The average meal for two in a typical NYC restaurant is $102.60.
I wondered how much food I could buy with that same amount of money to add to my stockpile.
Here’s how I bought and stored 44 days’ worth of food containing 2,400 calories a day. I added 100,000 calories to my stockpile with just five types of foods.
This was actually the first time I tried this type of preservation, but I did a lot of research for it.
First, I bought corn and red beans from a local farm and the rest of the products from Amazon and Walmart because I wanted to choose the best quality for the buck.Also, I made sure I had oxygen absorbers that were appropriate for two-liter bottles. As I read on Amazon, the 300cc Oxygen Absorbers are the best for this. I bought a pack of 20, and I had used almost all of them after opening the bag. The price for this was $8.99.Related: 50 Days of ‘Survival’ Calories with Rice and Beans
How I Preserved Them
I made sure the bottles were clean and dry. I put the products separately, one by one, into big bowls and then took a cup and poured them in the bottle. For the beans, you should pour them slowly so that they don’t get stuck in the funnel.
From time to time, I hit the bottle on the table to make more space in it.
I filled every bottle until only a small space remained on the top for the oxygen absorbers.The bag of oxygen absorbers must be opened at the end so that their effect will not fade. I rolled up the oxygen absorbers, put one in each bottle, and stored them in a dark room with little humidity and a medium temperature (around 70°F).
How Many Calories Does One Person Need?
I chose more than 2,000 calories a day after reading a comment from Left Coast Chuck in a previous article. I really couldn’t say it better than he does:
Before you spend your hard-earned money on buying “emergency food” be sure to check the total caloric content of the package you are contemplating buying. Divide the total caloric content of the bucket or box or whatever by 2,000. That is the number of calories you need on average per day. The number varies, but below 2,000 calories per day, unless you have an especially slow metabolism, are a thin, small woman or an old guy like me, you are going to need at least 2,000 calories per day. You will need more if you are chopping wood, hauling water, fending off bad guys or bugging out carrying a 50 pound pack. When you have divided the total calories in the bucket by 2,000 that is the number of days that bucket of food will support, not the month or six weeks that the advertising says it will support.
If you eat fewer calories than you need to sustain, your body will go into starvation mode. Your metabolism will slow. You will become lethargic, finding it hard to do the normal chores you know you must do. You will find your thought process significantly slowed down. It will be hard to concentrate on what you must do. You will make dumb mistakes.
So I should be good with 2,000 calories a day, but I chose 2,400 because I might have to put a lot of effort into doing the daily chores.For the amounts I bought, I calculated the number of calories per cup and the total cups per product.This is how I found out how many calories I have in my stockpile.
613 * 81 + 670 * 21 + 199*76 + 500*28 + 400*33 = 49,653 (red beans) + 14,070 (pinto beans) + 15,124 (white rice) + 14,000 (corn) + 13,200 (wheat) = 106,047 calories
2,400 calories/day means I will have food for ~ 44 days
You may also like:
How To Preserve Beef in Glass Jars
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This article does not mention the cost of oxygen absorbers into the total cost and also should explain the difference between oxygen absorbers and silica gel packets. There should also be something about what “cc” packet should be used for storage in a two liter bottle.
1. On Amazon there appears to be a wide range of oxygen absorber packets. The average low price for 100 packets of 100 cc units appears to be about $9.99, but shipping may vary depending on vendor and weight.
2. The difference between oxygen packets and silica gel packets should be explained in this article as well as why they can not be used together. On linkedin.com there is an article that explains the difference between the two packets and a chart of some foods and different storage methods / sizes. Look up, “Difference Between Oxygen Absorbers and Silica Gel” or use link, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/difference-between-oxygen-absorbers-silica-gel-victor-wen
Give the writer of this article a little credit. You have some valid points; however, your article appears too condescending to me. A spoonful of honey lasts forever.
Hi Melissa, it seems to me that the author does indeed mention which oxygen absorbers to use: 300cc, and they can be gotten from Amazon for $8.99. Seems to me that you seem to be nitpicking the article which I thought was well written and very informative. Have a blessed day.
Please don’t be so hard on the girl. She presented her opinion factually. So, she made a wee mistake by not thanking the author for the article for his information. I reckon we all make little mistakes, don’t we? Blessings on everyone!
I am sorry you are wrong!! It states in the article;
As I read on Amazon, the 300cc Oxygen Absorbers are the best for this. I bought a pack of 20, and I had used almost all of them after opening the bag. The price for this was $8.99.
Pay more attention next time!!
Dear Oxygen Absorber Interested Folks
This day and age we need to list all, all, all details about a product so nobody goes half cocked and unknowing when ordering any stuff we mention. Oxygen absorbers for example or other stuff we read about so no bumfuzzle problem happens to the persons who want to know best buy for situations. Good idea.
I was wondering about the silica gel pkts. I have several of them and use them in whatever I want to keep moisture out.
correction: Wheat and Honey last forever.
Hello how do you cook this goods when its time… plz help
Any good, basic cookbook will give you instructions for cooking dry grains and legumes and will give you several recipes for them. One good one is The Joy of Cooking. Another is The Prepper’s Cookbook. Check tag sales and thrift shops for used ones. Be sure to flip thru them to see if you like them, they’re in decent shape and don’t smell musty. You can also go to Allrecipes.com and look for recipes to download. Dehydrated potatoes are another good staple to get. Hope this helps.:)
The article was inspirational. I hung on every word. Although I have about a year’s worth of food stored away, I’m still going to go ahead and put another month of beans and such into spent pop bottles. It’s going to be the cheapest month’s worth of food in my stockpile. Thanks for the article.
It is easy and doesn’t take a Phd in inorganic chemistry to figure out the difference. Oxygen absorbers, like the name says, absorb oxygen. They are usually some kind of iron compound. Oxygen is what deteriorates stuff, especially food. We have all heard of rust. That is iron oxide. In the process of absorbing oxygen, the absorbers may also absorb some moisture because moisture is H2O and the O is — you guessed it, oxygen.
Silica gel absorbs moisture. Moisture necessarily must also contain the H2 part of water, so silica gel will absorb hydrogen along with oxygen.
The organization from whom you are buying the oxygen absorbers should list how many ml each pack can serve. There are 2,000 ml in a 2 liter bottle. There are 1,000 in a 1 liter bottle. You should be able to figure out how many packets or what size packet you need for the size bottle you are using.
The only criticism I have of this article is the storage vehicle. I like seltzer water. Last year Safeway had it on sale and I stocked up. Recently I opened a bottle that was almost a year old. It is starting to get flat. It didn’t fizz as much when I opened it as it normally does and it just didn’t have the zing that it usually has. The bottle although sealed and stored in the garage out of direct sunlight has allowed some of the carbon dioxide to leak out. The top was tightly sealed before I opened it, so my guess is that the plastic of the bottle is porous enough to allow gas under pressure to pass through with the passage of time. Now it may be that only happens when the bottle is under pressure, but I think Clyde’s method of storage is okay for short term and will certainly keep insects out of his grains. It may not keep rodents out. I prefer to use Mason jars for long term storage. Yes, they are heavier and susceptible to breaking but they don’t allow the leakage and it would be the tough rat that chewed through a Mason jar. You can’t store as much in them as a 2-liter bottle and they are expensive because you don’t get them included in the price of the contents. But physically they will last longer than you will. There is no perfect storage device — well, perhaps there is but its cost is well beyond the budget of the average prepper.
The calorie chart looks great and looks very similar to the one I used to extract my information about caloric needs. I have reviewed several charts and they are all very similar. As a point of reference, I don’t know what the caloric content of MREs is, but the caloric content of the old C-rations was between 3500 and 4,000 calories per daily ration if the entire contents were consumed. This was what the government figured a young man engaged in combat would need a day to maintain fighting fitness. The government is notoriously tight-fisted when it comes to spending money on grunts. They will spend millions of dollars proving a helicopter and crew for a general to flit around in but seek out the lowest bidder for the rifle that the grunt depends upon for survival. If the government figures the average combat infantryman needs 3500 to 4000 calories a day to sustain in combat you can pretty well bet that is a minimum figure, so you can go from there.
O2 absorbers are good but nitrogen is better ya good but an O2 absorber in if ya want in case of small hole ….. butreplacing air with nitrogen (heavier than air so will push air out top if held with opening up) the oxidation (spoilage) is nearly if not completly eliminated….. i have read articles of farmers that packed grains in sealed 5 gallon buckets that displaced air with nitrogen that opened them 25 years later to find contents in prestine condition……. not only does nitrogen stop oxidation it also sufficates any animal infestations as long as they are sealed in container if eat threw container dif outcome …….
We buy our rice already packed in nitrogen purged packages. I don’t think it is available at your local Piggly Wiggly, however. We shop at a specialty Japanese food store in the San Francisco area when we are up there. It is expensive short grain rice but it is the rice we eat when we have rice. It come packed in a foil bag that is nitrogen purged at the packing house. We buy 25 pound bags when we buy it. It is more expensive than the regular Cal Rose that Piggly Wiggly probably carries but the difference in taste is why we spend the extra money. Until I spent four years in the Far East, rice was rice. It didn’t have any taste. It was white stuff one ate in place of potatoes for a change of pace. Four years associating with folks who know and appreciate the difference taught me to appreciate good rice. May not be for you. For most Americans, rice is rice as I once thought. If you are in that category, nothing wrong with it. I’m not criticizing. but Cal Rose or some other type of rice that you like will do.
If you want to nitrogen purge something but you don’t want to pop for a whole cylinder of nitrogen and the valve and whatever else you need for nitrogen purging, you can buy pressurized cans of nitrogen at your town’s wine shop. It isn’t cheap but if you are only doing a few cans or jars, it is a convenient way to do the chore. I don’t mess with nitrogen purging wine any more because in the week or so it takes me to drink a bottle of wine if there is a taste shift my tongue is not sensitive enough to detect it.
Hi Chuck, do you know if that rice is sold online somewhere? What is the name of the rice?
Claude, I like the way you decided what money to use, i.e., take a dinner for two that’s an average cost someplace, and how far would that money go in food prep?
I usually have a portion of my grocery money set aside for stock up items or if I hit a good sale. My current great sale was on sweet potatoes. I followed the suggestion of someone on YouTube who said to boil them for 30 minutes, remove their skins, mash/puree, and dehydrate them. After dehydrating, powder them in a blender or food processor.
I did that, and it’s great because they are ready to go; all I need do is add hot water. I can use as much or as little as I’d like, and the 8 lbs I started with ended up being over 6 lbs of scooped out potato and dried to just over 1.5 lbs. Could fit them all in a 1 qt canning jar and have room for more.
I want to can some as well, which won’t have the longevity that dehydrated foods do (especially if I use oxygen absorbers), but it’s nice to have good food that’s easy to fix.
I like having foods that can be stored for longer periods of time that are shelf stable.
You don’t mention it, did you put your items in the freezer before you stored them? The O2 absorbers would likely make it inhospitable for any bugs, but if I’m storing stuff myself, I like putting the kinds of items you’re showing in the freezer first.
One other thing I liked about this article was your showing how easy it is to do this. Many make it out to be a lot more involved (some might think my freezer step over the top), but it really is pretty straightforward, and you show how a bit at time can really add up.
Love your comment I found out the hard way to always freeze my dry goods! I lost over 200lbs of rice and about 20 lbs of flour because of those pesky weevils! You may not see them in there but I guarantee you there are EGGS in there that will hatch and totally destroy your stock.
I freeze for 3 to 4 days then allow to return to room temp before packaging. I put some in mylar and some in Mason jars. It just a good practice to do since you really don’t know how good the O2 absorber is. Better safe than sorry.
Great information. I never considered this threat to my storage before. Thank you.
Sorry, meant to select liked option that was helpful and appreciated!
Great suggestion. I never thought about dehydrating sweet potatoes. My wife really likes sweet potato and it is high in nutrients and would be a welcome change to dried white potatoes. Thanks for the great tip.
Two-quart juice bottles tend to have larger mouths and be made of a bit thicker plastic.
2 liter bottle allow air to move thru their walls. Glass over plastic every time
Really a well done article.
First, I would not use O2 absorbers in a plastic bottle. Instead I’d go with nitrogen purging. My reason is, when you use an O2 absorber, you are creating a vacuum inside a plastic bottle which means outside air wants to get in BADLY, and it will in a plastic bottle.
Now if you purge it with nitrogen, you do not create a vacuum, so basically everyone stays on their side of town and the two sides don’t mix.
I have used both O2 packets and nitrogen together just to make sure of any micro pockets of oxygen are removed, and it does not really create a powerful vacuum in the container. Things like macaroni have all kinds of places for residual air to hang out, and this is when I throw in a packet or two of O2 absorbers.
Another thing I use nitrogen for is to create an oxygen free environment to store my O2 packets while I work. I will take a Maylar bag or 5 gallon pail and fill it with nitrogen and then throw in my O2 packets and now I can work at a less frantic pace since the absorbers are not absorbing sitting in nitrogen.
Take a match or candle flame and check from time to time to make sure the the maylar bag is still O2 free. It will go out right away if it’s still full of nitrogen and you can see exactly where the O2 and nitrogen meet. The only time nitrogen will escape is when you keep reaching in for another O2 packet, and even then it’s minor, but a match is cheap, so check often.
The other thing I like to do, is add some sort of seasoning to the bottles. For me, I like to use Lawry seasoning salt. You need salt anyway in most emergency food, and you might as well add it in every bottle right away so it’s all self contained.
I like to use the giant milk shake straws. Each straw holds just over 2 tablespoons of salt. Seal both ends and stick as many as your taste buds want into each bottle. Here’s the ones I buy and 200 of them for $12 is pretty cheap.
A couple other things to just think about, it looks like you have yellow popcorn in those bottles, what I have found, is popcorn will store a long time, BUT it tends to lose that tiny bit of moisture inside of it. When this happens it will not pop, only kinda sorta crack open. Popcorn needs that moisture inside and that turns to steam and makes the corn basically explode or pop. No moisture, no steam, no pop, no magic, it just doesn’t work.
After about 2 years MAX, is all I have ever been able to store popcorn before it’s nothing more than chicken feed at best.
I have soaked it in water with various levels of success, but still, the juice ain’t worth the squeeze on this one, but it is easier for the chickens to eat.
On the plus side, the butter flavored salt I stored with the popcorn was still good to go.
I also read about freezing beans before storing them to kill bugs or whatever may be mixed in with them.
I myself am not a fan of this for one simple reason, vapor drive.
Vapor drive put simply, is moisture in the air going from hot to cold. Just take a can of coke out of the refrigerator and within 5 seconds, you will see moisture forming on it that you can wipe away. Look at it in the fridge and it will be shiny and clean, but as soon as it comes out, it’s dull with moisture forming on it.
This is why basements smell musty, they’re cooler and the moisture in the air goes from the warmer upstairs, to the cooler down stairs, and condensates on the cool basement walls and you know what happens when some thing has constant moisture on it, it starts to smell musty.
The same thing happens with beans or any food removed from the freezer, and for “ME”, the risk of packing some thing away that might have a slight amount of moisture on it, isn’t worth it.
Again, for “ME”, I’d much rather put the beans in the oven at 160 or so, and leave it for 30 minutes. It will kill anything the freezer will, but you do not risk the moisture condensating on your food.
I also think if you use the smaller 16 or 20oz bottles and mixed some red beans and rice along with some seasoning salt inside, it would make for some good trading or emergency hand out type food.
Keep up the great articles.
Hi Bill, very good added information. I am well aware of the advantages of Nitrogen displacement but have never researched how one packs food in a nitrogen environment. If you or someone else on the side might address this, I would be grateful. Thanks again Claude for your well presented article. Hope you all have a blessed day.
Doing a nitrogen purge or flush is very easy and almost impossible to do wrong as long as you take a little time and don’t rush it.
I have bought my tanks, but you can easily rent a tank and regulator with hose, from you local welding supply shop, just make sure you ask for PURE nitrogen. Some times they mix it with other gases, and even CO2 for beverage dispensing.
So just make sure you ask for pure nitrogen and you’re fine.
On that hose, I asked if they had one that was cut so I could stick a length of copper tubing in it and use a hose clamp to secure it. They almost always having some thing laying around that you can use, but if not, get one with a 1/4″ pipe thread and screw in a barb and attach your own hose and copper tubing to that.
On the end of the copper tubing, I either tape it up good or add a short piece of hose to it, just to keep the sharp edge of the tubing from possibly cutting the mylar bag, and that happened to me once.
Just stick the tubing in the mylar bag, turn the gas on from the tank, and adjust the regulator to around 5 psi for most foods, BUT heavier dense things like oats or potato flakes and even rice at times, can actually stop the gas flow, and then I just bump up the regulator to 10 or 15 psi and that is usually enough pressure to over come the force and weight of the food on your tubing at the bottom of the bag.
Then I take a tea light candle and light it, and set it on top of the food and within a minute or so it will go out. Now you know you’ve force all or most of the oxygen out of the bag. I usually let it run a few more seconds after I remove the candle. If it does not go out, it means the food is heavier than your current 5 psi, and just start bumping up the regulator slowly until the flame goes out.
Now shut the TANK valve off, remove the copper tubing and seal the mylar bag. I like to leave my regulator set once I have it where I want it, but that’s me.
If you’re using O2 absorbers, I take an empty mylar bag and put it inside a 5 gallon pail and then flush the empty bag with nitrogen and then I throw my O2 absorbers in the oxygen free bag. Now I can work at my own pace and know the absorbers are not on the clock as far as being exposed to O2. I also like to check that bag every 4 or 5 times I reach in and grab a new absorber just to make sure my hand reaching in is not displacing nitrogen with outside air, and again just a quick check with a BIC lighter will show you the level where the nitrogen and air meet. If it’s getting low, purge it for a few seconds.
As far as how many absorbers I might add, that depends on what I’m bagging up at the time.
Things like elbow macaroni I will add in two 300 cc because I know the purging did not get inside all those noodles, but things like rice, oats, potato slices and flakes and things like that, I just add one and some times I don’t even add an absorber because the purging is so complete.
I have taken a bag of elbow macaroni, oats, rice, and potato flakes and purged them all, and sealed them with two absorber and then did the same thing again, but this time I did not add the absorber and a day or so later, the bags with the absorbers did not shrink up at all, and were the same as the bags with no absorbers, EXCEPT for the elbow macaroni. That bag with the absorbers did shrink up some, and again, I think it’s because of all the room inside the noodles that might not have been purged. You can shake it around, but I never seen any noticeable increase in removing O2 by doing that.
Just to give you an idea how much O2 a 300cc absorber will remove, that is equal to just over a 2.6 inch cube of pure oxygen or 18 cubic inches.
300cc is equal to 18 cubic inches.
Air is 21% oxygen and around 78% nitrogen.
One gallon of air is 230 cubic inches and only 21% of that or about 50 cubic inches is pure oxygen. So three 300cc absorbers will remove all the oxygen in one gallon of air.
Now fill that gallon with food like rice and you can see just how little room you have left for air, let alone oxygen.
Increase this to a 5 gallon pail and it’s just a numbers game really, and with nitrogen purging, O2 absorbers really have little to absorb at this point, other than in things like macaroni.
I will also add inside each bag any info as far as preparing the food and calories and serving sizes. Just whatever I think I might need. I have also added in things like bouillon cubes, and packets of onion soup mixes and things like that. Anything to add some extra flavor and salt, to at least some of the rice or whatever. I also add containers of cinnamon to my oats, as I love that extra flavor to my oatmeal. It’s just extra stuff that I like to squirrel away here and there.
When I seal up the bag, I squeeze out just enough air / nitrogen from the bag so that it fits in the 5 gallon pail.
To seal it, I have my clothes iron set to the WOOL setting as that for me works the best at melting the mylar and sealing the bags. I melt a seam about 2 inches wide across the top edge. I have a little flat jig I made that sits on the edge of the pail and allows me to just fold over the bag onto a 2×4 jig and use that as my ironing board to iron on and to seal it up.
Now with this jig, I do not need any help in sealing up heavy bulky bags.
I don’t put a vacuum on my bags either, because for “ME” I like to keep the air pressure inside the bag, equal to the outside. I have found that things like potato slices, pasta and rice have very sharp edges and I have had bags fail because the food actually made tiny holes in the bag with a tight vacuum and now outside air got in. I just made the choice to not vacuum seal things down so tightly that it risks compromising the bag itself.
I write on the bag what’s inside, as well as on the outside of the pail.
Inside the pail, but outside the bag, I throw in a few Bay leaves to keep any bugs out. I have thrown them inside the bags too for some things, but my logic was why allow them to even get into the pail in the first place, but what the heck do I know.
On the lid of the 5 gallon pail, I like to seal it up with a urethane type caulk. I really like that stuff as it seals and seals for good. Silicone, in my opinion, is all but worthless because it peels so easily and doesn’t stick long term.
I will say this though, you will need real tools to open up a pail after that urethane sets up. I found this out the hard way. It takes two men and a big dog to open a pail with tools when really sealed up tight, and without tools, I think some people would die of starvation before getting a pail opened.
For this, I made myself another jig. I made a box out of 2×12 that the pail just barely slides down inside and the base has a couple 2×4’s that stick out at the bottom that two people can stand on and hold it down the jig and pail. Then I made a couple giant openers that grip the lip of the lid and can lift or more like pry it off with the help of a utility knife on the urethane, which is all easier said than done. You’ll need all this if you really seal up the pails, and for “ME” that was my goal. I did not intend for these to be opened and dipped into for camping or fun. It was strictly for emergency use only.
That being said, in 1999 I did open up a few pails that I had sealed up like this in 1979, just to check on them and every one was in perfect condition and tasted no different than what we had on the shelf.
I don’t use CO2 ice because it’s so cold and cold draws in moisture, because of vapor drive. I also do not like CO2 gas, because again, it’s cold and that copper tubing will develop frost as the gas escapes. Using nitrogen, I’ve never experienced the frosting issue even if I ran it at 20 psi or more.
I have 60 cubic foot bottles of nitrogen and I can easily put away 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of beans, rice, potatoes and anything else with each bottle.
As far as freezing food as opposed to the oven, I guess I never really thought about planting any stored beans to grow, instead of just eating them. I have not tried growing stored food because I know most food will not grow and reproduce itself unless it’s heirloom seeds, and in that case, I’m not eating them, I’m planting them, but it is a good idea to hedge your bets in every way possible, and it gives me some thing new to think about. I would just make sure they’re room temp before storing and no flies or bugs are around to lay new eggs that you just froze and killed.
I hope I explained things clearly and it helps.
Bill: Once again, a great post. Full of practical information based on real experience. Thanks.
Hi Bill and thank you so very much for all of the information. LOL, you folks simply blow me away with all of your practical knowledge and experience. Yes, you did explain everything clearly. I do have a question and forgive me if it sounds rather foolish but I am still learning about prepping.
As I read your answer it seems to me that you store a great deal of edibles in five gallon buckets. I imagine that this is far more economical when using nitrogen purge but a question comes to mind. If you are storing food in such a large container and I am assuming that you are using a single bag within the five gallon bucket, doesn’t this mean that you will have to consume the entire five gallon bucket at a time. Am I missing something? Does it make any sense at all to use much smaller mylar bags that perhaps provide a few days or a week of food or does the nitrogen purge become non economical with smaller bags?
I’m happy you guys found it helpful. I know when I look back, I wish I had the internet, and people to ask. The learning curve would not have been so dramatic I bet, but I’m still learning and open to any and all suggestions for sure.
Like “THEY” say, lessons cost money and good ones cost LOTS, and I don’t see any sense for others to pay for those lessons again, if you can just get at least some of the answers to the test for free, and then go to work.
As far as your question, it’s a good one and I’ll share “MY” way of thinking on this, and why I do things the way I do.
Like I said before, this is not food I dip into for camping or anything like that, and for “ME”, the power going out for a few days or even a few weeks, is not a reason to start cracking open my sealed up food supply. This is food that I would NOT open or start using for at least 6 to 12 months into any type of emergency, so if things have not recovered within that amount of time, they’re probably so bad that it will take many years before we start to see things get better.
In that case, me opening up a 5 gallon pail, that amount of food will go rather quickly for our group.
I have my food layered so to speak.
My first layer or level of food is my frozen food which I have about 2 or 3 months worth in a walk in freezer. Here I have frozen meats and veggies and it’s what we eat on a daily basis, but enough to last a couple months anyway at any given time.
Next, I have a lot of can goods in veggies, fruits and meats. If things are not up and running by the time I use up my frozen foods, I’ll start on these. This layer will last me at least 6 to 12 months, and I store almost all of it in a walk in cooler so it stays as fresh as possible since the cooler is in the 30’s.
I do have more canned goods than I can ever use on a rotational basis, so I do donate A LOT of canned goods to our local homeless shelter, and our church does a lot of feeding of the homeless as well, and I just buy all new to replace what we use and give away.
Now if I’ve gone through my frozen foods, and my canned food, and things are still not looking good, I’ll be breaking into my 5 gallon bulk storage food.
I do have a plan for transitioning from one layer to another and not have just a complete change in diet within a few days. Plus we do use a lot of the canned goods on a regular basis as well, especially the canned meats. They’re SO GOOD. They only use the prime cuts of meat, filet, ribeye, and porterhouse, not chuck, ears, lips and eyelids.
So once I’m into my 5 gallon pails, this is the food I’ll be eating for some time, and honestly, a 5 gallon pail won’t last but a few days in our group, so using it all up, once it’s opened won’t take that long, for “ME”.
So this is why I use the larger mylar bags and my long term food storage plan.
You can of course use smaller bags and use them for camping, hiking or long term food storage and the cost is not any more really as far as nitrogen. The bags are probably a little more, and the time required to fill a bunch of smaller bags, than one large bag, but your needs may call for going this route with smaller bags.
The process remains the same, but some thing I have done for smaller bags like this, I line them with several paper towels. I have probably 3 or 4 layers deep of paper towels and then put my food inside the PT. This acts as a little buffer to protect the mylar.
What I have found myself guilty of doing, is I tend to try to force juuust a little more into the bags since they’re smaller, and then the bag is tight and it’s not because of a vacuum. Then I have had them develop tiny holes. The paper towels completely eliminated this problem, and it gave me extra towels for whatever I need like clean up. This isn’t a big deal for oats and things like that, but rice, pastas, freeze dried foods, all have sharp points, and trying to get that extra bite of food inside the bag means extra protection might be needed.
For the straws, I melt one end, and in the other I just stick a small piece of paper towel inside the straw and then I use vacuum caps from my local auto parts store that fit over the straws, and then I dip the cap in hot wax. That keeps the cap in place, well sealed, and reusable.
I don’t like to melt both ends close, just one, so I can keep it the same size and not have to keep wasting a match or lighter to keep resealing it. I mean if I’m down to using stored food, all resources are valuable and need to be conserved.
As far as using the two liter bottle as a container like in this article, I don’t see anything wrong with it when you’re starting out and you use it within its limits, or you just want to store some food for a couple years or so, or maybe for camping and hiking foods, but not 30 year storage food.
I don’t think this article was trying to say that the two liter bottle is the greatest thing since canned bread and sliced beer, and will replace mylar and #10 cans for long term food storage, anymore than the article about a drill motor turned wind generator was saying it will replace all other forms of electrical power production.
I think or the way I read this article, was we can AFFORDABLY start putting a little extra emergency food away right now if we think outside the box. Then when we’re able to, we can do it the more conventional tried and true way with mylar and maybe #10 cans.
For “ME”, I read these articles to provoke thought and the sharing of ideas, and to get people to think more on how to make due with what you have on hand now and to think outside the box, because if bad times come and stay, only out of the box thinkers will be around to see that things get better.
No one is saying that storing food this way is the best for long term, or making electricity from a drill motor will remove you from the grid. It is saying is don’t be afraid to buy a bunch of beans you see a great sale on, because you don’t have the proper mylar bags to store it in. Just like the drill motor that can’t power my home, but just maybe it can produce enough power to charge a dead car battery and get the car started so you don’t have to walk 30 miles.
Just like the idea of freezing food instead of heating in the oven, because just maybe you can plant those beans even though they were frozen instead of heated. I don’t know if it makes a difference, but it got me thinking and now I want to experiment with that idea.
I just like to keep things in perspective and share both pros and cons. Nothing is perfect, but if bad times come, they will be even less perfect.
Bill, you continue to amaze me. Thank you so much for sharing. You did a great job of answering my question but it has given birth to two more. I understood all that you shared but I am a little lost on the “straws” with the vacuum caps. I am afraid that I missed something. What do you use these for?
You may not be able to answer my second question and if so I shall understand. I have been following this site for some time and it always seems that most preppers stand alone. It seems to me that we would stand a far greater chance of survival as a group rather than individuals. I do understand the risk involved with trust and group thinking rather than making individual decisions. The former is far more challenging to be sure. Herein lies my question or perhaps better stated as an observation. It will also lend credibility to the fact that I read your answer with care. You mentioned “our group.” I am fascinated by your use of vocabulary. Were you referring to your family or have you found or established a “group” of like-minded individuals? If this question goes beyond proper protocall for this site please accept my apology.
We always use the terms “I” and “me” when we post and I get that but am nonetheless intrigued when the term moves beyond the individual and into the “group” concept.
Again, thank you so very much for your input and attention. As always, have a blessed day.
I’m sorry for the late reply, but this has just been a very busy week.
Vacuum caps are just rubber or vinyl caps that goes over manifolds nipples so you don’t have a vacuum leak, but you can use them or anything. Like I said, I get them from the local auto parts store, but you can buy them from amazon. I have actually never bought off of amazon, and I never will. I’d much rather support my local economy when ever possible, plus I know they will fit the straw or tubing I have instead of guessing from an online store, but to each their own.
Here’s a link to what I’m talking about.
Here’s 1/2″ plastic straws.
If you really want to get high speed low drag, here are stainless steel 1/2″ straws. I do like these.
I know some will talk about food grade rubber and what not, but that’s why I just stick a small piece of paper towel inside the straw and then put the cap back on and call it good. Besides, with all the chemicals in food and water now, I’m really not THAT concerned about a rubber cap that’s not even touching salt, but again, to each their own.
As far as our group goes, yes, we do have a pretty good group of families with various skills and resources. We even have a GP doc and an ER trauma surgeon as well as a dentist. The two docs, their wives are nurses and they have children going to medical school right now, who are on board and serious preppers and believe in being self sufficient.
We also have a couple rice and sugar cane farmers, and one of their sons is currently a certified auto mechanic.
Our pastor from church and his family, and a few other families from church are with us as well, and raise a lot of live stock.
One of my nephews is a certified welder, and another is the best carpenter I’ve ever seen. In fact, he took 3rd place in nationals for the best carpenter competition in Las Vegas years ago.
My sister, she’s a chef and a VERY good one at that, and her husband is a heavy equipment operator, and a pretty good mechanic himself.
I myself, I build Monolithic dome homes, but now I only build rental properties for myself. I figure build it once and get paid on it forever and actually have something of value to pass on to the family. I mean the way things have gone, the days of working for a company for 40 years and retiring with a pension and gold watch are long gone.
Now with President Trump in office things have gone from a work force of ZERO, and impossible to get anything done, to next year I plan on doubling my crew to close to 200. The most I ever had before, was maybe 55 or 60 workers. I can not tell you how excited I am for the future, and I pray that prepping is NEVER needed.
We all have roles to play, and goals to reach for the group, and while it’s obvious some can do more than others as far as contributing, it becomes a trade off for time and certain skills. Those who maybe can not afford to contribute as far as money, they do tend to have more time to contribute to help do the actual work that needs to be done, which is just as valuable.
For instance, we have wanted to put away A LOT more freeze dried food, but to do so for a group our size is much more money than we want to put out. I mean I do not mind people making a profit, but let’s keep that profit at least some what fair. That’s hard to do when you have greedy people cornering the market in FD food. There isn’t many FD food companies out there, so you pay their price, or you go without.
I just can not see paying an average of over $2, BEFORE SHIPPING, per freeze dried tiny biscuit in a #10 can, or where the can has 22 servings, but they’re only a 1/4 cup and 60 calories. I mean that serving size even embarrasses the cooks in a North Korean forced labor camp, and is in no way a real food ration or serving size you can live on very long. What was once a year supply is now less than 6 months when you factor in all the extra work that needs to be done and calories needed to do it.
I have actually been looking into buying our own FD machine, and I have purchased a commercial machine that will do 1,000 pounds of food every 12 to 36 hours. Now there’s no way that I myself have the time to put this machine to good use, but others do. They can keep it going and going and within 5 to 6 months……according to my high school math since I never went to college, we’ll have it pay for itself in FD food savings.
Now that same biscuit costs just a little more than its original purchase price when you include electric, means of storage, and we have people who have the time to do all the work.
We won’t have the machine for a few months, because they have to build it first, but I do hope to have it by October, and a rep come down to give us all classes and show us how to run it.
I have found bulk food suppliers, BUT all their food is a MINIMUM of a 20,000 pound order, and some 40 and 60,000 pound minimum order. I mean I like sweet peas and the price is right, but good grief 10 TONS???
We’ll see what we can workout with them and if we can work anything in with the church and the feeding the homeless and helping the orphanages which we do a lot of, and it would be great to take it to another level while helping ourselves at the same time. Most all of these charities and organizations are supported by the churches anyway, and I have an idea and plan. haha
Anyway, my point is, having a group means you can do a lot more both for yourselves, and for your community if you choose to, and when bad times do come, and they will eventually, having real doctors with the means to apply their skills, would be a very valuable asset to have and for the local population to want to protect.
I mean knowing you or your child can have a toothache fixed, appendix removed, a broken bone set or accident with an ax or knife stitched up, that means a lot.
We just feel that while weapons and security and protection are a must, the real long term security comes with the ability to help others and they help us when needed. Yes, there’s probably going to be “THOSE CRIMINAL TYPES” running around, and they’ll need to be dealt with accordingly when the time comes. Many of us have police and military back grounds in the infantry, so hopefully we’ll be able avoid problems rather than reacting to them.
Like we used to say in the military, I’m not worried about that bullet with my name on it, that one is for me and there’s nothing I can do about it, BUT I am worried about all those ones flying around that say “To whom it may concern”. So avoiding problems in the first place is what we talk about doing, not ending up in some romantic John Wayne or Clint Eastwood type fire fight where we always win, cause you know, the good guys always win.
Nothing good ever comes when everyone is operation under the high velocity and low opinion, life style.
I’ve said it before, you just can not make it long term on your own. You need a group, and eventually, a group needs a community with law an order. My family has been living the serious prepping life style since the late 40’s and early 50’s, and long before I was born, so we’ve learned a few things along the way.
We feel a good well prepared family can probably go a year or so before they’re going to need some form of resupply or outside help in an area they have no skills in, and well supplied group can probably last 3 to 5 years….maybe longer, but at some point, even for just expanding the gene pool, you need to expand or it’s just a matter of time before everyone is gone, and once you lose one person for whatever reason, everyone else needs to pick up that slack, and so on, until the last couple people are worked to death or lack the skills or supplies needed to keep going.
I mean if you have a failed crop one year due to hail or storm or tornado or fire or whatever, you risk everyone’s life, but in a community, others can help and what was a life and death situation, is now a minor hardship.
Back on the farm we had insurance companies that bail us out when this happened, but when bad times come, our insurance company needs to be each other.
I could go on and on, and I do enjoy sharing ideas and thoughts but I hope you get the idea where we’re coming from. This is just getting a little off track from the spirit of the article.
Hi Bill and thank you so much for answering my questions and in such great detail. I suspect there are many “groups” out there but it was amazing to read how well developed and deep your own group is. I have always wanted to believe that many of us who are standing alone might do well in the extreme circumstances that are coming our way. However, I also believe that a “community” of preppers will do far better.
I thought your observation on the bullet that has your name on it and the ones that are flying around with “to whom it may concern” was so very funny. I do not mean to make a joke of a very serious situation but your sense of humor seems spot on!
One final observation: I cannot speak for all the readers of this article but I didn’t think that your response to me was “getting a little off track from the spirit of the article” at all. You have provided this individual with renewed hope that he may very well find a group into which he and his skills would be accepted. I am no prophet but I expect your group will do very well with what is coming our way.
Again, thank you for taking the time to answer in depth. Have a blessed day!
Well Bill , I sure as S$*T wish you were my neighbor. Most people thing I’m the nut -crazy one . It’s not easy, you know , working against total ignorance sometimes.
I am glad you mentioned beans.
As a person of part Spanish decent, eating beans is a common thing. Any of the kidney beans, red, pink, white or black cooked with a bit of pork or ham fat (I prefer no fat), some tomato sauce (Or in a pinch, watered down ketchup) and seasoned with onion and garlic powder and a few bits of onion, potato and green beans is a tasty dish.You can also use “Adobo”, but it is has a high in sodium content.
I have made them with just the seasoning (onion and garlic powder) and a squirt of ketchup and dropped in a little bit of well cooked, browned ground beef or turkey and they’re pretty good that way too. Eating them plain is just not very appetizing.
They are a good long term survival food, but they do not have to be plain and boring.
I freeze legumes and grains to control pests so I still have the option to plant them and grow more. Can’t do that after they’ve been in the oven. I do store seeds but sometimes things don’t always go according to plan so my food might be my only backup to grow more. Just my 2 cents
I have not used nitrogen or dry ice to store foods. I haven’t tried obtaining dry ice in my current location, at my last one, it was hard to obtain, so freezing the foods first, then allowing them to come to room temperature before storing worked for me.
And I pasteurize all foods I dry and check for any condensation before I put in long-term storage.
Like Timo, I’m also interested in hearing more about using nitrogen displacement.
Bill, great info in your post. I really like your idea of adding seasonings (Lawry Seasoning Salt) to the stored food items. Just a quick question on “sealing the straws”. What method do you use to seal the straw? This is going to be incorporated in my future preps. Thanks.
Great points Thx!
Excellent article (as always!:). Another way to stock on a budget is to set aside $5.00 each time you go to the store and use that to buy items just for your emergency stockpile. You can get 1 gal.water, 1lb dried beans, 1lb rice and 1 4 pack of budget tp for that, maybe add a can of ready to eat something if you hit the sales right. Or whatever you choose to buy – just start the next time you hit the store and you’ll have a nice stash in no time. Remember…baby steps! If you can’t cook you should get foods that require minimal preparation now, but definitely learn the basics of cooking while you have access to the info. It’s a great skill to have.
I question the seal on a 2 liter pop bottle. It only takes a day or two for pop to lose it’s fizz after opening so is the seal really good enough for a prep? I think I’d rather use the glass bottles that our pasta sauce comes in (or other glass jars). Has anyone tried pop bottles long term?
Rebecca: I agree that carbonated beverages lose their fizz once the bottle is opened. I found out to my chagrin that they also lose their fizz even if the bottle is not opened if they sit around for a while. Above I talked about seltzer water that had been in my garage unopened for about a year and was losing its fizz. I don’t know if it is the permeability of the plastic or the cap just isn’t fitted closely enough to prevent slow leakage. I may have a better handle on the topic later this summer as I consume my stock of non-carbonated seltzer water. It still retains a taste of the CO2 that makes it slightly sour but not the tang of the carbonation. Perhaps I will experiment with Perrier which comes in a glass bottle. Buy a bottle of Perrier for each bottle of Safeway seltzer and open a bottle of each at the same time. Also check the caps and make sure they are screwed down tightly on the seltzer water.
I don’t think the same thing applies to opened bottles of carbonated beverage. I think it is two factors involved. One is the expanded area of air in the bottle allows the CO2 to dissolve in the air. Pressure goes from the area of most pressure to the area of lesser pressure. The CO2 in the liquid is under pressure and even putting the cap on, it has a tendency to equalize. I seem to recall a dictum from my introductory chemistry class that nature likes equilibrium and so that’s why pressure moves from high pressure to try for equilibrium. As you allow more air of less pressure into the bottle, more CO2 moves from the liquid high pressure state to the ambient air to try to equalize the pressure.
I liked the article, esp. that you point out the calorie deficit inherent in many bug-out kits. I have 2 problems that I am seeking help with. I have a limited tolerance for beans, due to enzyme deficiency that makes them hard to digest, limiting me to 2x weekly, if I stick to the ones I digest best-peas, anasazi beans, all others 1x week- and I wonder if there is a group or site devoted to alternative vegetable protein sources (Not soybeans) like nuts, lesser known grains, etc. Q. 2 is the need for non-gluten grains, and not just corn. I have Celiac disease, so it’s not pickyness, it’s need. Any ideas?
Quinoa is a grain that sustained the Inca Empire. It is a good protein substitute and is not a bean, it is a grain. Research it. It may be the answer to your problem.
Dry Field Peas are 23% protein vs Quinoa’s 16%. Peas are as hard as rocks because they contain little fat but can be ground up. I’ve never ate them myself but they are a human food, have fed them to my pigs and cows. If your lucky enough to know a farmer who raises peas they would be very cheap to buy off the combine. My idea of prepping is buying the cheapest food to keep people alive until the next garden crop or send the non preppers down the road with something to eat. Chances are we will never need it anyways.
Amaranth is another grain worth checking out as the leaves are edible also, cooked and raw. Related to pigweed and grows in a wide range. Quinoa and amaranth both need to have the seeds rinsed to remove saponin before use. Hope this helps.
Hi, I have some of your problems too. Not sure if this will help you but I got 10 kilos of HEMP Protein Powder and separated into containers. I can Only eat Organic. I live in Australia and can get it from a Bulk Organic Foods in Brisbane. I would think it would be cheaper for you to be able to get it in America somewhere. If I spend over $500 I can get anything Wholesale. I get just about Everything I can eat from there as I live in a country town out of Adelaide and hard to get Anything Organic here. Even with shipping, everything works out a lot cheaper or very similar to store prices. I have thyroid and bone cancer. Just because something in the supermarket Says its Organic, it isn’t and many things have fillers. Usually ok if Certified Organic. I mix the Powder into water or Organic soy milk powder occasionally with Tumeric and little Stevia, pepper, ginger, cinnamon and small pinch of chilli. Been working very well for me. Not sure How long the Protein Powder will last. Another reason lots of separate containers should be helpful. I would think it Should last One to five years ok Two Desert Spoons in a Large cup, also keeps you Regular and has Many Other Vitamins. High in Protein, Omega 3’s etc. You can also get as an Oil but the Powder Should Last a lot longer
Why does no one use CO2 anymore its nitrogen this and nitrogen that? With CO2 you just bye dry ice break a little off and drop it in the container. It displaces air you just need a one-way valve the CO2 expands and pushed the air out.
dry ice here is over 6$ a pound a 125 cu ft bottle refill is 18$ that is one reson and co2 promote vegetation growth —- so your beans and rice may start sprouting —- i do not know but nitrogen seems a lot cheaper after the intial purchase
I don’t agree with using oxygen absorbers in plastic bottles. In the first place the lid is not sealed, and when then absorbers start to work it can distort the bottle and and mess with the integrity of sealer no if there is any to begin with. Mylar bags and food grade buckets with lids are best for long term storage. I would not use this method as described in article. Good info on caloric intake of foods though.
Vacuun sealing the caps works good too. Bottles must be filled, shaken to settle and filled to max to keep from deforming. Caps almost screwed tight, but space for air to be withdrawn, then snug down after vacuum sealing. It you find defective bottle or cap, just re-do.
I have plastic pop bottles holding gasoline since 1993. I trust them.
Put it in your car and tell us how it runs. By the way, food is the subject of this article not gasoline.
Well, we were discussing 2-liter bottles for storage which is what soda comes in, so I think Lidge’s comment is on point because he indicated that his plastic pop bottles (whether 2-liter or not) had held gasoline since 1993 which would give some indication of their ability to withstand leakage. Gasoline has a tendency to melt plastic for want of a more scientific term and I am impressed that the gasoline has not deteriorated the plastic and allowed the gas to escape.
For those interested, I think I may have found the source of my CO2 leakage from my seltzer water bottles. Before opening bottles subsequent to my post I started checking to see if the lid was completely sealed. To my surprise I was able to tighten every single cap at least an eighth of a turn. I bought two more bottles today and was able to tighten them but not quite an eighth of a turn.
I will continue to experiment with the situation and will report my findings later on when I feel I have sufficient data to support a finding.
I’m a bit more positive than some…at least the effort was made and, if it works…one less zombie staggering into your safe space looking for food!! The only comment I will make is, while you have the time…and the opportunity…go for QUALITY as well….steer clear of gmo corns and grains…this is a great article to help those who are not already….getting ready to take responsibility for themselves….
I steered away from storing a lot of white and pinto beans due to cooking time and use of my precious fuel.
I love them both.
I can heat a can of commercial beans in minutes.
Yes, I have 2 bedrooms not used to store canned goods and 5 gallon buckets.
Look into “hot box” cooking. Saves fuel. Not the total solution but it helps.
I steered away from storing a lot of white and pinto beans due to cooking time and use of my precious fuel.
I love them both.
I can heat a can of commercial beans in minutes.
Yes, I have 2 bedrooms not used to store canned goods and 5 gallon buckets.
Rice placed in 2 liters in 2011 because I remember asking the church group to donate because we don’t drink soda.
I do much the same thing, but using a vacuum pump and homemade vacuum chamber which allows food storage in 2 liter plastic bottle and 1 gallon glass jars. The vacuum is so strong it actually dimples the plastic bottles over the dry beans or rice. Once packed, you can stack the 2 liter bottles like cordwood. No oxygen absorbers needed. 10 year old rice was like the day it was packed.
Preparing to survive.com has an excellent article on how to build a fireless cooker or hot box. Check it out.
My husband works at one of the major soft drink companies and they tell them over time the plastic bottles(2 liters) leaks toxins and start to break down. It’s dangerous to your health to store water or food in two-liter bottles. I’m just passing on some vital info.
Though not inexpensive, half gallon mason jars can be found at Walmart and at hardware stores, especially during canning season (late summer to early fall) and in some rural areas, they are available year round. They are glass so they are breakable but with reasonable care, will last decades. Food Saver Vacuum Sealers have an attachment that works along with a jar sealing accessory that fits over the dome lid and vacuum seals the jar. I have stored rice (2 types – yes, there are differences in flavor, texture and stickiness), sugar and baking soda in them. Once they are full of dry goods, they are not nearly as fragile as when they are empty. They are impervious to bugs, rodents, air and liquids as long as the lids do not rust. I keep the rings on the jars just so that I can close the jars up after opening them and breaking the seals.
I have lived in Florida. Trust me… Tupperware containers will not keep out Palmetto bugs, so I am pretty sure that 2-liter soda bottles wouldn’t stand a chance. I personally don’t trust plastic enough to use it for long-term food storage. But that’s just me. YMMV.
I have been using Mylar bags with oxygen absobers BUT doing my spaghetti they never seem to vacumn the bag tight. Other pasta like elbows vacumn but not spaghetti why is that?