Making Your Own Supply of Long Term Food Storage

Making Your Own Supply of Long Term Food Storage

Common household foods have very short shelf lives. Fresh produce and dairy last less than a few weeks. Meats and some other foods can be frozen, however, this only extends the shelf life to six months or a year. Most canned goods while easy to prepare and labeled nonperishable, have a shelf life of under three years. A disaster could strike within that time frame, or it could happen many years, potentially decades from now. The best way to prepare for disasters concerning food is long term food storage.

Freeze dried foods can be very expensive. For people who want to start prepping but don’t know how much money they’re willing to sink into it, the best option for attaining a decent supply of long term food storage is to make your own with Mylar bags, food grade buckets, and oxygen absorbers.

How to store food for emergencies.

There are three factors* that rapidly accelerate food deterioration: water, light, and oxygen. For making your own long term food storage, you can only use foods that have very little to no water in them, such as rice, wheat, or dehydrated fruit. This takes out the factor of water. The next factor, light, is where Mylar bags come in. Mylar is a 100% reflective material that once sealed, does not any light in to damage your food. (Our food grade buckets also don’t let in light, however once you open them if the food is all there, not in Mylar bags, you will have to use the whole bucket of food as quickly as possible. In addition to this, if you want to put different foods in the same bucket, separating them into individual Mylar bags will allow you to do this) The third factor is oxygen, which can be dealt with by the use of oxygen absorbers and food grade buckets. Once you have put all your food in a food grade bucket (food grade so the plastic doesn’t leech in and contaminate your food), you can put in oxygen absorbers. They absorb all the oxygen in a container and seal it tight so as not to allow any air in to degrade your food. So to make your own supply of long term food storage, all you need are dehydrated foods, Mylar bags to protect from light, and food grade buckets and oxygen absorbers to protect from oxygen degradation.

Here is a list of some common foods used for do it yourself food storage along with their shelf lives:

  • Flour: 5-10 years
  • Cornmeal: 5-10 years
  • Wheat (not ground or cracked): 30 years
  • Oats: 10 years
  • Potato Flakes (for mashed potatoes): 10-20 years
  • White Rice: 25-30 years
  • Beans: 20-30 years
  • Pasta:10-20 years
  • Dehydrated Fruits: 20-25 years
  • Dehydrated Vegetables: 20-25 years
  • Dehydrated Meats: 10-20 years
  • Sugar: indefinitely
  • Salt: indefinitely
  • Honey: indefinitely
  • Tea: 10-20 years
  • Butter Powder: 10 years
  • Instant Milk: 3-5 years

Use the FIFO method with all Long Term Food Storage

When storing foods in Mylar bags and buckets, make sure you use the FIFO method, First In First Out. This means that if you put one gallon of rice in a Mylar bag in a bucket in one year, and then you open the bucket and put another gallon bag of rice in another year, make sure to use the previous year first. This is common sense, as much of prepping is.

Some prepping families are wealthy and can afford all the cool toys and food they want. However, many preppers do not have a ton of money and can’t afford a ton of long term food storage. One solution for all preppers is to use the food you have stored up. Long term food storage is of no use if you can’t use it when you need to. Some preppers have fallen on hard times and were happy to find that they could eat their long term food storage. When they were able to get back on their feet, they simply replaced the long term food storage. This is similar to food rotation.

Food rotation is when you use your long term food storage periodically. For example, if you had twenty lbs. of rice in a Mylar bag, you could use it every three years and replace it. This is a great way of caution so you know you will constantly have a longer shelf life on your food. As the old saying goes, if you have two, you have one, and if you have one, you have none.

Overall, making your own long term food storage is very cost effective compared to just buying dozens of cans of freeze dried food. It gives you a safe and secure way of knowing that you have food in the event of an emergency. Food is the second most important element in any survival situation, coming only behind water. You can only live for three weeks without food. Don’t let a disaster catch you off guard, be prepared with long term food storage.

*Temperature also affects food shelf lives, but not nearly as much as the other three factors. The ideal temperature for long term food storage is 55-65°F.

 

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True Calorie Count

Buyers Beware, Count Calories Before You Buy

Many different companies offer great deals on freeze dried food. They say you can get a year’s supply of freeze dried food for only $2500. That sounds like a great deal, but before you purchase your food, read the calorie counts. Companies will try to make you think there is enough food to keep you going for a year by showing the serving amount. Servings can be very deceiving because they make you think that 1 serving is equal to 1 meal, thus 3 servings is 3 meals, and enough food for one day. However, most foods serving size has a small amount of calories.  Usually the amount of calories per serving for premade freeze dried food is between 150-300 calories. By the logic that other companies are trying to pass on you, 3 servings is 3 meals which is enough calories for one day, but if you multiply it out, 150-300 x 3= 450-900 calories a day. These companies are trying to convince you that you can survive on 450-900 calories a day. That is a lie.

Calories are easy to come by today, but during an emergency...

 

FEMA states that you need at least 1200 calories a day to survive, but this is a bare minimum. You can refer to the following chart for a general medical consensus on how many calories you need a day to survive. Sedentary is less than 1 hour of physical activity a day; Moderately active is between 1-3 hours of physical activity a day; Active is 3 or more hours of physical activity a day.

Gender

Age (years)

Sedentary

Moderately Active

Active

Child 2-3 1,000 1,000-1,400 1,000-1,400
Female 4-8
9-13
14-18
19-30
31-50
51+
1,200
1,600
1,800
2,000
1,800
1,600
1,400-1,600
1,600-2,000
2,000
2,000-2,200
2,000
1,800
1,400-1,800
1,800-2,200
2,400
2,400
2,200
2,000-2,200
Male 4-8
9-13
14-18
19-30
31-50
51+
1,400
1,800
2,200
2,400
2,200
2,000
1,400-1,600
1,800-2,200
2,400-2,800
2,600-2,800
2,400-2,600
2,200-2,400
1,600-2,000
2,000-2,600
2,800-3,200
3,000
2,800-3,000
2,400-2,800

 

For a more accurate number of calories specifically for you, you can calculate your BMR (Body Metabolic Rate). This is very easy, you simply plug in how much you weigh, your height, and your age into a formula. For men, the formula is: 66+6.3(how much you weigh, in pounds)+12.9(how tall you are, in inches)-6.8(how old you are, in years). So for a 5’10” 180 lb. 40 year old man, you would calculate his daily calorie intake like this: 66+6.3(180)+12.9(70)-6.8(40)=2284. Thus this man would require 2284 calories a day to survive. For women, the formula to calculate BMR is: 655+4.3(weight, in pounds)+4.7(height, in inches)-4.7(age, in years).

Being prepared with enough food can mean the difference between life and death

The moral of the story is, look at the calorie count on everything you buy. The food packages that other companies offer may sound like a great deal, but if you do the math, you will find that they are tricking you. They make you think that you have enough food to survive a year, but you won’t have nearly enough. Make sure you are properly prepared with enough calories to help you survive.

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Finding Water in the Wild

How to Find Water in the Wild

Humans can only survive 3 days without water. In everyday life, whether you live in the city or in a rural area, water is easily accessible. However, if you go camping or bugging out in the wild, the only water you have is the water you bring with you, unless you know how to find water in the wild.

The Significance of Water

The human body needs at least 2 quarts (64 oz) of water a day to survive. FEMA recommends 1 gallon per person per day, half for drinking, and half for sanitation. The body uses water to circulate blood, process food, and assist in other internal processes. While you can survive up to 3 days without water, your body will suffer from severe dehydration after 1 day. Your body will slowly shut down- you will feel very weak because your muscles won’t receive oxygen, your blood cells begin to shrink, you will get tunnel vision, among many other physical functions that will begin to fail.

How to Find Drinkable Water

Listen and Look: The In the wild, unless you are in a desert, there are countless lakes, rivers, streams, springs, and other natural water sources. While you’re searching for water, stop and listen for sounds of running water. Look for vegetation and greenery, vegetation typically only grows around water, so the water source shouldn’t be far off.

Rainwater: Rainwater is almost always safe to drink in the wild. Water that collects on poisonous plants or puddles on the ground are a couple exceptions, besides that, rainwater is perfectly potable. To collect rainwater, set out clean containers or a poncho, and watch as they fill with drinkable water. Don’t worry if the rainwater tastes a little different than normal water that you drink at home, this is because rainwater lacks the minerals that groundwater naturally collects.

Snow: Snow is an invaluable tool in a survival situation, not only because it gives you the ability to make a snow cave to sleep in, but also because it provides a clean water source. However, before you go to stuff a handful of snow in your mouth, melt it. Eating frozen snow will reduce your body temperature and can lead to dehydration.

Vegetation: In many parts of the country, the landscape is covered with vegetation. Plants such as apple trees, palm trees laden with coconuts, cacti, and numerous other plants can contain drinking water. In the mornings, dew will collect on some types of vegetation. Also, you can tie a clear plastic bag around a tree branch in the morning, making sure to enclose the leaves, and collect the water that will have pooled at the bottom of the bag at night (choose a big bag, because this can yield up to a gallon of water).

Animals: Humans are not that different from animals such as dogs, birds, insects, or any other creature that you may find in the wild. This means that all of us have the same basic needs, we need water to survive. Wild animals will know where the closest water source is, so you can find water by looking for animal tracks or insects (usually insects will congregate around water sources). Birds typically fly towards water sources during the morning and evening.

Digging: If you find an area full of mud, but can’t seem to find any actual water, all you need to do is dig a hole. In a few minutes, water will begin to collect in the bottom of the hole. If the water is dirty (muddy), pour the water through a tee shirt to trap all the dirt and debris on the shirt and allow clean water to pour through, or simply drink with a water filter.

 

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Fancy marketing could leave you hungry in the event of an emergency

Preparing for an emergency is not a new thing.  It was not so long ago that refrigerators and freezers were a luxury and people had to take steps to preserve the food they gathered through canning, curing and other methods.  The Great Depression taught a generation of Americans to be thrifty and reserved in what they bought and used items to their fullest extent.

In the 50’s and 60’s fear of nuclear war prompted many to build bomb shelters stocked with survival foods and water.  The late 90’s produced a wave of preparedness in the event of a national disaster due to outdated computer programing.  Fast forward to today.  We have uncertainty in the financial market.  Fears of economic collapse, terrorism, EMP, and more have once again brought preparedness to the forefront of our minds.

Many companies have emerged to help us get prepared especially in the food department.  As part time shoppers, we can easily be deceived by full time marketers and wind up getting a lot less that we expected.  For example, we recently purchased from a large sporting goods store a bucket of food that boasted 60 servings.  This bucket cost about $100 and we initially thought that we’d have about 20 – 30 days worth of food depending on how many meals we ate per day.

We were unpleasantly surprised to find out that our initial calculations were way off and in fact we only had about 6 days of food in reality.  When we opened the bucket to see what we got, there were only 6 pouches of food and lots of empty air space in the bucket for plenty more food.  The company didn’t lie about what they were selling, but we incorrectly assumed that a serving was a meal.  Pay attention to what a serving is.  In many cases, a serving is only 50 – 100 calories.  If you are looking to sustain a 2000 calorie diet during a disaster, be sure your survival food is calculated by calories not servings.

Hope this tip helps,

The PrepAndSave team

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