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Long term (healthy) trouble free food storage ideas needed

 
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I'm looking for some thoughts on what to store long term; focusing on health.
If we would only consider calorie intake then storing white rice in bulk would be all I need. A 3 year rice only died would be quite boring
Not to mention unhealthy.
So I'm looking for long term storage ideas that add some variation to rice. Bulgur, beans, macaroni, spaghetti, corn flour, flour, etc.
If you could only pick one food and have to survive on it long time, peanut butter seems to be the prime choice. Nothing beats variety but peanut butter has a lot of different nutrients.
But I wonder how long it stays fresh?
I'm aiming at storing for at least 10 years.

I also want to add some 'luxury' like ketchup, candy, jelly, muesli, cookies, etc
I know I can/should rotate, but I want a 'base system' that's as maintenance free as possible.
But if I put something like ketchup in a bucket I can't rotate.

I've been thinking about putting a week supply in each bucket.
I've a few reasons for that. Firstly to avoid that I eat all the good tasting stuff in the first month but also that I don't want to have a lot of opened buckets. I have 22 liter 5.8 gallon buckets.
A bucket of rice, spaghetti, macaroni, etc, etc would be a lot of open buckets, which would take long until they are empty. I prefer to keep them closed (oxygen free) for as long as possible.

I've also been thinking about storing food that last a long time together in a bucket. For example rice, beans and various pastas in the same bucket. But that means everything needs to be packed otherwise it will all mix together. Unlikely I'll take the mylar bag route. So'll put it in the bucket as I buy it in the shop.
That raises my next question. If rice is in a plastic bag, what's the use of using oxgen absorbers? Should I simply assume the bag is leaking air or even puncture it on purpose so the oxygen absorbers can do their work?

I'm limited in space and money. So a bucket should be as full as possible, last as long as possible, and cheap.

I'm looking forward to tips on the above.

Another issue I want to raise is energy.
Beans are healty, I like them, they store well, but take long to cook. So what if fuel is very hard to get? Soaking and haybox are things I've been thinking about, but looking forward to tips on that too.
 
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I'd consider adding potatoes. The humble potato is a powerhouse of energy and nutrients. Slice them thin, dry them, then vacuum pack them.

To use them, you have a few options:

1. Bake a scalloped potato dish, adding more liquid to the recipe to allow for the potatoes to rehydrate during baking. Or, conversely, print out a recipe like this and keep it handy:  https://ezinearticles.com/?Dehydrated-Potatoes-and-Au-Gratin-Recipe&id=1850888  I've not tried this exact recipe, but ones similar.

2. Add dried potatoes to soups and stews.

3. Grind them up fine as a base for instant mashed potatoes.

For variety, also consider storing sweet potatoes. They are also full of nutrients.

Edited to add: I see you mentioned soaking your beans. If you don't mind soaking, have you tried sprouting some seeds? Sprouted alfalfa, chia, etc. If you can store the seeds well, they'll stay viable for years. Then you can sprout them for fresh greens. That would definitely be a way to add in variety and freshness.

 
Tony Masterson
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I've never dehydrated anything, so I'll have to study that a bit.
How long can I store them?
 
master steward
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Tom, you can buy potatoes that are already dehydrated.  The way I buy them they are called hashbrowns and mashed potatoes. These do not store indefinitely like rice and flour. I have not tested the hashbrowns as we use those rather quickly but mashed potatoes get an orange tint and the taste is not quality.  

Like most everything especially the things you mentioned has a short shelf life.

I have had success with the long-term storage of the boring things like rice, flour, cornmeal.  Pure honey, jams, and jelly keep indefinitely for me. Spices keep rather well long term.

Something to consider is that some foods will not taste the same after being stored long term.  I have 20-year-old grits that I cook every now and then when I run out of fresh grits. They are good and filling if you are hungry but they are rather tasteless. So far no matter how much butter I add they are still bland.

What I do is have a rotation system. I don't use buckets as I want my rotation to basically be in my food pantry.  My office is my pantry. It is a whole room with shelves and a desk.

Don't buy things that you will not eat.

My experience with pasta products so far has been that they take a lot longer to cook. With sauce on them, the taste seems to be ok, I only tried them once.

Here is a thread that might offer some suggestions:

https://permies.com/t/93304/kitchen/Stocked-Food-Storage-Pantry
 
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Anne Miller wrote:
My experience with pasta products so far has been that they take a lot longer to cook. With sauce on them, the taste seems to be ok, I only tried them once.


Longer than what? Are you talking about old pasta?
 
pollinator
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I buy grains and pulses in 25 or 50 pound sacks that I empty into 5gal buckets kept in the woodshed. I fill up big jars from the buckets and keep those in the kitchen. The buckets are all unsealed, but I go through them in a year or less so I don't think it's a problem.  I don't really see a benefit to eating ten year old beans.

But if I was going to buy ten years of food all at once, I'd probably mix different things in each bucket. I'd divvy up my 50lb sacks into heavy duty paper bags and put an assortment of things in each bucket. Then I could have one unsealed bucket on the go at a time.

The things I buy to store are chickpeas, navy beans, black beans, red split lentils, green whole lentils, steel cut oats, barley, millet, buckwheat, sunflower seeds, and cornmeal. I grow rye, dry peas, and potatoes every year, so never buy those. I gather two or three years worth of walnuts from my parents' trees from time to time and hang them in mesh bags from the ceiling. I hope to be growing my own millet, barley, and beans in the next few years. If I can figure out how to shell sunflowers without too much fuss, those will be grown too.  We don't go through much rice, so I just buy regular grocery store sizes. I like having all the colourful kinds, rather than white.

For luxury items, I have a wide variety of dried fruit, a gallon bucket of tahini, and I make jam for my husband every few years.
 
Jan White
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Oh, and for low energy bean cooking, I've discovered thermoses. I soak a pot of beans, boil in fresh water for ten minutes, dump into my 2L thermos, and have perfectly cooked beans a few hours later.
 
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Anne Miller, for my taste buds rice, flour, cornmeal and anything that has fat in it has a short storage life and needs to be stored in the fridge or freezer. I can taste that they go rancid pretty quickly stored at room temperature. I worked for a chocolatier last year and I was her super taster. I can also tell you if the baking powder you used in your biscuits has aluminum in it. I actually threw out 3 lb of rice recently because of this issue. It's always a crap shoot for me to buy nuts. I just went to natural grocers who store their nuts in the fridge and stocked up and am super disappointed about the macadamias which are already rancid. :-(
 
Tony Masterson
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Jan White wrote:Oh, and for low energy bean cooking, I've discovered thermoses. I soak a pot of beans, boil in fresh water for ten minutes, dump into my 2L thermos, and have perfectly cooked beans a few hours later.


I like that idea. I'm going to look for (reviews of) a good thermos that stays hot for a long while. (I could combine it with a haybox)
 
Jan White
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I've got this one

https://www.thermos.com/genuine-thermos-brand-stainless-king-vacuum-insulated-stainless-steel-beverage-bottle-2-0-l.html

and two smaller ones in the same line. I think they're 710mL. They also seem to be discontinued and replaced with a gimmicky thing.

Food stays hot for over 24 hours in the big one. I don't think you'd ever need a haybox. For the smaller ones, I do have a crocheted cozy to put over the cap, cause for some reason these companies just won't insulate those.

You have to watch how tight you put the lid on the big one or the pressure will prevent you from ever getting it off again. Only flaw in my mind.
 
Anne Miller
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Rebecca Norman wrote:

Anne Miller wrote:
My experience with pasta products so far has been that they take a lot longer to cook. With sauce on them, the taste seems to be ok, I only tried them once.


Longer than what? Are you talking about old pasta?



I am not sure how old the pasta was, it could have been 5 years old maybe?  We moved here in 2013, so it may have been from that date or earlier.  We thought it lasts forever.  I think it will.

I would say that normally spaghetti noodles take 8-10 minutes.  So this was like 20 minutes and still al dente.
 
Tony Masterson
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Jan White wrote:I've got this one

https://www.thermos.com/genuine-thermos-brand-stainless-king-vacuum-insulated-stainless-steel-beverage-bottle-2-0-l.html

and two smaller ones in the same line. I think they're 710mL. They also seem to be discontinued and replaced with a gimmicky thing.

Food stays hot for over 24 hours in the big one. I don't think you'd ever need a haybox. For the smaller ones, I do have a crocheted cozy to put over the cap, cause for some reason these companies just won't insulate those.

You have to watch how tight you put the lid on the big one or the pressure will prevent you from ever getting it off again. Only flaw in my mind.


Thermos seems to be one of the best. Looking for a 2L/67oz food jar. Can't find any beside in Chinese shops. But they perform less than the Thermos.
There seem to be very few decent reviews of thermos flask/jars.
https://outdoorsmagic.com/article/best-thermos-flasks-reviewed/
https://www.popularmechanics.com/adventure/outdoor-gear/g3089/best-thermos/

 
Anne Miller
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denise ra wrote:Anne Miller, for my taste buds rice, flour, cornmeal and anything that has fat in it has a short storage life and needs to be stored in the fridge or freezer. I can taste that they go rancid pretty quickly stored at room temperature. I worked for a chocolatier last year and I was her supertaster. I can also tell you if the baking powder you used in your biscuits has aluminum in it. I actually threw out 3 lb of rice recently because of this issue. It's always a crap shoot for me to buy nuts. I just went to natural grocers who store their nuts in the fridge and stocked up and am super disappointed about the macadamias which are already rancid. :-(



Denise, I am talking about all-purpose flour and white rice.  Self Rising flour will lose its "self rise" as well as baking powder.

Brown rice and other flours will go rancid.  I cook the brown rice for the dog.  After it is cooked I do not detect a rancid flavor or smell, I don't eat it just tasted it.

I have been eating food storage for most of my life so I may have gotten used to the flavor.  I paid good money for that food and I am not going to throw it away.  When we get to the point that is all we have it will be better than nothing.

I have heard other folks say that cornmeal will go rancid, maybe it is organic?  Mine doesn't or as I said I am used to it.

I buy cheap.  When I went to the store in September I got 5 lb sacks of all-purpose flour for 99 cents each.  Buying in bulk might be cheaper though I don't buy bulk because I always end up losing stuff to bugs.  I have sifted bugs out of bulk rice and beans.
 
denise ra
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I eat lots of animal protein and vegetables. I avoid processed food and rancid foods because they are not good for me. I spend money on the cleanest food I can afford and generally spend very little on health care. My long term food storage plan is to know and buy from local farmers so that in the event of food chain disruptions I already have a relationship with them and they continue to sell me food.
I was in Texas during the ice storm and my hosts did not have this sort of relationship with a farmer. It's was disconcerting to see the grocery store shelves empty once we finally got out.
 
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I buy field corn whole and make it into masa when needed. Last year I grew some as well. Just make sure you have some pickling lime as well.
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Re: storing in buckets and "in-use" allotments.

Check out what Michelle at Verge Permaculture is doing.



Summary: gamma lids for easy access to the 5G buckets, and a small pantry container for 'in-use' that can be refilled easy from the bucket.
 
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Our local Meijer's store sells drygoods in heavy duty sealed packages of potatoes, rice, and pastas in various forms/flavors in each group. These cost $1.00 each, or did before inflation hit.

I got 55 of these bags in one 5 Gal bucket. It could have been more if packages were rolled and packed better. I just left them as flat as purchased.

Each package would be a good dish for two people, so with another dish you would pretty much have a full meal.

The problem would be as with many other long term storage items:  water, water, water!
 
Anne Miller
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Jesse, I like those ideas.

If it were me I would try some of those packages after a year. Especially any that are au gratin or scalloped potatoes.

I have found items with a cheese sauce do not last much past the expiration date on the packages.

Or course not knowing the ingredients I could be wrong and hopefully I am.

For long-term cheap foods, I find ramen noodles to last forever.  I don't like them so they do last forever. I do like "cup o' noodle" and they last a fairly long time just not as long as ramen noodles.
 
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as previously posted, rotation might be worthwhile. if you have food stuff stored when you buy new stuff put it in back of line and eat the oldest inventory you have. but I tried some stuff stored just a few years and most of it went bad it ended up as bird food and compost. I'm talking about staples like flour, cornmeal , oats even shredded wheat and wasa brod.
it was either moldy like or soured. and I was pretty careful how it was stored. my opinion based on what you wrote about not having much time or money, buying a lot of food stuffs to store long term would not be something I would not spend lots of money on.
there are ways to long term store some foods I'm not sure what they are. I'm not sure what wise does or how MRE's are prepared and stored but even that stuff has a shelf life.
dried beans and rice if stored in glass bottles will not start tasting and smelling like plastic bag after being stored for long time. I think there is something to the atmosphere like humidity and mold and pollen spore content when your packing something up for long term storage that might have effect on quality after year or years.
I would think dried peans and beans and dehydrated stuff might last a while and provide emergency nutrition if stored in ideal conditions. but I'm no expert on ideal conditions.
not sure how long a can of sardines would last. but I know my flour and cereal didn't make it more than 3 years but its awful humid here.
 
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Here is an excellent demonstration of a high-end vacuum sealer for mason jars:



This is one answer to seriously extending the shelf life of dry goods, including the useful life of oil-rich foods like nuts before they go rancid.  Someone above was decrying the difficulty in storing nuts for any length of time without encountering that awful rancid smell.  I know that pain, and I'd add cereals, crackers, fried chips, and all other manner of oil-rich processed foods to the same category.  I couldn't say by how much this process will extend the freshness of these foods, but I would guess by at least a year or so.

I don't have one of these, but I plan to start doing the same thing with the adaptor on my FoodSaver.  As he points out in the video, it won't produce the same level of seal that this industrial-weight machine will produce.  But I already own a FoodSaver, even though I've never yet used the canning attachment, and the machine in the video is rather pricey.  I intend to start storing nuts, grains, pastas, flours, legumes, and all other sorts of dry goods this way.

Which brings up another point: nature has already provided us some guidance on long-term storability.  I mentioned above storing flours.  Since I bought a Mockmill countertop electric grain mill, I actually store very little flour.  Storing the whole grains and milling them fresh is so much easier and produces a much better product!  But of course, the end result is whole-grain flour; if you want white flours you will still have to buy and store those.  Even though white flours were invented expressly for the purpose of storage with less danger of rancidity, I would steal vacuum seal or else store them in the fridge unless you go through them quickly.
 
Matthew Nistico
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Here is one answer to the OP's original question of what to store in long-term emergency buckets.  In this video series, TSP producer Jack Spirko goes through the creation of an entire long-term storage bucket system step by step.  He discusses cost, convenience, end use, and the nutritional breakdown of everything he chooses to store.

Even if you choose different ingredients according to your own preferences, I think there is much to learn from watching his systematic approach.  I also note that he has chosen the (I think preferable) approach of creating a single bucket that contains a week's worth of food, rather than storing bulk items in their own buckets and dipping into many at one time to compose meals.

Unfortunately, he keeps referring to a later phase when he plans to augment what is seen here with additional foods, I think in a shorter term rotating storage scheme, in order to optimize the nutritional value of his stores.  As seen up through the conclusion of these videos, the total stores end up deficient in fat content.  I can't seem to find those videos, if he ever made them.

But here is the start of the system, in order:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgiK4-CjW7s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt-_zwPFnHA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8tyf76Ak68
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzu7TIs3cW4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8n-qNr92pgE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSWSeHScyL0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3OLt3E0mQY

Ignore the self-serious, overly dramatic intro music.  Don't know why he chose that.  Doesn't seem like his style, really.  In any case, it only lasts 15 seconds or so.



 
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