Author Topic: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage  (Read 4247 times)

Offline cbowseriii

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Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« on: August 11, 2012, 09:45:50 AM »
Hello MSB
I am relatively new to food storage and have a few questions.

1. Where can I get food grade 5 gallon buckets?

2. Where is a good place to get mylar and do I need some kind of sealer to close the bag?

3. How long can i expect the food to last?
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Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2012, 10:32:12 AM »
Hello MSB
I am relatively new to food storage and have a few questions.

1. Where can I get food grade 5 gallon buckets?

2. Where is a good place to get mylar and do I need some kind of sealer to close the bag?

3. How long can i expect the food to last?

Hi cbowseriii, welcome to the forum!

You'll find lots of food storage info as you meander through the forum threads, but here's a few quick answers...

1).  Most every Lowe's Home Improvement store sells FG buckets, mine are like $3.48 ea when bought in clumps of 5.  Be sure to pick up the white lids there with gaskets, $1.15 each at my store.  You can also get used FG buckets from bakeries, hamburger places and such.  Or, if you use Mylar liners, I'm told food grade isn't necessary, although mine are, you never know what use the bucket will have afterwords.

2).  Emergency Essentials has the bucket size Mylar bags on sale this month (August) for $1.29 each in quantities of 10.   I like using a 6" hand sealer, but some folks have used a board and a clothes iron.

3).  Totally depends on what you store, whether oxygen absorbers were used/needed, and what temperature the buckets are kept at when full.  Some things like salt, sugar, baking soda, 100% cocao powder are very forgiving and can last indefinately.  When stored correctly, rice, many beans, wheat and such can last 30 years. 

You might want to read up a bit then jump in with the basics.  Remember when storing grains like wheat, corn, and groats, you will need a grinder to cook with them.  Many people like rice because it is less labor intensive on the cooking end. 

It's exciting to see more people getting into food storage, good luck with your project!

~TG

Offline cbowseriii

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2012, 01:13:43 PM »
Thanks TG! 
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Offline Eriko

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2012, 01:45:09 PM »
Most of the Home Depots in my area carry the gamma seal lids in the paint department. They're a bit expensive so they're not to be used on every single bucket. However having them on a few buckets can it easier to reseal once you open a bucket to use it.

Welcome to fthe forum, cbowseriii

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Offline Niccolum

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2012, 08:47:56 PM »
What I do.... The cheapest place I found for food-grade buckets is Wal-Mart. In their paint department, they have white, unmarked buckets for (at mine) $2.98 with lids being $0.99 manufactured by Encore Plastics Corp. I called Encore and they said that all of their standard 5 gallon buckets in any color are food-grade (i.e. HPDE and use a food-friend mould release compound) and, furthermore, the white ones are FDA certified or registered or whatever it's called. If you talk to the Wal-Mart department manager, ask nicely, and catch them on a good day, they will order them in quantity for you. We ordered 300 (5 families) and it took about 8 weeks to get in.

I store food in 5mil mylar bags from USA Emergency Supply (https://www.usaemergencysupply.com/emergency_supplies/mylar_food_storage_bags.htm) and I use the Sorbent Systems "Hot Jaw" sealer (http://www.sorbentsystems.com/hotjaw.html). We pack with the dry-ice method followed by tossing in an O2 absorber to soak up anything that sneaks in. I haven't used any of the gasket or Gamma Seal lids because everything is in mylar but being able to reseal an open bucket might be handy.

Some personal recommendations are:
  • Use food-grade buckets, even if they're in mylar. TexasGirl made the same point I do to people who want to use cheap non-food-grade buckets like the Home Depor Homer bucket --- you never know what you might need it for in the future. However, use common sense too. If you need 50 buckets and the extra ~$1/bucket would prevent you from doing it or doing less or skipping something else vital, don't worry about the food-grade buckets and prioritize your cash. You just might want to clearly mark the buckets if you do this.
  • Use thick mylar bags. The gas permeability is better and hard, pointy foods like rice won't poke through as easily. There are thinner bags out there, but they're not worth the small savings because if you store rice, beans with sharp edges, etc. it'll tear right through the bag when you pour the weight of 5 gallons worth in the bag.
  • If you are going to pack in any kind of quantity, a 6" sealer will be a huge bottleneck. It takes four seals of15 seconds each to do the bags I recommended above. Keep that in mind when you're planning your workflow, laying dry ice in the buckets, etc.
  • Spend some reading up on reputable sources on how to do long-term bucket packing.



HTH and good luck!
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Offline Jesse2004

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2012, 11:45:11 PM »
Hello MSB
I am relatively new to food storage and have a few questions.

1. Where can I get food grade 5 gallon buckets?

2. Where is a good place to get mylar and do I need some kind of sealer to close the bag?

3. How long can i expect the food to last?

If you are new to food storage, you may also just want to consider 'deepening your pantry' before going wild with mylar, 5 gallon buckets and O2 absorbers.  Think 'Store what you eat and eat what you store'.   Most grocery items have decent shelf storage just in their original packaging.  By buying in quantity when items are on sale, and skipping when they aren't, you can actually prep and reduce your food budget at the same time... 

Offline Aias

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2012, 09:02:53 PM »
Hi all!  This is my first ever posting on the TSPF so I'm a bit nervous!   ;)  :P

I buy my 5 gallon buckets from a bakery across the street for $1.50.  My question is can I reuse the lids if I seal rice in a Mylar bag with O2 absorbers and pound the lid tightly with a rubber mallet or the like?  Of should I just buy the gamma lids?

Also, everyone mentions reading up on the subject.  So, can you recommend any good books, websites, or forum threads?

Thanks!

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2012, 09:27:36 PM »
The used lids are usually fine.

To me the the best way to use Gamma Lids is sparingly on buckets that you'll be going into often. Most of your long term food storage won't fit that criteria. For example, if you have five buckets of rice, five buckets of pinto beans, five buckets of Flour and so on you'll only want to think about having a Gamma Lid on one of each of the rice, beans, flour etcetera that you're using the contents of.


Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2012, 09:39:50 PM »
Hi all!  This is my first ever posting on the TSPF so I'm a bit nervous!   ;)  :P

I buy my 5 gallon buckets from a bakery across the street for $1.50.  My question is can I reuse the lids if I seal rice in a Mylar bag with O2 absorbers and pound the lid tightly with a rubber mallet or the like?  Of should I just buy the gamma lids?

Also, everyone mentions reading up on the subject.  So, can you recommend any good books, websites, or forum threads?

Thanks!

Hi Aias,

The Mylar bag provides the seal for your rice, the bucket provides physical protection for the mylar bag.  The reused buckets and lids should be fine.

~TG

Offline Jesse2004

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2012, 09:51:16 PM »
I buy my 5 gallon buckets from a bakery across the street for $1.50.  My question is can I reuse the lids if I seal rice in a Mylar bag with O2 absorbers and pound the lid tightly with a rubber mallet or the like?  Of should I just buy the gamma lids?

Absolutely you can.  Should be just fine.  But you should give some thought to what your plan is.  If you want to store rice for a couple of years or more, that's a great approach.  But you may want to consider storing other items and / or items for a shorter duration.

I do store what you eat, eat what you store, so I do a lot of rotation - my 5 gallon buckets aren't store for 10 -20 years.  My buckets are used for dried food (Harmony House), Rice, Sugar, Flour, Salt, Cat food, etc.  I rotate through these items relatively frequently, so I'm going into one of my buckets once a week on average. 

I don't throw O2 absorbers in the buckets since I open them so soon.  I am thinking of storing for longer time frames, in which case I'd get food, seal it in mylar w/O2 absorbers, then put the mylar in my 5 gallon buckets. 

BTW - The cost of the gamma lids wasn't that bad.  I've seen them as low as $4-$5 apiece, and if you have to go in and out of the buckets, it's much better than using the mallet...  There may be better deals out there today, but my last order (about a year ago), the best I found was at http://freckleface.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/gammaseals.html.

Hope this helps...

Offline Prepper Recon

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2012, 11:44:02 PM »
I seal my Mylar with a clothes iron like Texas Girl said. It works great.
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Offline MrThirteen

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2012, 09:49:11 PM »
I am presently reading the 299 days series (written by our own HeavyG I believe) and Grant in the book, in a bit of a panic, or just a desire to quickly get something accomplished in the preps department, gets beans and rice and seals them up in buckets...  He talks about how inexpensive it was and how easy it was to do.

Now I realize that the "copy can" system is not going to work with my family as of yet, as it is not a "forefront" consern when shopping.  I had stocked up a few weeks worth of extra food in some areas (not covering all bases) and found that a few weeks later my family (me included) just didn't shop as often and used up the preps.

Now I feel like Grant does in the book, a bit of a panic and a need to do something FAST, but I need to be frugal with  my prep purchases.  I don't want to give to much away (in the book), but I fortunately can store my preps at the house and use my debit card to purchase.

But where does one start?  I feel overwhelmed with this forum and all it's vast resources, as well as the 1000 Episodes of TSP...

Is there a "starter's guide" or post that says, step 1, step 2, step 3, etc?

MrThirteen MSB Member

Until the next time,

Thirteen

Offline Niccolum

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2012, 10:51:17 PM »
I haven't yet read any of the 299 Days books yet, so I'm not sure I'm interpreting your question well. However I believe you're basically asking how to get started with some food preps and feel overwhelmed on the topic?

I don't have a 1-2-3 guide, but I can tell you what I did. My wife is lovingly tolerant of my prepping but doesn't really get involved too much although she does appreciate my efforts to "take care of us if the world ends". I took a two-forked approach. On one hand, we did some basic cost analysis and I got her interested in buying in bulk when items, especially canned goods and dry boxed goods, were on sale.  We're both pretty frugal and it took awhile for her to see the longer horizon. I setup a big shelf in the basement to keep it all on and kept it organized for her. She actually got into it and was really excited when she scored a great deal. Additionally, IMHO, as a prepper one of the best ~ $50 you can spend is for a Costco membership. You can buy cases of canned beans, bags of rice, 4lb boxes of salt, etc. We incorporate most of that kind of food into our diet. Another way is instead of buying the small sack of flour or sugar, buy the industrial size at Costco. It'll keep for quite awhile. My wife likes to bake so instead of her getting a 1lb bag of flower at the grocery store, I get her a 20lb bag at Costco, fill her crocks in the kitchen and keep the rest sealed up in the basement until she needs a refill. Takes her a lot longer to go through, I have some storage-grade food on hand at all times, and it's actually a better cost-per-pound which rolls further into the food buying.

On the other hand, I was where you were about a year and a half ago. I wanted to do something and I wanted to do it now. So I decided to just sink the cash into a serious cache of long-term food. I bought white rice, black beans, red winter wheat, oats, salt, and some powdered milk. Packed it up in mylar bags inside of five gallon buckets using the dry-ice packing method and stored it. I have enough food (sans a meat source) stored for 1 year for the three of us (me, wife, daughter) or less to feed immediate family or close friends. That will get us through in a really tough situation. I'd still need to deal with meat and fresh vegetables, but we could live on that if we had to. It was a pretty expensive up-front proposition, but packed properly isn't one you'll have to repeat too often.  I think "eat what you store, store what you eat" has its place but I don't find having a long-term "deep larder" to be a bad thing either. I think people need a mix.

 If you're stuck on how to move forward,  consider this... Take a run to Costco or Sam's Club or another warehouse style club and pick up some bulk staples like a 50lb sack of rice, a couple of cases of canned beans or other veggies, some salt, a jug of honey, some olive oil, and maybe a few other dry goods of that kind. Just put them away in a cool dry place and try to ignore them for a little while. And I mean literally put them away - don't keep them in your cupboard/pantry or where your other food is - maybe make it hard to get to - break your self of the thought it's food for regular eating. All of that stuff will keep as-is so just let it sit for a bit. Get comfortable with the idea how you can keep your regular shopping schedule while buying more of the stuff your normally buy that stores well. Work on that for a few months, try to build up a stockpile of your daily routine items that store well. If a disaster strikes "right now", you can take comfort in the fact you have something squared away. Look into ideas for long-term storage, maybe pack some buckets with the stuff you bought and haven't touched yet. Get comfortable with the concepts and don't panic.
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"The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever.” - George Orwell, 1984

Offline MrThirteen

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2012, 12:16:17 AM »
See right there in your own statements of what you did you mentioned stuff that seemed to you like "everyone knows this" yet it was foreign to me.

the "dry-ice method"  What is that?

I know what mylar bags are, but how do you seal them? (Foodsaver?)

On the sealing things... I have heard about o2 absorbers when and where do you use those?

We have lil critters that I would be uncomfortable leaving a 50lb bag of rice un-protected in the garage. (that will be where I have to store it.)

Storeage temperatures.... it gets and stays up to 100 deg's in the garage in the summer.  It's the lowest place in the house.  It holds heat great, (which is good in the winter, even though the winters in So. Cal. are not particulary cold.)


Until the next time,

Thirteen

Offline MrThirteen

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2012, 12:28:18 AM »
Just found this post in here that answers my foodsaver question.

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=32982.msg429744#msg429744

Until the next time,

Thirteen

Offline Niccolum

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2012, 09:15:19 AM »
See right there in your own statements of what you did you mentioned stuff that seemed to you like "everyone knows this" yet it was foreign to me.

Sorry. I didn't want to go into great detail because I didn't want to come off as patronizing. I wasn't sure where your knowledge level on this was - i.e. you had head knowledge but were struggling to execute vs. needed the basic knowledge.

the "dry-ice method"  What is that?

This is a common prepper method of food storage. You use dry ice (which is easily obtained believe it or not) to push out O2 in favor of CO2. The general method goes something like:

  • Put a 5 gallon mylar liner in a 5 gallon plastic bucket
  • Drop a silver dollar-diameter hunk of dry ice into the bottom of the bucket
  • Pour in your drygoods (e.g., wheat, rice, beans, oats, powered milk, etc)
  • Wait for awhile for the dry ice to sublimate. The bottom of the bucket will get very cold, even possibly frosty on the outside, while the dry ice dissipates. Once the bottom has changed from freezing cold to just a little cool, you should be able to seal the bag. If you don't wait and seal it up before the dry ice has mostly sublimated, the bag will explode from the pressure.
  • Put the lid on and mark the bucket as to its contents and date of pack

Since CO2 is heavier than O2, when the dry ice sublimates (it moves from solid to gas immediately, no liquid phase) it will push out the O2 from the bucket. You can very carfefully test this by lighting a match  and then moving over top of the food in a bucket with a mostly-sublimated cake of dry ice. The match will extinguish because the CO2 has pushed out almost all of the O2. Again, be very very careful testing this that because some dry goods have chaff dust that is highly flammable.

I know what mylar bags are, but how do you seal them? (Foodsaver?)

Some people use Foodsavers but I've never been able to make that work with any Foodsaver I've ever owned or tried. With the dry ice and/or O2 absorber, there's no need to vacuum the mylar because you've replaced "active" O2 with "inactive" CO2. A few days after my packing, my mylar backs will be sucked up tight against the food. For sealing, many people use a very hot iron on a 2x4. I personally bought the sealer that I mentioned earlier in this thread because it's designed to be at the temperature necessary to seal all the time and puts the nice groove pattern on the bag so it's easy to visually inspect the seal.

On the sealing things... I have heard about o2 absorbers when and where do you use those?

There are many camps on this one. Some people think you only need dry ice and some people will only use the large O2 absorbers. I'm in a third camp and use both. Since I'm already replacing the O2 with CO2, I don't use a full "five gallon" O2 absorber. I use the 300cc ones for the #10-sized cans to soak up the remaining O2. My bags, as I mentioned, suck up night and tight against the food so they do their job. I find them very cost effective given the cost of the food itself and it's long-term value.

We have lil critters that I would be uncomfortable leaving a 50lb bag of rice un-protected in the garage. (that will be where I have to store it.)

That can be a problem. I've heard that people combat this by putting the food bags in a galvanized metal trash can with a tight-fitting lid. That should keep your stuff away from critters while you get your plan together. However...

Storeage temperatures.... it gets and stays up to 100 deg's in the garage in the summer.  It's the lowest place in the house.  It holds heat great, (which is good in the winter, even though the winters in So. Cal. are not particulary cold.)

This is going to be a problem. You want to keep long-term drygoods at or below "room temperature" - i.e. ~ 70F or less. I keep mine in the basement where the average temperature is low 60s. If you really have no other place to store it at the house and have to use the garage, I'm not sure what to tell you there w/o seeking some sort of offsite location. Maybe others here who have the same problem can help you out with this one.

Does this make sense?
« Last Edit: October 18, 2012, 09:45:58 PM by Nicodemus »
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"The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever.” - George Orwell, 1984

Offline Niccolum

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2012, 09:47:48 AM »
I accidentally deleted my original reply and just realized the second draft omitted something. The dry ice packing method is well-documented on the Internet. If you do a "preparedness dry ice packing method" search on Google or Yahoo you'll find a lot of information. Incidentally, the Mormons/LDS are big into food storage and have a lot of informative resources on their site and it's not a draw to get you into their religion either - it's straight-up information. There's also a section in James Rawles' "How to Survive...." non-fiction book which is the best treatment of the topic I've seen. Maybe we need to create this threat or start something new as a sticky top this topic so people can find information on how to get started in food storage.
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"The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever.” - George Orwell, 1984

Offline Rutger

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2012, 08:52:33 PM »
Mr. Thirteen, Niccolum gave some sound advice there. We can help you with your questions, so you do not need to panic. When you 1st start prepping, you always panic a little... I know I did. Just relax, and start prioritizing... you have time.

Personally, If I did it over again, I would start with the following...

1) Sort out personal finances. Set a budget for your preps and DO NOT GO INTO DEBT TO PAY FOR PREPS.
2) Focus on storing water. Fill up old pop bottles if you need to, but store as much as you can. Sort out filtration as well if you can. Maybe start thinking of water collecting off your roof.
3) Start storing food. The buckets are a good idea for bulk volume of food. But also start buying an extra can of soup or can of spaghetti sauce when you buy one at the store. Eat what you store, store what you eat. Gardening is one of the best ways to have long term storage. Not as sexy as buckets, but you can order some seeds this winter and get some seeds started early in the spring. Get some pots and start some herbs in your kitchen window. Rice and beans will taste a LOT better with fresh cilantro :-)

There is more (there always is and will be) but that is where I would start.


Offline MrThirteen

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2012, 02:57:29 AM »
Thanks, the info provided is quite helpful.

I have purcahsed 4 5 gal HDPE buckets at walmart with thier lids, (no gasket) THey were only about $2 or $3 for both bucket and lid so the cost is nil.  (4 was all they had on the shelf.)

I'll need to get the mylar bags, and of course go and buy the rice and beans.

If you have read 299 days "the prep..."  I feel much like Grant does in the begining.  I just need to get something done, so I can at least feel like I have an SHTF start, it won't be pretty but at least my family can get by.  Once I have this monkey off my back, I'll feel better and more focused on getting a long term plan together.

:) Thanks,


Until the next time,

Thirteen

Offline flippydidit

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2012, 03:52:05 AM »
No one has mentioned it yet, but weevils and other "bugs" can destroy your investment.  Rats and mice are one thing.  You can see when they've chewed through your pail.  Unfortunately, sometimes there are "bugs" or their eggs already in your food when you buy it.  Sickening, but true.  To combat this destruction, just add some DE (diatomaceous earth) powder into your pails or buckets.

DE powder is not a poison or toxin.  It's simply a naturally occurring sedimentary rock (made from fossilized diatoms) that is broken down into a powder.  There are "food grade" versions, but we buy ours at the feed store.  Not only can it kill "bugs" in your buckets/pails, but it can be safely added to pet food/animal feed, garden soils, and even be used to dust pets and livestock in.  When we started our garden, we added quite a bit of DE powder to the beds.  Now it's thoroughly mixed in and our "bug" problem has probably been cut in half.  The only bad bugs we find now are above ground.  Not that many of those either.

"The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects' exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate.[9] Arthropods die as a result of the water pressure deficiency, based on Fick's law of diffusion."- Wikipedia

This powder is also highly abrasive to their joints and causes them to dehydrate and die.  If ingested, the "bugs" will have their "guts" shredded and die.  It is harmless to animals and humans, UNLESS you are careless in the handling instructions!  Do not breathe in large amounts of DE powder.  Follow the directions!

DE powder is exceptionally useful against ants.  Create a perimeter around areas that ants have been penetrating.  Ants are cannibalistic and will eat the remains of other ants.  So when Ant #1 dies from DE powder, Ant #2 takes the body of #1 back to the nest for the rest of the group to devour.  The DE powder then spreads within their group.  It's also very effective against cockroaches, fleas, bedbugs, and just about anything else you don't want near the home or garden.  It's a VERY good choice to replace boric acid, since it doesn't significantly change the pH balance in soil.
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Offline upstate

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2012, 04:48:23 AM »
Flippydidit;  You are so right about the DH. When I spring clean each year (or two) I put a line of it behind furniture that I don't move often.I use one of those old catsup's plastic squeeze bottles that you buy for picnics etc. I can control the line behind my furniture that way.And i can squirt some behind kitchen cabinets etc.I even put some on my shelves in the pantry. I no longer have a flea problem.I dust the dogs area outside but have to re dust ever so often due to rain.Its great stuff and cheap!

Offline jr doyle

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2012, 05:05:42 PM »
i commandeered my wife's small travel sized hair straightener for sealing the bags and it works great.
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Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2012, 06:58:04 PM »
When you are first starting out with food preps, you'll naturally want to get the most bang for your buck.

5-gallon pails cost roughly $5.00 each, with lids, MOL. I think of that as pretty expensive. (20 of them cost the same as $100.00 worth of food. OMG!)

They are not the only storage option.

For your long term storage of rice, beans, etc., you might consider Christmas cans (aka popcorn tins). All metal, with lids, they are about 12" in diameter and about a foot tall.

You can find them at yard sales and thrift stores, usually for $0.25-$0.50 each.

However many you find, grab. They will hold (if I remember right) 25 lbs of rice, which is a reasonable qty. to work with.

Put a label on the outside, use oxy absorbers or dry ice with the food, put on the lid, and then seal it with a layer of black electrical tape. Voila--you're good for the next 30 years, and rodents will never be a problem.

To eliminate bugs, just put the can of food in your freezer for a week or so.

Deepening your pantry at first is wise, but add a little long-term food storage as you go. Budget a fixed amount each week for food preps, and your reserves will grow quickly and painlessly.

Don't forget that water is also something you should store. You just about can't store too much water.

I've re-used clean milk jugs for years without any problem. That's ok for some people and a horrible idea to others, so you'll have to make your own call on that.

I've recently started adding recycled beer cans to my water-wall. The metal bottles wash easily, seal well, and can be stacked quite deep. They are a good portion size for rationing or barter. And they're "free", once you drink up all that nasty ole' beer.

I also save crystal bottles--vodka bottles, OJ bottles, and the like. They refill and store very nicely.
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Offline madcap1one

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2012, 07:32:54 PM »
As above, I do not wish to be condescending - but first things first - do NOT panic!!!

A healthy dose of motivation is fantastic, rushing into something is not so great.

If you are here asking technique questions, you are on the right path. You have already acknowledged need, you found great resources (the folks replying to this thread who have far more knowledge than I,) might I humbly suggest that the place to start is with a quick and dirty plan?

i.e.
-Food Needs
-How many people
-How long
-Dietary restrictions and preferences
-Local (i.e. garden) supplementation of storage
-Climate
-Space available
-Current inventory
-etc.

This will allow you to regain control and approach this with a methodological implementation plan.

Assuming you have done that, and the only sense of urgency is to actually execute - make some small bets. i.e. don't spend money to test things. A mylar sealer is awesome, a scrap 2x4 and your clothing iron is a simple test of the same technique. O2 absorbers can be pricey, a single $3 pair of Lil' Hotties (now seasonally in stock at most WallyWorlds in October) can allow you to test the same principle on 2 buckets. Dry ice at my local liquor store is $3 a pound (enough for lots of buckets, and I use far more than the above mentioned silver dollar size.) Stop panicking, and just start doing. My first bags looked horrid, but still sealed. My first food storage efforts are still edible, but don't  really match our current diets. Things will change, but nothing is wasted - even failed experiments can be chalked into the skill building category.

A few additional notes on tips and techniques mentioned by others above.

Get a few buckets, some rice, some beans, and a dozen mylar bags - and try things out in various permutations.

My normal procedure is to monthly purchase rice, beans, etc. and stock them into large rubber maid tubs. Every six months or so, I spend a weekend packing it all up into long term storage buckets, with sealers and marking down inventory etc. the food is important, the storage is secondary (but should take place so as not to be wasteful.)

With dry ice, I still use 02absorbers, and still seal the top of the bag. I like redundancy.

I make it a point to use a sharpie in multiple places to mark a number on the outside of all buckets. I records the contents into my total inventory spreadsheet.

Many people like making a few mixed buckets, particularly when using my "go a few months of purchasing in mass" method, and then a single storing weekend. What do I mean? Bucket #17 has 7lb rice and 7lb beans and a bottle of hot sauce and a a bottle of bbq sauce as well as 3 cans of diced chicken and a bottle of beef bouillon powder starter. If you need to run, a single bucket gives some variety. If you wish to give charity, you can just hand over a bucket. etc. It gives some flexibility instead of having to open 8 buckets to assemble a meal.

Similar to others, I use normal gasketed lids, and have purchased just a few (relative terms) gamma lids for use on buckets currently being used to cook from. I have also purchased a few of those $4 hard plastic bucket lid openers - skinned knuckles get old quickly.

Keep your inventory sheets printed, in several permutations from your spreadsheets. I have one by bucket, one by food item, and one by dietary restrictions (i.e. no nuts, no gluten, diabetic friendly etc.) Yeah, I like spreadsheets...
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Offline 67gtcs

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2012, 09:18:37 PM »
WOW!!!

What a great thread.  I am also a newby, and have learned more from this thread than from many others.
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Offline Aias

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2013, 06:18:38 PM »
Hi Aias,

The Mylar bag provides the seal for your rice, the bucket provides physical protection for the mylar bag.  The reused buckets and lids should be fine.

~TG

Thanks to you and Nicodemus for the help!

Offline glacierspyder

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2013, 07:13:05 AM »
Did a quick read through the post and didn't see it mention or didn't catch it but you can get food grade buckets with lids from any bakery in your area. Around my area one place gives them to me for free and another place charges a $1. Good for storing prepackaged items like spices and work great for extra storage for feed if you have animals. Just have to wash and dry them out. I've also gotten the 55 gallon drums with the locking seal lids at some places in the area but then most of your stuff smells a little like dill pickles for a time.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2013, 08:23:40 AM »
@Glacier: What sort of places do you get free 55 gallon drums? I've had no trouble finding 5 gallon buckets, but never found the 55 gal drums...

Offline Maus

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2013, 07:36:22 AM »
Now I realize that the "copy can" system is not going to work with my family as of yet, as it is not a "forefront" consern when shopping.  I had stocked up a few weeks worth of extra food in some areas (not covering all bases) and found that a few weeks later my family (me included) just didn't shop as often and used up the preps.

My family is struggling with the same problem. What I tried to do was keep a log of what we ate and when, which allowed us to know when food would get used up.  This shifted the "conversation" in our heads from "Oh I need to have more food stored in case of emergency"  to "Oh, this is a really good price on X.  I'll stock up because I know we'll use it up in the next Y months."

Offline 11 Bravo

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Re: Newbie needs help/advise for food storage
« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2013, 12:07:55 PM »
What I do.... The cheapest place I found for food-grade buckets is Wal-Mart. In their paint department, they have white, unmarked buckets for (at mine) $2.98 with lids being $0.99 manufactured by Encore Plastics Corp. I called Encore and they said that all of their standard 5 gallon buckets in any color are food-grade (i.e. HPDE and use a food-friend mould release compound) and, furthermore, the white ones are FDA certified or registered or whatever it's called.

....that's funny....I spoke to Encore as well and they told me the exact opposite......so, I just put mylar bags in them...
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 09:28:23 AM by LvsChant »
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