What Lessons Can We Learn Building Our Food Plan.
Several years ago when I decided it was time become more responsible and start stocking food for the future, it started as a mad dash with no known finish line. At the start there was no quantity vs quality approach. It was the "get-er done" before the crash, disaster, doom, gloom, invasion, zombies, collapse, and whatever else I could come up with as a cause to support the craziness. The inner voices fighting each other over how much is needed, how much to spend, where to store it, what to eat, how can we cook it...
I knew from the start I wanted a mixture of food types such as store bought cans, No 10 cans, garden canned, ranch grown beef and packaged meals. This I knew for certain. How on earth could it be difficult to start buying and stocking goods. Buy it and store it. Right? No wait, storage must possess some degree of temperature control for longevity. Oh, we must also ensure a degree of ease to access the food for rotation. No problem. Keep pressing on. No wait, what about keeping moisture out of the jars and 5 gallon containers? Hmmm, the prepper sites talk about something called an oxidizer to absorb the moisture. Got it. Buy oxidizers to place in the jars and 5 gallon container. Keep moving because time is essential. Oats, wheat, pastas, sugar, flour, beans and rice. Yes. These are foods we all can eat and survive with a smile. Right? Wait a minute. What size oxidizer do I use based on the size of the 5 gallon container or pint, quart, or gallon canning jar? Oh wait, I read something about placing wheat and oats in the freezer for a week to kill tiny bugs and/or eggs possibly in the bags/containers at the time of purchase. Is that it? Like I said, it can't be that hard to figure out, right?
Okay, I set things up for easy access to rotate cans to keep my dates relatively current and by type. That's not hard. Wait a minute, how do I set up the 5 gallon containers? Let's call the containers buckets. Five gallon buckets. Sounds more like a prepper term, doesn't it. This can't be hard. I buy 50 lb bags of beans from Sam's or Costco and dump the bag in the container, throw in an oxidizer and I'm done. Tamp down the lid and label the top to know what is inside. Now I'm moving along. Stacking these 5 gallon buckets looks pretty awesome. I step back and smile in pride as my food bulk builds. Then the thought hits me, hmmm, every time I want beans and rice, I have to pull two 5 gallon buckets, pop the lids and get my quantity desired, put in a new oxidizer, tamp down the lid again and store the bucket. Scratching my head I thought to myself, this has to be easier. Yes indeed. Slow down, I had forgotten my favorite quote. That being, "work smarter not harder." Keep it simple Charlie Brown.
What if I divided up food choices in Mylar bags then stored some beans, rice, pasta, and oats or wheat in each 5 gallon bucket? Then I would pull one bucket from the supply area and have each of the items to use. Genius. So that process was figured out.
At this point I had cases of store bought canned food (must include hillbilly steak), 5 gallon buckets of mixed choices in Mylar bags, pint, quart, and gallon canning jars with the same choices. My plan is to use the mix of canned store bought food and dry and canned food in pint, quart and gallon jars foods initially. The bucketed food is long term after the other items are gone. You may ask, why did I not go straight canning jars or straight 5 gallon buckets. Cost, storage space, and the ability to grab-n-go with the buckets.
With the addition of protein in the diet by purchasing canned tuna, salmon, chicken and turkey and then buying beef straight from the farm and canning it, we had the desired protein to supplement our food plan. We could add protein to our diet every other day or so to keep the diet healthy and filling. You can purchase good deals on quality choices through Sam's and/or Costco. Wal-Mart carries many of the same choices.
Now is where it got a bit tricky. The easiest way to supplement the food choices above and to make it last long term was to purchase dehydrated or freeze dried foods. Mountain House, Thrive, Auguson, Wise..... How much did I want and need? What about the cost and where was the best buy? What about quality of the food? What about the food long term. Could I live off of it and what would be the impact to our health? So many questions and few could answer them back in the day.
I had one question that I had not asked and I couldn't find a person with experience to answer it. This is where the "whew whew" whistle starting blowing to slow the train down. Should I buy the No 10 can pallet of food for two x one year? Or, food for two x two years? Well the fastest easiest way out of this project would be to purchase a couple pallets of pre- packaged pallets and have them delivered. I could put my wife's car in the driveway and store the pallets in my garage. Hmm, that probably wouldn't go over well. Okay, so let's store them in the living along the wall. No one will notice the pallets of food. Okay, bad plan again. Hmmm.
Like a brick up the side of my head it hit me. How many times have I ever gone in a restaurant and told the waitress to pick my meal and bring it to me. Never. So why on earth would I order two years of food without trying it out? Bottom line is I decided to order my No 10 cans by picking and choosing what ingredient I wanted and not bulk pallet loaded choices. I tried a few of the meals before ordering to see what I liked and how the meal impacted me. Because I have high blood pressure I have to watch for sodium. These meals are very high in sodium. And, if you don't drink lots of water and add some level of fiber you will become constipated quickly. In a power out or grid down situation, the last thing you want to cramp your way of life is constipation. The same goes with Meals Ready to Eat or MREs.
Another side note. Remember that it takes water to digest food. If you are low on water and eat a diet of dehydrated or freeze dried food, you must have the water available to process and digest these food choices. Understand the potential complications of all your food choices. You don't want to spend thousands of dollars on future meals to find out you cannot use them.
Bravo Echo Out