Survival Buzz: How to Deal with Buckets of Food for Daily Use

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jul 3, 2019

Purchasing food in large quantities is certainly economical but not always convenient.  Not only are there issues with finding adequate and temperature controlled storage space, but If you are like me, you struggle with setting aside an appropriate amount for daily use.

In keeping my commitment to respond to reader questions, today I share thoughts on the following question that was asked back in April.  Although the question is specific to tubs coconut oil, the answer applies to other food products as well.

I have questions about how you use and store your coconut oil since you buy the larger tubs from Tropical Traditions. So here goes.

How much do you keep out for daily use and what do you put it in?

Do you leave the remaining oil in the tub or do you repackage it? If so how, please.

How can you tell if the stored coconut oil has gone bad after it’s been opened (or does it)? I am single so it will take me some time to go through it, but I want to take advantage of the economy of the larger packaging.

In my usual style, I am going to tell you what I do and then let you pipe in with comments relative to your own strategy.

How to Deal with Buckets of Food for Daily Use | Backdoor Survival

To save money, I purchase coconut oil in five gallon tubs.  I wait for a sale and also for one of the Tropical Traditions free shipping coupons.  For day to day use, I scoop the coconut oil into pint sized mason jars.  An ice cream scoop works great for this purpose.

In doing this, I am mindful of a few things. Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees so if it is too hot indoors, I wait for a cool day.  On the other hand, if it is too cool, the coconut oil is hard as a brick and difficult to deal with.  If I have exhausted my supply of jarred coconut oil and it is a cool day, I will set the tub next to the fireplace for about 30 minutes which is long enough to soften it up.  Using this method, I will package six to ten jars at a time.

I store what I call my “working tub” in the rear of my pantry closet and only drag it out when I need to refill my jars.

I use this same method with pet food,  Because I have a small dog, it takes a good year to go through the large sack of food we purchase and store in a 5 gallon bucket.  Using a similar method, I will jar up some food, then seal the rest in a bucket with a gamma seal lid plus a fresh oxygen absorber.  I do realize the dog food is on the oily side but using this method, I have never had the food spoil.

Has the Food Gone Bad?

That leads us to the next question: how do I know if the coconut oil (or other food) has gone bad?

Food that has gone bad is going to smell.  Trust me, you will know when your food is rancid.  My home is cool and the area I have set aside for food storage never gets warmer than 70 degrees.  Fingers crossed, I have not had to deal with food going bad.

In my research, I have learned the biggest problem with coconut oil is the introduction of contaminants.  I suppose to lessen the chance of that happening, you could purchase your coconut oil in smaller quantities and indeed, due to storage limitations, while in Arizona I purchased 2 gallon tubs instead of the 5 gallon buckets.  These smaller tubs fit nicely under a bed and overall, may be more convenient to your situation. That being said, virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil should last indefinitely.

What I have described not only applies to coconut oil and pet food, but to oats, rice, flour, beans, and other food items stored in large buckets.  Keeping my packaging products scrupulously clean is always a priority.  Besides that, I always do a sniff test when opening stored food for consumption..

Let me address one more thing:  I also do a visual test.  Food that looks bad can still be healthy and nutritionally viable.  Or so they say.  I have never been quite sure who “they” are so what I do is ask Shelly if he also thinks the food looks bad.  All I have to do is ask the question, or visa versa, and the food gets dumped automatically.  This is a little game we have played for 40 years but seriously, why take a chance?

Since I am on a roll here, let me remind you that if you store food in buckets and are not using gamma seal lids, invest in one of these cheap lid openers,  I purchased mine from Tropical Traditions but they are ubiquitous.

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The Challenges of Moving When Your Are a Prepper

Progress toward selling our Washington State home is moving along nicely.  While we wait for the perfect buyer, we are refining our wish list for the mountain retreat.  We are calling our future home “Mountain House” which is a private joke since I am such a big fan of Mountain House freeze dried foods.

Purging and packing are consuming a lot of time as I sort through what goes and what stays.  One of the decisions that has been most difficult is dealing with the items I have collected (hoarded?) for barter purposes.  As of this moment in time, I am keeping them.

Likewise my two 55-gallon water barrels.  They have come down in price since I purchased them years ago,  Are the really worth moving?

The Final Word

With everything going on in our country (Hillary gets away with WHAT?) and the Dallas shootings, you would think I would be glued to the news feed.  Not so.  The burden of truth and knowledge I like to talk about is often too much to deal with so I resort to some of my favorite hobbies:  dancing, making salves, and coloring.

If you are getting the big time blues over domestic and world events, take some time out for a hobby.  I am working on an article that addresses just that but in the meantime, you might enjoy this article from my friend Daisy Luther:  Fun is not the F-Word for Preppers.

So what about you?  How do you deal with buckets of food when it comes to daily use?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

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Bargain Bin:  For you convenience, here are the items mentioned in this article plus a few additional favorites.

Coconut Oil:  Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions is my preferred coconut oil.  I love it so much I purchased a 5 gallon tub.  Really, I did!  I find it very silky to work with and love the taste when used in cooking.  Note that no refrigeration is required and although it solid at room temperature, it melts at 76 degrees.  The Nutiva brand from Costco works well too.

Plastic Pail/Paint Can Opener:  I told you these were dirt cheap.  This one is only a couple of bucks and shipping is free.  I purchased my own metal bucket opener from Tropical Traditions.

Spark Naturals Base Salve: This is a foundation salve and is comparable to my Simple Salve.  Using base salve, you can add your own oils to mix and match and concoct your own unique salves.  Base salve is a bargain especially when you consider you can re-purpose the jar (worth a few dollars itself) when making your own Simple Salve down the road!  Get a 10% discount using code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout.

Ultimate 55 Gallon Water Barrel Combo:  Everyone should have at least one.  Remember, if storing in your garage or on pavers, place the filled barrel on a wooden platform and not directly on the concrete.

Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation:  Those of you that follow Backdoor Survival on Facebook know that I have become a coloring maniac.  This book is my latest splurge and what a fantastic adult coloring book it is!  This is another one of my favorites:  Balance (Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1) Yes, I am totally addicted.  Why color?  Read Nine Reasons Why Adult Coloring is Important to Preppers.

Mountain House Freeze Dried Foods:  My favorite Mountain House product this week is Chili Mac. You will love this stuff plus it is frequently on sale.

What are the best oils for your survival kit? Here are my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival




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16 Responses to “Survival Buzz: How to Deal with Buckets of Food for Daily Use”

  1. Good morning,

    I have been trying to access the link to your miracle healing salve and am unable to do so. I am very interested in making this comma because I have heard some really good things about it. Is this no longer available?

    • There was a problem earlier this week but it has been fixed. Did you try today? I ask because it is working for me on all of my devices (laptop, iPad, iPhone).

      If you are still having problems, do try clearing your cache or restarting your device. And if that does not work, let me know and I will investigate further. What type of device are you using?

    • My phone and computer, but I will try clearing things out. Thank you.

    • Working! Yeah!

  2. Because I care about both you and your other readers, I want to share this with you. // There are many other references to this as well if you wish to look it up. Botulism spores thrive in anaerobic (oxygen deprived) conditions. Botulism cannot be smelled or seen. It will NOT cause cans to bulge, or cause rancidity. What it can do, is to kill you or make you desperately ill. Please, do not play Russian Roulette with oily foods or foods above 10% moisture content, by placing them in oxygen deprived conditions. That includes pet food. Most kibbles are in the range of 14% moisture content. Just because you have been lucky so far, does not mean that you will always be. Please prep safely and teach others to as well!

  3. How to manage the buckets of food we / I have in storage is a very good topic. I started vacuum sealing and storing beans and rice about 3 years ago. I bought a couple of 20lb sacks of rice, and the same with beans. I vacuum sealed about 4 cups of each in individual pouches. I also acquired dozens of MRE’s from a local dealer in such items, plus I’ve bought a few 5 gal. buckets of long-term storage food sold by Sam’s.
    Adding oils, such as coconut oil, to my long-term storage foods is something I need to do. I have two one-gallon cans of Crisco grease, but I’ve been told they will probably not be any good in a year or two. If virgin coconut oil will last indefinitely, I need to get a few gallons of it to add to my stock pile.
    Thanks for another informative article…

    • Hang on to that Crisco, even when it goes rancid, it’s still good for use as fuel for burning as light just add a wick.

    • Thanks for your reply. That’s something I had not considered. I will keep it, and if the SHTF and I open it, I’ll either use it to cook or use it to burn for light. Or maybe grease my bicycle chain….

  4. Thanks for going into detail about using stored food. I’m very visual and your description was great. Also appreciated your reminder about not staying glued to the news feed. It’s surprisingly easy to fall into the habit and not realize how it affects you. Looking forward to that article.

    Best wishes for your “Mountain House” retreat. A lot of work to move but exciting to look forward to.

  5. 55 gal pickle barrels can be found run about 20 to 30 dollars great lids and sealing power.add your own water off on spouts…Lowes.4 dollars.

  6. Please Help. I have been searching for a definitive answer concerning water storage. I am currently storing distilled water in 3-gal. water bricks. Do I treat it as I fill it or when I use them. And what product should I use in either case. Also, please, does anyone know how long the water will last stored. A year?? Three years?? Ten years??

    • water never goes bad, but it will go stale. All you need to do is pour it back and forth between 2 containers. Plus you don’t want to store distilled water for drinking. It’s missing all the good stuff that your body needs. Just use tap water.

    • THANK YOU DAVID, so much. I have been asking in so many blogs and you finally gave me an answer. Many blessings to you and yours in the years to come.

      Does anyone else care to chime in with more info??

    • Treating with a few drops of bleach can help prevent any algae growth if the bricks aren’t kept in the dark. But if it’s clean municipal water then it’s not necessary as the city or town treats with chlorine before it reaches your tap. If you’re using well water or filtered rain water, then to be safe it’s best to add 15 to 24 drops of bleach or 3/8 teaspoon of bleach for a 3 gallon container. (Rule of thumb is 5 to 8 drops, or 1/8 teaspoon per gallon.)
      When I store water in 5 gallon jugs I rinse with a disinfecting solution of 1 teaspoon in 1 gallon of water, then rinse with clean water, then finally fill with water, add in the drops, seal and shake well. That leaves me with a sanitized container with a minimum amount of bleach in it for safe long term storage.
      If you use too much bleach and the water smells like chlorine when you open it to use later, try pouring it back and forth between two pitchers for a few minutes. The aeration will reduce the amount of chlorine in the water pretty quickly. Or you can put it in a clear sealed container out in the sun and the sun will break down the chlorine as well…

    • Thanks also, Dave Walsh. Another definitive answer that makes sense. After all these months. I really do appreciate your help. It would have bad if 5 or 10 yrs down the road our water was no good.

  7. Robert above said that you can find barrels cheap, so I looked online and found this website: //—Pickle-Barrels.html
    It might be useful to some.


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