Freeze Dry Food At Home

I made a comment on Iceagenow.info about food storage. Robert turned it into an article:

https://www.iceagenow.info/dirt-cheap-survival-food-supply/

In comments on it, folks have pointed at some interesting pages and methods.

Freeze Drying

One is how to Freeze Dry Food At Home:

https://authorizedboots.com/2015/10/how-to-freeze-dry-food-at-home/

In addition to commercial freeze dryers (that can cost a few $Hundreds…) they cover a couple of interesting DIY methods. (I note in passing that a video about purchased freeze dryers doesn’t work anymore having been taken down) One method just puts the food in a freezer and waits a long time – with “frost free” freezers working better as they keep humidity low enough to sublimate ice. They other uses interleaved dry ice to accelerate the process.

A Little Bit of History

Freeze-drying was first invented during World War II to solve the problem of food being spoiled while shipped for wounded troops.
What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial

You will need the following equipment (appliances) for the freeze drying process.

1. Freeze Drying with a vacuum chamber

The quickest and most efficient means of freeze drying is with a vacuum chamber. However, there is an alternative method available which is freeze drying with a freezer.

A. Freeze drying with a freezer

When and if a vacuum chamber isn’t easily assessable to you, however, you can still follow this tutorial and freeze dry your food. The only thing you need is extra time. This process works by chopping food into small pieces and place them on a perforated tray in the freezer (This method works much better in non-frost freezers). Once the food is frozen in the initial few hours extending on to the next week the process of sublimation should take over (all the moisture will be removed). Moreover, to ensure the process is working test the food by letting a piece thaw outside. If it turns black rapidly, it isn’t set yet. If the food color doesn’t change, move on to the next step of storage.

2. Freeze drying with dry ice

There’s another alternative way to freeze dry food, and that’s by the utilization of dry ice if the choice of above two mentioned methods is not available. In a small humid setting, water molecules are strained out of a material such as food. The food you need freeze-dried has to be surrounded with dry ice (CO2 in its stable solid state), this will create a near-zero humid setting, will drain the moisture extremely efficiently. You’ll need a box double in size to the amount of food you’re going to freeze dry (Tupperware would be a good choice). Then makes some pits on the lid for the various gasses to escape. Add equal amounts of dry ice and the food you’d like to freeze dry into the box. Alternating with one layer of dry ice, with a layer of food, etc. goes well together. Soon after this place the box in the freezer, to solidify the dry ice further for as long as you can. Inspect after every 24 hours till the dry ice vanishes. The food should now be fully frozen dried, and all set for storage.

They have a photo of freeze dried fruits and vegetables in jars, but then talk about “storing it” mostly as vacuum sealed bags:

Once you are done freeze-drying, for whatever reason you have chosen either with a vacuum chamber or not, set the food in airtight, moisture-proof bags. Moreover, you can use a vacuum packing machine if it is readily available to you.

However, Ziploc bags work fine too, as long as a vacuum can be created in them. Now you can seal them up and put them away in your preferred storage space.

I have a food vacuum sealer / bagger device I bought years back. It works OK, but in long duration storage the bags sometimes develop leaks and air gets in. It has an attachment to pull a vacuum on a jar, and I’d use that method for really long duration storage. But frankly, for a year or two, just in a plastic bag ought to be enough. If one starts to “puff up” with air, just eat it inside a couple of months ;-)

Long Duration Foods

This article lists foods that store for a very long time:

https://thepreppingguide.com/foods-with-longest-shelf-life/

In addition to the indefinite life things like sugar & salt, and “the usual” beans & white rice, it has a nice list of other foods. Nothing really surprising, but a nice reference. It includes some links to other interesting articles:

1. Dried beans

Just like with rice, if you properly package dried beans they can last for up to 30 years. To get the longest shelf life out of dried beans they have to be stored in air-tight containers with moisture prevention to prevent the spoilage that happens in kept foods.

Sure, I mentioned above that dried beans every day might get a bit boring, but if you add these in with rice and a few different spices you can make a lot of interesting mixtures to have some contrast to your food stockpiles and the types of recipes you could create out of your doomsday stockpile.

For storing dried beans, it is recommended you stick with airtight sealable food storage containers and mylar bags which stop oxygen absorption for long-term foods. The bags help considerably to extend the shelf-life of almost all foods that you are looking to store. There are also a number of other ways that you might want to look at to extend the shelf-life of your foods as well.

So that link is an article that mostly says keep things cool, dry, dark, and free of pests, but also includes some interesting bits like using oil to preserve eggs.

Some of the other storage foods are:

2. Rolled oats
3. Pasta products
4. Dehydrated fruit slices
5. Cheese
6. White rice
7. Dehydrated carrots

Dehydrated carrots last for up to 25 years.

8. Dried corn (10+years)
9. Legumes: lentils and peas (4-5 years)

They state that in mylar oxygen absorber bags can extend that to 20 years for the beans. I would note that peas “get hard” in storage and then even with extended cooking do not soften. I avoid peas in storage. 16 year old lentils just in a jar were reasonably good and sprouted when planted.

It is possible that excluding oxygen slows the hardening of peas, but I’m not interested in doing the 5 year A/B test to find out ;-)

10. Canned baked beans and canned spaghetti
11. OvaEasy Powdered whole eggs (hard to believe it exists – these last for up to 7 years)
12. Pemmican

Pemmican is a survival treat invented by the Native Americans which was made from lean meat of local wild animals. The meat is dried over a fire, mixed with fat and flavoring berries and pressed into biscuit-sized snacks.

Bear Valley makes a range of pemmican products for outdoors regulars who are looking for a source of protein with a good taste and long shelf life.
13. MREs (Meals Ready To Eat)
14. Twinkies

I’m not sure I’d consider Twinkies food. Their Trans-Fat level is what kept them unchanging, but it is more anti-nutrient than nutrient.

I’d add canned Ravioli & chili con carne to that 10. They have been a “go to” meal on the road for me for decades and some cans were in my “road bag” for a year or three before being “needed” when stuck on some job out in Hell And Gone without facilities. Can be eaten cold. One can got warmed in the break room microwave at a colo-facility 30 miles from somewhere Denver ;-)

Each of their numbers has a description / blurb. I’ve left that in for Pemmican since some folks may not be familiar with it.

For MREs: I kept a few dozen of these around for some years. At one year old they are fine. At 5 years they are OK. At 10 years in the trunk of the car in all weather, they are barely tolerable but better than nothing, maybe. At 15 years (found one that was hiding…) they are essentially inedible. Fats are doing strange chemistry. Oddly, the protein component was one of the more acceptable. Peanut butter was horrid and the “cracker” had a vaguely rancid fat overtone. The sugary desert “pastry” was still good.

In reality, while talking of 20 year storage life or even 10 year: Why?

Look, it is BEST to store foods you like to eat. If that is the case, then eat them!. Just rotate the stock by eating foods you like. Then you don’t need to store it for a decade or two. If you eat canned ravioli, spaghetti, SPAM, ham, and lima beans once a week each, just put 52 of each in your storage area. Eat one each week and put a new one on the far end each week. Now you are never storing it more than a year and you have a year supply of it. Similarly for sugar, salt, coffee, rice, etc. etc.

The one place that breaks down is when you need a replacement for, say, chicken. Say you have fried, roasted, or otherwise chicken 1 x week; but buy it fresh. Not wanting to eat only canned chicken, that’s something that needs an alternative. My suggestion is you put 26 cans of canned chicken in your storage, and then every 4th week find a way to prepare it that you like. Now your inventory turns over in 2 years, but you only have 1/2 year of inventory. So put extra dried lentils & rice in long term storage with it for the other 1/2 year worth of “chicken replacer”. In an Aw Shit you still have that year worth of food replacing your regular fresh chicken buys; but in normal times you are still eating fresh chicken 3 out of 4 weeks and only figuring out how to make good things from the canned stuff every 4th week.

Then the indefinite 15. Sugar / Salt, 16. Baking Soda, 17. Honey, 18. Bouillon, 19. Instant Coffee, Cocoa Powder, Tea, and 20. Powdered Milk.

I’d note that for my Goat Milk they sell powdered in tins. I’ve had one open in the fridge (with plastic snap on lid) for a couple of years at a time. When I run out of milk, I use it instead. I’ve never seen it “go bad”. I would expect jars of powdered cows milk to similarly last a very long time. I’ve also had “instant potato flakes” in jars last a very long time – I just don’t like them that much ;-)

Honey in long term storage doesn’t go bad, but it does start to throw sugar crystals. Don’t expect a 10 year old can of honey to be liquid and golden. It is more likely to be a granular solid in goo. Still tastes the same and works the same. ( I once got a 5 gallon can of honey from someone… it took a lot of years to get through that ;-)

Baking Soda must be in an air tight jar or it slowly reacts with moisture in the air.

Freeze Dried Coffee lasts forever even in a Go Bag in the car. (A decade of drinking it at various job sites when nothing else was available… Surprising how long one big jar lasts when you have just a few cups a year from it ;-)

I’ve had bouillon cubes in my Go Bag for 20+ years that seem unchanged. Mostly just flavored salt, though…

In Conclusion

Canned goods are pretty much fine for 2 years. If you just buy 2 every time you need one, and put the other in storage, in one year you have a 1 year supply of canned goods. Then it is just ‘rotate the inventory’ time.

What I did instead was went to the Big Box discount stores (COSTCO and similar) and when I needed one can of green beans, bought 2 boxes of 8. One box to storage, one opened on the kitchen shelf. If you take a can down, add ‘buy a box’ to your COSTCO shopping. That gets to you to your “year supply” much faster and it is in nice stackable boxes. They make nice bases for end tables, work benches, etc. Put some cloth over it and a piece of finished wood on top and it even looks nice ;-) As you are buying at 8 x the run rate, it is only 6 weeks until your Green Bean supply is done. Then you move on to canned corn, or peas, or “whatever”.

For beans & rice, Walmart, Costco, etc. all sell 10 to 50 lb bags for dirt cheap. Just buy one of each and stick it in the pantry. When you get time, figure out what to decant the bags into for better storage. I bought 1/2 gallon glass jars. They work very well. You can also get gallon jars or 5 gallon plastic cans. The Pet Store has large plastic tubs with screw on giant lids for storing giant bags of kibble. They work fine for bulk beans / rice too. If you figure on 1/4 of your calories coming from beans and rice, that’s about 1/4 lbs per day per person. Call it 100 lbs for a year. That’s a 50 lb bag each of beans and rice. For about $100 you have 1/4 of your year done (plus cost of storage containers). Figure another 1/8 as pasta at similar prices. The rest can be your canned goods, MREs, etc.

If you are into baking, flour also keeps a very long time in jars and a giant bag is dirt cheap at the bulk sellers. Just don’t buy more than you will use in a year or two ;-) Pancake mix doesn’t keep as well, but does OK. If exposed to air the oil in it starts the rancidity cycle after a while.

Folks who do not like to bake, don’t like cooking dried beans, and think white rice is just not interesting: Well, you can just store a lot more cans of stuff. If you live by the can, store by the can. But really, one of my favorite meals is fish & vegetables steamed over rice in a rice cooker / steamer. Change that to a tin of kippers, and canned vegetables with rice and it is almost as good. Similarly, I make Scalloped Potatoes from a package (Betty Crocker). It needs milk and butter. I’ll add chopped ham and make it a casserole. It is almost as good made with Olive Oil & Powdered Milk and I find it a bit better made with bits of SPAM vs ham. It’s the added salt in the SPAM I think ;-)

The point being that if you make a meal “the usual way” 3/4 of the time, and with “stored alternatives” the other 1/4 of the time; you will turn over your stored items in no more than 4 years and also find out how to make it tasted good for “when the time comes”. Oh, and do note that dried packaged “meals” like the Scalloped Potatoes and Kraft Mac ‘N Cheese also keeps for a couple of years “as is” ;-) If bought in bulk at your favorite discount store, they and the various canned and dry goods, can be enough cheaper than the local grocer to pay for your stored food system.

So I really don’t see any reason to need food that stores longer than 4 to 5 years nor do I see the need for a lot of money to build or buy a food storage system. Then, since COSTCO sells a giant bag of carrots cheap, but too much for us to finish, I’ll be trying out the DIY freeze dry both as a way to buy bulk carrots cheap and not feel guilty when they spoil, and as a way to get more vegetables in storage without buying cans. (Canned carrots are icky ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in cooking, Emergency Preparation and Risks and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Freeze Dry Food At Home

  1. John F. Hultquist says:

    Perhaps a couple of years ago in a related post, you or someone mentioned the need to store water – drinkable, cleaning, waste.
    Whenever I think about providing things, I recall from TV, a lady near an approaching hurricane who – the day before– filled all her cups, glasses, and pots and pans with tap water to be sure she had water. Good grief.

    So, not much to add, except:
    Over the past couple of years we have discovered –
    [I say we, but this really has to do with my wife, who with some others entertains retirement, re-hab, and food bank folks with music. At the food bank a meal is served at Noon Wed., she and others play and sing, then eat. ]
    The servers and workers, mostly volunteers themselves, started pushing very perishable food onto the music makers, and then extras of non-perishable. Seems there is so much food at some times the places have trouble getting rid of it.
    {There is no way to pay for the stuff, but in summer we take garden things like squash and tomatoes for them to give out. At Thanksgiving and Christmas they like cash donations for turkeys and hams.}

    – back to we have discovered – there are 80 oz. cans of rice, beans, and maybe other stuff available. I don’t know the up-stream source of these large cans, but they are clearly meant for long storage. Other times, dried lentils, rice, & beans are in plastic bags (12 oz.?).
    I sense there are at least 2 sorts of clients. One being local residents in need of food, and two, street folks in need of being fed. Think about the sort of person or family that can deal with an 80 oz. can of rice. That’s not someone sleeping in a cardboard box.

    Anyway, when one starts thinking about food, and storing a half-year or more of food, other issues pop up. At a meeting of Washington Trails Assoc., we were given a couple of pouches of Mountain House ‘freeze dried’ meals. They claim a 30 year quality and taste. I checked at Walmart and the price is about $10 for one meal. Holy cow!
    If you have lots of $$$, you can buy just about anything you want along these lines.

    I like your plan of “stock and rotate” the things you like, however.

    Merry Christmas

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    I knew there was a reason I bought that high vacuum pump a couple years ago! ;)

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012CFTZII/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I used a similar pump to dry and refresh ion chamber detectors for radiation detection equipment in the civil defense program. It will draw a low enough vacuum to boil water at room temperature so very good for any sort of drying operation.

    When you buy a vacuum pump it comes with special high vacuum oil, a suitable replacement is to use an all synthetic motor oil like the true synthetic Mobil1 oil (it was recommended by my original pump manufacturer, have not checked the spec sheet on the new one.)

    A quick and dirty bell jar setup can be made with a non-porous board with a hose fitting in it and a large Pyrex cooking bowl with a rubber gasket. You could do the same thing as a vacuum chamber big enough to put a canning jar in, put the stuff in the jar, place in the chamber, put the jar top lid on loosely, an put the Pyrex bowl over the top and pull a vacuum. You can make a low tech high vacuum indicator by putting a few drops of water in a bottle cap inside the bell jar, and pull a vacuum until the water drops boil and evaporate, then open a bleed valve to release the vacuum and the canning jar lid will pull down and seal.

    For Pasta products you can increase the dryness to improve storage and kill any critters by laying the pasta out on a cookie sheet and placing in the oven set on low. In my oven it stabilzes at 175 deg F on the low setting and I back the pasta for 15 min or so to be sure it is really dry and no bugs before I put it in tight seal storage containers.

    Salt will hold humidity at about 3% if in a sealed container – you need to store salt anyway so you can also improve the dryness of storage by putting a pound box of salt in an air tight container with what ever you are trying to store.

    Cracker : Yes the civil defense crackers also turned rancid in storage even in sealed tin cans that had never been opened. One of our mountain counties tossed the crackers out in the woods and even the chipmunks would not eat them.

  3. Larry Ledwick says:

    Those mountain house pouch dinners are aimed at back packers and are about the most expensive package you can buy. You can buy #10 cans of dried or freeze dried foods online from many sources. Just do a search for “dried food cans” on amazon and you can order them direct.

    Full cases of #10 cans is 6 cans so if you want them packed in case size boxes order in batches of 6. Two cans make a good moderate sized package that does not weigh too much.

    Some dried products are very light weight (like mashed potato flakes, others are quite dense (potato pearls which is a fancy name for potato dust, a good potato extender and high density package but has almost no texture if mixed by itself. You can make a very good artificial mashed potatoes by mixing dried potato dices, potato flakes and some of the potato pearls. Hydrate the dices and simmer them until tender (about 12 minutes) then add the potato flakes/pearls until you get the consistency you want. If you use an old fashioned potato masher on the mix to break up the dices a bit it is an almost perfect copy of natural boiled potatoes mashed. Add a bit of butter and almost as good as home made.

    I buy some of my stuff from honeyville farms, high quality but only available directly from them. Similar prices to Mountain House and Augason farms

    https://shop.honeyville.com/

    https://www.mountainhouse.com/

    https://www.augasonfarms.com/food-storage

    High quality protein is one of the hardest items to store so a few #10 cans of the dried meats or egg powder greatly extend the value of all the stuff you can package at home from the store.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @John F.H.:

    Usually stuff is in #10 cans.
    https://www.thereadystore.com/food-storage/1071/what-is-10-can/
    109 oz.

    Most can sizes are based on how much stuff you got in the prior canning jars of traditional units. That’s why a typical 2 1/2 can is 15.x ounces, the difference to 16 ounces being “headspace” in a pint canning jar.

    Don’t know just what an 80 oz can would be unless it’s the weight of the “stuff” in a #10 can when there is space between the grains / beans..

    #10 cans are nearly universal in food service. I spent years stocking them in the stock room of the family restaurant. Typically they come 6 to a case. In the Bulk Food section of stores you will find them sometimes. At one time COSTCO sold #10 cans of green beans and peaches but I’ve not seen them lately. (I did some experiments in ‘recanning’ the #10 into jars since you could get a #10 for almost the same price as a nice 2 1/2 can at the local fru-fru grocers. It works but not worth the trouble. Easier was just open it, and then keep the extra in the fridge and eat a lot of it for a week or two ;-0

    I suppose in this world of ever shrinking unusual sizes the 80 oz has been the bait and switch of the #10 size. Just like some dog food now comes in 13 oz instead of the 15.x ounce…

    Water Really Matters in anywhere without regular rain. I have 3 x 30 gal plastic barrels of it. For most places with water near (like, oh, Florida ;-) just having a nice filter is all you need. I have one with a perpetual ceramic / silver element in it. Good for 2 people “forever” (i.e. longer than I will last). Paid way too much for it 35 years ago and never needed it. I’m still VERY happy with the purchase.

    Yeah, the Freeze Dried Camp Meals are a real rip off in pricing. Intended for folks with too much money who are going to carry it 20 miles of hiking and then cook it hanging on the side of cliff in a sling… I’d rather just use cheaper things I normally cook ;-)

    @Larry:

    I did that “dry canning” experiment a while ago and that would also heat / kill bugs in things.
    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/canned-crackers-dry-canning-say-what/
    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/dry-canning-1-year-report/

    I’ve never had any bugs in pasta. Is that an experience or a hypothetical? I have had flour weevils in flour and various cereals including Cream Of Wheat and I’ve had bean weevils in various garden beans after growing them in the same place for a few years – so then I’d freeze any beans I intended to store…then put them in a jar. So it isn’t like I’m saying the problem doesn’t exist. I’m just saying that for whatever reason I’ve never had issues with pasta and I’m wondering if that’s Dumb Luck and I need to change my ways…

    You have me thinking that a small round hockey puck sized “salt lick” in the bottom of each 1/2 gallon of Dry Goods might be a nice cheap addition. Plus provides stored salt as needed later.

    Some decades back I bought a “Survival Food Storage System” of something like 20 cases of #10 cans of stuff. “Instant Food Storage System” when I had a new dependent family of 4 and was working 80 hours a week at Apple. Over the years we’ve eaten most of it.

    What went first was the dried meats. Were I doing it over, I’d buy a LOT more cans of jerky ;-) Just behind that were the cans of freeze dried fruits.
    The freeze dried vegetables were good and got eaten over a couple of years after about a decade.
    What is still left? The whole grains. I have a grain mill and about 3 cases of hard winter wheat still in the garage.

    That was when “store what you eat” as a mantra developed… Lucky for me I like SPAM, kippers, oysters, tuna, and canned hams ;-)

  5. Larry Ledwick says:

    I’ve never had any bugs in pasta. Is that an experience or a hypothetical?

    That is real experience, – – a few years ago I was buying in bulk while I was unemployed and a local walmart had some sort of infestation problem. I bought some pasta products, (flat noodles) which turned out to have critters, since I don’t eat them often they sat on a shelf in the pantry long enough for the little buggers to eat through the package and get into a few other things. Took me a while to clean up that mess.

    They got into a few boxes of spaghetti and macaroni and ate through the cardboard cans that rolled oats come in. Some of it I just tossed as it was more hassle than it was worth to clean it, but as an experiment (and because I was on a very tight budget) I tinkered with how do you solve the actual problem if you can’t afford to just toss the food.

    I tried freezing stuff and that sort of works – works, best if you freeze it and thaw it a couple times, because like weeds, anything that survives the freeze gets active when it warms up and thaws. You need to freeze it for 3-4 days at temperatures below 0 F. On both rice and spaghetti the baking system worked best for me.

    If you pour the rice or pasta you suspect is invested out in a 1/4 inch thick layer in the cookie sheet and place in a 145-175 deg oven as soon as it warms up, the critters crawl to the top trying to get away from the hot pan and then expire, easy to pick off ( I was not worried about disease issues since you cook both at boiling temps so when cooked they are essentially sterile.) The heat also kills any eggs left behind so the problem does not come back. Once heat treated, repack in new containers that are bug proof and you are good.

    When I was young, I always wondered why my Mom washed rice before she cooked it. She would take the dry rice, put it in a large measuring cup and run water into the cup and swish it around with her fingers then drain it and plop the wet rice in the pan and then add the measured water needed for cooking.

    After my little bought with infested groceries, I discovered that the washing process instantly clears the rice of any critters or their shed skins (usually the first hint you see in a container of rice or other contaminated dry food), so a good safety measure to get in the habit of doing as you prepare food. I now wash my rice before I cook it just like she used to do.

    Final solution was clean up every thing I could, then dust with diatomaceous earth and borax in the hard to reach places of the pantry, ( diatomaceous earth cuts through the waxy coating bugs have and causes them to dehydrate, borax is toxic to bugs and relatively non-toxic to humans in small amounts ) and some food safe natural bug spray in a couple places that were impossible to get to without a great deal of work.

    It took a while for me to realize that the odd little moths I suddenly had were also related to that food pest problem and got some sticky traps for pantry moths, and that broke the cycle.

    This is the first and only time I ever had to deal with it in some 50+ years of feeding myself, but even if it happens, you can salvage 90+ % of the food if you just keep working at it.

    Modern households seldom see this sort of problem and don’t realize this was pretty normal for the grand parents or great grandparents generation. (read some stories about weevils in the flour on board sailing ships etc.)

    As you say, canning jars and similar tough containers with a tight seal are your friend.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004I41ER2/

    https://extension.illinois.edu/thriftyliving/tl-pests.html

    https://extension.umn.edu/insects-infest-products-and-houseplants/pantry-pests-insects-found-stored-food#how-to-get-rid-of-pantry-pests-50812

  6. Larry Ledwick says:

    I now buy salt in boxes (Canning salt) in the spice section, it is a much finer granular size much like the salt used on commercial popcorn, easy to use to lightly salt things like hard boiled eggs or popcorn where typical table salt grains are so big the do not want to stick to the food product.
    I would just plop a small box of canning salt in the food as a food safe and useful desiccant.

    I like the 4 gallon square buckets you can order from Uline for food storage.

    https://www.uline.com/BL_8172/Square-Pails

    The 4 gallon size when full of dense food like rice or beans is still a manageable weight to carry (about 25-30 pounds if I remember correctly depending on what is in it).

    What I do is buy bags of rice at the store and leave the rice in the original bags and drop a few of them (or sugar or flour etc.) into the bucket, than when it is nearly full, fill the empty space with macaroni which is a very low density food but fills all the empty space in the bucket. Then you have food still in the original package if you want to pull it out or barter with it, and get full use out of the volume of the bucket. If you order 10 of them they come in a single vertical stack box about 5 ft tall and a bit over 1 foot square.

  7. Power Grab says:

    Weevils aren’t a hypothetical thing. I’ve seen them. I never had to go to extreme lengths to get rid of them. As I recall, bail jars with seals are a great way to keep my food from being infested by critters.

    I recently tried grinding a 10 year old bag of Gevalia coffee beans. It didn’t have that irresistible aroma of really, truly fresh coffee, but it wasn’t bad. However, as I examined the ground coffee, I decided there were too many tiny shiny things that looked like they might be ground up critters or their shells. I ended up throwing it out, along with…oh…a dozen or more boxes…with 4 bags in each box.

    I know, who keeps coffee for 10 years? Well, I come from a long line of pack rats, so I came by it legal!

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    Ok, so either “IT is different in California!” as we have a different collection of critters, or my general paranoid habit of putting everything in glass jars or tin cans has generally protected me. I’m OK with that ;-)

    FWIW, I even decant things like corn flakes and flour into jars.

    Just a couple of experiences with “Why is my cream of wheat wiggling?” and “Why are there webs in the top of this box of FOO?” and I went to 100% decant into jars for anything vaguely grain based.

    IF I see ANY of those tiny moth like things that the worms turn into, EVERY and ANY box with grain based stuff gets a very tight inspection! (Though now there are nearly no boxes and it’s been years since I’ve seen one of those tiny moth like things…)

    @PowerGrab:

    Remember that 15+ year old MRE I mentioned?…. I have no idea exactly how old the #10 cans of wheat are in the garage… I’ll find out when I move (or when the 8+ Richter quake happens ;-)

    Hey, time happens, OK? ;-)

    @Larry:

    I’ll take a look at the 4 gallon containers. Though really, we’re more in “get rid of it” mode until we go to Florida. Likely then I’ll rebuild stocks. Hopefully TEOTWAWKI doesn’t happen in the next year ;-)

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    I’ll take a look at the 4 gallon containers.

    Also my local Lowes home improvement store has food grade storage containers available over on the isle near where all the glue and such is.

    (we have a large enough Mormon (LDS) community near by to support a fairly large temple so might be due to local market conditions)

    As I recall they are 1/2 gallon and 1 gallon sizes (or perhaps qt and 1/2 gallon) been a while but they are the small snap top tub style containers.

  10. John F. Hultquist says:

    Regarding #10 cans:
    They seem to be 6 1/4 ” diameter and 7 ” tall.
    I did buy a big can of peaches a few years ago; decided against doing more.
    Another brand on the web claims 106 Oz. Packed with liquid and sugar, I guess that sort of stuff might vary 3+ Oz. whether apples, pineapple, and so on. Costco and Walmart are 50 miles away, but I’ll look next time.

    The cans I have are dry packed beans (2 types), and rice — all 80 Oz.

  11. Graeme No.3 says:

    ‘Candied’ honey can be restored by placing the container in warm water. Best with a sealed jar and lots of time and warm water as the heat has to work its way in. eventually you will have clear pourable honey. Unfortunately it often reverts back to ‘candied’ basis after a week or more.

  12. Graeme No.3 says:

    Oops! Pressed the post button too soon.
    A merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all readers and may you have an extended shelf life without bugs and weevils getting to you.

  13. Larry Ledwick says:

    I restore crystallized honey by heating the honey in the microwave.

    Note it heats very quickly, in the microwave and it has to be heated quite hot to fully dissolve every last seed crystal. I monitor the temperature with an infrared thermometer. As I recall to fully clear it, you need to get very close to boiling temperatures but I did not write down the temp the last time I did it. I candle the honey with a bright light so you can see the very tiny seed crystals when it is nearly cleared as they are almost impossible to see at the end stage because they are very very small.

    If you do that, it will stay liquid for a long time.

    The honey I use routinely is in a 12.5 ounce squeeze poly container. To reheat, I pop the top on it slightly so it can bleed pressure and then microwave for about 10 -15 seconds at a time. Then wearing oven gloves, I pick up the container and mix it by tilting and rotating it. I sometimes have to add just a tiny amount of water to get all the crystals to dissolve but very little, like just a gram or so (one cc) add too much and you end up with runny honey you can’t keep on a slice of bread, soaks in very quickly and runs off the edges with just a slight tilt of the bread slice.

    Last time I cleared what is in the container now, was a month or two ago. Every once in a while empty and wash the container in very hot water to completely remove any stray seed crystals and you can keep it for a long time.

    Other than one or two of the small daily use containers I buy most of my honey in an 80 oz jug (about 1/2 gallon) which I can keep tightly capped so it does not evaporate water and go super saturated where any slight seed crystal will set off run away crystallization.

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