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New approach to food storage…..

I have always been a proponent of “storing what you eat and eating what you store”. That has not changed however the amount I practice it has been reduced quite a bit. Why? My diet. 

mountain-house-food

Much of my food storage has involved rice, beans, pasta, and canned goods. I have changed my regular diet and now live a low carbohydrate/Paleo existence. I have found that due to this my canned goods are beginning to expire. So….what do I do? I think the answer is freeze dried food combined with much of the long term food I have stored such as rice and beans. 

Believe me that if the SHTF I would have no problem eating spaghetti, rice, chili with beans, etc. I have free dried foods now – but will be expanding my inventory substantially over the next few months.

Anyone else run into a similar problem? If so – how are you dealing with it?

Rourke

16 comments to New approach to food storage…..

  • Harriet

    I have great problems with storing what I eat as I eat largely fresh vegetables and meat. Grains, legumes and many nuts set off my autoimmune disease, make me fat and start to develop diabetes. Without grains, legumes and nuts and most dairy I can be almost healthy. So stocking them is not really necessary or a good idea for me. If I was starving I would eat them but they would make me ill as they stopped me from dying in the short term. I do have a little from my pre-paleo days but I haven’t added to them in a couple of years.

    So what I’ve done is to buy a second freezer and keep it full. I also have a generator in case the power goes out. Its not ideal. I would like to be able to set up our currently grid connect solar power so we can have the power on even if the grid goes down. I don’t know how to do that. The people whom I have asked look at me as though I’m mad and start to talk to me as if I’m retarded, which irritates me somewhat. I think its because they know it ought to be possible but don’t know how to do it themselves and they are supposed to be the experts.

    I am also attempting to grow vegetables out of season. I have had little success at this, but my little success is better than a couple of years back when I had no success – so little by little I’m building the skills.

  • Burt Gummer

    Paleo here also brother. 3 words, Powdered Whole Eggs. Its the TVP of the paleo man. I also can meats which is a must have skill if you wanna have some proper protein as well.

  • Harry

    If you’re buying bulk items the limitations become obvious very quickly – rice, beans, pasta, powdered eggs, powdered milk, dried fruit, and various spices and soup bases.

    Commercially canned items are heavy, difficult to store (a typical can wastes about 20% of the available space), and are only good for about 2 to 3 years. Plus they tend to be heavily laced with salt.

    Home canning will solve the salt issue, but not the space or weight issue. If you grow your fruits and vegetables or have access to a local farmer’s market, this is a great way to create food storage without coughing up a lot of money. Home canning does have the drawback of creating a lot of breakables (mason jars are sturdy, but they will break). Home canning also requires a significant time investment.

    Freeze dried and dehydrated foods usually have a longer shelf life, can provide a more varied diet than locally available foods and bulk storage, and are now available as simple components rather than just pre-made meals. Previously (10 years ago, maybe a bit more), if you invested in freeze dried foods your choices were soups, chili, pastas, and 3 vegetables with 3 fruit choices. All of it had extremely high sodium content as it was designed for outdoorsie types who were hiking up mountains and crossing continents, not preppers. Now you can get asparagus, tomatoes, mangoes, cheese, yogurt, meats, and even coffee in #10 cans from a variety of sources.

    I’m not certain there is a perfect answer to Rourke’s dilemma. For us, it’s a combination of all of the above. We have some canned goods bought in bulk at Costco, a lot (rough guess for our house is about 1,200 jars – we commonly feed 15 people, so it takes a lot of food) of home canned vegetables, beans, fruits, jellies, sauces, and honey, bulk storage of rice, grains, corn, and beans in vacuum bags with DE, and a fair amount of freeze dried foods (we prefer Gourmet Reserve and Thrive, but that’s just a personal preference). We also have our garden, livestock, and way more feral hogs than we can shoot much less process and eat.

    In a pinch there are a couple of barn cats who have gotten a little lazy recently and could find their way into the soup pot if my tummy starts to growl too loud.

  • I do a lot of my own home canning of the foods I grow. Also supplement with locally grown foods when they are in season. Like Harry mentioned, that will still take up space and weight, but at least it is healthy and you can replenish each year when gardening season rolls around.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    My approach to food storage for SHTF is to store high energy foods that are also complete proteins. I also include salt, sugar, spices and bouillon to appease my taste buds. The plan is to supplement this as possible with fresh greens, root vegetables and game. The idea is I “could” live on the preps alone but I expect to and hope to supplement it for better variety and food value. The reason this works and is a good idea is the kinds of foods I store are cheap, calorie dense and store well.

  • Eagle Prepper 1

    Those canned goods will last much longer than you think. Check out this article:
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/12/26/167819082/dont-fear-that-expired-food

  • Backwoods Prepper

    I have no problem with using out of date can food. #1 I know it will last way past its date. #2 Do you really believe those dates when they where invented by the department of AG a.k.a department of big business. And how many of you know NJ was the reason the expiration date was put on botteled water. A 1987 NJ state law required all food products sold there to display an expiration date of two years or less from the date of manufacture. Labeling, separating and shipping batches of expiration-dated water to the Garden State seemed a little inefficient to bottled water producers, so most of them simply started giving every bottle a two-year expiration date, no matter where it was going. Seriously if you trust the food you can at home to be good for 4 or 5 years why not store bought. Why just 2 years expiration on store bought. I have not let a can get that old yet but I may try. No dents no rust no holes I’m sure it’s good.

  • James Nelson

    We also eat low carb and it does change food preps from the standard.
    First remember that expiration dates are total fiction in either commercial canning or home canning. As long as the vacuum seal is good, so it the food. I’ve posted the link here before, but the US Army did studies on commercially canned food and found it still good for 30+ years. Food home canned stays good for over 10 years in my personal experience, again as long as the seal is intact. Clear glass jars should be stored out of the light as light can effect color and texture of the contents.
    My personal solution is to can meats and meat containing meals, chili, stew, etc. The meals are made from recipes that are low carb, stew without white potatoes, chili without beans, meatloaf without flour, and so forth. We also dry cooked meats and make biltong and seal them in mylar or canning jars with oxygen absorbers. We also have a large supply of home dried vegetables stored the same way as the dried meats.
    Freeze dried #10 cans are way too expensive and we would find dealing with the contents in a timely manner difficult. We do have some commercially canned meats bought when the price is right.

  • Rourke

    Thanks for the info James.

    Rourke

  • Rourke

    Thanks Backwoods –

    Yes – I am often telling my wife that the can of spaghetti sauce is still good a few months after the exp date. BUT – it is still a problem with trying to stock up on food that I would gladly eat during an emergency – but not eating during regular times.

    Often freeze dried food can be purchased at deep discounts when on sale. I am not exclusively storing freeze dried – but rather increasing its presence.

    Take care – Rourke

  • Rourke

    Barn Cat Stew –

    Please post the recipe Harry.

    Rourke

  • Rourke

    Harriet –

    Thanks for the info and I figured I would hear from you on this. Would like to hear about your efforts in growing off-season.

    Thanks!

    Rourke

  • I recommend a Meals-in-a Jar system, like this from Chef Tess and Honeyville. We also are low carb, and use the Dreamfields low carb pasta in place of regular. If you are strict Paleo, subsitute dehydrated vegetables for pasta. Wax beans in chile? Heck yes!!

    http://honeyvillefarms.blogspot.com/2012/03/meals-in-jar-guest-post-chef-tess.html

    Bugbite

  • Rourke

    Thanks Bugbite!

    Rourke

  • Harry

    Well, first you have to acquire a cat – get a mean, ugly one otherwise the children will want to give it a cute name and have the wretched critter sleep in the house. If you trim off the paws right at the wrists they can be saved and used for toothpicks after the meal. Use the head for bait in your hog trap, let it ripen for a few days in the sun – that aroma really draws in the piggies. If cat will be a regular part of your diet tan the hides, fur and all, then sew them together to make a nice warm cape. Of course every dog in the neighborhood will be after your clothing; but, depending on your opinion of dogs that may be a good thing – after you clean out the cats you could wok the dogs.

    Since you will have to stew the cat for a loooooong time (otherwise, it’ll be really stringy) you should pick some fairly sturdy veggies to put in the pot. I recommend turnips, carrots, and onions. Throw in a few rutabagas if you have them. Don’t forget to season it really well – even a well fed cat will taste like used tuna fish.

    Use the left overs to make stink bait for the next time you want to catch a mess of catfish.

    Remember, you asked.

  • Rourke

    Awesome Harry!

    Rourke