DIY Long Term Storage
- November 4, 2017 at 6:15 am #15414
What are your favorite methods of securing long term storage? Homer buckets? Freeze Dried? Canned goods? Livestock, etc…November 8, 2017 at 10:07 pm #15527
Here is how I’ve handled the topic within my preps. First and foremost, I look at food like all my other preps, tiered approach and following “2 is 1, 1 is none” motto. In case of food, the tiers are “shelf life” based which also allows for overlap.
Tier 1.1 (0 – 6 months): This is typically the normal “non-SHTF” situation but part of the preparations. With proper inventory and cycling
Tier 1.1 (6 months – 2+ years): Proteins are the primary target from a volume perspective, i.e., vacuum sealed frozen beef, chicken, pork, “seafood”. Of course, SHTF power is necessary, in my case whole house generator. This is also a backup for potential power failure being in rural area.
Tier 1.2 (6 months – 2 years): Canned goods. These can be commercially available with greater focus on home canning. Rotation is important here to ensure one consumes the older items first. Commercially canned items will have a “best by” date which is not an expiration but should be considered for nutritional value of item. My preference is home canning, just like in the past. This opens up a world of possibilities from individual items, tomatoes, potatoes, proteins, etc. to complete meals. I will typically make up a batch of chili, beans, soup, etc. and can multiple quarts. There are a multitude of videos available on the canning subject; wet and dry canning, water bath or pressure….all good.
Tier 2 (0 – 7 years): DIY dehydrated meals. It is not that difficult but requires a means to dehydrate. Some ingredients are not as great as freeze dried version but hey, we are talking SHTF and not bad at all. For example, look at white chili, chicken, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and seasoning. Cook the chicken, cut into cubes and dehydrate, oven or dehydrator, just make sure all moisture removed. Soak, par cook and dehydrate beans. Dehydrate cubed tomatoes, chopped peppers. Now, vacuum seal the items, put into Mylar bag with favorite seasoning sack and you have a complete meal ready to add water, bring to boil and enjoy!
Tier 3.1 (0 – ?? years): Air tight, oxygen removed packaged grains and legumes. Although you can certainly fill a 5/6 gallon bucket with rice or beans, consider using smaller (few pound) Mylar bags. This will allow you to mix the items so that you can put in 1 bucket, navy, pinto, black, etc. beans. Or beans and rice in same. Along with Gamma lid and oxygen absorbent, don’t have to leave exposed and rushing consumption.
Tier 3.2 (0 – 25 years): Freeze dried food, commercial or home. Here meals are an option but do not forget to get individual ingredients, proteins, vegetables, etc. This allows you to compile your own ingredients to make a meal. One item to consider to extend proteins, particularly ground meat, is TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein). Unless you are die hard vegetarian, I would not recommend them as only protein. However, adding a bit to a savory dish, chili, ragu (Italian sauce for you non-Italians), etc. makes the actual animal protein go much further without impacting the flavor. There are chicken, beef, and plain TVP versions.
Tier 4.1 (replenish): Livestock and garden. Chickens and rabbits are some of the easier livestock items to raise. Chickens of course, provide eggs in addition to meat and can be replenished with a single rooster. Rabbits are prolific and do not take up much room but also require at least 1 buck to replenish stock. Of course, as with all, there is a learning curve.
Tier 4.2 (replenish): Gardening is a great way with respectively less effort to livestock. Check out the Gorilla Gardening blog for more insight. There is a learning curve and you need heirloom seeds which will allow you to harvest new seeds for following season. Fresh from the garden vegetables are far superior in flavor that store, you just may not get the picture perfect item but you will not mind when tasted! Of course, here is where previous tiers come in as you are able to can, dehydrate, freeze dry most if not all vegetables and continue to enjoy during off season let alone SHTF!!November 16, 2017 at 5:58 pm #15756
Great info, a few things I haven’t thought of. I haven’t got as far as livestock of any sort but chickens are in the near future.
So many things to prep for and so little time and money lolNovember 16, 2017 at 10:02 pm #15761
Liljohn1998 – yes, there can be quite a bit to do and the list seems to grow as one item tends to trigger another. Chickens are a great way to start. Not sure how many you have in mind but starting with chicks is relatively inexpensive. Places like Tractor Supply or Rural King sell live chicks and you can order on line but beware of shipping costs if you intend to get small number. Not sure how rural is your location so look for a farmers’ coop as they two sell chicks. You may also look into livestock auctions where you may be able to pick up grown chickens but a little more careful here if you are not familiar with “adult” birds. Layers peak at approximately 2 years of age and you don’t want to get old birds. However, there is a learning curve advantage. You may get fewer eggs but will get familiar with behavior and other items as chick require more TLC until they are about 6-8 weeks old.November 18, 2017 at 7:18 pm #15792
We’ve got 15 “girls” that keep up in eggs. We harvest between eight and eleven eggs each day.
Here’s the coop and run we have in the back yard.
They’re a mix of Speckled Sussex and Rhode Island Reds. This is an old picture as they are fully mature now.
November 18, 2017 at 7:23 pm #15794
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by kmussack.
Aside from the chickens we intensely cultivate our 1-acre. We’ve got grapes, black raspberries, red raspberries, strawberries, asparagus and blue berries. Annually we cultivate about 1,000 square feet of garden as well planting beets, tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant, etc.
November 20, 2017 at 4:08 am #15836
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by kmussack.
I dehydrate fresh foods when in season and frozen when not. I cook meats to reduce oils/grease and then dehydrate. I then vacuum seal all foods as separate ingredients ( to maximize food prep flexibility) and then I seal all in food quality 5 gal. Buckets. I number each bucket and print out two contents lists one in the bucket and one in my Prepper notebook. There are more steps/details, but you get the idea.November 20, 2017 at 3:33 pm #15865
When I grew up at one point we lived with out electric and running water and heated our home by wood in one of the coldest locations in the lower 48 states Northern Michigan. Most of the food we ate was grown or harvested from the wild. I still know families that live like this today in fact 70-80% of their food is harvested from the wild and they may have electric but they heat and cook by wood. Hell to be honest I know more that a few that live 100% off the grid with no modern stuff except their car truck or boat. Johnhs 5th Wheel is like the Tajma hall compared to how these folks live. They can they smoke they dehydrate they salt cure and more. These are the kinds of people that are already prepped basically the live damn near post apoc or total collapse daily. An having lived this way and knowing these people there is no favorite type of keeping food for me because I was instilled with the wisdom of the old folks. There are things you can and can not can because if you can the things you cant and eat them later you will get sick or die. Then there are things that are better dried or dehydrated. Then there are things that are better smoked or pickled and yes pickling is a form of long term storage. Some one here posted about the different storage keep rates. Weeks, months, years, decades etc. In my opinion they were spot on with that info. You have to have a diverse storage system. Now with that all said I can say the following book is on a majority of the shelves of these and was on my parents shelves (which are now mine) as well. Hopefully the admin can come in and alter this link later so that the club can make money from any sales or how ever the club is doing that. Anyway this is the book https://www.amazon.com/Putting-Food-Fifth-Ruth-Hertzberg/dp/0452296226 So for those of you that do not have this book I would highly recommend that you get it and then actually perform the tasks it instructs you in for putting food by. Get the equipment you need if you can afford it and have the space and then get that knowledge under your belt because not only will it save you $$ today it may save yours and others lives in the future. An men do not be thinking that you have a woman and do not need to know this knowledge. Everyone from 5-60 male or female needs these skills. As my great grandma grandma and mother always said a man that can not cook, store food and know how to do the basics is not a man that is long for the world in hard times.
Essayons!November 20, 2017 at 5:50 pm #15916
LibertyShip – thanks for the book recommendation! Funny you should make comment about “men needing the shills”, completely agree and funny since I’m the 61 year old (male) canner in household.December 19, 2017 at 12:45 am #16125
Liberty Ship: Thanks. Grandma gave good advice. I live in a city North of LA County California. No room for chickens. There are codes but across the street there are chickens and some horses.
We only buy and store. No much room; a full pantry of grains, beans, can food, cereals, spices and jams. Then two other supply areas. One for cans from Costco. One supply area is water and another guarded area is bulk grains.
We have a Nutri electric grain miller. I have learned to make bread and my wife has promised to make cheese. But she likes to shop.
We thank you for info and have a good Christmas. The Lord be with all of us. Hopefully I will not be forced to use my military training. California restricts weapons. Might need to buy another rifle.
Stay safe.December 23, 2017 at 2:37 pm #16187
JMED308 – In addition or replacement for some of your Costco cans, have you considered home canning? It is a wonderful way to have ready to eat food for a few years. Some say 2 years but I have opened cans (mason jar) of Lentils or Chili 3 years old without issue. Although there is an upfront cost for caners (pressure cooker and water bath) and the jars, the return is way worth it. The jars are good for many, many cycles and the caners can be used for other things, pressure cooking for one.
Bexar Prepper (<–link) is an oracle of the canning subject and there are many others to gain “book knowledge”. You can certainly buy commercial, but pressure canning your own Ragu (Pasta Sauce), Chili, Soups, to name a few cannot be beat. Let alone water bath Pears, Tomatoes, and other live food when in season to enjoy off season. And let’s not forget dry canning “meals in a jar”, however, I like to use the recipe but Mylar bags as more cost efficient and less storage volume needed.January 5, 2018 at 3:49 am #16219
LibertyShipMGTOW, I’m glad you brought up the subject of pickling. Traditional methods of storing foods for long term is one of my favorite subjects. I love to water bath/pressure can/dehydrate BUT fermenting is my favorite method of preservation. You need very little (or none at all) special equipment other than the food itself and a container to keep it in. Plus it’s generally agreed that the probiotics created during the fermenting process are beneficial to our health. Double bonus!January 21, 2018 at 1:47 am #16289
Thanks for idea on “Home Canning” still on learning curve with baking bread, cooking wheat berries and grinding grain into flour. Winter is good for Baking.
This spring will try to learn canning. No idea how to start?
Recently changed work schedule bright me closer to home and less commute. New “situational awareness “ in Calif. So much to do! And learn. Thanks again. What was your first canning food?January 21, 2018 at 3:44 am #16292
JMED – I recommend starting with some of the YT videos on canning, (link–>) BexarPrepper; is excellent but has not produced a video in a while. Look at her library and pick something that looks interesting to you. Not saying this is what you start with, but to get the “feel” for it. Pick up a canning book, Ball publishes one which is a good reference and not expensive. There are better so consider costs versus long term reference. After a while, you will not use the reference book unless getting into something new. It has items to can, and you can certainly start with something there.
I kinda jumped in with both feet and first item to can was home made soup, chicken vegetable. That meant pressure canning but did the video and reference book as shared earlier.
There are 3 kinds of canning, dry, water bath, and pressure. There are two types of caners, water bath and pressure which is essentially a pressure cooker. Water bath does not require a caner but as they are ~$20 at Walmart, not too heavy of investment. The main thing is that can (jar) should not sit on bottom of pot, it needs a grate or something as a spacer and that is why the water bath caner is cheap way to start. This will let you do all kinds of vegetables and fruits but no meats as that needs pressure to prevent botulism contamination. That is where you could start. An easy one is pears if you like them.
Pressure canning is not difficult but is a step up in preparation and takes much longer from start to finish. That is were the videos and book come in, they give you written and audio & video perspective before you do it. Again, it is not difficult, just more time needed and the caner will run you ~$70.
There are 2 types of cans (jars), the smooth sided and the “mason” jar which is somewhat square’ish. The smooth sided can be used for water bath but NOT for pressure, that glass is not designed for that. You can certainly use the mason type for water bath but you are paying more for the jar than you need. The mason comes with two mouth sizes, regular and wide. There are two sized to address what you put in it, sometimes much easier to get product out of the jar if mouth is wider.
I’ll stop here and we can pick it up once you have more questions. I don’t consider myself an expert but aside from a few not sealing during canning process (it happens), I have not ever lost a seal or have something go bad. My preps currently include 18+ dozen quarts of home canned food; soups, meats, stew, Chili, beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables. Heck, I’ve canned meatloaf, chorizo sausage, and Italian sausage and peppers!January 22, 2018 at 6:31 pm #16293
JMED – came across these YT videos on raw packed meat and Beef Stew canning. I think you’ll find them informative.
Link –> Canning Meat (Super Easy Raw Pack) : Homesteading Family
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