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Food Storage Question

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by unionguy, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. unionguy

    unionguy Portland Active Member

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    I read somewhere that putting flour in your freezer for 24 hours will kill any bugs in it...so does it work to freeze it and then put it in a plastic bucket, sealed for storage for about 12 months? (I'm practicing eat what I store so it wont' sit longer than that). It'd be easier than the dry ice routine...but is it effective?

    Is something along these lines needed for beans?

    thanks!
     
  2. Decidion

    Decidion Washington county, Oregon Member

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    Just putting it in a plastic bucket (like a 5 gallon bucket) won't give you a perfect air seal. Food will slowly oxidize and chances are there is at least one gap big enough for some of the smallest bugs to get in.

    The way to do it economically is to either:

    1) Seal it in #10 cans, and use an oxygen absorber
    2) Pressure can it in mason jars
    3) Line your bucket with a mylar bag, throw in an oxygen absorber pack and then use an iron to seal the mylar

    Sealing it in cans or mylar with oxygen absorbers will suck out the O2 and the bugs will suffocate. With canning, the heat from the canning process kills them.

    The cheapest of the three, especially if you do not have any canning equipment, is #3. 6 gallon mylar bags are about $1.75 and a 1500cc O2 absorber is about .30 cents.

    Doing things this way will insure fresh, bug free food for a long time. If you really want to go long term (decades), you'll need to store the wheat berries, not flour, and then grind them into flour when you're ready to eat it.
     
  3. unionguy

    unionguy Portland Active Member

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    OK, thanks that's what I needed to know. Mylar route looks easiest to me. Is there a good source for those and the oxygen absorbers?

    How long does 'imperfect' storage last? Probably on a 3-month rotation we will be getting in/out of those supplies, i.e. using them on a daily/weekly basis as we rotate them into our regular diet. On this kind of use, would we be OK with just covered plastic buckets?
     
  4. Decidion

    Decidion Washington county, Oregon Member

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    The cheapest place I have found to buy mylar bags and oxygen absorbers is:

    IMPAK Corporation

    They are a little behind the internet age and have a clunky online ordering system (it does use SSL though so security shouldn't be an issue), but again, they are the cheapest. You can call and place an order over the phone, but they charge an extra $10 for phone orders.

    After that the next cheapest I have found is:

    Simpler Living

    But I have never ordered from them, only from IMPAK.

    I would think a 3 to 6 month rotation would be fine without mylar or oxygen absorbers (maybe even up to a year) but without sealing you still risk the bug issue.

    Personally, if I knew I would be using it within 6 months, I wouldn't bother with the mylar or absorbers.
     
  5. Decidion

    Decidion Washington county, Oregon Member

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  6. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Boxes are much more space efficient than round buckets. Much more.

    Could someone do this sealed Mylar and oxygen absorber process, and then store the Mylar bags carefully in cardboard boxes? For a couple of bucks each I can by new, and more important equally sized for storage efficiency, cardboard boxes.

    Would mice or something get through to the food? Metal screen for screen doors is pretty cheap. Would that keep critters out, or are there very small creatures which can eat through Mylar?

    I'm not asking which is more economical. Hang economical if space is the priority.

    Anyone know?
     
  7. powersbj

    powersbj Seattle Area Active Member

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    Im not sure I would trust the cardboard simply because of moisture. But you could solve it by going to thoes plastic storage bins with your mylar bags inside. Heck it would probably even be better allowing you to go to multiple smaller packages. You can pick up 20gal ones cheap after Christmas they be red and green but who cares at $5 vs $20. I store alot of my camping gear this way which includes some mountian house food packages, never had any critters get in so far.
     
  8. simpleguy

    simpleguy Clackamas Active Member

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    I use the 4.5gal "square buckets(they are not truly square, but a great compromise). They work well. I have this in bulk right now and no more air lock than the plastic lid(which is not great for long term). This will do fine for 1-5yrs. depending on what your conditions are. Cool/Dark, you know the drill

    Rodents can even get in to plastic buckets. I would not do cardboard.

    There are a couple of ways to get rid of pests. I hear a week or so of freezing, but I will probably go diatomaceous earth and O2 absorbers.

    Mylar is great to get rid of light damage, they are expensive per se. Not sure If I will use those.

    I am still teetering on whether I am going to put all wheat in one bucket, all peas in another, etc. or if I am going to make "mixed" buckets. I will probably have a few "mixed" buckets to grab and go, but the remainder will be dedicated to one food type.
     
  9. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I'm not going with mixed buckets because we're bugging in unless the house burns down. Even then we plan to stay on the property because we have an outbuilding which also has storage space for food. If we had to bug out we couldn't carry much anyway.

    We will have local relatives coming here for common defense and because we have the best place, safest place and a clean, safe, abundant water supply. I therefore need lots of food, and storage space becomes an issue.

    I am building what I hope is a mouse proof storage area in both buildings. People used to do that with fine screen, and many grain farmers still do that. It may not be perfect but I'll do my best.

    Moisture isn't an issue so far. Both areas have boxes in them for other purposes with no problems. The Rogue Valley isn't as damp as farther N. or over on the coast.

    I'll look into the square buckets, although they still take up a lot more space than somewhat larger boxes would.

    It surprises me to learn that mice can get into a plastic bucket with it's lid on tight. I'm not arguing the point, I just didn't know that. How do they get in? Do they find a crack in the lid's seal, or can they actually chew through the plastic (that would really surprise me?)
     
  10. simpleguy

    simpleguy Clackamas Active Member

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    I have been told they can eat through the plastic buckets. I have never seen it, but the most rodent damage I have seen has been around the farms I have worked on when I was younger. They seem to like the path of least resistance. As for the screen, I like the idea, it interests me, then again, I love learning about what we did before plastic.
     
  11. jimwsea

    jimwsea Vancouver, Washington state Active Member

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    How do you use the diatomaceous earth?
     
  12. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you need diatomaceous earth in a truly sealed environment with O2 absorbers.
     
  13. jdub75

    jdub75 PNW Well-Known Member

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    Mice can most definitely chew thru a plastic bucket. Just a few years back, I bought a bucket of dog food in the same thickness bucket as any other bucket & the little bastards chewed thru in 1 nite! Part of your storage plan should be rodent traps!
    When I was growing up, we had rats...they chewed thru the concrete foundation of our garage to get in for the winters!!! We'd patch the holes in the summer & they'd be in next winter!
     
  14. bersaguy

    bersaguy Oregon Member

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    This is a great thread. My experience is as follows,

    Late in 1999 the wife and I started a food storage plan using food grade plastic buckets with lids and oxygen absorbing packets. We washed and dried the buckets and filled them to within approx. 1/2 inch or so of the top, threw in the O2 absorbing packets and sealed them up. We kept them in a cool, dry, dark environment. We stored red wheat berries, white wheat berries, brown rice, lentils, pinto, kidney, red beans and a few other goodies. By now we have consumed all of the wheat and rice and are still eating the beans. Everything was as fresh as the day it went into storage.

    My point is that this is a simple method for long term food storage. Starting with whole grains is the way to go rather than flour or meal.

    I would be surprised if a mouse were to eat through a plastic bucket. If you are eating what you store and rotating your stock you should be able to see if rodents are starting to be an issue.

    I would not trust cardboard boxes and mylar bags as they are definitely not rodent proof. The buckets stack well and sort of nest together if you stagger the rows.
     
  15. TAT2D

    TAT2D Portland Member

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    We had an outbreak of those little ('bout 1/4 - 3/8" long) tan moths. They managed to get into all the still sealed grain products (breakfast cereal, etc.) It was the flimsy plastic, but the bags were all still sealed. I failed to clamp down on the infestation soon enough, and we wound up tossing just about everything that wasn't in steel cans or glass jars with steel lids from the garage and indoor pantries and the kitchen shelves.

    It's not like we lost months/years of food-prep, but it was still easily a hundred dollars worth and a real lesson to me.

    MeB
     
  16. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    One type of those moths is called Indian Meal or Indianmeal moth. It's their tiny larvae that actually can get into the food and infest a whole cupboard. I forgot about that type of moth but we once had to throw out every box of cereal, corn meal, flour, etc. we had. I think I'm liking sealed mylar and oxygen absorbers more all the time.
     
  17. dave

    dave Independence Member

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    While not cost effective. I prefer the large 40mm grenade steel sealed army boxes.
    I use these for all storage of perishables(grains, rice, sugar and salts) as well as ammunition and powders.
    Like mentioned above the square factor for stacking.

    images-2.jpg
     
  18. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    A small terrier such as a Yorkie won't each much, can eat dog food made with grains, and will for a fact kill mice and rats. We could start leaving our Yorkies out in the garage at night with nice warm beds and blankets. They don't have that undercoat hair to keep them warm but they know how to tunnel under blankets.

    Legend has it that Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkies) were used in the sewers in London a century or two ago to kill rats but I don't know if that's true.

    A Rat Terrier or Jack Russell terrier will get the job done and will also catch and kill squirrels and even rabbits, but they are much bigger and they eat more.

    Toy terriers will also be good watchdogs in that they are on alert and will bark and alert you. They aren't worth a darn as attack dogs though, lol.

    If we had to bug out the Yorkies would be a real problem because they aren't "all weather." They can keep up walking or running though.

    Yorkies - Missy in the foreground is 6 years old and weighs 2 3/4 pounds. Mandy is a year older, has different parents, and weighs 4 pounds:


    doggies.jpg
     
  19. simpleguy

    simpleguy Clackamas Active Member

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    It is sprinkled in with whole grains and it harmless, some even say it's good fro you. Buy it at your local farm store, I got a 50lb bag for $30-ish. It is food grade, people use it on their garden as an organic pesticide.
     
  20. simpleguy

    simpleguy Clackamas Active Member

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    Fair enouugh thought there, I am just the kind of guy that likes a bit of redundancy. Same reason I carry both a compass and a GPS in my BOB.