One Mans food storage preparations

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.

(M.D. adds – the reported raid on LDS canneries was later proven to be a Fabrication.)

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 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.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Thanks for sharing your ideas!
    I had not though of the quart and gallon paint cans. I have several things I would like to put in cans and was looking at spending $300+ for a #2.5 dry canning machine. This may be a better plan.
    One thing I found is 2 quart size, food grade, US made, plastic containers at the Dollar Store. They can be ordered by the case on line. I fill these with smaller quantities of instant rice (fits a full 28 oz box), regular rice, pinto beans, navy beans, wheat, and macaroni. If you are buying in smaller quantities (or just want to store them in smaller quantities, for your use or a a give-a-way) this is a great way to put them up. I seal the jar with wax paper and a rubber cement seal. Then screw the lid down. Within a couple of hours the seal is taught. Labeling was a challenge until I used the space provided. The outside of the jar is a pebble finish and nothing would stick. Between the built in handles is a strip of smooth plastic that a slightly trimmed 1″ x 4″ label fits into nicely.
    They also make a 3 quart size, but I can’t find these on line and the 2 quart size is about the size of a #10 can so they work better on my shelves and stack well.

  2. You can buy oxygen absorbers from the LDS Store online. The oxygen absorbers are pretty cheap. I don’t know that I would risk food by using hand warmers.

  3. button crazy says:

    I will like to which web site you are using for the plastic jars.

  4. Dean in Michigan says:


    Have to agree with M.D. If you have to buy bags anyway, just get the mylars. Maybe more than the plastic you buy, but they’re not expensive. We’re talking about food storage, things you may desperately need down the road. I wouldn’t cut to many corners.

  5. charlie (NC) says:

    does anyone happen to know a source for the aluminum coated mylar in rolls? I’m looking for the same stuff the bags are made from but I want to buy a roll of it so I can make my own custom size bags as needed.

  6. I have a question about the paint cans. I’ve heard that galvanized cans can leach chemicals into food if stored in them, even if the food is first placed in mylar bags. I understand paint cans are not galvanized, but are there any potential problems with using such cans to store food? Thanks!

  7. tim wilson says:

    you mention that Diatomaceous Earth “will prevent insects eggs from hatching and giving you grief by infesting your grain.” my understanding that actually Diatomaceous Earth is formed from fossilized remains of ancient sea life and when powdered creates sharp edges that react with critters that have hatched effectively lacerating the bodies and airways, reducing the spread of hatched insects in your grains, but won’t prevent the hatching. freezing the cans once filled should kill any unhatched eggs in the grain, hope this helps, thanks

  8. Randy,
    I am lucky enough to have a nearby LDS Bishops Storehouse (a little more than 1 hour away) and my MAG makes a trip to the local LDS cannery quarterly and I have a well stocked long term food storage pantry because of it. Our group will be headed there again in early May, and as MD mentioned in your post, the raid on a cannery was simply fabricated. When I go there I always pay cash for two reasons, the first is a bit of OPSEC and the second is the fact that use of a credit card results in an additional cost to the cannery for the transaction, and since they are gracious enough to allow non-members to use the facilities, helping them out in any way I can is something I feel compelled to do. I also generally make a donation to their welfare program for which they are always thankful.

    One thought on your paint cans. Are these specifically food grade? Cans are soldered together and the food grade ones use a 100% zinc solder, while other cans may use the less expensive lead solder. Lead and food should not be mingled. I do know that there are some online sites that sell the food grade paint cans in different sizes, but the #10 cans from the LDS cannery seem to fit the bill.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      I am not a Mormon. Can I participate or am I misunderstanding. I would be interested (would make a donation as OP mentioned). I am in Arizona. I imagine there is such a program in the Phoenix area. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

      • Yadkin Girl says:

        Survivor Dan,

        No, you do not have to be a Mormon. Our local LDS cannery has us do our canning at the same time members of the church are canning. They are very nice.

        You can also borrow, for free, their canning machine (very basic, light weight and easy to move), buy cans and oxygen obsorbers from them and take these home to can items bought at other places (Sams, Costco, etc.) We canned popcorn, DH soups from Costco, beans, rice, baking supplies, etc.

        You don’t need to make a donation – just pay for the items purchased. At our cannery, you cannot just purchase stuff – you have to can items as well for sale to other people. So, you can some of the stuff you will take home and extra for others to buy. And, if on your trip you do not can everything you want you buy stuff that was canned by other people. It is a wonderful circle of canning.

        Their prices are very reasonable. Call them and set an appointment.

      • SurvivorDan,
        I am also not an LDS member, and you do not have to be to participate. They do not require a donation; however, since they are gracious enough to allow non-members access to their facilities and great prices, I think it is just the right thing to do. The link below contains the pdf and Excel order forms which show you what they have available, and the prices (which are excellent). Ohio has two canneries but you seem to be in luck with 4 of them, and one of them in Mesa, which IIRC is within the Phoenix Metro Area.

        BTW, I work for a company in the Phoenix area (telecommuting from Ohio) and will be out there for a week or two in the next few months. Perhaps we could grab a bite together somewhere while I’m out there.

        The following is all information from the LDS ( website.,11666,7977-1-4352-1,00.html

        Home Storage Centers
        To make reservations call your nearest home storage center.
        If they are already booked with reservations, try calling other home storage centers in your area.

        AZ – Flagstaff
        Phone (928) 527-3713
        Address 5021 Empire Ave
        Flagstaff, Arizona 86001

        AZ – Mesa
        Phone (480) 214-9114
        Address 235 S El Dorado Circle
        Mesa, Arizona 85202

        AZ – Snowflake
        Phone (928) 536-3458
        Address 641 South Main #1
        Snowflake, Arizona 85937

        AZ – St. Johns
        Phone (928)337-3745
        Address 155 East Commercial Street
        PO Box 2338
        St. Johns, Arizona 85936

    • OhioPrepper:
      My thought on the paint cans is that there a number of non-food items that I would like to keep out of the “air” and sealed up. This may be a solution for these items.

  9. SurvivorDan says:

    Went to the above Mormon website. Didn’t see any info about the canneries. Any guidance?

  10. SurvivorDan says:

    Nice work randy but “Diatomaceous Earth is formed from fossilized remains of ancient sea life and when powdered creates sharp edges that react with critters that have hatched effectively lacerating the bodies and airways, reducing the spread of hatched insects in your grains…” I’m just ignorant about diatomaceous earth as used other than a pool filter or bug killer. Food grade? That doesn’t sound too appetizing. Is that really safe?

  11. SurvivorDan says:

    Just put some diatomaceous earth in my mother-in-law’s oatmeal to see if it really can be food grade.{I’m willing to take her chances} Will let y’all know of the result.

  12. Steve Mynhier says:

    by Gayle from Gainesville /

    Have you ever wished you could know ahead of time when things were going to go on sale? Sure, we all know that turkeys go on sale before Thanksgiving and hams go on sale before Christmas, but what about the rest of the year?

    Well, believe it or not, this information is not that difficult to obtain. Each advertising collective has its own month—e.g., January is National Beef Month. The National Cattleman’s Beef Association has chosen the month of January to promote eating beef. That means you can expect excellent sales on steak and ground beef in January.

    Use the following list to help plan out your food storage purchases for the year. For instance, if you know that June is National Dairy Month, then you know that products such as butter will be at their rock bottom prices of during the month of June. Plan on purchasing butter twice a year, once in June and again in November. In November, the baking sales get into full swing. (Butter stores well in the freezer.)

    What months are good for stocking breakfast foods? Well, January is National Oatmeal Month. So you can expect to see some good sales on oatmeal. But February is the best month for stocking up on breakfast foods; February is National Hot Breakfast Month. September is also a good month for stocking breakfast foods, as September is National Better Breakfast Food Month. So you best bet is to buy breakfast items in January/February and again in September.

    By knowing what goes on sale when, you can save a lot of money at the grocery store. And that frees up money to spend on other essential preps.

    After Christmas Sales
    National Oatmeal Month
    National Beef Month
    National Meat Month
    National Tea Month
    National Soup Month
    Super Bowl
    January is a good month to purchase winter clothes. You can catch sweaters and other cold weather gear as much as 70 percent off. You can also pick up Christmas wrap, bows and ribbon.

    January is National Oatmeal Month. You can expect to find oatmeal BOGO (Buy One Get One free). It’s a good idea to buy year’s supply of oatmeal in January (or February for National Hot Breakfast Month). If you under calculate how much oatmeal your family will eat, don’t worry. Oatmeal will go on sale again in September for National Better Breakfast Month.

    January is also the month to stock up on tea and canned soups. You can usually find these deeply discounted.

    Keep an eye on the meat sales. If you have a pressure canner, set aside some time to put up meat.

    January also brings Super Bowl sales. You can expect excellent prices on chips, salsa, soda and snacks.

    National Canned Food Month
    National Hot Breakfast Month
    National Snack Food Month
    National Cherry Month
    National Potato Lover’s Month
    Sweet Potato Month
    Celebration of Chocolate Month
    Valentines Day Sales
    Chinese New Year
    Plan on purchasing breakfast foods like pancake mix and maple syrup in February. You can usually pick these up BOGO.

    February is also a good month to restock your canned foods and boxed potatoes. You won’t likely see sales on canned foods and boxed potatoes again until November. So plan accordingly.

    The Chinese New Year is celebrated in February. Promotions include soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, noodles and stir fry ingredients such as bamboo shoots and water chestnuts.

    If you have a sweet tooth then you have probably already finished off your Christmas candy. Replenish your stock after Valentines Day. You can usually pick up chocolate and other candies for up to 70 percent off.

    St. Patrick’s Day
    National Red Cross Month
    National Noodle Month
    National Frozen Food Month
    National Peanut Month
    National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month
    National Celery Month
    National Flour Month
    Spring Cleaning
    March is National Red Cross Month. If you have not already done so, March is a good time to sign up for a CPR/First-Aid Class. You can also expect to see some excellent sales on first-aid kits and other items. You can usually pick up band-aids at half price.

    St. Patrick’s Day is in March so expect the best price of the year on corned beef. I plan on getting a couple extra and canning them.

    March is also National Noodle Month—you can pick up all kinds of noodles BOGO. Frozen foods are also on sale.

    Typically, March is an excellent month to purchase peanut butter. But given the bad peanut harvest in 2011, we may not see really good peanut butter sales until the back to school sales hit in August (and that’s if we have a mild winter in the South, and farmers can plant early).

    March is also National Celery Month. I buy a dozen or so, chop them up and freeze them. (I can usually find them BOGO in March and then again in November.)

    Flour goes on sale in March. Pick up enough to last you until the holiday baking sales kick into full swing in November.

    In March, the worst of the winter is usually over and folks start thinking about spring cleaning. Expect to see all kind of cleaning products on sale.

    Daylight Savings Time
    There are not very many good grocery sales in April—think self-denial. No body wants to advertise indulgence during Lent.

    There are some good non-grocery items on sale in April. Daylight Savings Time brings sales on batteries, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide monitors.

    You can pick up hams half price, on sale for Easter dinner. Pick up a few because hams tend not to go on sale very often. April and December are the two months when you can find half price ham. So make sure you buy enough to last you through Christmas.

    Memorial Day Sales
    National Barbeque Month
    National Hamburger Month
    National Salsa Month
    National Strawberry Month
    National Salad Month
    This is a great month to stock up on condiments. You will find mayonnaise, catsup, mustard, barbeque sauce, steak sauce, and other such products on sale BOGO. Newspaper inserts start running coupons for these products in April. Hold on to your coupons, and use them for the BOGO sale. (Most stores will let you use two coupons when buying BOGO items.)

    If you miss a sale, don’t worry. Such items will go on sale again during the next two months. But do note that the sales on barbeque and picnic items are typically better in May than in June or July.

    If you purchase pre-made hamburger patties, May is the month to stock up on them. You can usually find sales up to 40 percent off.

    May is the best time to make strawberry this and that. Next year, I want to put up some strawberry jam.

    Keep an eye out for picnic items such as paper plates and plastic utensils. Around the summer holidays, you can usually pick these up for half price.

    National Dairy Month
    National Iced Tea Month
    National Seafood Month
    Adopt-a-Cat Month
    We are now half way through the year, and the stores of butter you put in your freezer from last Thanksgiving are running low. Count of some excellent sales on butter and other dairy products. Buy enough to last until November.

    Fourth of July
    National Hot Dog Month
    National Baked Bean Month
    National July Belongs to Blueberries Month
    This is the best month to put up blueberries. I love blueberry jam and plan to put up at least 36 pints, more if the economy hasn’t complexly collapsed.

    July is also the month to buy a year’s supply of hot dogs. At this time of the year, you can print off or clip coupons for $1 off Ballpark Franks. Use these coupons when Ballpark is BOGO, and you’ve just paid 75 cents for a package of hotdogs.

    This is also the time of year to restock your year supply of baked beans. You can find all of the various brands on sale BOGO.

    Back to School Sales
    National Peach Month
    National Coffee Month
    The back to school sales are usually pretty good. You can pick up products such as peanut butter, lunch meat, drink boxes and the like for half price. Ziplock bags usually go on sale too. And you can find all kinds of coupons for $1.

    Hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes also go on sale in August. Keep an eye on the coupon inserts and match up BOGO sales with coupons.

    August is the time of year to put up peaches and peach jam. I would like to make some peach syrup. That just sounds awesome over pancakes.

    You can also find coffee at it’s lowest prices of the year. My family likes Chock Full of Nuts which has been running about $12.99 for the large can. In August, I can find this brand for $6.99. Think “one year supply” here.

    Summer items begin to go on clearance. Keep an eye out for charcoal, lighter fluid, paper plates and plastic utensils, sunscreen and insect repellant.

    Labor Day
    National Chicken Month
    National Honey Month
    National Better Breakfast Month
    National Mushroom Month
    National Rice Month
    National Preparedness Month
    Labor Day marks the last of the summer barbeque sales. Make sure you have a year’s supply of hotdogs, catsup, mustard and the rest because such items rarely go on sale in fall and winter.

    The best sales in the month of September are breakfast foods. You can find oatmeal, pancake mix, syrup, bacon, sausage, and other breakfast foods at rock bottom prices.

    In September, I bring my supply of honey up to one-year levels. For the rest of the year, honey sales are hit and miss. The cheap made in China honey goes on sale frequently. The good stuff goes on sale in September.

    Also, keep an eye out for summer clearance sales, especially on clothes. I live in Florida and wear summer clothes for at least 10 months out of the year. So I purchase summer clothes on clearance, and either give them as Christmas gifts or save them for next year. Check out online sites such as or for 70 percent off sales. You can pick up high quality clothing at rock bottom prices.

    National Apple Month
    National Tomato Month
    National Pasta Month
    National Dessert Month
    National Seafood Month
    National Pork Month
    National Eat Country Ham Month
    National Chili Month
    Adopt-a-Dog Month
    In October, all things apple go on sale—applesauce, apple juice, etc. This is the idea month to put up apple pie filling, apple butter and chutneys.

    October is National Pasta Month. This is not that big of a deal, as pasta goes on sale frequently.

    October is also National Tomato Month. Canned tomatoes and pasta sauce will also go on sale, as will ravioli and other such foods.

    If you purchase canned chili, it usually goes on sale BOGO in October. And, of course, don’t forget about the candy sales.

    October is also Adopt-a-Dog Month and dog food manufacturers have some good sales on dog food, especially Pedigree.

    Thanksgiving Sales
    Save your money because in November you will find the best deals of the year on groceries. Baking goods such as butter, sugar, flour, chocolate chips, etc. go on sale.

    The week of Thanksgiving is the best sales week of the year. Stores offer deep discounts to get you in the door. Shop carefully. The loss leaders are excellent. But keep a keen eye on prices because regular items are often marked up significantly.

    Cool weather has begun in most of the United States. Expect sales on canned soups, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

    Christmas Sales
    The holiday sales will continue through Christmas and New Years. I like to pick up several hams. I slice some into ham steaks and dice some as well. And then throw them in the freezer. This is also a good time to can ham. Make sure you buy enough to last you through Easter, as hams don’t go on sale that frequently.

    Other items for Christmas dinner will be on sale as well—potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cornbread dressing,

  13. While it’s hard to beat LDS Home Storage Centers for price on bulk foods, I’ve recently been using Sam’s Club (COSTCO will work also) to shop for both short-term and longer-term foods to save a substantial amount of money. That is, instead of shopping at your local grocery store and spending more, conciously shop a local warehouse club… you’ll be better prepared, shop less often, and save $$.

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