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Prepared for Alaska!? Are you prepared? How have you hedged your bets for survival in Alaska? All threads related to being ready for the worst Alaska has to dish out belong in this forum.

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Old 06-18-2010, 07:46 AM   #1
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Default Food storage hints

I wanted to start a thread with some little bits of info you might want to consider when you start shopping. I'm NOT an expert in this subject but I have some experience that might be useful.

The bulk of my storage consists of bulk staples and comes from local stores like Costco and Three bears. I don't have MRE's or freeze dried stuff. I went moose hunting with Mountain House freeze dried meals and had NO energy for humping hills or carrying meat. For me MT house is only good for sitting around a campfire on a stress free camping trip. I like to be as organic as possible with my storage because when you need to implement your emergency plan your body will be under stress. Stress is an obstacle in maintaining health and strength. I think most of us here are fathers or adult sons, your family will be depending on YOU for heavy duty tasks, this will stress your body and mind so you need to be in good shape. It will be your job to provide for your family no matter what the conditions are or how well you prepared (or did not prepare).

This thread will focus on food. Feel free to share your knowledge with us, I can use the help also.
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: Food storage hints

http://www.vitasprings.com/spice-wor...ic-garlic.html

Garlic has powerful healing properties, it is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, an antioxidant, a natural mosquito repellent, helps to manage high cholesterol, and in the past was used to treat a wide variety of illnesses that range from the common cold to the plague.

I like the organic canned version in the extra small jars for food storage. Typical raw store bought garlic cloves are sprayed with chemicals that prevent the cloves from sprouting, the problem is this chemical causes cancer. This might be a surprise you many of you but the FDA... is NOT your friend. All it takes to get a chemical passed the FDA is MONEY. (Another big government failure)

Fred Meyer has little bottles of organic garlic like the big one pictured in the link above. I'm not sure if I completely like the preservative they use but it is the best your going to find at your local grocery store. I love this stuff and pile it on my chow whenever I get the chance. I have not had any complaints of the smell yet, I'm sure my family would tell me.

These little bottles of garlic will add a whole new level of preparation to a family's emergency food storage that most people might not think of. If you get a ton of small bottles instead of a few large ones refrigeration becomes less of an issue.

Since there will be one knuckle head who make reference to vampires... yes it will also keep away the UNDEAD... but if you find this to be a big joke it will likely be YOU assuming that role should you ever "need and not have".

Stay healthy, stay strong, someone you love will be depending on it.
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: Food storage hints

x2 on the garlic. i eat massive amounts of the stuff every spring to ward off mosquitos. sounds crazy, but i live on the shady side of a mountain with a creek running through my back yard. i have had exactly 3 mosquito bites this year. costco also sells big jars of it that last a looong time on the shelf.

On a second note:

How does everybody else store their food? I have a large pantry where i keep basic essentials and whatnot. I have a bigger larder where i keep my buckets large packages, and bulk water etc. I am considering building a cache external of the house, but am scratching my head on what exactly i want. i am hoping i can get some ideas from some other people.
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Food storage hints

I need tips on finding cheap storage containers. I can get all kinds of 5 gallon buckets from work, but they either contained chlorine or hydrocarbon of some sort. I need some way to store large volumes of water in containers that I can easily lift in and out of my crawl space through a hole just big enough for me to fit through.

Any thoughts on how to clean these free buckets good enough for food/water storage, or how to get some other vessel on a very tight budget?
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: Food storage hints

You're never going to get them clean enough for long term food/water storage. Might want to check restaurants/bakeries and see if they will sell/give you their empty ones. People throw them out all the time, so you should be able to find them. Otherwise you can get food grade buckets from Home Depot or Lowes and order lids online. Homebrew supply stores have them too, but I don't know where they are on pricing, I'd guess they aren't the cheapest option though.

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Old 06-18-2010, 10:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: Food storage hints

Buckets must be food grade. I've found some of the buckets sold at both freddy's and walmart work. most buckets will have a manufacturer stamp and a phone number to call cast into the bucket. when in doubt don't use it.

the gamma seal lids are primarily a waste of money unless you plan on getting into the bucket often after unsealing. the standard lids are good enough and you can typically get a good seal unless either the bucket or the lid is damaged. after i open a sealed bucket i just dole out the contents into smaller glass jars and date. once opened your food is a lot more easily exposed. i would rather lose one small jar instead of a whole bucket.

also dont store food directly inside of a bucket. buy the sealable mylar bags made for the bucket. i find mine on amazon, since i have been unable to find them at all locally. dont bother with the mylar with the zip seals for long term storage in buckets, they are more expensive and dont seal properly. the regular ones are super easy to seal with practice, i just use an old iron and two small pieces of wood. Dont forget your oxygen desicants to maximize shelf life. For grains freeze after sealing the bucket for overnight, it will kill any creepy crawly nasties and their eggs. keep buckets in a cool, dry space, preferable off the ground like on a pallet, also keep out ouf direct sunlight. UV breaks down the plastic and leeches nutrients from the food.

there is lots of additional info online on bucket storage. i think i covered the basics here.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:06 AM   #7
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Default Re: Food storage hints

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Originally Posted by bgreen View Post
I need tips on finding cheap storage containers. I can get all kinds of 5 gallon buckets from work, but they either contained chlorine or hydrocarbon of some sort. I need some way to store large volumes of water in containers that I can easily lift in and out of my crawl space through a hole just big enough for me to fit through.

Any thoughts on how to clean these free buckets good enough for food/water storage, or how to get some other vessel on a very tight budget?
I get the 7 gallon blue water cubes at Walmart, they have them at the Kenai walmart as well. They are normally $12.98, but sometimes they go on sale for $8.00. They were on sale for $8 in Kenai on Memorial Day weekend so maybe they still are. I have 6 of these giving me 42 gallons plus between 6-10 cases of Kirkland (Costco) bottled water on hand (about 4.5 gal ea). This should get the wife, kid and I through 30 days.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Food storage hints

I don't think the buckets must be food grade if you are putting the dry food in mylar bags inside the bucket.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: Food storage hints

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I don't think the buckets must be food grade if you are putting the dry food in mylar bags inside the bucket.
there are mixed ideas regarding this. there are several variables, such as container material and what was in the bucket to begin with. some bucket materials are toxic and will leech through mylar. leave it to your best judgement. also, some bucket plastics are air permeable. even if its sealed its not air tight, food grade also refers to the construction of the container, requiring a certain thickness of material.
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: Food storage hints

You could also just keep your soda bottles if you drink soda... refill with water and some chlorine (or miox solution) to make sure it kills what's left in the water, and just keep them somewhere they won't freeze.

The advantage of doing that is if you pull the labels you can also use them for solar purification at a later date.
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Food storage hints

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You could also just keep your soda bottles if you drink soda... refill with water and some chlorine (or miox solution) to make sure it kills what's left in the water, and just keep them somewhere they won't freeze.

The advantage of doing that is if you pull the labels you can also use them for solar purification at a later date.
I was doing that for a while, before i got enough 6 gallon totes. you can also freeze them or even smaller water bottles to help keep your freezer cold if the power goes out. or they even make great ice packs or to take in the cooler wheeling. hrm spend $10 on ice or make my own in the freezer AND have cold water when i run out of beer at the end of the day.

also note that when you store a lot water in an area it will help keep the temperature at a constant. i noticed after about a week that my basement was warmer and my heater wasn't kicking on nearly as often. try and keep your water off the floor, sit it on a pallet or build a rack if you must.

as far as the chlorine goes you only need to do it once when you first fill it up. that should kill all the bacteria as long as it is sealed properly your water should never go "bad". it might stagnate due to lack of oxygenation. best solution is the "pour solution". pour the contents back and forth between containers re-oxygenate. of if in question, just give it a good boiling.

only reason i mention this is i have a friend who was dumping his 100+ gallons out every 6 months or so and refilling. He wasn't treating his water or containers either, so it was probably growing stuff and probably DID need to be dumped, but it was such a waste of time and effort.
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:30 PM   #12
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Default Re: Food storage hints

That's exactly what I meant.. kill the stuff when you fill it and it'll keep... I intend on starting to stack up some in my basement, it boils down to basically getting to it instead of thinking about it.

I do drink enough soda to make a years worth of water a reality in about a month :P
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:40 PM   #13
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Default Re: Food storage hints

Brook, bring me some of the chlorine buckets...those would kill two birds with one stone. After rinsing it out but not washing, there would likely be enough residual CL2 to keep water bug free. As mentioned above...any water should likely be boiled following an extended storage period. (IMO)
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:44 PM   #14
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Default Re: Food storage hints

Another thing to consider, in the Valley, since many area wells are very shallow, is devising a hand pump to clamp onto the casing. 5 sticks of PVC or a stiff garden hose are cheap survival equipment if you have a hand pump
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: Food storage hints

Another idea for water... is don't store it at all. If you are in an area where you can't get to water, this may not be a good idea, but for here in Alaska, that should never be a problem.

I've read that using on the fly purification methods (Tablets, filters, etc.) tend to take up MUCH less space, last much longer than stored water, and works just as well.

As far as buckets go... you should ALWAYS use some kind of mylar (Or equivalent) liner in the bucket. There are A LOT of reasons for using food grade buckets (Many of them mentioned in this thread), but from what I've read, you can use a general purpose NEW bucket and sealing lid, and you should be OK (Again, keeping in mind your bucket is lined). Those removable threaded lids (As mentioned above) are great if money is of no concern to you, as they are buku expensive.

Oxygen negating packets are a must as well. Keeping your food in as small of packaging as you can is important (As mentioned above). You'd rather have a small amount of contained food go bad, rather than an entire bucket, etc.

Keeping your buckets in a cool dry place is important to the longevity of your stockpile as well. I've read that keeping your food as close to freezing temps, without actually freezing it, and dry, can create an environment for most storable foods to stay nutritious indefinably.
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:12 PM   #16
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Default Re: Food storage hints

On a somewhat related note.... storing meats has been a focus of mine since I've started accumulating my SHTF supply...

Anyone have any ideas on methods to store meats for long term? I've got a good amount of SPAM and Tunafish... but is anyone storing any other kinds of meats? I've read that storing canned foods/meats can be a no no (Besides spam of course..lol)...
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:21 PM   #17
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Default Re: Food storage hints

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Another idea for water... is don't store it at all. If you are in an area where you can't get to water, this may not be a good idea, but for here in Alaska, that should never be a problem.

I've read that using on the fly purification methods (Tablets, filters, etc.) tend to take up MUCH less space, last much longer than stored water, and works just as well.

As far as buckets go... you should ALWAYS use some kind of mylar (Or equivalent) liner in the bucket. There are A LOT of reasons for using food grade buckets (Many of them mentioned in this thread), but from what I've read, you can use a general purpose NEW bucket and sealing lid, and you should be OK (Again, keeping in mind your bucket is lined). Those removable threaded lids (As mentioned above) are great if money is of no concern to you, as they are buku expensive.

Oxygen negating packets are a must as well. Keeping your food in as small of packaging as you can is important (As mentioned above). You'd rather have a small amount of contained food go bad, rather than an entire bucket, etc.

Keeping your buckets in a cool dry place is important to the longevity of your stockpile as well. I've read that keeping your food as close to freezing temps, without actually freezing it, and dry, can create an environment for most storable foods to stay nutritious indefinably.

as far as needing to store water. I have a good sized stream in the back yard, but it is frozen for over half the year. I am on a well and if the power goes out, which does at the most infrequent times, usually in the winter. i prefer to be on the safe side, you never know. i am sure some people down in New Orleans thought they were safe until all of their water got contaminated from Katrina.
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:32 PM   #18
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Default Re: Food storage hints

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as far as needing to store water. I have a good sized stream in the back yard, but it is frozen for over half the year. I am on a well and if the power goes out, which does at the most infrequent times, usually in the winter. i prefer to be on the safe side, you never know. i am sure some people down in New Orleans thought they were safe until all of their water got contaminated from Katrina.
I agree, that if you have the space to store water, its a good idea. I was just mentioning another way to make potable water available, without having to store it. As far as New Orleans is concerned, boiling that water, and hitting it with a bit of iodine, would still be a means to secure potable water. It may not taste the best, but it will keep you alive.

As far as making water available in the winter time, anyone with the means to start a fire can overcome the frozen water issue.

Any input on the Meat storage post?


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On a somewhat related note.... storing meats has been a focus of mine since I've started accumulating my SHTF supply...

Anyone have any ideas on methods to store meats for long term? I've got a good amount of SPAM and Tunafish... but is anyone storing any other kinds of meats? I've read that storing canned foods/meats can be a no no (Besides spam of course..lol)...
Another question I have... is powdered milk. I've read conflicting stories on the viability of storing it long term... anyone have any thoughts on that? Get a cow?...lol

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Old 06-18-2010, 02:39 PM   #19
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Default Re: Food storage hints

most of the canned meat like tuna, chicken and salmon keep for years. not sure on long term storage of meat without refrigeration. jerking or canning are the only things that come to mind, i shall have to consult some books for that.
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:06 PM   #20
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most of the canned meat like tuna, chicken and salmon keep for years. not sure on long term storage of meat without refrigeration. jerking or canning are the only things that come to mind, i shall have to consult some books for that.
I've read many websites and publications on this topic... and there doesn't seem to be anything definitive regarding it. The only for sure thing, is the more moist the food item is, the shorter it's shelf life span.

I guess I was more curious if anyone actually had any first hand accounts on the subject. I've read many stories about spam, tuna fish, and velveeta staying good for many years at room temperature when stored properly, so I trust that to be the case... but dried milk, and other Chicken or Beef products are harder to get any definitive information about...
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:32 PM   #21
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Default Re: Food storage hints

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I get the 7 gallon blue water cubes at Walmart, they have them at the Kenai walmart as well. They are normally $12.98, but sometimes they go on sale for $8.00. They were on sale for $8 in Kenai on Memorial Day weekend so maybe they still are. I have 6 of these giving me 42 gallons plus between 6-10 cases of Kirkland (Costco) bottled water on hand (about 4.5 gal ea). This should get the wife, kid and I through 30 days.

Is 42 gallons enough to flush your toilets for 30 days? Not that you couldnt get water from a creek or something for that, but if the sit. was really bad you might not want to leave the house much. Or if the roads were all destroyed from a bad earth quake or something.
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:36 PM   #22
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I've read many websites and publications on this topic... and there doesn't seem to be anything definitive regarding it. The only for sure thing, is the more moist the food item is, the shorter it's shelf life span.

I guess I was more curious if anyone actually had any first hand accounts on the subject. I've read many stories about spam, tuna fish, and velveeta staying good for many years at room temperature when stored properly, so I trust that to be the case... but dried milk, and other Chicken or Beef products are harder to get any definitive information about...

Growing up, my parents would can clams, salmon, etc, put in the pantry or under the stairs, and leave it for many years. I can recall eating canned salmon 4 years old, that was never stored below room temp. My mom has done a TON of canning over the last 30-40 years, maybe I can get her on here to give us a few hints and tips on that specifically.
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:43 PM   #23
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Another question I have... is powdered milk. I've read conflicting stories on the viability of storing it long term... anyone have any thoughts on that? Get a cow?...lol

Why worry about milk? I've never had a glass of milk in my life, much less food that used milk as an ingredient. For your daily requirements of calcium, just stock up on Calcium Citrate in tablet form. Thats all I have ever used, and I have good bone density according to my doctors. Most recipes can substitute water for milk. It might not be quite as good if its a recipe your used to making, but if its something new, I doubt you'd know the difference, unless its something like clam chowder which I doubt you'd be making during SHTF anyway.
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:19 PM   #24
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Growing up, my parents would can clams, salmon, etc, put in the pantry or under the stairs, and leave it for many years. I can recall eating canned salmon 4 years old, that was never stored below room temp. My mom has done a TON of canning over the last 30-40 years, maybe I can get her on here to give us a few hints and tips on that specifically.
From what I've read... Fish/seafood seems to have a better chance at long shelf/storage life than Chicken or Beef. Is this actually the case? If so, why? If your moms has any additional or useful information regarding this, I would be all ears. Sounds like she may have some good experience with it.

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Why worry about milk? I've never had a glass of milk in my life, much less food that used milk as an ingredient. For your daily requirements of calcium, just stock up on Calcium Citrate in tablet form. Thats all I have ever used, and I have good bone density according to my doctors. Most recipes can substitute water for milk. It might not be quite as good if its a recipe your used to making, but if its something new, I doubt you'd know the difference, unless its something like clam chowder which I doubt you'd be making during SHTF anyway.
Answer in short...For infants (Which I have one of, and I'm sure many others do as well). I myself, also do not drink much milk, if at all... depending on the heat of the wings anyway...lol

Again, from what I've read in MANY magazines and other publications, it is near impossible to duplicate the nutritional value of milk. Even formulas cannot produce the benefits of milk... even the really expensive kind (I know this because we had to feed our daughter a particularly expensive "Dairy Free" formula when she was an infant. However, it was made VERY CLEAR to us by our pediatrician that we had to keep trying to introduce milk, as the formula was not a sufficient long term substitute for actual cows/goat milk. This was right from the mouth of our Pediatrician, who has been practicing for over 40 years. Allergies/resistance to dairy products in infants is proven to have hindering effects throughout the life of the child... and from what I understand, this is realted directly to the absence of Milk in the child diet. There are obviously exceptions to this, but my view is why take the chance, if it is possible to store milk in any form for long periods of time. Now.. I realize that this maybe debatable by people who know much more about it than you or I do, but one thing is for CERTAIN. Milk provides nutrition that can be had cheaply, and without complicated dosing or instructions. Also, in the case of SHTF, I doubt there will be much in the way of baby formula floating around. In the "Old old days", if the mother could not produce enough milk to support the baby, the baby would typically die.

I would be open to hearing about alternatives, but it would have to come from someone who KNOWS EXACTLY what they are talking about, and again, has experience in the pediatric field... lots of it.

Last edited by TonyM; 06-18-2010 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:03 PM   #25
nate
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Default Re: Food storage hints

The nutrition "value" of milk makes many of us pee out the backside when consumed.

I bought a box of powdered milk in 2002 and I just used it all up a couple weeks ago... that is how often I use milk.

Think about it, how many other mammals consumer milk after early childhood? None.
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