07:18 – I’ve spent some time over the last few days inventorying and organizing our stocks. I was putting some #10 cans in the downstairs freezer yesterday when I realized that some of my readers might be interested in what specifically we store. Other than LDS dry staple “iron rations” (x pounds of white sugar, y pounds of macaroni and spaghetti, z liters of vegetable oil, etc.) I hate making specific recommendations because people’s taste in food varies so much. What’s ideal for us may be non-optimal for you and vice-versa.
As to quantities, we’re nominally preparing for Barbara and me plus our 4-year-old, 65-pound Border Collie dog, Colin. In reality, if push comes to shove, I expect to feed more people, including Barbara’s sister and her husband, maybe my brother and his wife, and perhaps a couple of close friends. So although the quantities in this list are nominally for one couple and our dog, in reality we’ll plan to stretch them to cover more people. The way we’ll do that is to buy more “iron rations” than the three of us really need, because bulk staples are inexpensive, particularly if we package them ourselves. A 50-pound bag of white sugar or flour, for example, costs something like $17 at Costco. Stocking way up on those cheap staples provides the basic nutrition—calories, protein, fats, etc.—which can be made palatable with limited quantities of supplemental foods like those in this list.
All of that said, the following list is items we store in #10 cans from Augason Farms, with quantities in parentheses. It may at least give you some idea of items and quantities to consider. You’ll note we don’t include any bulk staples in this list. Augason’s prices on things like #10 cans of wheat, sugar, etc. are usually lower than its competitors other than the LDS Home Storage Centers, but the LDS HSC is far less expensive than Augason. Our rule is that when the LDS HSC offers a product we buy it from them because their quality is high and their prices are lower than any of their commercial competitors. They’re basically selling at cost. Either that, or we package it ourselves in 2 L soft drink bottles or foil-laminate Mylar bags, which is cheaper still.
We’ve standardized on Augason Farms because their quality is very high and their prices are almost always better than their commercial competitors. We’re not radical about it. If Augason doesn’t offer a particular product that we really want, we’ll buy it from Thrive Life, Mountain House, Honeyville, or one of AF’s other commercial competitors. But if the LDS HSC doesn’t carry something and Augason does, we’ll buy it from Augason.
Actually, we won’t buy it from Augason directly, but instead we’ll order it from Walmart, which offers deeply discounted prices and free shipping on orders of $50 or more. Augason actually ships the product directly to us. Walmart is simply offering drop-shipping at a great price.
Note that the following list is by no means all of the supplemental foods we buy to extend our “iron ration” dry staples and make them palatable. We also store lots of canned meats, canned soups, canned fruit and vegetables, spices, baking essentials, etc. etc. These items are simply the ones that it made sense to order from Augason. As of today, our stock of Augason Farms #10 cans totals 46, including:
(9) Whole Eggs Dried Egg Product, 33 oz
(6) Morning Moo’s Low Fat Milk Alternative, 56 oz.
(6) Cheese Blend Powder, 48 oz
(5) Butter Powder, 36 oz
(3) Honey-Coated Banana Slices, 32 oz
(2) Chicken Bouillon Powdered Extract, 65 oz
(2) Dehydrated Red & Green Bell Peppers, 20 oz
(2) Brown Sugar, 56 oz
(2) Lentils, 80 oz
(1) Dehydrated Chopped Onions, 23 oz
(1) Cream of Chicken Soup Mix, 52 oz
(1) Creamy Potato Soup Mix, 3 lbs
(1) Chicken Vegetarian Meat Substitute, 38 oz
(1) Beef Vegetarian Meat Substitute, 37 oz
(1) Bacon Bits Vegetarian Meat Substitute, 34 oz
(1) Potato Gems Mashed Potatoes, 48 oz
(1) Super Nutty Granola, 48 oz
(1) Non-Hybrid Vegetables Garden Seeds, 16 oz
The first four items are the most important ones, and the only ones we’ll probably be adding incrementally over the coming months and years.
The powdered eggs are intended primarily as minor ingredients for cooking and baking, rather than for direct consumption. Each can is equivalent to roughly six dozen medium eggs, so we have sufficient for about a dozen eggs a week for a year. Note that Auguson is honest here and elsewhere. They rate this 33-ounce can as equivalent to 71 medium eggs, which is accurate. Some competitors rate their canned eggs as equivalent to many more eggs. One vendor whose can doesn’t weigh much more than this one rates it as 200+ eggs. Yeah, if you’re counting equivalence in quail eggs. The best-by date on this product is 10 years out, but we keep it frozen, which extends that to 40 years or more.
If you’ve ever tasted non-fat dry milk, you know it tastes nothing like fresh milk. You can aerate it thoroughly, add vanilla or other flavoring, or whatever, and it still tastes like non-fat dry milk. We do keep 42 pounds of non-fat dry milk, along with 48 12-ounce cans of evaporated milk, but that’s mainly for cooking and baking. For drinking, use on cereal, and so on, we keep six 56-ounce cans of Morning Moo’s, which is a dry milk product with other things added to make it taste more like fresh milk. It’s a stupid name, but among dry milks and milk alternatives, most people prefer its taste. The best-by date is 25 years out. Each can reconstitutes to just under six gallons, so the six cans we stock are about 35 gallons worth.
We keep cheeses in the form of frozen fresh cheeses, powdered Parmesan in PET bottles, and cheese sauce in #10 cans. The latter two have best-by dates one or two years out, but in practical terms can be stored for much longer without any significant loss in flavor or nutrients. Still, for long term storage, I decided to keep a half dozen cans of this cheese powder. Its best-by date is 10 years out, but in practical terms it’ll be perfectly good for at least 20 or 30 years. Frozen, it’ll stay good forever.
We normally keep 20 or 30 pounds of frozen fresh butter on hand. If a long term power loss occurred, one of the first things I’d do is melt this down and fill wide-mouth glass or PET jars with it and add an oxygen absorber, which’d keep it good at room temperature for a long, long time. But these #10 cans of butter powder have a rated shelf-life of 10 years, and a real shelf life that’s much longer, even without freezing. The powder can be used as is to add butter flavor for cooking and baking, or reconstituted with water into a butter-like spread. Even better, it can be added to cooking oil to make something that’s very close to soft butter.
So, what precisely did you do to prepare this week? Tell me about it in the comments.