, olive oil, sunflower seed oil, seeds to eat (linseed, chia, etc.), seeds to plant, chocolate, vitamin pills, pasta, some bottles of whiskey, sauerkraut, etc.

Other helpful links with good ideas are: food storage on e-How,, Planning Guide to Dry Food Storage, Low Energy Food Preservation, and Energy Conscious Cooking.

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