Monday, 8 February 2016

15:13 – We just spent several hours getting steel shelving set up in my office and moving/organizing/inventorying stuff onto those shelves. Having enough food to feed Barbara, Colin, and me for a year or more gives me a sense of security. Having still more in the form of bulk staples that can be stretched with the soups, sauces, spices, meats, and other stuff we have on the shelves also puts us in a position to help family, friends, and neighbors if it ever comes to that. Speaking of which, the chicken tetrazzini turned out very well. It made enough to feed 4 to 6 people, and everything in it was shelf-stable.

We filled seven 2-liter Coke bottles with bread flour yesterday. That turned out to be such a PITA that we transferred the remaining 25 or 30 pounds from the 50-pound bag into heavy freezer Ziplock bags, which isn’t really long-term storage, but we use enough flour that it’ll be fine in the Ziplocks. The 2-liter bottles work pretty well for sugar, rice, oats, and similar bulk foods, even cornmeal, but it’s a real struggle to get them filled with fluffy stuff like white flour. So we still have a sealed 50-pound bag of white flour sitting waiting to be repackaged.

For that, I plan to use one-gallon foil-laminate Mylar bags from the LDS store. To keep down the dust, we’ll probably fill Ziplock bags first, and then seal the filled Ziplock bags in the foil/Mylar pouches. Until yesterday, I would just have sealed the foil/Mylar pouches with a clothes iron set on high, but I read something yesterday about the LDS church recommending that their pouches be sealed only with one of the impulse sealers they sell, or the equivalent. Apparently, a clothes iron doesn’t get hot enough to do the job reliably. The impulse sealer the LDS church sells costs $410, but I understand that many LDS wards and branches have impulse sealers available to borrow or rent, so I’ll probably check with our local LDS church the next time we’re ready to repackage bulk staples.


27 thoughts on “Monday, 8 February 2016”

  1. We filled seven 2-liter Coke bottles with bread flour yesterday. That turned out to be such a PITA that we transferred the remaining 25 or 30 pounds from the 50-pound bag into heavy freezer Ziplock bags, which isn’t really long-term storage, but we use enough flour that it’ll be fine in the Ziplocks. The 2-liter bottles work pretty well for sugar, rice, oats, and similar bulk foods, even cornmeal, but it’s a real struggle to get them filled with fluffy stuff like white flour. So we still have a sealed 50-pound bag of white flour sitting waiting to be repackaged.

    Way, way too much work for this lazy dude. I’m going to stick with the Auguson stuff, even though the price is 3X higher.
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Augason-Farms-Emergency-Food-Honey-White-Bread-Roll-Mix-58-oz/22985152
    and
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Augason-Farms-Emergency-Food-Honey-Wheat-Bread-Roll-Mix-58-oz/22985151

  2. I don’t understand the desire to use an iron or a hair straightener.

    It’s a half @ssed approach to something that is supposed to save your life and the lives of your loved ones.

    I haven’t sealed mylar, but why wouldn’t the sealer from a foodsaver work? I’ve made my own packing pillows with mine, sealed up straws (with sugar inside, for the kids), and the first step in making a bag is to seal the tube.

    If a modern, high tech one won’t do it (due to timing issues) the old ones (and simple) are still widely available and cheap. That’s what I’ve used, one that only turns on when you press down on the lid, and only turns off when it overheats or you let up.

    In fact, why don’t I try it right now???

    nick

  3. Small techie note for 2day:

    FF told me I needed to update it; OK, I did. On re-launch, I got a mostly blank page with the usual top bar icons blanked out. Reboots for that and the several Windoze updates yielded the same result. So I uninstalled it and reinstalled it and bingo, came back OK with my bookmarks, etc.

    I’m down to using Chrome for one particular online course and Google only for Google maps and Google Earth. FF for wife and SeaMonkey for me for all other stuff. Tor, increasingly. Dumping Skype for Jitsu.

  4. Those kind of impulse sealers are pretty useless for LTS food storage in foil/Mylar bags. I have one that was about $35 new. It puts down only a 1mm seal vs. the 5mm wide seal that a capable sealer makes. A Foodsaver sealer is useless for a 7-mil foil/Mylar bag.

  5. We just spent several hours getting steel shelving set up in my office

    It takes a surprisingly large amount of time to get metal shelving in place. And now I have decided that I have an off by one error in the shelves holding 60+ water cases. Especially with the new 40 bottle cases that seem a little taller than the old 35 bottle cases. I left space underneath the bottom shelf to store boxes but that looks like a mistake now. If I can get some energy, maybe I will spend a few hours lowering those shelves.
    http://www.samsclub.com/sams/welded-rack-4-level/prod13130202.ip

  6. Actually, it took us maybe 20 minutes to set up the 5×2 five-shelf unit. The rest of the time we spent transferring food to the shelves and doing an inventory as we went along.

  7. re bottles, no one living here drinks soda, but we go through a lot of fruit juice. The openings are much larger than soda bottles’, and the plastic is PET or PETE. Assuming I can keep “certain people” from throwing away my bottles as soon as they’re dry, I can fairly easily seal up staples. Flour is not too bad, and everything else is a piece of cake.

  8. Re: bottles: I’ve been using a lot of those plastic bottles (Ocean Spray Juice, and other similar ones) for extra water storage. Nice thick bottles, good sealing. Would be good, as SteveF says, for storing dry materials.

    They are right next to my FLASHLIGHTS!

  9. “It puts down only a 1mm seal vs. the 5mm wide seal that a capable sealer makes”

    What kind of seal does the iron and the edge of the countertop make?

    nick

  10. @ JimL,

    Those look like every commercial impulse sealer I’ve ever seen. Uline.com has a variety at a lot of different price points too.

    At <$100, I can't see why anyone serious about bagging wouldn't buy one. People p!ss that away on flashlights without giving it a second thought.

    @steve, be sure you clean and then rinse the juice bottles with bleach solution, and let them sit for a while. I let mine sit upside down so the seal in the lid gets bleached.

    Leave air at the top of your bottles too. The air needs to be there so the bottle doesn't explode if dropped. Air is compressible, water, not so much.

    nick

  11. For that, I plan to use one-gallon foil-laminate Mylar bags from the LDS store. To keep down the dust, we’ll probably fill Ziplock bags first, and then seal the filled Ziplock bags in the foil/Mylar pouches.

    I tried using Ziploc bags with flour inside the vacuum bags, which works. Sort of. I switched to filling brown paper lunch bags with flour, fold the paper bag top over twice, then seal the filled paper bag in a vacuum pack. This has several advantages. I can write on the paper bag prior to sealing, air is easily evacuated without sucking flour particles into the seal, there is added light protection, the shape is easy to work with, and when I open the vacuum bag, the flour is already in a convenient container.

    I will be experimenting with Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers soon. I expect I will still use paper bags to contain the flour, if for no other reason than to have a clean and easy to work with package prior to sealing.

  12. I don’t bleach the bottles. For water, I rinse, fill (mostly fill, as you said), and sterilize in the sun. I’ve opened a few that had been sitting in the basement for a couple years, and they were all fine. (At least according to a good sense of smell and a so-so sense of taste.)

    For bottling food, I rinse the bottles and let them dry thoroughly, then smell. If I can’t smell cranberry or whatever, it’s good enough and I’ll fill with rice or whatever.

  13. I worry about biofilms.

    so I put a splash of bleach in, swirl it around, fill with water, let sit, drain, refill with filtered water. I’ve got some I tried after 5 years that were still good. I count on a little of the bleach being still in the bottle when filled.

    I’ve got britta pitchers and filters for taste when using my stored water.

    I keep drinking water in the vehicles, but don’t put bleach in that since it’s meant to be used sooner than later.

    nick

  14. I keep drinking water in the vehicles, but don’t put bleach in that since it’s meant to be used sooner than later.

    I am lazy. I just leave a case of the latest bottled water that I have purchased in the back of my Expedition. It slides here and there while I am driving (the wife says I drive like a spastic monkey) but I just ignore it.

  15. Leaving water in the car. Hmm. What a novel idea. Might even work … if you live in someplace without winter.

  16. We had winter here in the Land of Sugar just a few years ago. Had snow and everything.

    I left my case of bottled water in my truck last Feb when I drove to Norman, OK for a industry conference. It was 10 F most nights and my water did just fine. I only drove my truck one day while I was there from Saturday night to Wednesday morning.

  17. Actually the bottled water plastics are pretty forgiving in winter, at least in Ontario. My wife leaves one or 2 bottles in the car all winter and they freeze and thaw without leaking. They crackle when the temperature changes but that’s it.

  18. “We had winter here in the Land of Sugar just a few years ago. Had snow and everything.”

    “…a few years ago.”

    I know what ya mean; we also had winter a few years ago. This one, so fah, and the last two, seem more like extensions of late November. One genuine snowfall this winter, and counting. Right after I bought the SnowJoe corded electric snowblower, and nothing since. We COULD still get hammered right on into May, so we’ll see.

    But too cold to just leave wotta out in the cah and expect it not to freeze up. Gotta say, though, we have also not had temps below the teens here yet, except for one or two nights it hit single digits briefly. So maybe the warmist ass-hats are right, which would be good as fah as I’m concerned; longer growing season, lower heating bills.

  19. @terry,

    BTW, great idea with the lunch bags. Just wanted to go on record! If I repackage flour, I’ll definitely be trying this.

    nick

  20. We had winter here in the Land of Sugar just a few years ago. Had snow and everything.

    Chengdo in Sichuan Province, PRC, where my wife’s family is from, sees snow every few years, with “snow” meaning a few flakes in the air, which melt on contact with the ground. When her parents came here for the first time, there was a heavy, early snowstorm a couple months after they arrived. “Oh, how beautiful!” My wife and her parents and son (not my step-son yet) just had to go out and make a (small and very pathetic) snowman and otherwise spend so much time in the snow that they all caught colds. (I then got the son full snow clothes, suitable for sledding or whatever. In particular, nice, warm gloves. They were the first gloves he’d ever owned, and he was so delighted with them that he tried to eat and do his homework wearing them. With very limited success.)

    That snow melted, but never fear, there was another snowstorm a couple weeks later. “Oh, how beautiful!” Then another a couple weeks later. The cheers were less enthusiastic. By the time the parents went back to the PRC, four months after the first snowfall, they were quite thoroughly sick of the stuff and very happy to go home, where they never have to deal with it.

  21. “…they were quite thoroughly sick of the stuff and very happy to go home, where they never have to deal with it.”

    Ya, it’s a northern thing. Ya either dig it or ya don’t. We who grew up in it learned to deal with it and even have fun. Dress for it, get into winta sports, have snowball fights, etc. So our son played hockey, natch; wife is a double-black-diamond-level Alpine skier; and I’m just an old schlub who does x-c and snowshoeing because I adore and worship peace and fucking quiet and no other fucking human beings anywhere near me, except maybe the wife.

    Sorry for the bad language; it’s my one remaining vice, I think. Maybe one of my last two or three…but gee, it’s an English word and covers so much ground and has for a thousand years or more. Verb, noun, adjective, etc.

    Speaking of the wife, she’s still out in the East Bay of Kalifornia this week, helping to control the rug-rat grandkids while Daddy is tooling around the great Lone Star State. And now my youngest brother and his wife are considering moving out, too, and their two daughters are there already. Hell, why not; get an up-close personal view of the coming national collapse where it will likely start. Bankruptcy, Turd World invasions, drought, regular working and middle-class schmucks bailing out by the tens of thousands for Nevada and Idaho, etc.

    We get a pretty good up-close view near here, too; north-country Vampire State is pretty grim and has been for quite a while, but even closer to home; OFD has been doing recon exercises in the AO here and there are some grim-looking ‘hoods, primarily in the form of trailer parks, but also some broken-down old houses and barns. And just a couple of miles up the road, near the lake shore but away from all the rich folks’ places, a pretty nasty-looking ‘hood, from whence cometh some of our own local underclass types. It’s down in a boggy, swampy area, with dirt roads going in and out, and reminiscent of more southern parts of Appalachia.

    If this year and/or next turns out to be another large recession, look for more peeps outta work, higher crime rates, and less cop manpower available to rush to your 911 call. Proceed accordingly.

  22. Yeah, good idea. I remember reading about using paper bags many years ago, but it didn’t stick.

  23. This has several advantages. I can write on the paper bag prior to sealing, air is easily evacuated without sucking flour particles into the seal, there is added light protection, the shape is easy to work with, and when I open the vacuum bag, the flour is already in a convenient container.

    I’d be wary of chemical contamination from the paper and the glue on the bag.

  24. I’d be wary of chemical contamination from the paper and the glue on the bag.

    From my searches with the Google Machine, and my assumptions from my unguided youth, I believe brown paper bags sold as “lunch bags”, if new, are considered “food grade”. But, that is not an enormous guarantee.

    I am also working with the assumption that flour is sold basically in a wrapped, thick brown bag. I would bet that much of the manufacturing are by the same places and methods.

    I know somebody who used to work in that industry. I will make a point to ask what he knows.

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