Posts Tagged ‘stockpiling food’

I have firsthand info on this, so be forewarned. There is a pumpkin shortage looming.


Some of the grocery stores in Hot Springs already have bare spots where the canned pumpkin used to be, with signs saying there will be no more available until next harvest.

If you have not yet stocked up on canned pumpkin and you use it even semi-regularly, this would be a good time to put it back if it’s still available in your area!


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This should be part of every family’s emergency plans – food ready to go at a moment’s notice along with all of your other provisions (you do have a bag with a change of clothes and a toothbrush at the very least, right?  😀 ).

If you have to evacuate your home in a hurry, it pays to have an assortment of food storage in a bucket or two so you can literally “grab and go” without trying to decide what to take with you.

I took two of the orange “homer buckets” and divided up a variety of foods between them.  I don’t know how long this food will last for our family, but I can say with some confidence that it is at *least* a weeks’ worth, probably longer if we had to stretch it.  I’m using this only as an example – what you store in yours may be totally different.

(I also put a list in the top of each bucket in addition to listing on the outside for easy reference later – also make a note of rotation date, such as “rotate by 12/2010”.)

In bucket number one, we have the following:

Emergency bucket #1

(2) pkgs lima beans – dry (all pkgs vacuum sealed unless otherwise noted)
(1) large pkg pinto beans (dry)
5# bag white flour
4# bag white sugar
box of matches
powdered milk (probably 3 cups or so)
1# box baking soda
1/2 box instant potatoes (with instructions cut off of the box and included in pkg)
1 can vegetable shortening (inside a gallon ziploc bag)
1 large pkg popcorn kernels
1 pkg macaroni and cheese (removed from box, cheese packet vacuum sealed along with macaroni)

In bucket #2:
emergency bucket #2

Vacuum sealed packet of dried onion / packet of chili powder
3 – pkgs macaroni and cheese
6 – pkgs ramen noodles
1# yeast
10 oz baking powder
1# salt
2 – DAK hams
1 – can tamales
2 – cans chili w/beans
1 – can rotel tomatoes
2 – 6oz cans tomato paste
4 – cans Spam
1 – LARGE bag of long grain white rice
1 – pkg of dehydrated mixed vegetables from a #10 can

From both of these buckets, you could make almost endless combinations of meals – everything from beans and rice, vegetable soup to bread, pancakes, biscuits, etc.

Hope this inspires you to get some “grab & go” food together for your family as well!  😀

UPDATE 4/12/09:  I also added 2 – 12.5 oz cans chicken breast and a ziploc bag of restaurant ketchup packets to the buckets.  There was a little bit of room left, and I wanted to make the most of it.   I’m estimating we could have at least one substantial meal a day for nearly two weeks from the contents of these two buckets.

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I’ve seen this question in various places on the internet, and thought I’d put my 2 cents’ worth in on the subject.

First – let’s talk about the bucket. If your bucket was previously used for food (icing from a bakery, pickles, etc.), then wash the bucket thoroughly, maybe even put some bleach in it and then let it air out for a couple of days to get any residual smell out.

If your bucket previously contained chemicals, DO NOT USE IT FOR FOOD STORAGE.

There is some debate on whether or not the orange “homer buckets” from Home Depot are suitable. Please note this is just MY opinion – everyone has to decide for themselves on this matter. I use metallized Mylar liners in any buckets we use for food storage, so the bucket is really there just to protect the liner – food never comes into direct contact with the bucket this way. Home Depot has stated the homer buckets are not food safe, but some people say the manufacturer said they are, but the dye used in the buckets is not. For myself, using a mylar liner, I don’t have a problem using the orange Home Depot buckets. That’s just me though.

Now – the liner. I think it’s necessary because buckets in and of themselves are NOT air-tight. With the mylar liners, you can choose to put in a few oxygen absorbers if you’d like. I personally do not use the oxygen absorbers along with my liners.  I think to an extent, the food storage people are having a field day selling supplies to folks. Again, this is another area everybody has to decide for themselves.  I buy liners from www.beprepared.com

From my own experience, a 5 gallon bucket will hold approximately 30 to 35 pounds of long grain rice, sugar, beans, etc.

An addendum to this:  I was browsing yesterday and ran across http://sevenunits.blogspot.com/2008/03/basic-food-storage-on-budget.html

The info on their site says that a 5 gallon bucket will hold 80 cups of whatever you are storing (by volume – not weight).   Their recommendation is to store (5) 5 gallon buckets per person of rice, flour, and beans annually.   When you tell someone to store a year’s worth of food, it’s sometimes hard to visualize.  This will give you a better idea of a starting point.

I have also read about some people putting more than one item into a bucket, and there is some wisdom in doing this.  You could choose to vacuum seal packages of flour, sugar, beans, rice, salt, seasonings, some canned goods, etc. and put into the mylar bag, then seal for some extra protection.  That way you can grab a bucket and know you have enough to make a complete meal from one pail.  This would also be helpful if you need to give a bucket of supplies to family, friends, or neighbors (or if you have to evacuate in an emergency – you can literally “grab and go”).

The important thing is to actually START on your food storage.  Make it a priority for yourself and your family.  IT IS THAT IMPORTANT. Hard times are coming, and you may need to rely on your food storage.  Since I started this blog last fall, things have continued to go downhill – they will not get better anytime soon.  Sorry – not trying to be “doom and gloom”, just a realist.   Farmers have been unable to get loans to plant crops, there are droughts occurring on the west coast, and a large percentage of our food supply is being shipped in from overseas.

Getcher buckets ready, folks!

UPDATE 4/8/09:  Be sure to check another post I made on this subject – having “Grab and Go” buckets ready for an emergency (includes pictures!):  https://arksoaper.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/emergency-buckets-grab-go-food/

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I know all of us are pinching pennies nowdays, so I thought I’d do a sample of how you can add to your food storage/stockpile for about $20 a week using sale items.  Please note that Walmart rarely runs sales, but most grocery stores *do*.  Our local store puts a sale flyer in the paper each week, and I shop based on what’s cheapest.  Keep in mind that you want VARIETY in what you store.  You and your family would quickly grow tired of eating nothing but beans and rice every day.

Example using our current store sales:

10 cans veggies @ .50 cents/can = $5.00
2 cans PET milk @ $1.00/can = $2.00
2 – 5# bags flour @ $1.48/bag = $2.96
2 – 46oz cans tomato juice @ $1.18/can = $2.36
32oz dried pasta @ $2.00
2 cans fruit @ $1.00/can = $2.00
2 cans chili with beans @ .98 cents/can = $1.96
4# bag white sugar @ $2.00

All of this totals $20.28 plus tax and includes a variety from all food groups.

Or if you’d rather just stock up on canned vegetables while they’re .50 cents a can, $20.00 would net you 40 cans to add to your storage.  You will save money in the long run by purchasing this way, plus quickly add to your pantry each week without breaking your budget.

From the above list of items, you could easily make vegetable soup (which would provide more than one meal), a couple of pasta dishes (chili mac being one), fruit cobbler, chicken pot pie (just add some chicken to your list), several loaves of bread (as well as waffles, biscuits, pancakes), etc.  Your possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

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I have a few tips for things people don’t normally think of to use for food storage, plus you’re recycling items that would normally be thrown away.

Save #10 cans, wash and dry them very well, and either reuse the plastic lid that comes on some, or buy extra lids to use for this purpose (www.beprepared.com has them very cheaply).  It makes a great container to put either ziploc bags of food or vacuum sealed bags.  I label the outside of the can with masking tape for easy identification of the contents.

Save cardboard flats that cans come in or cut cardboard boxes to fit.  You can reuse the cardboard to stack #10 cans, or the canned food you buy at the store.  That way there is no wasted space on your shelves since you’re storing “upward”.  (Example:  cardboard, layer of canned food, cardboard, layer of canned food, etc.)  Utilize every inch of storage space you have.

Save 2 liter soda bottles,  wash and dry completely, then fill with rice, beans, sugar, etc. (use a funnel).  Add a bay leaf or two and seal the top with tape.  The only problem is the 2 liters don’t stack, but you can stick them almost anywhere (in a closet, under the bed, behind the couch – get creative!).

Save old peanut butter jars, spaghetti sauce jars, grape jelly jars, juice containers, etc. and use for food storage.  Look at every container before you throw it in the trash and try to think of another use for it.  You’ll be surprised how quickly your storage collection will grow.

Two-liter bottles and juice containers are large enough to store water extremely well.  Tap water will stay safe for use for literally years.  If safety is in question, you can always boil it first.  It does go “flat” after a while, so pour it back and forth between two containers to oxygenate it again – it will taste fresher.

Ice cream buckets are super for reuse and they stack very well.  I would seal whatever you’re going to put in them first just as an extra precaution, and throw in a few bay leaves.

5 or 6 gallon buckets are outstanding for storing flour, sugar, oats, rice, beans, etc.  For added protection, you can buy mylar liners for $2.50 each (again from beprepared.com), fill with food, then seal the top with a hot iron (use a piece of 2×4, scrap wood, or even a wooden ruler laid across the top of the bucket to have a firm surface on which to seal the mylar).  The mylar gets a bit sticky when it’s hot, but it will seal and firm up when it cools.  Fold the top of the mylar down and pound the lid on with a rubber mallet.

Be sure to label the outside of all containers with the contents and date.  You’ll be glad you did.  🙂

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