>Food Storage

This topic was not originally included in my plans for this website, however, I have read so much poor advice about food storage in books and other publications by so-called experts, I decided to offer what I consider better advice.

You see, some experts in crisis preparedness or survival are knowledgeable in one or several areas of the topic, but food is often one that they know little about. And that is understandable, given that food education in this country is manipulated by food producers. If you want real food education read The China Study, a book by T. Colin Campbell, and also read Diet for a New America by John Robbins.

Most 'experts' writing about storing food usually list canned food as one of the major items. Canned meat, vegetables, fruits... garbage! Canned food is low-quality nutrition, even when it has just been canned. No vitamins, no enzymes, dead, dead food, and no fiber. Expensive, heavy, takes up lots of space. A poor choice at best. But hey, the empty cans are nice! So if you want a bunch of empty number 10 cans with lids buy some, and leave the canned food for those ignorant souls who got their food education from TV and advertisements. Why do most survival books and disaster preparedness books say to stock up on canned food? Answer: ignorance.

Good nutrition? I suggest that you buy instead a variety of seeds that you can sprout: Mung, alfalfa, lentils, fenugreek, aduki and others and store them in carbon dioxide or nitrogen as you would grains.

Why sprouts? Well, they are the most nutritious food on this planet, period. They are alive, full of amino acids, carbohydrates, oils, fats, enzymes and vitamins, fiber and they are all you need. That's right, they are such good nutrition that you can live well on sprouts alone, nothing else. Try that on canned food (ugh!). No, don't try that, you will develop malnutrition and suffer horribly, perhaps die slowly. Sprouts take up little space and provide nutrition unsurpassed by anything cooked and canned.

In addition to seeds commonly sprouted, I suggest adding other seeds that are less common as sprouts but which are loaded with nutrition: Sesame, sunflower, almonds. Soak them overnight before eating. This simple step transforms a dry dormant seed into a living being, makes it easier to digest, improves already excellent nutrition and even improves its taste.

Seeds are the most concentrated foods we have, so it is obvious that sprouted (or even soaked) seeds have no equal in nutrition. Instead of adding more canned foods to your diet (as Mr. Rawles and others suggest) if you do get used to them, I say eliminate all canned foods from your diet and never looked back. Instead, begin to experiment with sprouts, adding more of them to your diet each week. You'll soon realize that they deserve a central place in your diet and in your food storage. By the way, one use for empty number 10 cans: to store seeds for sprouting.

How to store seeds in CO2. You may already know how to use dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) to store your grains. You chip off a piece of dry ice the size of your thumb, place it in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket, pour in your grains, cover but don't snap or screw closed. Let the dry ice turn to gas (a few minutes) driving off most of the lighter air, then seal the bucket. Watch it for a few minutes, if it bulges, let out the pressure and re-seal.

If you live without refrigeration or are far from a dry ice source, I'll describe how I use carbon dioxide to store food. By a small bicycle tire pump that uses carbon dioxide cartridges and has a trigger or valve so you can dispense carbon dioxide in spurts, not all at once. Connect a 12 inch piece of 1/4" plastic hose like polyethylene to the nozzle. Fill a 5 gallon bucket with grains or seeds. Now, push the hose into the grain to the bottom of the bucket and, as you release the gas, move the hose around in a spiral and gradually bring it up through the grain releasing carbon dioxide as you go. Put the lid on and add a final squirt under it before you seal it.

Gamma Seal and others make a gasket type cover and ring to convert ordinary 5 gallon buckets into hermetically-sealed food storage containers. But at $8 each, it gets expensive quickly. A poor man's alternative is to get 5-gallon buckets from a farm supply or Wal Mart; the best are rated at 90 Mil thickness (thin ones are 70) and have a HDPE recycle logo on the bottom with a 2 inside. The farm store I found has lids with rubber-ring gasketed lids - perfect for food storage.

Exceptions to the no canned food rule: when I say that canned food is garbage, I mean cooked foods like meat, vegetables, beans and fruit. Some foods are canedn without first being cooked, the canning is simply a container or storage technology. Things like honey, grains and seeds, powdered milk, etc. can be stored well in cans, but they are not canned in a common use of the word, which means 'cooked and sealed in cans'. Other foods you may like that only come in cans can be safely added to a rational food storage plan: olives, tomato paste, tomato sauce and other special foods, but these are not necessarily good nutrition, just tasty.

By the way, peanut butter, often considered solely on its theoretical (on paper) nutritional content, is often made from the grades of peanuts not considered nice enough for mixed nuts or roasted peanuts, because, well, the peanuts are infested with insects or they are moldy. Grind them up and nobody knows! Just like hot dogs - you would never eat one if you knew the ingredients. The BBC did an investigative story years ago on peanut butter and found that even major brands contain as much as 25% 'insect matter'. And you thought eating bugs was, well, icky. Hey, millions of Americans eat bugs on bread every day, probably the same people who eat parts of cows they considere icky in their hot dogs. Which parts? Well, think of all the parts of a cow you don't see at the meat counter. That's right, those parts! The ones nobody would even think of buying and eating. Grind them all up and... Hot Dogs!

Anyway, back to peanut butter, not a great choice for survival food storage. Aside from the questionable contents, peanut butter goes rancid like butter and all fats and oils. Whole peanuts, however, will store much longer, are better nutritionally and can be stored in carbon dioxide.

MREs - Meals Reluctantly Eaten. Save your money for real food. This category of food is for people either too lazy to prepare something better or who don't care what they put in their mouths. Make your own snacks from wholesome foods. If you are in a survival situation, you probably depend on your food to keep you fed and healthy, so you can perform well under stress. You need energy, vitamins, amino acids - the whole enchilada (okay, poor choice of words). MREs are not good food, period. Make your own from real foods: dates, sunflower seeds, nuts, raisins and other dried fruit, carob and if you don't know how, learn.

Second only to water, your stored food may save your life, or it may deprive you of the nutrition you need to perform well under stress. Choose wisely here. A ton of MREs does not equal the nutrition of a 50 pound bag of sunflower seeds. I could survive for 200 days on the seeds, but I wouldn't feed an MRE to a hungry dog. Okay, maybe a hungry dog. You get the point. MREs are crap, something to eat when you have nothing else. Plan, so you have something else.

One last jab at MREs. People think they are so smart and clever that they can make food better for you than nature. Nonesense. They can't. If you need food, don't look to clever, profit motivated people for it, look to nature, the ultimate and always the best provider. There, I'm done with MREs. I hope you are too.

Sunflower Seeds - why I think they are good food and a milk shake recipe here.

An article on Survival Food here. It repeats some of the ideas above, but I think you'll like it.


On Growing
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