$432 Of Food Prepper Inventory

In reality, only about $400 of this is “food prep” and that is in large part duplicated. I decided to do an A / B compare of some prices at Walmart and COSTCO, and while I did write down a lot of things, on many I decided to just buy one at each place.

Some time back I’d done a similar “test buy” of only the essentials and only at COSTCO. That ran out to about $130 for a couple of months of food for two people. Though even that was not the absolute minimal buy.

The bare minimum would be beans, rice, flour & oil plus a multi vitamin. Total of 60 pounds for 2 people for a month. That can be done for about $50. Of that, the bulk will be the rice, beans, and flour at about 50 ¢/pound at places like COSCO, Smart & Final, or Walmart. You will not be happy on that diet, but you won’t die either.

My basic rule of thumb is that you need about 1 dry pound per person per day for generous survival rations. (Try cooking even 1/4 lb of rice and see how hard it is to eat it all…) That can be any mix of things as long as you get enough of the right amino acids, vitamins, etc. You will also need about 1 gallon of water per person per day. For many disasters, the water in the tank of your water heater will be enough for 2 people for a month (if rationed, not used for washing, and drained from the valve on the bottom of the tank). Since most of the economic or farming collapses do not take out the water supply, I’m not going to dwell on it in this posting. For your run of the mill earthquake, post tropical storm, or failure of the electrical grid caused banking closure, the water system tends to stay working.

So the question I’ve been pondering was stimulated by the significant failure to plant for corn, soybeans, and more, in the USA; along with other crop failures from China to Europe and South America. I got to wondering: “If folks were NOT prone to being prepared, and a SHTF moment reaches their awareness, what can be done in one run to the grocery store? How much does it cost, and is there a minimal set for not much money?” Then, IF you think about it in advance, how much better balanced a set of “stuff” can you choose to buy? Basically, buying 50 Pounds of flour is very cheap. It also isn’t very useful without some oil / fat and some salt and leavening.

Since it was time to buy groceries anyway, and I’ve let our food prep inventory appreciably run down (what with Trump doing a good job an all…) I decided “What the heck, go do a ‘walk the isles intuitive buy’ and see what you end up with.” So that’s what I did. Twice. Here’s the result. About $432 of food in the back of the wagon:

$432 of Food Prep

$432 of Food Prep

Click or open the image to embiggen to about a double size.

What makes this different from a regular grocery shopping run? Nothing frozen. The only refrigerated things I bought were for use now, or nearly now. I only bought one fresh fruit / vegetable item (celery) as we were out of it. Emphasis was on “Shelf Stable” things. You can see that in the photo. 25 lbs each of beans and rice. A large jar of coconut oil ( I got a slightly smaller one at Walmart too) along with 6 liters of Olive Oil. (Yes, you could be a lot cheaper than $22 O.O. and $15 Coconut oil, but these are more healthful and store longer than soybean or corn oil).

On the left, 52 servings of “instant” oatmeal. I’ll use two for a single very filling breakfast, so that’s about a month of breakfasts for one person, just in that. A big package of SPAM along with some canned chicken. These get used with all those beans, rice and the 8 lbs of “Organic Noodles” at the very back, next to the eggs, and that 10 lbs of pancake mix. You really really want some meat to go with all that starch. Especially after the 4th or 5th day of it. I also bought a big flat of eggs. Eggs keep a fairly long time even without refrigeration (or even longer if you take steps to preserve them), but with refrigeration they will store for well over a month, then you can hard boil them and get another month. I “only” bought 2 dozen, and in a real Aw Shit I’d be more likely to buy the 5 dozen flat for not much more money. 60 eggs is one egg a day for 2 people for a month.

There’s also 8 cans each of Refried Beans and Bush’s Baked beans. A bit extravagant for an emergency supply run, but we like both and regularly eat both. It is important to have some things you regularly eat, and for everything to be something you WILL eat. One can of refried beans will make a few days worth of burritos for us. 10 lbs of flour makes more tortillas than I care to think about. Somewhere around 100+. Front & Center are 36 Fig Bars. A nice fruit treat with decent calories. (The pill bottle has 500 daily vitamin pills, so almost a year for 2 people.) Next to that a “Dozen Pack” of Annie’s fancy mac ‘n cheese. (At Walmart I bought the 5 pack of Kraft, buried in one of those bags…) Between them that’s 17 x 4 = 68 main courses. Stock 17 cans of tuna and 8 of peas for a full meal of it as a Tuna Noodle Casserole with peas added. Not so visible is the canned milk and powdered milk for use in making those meals (substituting oil for butter). In about the dead center is a bag of 150 mini sized chocolate bars. That’s 2 a day for 2 people for a month ( 120 ) with 30 for “shrinkage” along the way ;-) Nothing makes your 30th breakfast of oatmeal more tolerable than the chocolate bar at the end…

There’s a lot more hiding in the bags and at the back edge of the photo. A huge box of Ritz Crackers. That box of Madras Lentils (already cooked and spiced). Yes, you can buy lentils and make it yourself for a lot less, but there will be times you just do not want to deal with that during any prolonged Bad Times. At some point you will want to just tear open a package and dump something edible on top of some rice and “move on”. (Costco also sells a precooked brown rice / quinoa mix in a similar pouch but I already have it in the pantry ;-) Then there are 4 boxes of regular saltines, 4 jars of jam and preserves. A bunch of sardines, tuna, etc. etc. That bag of Turkey Jerky is an example to print the price on my receipt. Over the next few days I’ll be making postings with item lists and prices in them and “sample buys” for “just let me live” to “in comfort” to “in style”… along with doing some trial recipes. (So, for example, making my biscuits with coconut oil in stead of butter and seeing what it tastes like, or having tea with canned “sweetened condensed milk” in it. There’s a 6 pack of sweetened condensed milk in that pile too. Must have a cup-a now and then ;-)

In the Walmart bags there are also some “example” canned goods (again to print the price on the receipt and as they are things we eat). So peas, corn, beans, etc. Even a can of Dinty Moore stew (that I don’t usually eat but think is OK) and a can of Beef Ravioli. I can live almost forever on canned ravioli, crackers and canned vegetables ;-) Oh, and several boxes of Dried Scalloped Potato stuff. It’s one of our “regular” dishes, but I want to try it with oil instead of butter and canned evaporated milk instead of regular milk.

So I’d guess I’ve got about 3 to 5 months of food for two in that pile. Certainly some things will run out far ahead of the rest. But that’s part of the purpose of this exercise. Find out what was forgotten and what was in great excess. I can tell you right now I’ve got one jug of syrup in the pantry and it is not anywhere near enough for 10 lbs of pancake mix. The jam can take it a bit further, but I’ll need even more of both to make it through the whole bag. (Lucky for me I’m not expecting a disaster tomorrow, and if one did happen, well, there’s all that already sweetened oatmeal to get through first ;-)

The Buy

So what’s the basic thought process of this “Emergency Buy Of Emergency Preparation”?

1) Is it shelf stable and reasonably cheap per pound?
2) Is it something I WILL eat, disaster or not?
3) Have I got enough “1 pound per person per day” with the money I have to buy more fun stuff?
4) What keeps well and makes this work more comfortably.
5) A sanitation measure of “Have I got the small bits that make the big bits work?” Things like katsup by the gallon for the beans, soy sauce for the rice, leavening sugar and salt for the flour (and spices & salt for the other stuff).

Start with the fundamental Beans, Rice, Oil trio, add a bag of salt and sugar and a big bag of flour (provided you know how to cook). Along with that, buy the jumbo bottle of vitamin pills (now a whole lot of nutrition related health failures are dealt with…)

Add to that some “Fast and convenient and cheap” things. I love the oatmeal packets for this use. Also canned tuna, sardines, kippers, etc. They bring with them the essential fatty acids that otherwise are desperately lacking. (Get them packed in oil. You WANT those calories and the fat.) A box of crackers and you are in good shape. (If you think refrigeration will continue working, some bigger jars of mayo helps. If not, a bunch of smaller jars) Then those ravioli or even cans of split pea soup, or those Bush’s baked beans. (I’ve lived for a couple of days “on the road” on canned ravioli and split pea soup or bean and bacon soup). Even peas and corn straight from the can are nice when you are very hungry. When, for whatever reason, you can not cook, those canned goods are a mighty pleasing sight.

So that’s why there is some jerky, candy bars, fig bars, etc. etc. To make it livable and something you can eat without cooking when the need arises.

The beans and rice together are $23. The oil varies a lot with which oil, but that Olive Oil is way more than enough and it was $22. I suspect a $5 jug of some oil is more than enough for 2 for a month.

Eight pounds of pasta is $9 for the fancy stuff ( $8 for the cheap and bland). Then the sauce is $2 a jar for the good stuff, and about $4 for a huge jug of marinara. The cost for a month of noodles and marinara is not worth thinking about. Add a big shaker of dry Parmesan cheese and the only thing missing is a big dry salami to cut slices from, from time to time.

So it goes.

Dump a can of tuna and 1/2 a can of peas into a package of that mac ‘n cheese mix. Bake it per directions. About 4 meals for about $2.50 or 62 ¢ per meal. This isn’t an expensive proposition… It ought to end up at about $1 to $3 / person per day, or about $30 to $90 per person for a month “supply”. So look in your wallet. How many months supply of things you will eat could you go buy Right Now? Why haven’t you?

Ok ok, I know. Believe me I know. On my ToDo list for tomorrow is to reorganize the pantry and kitchen cabinets and try to the the 3/4 of this that is presently sitting in bags by the back door into some kind of cupboard…

OTOH, I don’t need to buy any groceries to speak of for the next few months ;-)

So what’s prompting this attention on what is in the trendy PC Parlance called “food security” (and was called common sense when I was a kid)? Well, I’m seeing the same things this farmer is seeing. It’s a bit repetitive, but he covers the topic well. Basically corn and soy beans are way late being planted, China and others are in trouble with their crops too, the FDA is “making stuff up” about the likely crop yields, and all that is going to hit food prices, and especially meat price and availability. It starts out looking like a financial report, but most of it is one farmer, with his head on straight, explaining from an insider perspective how the meat industry and the grain industry work, and what’s wrong with them, especially in a grand solar minimum. About 1/2 hour:

So that’s why I’ve headed back into the pantry to “get it back in shape”. At present I’m a bit over stocked on rice, beans, and noodles. Not enough canned chicken and tuna. I’m intending to take advantage of the brief drop of meat prices as folks clear out stock to can some of my own chicken. Why? Well, I like dark meat more, and I like it canned with a bit of broth (bouillon) and with some fat left in it. The commercial stuff is just a bit dry / bland.

So now I’m “pretty much set” for a few months, and over the next few weeks I’ll be going through it, one meal type / category at a time, and “balancing it up”. So, as one example, make sure I have one can of tuna per box of mac ‘n cheese, plus one more can per day when I think a tuna / crackers lunch is likely, and enough mayo in small glass jars for that to work out right. (The very little jars are still glass here).

Similarly, for all those beans: Do I have the right amount of oil and spices to make decent beans? Do I want them are refried, boiled, baked, what? How’s my oil / flour ratio for making biscuits and tortillas? You get the idea. Tune it up.

All the while using my “now” food budget for things like meat that will at some point likely become a bit too pricey to be of interest. So IF I need to spend $1.50 / lb for chicken in 6 months, I’ll not care so much as all the other stuff can come from the stores in the pantry keeping the same total monthly food expenditures. That’s the idea anyway ;-)

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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...
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80 Responses to $432 Of Food Prepper Inventory

  1. ossqss says:

    There is a lot of beans in those equations. Your wife may want to garner a stock of Gas-X for you also! ;-)

    Nice write up EM.

    One thing I have always identified for a SHTF scenario is where the distribution centers are for many of the big boys (Publix/Walmart etc..). That back pocket knowledge could come in very handy if needed. JMHO

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    Unfortunately, for where I am, the distribution centers are out in the central valley. About 60 miles and 2 million people away… Thus my interest in not needing them ;-)

    Per Beans:

    Well, the dry beans will spend a year or two n storage, so not much gas needs… Then, when you cook them, change the water a lot and the pentose sugars (that you can not digest but the gut bugs can turn to gas) get leached out into the cooking water. That “change the water to make them more ‘digestible'” code words in the cook book for “removes the fart making stuff”…

    So I do one change of water after the soak step, then another at the half way of the cook. Then the final cook water is disposed as well. Very little in the way of gas issues left after that.

    BTW, I once tried “Beano”. It very much DID eliminate “passing gas”. The problem is it did not reduce the production of “sulfur compounds”. So instead of several barely noticed ’emissions” there was one very small one with a very intense “aroma”… The “Silent but deadly”.

    I’ll take “wash the beans a lot and nobody notices” thanks…

    Part of why I like preparing and canning my own beans…

    Part of the reality of this way of “being prepared” is that most of the time the beans and rice are just sitting on the shelf. It takes me well over a year to get through them. Sometimes 2 or 3. The other stuff gets used and rotated MUCH faster.

    So unless and until there is a Big Aw Shit, you are mostly eating regular meals. Things like scalloped potatoes with ham in them. Tuna noodle casserole. Soup and crackers. Biscuits and jam. Scrambled eggs and oatmeal.

    It is only when the Bit Oh Noes! happens that the diet shifts to a lot more beans and rice and those other things as special side dishes. Under that circumstance, how “windy” the dinner might be matters a whole lot less than that there IS a dinner…

    Oh, and one other point. I have some plastic net/lids for wide mouth quart jars that lets you sprout seeds in them. In a real AwShit, many of those beans would become bean sprouts. Increasing the protein and vitamins and all; and reducing the “gas bits”… Sprouts really increase the number of meals from a cup of beans…

  3. Larry Ledwick says:

    Your choices mirror many of mine.
    On pasta, the angle hair pasta cooks in 6 minutes the mid size fine spaghetti cooks in about 10 and the standard spaghetti takes about 12+ minutes (here at high altitude) – how much fuel / time it takes to cook is also a consideration for choices.

    In researching starvation, the thing that is often overlooked as you mentioned, is high quality protein.
    One of those gallon size jars of weight lifters protein mix (about $18 at walmart) can make a lot of servings of a “treat” chocolate milk shake to add protein to the profile and it is a good balanced mix of all the essentials.

    For canned meats I mostly go with the small cans of spam, tuna, and cans of chicken, with a few of the cooked in the can roast beef I mentioned a while back.

    A bit of that roast beef or chicken, a couple spoons of refried beans a pinch of dried onion bits reconstituted and some rice or a flour tortilla and some hot sauce makes a nice filling meal.

    Pop corn is another often over looked long storage food, in the kernel and sealed jar or plastic bag it keeps just about forever, can be popped for a snack filler and roughage and a treat. In a pinch you can mill it and turn it into corn meal for things that use it.

    Buy a couple pounds of “canning salt” in the spice section, it comes in compact stackable square boxes, and it is a very fine grain salt (works very well on pop corn and hard boiled eggs), and of course being fine grain can be used for food preservation/ canning if need be.

    A can of one of the popular chili brands and some cooked rice makes a very quick and easy beans and rice meal pre-spiced and with a bit of meat.

    For a single serving of rice I use a 3 oz dixie cup and 6 ounces of water, makes a good healthy dish of cooked rice for one or two light servings for two. Extended with some canned chili or refried beans makes a couple meals easy.

    I also like Campbell’s vegetarian vegetable soup as a source or vegetables for times when harvest is not available. It is one of my primary sources of vegetables aside from french cut green beans and whole kernel corn in the can.

    Ovaltine is another treat extender to dry non-fat milk powder that is a nice addition and keeps very well. You can use a bit of dry non-dairy coffee creamer to add a bit of fat to dry non-fat milk and it also helps keep it from foaming so much when you mix it.

    Tang juice mix is also a good way to have a palatable drink and get a boost of vitamin C. The stuff literally keeps for decades (I’ve done it)

    One of my favorites is also Lipton dry soup packs, they also keep almost for ever if the pouches are not punctured, and gives a ready source of fat in the chicken fat of the soup (plus the medicinal value of chicken soup for colds and such)

    If you are not allergic to peanut butter it also is a long shelf stable food with both needed protein and fat in the peanut oil.

  4. Power Grab says:

    A few years ago, I was noticing more people were discussing SHTF moments that would lead to food insecurity. One of the things I started hoarding was those little packets of taco sauce. I figured if I had to depend on rice and beans, then the spicy sauce would help make them more palatable.

    Also, one of the stores wanted to clear out its stock of vienna sausages, so I bought several cans of them. Quite a few, actually….

    Another thought is this: what about pet food? I haven’t ever tried it, but I guess some people have.

    Still another thought: what are the chances a person could keep a few chickens (or other edible critters) alive?

    In parts of the world where traditional foods include fermented veggies (such as sauerkraut, kim chi, etc.), I think it would be prudent to learn how to make them without electricity. Your mileage (and climate) may vary, of course. I understand that sauerkraut has many times the vitamin C (and probiotics) that raw cabbage does.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, my first recipe tested.

    I tend to buy a “brick” of Ceylon Earl Grey tea from the local Persian shop about once every year or two. It is enough to fill one big mouth quart jar fully and a bunch in the next jar. Used in a tea ball, it takes a Looong time to use it up, so not something where I need to add emergency inventory. (Coffee, however, has me go through a 3 pound can in a few weeks to months…)

    So I just made a cup of tea.

    When shopping I saw some “sweetened condensed milk”. This is often used to make desert things like Flan. Well, I also remembered long long ago, about 8 years old, and we were out of milk. Mum didn’t like going without her cup-a tea… So we put sweetened condensed milk in it. It was fine. Mum kept a couple of cans in the cupboard for just such an emergency… I learned.

    At COSCO I saw a flat of it, 6 cans, $7. Despite the fact that I now mostly use Goat Milk (so buy the condensed goat milk and goat milk powder at very high prices), I “flashed” on tea with Mum. Had to try it again. Besides, it is what most folks would use, not goat stuff.

    Each can is small, but weighs 14 ounces net. (Metric folks, you are on your own for conversions. This is just a comment not a posting ;-) On the food scale it was 15.7, so 1.7 oz of can. I very carefully poured 1 once into the freshly made cup of Earl Grey Tea. It was just the light blond color I like the most. It is also significantly sweet, but not too sweet. Some folks could get by with 1/2 ounce.

    So, doing a bit of math: 6 x 14 = 84 servings as tea sweet and light. Yes, it is 8.3 ¢ / cup for the sweet & light. I think that’s an OK price when you need it.

    I’ve mostly converted to drinking my coffee and tea black. I do from time to time make a traditional sweet and light cup of tea. I can go either way. I do remember a time when I could not, though.

    Sweet condensed milk is highly preserved by the sugar n it. At room temperature it is about like slow molasses. From the fridge (after opened) it can pour about as well as old fudge. So it will be a bit of a challenge for me to use the rest of it in tea without some work. I do remember Mum, who grew up in The Great Depression without luxuries like regular food… using hot tea to rinse out the can near the end. I do have a small funnel ;-)

    As this stuff keeps for years in the can, I’ve now got a several year supply of “Emergency Tea Fixings”… or enough for 5 flan… Somehow I think the flan is going to win this race ;-)

    Key takeaway:

    Anyone who really must have a proper cup of tea with milk and sugar, no matter how dreadful things get, can have 84 cups worth “at the ready” for $7. At 4 cups / day, you would need three of those, so figure on $21, plus the cost of your favored tea. For me, that’s about $8 more.

    I’m now “fully prepared” on the tea front, as I do much less than 4 / day and the spouse does none. I just have to keep her away from the flan recipe ;-)

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @Power Grab:

    Fortunately (or not…) pet food has about the same ingredients as human food and runs about the same kind of costs. So read your bag of kibble and a lot of it is corn, soybeans, etc. with some added bits of “animal byproducts”. Personally, I’d not want to eat those byproducts….

    BUT, you can buy the same corn, rice, beans, etc at similar prices (and often lower!) in bulk bags.

    On my “tomorrow” list is going through my list of prices from my audit of a few stores and writing up some of it. For now, though, the key thing I observed was that at THE cheapest place and in THE largest bags ( 25# to 50#) there was a convergence toward 50 ¢ / pound (or about $1/kg) for all of: Rice, masa (corn flour), popcorn, pinto beans, flour, noodles and a few more.

    At that price, the core of a “survival only ration” costs $15 for one month for one person.

    I don’t see the reason to try to cheapen that, and doubt that pet food would be cheaper.

    One thing that IS of interest, is the local Feed Store. I’d buy bags of sunflower seeds there to feed birds and critters. They also sell sorghum and millet and more. Price tended more toward the $1 / pound, but then again the walnuts I bought were $3 / pound. So while it is work to seed out sunflower seeds (and you can’t eat the shell portion so $/edible bit is even higher), it is a place to get various grains and some nuts in “food quality” in bulk and not too expensive.

    In a real emergency, and if I was too late for the Big Box stores, I’d certainly hit the Feed Store and pick up 25# each of sunflower seeds, peanuts, millet and sorghum.

    Per the canned stuff:

    Long long ago, when a mere child, I tried some of the stuff I was spooning into the dog bowl. It sn’t all that bad. Recently, though, the major brands were causing my dogs to puke and rub their butts on the ground a lot. Swapping to Trader Joe’s stopped that. (We must have tried a dozen different types to get there…). So were I going to try this again, I’d only do it with the Trader Joe’s brand.

    That said, with chicken in bulk at about $1 / pound, why bother? Turkey can be about the same or sometimes less.

    Tonight for dinner I made a Saffron Rice (from that yellow packet…) and chopped up 2 chicken thighs into the rice cooker with it. Added 1/2 can of left over peas. That made enough for 4 meals (with a side of home grown sauteed squash and salad). That’s maybe $1 of chicken and about the same for the rice packet ( IIRC something like 97 ¢ at Walmart?). So that’s about 50 ¢ / meal for the main course and the sides were just my labor and water…

    I’d rather do that than try “stretching” a $1 can of dog food… (though if that were all that was left, I’d not even pause on the way to the plate…)

    OK, moving on to:

    Yeah, I completely left out the whole issue of spices and seasonings. Personal taste varies so much I didn’t see a reasonable way to cover it. For me, a 5 pound bag of salt and a couple of pounds of pepper corns and I’m set for a few years. I can grow enough herbs to make things like Poultry Seasoning and Italian Seasoning. I’m still working off my 24 oz jar of dehydrated garlic granules bought years ago… and that similar sized Chili Pepper Powder from COSTCO that was all chili when I expected chili comino etc mix ;-)

    FWIW I did store some hot sauce bottles some years back. After a few years on the shelf, tried it. It was significantly less hot… I’m not sure how well chili stores in wet mixes.

    Chickens are very easy to raise n the city. Typically the only issue is that the city forbids it. During college, we had a corner of the yard of the shared house fenced off for a chicken run. ALL the household food scraps went there, eggs and chicken came out ;-) At present, a neighbor 2 houses down keeps some chickens. It is technically not allowed, but with no rooster, nobody complains. Once, about 32 years ago, I bought 2 chicks and raised them in the back yard. that was fine until one of them turned out to be a rooster…. At that point they had to go. (The hutch was right under my bedroom window… I’m not a morning person…)

    It is a lot easier to raise pigeons in the city. There isn’t the noise issue and the size is nice for one… Eggs not so much. Were I trying to do this I’d likely raise ducks instead. Also on one occasion I had 2 ducks in the back yard. (Yes, I’m a frustrated farmer in the suburbs ;-). They were much quieter. Only real issue there is that they really really want a pond. But duck eggs are nice, ff a bit more seasonal and not as plentiful as chicken eggs.


    Not just a GREAT Scrabble word, but also fermentation science in foods. There’s a general subcategory of “Lactic Acid Fermentation” that covers all sorts of things from yogurt to cole slaw to sauerkraut. It is very easy. As I recall it, for sauerkraut you mostly just put it, chopped, with a touch of salt, some water, in a crock, cover it; and wait…



    Use fresh cabbage. The better your ingredients, the better the finished product will be.

    Use at least some salt. Salt is a traditional ingredient in sauerkraut because it increases shelf life, texture, and flavor. The amount of salt used can vary according to personal taste preference. We recommend 1 to 3 Tbsp. per quart of water.

    Create an anaerobic environment. This is an absolute essential in the sauerkraut-making process. The cabbage must be completely submerged underneath a brine in order for the lactic acid bacteria to proliferate. This is important for protecting your ferment from unwanted bacteria (or mold). Fermentation weights can help keep your cabbage submerged.

    Give it time. You can ferment sauerkraut for only a few days before moving to cold storage, but giving sauerkraut a lower temperature and longer fermentation time can develop the flavor and texture a little better. We suggest letting it ferment for 2 weeks, though experimenting with time and taste is the best way to determine what time frame works best for you.

    OK, so I forgot that cabbage floats so you put a brick on the wooden lid to keep the kraut submerged…

    Like I said, not hard…

    No idea if there is MORE Vit C, but it certainly has some as cabbage has plenty.

    A similar fermentation can be done with other vegetables and pickles, but I don’t know the specifics.

    It was mostly done for preservation rather than improving food quality.

  7. p.g.sharrow says:

    In case of hard times that bag of chocolates will be wonderful, Even a bag of hard candies will do. Sugar and honey will store nearly forever if protected from moisture and vermin…pg

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    The biggest risk to the chocolate is me. It will not last 3 months….

    But yeah, it is sugar, oil, and cocoa powder. Short of water damage, good for years.

    Note they are the small snack size bars, not full sized.

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    I like to stock hard candy but for some reason it keeps disappearing.
    I sometimes buy the small snack size Hersey bars and put them in a zip lock bag and toss in the freezer they keep very well frozen.

  10. Larry Ledwick says:

    One of the things I did was to approximate the normal serving sizes I fix (will be small by most peoples standards). If you are shooting for 2000 Cal per day for example 4 meals of 500 calories per day would be a rough estimate and if you go on slim rations 3 meals per day comes to 1500 calories per day. For most people that is about the minimum for maintaining reasonable energy level and keeping your body from switching to conserve energy mode and wanting to sleep all the time.

    If you look at just some of the staple foods you end up with planning serving size numbers like this:

    Serving size calculator	
    food product	         cal/gm	         small serving size
    rice	                3.3 Cal/gm	100 gm dry  (198 Calories)	
    mashed potato flakes	3.6 Cal/gm	15 grams 1/3 cup flakes (54 Cal)	
    spaghetti 	        3.75 Cal/gm	35 grams (dime sized bundle)  130 Cal (Large serving 53 grams 200 Cal)
    macaroni	        3.75 Cal/gm	35 grams (131 Cal)	
    flat noodles	        3.75 Cal/gm	35 grams (131 Cal)  Batch small sauce pan 65 gram (1.5 handfuls)
    Oat meal	        3.75 Cal/gm	34 grams (128 Cal) (35 servings per cylinder box)
    Dry pinto beans	        2.6 Cal/gm	36 gm (¼ cup dry) (90 Cal)	

    For most carbohydrate rich foods you can just assume 3.75 calories per gram as an average (4 is the theoretical but most foods are not pure carbohydrate).
    Fat is theoretical of 9 calories per gram but cut that back slightly to 8.5 for planning purposes.

    Then you can take the package weight in grams and ball park both how many servings per package but how much of the food product is needed to yield some target calorie level.

    I am a grazer so eat lots of small portions, a light snack for me would be 250 – 320 Calories
    (2 pieces of bread at 70 Calories each and a slice of swiss cheese at 70 calories plus a cup of milk at about 80 Calories would be a typical light snack.

    A small meal would be 400-500 calories and a big meal would be 700 – 800 calories (this for me is a food coma inducing meal)

    If you do a food diary for a week or two you can find what you normally eat and work backwards to planning numbers for calories per serving etc.

    With all that calculated you can look at your food pantry as x many servings of food which makes it very easy to budget your food depending on the situation.

  11. jim2 says:

    Sweetened condensed milk can be mixed with a strongly acidic fruit juice, like lemon juice, and it will coagulate, making a pudding. With some Graham crackers or vanilla wafers, it makes a fair dessert. It’s a bit on the sweet side, so the recipe could be perfected with some other prepper-like ingredients.

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting way to make pudding… I’ll have to try that.

    FWIW, this morning I drained most of my one open can into an 8 ounce jar, and capped it. This lets me just spoon it out for use in tea… Then using a can opener completely removed the top of the can (prior opened with a “Church Key” making two small holes). For use “from the fridge” this looks like it will work well.

    Using a spoon on what was left in the can, I used it to make breakfast. Which brings us to “recipe” number 2 and a report on Instant Oatmeal Packets…

    For an A / B test I bought a box each of Walmart’s house brand “Great Value” instant breakfast oatmeal packets (“Fruit and Cream”) and one of Quaker Oats. These are the 10 packet size.

    GV       $1.82     1.23 oz or 35 g / packet.  130 Calories
    Quaker   $2.50     1.3  oz or 37 g / packet.  140 Calories 

    On a simple Calories / $$ basis, you get more with the GV brand buy. OTOH, a whole tub of quick oatmeal cost just $2.67 and has a whole lot more oatmeal in it (42 ounces vs 12.3 in the box of packets). So if conserving money / calories is important, doing a big box of raisins, bag of brown sugar, and tub of oats is a superior way to do that.

    Today I had the GV Blueberry oatmeal. It uses the same 1/2 cup water as the Quaker oats, but has a bit less stuff, so the product is just a little watery in comparison. I like the Quaker Oats better. Not better enough to care in a food emergency though. Probably not enough to care most days either. I use 2 packets / meal.

    Usually I add a small pat of butter and a splash of milk to make the oatmeal more savory / richer. It is OK right from the packet, but I want that extra kick at breakfast, especially when it is cold and I have work to do. To see how the “shelf stable” alternative would do, I put in a small spoon of coconut oil and a tsp of sweetened condensed milk. That works FINE.

    The only “issues” are that it ends up a bit too sweet. Using evaporated condensed milk or powdered milk will likely be more appropriate (but I had this can already open so…) Then coconut oil lacks the emulsifiers in butter. This means it make a bit of an “oil slick” on top of the cereal. No big deal, just give it a tiny stir with each spoonful and all is good.

    So I need to allow for 5 ml of coconut oil for each 2 packets of oatmeal, and one can of evaporated milk for each 7 or 8. Not hard at all. For the 52 packet big box, that would be 130 ml of oil and about 3 cans. That’s all it takes to cover 26 very filling breakfasts (well, that, plus 26 cups of water, call it 1.6 gallons or 2 gallons with a bit of tea on the side ;-)

    At COSTCO they sell the big 52 packet package of Quaker Oatmeal for $10. (Well, $9.99 but what’s the point…). So that’s $1.92 for 10 of them. Essentially a wash with the Walmart house brand and it being a smaller size.

    Furthermore, the Walmart coconut oil is 56 fl.oz. for $10 ($9.98 but…) while the COSTCO is 84 fl. oz. for $14 ( $13.99…) which is 17.8 ¢/ounce vs 16.6 ¢ / ounce, so COSTCO wins on the coconut oil side too. As COSCO tends to focus on big packages with low price, I think they will ‘win’ on most of the big packages of things for a food storage system.

    So, for the Oatmeal Breakfast component, big box Quaker Oats, jug of cconut oil, and flat of condensed milk from COSTCO.

    Their coconut oil jug is about 2550 ml and we need about 130 ml for the box of Quaker Oats, so that’s about 130/2550 * $14 = 71 ¢ worth of the oil… So with the oatmeal portion running about 18 ¢ per packet and the coconut oil at about 1.3 ¢ packet, call the milk 0.7 ¢ ( just to make it round and I know it will not be that much…) and you have about 20 ¢ / serving. 40 ¢ for my meal of 2 of them. 30 days worth is $12 for breakfast.

    I’m happy to stick $12 of “breakfast” on the shelf and just not care if I actually eat it all that often, or if it take a year or two to use up. OTOH, I do like oatmeal with fruit in it and a bit of added butter / coconut oil ;-) There is something different about oats for breakfast, compared to the “junk from a box”. I don’t get the sugar impact from it and generally feel full and satisfied until lunch. Is it the fiber? The added oil / butter? Something about the oat starch? Whatever. It works for me when “Sugar Pows” don’t.

  13. jim2 says:

    My mom used to make that pudding for a quick “shut up!” :)

    Back then, I didn’t mind the sugar, but it tends to be too sweet or too tart. It needs a neutral ingredient, maybe potato flakes or bread crumbs. Flour would work, but then you would have to cook it.

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    Another comparison of costs, Multivitamins:

    Walmart, 200 for $7.88      4 ¢/pill
    COSTCO  500 for $12.49      2 1/2 ¢ / pill

    So again COSTCO wins. (And I’ve got 700 vitamin pills… so about a 2 year supply for 2 ;-)

  15. jim2 says:

    The condensed milk/lemon juice pudding might be made better by using more lemon juice, but neutralized somewhat with baking soda. Or maybe some water and baking soda.

  16. H.R. says:

    A word on the Costco vitamins:

    I think it was in the Fall last year in a W.O.O.D. when we were discussing trace elements and what plants provided them. The upshot was to make sure to include some of those veggies in the diet or make sure that you were getting the trace elements in a multi-vitamin.

    Anyhow, I went out and started reading the multi-vitamin labels of every brand I could find, looking for a brand that had everything we discussed, and the most complete multi-vitamin was the Costco multi-vitamin. It had 2-3 of the trace elements we had discussed, manganese being one of them, that none of the other multi-vitamins had and included everything else that all the other pricier ‘complete’ multi-vitamins had.

    After reading a boatload of labels, I highly recommend the Costco multi-vitamins as the most complete vitamin formulation and they are also very, very inexpensive.
    @E.M. – I was glad to see that you had snagged a bottle of the Costco vitamins. I don’t recall reporting my label reading findings on that discussion thread. Maybe so, maybe not. But here it is for posterity.

  17. H.R. says:

    @Power Grab – I checked the Best By date on some Vienna sausages I had in the cupboard and wOwZA! Those suckers are really long-dated. Put in a supply of Twinkies, Vienna sausages, and Taco Bell sauce packets and you can ride out any Nuclear Holocaust. ;o)

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    Lunch today: Ramen package ( 25 ¢) and 1/2 can of SPAM. Really, 1/4 can would have been about right. I’d used the other 1/2 can in a “spuds and spam” casserole several days back, and this was left over in the fridge and ought to be gone before I fill it up with left over BBQ this evening. It actually was the Walmart SPAM “knock off” at $2 / can, so call it $1 of SPAM. In a real Aw Shit I’d only use 1/4 can, and you can get by with none, so cost of this meal runs from $1.25 as I ate it, to 75 ¢ as I’d prefer it, to 25 ¢ plus what you scrounge from the garden in a real disaster.

    I’ve got, at present, 24 ramen packages ( about $6 worth) and 12 SPAM cans, so more than enough of both. The Walmart version is a few pennies under $2 / can ($1.98) some times, this last buy was $2.10 / can; but that’s in Kalifornia where minimum wage is now sky high… The COSTCO bulk (8) pack of real SPAM is $18 ($17.99 but…) so that’s $2.25 a can. Walmart does win the price test on this one, but while I can’t tell much difference if any between their version and real SPAM, I’ll take the COSTCO one both for the brand name and, really, for the convenience of a unified 8 can package in moving and storage.

    All up, the SPAM & Ramen lunch (using 1/4 can) would run $7.50 for a month of ramen and $16.88 for the SPAM. $24.38 for one person-month of very filling lunches. Using a can of sardines or tuna on crackers instead of the SPAM would be a bit pricier, but just as filling.

    Oh, and for the Spuds dish: That was made with a package of Betty Crocker Scalloped Potatoes. It comes in a half dozen variations from Julianne and Au Gratin to 3 Cheese and more. Often running up to $1.25 / box, the slower moving variations are frequently on the shelf at 75 ¢ to move them along. It keeps for a long time on the shelf. Needs 2/3 cup milk and 1 Tbls (15 ml) of butter to make it. Coconut oil ought to be just fine, as ought powdered milk. So call it about $1 to $1.50 “all up”. One box feeds 2. I’ll add some ham or ham and peas and make it more interesting. SPAM when out of ham. 1/2 can is fine. So that, too, is 1/4 can / person-meal.

    All up, the SPAM enhanced spuds would cost about $2.75 for two people. $1.50 for the spuds, $1.12 for the SPAM, the rest for the adjuncts as a guess. $1.38 / meal, or $41.40 for a person month. Just spuds would be $22.50 (but were I just having the spuds, I’d likely eat more than half the box…)

    I have about 10-ish boxes in the pantry, so that takes about 5 cans of SPAM. The ramen will take about 6 if used as it would taste best, total of 11. That leaves 1 can of SPAM extra. SPAM and pancakes? ;-) Or maybe SPAM & Eggs…

    FWIW, I’ve had only the “prepper” meals the last couple of days and I’m happy and full. No hardship at all. I did eat 6 of the small (individual / dinky snack sized) candy bars though, once the bag was open, and just sitting there…

  19. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, COSTCO in general (not just on the vitamins) tends to have better stuff at the same discount price, or often even cheaper.

    The only downside for us is that with just 2 of us, we simply can’t consume all of some of their giant sized packages of stuff before it goes bad. For buying bulk prepper storage, though, it is almost ideal.

    I need to get the next part of this series written and done, but IIRC, Smart & Final was way more expensive than Walmart or COSTCO for regular sized stuff, but somewhat cheaper on some of the Restaurant Pack or giant items. Things like #10 (just under a gallon) sized cans of Nacho Cheeze sauce and 50# bags of popcorn kernels and such. But really, how are 2 people going to finish a #10 can of peaches & nachos in anything under a week? (By which time you are really tired of peaches and nachos…)

    I mostly bought the Walmart bottle just because it was very cheap, and because I wanted to do a direct label compare (duplicating what you did) IF the Walmart were cheaper. But it isn’t so why bother with them? It will go in my “road bag” so that if / when I’m off in Hell ‘N Gone and forgot to pack what was needed, I’ll have something.

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    Just as an FYI:

    I seeded out a couple of 8 Ball Squash today (for future year’s crops…)

    One was a very large 8 inch one at full maturity. I decided to see how it tasted cooked as a winter squash would be. It is very edible, but bland tasting.

    So these would be usable as a famine food crop. Neutral is a fine flavor as you can make it taste like anything else with sauces. I’ve probably got 30 lbs of it as they have gotten away from me. You MUST check every single day as these things balloon up overnight…

    In a real disaster, having that much “stuff” that I had to eat would be a big feature, bland or not.

    I don’t mind as it isn’t really wasted. Aside from a nice decade supply+ of seeds, anything to excess just recycles on the compost heap.

    Also, just now, I noticed 2 Acorn Squash coming on the later vines. I’m going to try what P.G. suggested and try them as a summer squash. IF the spouse likes them, then any that “get away from me” just become the acorn winter squash I know and love…

    The yellow straight neck are about ready for blossoms too, so probably EOL for the 8 ball crop anyway.

    I’ll plant a couple more about mid August for a fall “summer squash” batch.

  21. Larry Ledwick says:

    I am not sure this will work, but I have tallied up some more pantry foods.

    Serving size calculator		serving size		
    food product	cal/gm	grams	Cal / serving	Notes
    rice	        3.30	70	231.0	Measure 3 Oz Dixie cup about 1/3 cup
    mashed potato	3.60	21	75.6	Measure 3 Oz Dixie cup about 1/3 cup
    spaghetti 	3.75	41	153.8	Dime size bundle angel hair
    macaroni	3.75	73	273.8	Large handful 5 Oz Dixie cup full
    flat noodles	3.75	72	270.0	1.5 large handfulls of wide flat noodles
    Oat meal	3.75	36	135.0	Measure 3 Oz Dixie cup about 1/3 cup
    Dry pinto beans	2.60	76	197.6	Measure 3 Oz Dixie cup about 1/3 cup
    Sugar  5#	4.00	2268	9072.0	Convert 453.6 gm/pound  28.35 gm / Oz
    wheat flour 5#	3.75	2269	8508.8	Convert 453.6 gm/pound  28.35 gm / Oz
    (Canned Fish)				
    Tuna fish 3 Oz  0.83	 85     70.6    water packed drained white albacore 1 drained 2.4 Oz serving per can
    Tuna fish 5 Oz  0.83	113.4	94.1	entire can 2  drained 2 Oz servings per can
    Tuna fish 5 Oz  0.83	 56.7	47.1	one serving 2 Oz drained
    (Canned Chicken)
    Chicken 5 Oz	0.80	140	112.0	water packed drained white chicken breast entire can
    Chicken 5 Oz	0.80	56	44.8	water packed drained white chicken breast individual serving 2.5 per can
    Spam 7 Oz	3.21	198	635.6	entire can
    Spam 7 Oz	3.21	56	179.8	per serving 3.5 / can
    (Smoked Canned Ham 5 oz = 142 grams)
    Hormel 5 Oz 	1.61	140	225.4	entire can
    Hormel 5 Oz	1.61	 56	 90.2	per serving 2.5 / can
    (Roast Beef - Canned - 14.5 Oz)
    Keystone	1.36	411	559.0	entire can
    (Chili con Carne` with Beans)
    Dennison's 	1.29	512	660.5	entire can
    Dennison's	1.29	256	330.2	per servings 2 / can
    (Small Cans, Vegetables)
    peas and carrots 
    8.5 Oz	        0.74	241	178.3	entire can
    french cut green beans
    8 Oz 	        0.18	227	40.9	entire can
    whole kernel sweet corn	
    8.87 Oz         0.48	248	119.0	entire can
    tomato sauce		
    8 Oz 	        0.23	227	52.2	entire can
    tomato paste
    6 Oz 	        0.88	170	149.6	entire can
    (Bushes original baked beans)
    8.3 Oz 	        1.08	235	253.8	entire can (small single pull tab can)
    1 lb 	        1.08	454	490.3	entire can
    (wet pack pinto beans)
    15.5 Oz 	0.88	439	386.3	entire can
    Campbell's Tomato soup (wet pack)
    10.75 ounce	0.74	305	225.7	entire can
    Campbell's Vegetarian Veg soup (wet pack)
    10.5 Oz 	0.76	298	226.5	entire can
    (Jolly time popcorn)
    jar 30 Oz 	3.36	850	2856.0	entire jar
    single serving	3.36	32	107.5	Per 2 Oz serving (about 2 tbls)
    (commercial white bread sandwich )
    sandwich			70	Calories / slice
    entire loaf 24 slices		1680	Calories / loaf
    (commercial white bread round top)
    round top			60	Calories / slice
    entire loaf 24 slices		1440	Calories / loaf
    Swiss cheese 
    deli slices			70	Calories / slice
    (creamy style Skippy peanut butter)
    jar 15oz	5.94	425	2523.2	Serving 32 grams (2 tblspoons) 13 servings / jar
    serving 	5.94	32	190.0	Serving 32 grams (2 tblspoons) @ 191
    (Ovaltine chocolate drink mix)
    jar 12 Oz	3.63	340	1234.2	entire jar
    single serving	3.63	11	39.9	per serving (with 1 cup milk 120 calories)
    (Swiss Miss milk chocolate mix )
    0.73 oz pouch 	4.34	20.7	89.8	mixed with water
    0.73 oz pouch 	4.34	20.7	180.0	mixed with 6 Oz 2% milk
    (Lipton extra noodle dry chicken noodle mix )
    entire package	3.45	139	479.6	entire box – 2 envelopes total of  (6 servings)
    each envelope	3.45	69.5	239.8	Per envelope of dry mix (3 serving per pouch)
    per cup	        3.45	23.1	79.7	per cup prepared
  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    Well looks like it is all there but as usual word press clobbered the column formatting for white space even though I used the “pre” tag.

    manufactures do not make it easy to figure out the exact value, they never give the full calorie count of the entire can, it is always tallied as per servings and the can makes about X servings, so that is probably why there are minor variations between products which should be essentially identical in calories per ounce or per gram, like mashed potato flakes and rice – both essentially pure complex starches.

    What I tend to do is try to figure the entire calorie count of an entire store package and then budget for a specific daily meal size.

    Say for a 2000 calorie a day diet, you need to store 365.4 * 2000 in storable foods, or 730800 calories per person year. If you buy stuff you actually cook with in approximate proportion to the rate at which you use them, then that gross sum of calories in your food pantry divided by your daily calorie allotment gives you the number of days of normal meal consumption you can provide.

    It also allows for very simple scaling, figure out how many days you want to cover and work out what meal size you will have to use from your storage food to meet that design meal goal.

    Obviously you can tweak the meal size on the fly as you draw down your stores, and will get more days for home grown amendments you add due to your own efforts to enhance the food served per meal.

    The reason I include the wet pack pinto beans in cans is that they are quick and you only need to heat them to a safe cooking temperature rather than simmer for hours like the dry beans.

    The popcorn, Ovaltine and dry cocoa mix for hot drinks are great moral boosters and in the case of popcorn it makes you feel full on very little actually consumed, so can increase the bulk of slim rations to make them a bit more satisfying and it will keep like rice nearly forever.

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry L:

    When I get a chance, I’ll touch it up some…

    I usually have to edit thing with “pre” tags to get them right. Typed is variable char width, presented is fixed char width. Only char counting and no tabs works…

    I tend to have a big bag of dry beans and one of rice for IF I have fuel & water (and for after everything else is used up…) but then try to stock enough wet canned goods to not need either fuel or water for at least a month, preferably 2.

    I figure by the 3rd month, most of the useless and crazies will have been sorted out and “found fuel” and water sources will be safe to approach again…

    I buy a big bag of beans and rice mostly as it is a couple of months food for nearly no money, and will be used up over the coming year or two anyway, if no bad thing happens. Then spend most of my money on the best stuff I can get. That’s canned meat and vegetables and prepared meals (ravioli, chili, stew, etc). Fill in the middle with fast cook boxed dehydrated stuff like mac n cheese.

    Then there is the fridge, that usually has a couple of weeks worth in it anyway… I keep the freezer full. And the kitchen cupboards. I’ve never totaled it all up, but it is likely we could go 6 months with careful use. My target had been 2 to 3 months for 4 of us, then the kids moved out :-)

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    Per the sauerkraut vit C question:

    Looks like it is an important food and somewhat medicinal:


    Captain Cook was one of the first people to make cultured sauerkraut a healing modality. When he took his first vessel and crew on a long voyage in 1768, a violent storm arose. The waves tossed the ship about violently, and many crewmen were injured. To save the men from gangrene, the ship’s doctor made poultices of the cultured cabbage on board to apply to their wounds.

    Vitamin C and kraut

    Cook was one of the first ship captains to recognize that a lack of Vitamin C in a sailor’s diet (due mostly to a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables) caused scurvy, a terrible disease that killed millions of sailors in those times. Captain Cook always sailed with barrels of fermented cabbage (7,860 pounds of sauerkraut, to be exact) which he insisted the sailors eat. Scurvy was never a problem on his ships because cultured cabbage contained lots of Vitamin C. This is good news for you, too. We all need lots of Vitamin C on a regular basis and fermented cabbage is a fantastic way to get it.

    Cultured Cabbage is a Super Food!

    Cabbage has about 30 mg of Vitamin C per cup, but guess what happens to cabbage when you ferment it? Cornell University found that fermented sauerkraut can have as much as 600 to 700 mg per cup! You also get the boost of probiotics that gives cultured kraut super powers!

    Vitamin C has become one of the most important nutrients for me. I have found it is hugely important for the adrenals. The body rapidly uses up available Vitamin C during infection or stress. My life has more demands on me than ever and extra vitamin C keeps my adrenals functioning properly. I just can’t think of a better way to get your Vitamin C than in this powerful food.

    Also found a reference to using the juice to treat canker sores or holding a bite of sauerkraut against the sore for 30 seconds before chewing and swallowing it.

    There was some arguing over different kinds of it. Red vs green. Pasteurized vs not. Canned vs fresh. So specifics matter.

    In general, though, having the skill to make it during a collapse disaster would be good.

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry L:

    I “pretty printed” your list some. Hopefully it’s OK.

  26. E.M.Smith says:

    Thinking about the process of the “Emergency Emergency-food Run”, I realize I have a hierarchy of needs approach.

    First I go to the Big Bulk section. Big (cheap) bags of beans, rice, salt, sugar, flour, vitamins. So for about $50 I’ve got “enough to make it” in the cart.

    Then I hit up the “stuff I regularly eat in cans” or the canned equivalent. So cans of sardines, tuna, chicken (we don’t eat beef anymore due to it causing arthritis issues, but used to include canned corned beef, beef hash, etc.), SPAM and if money permits salmon for the meats. Jars of jam, jelly and preserves. Substitutes for fresh fruit. Canned vegetables (substitutes for fresh & frozen). Any “meals in a can” I like (ravioli, stew,…) Any syrup, catsup, mustard, etc. for condiments. Olive oil and coconut oil to substitute for butter. Now I can do my usual cooking style for many things, but with different shelf stable ingredients.

    Finally I’ll get a bunch of the “Pre-packaged meals in boxes” that we regularly use anyway. Mac ‘N Cheese, Spuds ‘N Cheese, Pho Noodle Cups, Ramen, bulk dry noodles and matching jars of sauces. Rice-A-Roni or similar stuff. Why are these not ahead of the canned stuff? Because I usually have a stock of them anyway, and in a real crisis the “wet and cooked in cans” is more valuable than the “dry in a box and where to I find water and fuel to make it?”

    Then there is an “Other Stuff” pass. Am I low on things like Comino and Chili Powder to make chili beans? I usually carry a big jar of both so rarely need it. Have I got enough baking powder for biscuits? Again, I usually have a couple of jars of it (and a big jar of baking soda if I need to ‘go there’). BBQ Sauce? (Makes even beans and bland “chicken from a can” taste a lot better). Tub of Tang, Lemonade, or ice tea mix? I still have 1/2 of one on the shelf and it makes 30 quarts… but one of them for $5 or so has you covered for a couple of months. All stuff I can live without, but is nice to have.

    I hadn’t really thought about it much until looking at the result of this test run. I’ve just always done that.

    As beans “get hard” over time, the bag-o-beans tends to sit about 6 months, then I’ll start making batches of chili or canning them up or just generally doing something to get them run through the meal plans or processed into longer storage form (canned). The rice gets put in sealed jars where it will keep for years (and we regularly use a fair amount of rice anyway so it gets used…)

    All the canned stuff tends to get used regularly (tuna, vegetables, sardines, fruit, jam…) or will get used when I discover I’m out of fresh and already started making dinner (SPAM for ham in various dishes like spuds from a box or fried eggs and ha… whoopsy, outage, SPAM ;-) It also goes well in vegetable and noodle saute (Italian Chef’s Pan Dinner) and in Chinese Fried Rice (using the leftover rice from the night before).

    Similarly the “Box Dinners” are a regular stocking item so get used over time. “Prepping” just meaning to buy a bigger inventory less often (saves on a lot of runs to the store… gas and time…)

    I don’t know when that pattern got learned, but it was long long ago. I worked in the back of the restaurant stocking shelves and doing butcher work (from about 8 to 12 years old) and there was some amount of figuring out what you could not afford to run out of, and what was optional. So you could never run out of flour or salt or sugar, but if you ran out of turkey then you would just not put it on the special and note that we were out of hot turkey sandwiches…

    Then very early on, Dad talked about “On The Farm” in the Great Depression. How you could grow a lot of the fresh stuff, but could not grow salt or sugar. (Hey, Iowa, not Florida. In Florida you can grow sugar ;-) How, if you had the basics, you could make a lot of the rest. About “putting things by” with drying, salting, smoking, canning…

    I guess I was listening ;-)

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    We make a “Saffron Rice With Chicken” dish in the rice cooker. It’s easy to make and tastes great. I dump in a 5 oz package of Mahatma Yellow seasonings Rice (It tastes better than some other brands, IMHO), add the recommended 1 2/3 cups water (about 416 ml) and a Tbls of butter ( 15 ml).

    Then I’ll cut 2 to 4 chicken thighs into chunks about an inch (2.54 cm) on a side, and dump that in. Optionally, I’ll add about 1/2 can of some kind of vegetable, usually peas. Last time I made this, I used frozen peas and it was fine. Just took a little longer to get going.

    Turn on the rice cooker and come back in about 25 minutes when it goes “THUNK!” and announces dinner is served ! ;-)

    This, with sides, will usually give us 4 meals. If I do less chicken and only one side, sometimes just 3. (That is, 2 of us for dinner and one going at the leftovers for lunch the next day ;-)

    The only non-self stable parts of this are the chicken and the butter, but since olive oil or coconut oil work, that’s an easy substitution.

    About that chicken…

    You don’t really need as much chicken as I put in it. This would likely work very well with freeze dried chicken, provided you added the right amount of water for it, or soaked it to reconstitute ahead of time. But I’m interested in substituting canned chicken. I intend to can some of my own when (If?) farmers start to dump their chicken inventory if (when?) grain prices start to shoot up too high. Until then, I bought some commercial canned chicken to have something on the shelf, and to test how well it works in this particular dish.

    I’m not fond of white meat of chicken, especially when canned, as it can be a bit “dry”. Not in the lacking water sense, but in the “mealy and dull” on the tongue sense (thus my desire to can my own…)

    At Walmart, I found Swanson’s White And Dark Premium Chunk Chicken at a slightly lower price than the all white, so bought 2 cans to try it. The label says it is 9.75 oz (276 gm) Net Weight, but on the nutrition part of the label says it is “About 2.5 servings per container, Serv. Size 3 oz. drained (85 g)” So I make that 7.5 oz drained. At COSTCO they have a 6 pack of Kirkland (house brand) Premium Chunk Chicken Breast that is “net weight 12.5 oz (354 g) / drained wt. 7 oz (198 g)” in a visibly larger can. Same diameter, but about a cm taller. So how’s that work? 1/2 ounce less drained weight in a bigger can? 2.75 ounces more of… what exactly that drains away? Then the COSTCO can says it has about 3.5 servings per container at 2 ounces each. So how do you get 7.5 ounces of servings out of 7 ounces of drained weight product? I think somebody’s labels are telling porkies…

    Well, OK, ASSUMING the two drained weights are about right and that COSTCO is just packing with more water and Swanson’s is compressing it a bit more in the can when filling, I’m going to treat them as “the same” for purposes of stocking / prepping.

    In a real Aw Shit, I’d use one can / rice dish cook. IF you have plenty of extra stored, use 2 cans. But “about 3.5 servings” is about what we get from the dish anyway, so…

    Comparative price?

    Walmart     $1.98
    Costco     $10 / 6 or $1.67 / can

    So once again COSTCO wins on the price front. But not by enough to really matter. 31 ¢ per 3 or 4 meals? So I’m going to taste test both (and likely do my own weight on the contents) and then decide of which to buy more. At present I only have 8 cans total, and only one Yellow Rice packet, so I’ll need more of both in any case.

    The rice is something like 87 ¢ / package (that may be the price I paid in Florida… it’s been a while since I bought any here). In a real Aw Shit you could easily use plain rice instead and just spice it up with whatever you have. Figure about $1 for the rice + oil + “whatever” (Walmart peas are 50 ¢ / can so about 25 ¢ of peas), and then $1.70 for the chicken. That’s $2.70 for 3 to 4 meals worth. 90 ¢ to 67 ¢ / meal. Cost just isn’t much however you make it.

    For a month supply of this for 2 people it would take 30 packets of rice, 30 cans of chicken, and 15 cans of peas, plus 30 Tbls of oil (or not much at all… 450 ml or about 2 cups). Even at top end prices that’s $30 + $60 + $15 (non-Walmart peas) = $105 for about 90 to 120 meals (sides extra, but you are getting dinner and some lunches out of it).

    With 8 cans of chicken, I presently have about 24 to 32 meals worth (using white rice and some spices from the spice rack as substitutes). So that’s “enough” for a month supply on the chicken front. I do need to load up on some of the yellow rice packets as we really like it ;-) Then decide on canning some of my own dark meat “going forward”, or which of the canned versions is “good enough”.

  28. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes E.M. the repost of the list looks great.

    I have it on a spread sheet and am slowly adding items, but it makes a good starter list for folks who just want a basic disaster stock to begin with. All those items are available nation wide and commonly available, so easy to get started.

    Then just buy 2 or 3 of every item you feel you need, or when you need one buy 2 and pretty soon you have a stock of the stuff you regularly eat.

    On the canned food stocks the only items I try not to get too far ahead of myself with are the tomato products as they will eventually eat through the can if you lose track of one for too long due to the acid content (one of the reasons I started using the dried tomato powder).

    Being single, it is hard for me to make decent meals without smothering the fridge with left overs, so I have gradually moved to smaller and smaller can sizes. Now I use the smallest tuna cans almost exclusively as the bigger cans are just too much for one meal.

    The other items that are worth looking at are condiments like black olives, pickles etc. that by their very nature keep a very very long time (usually packed in glass for the pickles – although the salt will eventually get through the enamel on the inside of the lids)

  29. E.M.Smith says:

    For a while, just for fun to some extent, I was buying #10 cans of stuff and “re-canning” it into pint or cup jars. Wanted to find out if it works (it does) and if the product quality suffered (not too much for many things) and was it cost effective (not in cup sized jars with new lids at 35 ¢ each but yes with the reusable lids or in larger sizes). It also let me move the giant sized Marinara or tomato sauce products into glass and out of metal…

    Also learned that for a lot of things I could just divide it and freeze a bunch. Varies by product though.

    I’ve mentioned before that we make up “lunch tubs” with the leftovers and freeze them. Then a meal is just 2 minutes in the microwave. Just about every cooked food we’ve tried has frozen just fine. Doesn’t matter if it is the horridly expensive Corningware tubs with rubber lids and handles that the spouse used for years at work, or the Pyrex glass dishes with cheap plastic snap on lids. Still works fine. (Just don’t use containers with a plastic body as oils will pit and stain it). Noodle dishes. Meats. Vegetables. Stews. Fried potatoes and stir fried rice. Just give it a try. Heck, it’s left-overs anyway… Chile works really well, and when I make chili I make a BIG batch, then freeze it in tubs (or some in “freezer jars” that taper uniformly outward from bottom to top so ice expansion goes up not out…)

    There’s times I’ve just wanted a “2 minute meal” and sticking a tub / Pyrex dish of tuna noodle casserole or lasagna in the microwave has been a Godsend.

    Was at Smart & Final today and they were having a “weekly special” sale on chicken parts. 79 ¢/lb for thighs, legs, and leg quarters. Got about $7 of thighs. So now I’m going to try a reprise of my chicken canning skills ;-) As the cans are about $2 for 7 ounces of actual product… it might be a really big gain. IIRC it’s a one hour cook in pint or smaller jars, 1.5 hour in larger (but I’m going to double check it before doing the deed…). Worst case is I just bought a lot of Deluxe Dog Food for 79 ¢/lb. ;-)

    Smart & Final has HUGE sizes of things at very nice prices. Things like a #10 can (just smaller than a gallon… what would be canned in a 1 gallon sized glass jar – which is why US can sizes are so strange, they were set to match the product in home canned jars of cup, pint, quart, and gallon sizes after allowance for head room in the jars) of fruit for $5.xx (or green beans or…)

    Were it a REAL Emergency run for Prep with “cash in pocket” I’d likely hit the Smart & Final about a mile away and get their 50 lb. sacks of beans, rice, and flour and then a bunch of #10 cans of stuff like chili and ravioli and corn and green beans and such. Then, whenever I needed to open one, I’d re-can the excess and put the jars back on the shelf. Very few folks would be headed there to stock up and of them, most would not be going after the “Restaurant sized” bags and cans.

    Note on Oatmeal:

    I checked the “serving size” on the round tubs of oats. It’s about the same 40 g size as the instant with fruit stuff packets. The tub says “30 servings” so really 15 of the size I eat for breakfast (which has done really well the last few days, btw). It was $2.67 for a tub of the house brand at Walmart ( I didn’t buy any at COSTCO as they sell a double pack of Quaker Oats and I’ve now got way too many oats already anyway ;-) but using that Walmart number, that’s 18 &cents; for the oats for a very nice bowl (double serving) for breakfast. At most, about a quarter $ with coconut oil, sugar, and raisins added. Figure 2 tubs for a person-month is about $6 at high prices or $5.34 for the cheap seats.

    It doesn’t take much to toss two tubs of it and a big box of raisins in the cart. Add some cheap powdered milk and you are set for a month of breakfasts in an Aw Shit moment. I get the Quick Oats even though I like traditional better, just because fuel needed is so low. (And I have a 3 lb bag of steel cut oats in the pantry anyway ;-) When it gets old from me not eating the stuff in the tub, the spouse makes it into oatmeal cookies and it is gone in a flash ;-)

    So by my estimation I’ve got about 2 months of oats… and toppings. (I bought some extra jam too. A spoon of preserves in oats is quite nice…) I doubt if I’ve spent over $20 for the lot of it; but don’t have the receipt for the steel cut oats anymore.

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, and lunch today was a can of sardines and a ramen noodle cup. Filling and I’ve felt good all day.

    Yes, I’ve been trialing “living on the storage food” and so far it isn’t a hardship at all. Though I am eating a lot less of it than my “one dry pound a day” rule of thumb. I think I set that when I was a 30 something and working out a lot every day ;-)

  31. Larry Ledwick says:

    You might want to look at this, based on my food diary experience this chart is pretty close. I have to eat 1200 Cal a day or less to lose any significant weight and I clearly start gaining weight at about 1600-1800 a day unless I exercise.


  32. E.M.Smith says:

    Well this, at least, is some good news on the food front:

    29 May 2019 | Masha Belikova
    The European Commission has increased the wheat production estimation for 2019/20 marketing year by 2.43 million mt

    So some places are growing well, at least. Just not the soggy USA…

    It also looks like Canada was having low moisture issues but got some welcome rains, so might do OK this year after all…

    Looking for information about Canadian 2018 production I ran into this article (it is a site that “lets” you read 3 times / month and nags you to sign up, so I’m quoting more heavily than usual:


    World wheat production problems come to the fore

    11.26.2018 By Drew Lerner
    Just a couple of years ago this meteorologist had his hands slapped for trying to make an issue out of world wheat production problems. The word was that there was too much wheat in the world and that a focus on that crop was a waste of time. Today, of course, the trade has a little different mindset.

    Smaller crops in Australia, Canada, Europe and Russia this year allowed the commodity “trade” winds to blow from a different direction. Now that everyone thinks there is a problem the question that begs to be answered is, “Can world wheat production potentials improve?”
    U.S. wheat in the Plains was not fully planted let alone fully emerged in the beginning of November’s second week. Worry began to rise greatly over the fate of this year’s crop because of the lack of planting and establishment. Bitter cold temperatures arrived in the second week of this month and pushed soil temperatures down below the minimum to support ongoing wheat development. Nebraska, Colorado and northern Kansas experienced the coldest conditions, but producers in those areas were the most successful in getting crops into the ground so that worry over unplanted acreage was minimized.

    Southern Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, however, received copious amounts of rain during October stalling fieldwork so that not all of the crop was planted. Weather conditions then turned further adverse by trending much colder. Many crops in the southern Plains were planted just prior to the cold weather’s arrival. Even though many crops had not emerged from the ground when the coldest conditions arrived there is a fair chance that the crop is rooting and slowly developing. A few bouts of warm weather expected in November and December will then become instrumental in getting the late planted crops to emerge.

    World Weather, Inc. believes there will be enough periods of warm weather still yet to come in the southern Plains to support some late season fieldwork. A small percentage of the crop may not be planted, and obviously for that crop a recovery in the spring is not possible. However, for the crops that do get planted there is potential the crop could come around more favorably than expected.

    The reason for saying this is that spring 2019 is expected to be wetter biased in the central and southern Plains. The wet conditions will help to hold temperatures down so that wheat can set new tillers and improve root systems without having to worry over the stress of hot, dry, weather. That should give the crop a good chance for recovery. There is also likely to be an abundance of snow this winter to adequately protect the crops that did emerge.

    Soft wheat in the U.S. Midwest also is facing delays in planting because of delays getting summer crops out of the fields. Improved planting conditions are forthcoming, but the Midwest wheat crop does not have the same luxury as crops in the southern Plains of being a heat sink. It will be difficult for temperatures in the Midwest to get warm enough to induce germination later this autumn. But, like in the central and southern Plains, if the late-planted crop can develop a root system it might have a fair chance of performing favorably.

    Interest in U.S. wheat has certainly risen recently after Australia’s crop was much lower than desired. Canada’s Prairies spring and durum wheat lost some quality and a little production because of too much moisture and drought, respectively, during the harvest and growing season this year. Ontario and Quebec may not have planted all of their crops this season because of frequent precipitation in recent weeks.

    In Europe the problem was, is and will continue to be of drought. Europe is dealing with its longest drought in this meteorologist’s 40-year career and even though wheat, rye and barley are planted, protection for crops this year will be of critical importance because of poor establishment in many areas.

    However, just like in the United States, if the wheat that was planted and emerged survives during winter and has timely precipitation and seasonable temperatures in the spring production could end up being surprisingly good.

    In other areas of the world, Argentina’s wheat should be doing alright, although recent flooding and hail may have damaged a part of that crop. India’s wheat needs moisture as it does every year to perform well. India is expected to receive some timely precipitation and experience some cool weather this winter that may help boost its production.

    China irrigates most of the northern winter wheat crop where dryness set in more significantly than usual this year. Unirrigated crops in the northern Yellow River Basin and northern half of the North China Plain may struggle and yield poorly in the spring, but since much of the region irrigates the threat is small. Southern wheat areas in China are receiving abundant precipitation, and that should ensure a good stand and favorable production potentials in 2019.

    So while USA corn and soybeans are “having issues” with way too much water, it looks like the 2018 planting of winter wheat and growing conditions on other continents are likely to have wheat doing OK this year. (Spring planted wheat maybe not so much…)

    There was also a report that some Canadian crops suffering lack of rain were helped by some recent rains, so that’s good news too.

    I guess we’ll really find out when the harvesters start running…

  33. E.M.Smith says:

    has an embedded graph showing Statistics Canada predictions of 2019 grain. While some are a little lower (but not a lot different from the 5 year average) Wheat is showing a big rise.

    Inserting Statistics Canada’s seeded acre estimates into the April Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada forecasts for 2019-20 results in forecasts for barley, corn, oats, peas and all-wheat production exceeding both 2018 production and the five-year average production.

    For example, Canada’s barley production would be estimated at 9.36 million metric tons, given Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s estimate of 90% of seeded acres harvested and an average yield of 66.7 bushels per acre expected, up only slightly from the average yield forecast for 2018. This would be the largest production achieved in six years and would be close to 1 mmt more that estimated in 2018.

    has lower values for Canola, Flax Seed, Lentils, Soybeans, and Durham Wheat (but not by a huge amount) and a bigger production of “All Wheat” by a lot.

    So the USA grain / soybeans flooding issues do NOT generalize even to an all of North America issue.

    Europe & Canada doing well, especially on wheat.

    So more baguettes and less cornbread. Got it.

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry L:

    The problem I have with all such Government Charts is that they are gross oversimplifications of reality that can NEVER match most of the people in the “average”.

    Notice there is no allowance for weight in that chart?

    A 70 lb midget will have vastly different food needs from a 400 lb (light weight…) Sumo Wrestler. I’m over 100 kg. Closer to 110 kg. My dietary needs are a lot larger than yours, especially when I’m digging in the garden. Yet, at one time I was in a box for NASA doing, basically, bed rest for 3 months. I dropped to 156 lbs on an “all you can eat” diet. Why? Just not hungry. Not active. So was just not eating very much.

    So which is “the real me”? The one who needs double your intake? Or the one who was happy on about 1/2 that (and especially after shrinking…) ?

    The simple reality is that every person is a unique mix of height, weight, activity, and metabolism and must adjust for their own needs.

    One other example: In college, a friend was about 150 to 160 lbs when in best shape / weight. I clearly out massed him by a lot. He ate more than I did but could not gain weight. Just not very efficient at digestion. (He refused to eat corn as “it comes out just like it went in” and he didn’t want his poo decorated with intact corn kernels… as “what’s the point of eating it?”)

    So yeah, like my “One dry pound / person” yardstick, it is quasi useful if you have nothing else to use for planning… but once you have ANY personalized information, those averages are in the circular file.

    FWIW, in this last round of trials, I’ve learned that about 80 g of oats is FINE for me for breakfast. Then, that about the same volume of noodles is fine for lunch (both with some small amount of added vegetables and oil). This implies that my 500 g / person / day is way overkill, even though it is based on the daily calories needed. “Why?” is most likely the calories in the oils and that a primitive diet like this has me using up some of my (excessive….) stored fats too.

    But I’m going to leave my benchmark at 1 lb / person-day of dried foods. Just because in a real AwShit I’m unlikely to be sitting on the couch in a warm house and I’m more likely to be shoveling stuff out in the cold and wet; in which case my caloric demand will skyrocket compared to now. (When working in the peach cannery stacking 50# cases I ate about double what I eat now and lost weight…)

  35. H.R. says:

    E.M., in a major, major earthquake disaster, where you mentioned above that bugout would be to the backyard, don’t forget about your freezer foods.

    Assuming the freezer survives, we know you have generator capacity, but if services are disrupted longer than you have fuel for the generators (lines down for many months), you’ll need to cook from the freezer first. Tuck that in the back of your mind.

    Don’t forget to dig a root cellar in your spare time if lines are torn up so badly, the whole power distribution system will need to be rebuilt and it will be a year before you get power.
    Speaking of freezers, I was thinking about Neanderthals and their high protein and fat diet from killing and eating megafauna , and then it occurred to me that they didn’t have to eat up a mammoth all at once. They had a natural freezer going on at the time. All they had to worry about was keeping other big, bad critters away from the remains while they finished it off as frozen dinners. I think fire was a bigger concern to them than figuring out how to preserve their kills.

    And all this time people thought frozen dinners were invented in the ’50s ;o)

  36. Larry Ledwick says:

    Notice there is no allowance for weight in that chart?

    The allowance is in the fine print, the nominal man in that chart is 5′ 10″ @ 154 pounds and the nominal woman is 5′ 4″ and weighs 126 pounds.

    I am 5′ 4″ and weigh 145, but my best weight when I got out of boot camp was 124 pounds. The woman’s chart describes my caloric demands perfectly.

    I wish such charts were math literate and would include a simple scaling law you could apply to the number (basic math is really not that difficult – but people who make such simple charts always seem to hide the reference numbers and make it difficult to correct the chart for a specific individual.

    That said my main point was to show the general trends in that chart, caloric demands peak at age 19-20 then slightly diminish unitl age 45 when the begin to significantly slow metabolism and caloric needs. Even at very young age and low body weight you need at least 1000 calories a day, so for a survival ration you have a window that will cover 95% or so of the population of plan points.

    Absolute minimum calories 1000-1600 Calories per day for all ages
    Healthy intake for moderate activity about 2000 calories a day (good planning number for storage), which equates to 500 grams of carbohydrate a day ( 1.1 pounds per day) which is right in line with your 1 pound per day reference point.

    Supposedly the Germans fed the concentration camp internees about 600 – 1200 calories a day so we know that is a guaranteed long term death sentence food intake, but if you have adequate body fat reserves it is a make do food intake for short periods provided you get adequate trace minerals and vitamins.


    Prisoners received three meals per day. In the morning, they received only half a liter of “coffee,” or rather boiled water with a grain-based coffee substitute added, or “tea”—a herbal brew. These beverages were usually unsweetened. The noon meal consisted of about a liter of soup, the main ingredients of which were potatoes, rutabaga, and small amounts of groats, rye flour, and Avo food extract. The soup was unappetizing, and newly arrived prisoners were often unable to eat it, or could do so only in disgust. Supper consisted of about 300 grams of black bread, served with about 25 grams of sausage, or margarine, or a tablespoon of marmalade or cheese. The bread served in the evening was supposed to cover the needs of the following morning as well, although the famished prisoners usually consumed the whole portion at once. The low nutritional value of these meals should be noted.

    The combination of insufficient nutrition with hard labor contributed to the destruction of the organism, which gradually used up its stores of fat, muscle mass, and the tissues of the internal organs. This led to emaciation and starvation sickness, the cause of a significant number of deaths in the camp. A prisoner suffering from starvation sickness was referred to as a “Musselman,” and could easily fall victim to selection for the gas chambers.

    Prisoner nutrition improved to a certain degree in the second half of 1942, when the camp authorities permitted the receipt of food parcels. Jews and Soviet POWs, however, did not share this privilege.


    Emaciated Prisoners
    Prisoners in the camp received three meals daily – in the morning, at midday and in the evening.
    In the morning the prisoners received only a half litre of black coffee or of a herbal brew known as tea. These liquids were generally unsweetened.
    The midday meal consisted of one portion of soup measuring about three quarters of a litre, with a value of 350 –400 calories. The soup was foul tasting and watery, with ‘meat’ four times a week and the rest with vegetables.
    For supper the prisoners were given about 300 grams of bread and something extra in the shape of about 25 grams of sausage or margarine, or a spoonful of jam or cheese. The food value of supper came to about 900 – 1000 calories

  37. E.M.Smith says:


    In any outage, the fridge/freezer goes on the generator. If the outage runs to the 3rd day (when stuff starts warming in the fridge as the generator use gets reduced to conserve fuel) my plan has me using the outdoor cook stove to can anything that needs it, and the BBQ to dry any that can take drying. The rest gets cooked and eaten.

    I have more than enough canning jars. Even if 100% were full (and they never are…) I would just decant the dry beans, rice, flour, etc. into pots with lids (as giant canisters) and use the jars to can the vegetables, meat and fish from the freezer. We typically have, maybe, 3 or 4 meals worth of prepared packaged meals (Asian orange chicken or pot pies like stuff) and those would be eaten over the 3 days and finished on the 4th….

    Yeah, I’ve thought about it :-)

    I think most of my time about day 2 or 3 will be spent running a cannery for the neighborhood on my front lawn… Anyone with a warming melting freezer will be encouraged to bring their stuff for canning, drying, and / or sharing.

    FWIW, I have a food drier too, so it will be used as long as the generator holds out. Then I move to the kW inverter and idling Diesel car for a couple more days…. 18 gallon tank, usually over 3/4 full all the time. Then there are the 3 gas cars… about 40 gallons in them most days… Yeah, I could siphon it out for the generator, but I don’t like to siphon…

    FWIW, I’ve also done test canning in commercial disposable jars with the solid caps. It works, though needs a light touch on the lid tightness… So basically, IFF ever there were no other option, I know how to do expedient canning in trash jars. (I expect we will be having water run out before that, though.)

  38. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry L:

    Guess how I arrived at my 1 lb per person-day :-)

    Just ran the math as you did, in pounds.

    BTW, it is very hard to eat a pound of rice, once cooked, in a day. Similarly a pound of dry beans cooks up into a big bulk. We really are oil burners and need fats to get enough calories into us. I presently have 8 liters of olive oil for just that reason. It gets rotated over a year or two.

    I cook 1/2 cup of rice, for two of us, as a side dish… I doubt I could really even eat one cup, cooked, in a day. 40 g of oatmeal is the package meal size. I eat double that as I’m about 115 kg. But that is just 80 g. That would be 240 g in three meals. 320 in 4. I’d need to eat a 1/2 dozen such meals a day… one every other hour for most of the day… I don’t think I’d be able to do that for long…

    So while I store “one dry pound per person per day”, I also keep a large oil stock and lots of canned stuff with fats and oils (fish in oil, canned meats, stews, ravioli,…) so I think my dry goods will last longer and be used at a lower rate than 1 lb/person-day.

  39. Larry Ledwick says:

    I have the same experience, when I make a batch of rice I cook 6 oz of rice and I get 2 – 3 filling meals out of it, with a bit of meat (chicken or tuna) and a sauce.

    Same with mashed potatoes, sometimes I get home from work and just want a very quick hot meal. The solution is 2 or 3 slices of spam 1/8 inch thick, and 3 oz cup of dry mashed potato flakes, add 6 oz of water and stick in the microwave for 30 seconds while I brown the spam a bit, put a pat of butter on top of the potatoes and done.

    A 3 oz dixie cup holds 18 grams of dry mashed potato flakes (18 * 4 = 72 Calories)
    A pat of butter = 36 calories
    spam about 2 oz = 180 calories
    a small glass of milk = 120 calories
    total 408 calories and takes only a couple minutes to fix.
    If I am feeling extravagent I might add a couple spoonfuls of whole kernel corn or french cut green beans to the plate for an additional 30 – 50 calories.

  40. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry L:

    I make a batch of rice in the rice cooker for some meal, then just set the excess in the fridge. Day Old Rice makes better stir fried rice…

    Somewhere in the next couple of days, put some “whatever” meat / shrimp in a large frying pan or wok along with some onion, bits of finely chopped celery, some wafers of carrot made with a potato peeler… whatever. I add a drizzle of olive oil to lubricate the pan, but any oil will do (want to try coconut for a Pacific accent ;-)

    When the meat is cooked (or warmed through for leftovers), I’ll start adding the rest. Left over green beans, peas. (Fried Rice started out as Asian “left overs” the next day). Then pile the rice on top to warm in the steam. Break it up with a spatula or fork and turn it a bit. IF Possible, have some kind of cabbage family green to add. Choi is my favorite (chopped thicker stem bits go in with the onion, leaves with the rice or shortly before). I’ve used regular cabbage, Napa Cabbage works very well too. Drizzle on some soy sauce with the leaves (that aides the steam to cook the leaves).

    Keep it hot enough to slightly brown things and turn it often (basically wok technique even in a frying pan with hot but in motion cooking).

    When it’s looking about right, take a very small amount of Chinese 5 Spice and sprinkle it on. Like 1/2 to 1 cc worth. (You can add more later if you want more…) then stir and serve.

    The rest can go in a tub in the fridge for several more days and makes a near instant meal heated in the microwave or as a thin layer in a frying pan.

    I’ve been known to use leftover asparagus, broccoli, “whatever” in this and have not had a dud yet. Also, at times, I’ve added frozen peas, carrot dice, Asian vegetable mix, broccoli, etc. when I didn’t have enough left overs to work with or didn’t want to open a whole can.

    You can also freeze it in “portions” and then have a quick 2 minute microwave meal anytime. It’s one of my “go too” meal patterns.

    FWIW on Potatoes:

    I’ve made up portions of Real Mashed Potatoes and frozen them, too. Use glass tubs with removable lids. Does well in the microwave as “instant but better than instant”. Warms best with a small central hole in the potatoes for even microwaves.

    Instant Breakfast Report:

    I just tried making “Quick Oats” from the tub (takes 2 minutes to boil the cup of water for a 1/2 cup serving of oats) and flavoring it. Worked great.

    THE big problem with “Quick Oats” from the tub is lack of flavor. It really wants something, anything. Fruit. Butter. Sugar…. The instant packages include fruit and sugar, but cost more. I usually add a splash of milk and pat of butter to make it more rich and nummy.

    So how to close the gap on those two?

    Today I put a big spoon of Strawberry Jam in my bowl of oatmeal. Stirred briefly and tasted. It was so good I forgot to add my usual pat of butter and splash of milk…

    As a Super Cheap And Easy preparedness breakfast, having a tub of oatmeal and 32 oz jar of jam per person per month will cost nearly nothing and work quite well.

    I doubt that in any sudden run on the grocery store there will be a big crowed fighting over the oatmeal and jam isles…

    I can’t think of much that would be cheaper than this at about $5 / person for a month of breakfasts that actually taste good and are shelf stable. Though in a real disaster I’d add that tsp of coconut oil and splash of canned milk as you will want the oil / calories.

    Put a couple of slices of fried SPAM on the side and it would add about 75 ¢ / person for 1/3 of a can ( I’m good at about 1/4 of a can as frying makes it richer on the palate) for a savory breakfast with more calories if doing a lot of manual work.

    While I’ve already bought 104 packets worth of the Quaker Oats instant breakfasts, and started in on this tub of “cheapo house brand” quick oats mostly to use it up and partly to see how less pleasant it was, with the addition of the Jam & Preserves Option, I’m liking it more! Go Figure…

  41. H.R. says:

    @E.M. – Where’s your toasted sesame oil in that stir fry? It doesn’t hold up well to heat, so I fry in a higher temp oil, but towards the end, I add a teaspoon to a couple of tablespoons, depending on the size of the batch, of toasted sesame oil for the last minute on the heat.

    Toasted sesame oil is also a great flavor enhancer when making a pot of ham and beans or just beans. Again, add it towards the end for best flavor.
    For those living in desert areas, don’t forget that prickly pear cactus is not only edible, but a desired ingredient for some people. I always use some in my green chili. It’s also something to nosh on while you’re waiting for your survival seeds to sprout.
    Darn it! Now I’ll have to try prickly pear cactus in a stir fry. It hadn’t occurred to me before to try some with Asian cuisine. I just used it with Mexican/Southwest cooking.

  42. Larry Ledwick says:

    My mom would fix oatmeal with raisins as a quick hot filling breakfast in the winter time. When I finished shoveling the snow on the sidewalk and driveway I always came into hot oat meal and hot chocolate. (those instant hot chocolate packages are another good stocking item).

    I found out that as a young girl during the depression she got hot oatmeal almost every day when times were hard as it was a filling cheap meal.

  43. Power Grab says:

    Hey, speaking of seeds sprouting… We have had 2 pots with tomato plants this summer. They have produced cherry tomatoes better than our other attempts to grow tomatoes. It just occurred to me that it might be a good idea to save some seeds. What would be a good way to do that?

  44. Power Grab says:

    I like Spam. Fried is my favorite way to have it. However, one time (in my first apartment) I was expecting a sibling for supper. I had planned to serve sweet and sour pork (from a kit), but after it got to the simmering stage, I sat down in the rocker (I think I set a timer, but slept through it) to wait. When I woke up, the pan of stuff had turned black. I figured the pan was ruined (it had one of those early non-stick surfaces that tended to flake off), so I threw it away, pan and all. I had another kit of sweet and sour stuff, but no more pork. I had spam. So I ended up serving sweet and sour Spam. I thought it was good. The sibling didn’t go away hungry…

  45. Power Grab says:

    Speaking of oats, has anyone tried making muesli? Since oat packages used to recommend soaking, and muesli is oats soaked in IIRC milk…I wondered how that might work in a situation where you don’t even have a way to heat your food.

  46. Larry Ledwick says:

    Okay I’ll bite (no pun intended) but how do you prepare prickly pear cactus?
    Do you burn the thorns off with a torch?
    laboriously pick them all off?
    or somehow skin the succulent leaves?

    I know antelope like to munch on several of the succulent cacti varieties here in the high plains but you would need the tough mouth of a goat to eat them without getting rid of the spins.

    I seem to recall my dad mentioning that in severe drought conditions they would burn the spines off barrel cactus with a kerosene torch and then cut the top off to expose the water logged inner flesh of the cactus, but am not sure I remember that correctly

  47. Ossqss says:

    Per the syphon comment above, I offered the dealership cash to remove the ant-syphon in my Toyota when I bought it. They would not as it was some federal mandate or something for decades to have them in all US cars. So much for my 20 gallons in the event I needed that gas….

    I would however recommend keeping a syphon in the SHTF kit. Some examples


  48. H.R. says:

    Here you go, Larry.

    You might want to give it a go next time you’re out in the desert. Throw some leather gloves in the car and you’re good to go.

    I used to see prickly pear pads in the grocery store but I haven’t seen them for a while. I usually get mine that are ready to go in a quart jar. We have some Mexican Groceries in town now so I’m sure I could get some dethorned and ready to cook if I wanted to try them fresh.

    They don’t grow around here, so I’ve never picked or prepared them, though it seems easy enough if you have stout gloves. They can be roasted, so I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for some and grill them if I run across them.

    They, to me, don’t have a strong flavor and I would think most people would find them at least tolerable and many would find them really tasty.

  49. E.M.Smith says:


    The Spouse is unfond of things with “bite” or “spice” or “heat” so sesame oil is not on the use list… Me? I love it… and chili peppers and…

    Per cactus: I grew up with nopales and such.

    Look for it in the Mexican Food section of your store in cans (or in the produce section of you are in an area well endowed with a Hispanic community…)

    It tastes very bland to me, and needs seasoning… but is otherwise inoffensive.

    @Larry L:

    Hmmm…. My Mum fed us a lot of oatmeal & raisins and was also a child of the great depression…

    FWIW, my personal experience over many decades (including using the instant packages when camping in cold rainy weather) is that nothing comes close to the “stick to the ribs” nature of a hot oatmeal breakfast. Most recently (this past week), I’ve had 1/2 cup of the “quick oats” (with 1 cup boiling water it makes a bowl full) with a spoon of sugar / milk / butter lump or today just a TBS of strawberry jam, and I’m full until lunch or later. No hunger / wanting something else feelings at all.

    So in my “Core Prep Pile” will be at least 2 tubs, and maybe 4 tubs, of “Quick Oatmeal”. It is SO cheap and easy with minimal fuel to make it that it’s just stupid NOT to buy it. We’re talking like $4 for the “off brand” for 2 tubs.

    Then the local Bargain Market food store always has jam for cheap (they specialize in moving out things that are not selling to match production in the other stores – so not a lot of selection, but low prices. I get a REALLY nice “Danish” Preserves there for low cost just because they have overstock in the high priced outlets and the product MUST be moved…)

    Instant Cocoa! Damn! I KNEW I was forgetting something!!

    In the wild, farmers will use a flame thrower to burn off the thistles so the cattle can eat it. I’ve gathered pads, and usually you just knock them off with the back of a knife. Don’t know what Mama Celerina did in in the kitchen with the small hair like bristles left around the main sticker site. I think she burned them off over the gas stove burner…


    says to use a knife to cut off the sticker sites:

    Place the cactus paddle on your cutting board and, using a sharp knife, trim off the edge. Scrape the spines, thorns or eyes, running your knife from back to front until completely clean. Turn the cactus paddles and do the same on the other side.

    After that, you can treat them like any vegetable. Make a salad. Fried, boiled, pickled, whatever.

    @Power Grab:

    To save tomato seeds, I’ve done it both the “approved” way and a “rough and tumble” way.

    The Approved Way:

    Take the seed containing jelly out of the tomato. mush it up and put it in water ( about 50 /50 jelly and water or even 25 / 75) and set that aside at room temperature for 3 or 4 days. It ferments a bit. This gets rid of the jelly and any pathogens. Dump it into a strainer and run cold water over it to clean, spread on a plate to dry a couple of days. When dry, put in a labeled envelope in a jar in the fridge or freezer. Keeps for decades that way.

    The Easy / Works Way:

    Mush the jelly out of the tomato into a strainer. Under running water mush it around and wash off the jelly. Rinse and dump on a paper towel in a pie pan or plate. Let dry a couple of days at room temperature. The seeds will stick to the paper towel.

    When dry, fold it up and put it in a jar in the freezer or fridge. To use, cut out or tear out little bits of paper with a seed attached. Treat as pelleted seeds. (I.e. one per hole and easy to handle). Spreading the seeds about 1/4 inch apart in the drying helps in the separation and planting. (You CAN pick them off the paper towel, and if a thicker layer the top part will brush off fairly easily).

    More here:
    and their book is excellent.

    I’ve also just squashed cherry tomatoes flat, let them dry, and used them as a kind of tomato leather at planting time, but it’s hard to not start a dozen seeds in one hole that way…

    I’m actually very fond of SPAM (and the Walmart knock off isn’t bad either). Fried, hashed, whatever. I regularly use a few slices as dice in packaged Au Gratin potatoes. I’ll also use it in Stir Fried Rice if out of other leftover meat to use. I’ll even down a slice of it “from the can” while cooking. It was designed by a professional chef, BTW…


    When did cars become unsiphonable? I’m glad I own old cars…

    One can always intercept the fuel line. I’ve thought of installing a T after the fuel pump for easy “dispensing” but not done it.

  50. Ossqss says:

    This was interesting and unlike me, they spelled it right! I will be testing this out soon.


  51. Larry Ledwick says:

    When did cars become unsiphonable?
    That is a legacy of the 1970’s gas crisis. Fuel thefts went through the roof, folks were stealing full jerry cans right off the back of jeeps. Folks were buying locking gas caps so the thieves started crawling under the car and pulling the rubber hose section off the tank to get to the gas, or occassionally just punching a hole in the gas tank and putting a container under the tank.

    The result were of all that is three changes, internal release for the gas cap door, internal release for the hoods, and anti-siphon measures on the gas tank filler.

    You can still siphon most of them, but it is a pain, you have to hold the little trap door open first (a long spout funnel helps with that but most of them have a spring like insert near the tank to block a descent size hose from going in the tank, solution use a 1/4 inch or 5/16 inch hose and be prepared for it to take some time.

    The faster solution is to crawl under the car and loosen the clamps on the rubber hose section that marries the gas tank to the filler neck and slide it back and put the siphon hose in there, but if the tank is really full you will take a bath in gasoline.

    The other option is to hot wire the fuel pump and use the fuel pump to pump the fuel out.
    Most modern cars turn the fuel pump on to pressurize the fuel system, so when you turn the key on the pump will run for a few seconds. If it does not get fuel pressure in a few seconds it will shut off, so without external power to the pump you need to cycle the key several times.

    Modern high output electronic fuel injection pumps will flow between about 150 – 200 liters per hour so will take a while to move much fuel.

  52. Larry Ledwick says:

    Oh forgot one other option some cars (subaru) have access plates in the trunk over the fuel pump, four screws and the access plate comes off then remove the fuel pump and you have direct access to the top of the tank and all the fuel. Not a problem if it is your car and you have key access to the trunk. A quck look at a repair manual on how to replace the fuel pump will tell you if your car has a similar access.

    Another method is to crack the fittings on the fuel line somewhere between the tank and the engine, often cars have in line fuel filters somewhere along that path, then either pump the fuel with the fuel pump or figure out a way to pressurize the tank or park the car on a steep enough slope to let gravity run the fuel out of the line.

    Many many years ago in racing they used air pressure to push fuel to the carburetor.

  53. E.M.Smith says:

    At least on our old wagon, there is a set of 2 electric fuel pumps under the car at the fuel tank, and then long fuel line to the front of the vehicle. You get to lay on the ground, but it isn’t hard to get the fuel line off and start things draining.

    One the Diesel, it’s a line right out of the bottom of the tank to the fuel pump on the engine (very old school) and then a ‘return line’ for the bypass fuel back to the tank. (Diesels use fuel to cool the injectors and that warm fuel then keeps the tank warm so it doesn’t gel in cold weather). So easy peasy is just remove the return line and let the engine idle…

    I’ll need to check the “newer” cars ( IF you can call 1994 “newer”… ;-)

    IIRC, the Subaru had an easy access to the fuel line under the hood at the engine. Might be interesting to make a fitting and pump such that you just screw it onto the fuel line and pump ‘er out ;-)

    Fortunately, I’m not that worried. IF the world is ever that far gone, I’ll deal with it then.

  54. Larry Ledwick says:

    Your forester should have a fuel pump access panel in the floor, but have not looked at one that old recently so cannot be sure. If you crawl under the back and find the fuel pump on the top of the gas tank you should see the bottom of the access panel in the floor pan then can figure out how to get to it.

    On most of the Subaru’s I have owned the fuel filter is right next to the fire wall on the drivers side and you can easily access the rubber lines that connect to the filter and pop them off if nothing else.

  55. Larry Ledwick says:

    One of the challenges of building up an inventory of food storage for the pantry is how much of what do you store for future use? One way to get there is to spend a few months keeping a food diary or tallying up your grocery trips from receipts, but I found this today while poking around and it serves as a good cross reference for how various foods rank in average US consumption.

    (264 page report – Foods Commonly Eaten in the United States – USDA-ARS )

    From ehow https://www.ehow.com/info_8413128_staple-foods-america.html

    On average, Americans eat 6.30 ounces of grain per day.

    According to the Earth Policy Institute, Americans ate 171 pounds of meat per person in 2011. Poultry is the most common meat on American tables. Americans eat roughly 70 pounds per person per year. Beef and pork make up most of the rest of meat consumption. Beef is consumed at a rate of 52 pounds per person and pork at a rate of 44 pounds per person per year. Turkey and fish make up a smaller fraction of American meat intake.

    Americans consume nearly a hundred pounds of sweeteners per person per year.
    Americans eat roughly 25 pounds of corn sweetener per person per year in carbonated beverages alone.

    Tomatoes are one of the most common foods in America. According to Foods Commonly Eaten in the United States, a study conducted by Pennsylvania State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, roughly 46 percent of Americans eat tomatoes in some form every day. Nearly 86 percent eat tomatoes at least every other day. Processed tomato products account for nearly 80 percent of all the tomatoes eaten in the United States. Tomato sauces, such as marinara and other pasta sauces, are the most common form of processed-tomato food. Tomato paste, canned whole tomato products, ketchup and juice make up most of the rest of the uses for processed tomatoes.

    Americans eat about 143 pounds of potatoes per capita per year, making it the country’s favorite vegetable. At home, Americans consume the greatest percentage, 28 percent, of their potatoes in the form of potato chips. Away from home, they consume 59 percent of their potatoes as fried potatoes, most commonly french fries. Baked potatoes are the third most common type of potatoes Americans eat.

    Some other related links

    Most Important Staple Foods In The World
    Rank	Staple Food	Share of Global Caloric Intake From All Sources
    1	Maize Corn	19.5%
    2	Rice	16.5%
    3	Wheat	15.0% 
    4	Cassava	2.6%
    5	Soybeans
    6	Potatoes
    7	Sorghum	1.2%
    8	Sweet Potato
    9	Yams
    10	Plantain	0.3%

  56. Larry Ledwick says:

    Some interesting graphs of changes in food consumption in the US over time


  57. E.M.Smith says:

    I don’t see as I’d want to eat like the average American…. most of the potatoes eaten at home are in the form of potato chips, per your link…

    I think I’ll stick with stuff like mashed potatoes and gravy or potato Au Gratin with ham bits….

    FWIW, tonight I canned 3 x 1.5 pint (about 750 ml) jars of chicken thighs in boullion soup.

    It worked, but…. first off, it still has some of that overcooked smell the store canned stuff had. A slight whif of sulphur musty. Then the tight pack means even with very slow cooling, you get water pushed out of the jar via steam bubbles. This brings some chicken fat with it. So now the inside of the canner is slightly oily as is the outside of the jars. When they cool I’ll be washing them …

    I think I’d rather have it dried or as jerky.. so I’m going to try that instead.

    FWIW, I’ve canned beef before and liked it better. Canning ham didn’t work out well esthetically, but the product was reasonable to eat. A bit like dark red ham jerky floating in pork juice water….

    This DOES show though that in a power out freezer melting state, an emrgency canning of meats would work. It would work better with skin off and less fat in the jar, but you would have less calories that way. Maybe make fried crispy skins during canning sessions :-)

    FWIW, right now I have 6 quarts of pinto beans in the canner. I just find it easier to use already cooked in a jar. Only one more hour until done… out of a 1.5 hour cook / process time…

    My 25 lb bag will give about 33 to 35 quarts canned…and that’s a lot of chili beans or burritos. So for max storage density and time, store dry. For easy eats without a lot of found water and fuel, can them…

  58. jim2 says:

    I routinely brine meat by sprinkling salt on all sides. But this also works for beans. I’ve done it once for the soak of dried beans and was pleased with the result.


  59. E.M.Smith says:

    Brined beans, eh? I’ll have to try that. As I love all things salty, and like beans as a storage food, makes sense to put them together!

    BTW, I’ve got about 20 pounds of salt in plastic tubs (old 1/2 gallon ice cream tubs from before they went to weird sizes and folks stopped buying it…) since during any real AwShit, salt is a precious commodity. Since it stores literally for thousands of years, it is a once in a lifetime buy.

    Were I doing it over now, I’d likely get a 5 gallon plastic pail and load it up with bulk salt. Perhaps rock salt for water softeners as it is dirt cheap and works best for lots of salting and preserving things. (Iodized fine salt “has issues” in a very few particular uses where the iodine is not wanted or the fine texture makes it dissolve a bit oddly, though they were so rare I didn’t bother to remember just which ones ;-)

    Low Gas Tasty BBQ Beans:

    After canning up my 6 quarts, I had 2 x 24 ounce jars left ( old 24 ounce pasta sauce jars…). So they went into the fridge. The following day, decided to have one of my favorites: Bowl of beans with ketchup and slice of bread & butter. No Joy, no ketchup. Oh, yeah, we stopped doing catsup as it caused the arthritis to get cranky for both of us…

    But, lurking, there in the back of the fridge door, was a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, original. (Yes, it has tomatoes in it too… but we’re talking BBQ! If anything is worth a bit of aches and pains it’s BBQ!…) So I did what any right thinking person would do – improvised.

    I save the bacon drippings from any bacon we cook. It goes in a 1 cup jar in the fridge. Once there are 2 of them, one goes into the freezer. I always have bacon grease… Part of the “secret” to really good fried bacon is to start the pan with one of those one cup jars of grease. Then the fresh bacon is evenly cooked in it, rendering out some more ;-)

    So I put about 1 tsp ( 5 ml ) of bacon grease on top of a 3/4 full bowl of beans. Sprinkled over with some salt, and topped it with a good drizzle of Sweet Baby Ray’s. (Maybe a Tbs or two: 15 – 30 ml). Into the microwave for a minute. Stir. Back for another 1/2 minute to minute depending on your microwave and bowl size. Sprinkle over with pepper, stir and serve.

    Now those are NOT your bland WTHell survival beans. Those are GOOD beans.

    Note to self: Put a few jugs of Sweet Baby Ray’s in the pantry with the 25 lb Bag-O-Beans ;-)

    Note that it’s a couple of days later, and I had 2nds on the beans (finished the 24 oz jar…) and still no gas problem. Why?

    That ancient advice to cook your beans in 3 changes of water to “improve digestibility”. That’s a pointless euphemism for “get the gas causing pentose out”. I’d rather they just said “to remove the fart causing stuff”.

    So I do the “quick soak” where you bring to the boil for a couple of minutes, then let it sit for an hour or two. I suspect that the overnight soak lets sprouting enzymes break down starches to make more of those sugars, but I’ve not tested it.


    Fill with fresh water and simmer for 30 minutes.


    Fill with fresh water and finish cooking (about another 1/2 hour or sometimes a bit more.


    Serve, or ladle into jars to store in the fridge. For the ones going to the fridge


    It gets dumped when you put some beans in a pot or bowl to warm / eat.

    For canning: I do the fast soak, and a 30 minute cook in fresh water. Then I fill the pot with a 2nd change of fresh water. Beans soak in that while I get the jars ready and the canner set up. Then I ladle the beans, with a slotted spoon, into the jars. Add a tsp of salt / quart, and fill them up with FRESH water…. Not quite as good as 2 full cooks, but close enough. Then, when you go to use a jar of beans, decant and dispose of the canning water and heat the beans in fresh water or put them directly into some dish or bowl.

    On various “Prepper” Youtubes and some “Homesteader” Youtubes, you will find directions for canning beans where you just put 1/2 or 1/3 of a jar full of dry beans, fill to 1 inch headspace with water, and process. Yes, it works. Yes, I’ve done it. Yes, the product tasted fine. Yes, I had a LOT of gas per unit of beans over the next day or two. Don’t do it. It just isn’t worth it. (Well, unless you use some bean like gasless Jacob’s Cattle or Lentils that are not gassy anyway).

    And while you can use the 3 changes of water on your garden, don’t use it in anything where the water ends up in your stomach. It’s full of that indigestible but fermentable 5 carbon pentose sugar…

  60. jim2 says:

    Since brining partially unwinds proteins, it might be that water soluble molecules could more easily make their way out of the bean.

  61. Power Grab says:

    @ EM:

    Thanks for the 2 ways to save tomato seeds. You said that using the approved way could help them last decades in storage. Any idea how long the other method would help them last?

  62. E.M.Smith says:

    All the methods will have the same potential life in storage. The benefit of the (natural) fermentation is that the seeds are cleaner and do not have “edible stuff” on the surface (as the fermentation ate it) so they are less likely to get moldy in poor storage. Frozen, or in a dry jar in the refrigerator, both will last for decades (at the point, I’ve found NO upper bound and I’ve been doing this for over 20 years… so don’t care anymore as that exceeds my likely remaining life span ;-)

    If stored a bit damp, or not in a jar and very dry, or in a warm moist place, they will both tend to mold, but the less cleaned ones will mold a whole lot faster as they have more ‘mold food’ on the surface.

    I usually do “some of each”. Mostly as I’ll have a lot of seeds and having 2 dozen fermenting jars each running about 3 days is a bit much… so following samples just get the wash in the strainer / dry on the paper towel.

    Once fully dry (about 3 to 4 days in my dry climate. Likely the same inside in an AC dried place) and stored in a jar in the cold or frozen both will keep for far longer than your patience with it in your way ;-) At least a decade. Potentially several.

  63. jim2 says:

    CIO said: That ancient advice to cook your beans in 3 changes of water to “improve digestibility”. That’s a pointless euphemism for “get the gas causing pentose out”. I’d rather they just said “to remove the fart causing stuff”.

    This may refer to the production of enzyme (OUR enzymes!) inhibitors produced during soaking. The inhibitors prevent the conversion of starch to sugar in, e.g., the mouth. Note the last sentence concerning the effect of heat treatment.

    From the paper:

    The effects of processing (soaking and cooking) on enzyme inhibitors (α-amylase, trypsin and chymotrypsin inhibitors) in a range of pulses (4 peas, 9 lentils, 3 chickpeas, 2 faba beans and 4 beans) were investigated, using soybean as a control. Analysis of variance indicated that pulse type, treatment and their interaction had significant effects on levels of all enzyme inhibitors. Soybean contained the highest levels of trypsin inhibitory activity (TIA) and chymotrypsin inhibitory activity (CIA) among all seeds. α-Amylase inhibitory activity was absent from peas, lentils, chickpeas and faba beans, but was present in beans and soybean. TIA was found to be low in peas but high in beans. Beans contained relatively high CIA levels followed by chickpeas, lentils, peas and faba beans. Soaking markedly decreased the activity of enzyme inhibitors. Cooking of presoaked seeds was even more effective as greater reductions (78.7–100%) were observed for all pulses. The content of enzyme inhibitors in pulses varied widely, but levels of protease inhibitors were generally lower that those found in soybean. Processing, in particular heat treatments, drastically reduced these levels.


  64. jim2 says:

    If heat in fact disables enzyme inhibitors and those are the problem with peas/beans, then it would make sense to skip the soak step and just cook them. And if soaking does increase pentose, this would limit that process also. Here is a good discussion of the no-soak cooking method(s).


  65. jim2 says:

    Also, salt can be used in the cook water just as in soak water – and you don’t have to discard the nutrients in the cook water with the no-soak method.

  66. E.M.Smith says:

    Not much nutrient ends up in soak water at all. Citation in one of the links upstream I think.

    Saffron Rice with Canned Chicken:

    Well this was a huge surprise. It was absolutely delicious. I make the same dish with fresh chicken and this was BETTER. 2 reasons. The boullion used as canning liquid improved the dish. The chicken was wonderfully soft texture. Did want a bit of salt at plating time.

    1 package Mahatma Saffron Rice 5 oz., 1 TBS butter, 1 2/3 cups water to rice cooker. Turn it on.

    About half way through cooking, added 1 pint canned chicken thighs in chunks.

    When done, serve…

    When making this with raw thighs, I cut them in thirds lengthwise and they go in the pot from the start. Using the canned chicken was easier and cleaner. Using raw legs, cut to the bone one one side to assure complete cooking. Raw white meat gets cut into chunks about 1 inch on a side.

    When canning the chicken, it was just stuffed in the jar; bones, skin and all. Topped up with chicken boullion. Processed to time for jar size.

    IMHO, this makes a great Prepper Meal. With the chicken fat in the jar, the butter is optional. The rice is foil packed and ought to keep for years (but you will eat it faster than that :-) Canned chicken ought to be good for a year or two also. Stock one packet rice per pint. Feeds 2 for a large (too large when sedentary) meal, or 4 with minor sides.

    This is MUCH better than making it with water canned commercial chicken white meat. For those not into home canning, that does work, but needs butter or some tasty oil to be good enough.

    Brands other than Mahatma work, but flavor isn’t quit as good, IMHO.

    The chicken was bought at Smart & Final on weekly special at 69 ¢ / pound, so about that much in a pint jar. The rice is similar cost. Cost per meal is trivial.

    Now that’s my kind of “emergency” meal!

    There was no trace of any odd chicken smell in the cooking dish or as served. Whatever that was only was arround during canning. I tend to sensitive nose anyway….

  67. E.M.Smith says:

    I canned a bunch of beans yesterday. Along the way, got a useful metric.

    I used a 12 once cup to scoop up dry beans for sorting and inspection. 8 cups worth. About 1/2 cup to a cup were splits or ugly. Canned, this gave 17 pints. Figure about 18 had it been 8 cups post sorting and cleaning. That’s 96 ounces scooped, 18 pints (if post cleanning) would be 288 ounces. 288÷96= 3

    So you get about three times the volume once canned (then the jars don’t stack as closely as beans in one big bag either, so even more bulk in the closet… but better protected in jars, wet or dry).

  68. E.M.Smith says:

    “A Pint Is A Pound, The World Around!”

    I’ve heard that old ditty for decades. As a gallon of water is 8.25 lbs, I’d figured it was a bit off… Then I was informed it was about a pint of milk that is less dense.

    I’ve wondered if it applies to beer or wine, but not measured it. Our American Pint is based on the American Gallon, which is the “wine gallon” (and that is why it is different from the British Gallon that was for some other stuff). The ancients had different measures for different things as that made it easier to get fixed amounts of things without a lot of math. Basically, the conversion ratios were built into the measuring device. We still see this today in sand casting. They use “rulers” (or gauges) that are marked in inches (or cm) but that are NOT the same as the standard ones. Why? Because the mold shrinks in the making… So instead of needing to constantly compute “For an 8 inch widget multiply by x.y shrinkage factor” they just build it into the “sand inch”.

    So why mention this on a thread about food and prepping?

    Because I just decanted a 25 lb bag of rice into jars for better long term storage. It took 3 gallons and 3 pints, with about 1 ounce left over (that likely would have fit if I’d just jiggled to settle things a little bit more than usual)…

    2 pints / quart and 4 quarts / gallon is 8 pints / quart. Times 3 = 24. Plus 3 = 27.

    So not exactly a pint to the pound; more like 89% of a pound. Call it 14 ounces.

    Yet the notion that you need “one dry pound per person per day” it itself a very rough rule of thumb. ( I note in passing the Imperial Pint is about 20% larger than the US Pint so will not be exactly a pound either, but close enough. The 1/2 L at about 6% larger than the USA fluid pint will be closer to a pound than the US Pint, but not enough to match exactly).

    So realistically, CAN you eat a pound of dry rice in a day? Maybe with a lot of effort…

    I use a 1/2 cup scoop to make rice for 2 people as a generous side dish. 1/4 cup each. If eating only rice, I might be able to eat twice that. So as “sides”, that pint is about 8 servings. As a main dish, maybe 4 That makes 27 pints between 108 and 216 servings. Basically about 1/3 to 2/3 of a year for one person IF you eat it every day and have something else for other meals (say oats for breakfast and beans for dinner).

    That’s a lot of meals, even if it isn’t “a pint is a pound”. Also it tends to confirm the idea that trying to live on a pound of rice per day is just physically not possible as the calorie density is just too low. We’re talking 4 times as much as eating it for a full meal. So 4 full meals of only rice per day? I’d be real tired of rice about day 2…

    Similarly, a single ounce of rolled oats covers me for breakfast (with a pat of butter and Tbs of jam in it). That’s 365 ounces for the year. Call it 11 of those “tubs” it comes in. Or about 22 to 23 lbs. (The jam and butter / coconut oil making up the rest of the calories).

    This all strongly implies that 25 lbs of oats, 12 quarts of Jam, and 24 lbs of coconut oil would cover breakfast for a year. That COSTCO coconut oil is 86 ounces (yes, I’m ignoring the minor difference between fluid ounces and ounce weight for oil) so that’s about 3 jugs. Not that huge, really. I’m about 1/2 way there just from buying both a COSCO and a Walmart jug…

    The other implication is that a 50 lbs bag each of rice and beans ought to be enough for a year without too much effort.

    At this point, we’re talking, all up, about $150 for a year of “bare boring survival” for one person and it would all easily fit in a small part of one closet. (The whole closet once decanted into jars or similar more protective and convenient sized containers).

    Now I’d most certainly NOT want to live on just oats, beans, rice and vitamin pills for a year… and it is terribly short on essential fatty acids so you would be WELL advised to have 365 cans of sardines and 365 cans of tuna… but that’s another $700. ( I bought a bag of Flax Meal and put a spoon of it on my oats yesterday… quite nice and a cheaper easier way to get those omega-3 fatty acids…)

    So, there you have it. If counted as “pints / person / day” the metric is close enough (inside the error bands of how big individual sizes vary and how much bulky food like cooked rice or oats you can really eat). It doesn’t matter much if your pint is the British Pint, the US Pint, or the EU 1/2 L.

    This, then, makes it somewhat easier to asses the status of a storage system based on large jars or buckets. It becomes relatively easy to look at a 5 gallon pail and think “40 pints, so 40 days easy” for things like dry grains, legumes, flour, etc. Then you can also figure that about 9 to 10 such pails are all that is needed for a person-year. I don’t know what the equivalent “pail” is in use in the ROW (maybe 20 L?) but they ought to be similar in size as any bigger is hard to carry.

    Figure 3 of them stacked up and 3 wide. Not very much space at all, really.

  69. E.M.Smith says:

    Interesting. Pinto beans are less dense than rice. 29 pints from 25 pounds. More nutritious, though, so likely still a pint a day.

    Tending to confirm that, I had a jar of the “baked beans” for lunch. One pint was quite filling. As the canned is 3 x the volume of dry, one fluid pint of dry food ought to give three satisfactory sized meals. Confirming the rule of thumb of “a dry US Fluid pint per person per day” as reasonable rations.

    I’m about 100 kg so adjust accordingly…

    Yes, I realize the absurdity of a “dry fluid pint”. Necessary as there IS a “dry pint” that is different… use 500 ml if it bothers you… or 433 ml.. :-)

    FWIW, the recipe I used is a nice OK product, but double the molasses, a big more salt, and a bit more vinegar would be better. Once I have it as I like it, details will be provided…

    Using the 500 ml as the standard, means a L covers two folks for a day, and a m^3 as 1000 L would be 1000 days for 2 people (IFF you can dense pack it…. )

  70. E.M.Smith says:

    I tend to keep my pancake mix in a 1/2 gallon jar. I don’t eat pancakes that often and being air proof it lasts longer without the oxidation. So today I refilled it. A 3 pound 8 ounce “small” bag fills it nicely (with some packing with a stiff spoon / ladle) with enough left over for 2 big pancakes for breakfast.

    In the process I gathered some information…

    So that says that about 3 lbs end up in a 1/2 gallon jar. The package lists 1 cup (fluffy not packed like in the jar) of mix will give 6-7 4 inch pancakes. I don’t know anyone who eats 4 inch pancakes… mine are closer to 8 inch. 4x4xPi / 2x2xPi = 4, so figure you get about 2 decent sized pancakes of a little under 8 inches. That’s a nice breakfast. So 1 “fluffy cup” per person / meal. I’d guess a ‘fluffy cup’ is about 1/2 as dense as when I pack the jar (given that I filled it, then packed it down to 1/2, then filled, then…) so call it 1/2 “packed cup”. (Which passes the sanity check that 1/2 cup of raw rice is a nice cooked batch for one for one meal).

    So the jar has 8 pints or 16 cups or 32 “meals worth” in it. Nice! One jar is a month. (This also implies about 3 lbs / month which is a bit light but not too bad with various sides).

    I cooked the pancake in coconut oil. It is known for foaming in uses like deep fat frying but did nicely for thin layer of oil frying. I also tried coconut oil instead of butter. Why? Well, you can store a gallon of coconut oil for years, butter not so much… It was “OK” but bland. Lacking something. Then I remembered that butter is SALTED. A small sprinkle of salt and it was much better. So OK learn to make a salted coconut oil butter analog if you have an EOTWAWKI moment and want pancakes while having time on your hands ;-) It isn’t as good as real butter, but it is certainly close enough!

    About an ounce of syrup was used too. I use real maple syrup as noting else comes even remotely close and that fructose laden sticky goo that is in artificial syrup jugs just makes it hard to eat a pancake. I’d rather spread it with jam or use berry syrup. In any case, one ounce / serving implies a quart of jam or syrup per 1/2 gallon pack ( or 3 lb 8 oz bag). Which means I’m way low on syrup / jam. ( I have a 10 lb bag of Krusteeze in the pantry so need 3 quarts of “something” to go with it ;-)

    Oil I’m good on what whit the 2 jugs of Coconut Oil and the 6 L of Olive oil….

    Clearly my “ersatz emergency buy” test case shows I’m low on my buying of syrups, jams, and sweet stuff in general. But maybe that’s a good thing…

    Overall, what impresses me about this, is just how small a “1 month supply” of a given meal can be. One small bag of pancake mix and a quart of jam, with a bottle of oil? Really? Yeah, breakfast for a month… One “tub” of oats and a jug of jam? Yeah, breakfast for a month. One $20 bag of beans and a jug of BBQ Sauce? Yeah, lunch for a month… (Add a daily multivitamin & mineral pill to the above if actually doing that for a month! ;-)

    We’re talking on the order of $1 / day for an entry level of prep. $365 for a whole year of “I’m ready for this!”. And that is NOT money that is just spent and gone. It is a one time “borrow” from future grocery buys that’s then paid back as you rotate the stock. Heck, we’re talking one day at Disney World level of prices. Yet almost nobody does it. Oh Well.

    At least I’m comfy now knowing I’ve got about 3 months worth of pancakes, a coupe more of oats, about 3 months of beans & rice, and likely about 3 months of “miscellaneous stuff” like the several pounds of noodles and enough dehydrated garlic granules and L of olive oil to make “Aglio e Olio” or oil & garlic as sauce. Mostly I just need to add more jam and dried fruits. Then expand the expensive items like tuna, sardines, SPAM, canned ham, canned chicken, jerky, etc.

    I could also use a few more 1/2 gallon jugs. It would be nice to arrange this in the pantry by “month” of stuff. So 3 jugs of pancake mix and 3 quarts of jam together. 3 tubs of oats and another 3 jugs of preserves. Big tub of coconut oil on the end. Then a pile of pasta packages and a nice jug of Olive Oil / canister of dehydrated garlic, and several jars of Alfredo or Marinara sauce. A stack of tuna cans, box of crackers, and jug of mayonnaise. Maybe next month…

  71. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve developed a fondness for “Smart & Final” as a grocery store. While the small sizes can be over the price at Walmart and COSTCO has nice prices on bulk packages; they have very low prices on “restaurant sized” goods ( #10 cans and 50 lbs of bulk beans / grains / flour / sugar).

    They also regularly run a “daily special” sale on chicken parts. Today I got both legs and 1/2 breasts at 87 ¢ / pound. I’ll be canning more legs tonight ;-)

    I also bought 24 days worth of Maruchan Instant Lunch for $7.78 (two flats of 12 cups each). That’s a bit over 32 ¢ each. Yes, it is cheaper at Walmart, but Walmart has driven me away. (More on that in some other posting someday…) I’m willing to pay and extra buck to be happier.

    Why buy ramen cups?

    Well, I always kind of liked them; so I’d bought a flat of 12 as part of my test of “IF I had to buy RIGHT NOW what would I do?”… then I proceeded to try eating what I bought to see what was a bright idea and what wasn’t. Well, Real Fast I got in the habit of eating Quick Oatmeal (with coconut oil and preserves) for breakfast and an Instant Cup of shrimp ramen for lunch. I just really liked it as a quick, tasty, filling lunch / snack. And that 12 pack “went away” in short order…

    Now I’ve tried it with a can of sardines “on the side” or even mixed in, for added calories and Omega-3 fatty acids (and oils). In a real “Aw Shit” I’l likely need that. But right now, with pounds to lose and lots for dinner, one “instant lunch” is really rather nice.

    So as of now I’ve got about 36 days worth total. Maybe $10 for it… About the same for oatmeal and jam. AND I’m happy. Go figure…

    Dinners still need a “bit of work”, though last night we had a DAX? Canned ham with canned yams and canned green beans. Very much a storage dinner and very very nice. OK: Note to self, buy a dozen+ of the small canned (chipped) hams and yams… Or maybe fewer of the bigger real hams ;-)

    So there you have it. Prepper meals on the way chap. Oatmeal and jam / oil for breakfast. Ramen cups for lunch. Canned hams and canned chicken with sides for dinner. At 87 &cent’; / pound you can have a pound for dinner (bones included…) with some sides and still be under $30 for a month of dinners.

    I make that about $60 all up for a month of meals, per person. Yeah, not any great shakes and not going to win culinary awards; but damn it, I like these meals and they work. Then figure that a year worth is all of about $720 (or about what I pay for car insurance for 6 months… or about 1/2 of a Mercedes “tune up”…) and it’s just incredibly easy and not that expensive to have some cushion between you and the Aw Shit.

    Speaking of Aw Shits… My Daughter was introduced to the meaning of Silicon Valley in the last few days. A “Layoff” as some new executive decided he wanted to change what the company did. So she is now “looking for a job”. A nice “learning moment” for her to realize companies are not families… But being a graduate with honors, having a good set of recommendations, and this being a very hot job market, I’m not worried about her.

    OTOH, I’ll be she would be happier with 5 months of “something to eat” on the shelf. I hope she listened to me over the years…

  72. H.R. says:

    E,M,: DAX? I think it’s DAK and it’s “Danish” for something, something and something.-or-other (I’m right on top of that, eh?). They also are one of the biggest suppliers of back ribs to the U.S. market.

    Who knew that the Danes were so big on pork? I’d have had them pegged for reindeer jerky, but what do I know? ;o)

    Yeah, about your daughter… of course we’re all pulling for her, but she is in luck as currently there are more job openings than there are people to fill all those jobs. Anyhow, it shouldn’t be a matter of ‘when’ but rather a matter of what she’d like to do and how much dinero she wants to hold out for………. which might add only a smidge of time to her search.

    Being a manufacturing engineer all the while the U.S. was outsourcing manufacturing to China and every 3rd world $#!t-hole imaginable, I was thrown out of some of America’s finest companies. I was good at what I did, but unwilling to relocate, so there were some 1.5 – 2 year waits for suitable opportunities to open up locally; Frustrating and maddening, as the blame could be laid squarely at the feet of politicians and their policies. You’ve been there too on the IT side, E.M.

    Anyhow, since President Trump was elected, the game has since changed and your daughter is in for the ride of her life.

    Please convey to her my best wishes for her success (and happiness/job satisfaction/salary$$$$$!!!) from an old retired engineer who just wishes I had 10-15 career years left while demand for my skill set is just now growing. She should nail the landing… both feet, no wobbles.
    Odd: I talked to one of my neighbors yesterday and was catching up on their three kids. It brought your kids to mind because I think they were both in H.S. when you started this blog, although I’m a bit fuzzy on that and may be quite off. Also, I realized that you have posted a bit about your son’s milestones over the years, but you have seldom mentioned your daughter. Misogynist much? (Just kidding. Big winky.)

  73. Larry Ledwick says:

    I have two DAK canned hams in my pantry – they have been around a long time.

    I have had them so long I probably ought to cook and eat them soon.

  74. E.M.Smith says:

    Yeah, DAK, that’s it!… ;-)


    The Daughter is more of a Private Person. She doesn’t share as much as the son and generally likes her privacy, so I respect it a bit more…. though truth be told I think I love her just a tiny bit more… but it might be the curly red hair and more “spunk”… ;-)

    While I know this is the first time she’s ever experienced such a thing, so my “heart goes out to her”, I’m standing back. Hard thing for a parent to do.. but… I also know that especially in this job market she will most likely land with MORE money at a better company with a better position.

    And if not, I’ll do “whatever is necessary”…

    While she learns “It isn’t about ME” and that it is all about what the Newly Hired VP needs to do (even if stupid and wrong) to make it look like they deserve their performance bonus…

    Change, it’s a (stupid at times) thing!

  75. E.M.Smith says:

    Smart & Final had more chicken parts on sale for 87 ¢/pound so last night was more canning chicken time. This may be a standard loss leader for them. Split breasts and legs this time. Had the white meat for dinner and it was very nice. Lay it in a cast iron pan in the oven on 375 F for about 45 minutes to an hour (depends on thickness. Whole chickens are an hour & 15 minutes). The legs got canned.

    I like using 1.5 pint (3 cup or 24 ounce or about 750 ml) wide mouth asparagus jars. They have tall straight sides with a smooth gentle taper so are also freezer jars. But I only had one empty. You can use pints, but they are too short for bone in legs…

    But I have a bunch of “Atlas Mason” jars from commercial Marinara sauce back when that Classico was using that uses as a feature. Free canning jars with sauce. These are squarish jars with small mouth. While it takes a bit more planning to stuff the legs in, they worked very well.

    I was more careful to get an inch and 1/2 head space and leave a bit looser pack (so that in cooling you can’t get steam under a ‘meat piston’ pushing things up) putting 3 or 4 legs per jar depending on size and fit.) There were no failures to seal and no evidence of food or chicken fat in the canning water. So this avoided the oily jar issue and need to scrub the canner. Just pack without added water (dry pack), or keep the level low even if the parts are not covered. Processed at 10 psi for 1 hour 15 minutes.

    One other thing I do is fill the canner with water to the level of the top of the food. That way, when coming down from pressure, the jar and food in it cools by conduction to the canner water. It seems to result in less evaporation of the water in the jars (jars stay full), fewer seal issues (almost none), and far less times some jar puts food in the canner from a rapid pressure drop in the canner but inside the jar still being way over boiling…

    I once again used chicken boullion as the canning liquid, just not as full.

    FWIW , I’m MUCH more pleased with this product quality and flavor than the commercial canned tasteless dry stuff. Plus, as prepper stuff, it has the chicken fat in the jar too, so added calories, essential fats, and way better flavor. Then the broth and bone can be used to make bone broth based soups for even more goodness :-)

    At this point, I’ve got about a dozen jars each of which make a “meal for two” when matched with rice. Probably enough. I mostly have pint or quart jars left empty. One a bit small, the other too big for one meal for us. I have maybe enough of the 24 oz jars for one more batch. Then I’ll be in the business of deboning and canning just the meat in pints…

  76. E.M.Smith says:


    On a visit to the store I noticed that Classico Pasta Sauce in 24 ounce jars still comes in the Atlas / Mason real canning jar with a regular “home canning sized” lid / threads. It is only the 8 ounce (cup) and 12 ounce jars that they have moved to the “in commercial use only” lid sizes.

    Unfortunately, as Tomato Stuff has shown itself to cause joint discomfort, I don’t buy Marinara anymore. I’d still be buying their Pesto in the 8 ounce jars, and their Alfredo in the 12 oz., but for them being non-reusable jars. At that point, I just buy what’s cheapest while being “good to taste”. Essentially, most all of the sauces are more “the same” than different. When they had real canning jars, I bought some Pesto and Alfredo every couple of weeks (and so have a nice collection of jars). Now that they are just another sauce company, not so much.

    Oh Well…

    I did dig around in my storage closet and found another box of 24 ounce canning jars, so I’m not out after all. But that’s for next week…

  77. mamakoolaid says:

    Frozen meats are cheaper and if you have a pressure canner you can make them shelf stable (and tender) the same day. It’s also a stellar way to reduce the cooking fuel used during an emergency as you can just drain fluids and eat when necessary.

    Every year with my bonus (March) we buy $100 of beans, rice, and flour which lasts us most of the year for 3 people. That’s just normal for us.

    I’d also say that for $150 (not using my 10% discount) on walmart.com I can get 2 months breakfast lunch and dinner for 3 people. This is by buying the Auguson farms breakfast bucket and 2 of the Lunch and Dinner buckets. The variety would get old fast.

    You missed the Saf instant Yeast which takes longer to activate (my Amish friends start it the night before) but which is room temperature stable.

    There is also no mention of how you’re storing it to keep pests out. I recommend food safe buckets with easy access gamma lids and canning jars.

    For emergency water if you live on a well you can use your empty canning jars to actually can water for emergencies. It also kills anything in the water while under pressure in the canner.

  78. mamakoolaid says:

    Beans and rice are regular eating around here. Some lentil tortillas (no wheat, easier on the gut for some) made weekly are also regular eating. All those salt laden canned foods are the oddity for us.

  79. E.M.Smith says:


    I’ve covered how I store stuff a lot before, so left it out:


    Basically dry goods in 1/2 gallon jars. Canned goods in pantry or stacked. Some boxed goods on the shelf. Frozen stuff in the freezer. A fair amount of home canned. From baked beans to chicken and even some dry canning.

    And more…

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