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Storing Food

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Post by Little Meadows on 4th November 2010, 10:49 am

Hi all,

following on from the topic about buying flour in bulk, I wondered if anybody out there stored food as in maybe about 3 months supply, not necessarily in the case of a natural disaster but I think as a means of staying afloat in times when we all feel the pinch.

If anybody does I wondered how they went about it and how to get hold of bulk amounts of food and the storage containers needed for storage.

Maybe I should admit to the fact that I have been reading Sharon Astyk's books and frankly they scare the pants off me.
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Post by Dandelion on 4th November 2010, 10:31 pm

What kind of foodstuff were you thinking about, and what quantities? Do you mean stocking up enough food to last for three months?
In our house dry stuff like pasta lasts OK in unopened bags for a few months, then I put it into large glass jars when it's open. (I stocked up on pasta when the supermarket was selling very large bags cheap on special offer, as I had heard that the world price of wheat would be going up.)
I suppose you're balancing money saved with the possibility of spoilage from rodents/insects/mould. There is also the factor of needing the space for storing it.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Little Meadows on 5th November 2010, 9:11 am

I mean most foods, certainly any advice on storing flour would be good I know there has been a discussion on the forum about buying flour in bulk, I have only very recently discovered that by putting the flour into the freezer will kill off the weevils, but what to store large amounts of flour in after freezing would be good, if anybody has any good advice.

Also, does anybody know where to get large food grade storage containers from at a good price?
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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 5th November 2010, 11:00 am

Yep, we store 3- 6months supply of most basic foods and much more with certain staples. Also means of cooking them if the power goes off, water filtration kit etc etc. People always tend to assume you are a survivalist nutjob when you start discussing these sorts of things, but being prepared in terms of feeding your family is a whole lot better than the alternative IMO. It doesn't have to be armageddon for it to come in useful - floods, heavy snow, sudden loss of income, oil tanker strikes... they say Britain is only four meals away from anarchy. Well we're about 400 meals further out.

Re flour: for bulk storage it is better to store grain and get a grain mill and grind up as much as you need as and when - grain will keep for years whereas flour will not. Short-to medium term flour will keep well in sealed mylar bags with a couple of oxygen absorbers in. Rodentproof and airproof and moisture proof.

We like to get large food grade storage containers for free wherever possible - try asking at bakeries and other places where they prep foods in quantity - they generally get lots of ingredients from chutney to margarine in big 10- 25litre barrels with sealable lids. Otherwise you often see these being sold on inexpensively.

the best way to get started is to toss a couple of extra items of the main staples you eat in the trolley every time you go shopping. It soon builds up. You have to be quite diligent in cycling through your stores so they don't get out of date but it soon becomes habit. The other advantage is that it almost never happens that you run out of something when the shops are closed - you just pop down to the shed or wherever your stash is and take one out of stores.

I am happy to do a thread on this or feel free to PM me.

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Post by Compostwoman on 5th November 2010, 11:33 am

What Billy says , here as well. And no, not a survivalist nut job either!

Some of it is that we are a bit more rural and so the concept of "popping to the shop" is a bit more difficult, mostly it is wanting a bit of security. When we had the fuel strike I was astonished at how fast other people ran out of even the most basic of stuff.

I re use the plastic ( food grade) containers which stuff like Diatom comes in, for the hens. Well washed out it makes a good storage container for sealed up, bagged goods. Diatom is food grade anyway so its safe!

I also use the 15/25 l plastic fermenting bins as storage containers for stuff, when I am not using them for fermenting...I tend to only make wine at certain times of the year and they are only in use for a week or so, so they get used the rest of the year as containers.




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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 5th November 2010, 12:59 pm

Hmmm Hadn't come across Sharon Astyk before, just been reading her various blogs. Some very good stuff in there.

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Post by Little Meadows on 5th November 2010, 5:01 pm

Phew, thanks for the info guys, it is kind of scary admitting to food storage I'm not sure I would tell my family about it although I kind of guess they would find out as the spare room will be used. We are home educators so already pretty weired in their eyes.

So I will check out bakeries for containers or very good idea to use fermenting bins.

Cheers everyone.

Yes Sharon Astyk lists on her blog 100 things to do before the power goes out, I hope it never comes to that but it is all sensible advice.
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Post by Compostwoman on 5th November 2010, 6:18 pm

I like her, she does some really good stuff.

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Post by Hathorite on 6th November 2010, 7:18 am

I'd really like a thread about this, actually, cheers, Billy.

It is something I've been thinking about as well as bulk is just better economy. In this house I just do NOT have the storage and so even though to other people it may not be a concern, I am definitely looking for more storage in the next house. It's also a requirement for me to have a working fireplace for heating and, ideally, cooking with my cast iron if I have to. I'm not going to be telling HB that of course, but I can excuse the heating due to illnesses.

I've got the general gist down, but the mechanics of where to get the bulk stuff in the first place and what to put it in is where I fall down a bit really - some things don't store all that well or need a bit of help (I freeze all flour for example and only take it out when I intend on doing my baking days to control the bug problem). But while I've started rudimentary stockpiling I'm sure I could learn a bit more.

Cheers again, eager to see what's put together as this has been on my mind quite a bit; the more I struggle getting out and about and reliant upon online, the less independent I feel - possibly considered counter-intuitive when it seems the world is at one's fingertips, but that only lasts as long as the wireless connection or the computer does...then what?
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Post by Little Meadows on 6th November 2010, 9:47 am

Yes please Billy, a thread on this would be great, cheers.
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Post by Guest on 6th November 2010, 9:51 am

Flour: Shipton Mill advise 6 months storage for their flour. I store it in a black plastic rubbish bin like this:




The lid is kept sealed for the flour.

Sugar: The other bin is bulk sugar. The lid must be kept loose for this.

The flour sacks in the picture are Potatoes: Shipton flour is delivered in double sacks that make excellent storage sacks for potaotes. Sort very carefully in to perfect, seconds and eat now. (Check them all after a few months and keep removing the shoots)[img][/img

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Post by Little Meadows on 6th November 2010, 10:11 am

Wow, very impressed, keep the good information flowing, unfortunately all the info I can find on storing food comes from american sites and books by american authors. If anyones knows anywhere where you can buy food in bulk apart from makro and costco, I would be interested to know.

I love the flour in large bins that is a great tip I will be borrowing.
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Post by Guest on 19th December 2010, 5:10 pm

A couple of revealing points in the French supermarkets is firstly the price per kg of the products on the selves and second they sell bulk (large sacks) of many things as people still entertain their families and cook large meals.

I've learned that the bulk bags are not a cheap as the special offer lines. These are usually seasonal here eg flour soon after the wheat harvest then pasta, soups and sauces after the main veg harvest, rice just before Christmas (?)...etc. This way I tend to only buy pasta once a year.

Also if you are looking to store things for a long time smaller packets are better than huge ones as then they are isolated from any problems that may develop, and it allows rotation to keep the stuff fresh.

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