This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by Randy N
I have been able to acquire some of my food storage at a relatively inexpensive price through the cannery project that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints, (The Mormons or LDS) have.
The church has a dry pack program open to all who wish to participate. The process is buy in bulk of dry goods like cocoa, beans, wheat,oats, dried fruits and vegetables, (onions, carrots, dried potatoes, apple and banana slices etc.).
The items are packed in cans or heavy bags, an oxygen absorber pack is inserted into the can or bag and the contents are sealed, the cannery has appropriate equipment, for the job, the cost can be as little as 1\4 the cost of the same items purchased commercially, the labeling is not as good as commercial but it identifies the contents and date.
Also the selection of items may be limited compared to what one might be able to get from a commercial outlet like Auguson Farms. I like to get items like dried berries and dried broccoli from them.
Recently I was made aware of a reported raid on one of the LDS canneries by the Federal government who it is reported are looking at preppers as a group to be watched! It was reported that the Feds sought the list of participants in this program. This concerned me so I devised a way to do basically the same operation privately at home.
I went to a paint store and purchased some quart and gallon cans that have lids that press in and can pop out with a screw driver, these cans are air and liquid tight, and the cans are inexpensive around $2.00, not much more than the sealable regular #10 cans that the LDS cannery uses. The paint store cans are also re-usable after the contents are used up.
I then purchased some plastic bags from the grocery store large enough to fit in the cans, the bags are filled with what ever you want to preserve like popcorn for example, to be milled as corn meal after opening for use it is better to mill the whole grain after opening the can with the whole grain stored whole and milled later with a grinder.
(M.D. adds – Mylar bags would be a better choice when lining the cans.)
Places like Auguson Farms or other outlets on the internet have grain mills. A little diatomaceous earth (food grade about a half teaspoon) in the can prior to sealing it up will prevent insects eggs from hatching and giving you grief by infesting your grain.
Once the dried food is packed, I insert an oxygen absorbing packet, to remove the oxygen which is what causes food to oxidize (or age).These packet are inexpensive, around 10 cents each and are available from Auguson Farms or other outlets, I also have used the heat packets that outdoorsmen use to keep hands and feet warm, in using these I open them put about a teaspoon of the contents in a coffee filter, double or triple wrap it and staple it closed.
These must be processed quickly and you must do this part at very last, as when these heater packets are opened they immediately start to react to absorb oxygen, and the oxygen you want absorbed is the oxygen sealed within the can that is air tight with your food inside. Once your plastic bag liner inside the can is filled the bag is sealed and the lid is put in the can.
Another trick I have used is to put foods like whole grains,Wheat, Barley, beans,corn etc. in salable plastic five gallon buckets. With this procedure I use food grade diatomaceous earth (discussed later) in with the grains to prevent insect infestation.
The diatomaceous earth MUST be food grade however, and a small amount goes a long way. I get it from inter mountain farmer in Utah. For a 5 gallon plastic bucket I put in a couple of heaping teaspoons.
The five gallon buckets I have scavenged from local bakeries that discard a lot of them, also some other food preparation places like deli’sand restaurants may have buckets also.
I have used the hand and foot warmer packets whole for these five gallon buckets to remove the oxygen.
I hope this information can be useful to those who are preparing.
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.
Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.
Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.
Contest ends on March 30 2012.