How To Buy and Store 260 Pounds of Food for just $83

Kathy
By Kathy February 27, 2017 15:15

How To Buy and Store 260 Pounds of Food for just $83

This post was gladly contributed by Kathy Matthews.

We bought a lot of food and brought it home. Then I needed to figure out what to do with it all.

The dry foods are the easiest to figure out, if you have a lot of canning jars or other good airtight containers that mice or bugs cannot get into. I have been planning on canning, but that is still a bit intimidating for some reason. Still, I am good at buying canning jars. Bi-Mart keeps them in stock year round now, so I try to pick up a box full of one size or another every week or couple of weeks, especially when they are on sale. The average price is $8.99; sometimes less and sometimes more.

I am partial to the quart jars because I like to use them for my cookie mixes, but have been buying other sizes too. If I do want to use all of these jars for canning, I’ll just dump out the popcorn and rice and put them into something else. Even big Rubbermaid totes will do fine, if you have the room for those.

The food on this table (not counting the containers) was only $82.83.

I was curious to see how much 25 and 50 pounds of stuff really was, so here we go:

Ahh!  The harvest table.

Fifty pounds of popcorn. You may be asking me why I would want to buy so much. Well, the bag was only $20.89 (or .42 lb) at Cash and Carry, I love popcorn, and it will keep well. I am thinking of selling the smaller jars after decorating them with fabric and raffia with a matching gift bag in my little store.

Here is fifty pounds of rice ($17.99, or .36 lb) and fifty pounds of onions ($11.25, or .23 lb). There were really 17 more onions, but we used one and I dehydrated the other 16.Buying Food in Bulk and Some Storage Ideas Grains

These two jars contain 16 dehydrated good sized onions. Pretty cool, huh? Our house smelled like onions for a day, but that was okay.

I put the 25 pounds of quick oatmeal into Ziplock freezer bags, because I have room for them and will be using them in my cookie mixes. At Cash and Carry, it cost me $15.00 for 25 pounds (.72 lb).Buying Food in Bulk and Some Storage Ideas Jars

The 25 pounds of sugar cost me $17.62 (.72 lb). I put most of it into old spaghetti sauce jars. I also bought 50 pounds of flour for 16.09 (.32), but I left it in a Rubbermaid tote in the garage for now.Buying Food in Bulk and Some Storage Ideas Pickled Eggs

I also bought 5 dozen eggs for $6.00 (.10 each). I boiled up 4 dozen, and we made egg salad and pickeled eggs. The pickled eggs will last for a couple of weeks in the fridge. I just put pickle juice over the eggs … beet juice works well too.

Related: How to Pickle Eggs (For Preppers)

I have a bunch more food in the fridge that I need to deal with, and my freezer is full so I have to figure out something else to do with it. I think that I will dehydrate some broccoli and green onions, and more of yellow onions. Though buying this way is less expensive, it does take a lot more time to make things convenient, but the work is easy.

Best of luck! I’d love to hear about how you guys do this sort of thing, so please leave me a comment or an email if you want to.

This article was written by Kathy Matthews and first appeared on Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy.

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Kathy
By Kathy February 27, 2017 15:15
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31 Comments

  1. Mar February 27, 15:50

    Canning is great and takes up less space as you discovered with your onions.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Margaret Bly February 27, 15:57

    Onions and apples dehydrate and are great keepers in canning jars – but I recommend getting a lid sealer. I use my food saver attachment.

    Broccoli will not dehydrate well. It does freeze dry very well, but you would have to buy a freeze dryer for home use and that is expensive.

    Dehydrators are less expensive, but can’t produce a good product in a lot of food.

    Canning is so rewarding, but does take time and makes a lot of heat.

    It sounds like you have the bug and that is great, but time and being creative are the next steps. I have the Ball Blue Bell book of preserving and the Excalibur book on dehydrating that came with the dehydrator.

    It also pays to grow your own, you can do that year round with different methods. I have a beautiful celery growing right now that I started from the bottom of a grocery store stalk. Once you have little roots, you can plant it. Celery dries good too for soups and putting in other dishes and it dries to almost nothing so little space.

    One hint on canning jars, which I too love, is that light can get in them. So, more delicate food (like apples or celery) should be place in a dark cool place with no sun on them. The Mylar bags (yes, expensive) do a great job of keeping light out for Freeze Dried food and probably dried (haven’t tried dehydrated food yet in them).

    Write and love your enthusiasm,
    Mar

    Reply to this comment
    • Chele February 28, 05:47

      One little trick I learned years ago was to use an old sock or shirt sleeve over the quart canning jars to keep sunlight out. Of course, mark the tops so you know what’s in them and check them on a regular basis.

      Reply to this comment
    • Tosh February 28, 23:07

      The article was great and extra comment from Ms. Bly answered the rest of my questions! Great teamwork!

      Reply to this comment
  3. Lucy February 27, 16:31

    A great article! Funny — I was just thinking this morning that it would be helpful and interesting to know how others are storing their food, and here you are!

    I have to think about all of this to be able to add to it…

    Reply to this comment
    • Ginny February 27, 22:40

      I would be concerned about your freezer FULL of food! for when we get an EMP attack! I’d be using it up &/or dehydrating it! If you have a pressure canner you could can the meat, or make jerky! God give you strength and energy! ;o)

      Reply to this comment
  4. hippie60 February 27, 17:52

    You can dry can a lot of things (NOT popcorn because you need the moisture in it) like flour, rice ect. Dry canning kills the eggs that could hatch into bugs in your larder. I have no moths or worms after several years in the jars. Fill jar (no headspace needed). Place full jars on sheets with edge to help prevent spills. Place sheets into oven on low rack. Shut door. Set oven to 200 degrees. One hour. Remove jar. Damp rim with cloth or paper towel. Quickly screw on cap and band. As the jars cool, they will seal. If one doesn’t, use it first. I do cereal and pretzels.

    Reply to this comment
  5. JINJER February 27, 18:22

    if you put flour and grains and pasta in the freezer for 3 days when you buy it it kills the eggs of bugs that live in them

    Reply to this comment
  6. Homesteader February 27, 18:26

    Canning is not difficult and shouldn’t be intimidating. I would recommend a really good pressure canner, like All American, and it can be used as a water bath canner. There is so little recommended for water bath canning these days. I use my water bath canner mostly for sterilizing jars and for making turkey or chicken broths.

    While I haven’t tried it yet, I heard that popcorn can be ground into corn meal thereby giving two products with the purchase of one. I haven’t tried it because all my popcorn is nitrogen-packed and I don’t want to open it just yet.

    I don’t know what I would do without a vacuum sealer. Buying in bulk and then vacuum sealing is one of the best ways of storing food stuffs anyone can use. Another way to vacuum seal canning jars of dry foods is with O2 absorbers. Simply fill the jars and prepare the lids as if regular canning. Quickly stick in an O2 absorber and place on the lid and ring. As the O2 is absorbed, the jar will vacuum seal itself. You have to work quickly with the O2 absorbers. It’s best if you have another person helping. Those little packets can’t be left in the open air very long or they quit working.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Kdonat February 27, 18:45

    Popcorn can be ground into grits for porridge or to make fried mush, or into flour for making cornbread or pancakes.

    If your stored popcorn doesn’t pop well after you’ve had it for a while, rehydrate it by sprinkling it with a small amount of water, drain and pat dry before popping. You won’t get as many unpopped kernals.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Nomadr February 27, 18:51

    If you rub each “fresh” egg with mineral oil, they will last up to 9 months!

    Reply to this comment
  9. left coast chuck February 27, 18:54

    A diet heavy in corn can lead to pellagra. Pellagra is a vitamin deficiency pathology with some very serious symptoms. Pellagra was common in the southern states in the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. Many prospective draftees from the south failed their induction physicals due to symptoms of pellagra which include mental deficiency. A diet heavy in white rice can lead to beriberi. As late as the mid 1800s a high member of the Tokugawa clan died of beriberi because he loved white rice so much that was his diet almost to the exclusion of other types of food. Although the Japanese knew that a diet of white rice led to beriberi, his position was so high that no one dared contradict him when he demanded a white rice diet. I always wondered why the Mexican diet consisted of beans and rice at the same meal. Talk about carb loading! I thought that might be contributing to their problem with overweight. Wrong, Cricket. While it may indeed contribute to the overweight problem, the fact is that in combination with rice, the protein locked in beans is released and in enough quantity to meet your daily requirements for protein. The same with corn. If it is treated with lye, a process called nathualizing, don’t trust me on the spelling — it releases the niacin in the corn which combats pellagra. The ancient indians used that to process the corn and they didn’t suffer from pellagra. When the white folks decided to make corn a staple in their diet they got pellagra because they didn’t treat the corn with lye — at least that’s what Wikipedia says if you look up pellagra.

    Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader February 28, 02:05

      While we’re talking mainly about corn and rice, it’s not all we will be eating. Most preppers have the ability to garden, or have family or neighbors who garden, and will have fresh vegetables, meat from hunting or raising their own, and some have fruit trees and berry bushes. I get the feeling from your posting that you believe all we’ll be eating will be corn and rice. Am I wrong?

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck March 1, 03:49

        Both of the disease entities I mentioned can occur as a result of a diet heavy in those two items. As I indicated many draftees in WWII from the south suffered from pellagra although meat from hunting small game and consumption of other foods was common.It was common to have grits for breakfast (made from corn); hush puppies or corn dodgers for lunch and the same for dinner with squirrel, possum or rabbit. For Japanese the main dish for each meal is rice. Everything else is considered side dishes. For older Japanese if one hasn’t eaten rice, it is not a meal, it is just a snack. Since WWII, the diet of Japan as broadened significantly. I might add that one of the bigger hamburger chains in Japan is Mossburger (They do like unique names) and the “bun” is compressed rice cakes. I don’t know which is larger in number of locations, MacDondald’s or Mossburger, but I suspect it is Mossburger.

        Reply to this comment
        • Homesteader March 1, 13:49

          Thanks for the information. I’ve been researching beriberi and pellagra since your posting. Interesting stuff.

          While we have a lot of rice and corn stored, it’s not an everyday or even every week item for consumption in this household. A 5-pound bag of grits lasts us nearly two years. I’m also looking at the stores as possible barter items in an SHTF situation where trading becomes the norm. Hopefully, it won’t happen but these days, you never know.

          Reply to this comment
    • Lucy March 1, 05:32

      On a similar note, I’ve also heard the rice-eating southern Italians refer disparagingly to the polenta (cornmeal)-eating northern Italians as “polentoni.” In addition to referring to the diet heavy in corn, there is an implied reference is to the lower intelligence as a result of pellagra, caused by a missing or non-absorption of B vitamins, niacin, or tryptophan, an amino acid required for its synthesis. It is a common disease among people who depended almost exclusively on corn. So if we have to depend on corn, we had better be sure to get the B vitamins from supplements if we don’t have access to vegetables and dairy.

      Reply to this comment
  10. mclark1951 February 27, 19:23

    hippie60- how long should rice last in sealed jars using the oven technique you describe?

    Reply to this comment
    • hippie60 February 27, 20:03

      Where I learned to do it, the source said she opened jars her grandmother had canned around 50 years old. She said it was still good. Personally. I would date the lid and rotate old to front.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Farmer Phyl February 27, 19:26

    You got a bargain on food but not much nutrition; popcorn, sugar, onions. I’ve stored 25 pound bags of rice, beans, flour, and sugar for up to 5 years in the bags that they originally came in, on shelves in the basement and never had a problem with rodents, bugs, or mold. To be fair we live in very dry climate so things may keep longer here. If you want to store dried garlic, herbs, onions, peppers, and tomatoes, grow your own. They are easy to grow, easy to dehydrate, and cost virtually nothing for seeds. There are many ways to get the seed for free.

    Reply to this comment
  12. SuperCaptainMan February 28, 15:07

    Pickled eggs in the fridge last way longer than a few weeks. I use the giant pickle jars, they hold about 3 dozen eggs. I pickled them about 3 years ago and am still eating them.

    Reply to this comment
  13. marmiemcgee February 28, 17:47

    One thing I have learned to do is can ground beef. I use to brown it and then stick it in the freezer, but still had to wait for it to thaw before I could use it. Now I brown it, drain off the grease, pack it into pint canning jars and pressure can. A pint jar holds about a pound of meat and it is ready for whatever I need to use it for. I’ve can’t say for sure how long it will keep on the shelf as I tend to use it during hard times. (Our hours at work have been cut now for over a year and no other good job opportunities in our area.) I have opened jars that were 3 years old, and it was fine. I do the same with ground pork and/or sausage.

    Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader February 28, 18:43

      I, too, can ground beef, as well as beef chunks and boneless chicken breasts, except I pour beef or chicken broth over the meat before canning. Does your ground beef stay moist when canning without any liquid? What ratio of ground beef do you use? I usually use a 93/7 because I can get it in 10 lbs logs.

      Reply to this comment
      • marmiemcgee March 1, 08:39

        Most of the time, I just pour some hot water over the browned ground beef in the jars. I have gotten in a hurry and missed a couple jars, and it still worked out fine. I think the ratio I usually get is the 73/27, but when I can find ground chuck on sale I mix the two together and do it that way. During the holidays, I also debone the leftover turkey and can that to be used in casseroles, turkey salad or whatever. I then put the carcus in a crockpot add veggies,cover with water and let it slow cook overnight. I then strain it and have some wonderful homemade broth.

        Reply to this comment
        • Homesteader March 1, 13:34

          I’ll have to try the 73/27. With the higher fat content, it retains more moisture. When I’m going to can the ground beef, I use the beef logs from Sam’s. After processing/canning, it’s hard to tell where it came from. I think Sam’s sells 73/27 so I’ll have to get some to try it. Most of the time, I buy meats from local sources who raise their own for slaughter. Grass-fed, no antibiotics and without the high price demanded in grocery stores for such meat.

          I do that same thing with a turkey carcass. I put up six quarts of broth a few weeks ago. I used the meat that had been left on the bird after deboning for dog food. My dog loves turkey with sweet potatoes and vegetables.

          Reply to this comment
  14. Wannabe February 28, 18:29

    Love all the info. Keep comments coming please. It is a wonderful feeling to go into pantry and get food put up six months ago (or longer) and cost was that long ago. Saves in the long run.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck March 1, 03:59

      For many stored foods, the return on investment certainly exceeds anything you can get at any financial institution. The rice that you bought three years ago and put away is now up 12 to 15%. Apples used to be 29¢ a pound on sale not so many years ago. How long has it been since you saw apples at 29¢ a pound. Now on sale at our local markets they are $1.29 a pound. But the government says inflation is remarkably low. StarKist chunk tuna only 3 years ago was 39¢ a can on sale. Now it is 69¢ a can on sale. That’s almost double. If I had put the money in my local federal credit union I would have less money in the account than I started with because they charge you $5.00 a year non-activity fee and the interest they pay is so low unless you have a real chunk of money in the account the interest you earn doesn’t come to $5.00. I solved that. I invested in tuna fish—well, not the whole amount in tuna fish. I don’t like it that much.

      Reply to this comment
  15. T March 1, 04:03

    Why pickle the eggs. They’ll keep two months or more on the counter.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Sandy March 13, 02:01

    It’s just me and my dogs, how much food would I need?

    Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader March 13, 09:54

      If I were you, I would store at least a year’s worth for myself and the dogs, and maybe a little extra to use for bartering.

      Reply to this comment
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