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Deep Pantry for people who like food  RSS feed

 
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Kate Muller wrote:What about something like this for glass storage?

Here is a 2.5 gallon size. with an aluminum screw lid.
http://www.webstaurantstore.com/anchor-hocking-85679-2-5-gallon-barrel-jar-with-brushed-aluminum-lid/55085679.html

They also have a 1 gallon size.
http://www.webstaurantstore.com/anchor-hocking-85728-1-gallon-barrel-jar-with-brushed-aluminum-lid/55085728.html



Those are nice, though it can be problematic when the mouth of the jar is smaller than the sides of the jar. Plus we'd like something bigger than 2.5 gallons!
 
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Bill Crim wrote: It seems like the grain storage problem has already been handled by the local grain elevator, and doesn't really benefit by home storage methods. Flour also seems like a problem that is best solved by the mill. Is there a reason why you want to store more than a month worth of dry grain or flour? Am I missing part of the goal? Or is experimenting with different preservation techniques the goal?



We do not yet have a mill. Wanna buy us one?

There are multiple reasons to buy more than a month's worth of flour (when one doesn't own a mill):
a.) buying in bulk saves money
b.) it creates a "deep pantry" for resilience, preparedness
c.) it saves time/creates efficiency in our food shopping - especially when we live 35+ minutes from organic food sources
d.) stocking up helps us prepare ahead of time for events or feeding for large groups.

Maybe I've missed a couple more. Anyone else have another reason?

 
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

We do not yet have a mill. Wanna buy us one?

There are multiple reasons to buy more than a month's worth of flour (when one doesn't own a mill):
a.) buying in bulk saves money
b.) it creates a "deep pantry" for resilience, preparedness
c.) it saves time/creates efficiency in our food shopping - especially when we live 35+ minutes from organic food sources
d.) stocking up helps us prepare ahead of time for events or feeding for large groups.

Maybe I've missed a couple more. Anyone else have another reason?



Since the price of everything edible continues to rise, buying in bulk now prevents paying higher prices later.
Obviously there will be some exceptions but overall, the price of food isn't going to get any cheaper.
 
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Penny Dumelie wrote: Since the price of everything edible continues to rise, buying in bulk now prevents paying higher prices later

Flour's a hard one as 'real' flour with the wheat germ mixed in goes rancid fairly quickly, and the white stuff doesn't have a lot going on.
Hang on, I'm easily confused-you guys were talking about storing flour rather than whole wheat, right?
 
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Jocelyn,

I saw these stainless steel milk totes today and thought of you. 1, 2 and 3 gallon sizes.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Ann Torrence wrote:Jocelyn,

I saw these stainless steel milk totes today and thought of you. 1, 2 and 3 gallon sizes.



Ooo, beautiful! Posting a picture here, too. Thanks Ann!

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Penny Dumelie wrote:
Since the price of everything edible continues to rise, buying in bulk now prevents paying higher prices later.
Obviously there will be some exceptions but overall, the price of food isn't going to get any cheaper.



Good one! I do agree that is a worthy point e).
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Leila Rich wrote:Flour's a hard one as 'real' flour with the wheat germ mixed in goes rancid fairly quickly, and the white stuff doesn't have a lot going on.
Hang on, I'm easily confused-you guys were talking about storing flour rather than whole wheat, right?



Yes, right now we do not have a mill, so we are looking at buying and storing flour. And yes, the 'real' kind that can go rancid. Hence all the talk previously in the thread (I realize the thread has gone on a bit long at this point!) about burning candles to remove oxygen, storing airtight, etc. to prolong shelf life as best we can.
 
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I checked out Food Storage For People Who Don’t Hate Food
It is not bad but it is not useful in my situation due to food allergies.
I have had to deal with food allergies since my children were born. They are adults now.
Doc put me on gluten free diet and I can not eat soybean or dairy due to food allergies.
My family has cooked everything from scratch for decades.

I will give you my take based on grandma and grandpa who homestead in Alaska.
What made this bearable was creating a cooking pantry. Back in the old day there were not the number of products available today for people with food allergies.
So you had to have a pantry of ingredients so you could make the recipes that made the daily meals.
The key was the recipes for breads, baked goods, etc.
My family could not use common wheat but they could handle Spelt so we purchased a kitchen aid with a grain mill.

Now the pantry worked because we took all the recipes and worked out basic menus. We than took the menus and determined what ingredients we needed to stock in the pantry.
You would be surprised how hard some ingredients can be to come by. So for each item we needed in the pantry we created a spot with a label. The label had minimum amount we had to have and maximum amount that we could use. From this we created our weekly shopping list. Now for some items like tuna with no soya we had a second max which was a on sale max. Because some times we could save alot by buying it on sale. So for long storing items we had the on sale max.
Also, fall canning was a big restocking time. When home canned good ran out they ran out and we substituted with bought items.
But the pantry also helped us plan our garden.

Now we did not have money to buy everything all at once so inventory went up and down. But so long as we always had the min we could make meals.
When funds were available we would build up the inventory that was low.
We always left some money in the bank to take advantage of sales. In the long run it saved alot.
Also some items like Spelt, Brown rice, etc. it paid to purchase a whole large bag of it.
We would then grind flour on a weekend and fill the flour bins in the kitchen with spelt, brown rice, millet, etc. flour for baking, cooking, etc.
The whole grain would be stored in the pantry until needed in bug proof containers.

I hope this helps some of you.
 
Leila Rich
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Leila Rich wrote:

Penny Dumelie wrote:buying in bulk now prevents paying higher prices later

Flour's a hard one as 'real' flour with the wheat germ mixed in goes rancid fairly quickly, and the white stuff doesn't have a lot going on.
Hang on, I'm easily confused-you guys were talking about storing flour rather than whole wheat, right?


Jocelyn Campbell wrote: we do not have a mill, so we are looking at buying and storing flour (...) Hence all the talk previously in the thread


Erk. I did that awesome not reading properly thing.
I take the rancid thing back, considering the amounts you go through!
Anyway, it'll be basically frozen for half the time in your climate

We used to store large volumes in steel 44 and 5-10-odd gallon drums.
I can't remember the lid/closures clearly though, but I think they were sometimes steel with multiple clips.
 
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I couldn't think of anything that beats a 5 gallon plastic bucket for that size of storage and thought 'unless they made them of steel' and thought of the metal 5 gallon paint cans. I did a quick Google search and this is what came up.

http://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-7344/Haz-Mat-Products/5-Gallon-Steel-Pail-with-Lid


(Seems they don't allow linking to their picture so I took a screenshot and uploaded to imgur.)

It's not something that looks friendly for opening and closing a lot, but for longer term storage perhaps acceptable. "Steel pail has leakproof rubber gasket to ensure a tight seal." "Can be resealed if UN rating is not necessary"

They have a tool to close down the tabs but I bet they can be tapped down with mallet.

The draw back is that it states " Pail has a rust inhibitor lining. " Being a metal can I suspect the lining has to be applied after the body is welded together. If they are coated after assembly, you could contact them and inquire about getting them without the rust inhibitor coating. (Perhaps someone makes them uncoated as well, this was the first place I looked.)

A side note on rust. Most of the "Oxygen Absorbers" are nothing more than a couple pieces of some sort of fabric filled with iron dust or fine shavings. As the iron rusts the oxygen is trapped as iron oxide. Also interesting is this same fine iron dust is what is added to some "iron fortified' breakfast cereals. There are many YouTube videos and school science experiments based on grinding up the cereal and extracting the iron particles from it. Hopefully the bucket wouldn't rust but if it did a little, it seems that would be a built in oxygen absorber. If the small oxygen absorbers can get all the oxygen out, I suspect there shouldn't be enough oxygen to allow much rust at all in the bucket once sealed.

This place also had stainless steel 55 gallon drums with bolt on lids but they are extremely pricey, I have seen places that sell used one on the internet for about 1/2 price of new ones. (New are usually $700+ from what I have found in the past.)

Here is another supplier with what appears to be the exact same thing with much less description, and a little cheaper. They state " Rust inhibitor (unlined) ". So perhaps the rust inhibitor is just something that can be cleaned out and is only meant to protect them during shipping so they don't rust before contents are put in them. Again, a quick call could answer what it is and if you can get it without.

This place also has 'paint cans' up to 5 quart, and glass jars up to 1 gallon.

http://www.houseofcans.com/gallon-gauge-with-cover-p-1206-l-en.html

 
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It USED to be that the rust inhibitor in metal buckets was shellac.

I have also seen the milk buckets in scratch and dent sales from Hoegger and other dairy supply places at a more reasonable price. They weren't any more scratched than a month living in my place would get them. But they are not airtight lids--mouse proof but not mold or bug proof.

Stainless barrels are highly sought after and usually bring quite a price, if you find one cheap--either there is something seriously wrong with it, or the seller.

I still think you should invest in a good mill and just store grain. You have the best wheat in Montana (hard white spring--bakes like white flour but healthy and non-GMO) you should be able to buy direct from the farm, or at least send Tim's truck and save on shipping. You have one of the best grain mill manufacturers just down the road (grainmaker)--call them and see if they have a demo or refurb unit or would trade advertising. Whole wheat can store in food grade 55 gallon barrels ($10-20 each on craigslist) with only some welder gas (CO2) piped in to kill bugs that were already in it. The storage savings can pay for the grinder in no time for you guys.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Wow, additional great info (on rust, stainless storage things, wheat and grain mills) and ideas everyone. I particularly like the idea of a grain mill in exchange for advertising....hm.

We have some food-grade, used 55-gallon barrels around that used to have either pear juice (removable lids) or molasses (no lid yet, just a spout) in them. So we might re-work those for some food storage. (Actually, we had used one barrel to temporarily store pork we butchered in September.) Though they do seem to have some kind of lining in them which raises the eyebrows and they sorta tend to get used up for RMH and other projects around here, too.

An exciting development is that some guys here are using their soul labor time to build wood boxes for food storage. Hope to have more info (and pics!) on those later.

Wish I had more time to follow up on this stuff - I'm still stuck in some largely administrative/accounting/management tasks around here. We'll keep trying to get to this as we are able.

 
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
We have some food-grade, used 55-gallon barrels around that used to have either pear juice (removable lids) or molasses (no lid yet, just a spout) in them. So we might re-work those for some food storage. (Actually, we had used one barrel to temporarily store pork we butchered in September.) Though they do seem to have some kind of lining in them which raises the eyebrows and they sorta tend to get used up for RMH and other projects around here, too.



Oh, I thought he meant plastic 55 gallon barrels - like the blue plastic kind. How do you know metals ones are food grade or not?
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Cj Verde wrote:Oh, I thought he meant plastic 55 gallon barrels - like the blue plastic kind. How do you know metals ones are food grade or not?


Well, primarily because they are listed as food grade when being re-sold. I think it means they have a coating (I said lining above) of some kind - like the inside of some (steel/tin) canned food items you find in the grocery store.

The pear juice barrels have a removable lid so you can see and feel the coating inside. It feels more latex-y or vinyl-like than the paint on the exterior. I'm not sure if it's BPA-free, and if BPA-free really means it's any better or not. So, again, perhaps not the least toxic storage, but may be a decent option for us (for a while?) if the grains are left in their sacks inside the barrel.

 
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We store rice, beans, salt, honey, sugar etc in glass jars on shelves in the basement - works really well. Here are 2 places that I've bought an assortment of storage & canning jars.
http://www.uline.com/BL_8168/Wide-Mouth-Glass-Jars?keywords=glass%20jars
http://www.fillmorecontainer.com/
 
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Sam Barber wrote:

...
Another option that was discussed was using a stainless steel 55 gallon drum and putting the sacks of various grains into the drum with the tops cut open so that you could easily access any of the bulk contents easily and then seal it up again and if you put a non toxic candle into the barrel you could light the candle in the barrel every time you open it. I was also thinking about modifying the barrel to put a one way air valve in it so it could be vacuumed sealed easily. I was thinking the same thing for mid sized storage (think 5 gallons) except modifying a stainless stock pot with a one way valve.
...




Just be careful with vacuum.




Another option for CO2 generation might be a yeast and sugar, this may screw up the humidity though.
 
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In my area you can purchase dry ice pellets.
I have to purchase 10 pounds at a time but is is only a few dollars a pound.
If used right it kills many things. Some people use three pounds of dry ice in a leaf trash bag to bedbugs on fabric, stuffed animals, etc.
When added to a bucket of grain it will force the oxygen out.

You can also use an oxygen absorbent package which is something like 0000 steel wool, a salt compound, and water. It creates rust
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Tom, that vacuum implosion was intense!

It's becoming more common to avoid plastics as this 8 Ways to Freeze Food Without Plastic blog post attests.

The blogger includes affiliate links to some glassware, this set being especially appealing (now changed to an affiliate link for permies!) though darn it, that set is now unavailable. Though now that I think of it, we need larger containers / options for freezing food here at base camp.

 
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We made this grain storage room out of discarded metal barrels. We welded pairs together end to end, to form walls that hold up the roof. Got a local metal worker to add mouths at the bottoms and filling collars at the top. The plan is to flesh out the external walls with rammed earth or cob, to stabilize temperature and make the collars more solid.

- Keeps rodents out.
- Doesn't protect against or eliminate existing bugs, and we do occasionally have a problem.
- We don't seem to have a problem with rancidity, though the front barrels are south facing and get warm.
- We buy ground flour from a local mill, but I'd love to set up our own mill someday.
- It's built onto a retaining wall, so we can drive the truck next to the top for filling. The kitchen is level with the bottom.
00-Welded-barrels-for-grains-are-the-load-bearing-wall-of-storeroom.JPG
[Thumbnail for 00-Welded-barrels-for-grains-are-the-load-bearing-wall-of-storeroom.JPG]
00-Barrel-Grain-bins.JPG
[Thumbnail for 00-Barrel-Grain-bins.JPG]
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Wow, what a way to stack functions, Rebecca! Thanks for sharing those awesome photos. Is this grain for the residential high school community, and if so, about how many people? It sounds like you go might through it fast enough to prevent rancidity despite the south facing warmth. This kind of example could really help us here in our planning.
 
Tom Rutledge
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Tom, that vacuum implosion was intense!




This is a version where they use a 55 gallon drum with fire and ice.



 
Rebecca Norman
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Wow, what a way to stack functions, Rebecca! Thanks for sharing those awesome photos. Is this grain for the residential high school community, and if so, about how many people? It sounds like you go might through it fast enough to prevent rancidity despite the south facing warmth. This kind of example could really help us here in our planning.



Hi Jocelyn,
Yes, it's a residential community, sort of an alternative high school. We've got 40 to 50 people at all times, plus an additional 20 - 60 quite a lot of the time. Let's say it's an average of 60 people through the year.

Yes, the turnover means we're probably not storing things for more than three months, except maybe through the winter when rancidity wouldn't be much of problem anyway.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Thanks Rebecca, that is a large crowd!

Ideally, we'll quickly move to harvesting produce just before cooking (yes!) though we're buying and storing a lot right now. This blog post, How to Store Produce without Plastic has some decent tips on produce storage without plastic. I think everywhere the writer mentions a paper towel, that could of course be a tea towel instead.

 
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I did a brief once over of the posts and no one mentioned Mylar or hand warmers...which means I got some 'spaning to do. Im not up for a big tipe at the moment...so I'll get back to you fine folks soon. If I get distracted and forget about it, someone pester me about it. This is for long term storage. A plastic bucket with gama lid is not enough.
 
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As promised. Im hear to talk about Mylar and Hand warmers in food storage. Ild like to thank everyone for the warm reception I've received since I stumbled into this site like a drunk bull in a made in china shop. It seems appropriate to do this today on the verge of a major eastern storm. Reports of stores with cleaned out shelves are coming from all over. Though this is just a storm, it shows the vulnerability of our just in time food system and how easily slight disruptions can overwhelm it. A Deep Pantry is your buffer against these shocks. I have a multi layered food storage. It consists of our stored winter veggies and our own canning, Then there is the Stupor Store stuff. Stuff carefully collected at times they were on super sale. Loss Leaders meant to bring people into the store. Ill buy a years worth right then. Mega McStores don't make much money on a guy like me. Some of that is to be used and rotated. Some is for medium term storage. Then there is the long term food storage. Much of that is under the guest bed which is alittle higher than usual. That's because it sits ontop 20 liter plastic pails lined with a majic item called Mylar food storage bags...with handwarmers in them. And food, of course. This is my insurance policy. I'll eat it some time before I die. Im not exactly sure how many buckets I have. That should tell you something. I don't think about it. The job is done. It was relatively cheap. I don't waist any more effort on it. Occasionally I remember its there and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

What is Mylar and what makes it so special? Its basically a heavy duty plastic bag with a thin layer of metal in it. It can be sealed shut by running an iron across it. You have seen it before, probably in a chip bag. That stuff is the cheap arsed stuff. Its also an ecological and economical disaster...but that is some other post. Ours is the survivalist industrial version and can be reused and re sealed as long as it hasn't been punctured. That's what the buckets are really for. To protect the Mylar. Why isn't the bucket enough? Plastic breaths. If you have completely taken all oxygen out of a perfectly sealed industrial food grade bucket It will equalise with the outside oxygen level in less than five years. That little layer of metal is what stops the air dead.

This gets us on to the hand warmers. The hand warmer are basically low grade oxygen absorbers. Just more convenient. Absorbers is the wrong term. It burns the oxygen in the chemical reaction between iron and charcoal. It doesn't get hot enough to damage food. You wont get the same suck factor as traditional oxygen absorbers but you will get some. 3-4 hand warmers for a food grade bucket. One is enough for a 4 liter pickle jar and is more than enough for regular jars.

That gets me onto those big pickle jars. I call those poor mans mylar. Ive got about a dozen of those filled for long term food storage. They were recycled from delis. Sometimes the lids were to dented up to get a proper seal and those ones get used in the kitchen instead. Ill usually boil up the lid to soften up the rubber and get it on while the seal is warm. If you get a proper seal with the hand warmer inside it, it should pop down within a day or two. If you still have that bulge in the lid, Try again.

Back to the mylar. It was intimidating the first couple times. Like I had just graduated into some secret handshake survivalist cabal if I just got it right. Now its old hat. Yawn. Because of the less suck factor, I sealed it with the iron, except for 3 inches, tossed the hand warmers in and sucked the extra air out with the vacume hose, Then ironed past the hose. I did a demo on this last year at a local free school. I think my cat must have walked on it because it didn't hold the seal. That reminds me. Don't put your pail lid on tight for a few days. They are hard to get off. Give it a few days to a week to be sure that the seal held before hammering down the lid.

I hope this helps. Good luck with the super storm for those like myself in the effected areas. I have no worries about food
 
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Rebecca, I love that solution! Brilliant.

I was reading the hot climate section of the designers manual the other day. Page 266 has a grain storage system that uses an anaerobic fermentation system to provide CO2 to a grain silo. I was thinking that a couple of stacked steel barrels could be used to make a smaller, and more modular, sort of silo. It hadn't occurred to me to use the barrels as the walls, though.

If you had several mini-silos like Rebecca's setup, and achieved airtight seals, perhaps you wouldn't need a constant feed of CO2. I'd think it would be better off in a bermed or mostly underground cold storage room, but excellent to hear that it's working in Rebecca's climate without anything so elaborate.


The only food-grade barrels I have are a few steel ones which used to hold tea, in a liquid form. They have a reddish coating on the inside. I do wonder if spending effort to go from plastic to coated steel is a red herring, if the coating is potentially problematic. Hopefully someone chimes in with better info on that front.

I'm also not sure about cutting and welding such barrels; what do you do about the joint and surrounding area of presumably heat-compromised coating, after?


I know a lot of people store animal feed in dead chest freezers; it's generally considered rat-proof, though I suppose a particularly slender and fiendish rat could chew through the gasket. Should also be somewhat air-tight if the freezer isn't in really rough shape. While it's not the most space efficient option, it would add a measure of pest-proofing to storage of pretty well any food. If you aren't trying to hold cold air or CO2 in the thing, upright freezers would be better for some sorts of food...
 
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Those coatings on food grade steel barrels are a hard 2 pac epoxy, very similar chemically to the epoxy bonder used in carbon fiber composite, but with a different non toxic catalyst. They're the same as used in tin cans, so if you eat baked beans, you've been eating food stored in cans lined with the same stuff.

If you look you can find drums with clip-lock lids, where the lid has a lip on the rim and the drum has a lip on it's rim and an expanding clip ring fits over them and clamps closed. Very convenient.



Personally I use a old chest freezer with good seals but a blown compressor. You can get cheap broken chest freezers for as little as a dollar or free. Leave your stuff in it's bags and drop them in.

While I use them as rat excluders, dropping in a piece of dry ice will fill them up and keep the oxygen out.
 
Dillon Nichols
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Ha, ask and ye shall receive. Thank you Rhys, that does help. Sounds durable enough to stand up to modification better than I'd hoped, and hopefully a cut/welded portion could be covered with another layer of a similar epoxy afterwards.


I do think the freezer option is likely the simplest way to go for most things. You could even do the dry-ice or candle option to remove oxygen. For some folks it would be nice to not be lifting sacks in and out, though, and Rebecca's drive up, top load, bottom access barrel setup is really nice from the labor perspective in the long run.


I was lucky, my barrels have clip-lock lids, along with a couple screw-on caps. Sadly my need for them as WVO storage/filtration is rather pressing, so they may be sacrificed to that...
 
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO zone 5A / Canon City, CO zone 5B
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There is a ton of great stuff here, folks. This is exactly what I've been looking for. The only other sources I found that were reasonable were from my son's Mormon friends.
 
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I am just starting out and I love this idea of a deep pantry and a "par" so I don't run out of something before I buy more. These ideas and suggestions are so helpful to me! Thanks everyone!
 
gardener
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My spouse got all wound up over Y2K so I went back to my heritage and started keeping a several month pantry, rotating things, and had built in hidden storage to hide it. (At 2 am, he was listening to Art Bell again and getting all riled up AGAIN instead of sleeping, and I pulled the clock radio plug from the wall, ripped the backup 9volt out of it and kicked it down the hall with about six soccer punts and 17 impacts (I had to repair those the next morning) with vengeance, cooled him off). It got me back into the keeping a pantry of at least a month on hand. With my dietary changes for health, I have to order in or secure bulk stock items now so am running 3-6 months again. Storage is getting to be problematic, I need a real butler's pantry. This thread is great as it gave me many leads into items that might fit my needs (though some of my supplies, I recycle the containers that the stuff came in). Plastic or not to plastic, it's up to you. I have no problem in recycling containers that contain some of my suppliments needed to balance my diet. Glass can get heavy but for the stuff 'in front' in the kitchen, that is in active use, it can't be beat. Metal can have construction issues and despite being coated/stainless may not seal tight enough, or rust. So. Again, thank you for many sources to items that might work. I will say pretty much, wide mouth jar type is so much easier to deal with! (though I have a hand I can get into regular pints and even smaller diameters, one will 'collapse').

A deep pantry is good if you have the space, can get it organized the way you need, you can rotate your stock, and you use what you store. The only real issue then is how much do you need? How big should your containers be? How much can you handle (50# may be too much for some, yet alone 100# or 125#) I sure could use a real root cellar...
 
alex Keenan
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I also want to prevent these whole grains from going rancid. I don't want to "dry can" them, so we are left with freezing or refrigerating (in air-tight containers only), or we are also experimenting with burning a candle to replace oxygen with CO2 in some of our containers.

I store seeds using silica gel of the food grade kind. I put grains in large canning jar, put cheese cloth on top, then add gel packages and indicator strips.
When below lowest level on indicator, I remove cloth in jar and add 1/4 cup dry ice pellets. Put lid back on. Pressure will build and escape. After dry ice gone I make sure lids are firm.
Silica gel is rechargeable, dry ice pellets run me under two dollars a pound.
 
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Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
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Hi,

I always store dry goods in single serving size jars. the jars are usually just from grocery store jars and sometimes weck glasses. I seal them with my waterbath canner filled with so much water that the glasses don´t float in the pot and then process for half an hour to make a seal. I keep only things I eat and sort of stock up when they are on sale for the moment. I plan to load up on a years supply ordered once or twice a year so that i can more comfortably live without a car. I find it hard to actually grow a lot of the foods im used to eating here in this climate so a pantry stocked only with foods i eat now is almost all imported. I forage a lot but thats a lot of time to collect more than a meals worth. I don´t eat grains as a staple there are always egg noodles are in my larder for lazy days and visitors which are keeping very well having been sealed this way. Also, I seal the jars completely when they are still hot and then dip the lid in melted candle wax as my larder is kept a constant temp by ground water and metal rusts in there. Hopefully, as my garden area grows il be able to put up more of my own food and afford to buy higher quality as well, but with 50 a week grocery money for the three of us its going to take a while. I found the candle trick pretty usefull too. I cant see myself buying heaps of things for food preservation. it seems when you need to buy machines and glasses fine but then there is non resuable packages and then o2 absorbers, pecin, gelling sugars etc. i would think is is more efficiently made in a factory and purchased? though i like having dehydrated ingredients and some leftovers canned into ready meals at hand. Anyway i think just start and it will be clear what works and what doesn´t.
 
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Location: Canada
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

I'd rather avoid the hand warmer chemicals, too.



I'm not sure if someone else brought this up as this is a really long thread and I haven't read through all of it yet. I don't think that hand warmers contain any toxic chemicals.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand_warmer

"Air activated hand warmers contain cellulose, iron, water, activated carbon (evenly distributes heat), vermiculite (water reservoir) and salt (catalyst) and produce heat from the exothermic oxidation of iron when exposed to air. They typically emit heat for 1 to 10 hours, although the heat given off rapidly diminishes after 1–2 hours.[1][2] The oxygen molecules in the air react with iron, forming rust. Salt is often added to catalyze the process.[3]"
 
pollinator
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Hi,
If you are looking to store large quantities of dry goods (not in plastic) like grains and beans, you might want to consider fiber barrels. As long as they stay in a dry location, they should remain pest free. We have had two in the storage shed of our cabin that spent many years mouse infested before we took ownership from family & they still look brand new with not a single chew mark in them. every other piece of cardboard, wood or plastic in the cabin had been chewed. They come in a variety of sizes and the lids lock to the drum tightly. Here's one place online that sells them, but there are tons out there I haven't price compared, this is just for what they look like. http://www.thecarycompany.com/containers/drums/fiber
 
Deb Rebel
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Only things I have found to be relatively gnaw proof is ceramic (aka crocks) and truly gnaw proof (glass)

Fiber barrels or plastic, even metal, only last until something wants in. Then the teeth prevail. (it's amazing what those little teeth behind that jaw, the force produced).

Fiber can work if there's no smells that leak through to draw the vermin, and some form of vermin control (I have four outdoor cats between mostly tame (strays) and born in my garage to a stray I took in (semi tame) )

I am slowly shifting as I can afford it to glass or crockery storage, with critter patrol. I am currently saving for some carboys (brewing and vinting supply) that are all glass and sell a strap-protecting-lifting-system as well.
 
pollinator
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I make these jars for storing food without refrigeration. For dry goods you can seal them with melted parafin, or for fermented foods seal with water.

 
Posts: 44
Location: New Hampshire, USA zone 5/6
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:This 2.5 gallon jar (Amazon affiliate link again) says it has an air-tight seal with a metal lid though it costs almost 3 times as much.



Jocelyn,  My sister has these containers for her flour sugar etc on the counter. They do have an effective seal and are easy enough to get the lid on and off. So I would give them a thumbs up. Just figured a review may be helpful for you.
 
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