11:09 – As a follow-up to Nick’s first post, I’ll tell a similar story of my own.
I got started prepping when I was nine years old, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Like most adults, my parents were scared and trying to keep it from the kids. We knew something was going on, but few of us realized that our parents were terrified that the USSR was about to nuke us. My dad got to work immediately building a shelter in a basement room and stocking it with food and water. He let me “help” him.
For the next 45 years or so, I maintained a higher-than-average state of readiness for emergencies. The financial crisis of 2008 kicked me into higher gear. On every Costco run, I started buying extra stuff–a case of vegetables, another of soup, another of canned chicken, and so on. From then until late 2013, we maintained probably a 3- to 4-month supply of food, as well as the stuff needed to purify water and so on. I’ve been a shooter since I was a young teenager, so we already had guns and ammo.
In early 2014, I became concerned enough with world events in general and US events in particular that I decided to expand and extend our food supply to carry us for at least a year, as well as having enough to provide for Barbara’s family. In June 2014, I told Barbara that for my birthday I wanted a trip to the LDS Home Storage Center over near the Greensboro airport, where I planned to fill up the back of the Trooper. We made that trip, and hauled back about 700 pounds of food, mostly in #10 cans. I bought four 6-can cases each of flour, sugar, macaroni, spaghetti, potato flakes, rice, and non-fat dry milk, along with smaller quantities of several other items.
No beans, you’ll note. Beans are important in most long-term food storage programs because the protein in grains is not complete. It lacks essential amino acids that are present in beans, so the two in combination provide a complete protein. (One can literally starve to death by eating only grains or only beans.) Instead of beans, I decided to stock up on animal protein, which is complete by itself and is also an excellent supplement to grain protein. So I bought lots of canned meats–hamburger, chicken, pork, Spam, and so on. A couple of hundred pounds worth. Other than chicken, Barbara doesn’t particularly like the canned meats, but if it came down to it I’m sure she’d much rather be eating canned hamburger and pork than just beans. Not that I completely ignored beans. We keep 100+ one-pound cans of Bush’s Best Baked Beans on hand, along with a smaller supply of dried beans.
With all that on hand, the next thing I needed to cover was salt and oils/fats. Salt was easy enough. I picked up a dozen or so 4-pound boxes of iodized salt at Sam’s Club, which I later transferred to wide-mouth PET bottles that used to hold Mott’s applesauce. (They’re a lot easier to clean out than ones that had spaghetti sauce in them.) For oils, the first thing I did was order a dozen 3-pound cans of Crisco shortening. It’s saturated fat, which scares some people, but in reality it’s just as healthy to eat saturated fats as unsaturated or polyunsaturated. Probably healthier, actually. To that, I added several 3-liter bottles of Costco olive oil, which live in our vertical freezer where they’ll remain good for decades.
With all that on hand, my next priority was to start picking up #10 cans of supplemental stuff. None of it is freeze-dried, because the price of freeze-dried stuff is simply outrageous. All of the stuff I stock in #10 cans that isn’t from LDS is from Augason Farms. Augason stuff is very high quality, but the real reason it’s my go-to brand is that Walmart sells it on-line at a fraction of the list price. I picked up six or eight cans each of the Augason powdered eggs, cheese, butter and Morning Moos milk substitute, along with one to three cans each of other supplemental stuff like TVP meat substitute (bouillon) in beef, chicken, and bacon flavors, lentils for sprouting, and so on. There’s also a 26-pound pail of Augason brown rice, which is rated at seven years, but in reality will last much longer.
All of the stuff in #10 cans from LDS or Augason is in long-term storage, where it will not be touched. The same is true of some of the regular canned stuff like pork, hamburger, Spam, and so on. It’ll be edible and nutritious for longer than Barbara and I are likely to be around. Just that stuff totals enough nutrition to feed Barbara, Colin, and me for a year or more. Then there’s a 2X5-foot five-shelf shelving unit that contains lots of canned and bottled goods–applesauce, spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, etc.–as well as some bulk staples that we’ve repackaged ourselves and use routinely. During each Costco/Sam’s run, we pick up one or two 50-pound bags of flour or sugar or rice, and one or two 10-pound boxes of Quaker oats. We also replace the canned vegetables, sauces, and other stuff that we use routinely.
My next goal is to expand our bulk staples storage significantly. We’ll have packaging parties to transfer those to the one-gallon foil-laminate bags that LDS sells on-line.
Another comment from Dave and my response to it:
“Thanks for the suggestions. I’m going to add flour to my storage foods. My plan is to make it to the local LDS Home Storage Center and pick up some cans. Given Bob’s comments about it being more difficult to store flour in two liter bottles, I’m going to skip that idea. Lisa Bedford’s comments about mites in the flour also concerned me with regard to packaging my own.”
Great. I have four 24-pound cases of LDS HSC flour in the closet. At $3 per #10 can, that’s only $72 worth, about $48 of which is the cost of the cans. (Flour runs about $12.50 per 50-pound bag at Costco.)
I’m debating about adding another six or eight cases of flour from the LDS HSC. I gave up trying to use soda bottles–it takes forever to get the flour into the bottles and packed tightly–so the alternative will be using the one-gallon foil/Mylar bags that LDS on-line sells. That’ll cost about $0.40 per one-gallon bag plus another $0.10 or so for an oxygen absorber. A one-gallon bag holds about 6+ pounds, versus the 4 pounds in the LDS #10 cans, so the packaging cost is about $0.50 per six pounds of flour self-packaged versus about $2.50 per six pounds for the #10 cans. LDS rates shelf-life of their flour at 10 years, which is extremely conservative. I doubt you’d be able to tell any difference after 20 years. The same is true for the foil/Mylar bags, so that’s a wash.
I’m not trying to discourage you from getting the LDS HSC canned flour. If I were you, I’d pick up several cases each of the flour, macaroni, spaghetti, sugar, beans, oats, etc. With some salt and vegetable oil, that’d be a very good start at a pretty reasonable price.
Don’t worry too much about bugs in your bulk staples. An oxygen absorber (or using dry ice) solves that problem. Bugs and their eggs can no more live without oxygen than we can.