Be careful where you buy food storage today, don’t make the mistake I did a few years ago. I want to share my experiences with you. We are all aware of what’s going on in the world today and it reminds us all how important it is to have some food storage. Not next week, not next month. Today. Please throw in a few extra cans in your grocery cart and a case of water every time you go to the store. Just so you know, I am not rich, I buy my food slowly and at the best price and quality available.
It seems like wherever I go I get stopped and asked, “Linda where do you buy your food storage”? I am so glad people ask me because I have learned some good places and some not so favorable places to purchase food storage with my hard earned money.
If you have attended a class where I have taught about food storage or emergency preparedness you have heard some of this before. I grew up having food storage, although my family could not have lived on my mom’s pantry for more than three months if that. When I was first married we had a garden and each year that garden got bigger and bigger. I taught myself to can every fruit and vegetable that I could grow. It’s really easy to can your own food. I taught my daughters to water bath can and pressure can foods. We would preserve and dehydrate everything we could get our hands on that was free for the picking, so to speak. We didn’t have the luxury of the internet back then to look up how to can or process foods.
I would go to the local Government Extension service and get the booklet on canning. I taught myself how to use a pressure canner and have it checked at the local inspection station. Now I have an All American canner and it’s much nicer to pressure can using it. I used a Presto for years and it worked great. The All American Pressure canner is the reason I had to replace my glass top electric stove for a gas range last year.
Please be careful when using a glass stove top for canning. You can use an electric stove with the circular burners but you might want to read your owners manual for your glass top stoves. Most recommend you not use them for canning. Just giving you the heads up here.
Be Careful With Dry Packing/Canning
About 5 or 6 years ago, I decided to go to a local church cannery in Utah. I went with one daughter and my husband to “can” the dry goods ourselves and save money. This proved to be a big mistake and costly as well. I spent $1,200.00, which is a lot for me. I wanted my daughters to have the makings to make soup in the case of a disaster or unforeseen emergency. I decided on white beans, dehydrated carrots, and dehydrated onions. All they would need was water and a butane stove with fuel.
A year later my daughter who helped us can the dry goods called me after she opened a can of the dehydrated carrots and said: “these smell rancid”. I ran to open one of my cans, then another and another. Every can was rancid. The color was off and the smell was for sure bad. This was a costly mistake for me, one I cannot afford to make. Yes, we had to throw out all of the food. Thank goodness we learned the mistake before we had to live on it. We would have all been sick.
Voluntary Operation For Food Storage
Here’s the deal, it is a voluntary operation. Keyword, voluntary. The people at the front desk hand you oxygen absorbers that have hopefully been sealed in an airtight bag. BUT people who have already been there dry canning, bring their unused open bags of oxygen absorbers back to the front desk to be handed off to the next family. When the bags are opened they must be put in something like a quart jar that is airtight or they become warm and no longer work. So basically I was dry canning with these little packets that were useless.
I learned later that they were too small as well. In other words, some of the cans should have had two or three of those packets. You need differently sized oxygen absorbers for different sizes of cans and the product you are dry packing or canning. I am sure there are some people that use those canneries that know how to use the oxygen absorbers. I was not given instructions, I felt like Lucy with Ethel in the chocolate candy episode.
I was filling the cans and placing the warm packets into cans. The workers would walk by us and never said one word about the oxygen absorbers needing to be in an airtight quart jar. My concern is about all the cans in some homes that were processed there and are probably rancid, and the people have no idea. In other words be careful where you buy your food storage. If you decide to use one of those voluntary organizations bring your own oxygen absorbers and do your research as to how many of the packets should be used. You may have had a different experience. My advice is to do your own research about proper canning techniques and use that knowledge to your advantage no matter where you perform the canning itself.
Do You Want To Buy Food Storage That Is Ready To Eat Meals? (just add water)
1. Do you want to buy food storage that is on a pallet and have it delivered to your home? I had one food storage group I was looking at that likes to come to your home and sell you food storage. They make an appointment with you, you cannot buy it online a little at a time. All you do is add water. That’s great for people with a lot of money. But it does not work for my budget. Plus, the samples I tried were not something I would be comfortable feeding to my family based on the ingredients listed on the cans. Now you might say, well anyone will eat it if they are hungry.
This might work for you if you just want to buy your food storage and put it in a safe cool location in your home. You will wait for a disaster and know you have food. As long as you have enough water you are good to go with this product. “Set it and forget it” is what I call this approach.
This group has a few well known male celebrities on their website who support their product. I emailed them and asked why they don’t have a woman recommending their products. I don’t know about you, but how many husbands are shopping for the food storage in your family. Just thinking out loud here.
2. I have tested small pre-packaged meals where all you do is add hot or cold water. I do like the brand Mountain House. They are the packages you can put in your 72-hour bug out bags or kits. I do not personally buy those for long term food storage because of the cost, but they are great for camping. Here are some I recommend: Mountain House Best Sellers Kit. Here is a bucket you might be interested in Mountain House Classic Bucket. Both of these packages state a 10-year shelf life. Great for 72-hour kits or bug out bags.
3. You can buy those brown military looking MRE’s (meals ready to eat). Maybe if you were in the military or an avid hunter you might like these. I do not. You have to decide what works for you and your family. I know families who have boxes and boxes of these and they like them, awesome!
4. Some of the large box stores sell buckets or boxes with so many meals per container. Before you grab that box or bucket you might want to look at the ingredients. Then inspect the calorie count for each meal. Are the meals something you would want to eat? I look at some of those boxes and think half of those I would not eat. Yes, I would eat them if I was starving. Some are very small portions that would be perfect for a child. Child, keyword. Some people I’ve talked to tried some of the products and didn’t like the flavor, no matter what the ingredients are. I suggest you try a product and see what you and your family think before you buy a large quantity.
What’s The Difference Between Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Food Storage:
Freeze dried fruits and vegetables you can eat right out of the can. It lasts longer than dehydrated food. It takes less water to rehydrate and they cook faster. The flavors taste fresher because of how it is processed. It is more expensive, but in my opinion, it is totally worth it. I would take 25 years of shelf life anytime. Remember, buy one #10 can a month. Be sure and compare companies because not all #10 cans are equal. The size of the can is the same, but check the ounces listed on the can and then divide the cost per ounce. Money is money. Saving is saving. I can throw these vegetables into any soup right from the can.
Dehydrated vegetables have a few items that have a shelf life of 25 years, but very few. Most are five to eight years. Please look at every #10 can you might buy before handing over the money. Here again, every #10 can is not equal in ounces. Calculate the cost per ounce so you make a fair comparison. You cannot eat the food right out of the can, you might crack your teeth. The vegetables can be added to liquid soups and you can make casseroles by adding a little extra liquid to the recipe. These are usually a lot cheaper than freeze dried, but they must be cooked with water added.
Where I Buy Food Storage Today And Why:
Now let me tell you where I buy food storage and why I buy it that way. I do not need a cookbook to make meals with the food storage I buy. I will explain why I buy those #10 cans of cream base and potato based soup. I do like the Augason Farms soup bases. I get them at a local grocery store. They are very inexpensive and you can buy them at other places as well. These are the only processed #10 cans of food I buy. Potato Soup Base: Augason Farms Emergency Food Creamy Potato Soup Mix, 3 lbs
That soup base is great because when and if we have a disaster I can make dinners quickly for 100-200 people within an hour. I would add freeze dried meat and freeze dried vegetables to these soup bases. Dehydrated food would take longer to make soup for that many people. I could serve it with homemade french bread. If my neighbors have gluten issues I’m sure they have stored fruits, vegetables, and meats. Also, check the #10 cans you buy for nut or wheat packing facilities. I do not store any meals, just so you know, only these soup bases. If I need to fix some meals for dozens of people I need something like these soup bases so I can just add water and cook a huge pot of soup on one of my propane stoves. Yes, I have the propane and the pans to cook everything. Don’t forget the paper goods and plastic silverware to serve your emergency meals.
These Are My Favorite Places I Buy Food Storage:
1. Wheat-Lehi Mills is my favorite. Lehi Mills: I watch for it at Costco in six-gallon buckets. I only buy hard white wheat. It’s different than the hard red wheat I grew up on. I also buy hard white wheat in #10 cans because they store easily under a bed.
2. Milk-Thrive has the best flavor: Thrive Instant Milk. (25-year shelf life-unopened). Please note I don’t drink milk myself, but this is the first one that I felt had the ingredients I liked. Thrive website: “THRIVE Instant Milk powder dissolves instantly in water at any temperature. It is made from 100% milk and it is so delicious you will want to drink it with every meal.”
3. My favorite short term food (one to two years) storage: North Bay Trading Company Food Storage. I have to say that this company is the Nordstrom’s place to buy food storage. Not because of the price, but the quality. It is top notch quality. I use their products literally every day. They have more organic food storage than anyone I know. The prices are reasonable and I never throw out veggies anymore (hidden back in the refrigerator). I grab my containers with fruits and vegetables already washed, cut, sliced and ready to use. They are certified Kosher: Certified Kosher Foods by North Bay Trading Company. They are certified Organic: Certified Organic Food Items by North Bay Trading Company. This is a family owned company and you really need to try their products. I love them! This is off of their website: “What is the shelf life of your products? Each product has guidelines listed in the Cooking Tips tab of the product detail page. For most low moisture products, the range is 18 to 24 months. Packaged products are in high quality resealable zipper pouches. You can super extend shelf life to many years with a household vacuum packaging machine and/or other techniques”.
4. Eggs: OvaEasy Eggs. These are my favorite: OvaEasy Powdered Whole Egg #10 Cans (2 x 1.67 lb cans) When you start using them they look pale orange and they start to turn yellow after you add water and cook them. Perfect scrambled eggs, omelets, quiches or omelets. I use other powdered eggs for cooking.
5. My Favorite Butter: 24 Cans Red Feather Creamery Butter From New Zealand (Very expensive but it would be a great treat or bartering item). I have yet to taste any powdered butter that is palatable. They are great for baking, but I would rather have no butter on toast than to eat the powdered kind. Just giving you the head up here. Remember, this is why it is so critical to buy a few cans and taste it.
6. My Favorite Bacon: Yoders Canned Fully Cooked Bacon (these are very expensive-great for a treat or for bartering). You can also pick these up at Emergency Essentials in the store or online. They are pricey everywhere. Yes, I nearly choked at the price. I have six cans I bought five years ago when they were cheaper.
Where I Buy Food Storage Meats:
1. Thrive Meats, I prefer this company because of the shelf life and taste:
a. Freeze dried chopped chicken pieces-25 years in unopened #10 can and 1 year opened #10 can
b. Freeze dried beef dices-25 years in unopened #10 can and 1 year opened #10 can
c. Freeze dried hamburger-25 years in unopened #10 can and 1 year opened #10 can
d. Freeze dried ham-25 years in unopened #10 can and two weeks opened #10 can
Where I Buy Food Storage Beans:
1. Canned beans, wherever they are on sale.
2. Thrive-they have instant beans that cook faster and will use less fuel to cook them. (25-year shelf life unopened)
Instant Black Beans: Thrive Instant Black Beans.
Instant Pinto Beans: Thrive Instant Pinto Beans.
Directions off the Thrive website: “Bring 6 cups water to a boil, and add 2 cups beans. Cover and simmer for 15–20 minutes. Strain if desired, season and serve.” This is awesome because I would use very little fuel and they would work great in a Sun Oven.
I also buy the regular small bags of beans. I have found I no longer want to store 50-pound bags of beans, there is no way we can eat that many beans in our family now. I buy these #10 cans and some canned beans with water at the local grocery stores.
I Buy Food Storage Sweeteners:
Cox’s Honey is my first choice of raw honey, I buy a few cases every year. Cox’s Honey. I also buy honey powder, white sugar, and brown sugar in #10 cans wherever the price and quality is the best.
I buy sugar in large bags and fill five-gallon buckets with Gamma lids. I do not use mylar bags. I store white flour for 12 months maximum in five-gallon buckets with Gamma lids. White flour goes rancid very quickly.
Where I Buy Food Storage Fruit And Vegetables:
Thrive freeze dried fruits and vegetables. I believe I have tried every one of them that they sell because I have set up a “Q” and I have a delivery every month. This works for me by purchasing a few #10 cans at a time. My favorites are the green beans, corn, and spinach. Freeze dried is more expensive, but I am storing food for the long term as well. Remember, I eat my freeze dried food every day in recipes. I rehydrate the green beans for instance and stir fry them after soaking in water for a few minutes and draining them. Easy peasy.
Honeyville has great freeze dried fruits and vegetables as well. I really wish they had an automatic type shipment. I like the idea of knowing I have a couple #10 cans of food storage coming to my home every month.
Yes-I Buy Food Storage In Small Cans:
Yes, I do buy food storage like cream of chicken soup, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, diced tomatoes, etc. I love pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, etc. The less I have to go to the store the better. I buy cases at a time of certain ones that I use more often than others. The others I always buy 10 cans. For some reason, I love to buy ten cans at a time.
I Buy Food Storage That Does Not Need A Special Food Storage Cookbook:
Here’s the deal, I think some people get a little nervous thinking about how to cook food storage. Well, I only buy #10 can vegetables with zero additives. Therefore you can use any cookbook that shows you how to cook from scratch. You rehydrate the veggies and use them as you would canned or fresh. The old recipe books are the best because they have grandma’s recipes with zero processed stuff in them.
I can make syrups, sauces, muffins, pancakes, pies or whatever with the freeze dried fruits. Here again, I only buy fruit with zero additives.
I do buy dehydrated carrots and potatoes, but those are the only dehydrated products I will buy. I prefer freeze dried over dehydrated, but dehydrated vegetables are great in soups, chili, and casseroles. Here again, I do buy dehydrated vegetables, but they have to be cooked. I want to buy vegetables I can use in my own recipes without having to purchase a special cookbook.
Don’t Forget The Water:
Please remember to store water, I mean lots of water. We can’t survive without water. I recommend storing different containers of water. For instance, if you need to run, have some with handles to take with you. I have some of those 55 gallons on the side of my house. Please remember to keep them off the concrete so nothing can leach into the barrels or other plastic containers.
TVP, textured vegetable protein is not allowed in my house. I cannot stand the smell of it. It is great for vegetarians, but not for me. Just giving you the heads up here. Please remember, when you buy food storage you need water and that the shelf life of the foods you buy will always depend on the temperature and humidity where you store the food.
I hope these ideas prove helpful. I wish I had had someone to help me when I was first married and trying to get some storage item ideas. Let me know how these suggestions have helped you out.