Granola

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A good way to use and rotate some of your Long Term Food Storage is by making your own granola.  It traditionally has grains-usually oats, nuts, sweetener and oil.  Here is a good ratio: 3 cups oats 1 cup nuts … Continue reading

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Organizing Food Storage

Of course I have a 90-day food supply, I think . . . . . . .

So, you may be great at loading up at case lot sales and have a healthy supply of #10 cans full of a variety of stuff, but do you really know how long it will last?  Here are a few ideas to help get organized so that you have a much better idea of how long you have until your family starts to go hungry.

Step One: 

Create a 30-day menu of meals you can quickly prepare utilizing food storage that your family would actually eat, then times that by 3 for 90 days or by 12 for a year’s supply.  I got some great ideas from a book “Dinner is in the Jar”, by Kathy Clark.  I heard about this from a lady at the Ogden Drypack Cannery. She had the book and said her family liked all the recipes so far so she put the meals in mylar bags for storage.  The idea is this:  pre-measure ingredients including spices into quart and/or pint jars or mylar bags for a dinner.  There are 30 recipes with labels and included are ingredient calculations for 30, 60 and 90 days.   Here is an example:                                                     dinner-is-in-the-jar-book

Potato Soup (recipe used with permission)

Quart Jar 1
2 c instant potato flakes

In a baggie in jar 1:
1 3/4 c powdered milk

Quart Jar 2
1 cup dried potato dices
1 cup dried sweet corn
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp parsley flakes
2 Tbs beef bouillon
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp thyme

Directions:  Bring 7 cups water just to boil.  While that is heating up, whisk 3 cups water with the powdered milk in the baggie.  Once the 7 cups of water just reaches a boil, turn off heat & add contents of both jars.  Stir, cover and let sit 5 minutes.  Add the whisked milk, heat for about 5 to 10 minutes until well blended.  Top individual bowls with shredded cheese & sour cream.

This recipe contains dry, shelf stable ingredients that can be stored for several months.  Drop in an oxygen absorber packet in the jars and it can be stored for 5 to 7 years.  She states in her book that mylar bags are best for longer term storage.  I used this recipe for mylar bag meals so I combined all ingredients in the mylar bag except the powdered milk which I put in a baggie on top of the rest of the ingredients, added an oxygen absorber packet, then sealed.

A lot of the recipes have add-on’s such as a pint of hamburger, cans of diced tomatoes or oil.  The recipes can easily be converted into completely dried just add water meals using freeze dried meats and vegetables instead if you like that option.

Step Two:

Decide how you want to store your meals.  Meals using freeze dried meats MUST have an oxygen absorber packet in them.  Dry meals in a jar with no meat in them can get away with using a foodsaver for a vacuum seal.  Be sure to use a cupcake paper on the top for the ones with powdery stuff in it to prevent damage to your foodsaver.

Mason Jar
Advantages                                               Disadvantages
convenient                                                 breakable
reusable                                                     light exposure can damage food
rodent proof                                              bulky to store
can see stuff inside                                   limited space in bottle

Mylar Bag
Advantages                                               Disadvantages
no light exposure                                      not rodent proof
can be reused                                            a pain to clean and dry thoroughly for reuse
compact size for less storage space        needs a heavy plastic tub to keep rodents out
bags can be cut to different sizes

Step Three:

Decide which kind of ingredients you want to use; dehydrated, freeze dried, canned or a mixture of all of them.  Just make good directions to attach to the jars or bags and write on top of cans which meal it belongs to to keep it reserved.

The beauty of using recipes like these is that you use ingredients that meet your family’s dietary issues, spice things how you like and leave out ingredients like icky green peppers if you don’t want them.  Also divide or multiply the recipe to make meals for one, two, six or however many you need.  This makes food storage tailor made to your family.  If you don’t have your own food storage it is highly unlikely that your neighbor is planning for your family’s food allergies.

Meats:  purchase commercially canned, home bottle with a pressure canner or use freeze dried.  The freeze dried meats are really good and the only ingredient listed on the can is the meat itself.  This is especially good for folks who can’t tolerate soy based proteins like TVP (that would be me).  Just a note about freeze dried meat-once the can has been opened it needs to be used within 24 hours so plan on using the entire can in packaging meals or put remaining in mason jars with an oxygen absorber packet to keep it safe. 

Vegetables and Fruits: use commercially canned (labelled for the meal it is intended for), home bottled or freeze dried.

Beans:  For quick just add water meals use Quick Cook Beans (see Food Storage-Beans for more info) or canned beans.  If using dried beans keep separate from other ingredients so they can be soaked and cooked properly.

Pasta & Rice:  Both of these ingredients can be cooked with the meal as opposed to boiling on it’s own and then adding to the rest of the recipe.  Some recipes have the flavoring and seasoning worked out already to cook the noodles or rice in the mix.  If you are converting another recipe experiment first before mass producing the meal.

Step Four:

Label well, store properly and keep supplies up so you always have at least 90 days of meals stored.

Labels are included to photocopy in the book for jars.  I printed abbreviated directions for my mylar bags and put them under packing tape hoping that would make them waterproof.  If you need to add a can of tomatoes or chicken make that very visible on the label.

Store the mylar bags in heavy plastic tubs. You can fit upwards of 30 meals in one 17 gallon tub-some are bulkier than others.  This keeps out the rodents and also makes them very portable.  I highly encourage glass jars to be wrapped in paper and stored in plastic tubs if you live in an earthquake area.  For more info go to Tips on Storing Food in Earthquake Areas.  At a minimum store in boxes to prevent light from leaching the nutrients from the food.

If using canned goods in your 30 day menu calculate how many cans or bottles of ingredients are needed and keep that on hand watching for sales to replenish.  I liked the idea of the all dry, just add water meals in mylar bags that I know are there and I don’t have to think about them for 5-7  years until we need to eat them and make more.

I am not suggesting that all meals at home are from this menu. Instead incorporate some of the meals into your repertoire to see how your family likes them.  If an emergency should occur use your 30 day menu as your meal plan so you can make complete and organized meals from your food storage.

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Food Storage-Bread Mix

bread

I found an awesome bread mix recipe from Chef Tess Bakeresse (Stephanie Petersen) and loved it so much I packaged it in mylar bags for a food storage, no-grinding, already mixed bread option.  Find her original recipe here.  Her loaves are beautiful.  If you struggle making a good loaf of bread then this mix is for you.  The ingredients create a dough enhancer which makes a perfect texture.  The loaf above was left in the oven too long (I got distracted by my cutie pie grandkids) and it still has a nice texture that will stand up to sandwiches.  It is simple to make; I throw the mix, water and yeast in the mixer, walk away and have perfect bread every time.

One package will make 1 loaf of bread, a dozen rolls, hamburger or hot dog buns or a pan of breadsticks.  Her version uses high protein white wheat flour but I tweaked the recipe a bit using bread flour because I didn’t want to burn up my wheat grinder and added more 9-grain flour to slightly compensate for that .  I keep a gallon Ziploc bag of the mix in my freezer for quick dinner helps and use it often.  Here is my mass production version:

Bread Mix
12 cups bread flour
4 cups 9-grain flour (9-grain cracked cereal ran through the wheat grinder)
1 cup butter powder (I prefer Thrive brand)
1 cup sugar
1 cup potato flakes (from the LDS Drypack Cannery)
1 cup powdered milk (also from the Cannery)
1 Tbs salt

DO NOT SEAL THE YEAST IN JAR OR MYLAR BAG-the lack of oxygen will kill it.

Add 1 tsp yeast and 1 1/3 cups cool water to 4 cups of mix.  Knead for a few minutes and let raise until double.  Shape into whatever you want to make, raise again for another hour then bake:

Loaf –  425 degrees for 15 minutes, then 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until done
Rolls, Buns or Breadsticks – 375 for 15 – 20 minutes or until done

Please check out her instructions for more options.

If you have a different brand of butter powder try using 1/2 – 3/4 cups butter powder plus shortening powder to make the rest of the cup to lessen the overpowering margarine taste while keeping the fat content.

This recipe makes enough for 5 packets (4 cups in each packet).  When mass producing I only made one batch at a time for more uniform mixing.  I purchased bread flour at Costco which was super inexpensive and the only expensive thing in the mix was the butter powder which runs about $30 a can for Thrive.  Each #10 can has around 11 cups so that is 55 loaves of bread per can.  I used a canning funnel to pour the mix into the mylar bags.

bread mix label       bread mix tub

Abbreviate the instructions so the label will fit under a piece of packing tape and don’t forget to write the date on the label before taping.  Pack them in smaller totes because they are denser and heavier; a 10 gallon size holds 30 packets.  I included a box of bread bags in every other tub.  The mixes will last from 3 – 5 years depending on how cool the storage environment is.

I purchase mylar bags from the LDS Drypack Cannery along with the oxygen absorber packets.  The bags are thicker and better quality then the ones I found in stores.  The bread mix needs only a half bag so cut the bags in half long ways and seal the long ends closed and the funnel fits nicely in the top.  The mylar bags were .30 cents each and oxygen absorber packets .10 cents each.  Using only half of a bag makes packaging .25 cents each loaf.

Bread mix packets make meal organizing easier because of the versatility.

sloppy joe         grilled cheese & tomato soup

1 can Manwich +1 pint hamburger+1 pkg bread mix (hamburger buns)=1 complete Sloppy Joe dinner w/veggies in the Manwich (the veggie thing might be a stretch)

1 pkg bread mix (bread loaf)+1 block waxed cheese+1 carton stabilized cream (butter)+1 can tomato soup=grilled cheese & tomato soup, a wonderful comfort food for stressed out kids in an emergency

Isn’t that awesome!!

P.S. DON’T FORGET TO STORE THE YEAST!!! (keep it in the freezer)

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Food Storage-Butter

butter

One thing that would be difficult to go without long term is butter.  I found a blog where a lady did an experiment living off of food storage for a year (her husband pulled the plug after 6 months) and her biggest complaint was not having fresh butter.  Find her interesting story here.

Here are a few options for butter in your food storage.

Butter Powder

Butter Powder

I have found that most butter powder brands have a strong margariney smell and taste.  I did find the Thrive brand butter powder has a much more subtle buttery smell and taste.  I have used it in my bread mix packets and love it.  To make it into a spreadable consistency try this recipe:

Spreadable Powdered Butter
1 Tbs butter powder
1 scant tsp water
1 scant tsp vegetable oil
pinch of salt or sugar

It is a little thin, but if you mix it with beaters and a little shortening (try butter flavor) it will be more spreadable.  It is a passable version of butter.

Canned Butter New Zealand Red Feather 200o

Canned Butter

I have not tried this but it is real butter from New Zealand.  It is available at Emergency Essentials and not exactly cheap.  A 12 oz can is $7.50, has a 2-year shelf life (longer if stored in a cooler environment) and doesn’t need refrigeration while storing but does upon opening.  It would be good for instant butter.

clarified butter

Ghee aka Clarified Butter

This brand is also available at Emergency Essentials.  The only ingredient is butter and has all of the milk solids are removed so it is  more like cooking oil.  It has a 5+ year storage life and needs no refrigeration during storage or after opening.  A 14 oz can is currently $9.50 so it is similar in price to the Red Leaf brand above.

Home Bottled Butter

If you would like to bottle your own butter check out this post by Kellene Bishop (Preparedness Pro).  There is a good bit of controversy on the subject because of some botulism issues, but some folks have been bottling butter for decades and are still alive.

Gossner's Cream

Shelf Stable Whipping Cream

This is our choice for butter storage.  The package has a relatively short shelf life printed on it but I have been assured it will last a good 2+ years.  I had a friend who used a 2-year old package for whipping cream and it was just fine.  The Gossner’s brand is available in Associated Food Stores at .99 cents for an 8 oz carton (I found mine at Wangsgards in Ogden, UT).  Ask your grocer to stock it if you can’t find it.  I also found it at Trader Joe’s for those of you lucky enough to have one close by and it was $1.29 there under a different brand.

I purchased a flat (27 cartons) for my food storage, pulled a carton out for a family home evening and made butter by shaking the cream in a pint bottle.  After trying it my daughter looked at me and said, “we need another flat” it was that good.  It is fresh butter.  It can be purchased in larger containers on line (go here), but I kinda like the smaller container because the chances of having refrigeration when we actually have to use it is slim.

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Medical Storage

first_Aid02

A great way to store your medical items is in a plastic tub (similar to the Hygiene Storage post).  They will remain clean and usable and not disappear (out of sight, out of mind).  In the event of an evacuation it can be grabbed quickly and will also stand a better chance of being intact and usable if your home is damaged in a disaster.

Here is a suggested list of Medical items:

Medicines
acetaminophen
ibuprofen
antihistamine
Echinacea
cold medicines-Vick’s vapor rub, cough syrup, etc.
antacids
pepto bismal
rehydration mix with bottle for preparing and administering

First Aid
band aids in various shapes and sizes
triangular bandages
gauze in different sizes
butterfly bandages
roller bandage in different sizes
superglue (to seal up wounds)
rubbing alcohol
hydrogen peroxide
antibiotic ointment
hydrocortisone ointment
instant warm and cold compresses
blanket

Tools
tweezers
thermometer (non-mercury/non glass)
stethoscope
otoscope
needle and thread for suturing
scissors
plastic squirt bottles for irrigating wounds
first aid instruction booklet

Protective Equipment
non latex gloves
antiviral face masks
breathing barrier with one way valve
plastic aprons to prevent spreading disease from contaminated clothing

In addition to this I throw in things like a sling left over from a broken arm and an orthopedic shoe from broken toes, etc.  It is a good place to store them to keep clean and accessible.

Set a annual date to check on your medical and hygiene tubs such as October General Conference, Daylight Savings time change or some other event.  Replace with fresh medication and put those in the cupboard to be used and make sure everything is in good working order.

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Hygiene Storage

Free-Vintage-Images-Toothpaste-GraphicsFairy

If your house is anything like mine whatever is in view gets used by various members of the household.  I have in the past kept a good amount of hygiene products in stock and have been caught unaware when they have gotten lower than I liked.  To combat this problem of mine I have gathered all of the hygiene items in a tub with a lid (similar to Medical Storage).  This I have found has several advantages:

  • Your stored amounts will stay intact if your family can’t see it 🙂
  • Ideal for evacuation-if you had to quickly gather stuff individually it would be hard to remember everything
  • If your house is damaged from a disaster your stuff has a better chance of remaining clean, intact and therefore useable

Here is a suggested list of what to put in a hygiene tub:

Soap (add knee high nylons to make soap on a rope for showers)
washcloths and towels-put inside plastic bags to keep clean
babywipes for no water cleaning
toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and mouthwash
hair cleaning products
hairbrushes, combs, hair ties, barrettes and bobbypins
hair scissors
nail clippers and file
deodorant
razor and shave cream
mirror
lotion, moisturizer and chapstick
a small tub to hold water for washing and shaving
handkerchiefs
feminine products

Also include to create a shower:
shower curtain and rope
small tarp (floor of shower)
camp shower

The big tub can also double as a bathtub for kiddies.

Water Heater

In an emergency situation feeling clean can restore your sense of humanity and well being as well as help prevent illnesses from infection-especially in your teeth.  The hair accessories may seem frivolous but ladies young and old will feel so much better if at least one part of them looks good and little girls will be happily entertained for a while doing each other’s hair.

All of the items in your tub should have a several year shelf life, but rotate them out as often as you like putting them on the shelves for usage and restocking with new.  It also would be a good idea to periodically rewash the towels and washcloths.

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Water Storage

This article is meant to be an overview of water storage.  I will create more in-depth articles on filters and storage containers at a later date.

My idea of water storage is:

  1. Storing for immediate needs
  2. The ability to clean found or brought in water
  3. The ability to harvest water

Storing Water

There are so many ways to store water, here are a few.

For the least expensive storage fill up heavier juice or soda bottles ( pop,  soft drink or tonic depending on where you’re from 🙂 ) with tap water.  Do not use milk jugs because they’ll break down too quickly and make a mess.  If you use a municipal source it does not need to be treated.  If you really want to treat it add roughly 1/4 tsp of chlorine bleach per gallon or 1 tsp per 5 gallons.  Municipal water stored in sanitized containers should be good for several years but if you prefer water your garden with it and refill every one to two years.  Keep bottles away from sunlight.

Other options I like:

  • Cases of 16.9 fl oz water bottles which are a good size for sharing and carrying.  I watch for sales so I can load up-my kids sneak them
  • 1 gallon jugs that stack nice
  • 1 5-gallon jug per person in your household
  • 55 gallon drums-these need a pump or a handy stand and spigots (see pic)
  • 100+ gallon tanks-strap these down to prevent tipping in an earthquake

If all of your water is stored in huge tanks and they get damaged all of your water can be lost.  For this reason I like to keep more than one kind of container for water.

filled bottles                   water_barrels_stand

Water Filters

It is vital to have the ability to purify water because you can only store so much.  Gravity filters are a great at home filter.  It has one container atop another.  Pour unclean water in the top, it goes through the filter and the clean water ends up in the bottom container. Berkey has some very nice systems that range from $230 up to $325 to see go here.

I found a reasonably priced ceramic water filter which can filter up to 18 gallons per day and will filter, with care, up to 5,000 gallons of water.  It came with a kit that contained 1 filter, 1 spigot, washers, a pre-filter and a sock to protect the filter all for $36 plus shipping. It can be purchased here.  The only thing to add is 2-5 or 6 gallon buckets.  Here is a picture of it put together.  Care needs to be taken with the ceramic filter so protect it from dropping or damage because if it gets cracked it will be unusable.

Ceramic filter in bucket                      church water filter

For personal use such as a backpack or car kit the LDS church has a top of the line water bottle filter which the missionaries use in countries where the water may be iffy.  To find it go here it is currently $16.50 and is on backorder.  My son found a UV water bottle by Camelback for $85  find it here.    It uses ultra violet light to purify clear water (I have coffee filters in our backpacks for filtering).  It neutralizes bacteria, viruses and cysts for immediate use, but if it sits for a long period of time those things will become active again so be sure and read the directions. We also have a pump filter for a backpack. There are sooo many options out there so look around and see what works best for you.  For a good comparison go here.

Water Harvesting

Water harvesting is now legal (as of 2010) in the state of Utah but limited to one 2500 gallon underground container or two 100 gallon above ground containers and registration is required but free.   For more information go here and scroll to the bottom of the page.  Please check your area for the legality of water harvesting before you jump into a water harvesting system.  However, I don’t think the water harvesting police will be out in full force during an emergency when no utilities are available.

I tried cleaning and filling my city trash cans with water but it wouldn’t hold more than a day or two so it wasn’t a good option.  I am planning on using a 32 gallon roughneck-type trash can under each rain spout.  My plan is to cut a hole in the lid and secure a screen in the hole to prevent leaves, insects and animals from getting in.  For some good do’s and don’ts on a rain barrel check out this article.

water harvesting trash cans

If you are really handy connect two or more trash cans with pvc pipe to collect the overflow and add a spigot to attach a hose or just to drain.  To see a bigger picture go to seasonedcitizenprepper.com site here.

If you have any more ideas please share!

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