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Something you may not know is that I keep a folder in my email client where I stash reader comments and emails for future sharing. For one reason or another, the folder was buried and when I checked this morning, there were over 70 items saved. Sounds like its time for some digital housekeeping, right?
This week the Survival Buzz is going to focus on reader questions, mail and tips relative to food storage.
But first, I want to share a downloadable eBook with you. The title is “Cooking with Food Storage Ingredients“. It was created by the Utah State University Extension Service and is chock full of tips as well as recipes. The section on wheat is exceptionally good.
Did I mention it is free?
If you download the book, be mindful that the book was compiled many years ago. You should replace all references to Canola oil with olive oil, or, better yet, coconut oil. As we now know, virtually all Canola oil is genetically modified. If you happen to have some in your pantry, get some wicks and burn it as an emergency candle.
Survival Buzz: How to Cook Using Food Storage Ingredients
Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips
Sometimes I forget how confusing food storage can be when so much of the information out there is conflicting. Phillip asked:
There is an issue that I have not been able to find a suitable answer for. All the long term storage food in # 10 cans (examples – Mountain House – Augason Farms) recommend storage at 50 – 60 degrees and 15% humidity. The temperature is doable with some effort (refrigeration???) but 15% humidity is almost impossible. I can run a dehumidifier in a room for 24 hours and the humidity will only drop to about 40 – 50%. (in Northern California – not a high humidity climate). Is there any way to do this?
Here was my response.
The quick answer is that if the food is in an unopened #10 can. humidity cannot get inside so you are okay. Once the can is opened, you need to either re-package the food or use it within a year. Because there are just two of us, I tend to repackage the food into smaller portions (using either a mason jar or Mylar bag + O2 absorber).
As far as temperature, the food will not go bad if kept at higher temperatures but the shelf life will be decreased. A common rule of thumb Is that for every 18 degree F increase in temperature, shelf life will be decreased by half. That said, you are okay up to 70 degrees. I believe that is the Mountain House recommendation.
They also say:
What is the shelf life for your foods? Our foods have the longest proven shelf life in the industry. Food sold in our iconic blue pouches have a shelf life of 12+ years. Food in our gallon-sized #10 Cans will last 25+ years. This means our food will taste virtually indistinguishable from new production for the times indicated.
What happens after the shelf life has passed? The food is still good! You may notice a slight change in flavor but we’ve had pouches and cans that were over 30 years old that are still tasty.
Try not to stress to much about this. Do what you can and in 5 or 6 years, rotate if you have to.
Farmer had this tip to share about bugs getting into your bulk foods:
The biggest problem with dry goods like flour, pasta, rice and dry beans is bugs. These products usually come from the factory already infested.
There are a couple of fixes.
- I like to remove the original packaging (especially cardboard) and repackage then freeze the product for 4 days or longer.
- I also repackage with diatomaceous earth (pasta, cereals, grains) and/or an O2 absorbent in a vacuum pack.
It sounds like work, but if you’ve ever opened your last package of pasta to find it full of weevils, you will appreciate the extra time you took to package properly.
Side note: cardboard has no place in long term storage – boxes brought home from stores are a terrific way to load up on roaches particularly!
Karen S. writes:
Once in a while I really want to tell your readers something. This is a real life example of what can happen when the food storage protocols are not followed.
I recently had to toss 17 pounds of brown rice.
My mistakes are:
- Buying discount brown rice from a salvage store.
- Keeping other brown rice on the shelf too long.
- Buying long grain brown rice when I already know I only like short grain organic.
- Not packaging any of the above properly with sealed mylar bags and oxygen absorbers then stacked in closed buckets. The rice would have kept at least a couple years if stored properly.
- Ignoring one of the food storage enemies: summer heat.
Now that I have tossed all the rancid rice and purchased Lundberg short-grain organic, I can finally enjoy brown rice again.
I have learned so many prepping lessons the hard way. If I can help even one person not to make the same mistakes, I would be so grateful.
As a side note, white rice will pretty much store forever if packaged properly. Brown rice, on the other hand, is subject to rancidity due to its oil content. The smell will give it away.
Regardless of the type of rice, be mindful of the rice weevil, a tiny reddish-brown bug. If you see these moving in your product, you should discard the entire container and disinfect the container and the surrounding shelves.
A number of readers have asked about pet food that is commercially packaged for long term storage. The issue was the oils in the dog food and whether they would stay viable (and not become rancid) over time. To find an answer, I went to Phil Cox, the CEO of Buy Emergency Foods.
Here is what he said:
“We have tested our people foods that contain oil and know that they have a shelf life of more than 10 years. Since the pet foods are prepared and packaged in a similar manner (and contain similar oils to people food), we assume the shelf life to be similar, though we haven¹t tested them as rigorously as people food.
With that said, it is always a good practice to use and rotate stored food for people and pets regardless of their shelf life. The Legacy food, with its longer shelf life, would not need to be used and rotated as frequently as foods purchased off of grocery store shelves.”
If you are interested in learning more about commercially packaged pet food for food storage, you can read my review of the Legacy dog food product here.
Prepare Your Family for Survival: Tip #6
Here are this week’s prep tips from Linda Loosli’s recently published a book, Prepare Your Family For Survival.
Chapter 6 – Hygiene for You and Your Home
Tip: You can buy a box of 500 10-gallon garbage bags online at a low cost but 13-gallon bags are more common in local supermarkets.
For more about the book, visit the article 11 Ways to Prepare Your Family for Survival.
Current Backdoor Survival Giveaways
This is the first book to roll out in the Prepper Book Festival #11.
With all giveaways, winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected. Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article. This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway.
Prepping Gear That I Love
Okay, not exactly prepping but something I love none the less. For the past few months, I have been testing various inexpensive diffusers that put out a lot of mist and are quiet. I have found the perfect solution in this Seneo Diffuser.
I cannot say enough good things about this diffuser. There is a 45 day money back guarantee plus a 12 month warranty. It has seven different color settings and it is pretty to look at. It is pictured above on one of my side tables. Best of all, it puts out a strong mist and is quiet.
If you love the healing aroma of essential oils, you definitely need a diffuser. What do I diffuse? It depends on whether I am working and need focus (a combination of Peppermint and Rosemary is good) or need to relax and drift into a peaceful sleep. My current favorite for bedtime is Spark Naturals Bliss.
Reminder: Free 2016 Home Grown Food Summit
Some of you may remember that last Spring, Marjory Wildcraft organized a free, online Home Grown Food Summit. This year she is back with an all new, 2016 Home Grown Food Summit. The summit will be an online gathering of over 30 experts in backyard food production, homesteading, and off-grid living. Highlights this year include amazing presenters on composting, beekeeping, and herbal medicine.
The dates for this event are March 7 to March 13 and registration is now open. I will be providing you with more details in the next week or two but in the meantime, here is a link for additional information or to register.
The Final Word
Speaking of digital housekeeping, this week I went through many of my email subscriptions and hit “unsubscribe”. I was amazed at all of the newsletters that were dropping into my mail box and yet were no longer relevant or interesting. If you are like me and stressed for time, might I suggest you do the same? Of course I hope you do not unsub from Backdoor Survival but if you do, no hard feelings.
So what about you? Did you do any prepping this week?
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!
Bargain Bin: Here are a selection of items related to today’s article. If you have any interest at all in a diffuser, I recommend you take a look at the Seneo. I am very happy with it and love the price.
Mylar bags & Oxygen Absorbers: What I love about Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers is they protect against every single one of the food storage enemies. Prices do vary but for the most part, they are inexpensive and easy to keep on hand. And while you can seal them up with a FoodSaver, some tubing and a common clothes iron, I find it infinitely easier with a cheap hair straightening iron that you can pick up for very cheap.
Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage: This 99 cent eBook will provide you with everything you need to create an affordable food storage plan, including what to buy and how to store it. Nothing scary and nothing overwhelming – you really can do this! Also available in print.
Seneo Essential Oil Diffuser: I love this diffuser. It puts out a powerful mist and is very quiet. You can operate it with colored lights or turn the lights off completely for use in the bedroom.
Spark Naturals Essential Oils: I use essential oils from Spark Naturals exclusively. They are high quality yet reasonably priced. In addition, there are no membership fees and a distributor relationship is not necessary to get best pricing. Interested in checking them out? Backdoor Survival readers get a 10% discount by using coupon code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout! Be sure to check out BLISS, my favorite nigh time diffuser oil.
Now Foods Peaceful Sleep Oil Blend: This budget priced oil is a citrusy sleep blend. It includes Orange, Tangerine, Lavender, Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, and Sandalwood. I am using 30 drops to 1 ounce of carrier oil and rub it on my feet at night. For a carrier oil, my preference is BDS Simple Salve (that you can make yourself). You can also try making a room spray by adding 30 drops to 1 oz. of witch hazel in a a spray bottle. If using is a diffuser, 6 to 8 drops should do it.
Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!
Are You Interested in Essential Oils?
The Spark Naturals Oil of the Month Club is the best value out there – all oils are 15ml bottles – shipped out to you once a month (on the same date you ordered the product). The price is $15.99 a month and includes shipping and tax. This is a great way to collect oils at a discounted price.