I have a really slow internet connection at home. This means that I'm rarely willing to sit through videos. They will run for 5 or 10 seconds, then stop for 5 seconds then run another 5 or 10 all through the video. Tonight I had some quiet time so I thought I'd see what I could find that was interesting. Well, I learned something. I can set the video for 240p and it will run straight through without stopping.
With this new discovery, I set out to review some survival videos. I watched a bunch of videos that people posted about food storage. The common theme was buy tons of stuff and stick it in the basement. Keep the mice out. This was all good but after looking at what many people stored I knew that this was going to be the topic tonight.
I was impressed at the amount of food that people stored. They claimed to have a years worth of food and they did. I didn't find anyone whose storage pantry looked like mine. One person had about 100 boxes of Captain Crunch cereal. They also had two full shelves, about 8 feet long or more, filled with soda. Probably one hundred 2 and 3 liter bottles, maybe 50 cases of cans. They had several cases of fruit rollups. They had several cases of pineapple but no other fruit in their fruit section. They had three boxes of 40 quart size powdered milk. At least that was what I could see. Finally, I thought to myself, something of value (ok, the pineapple is good too). The milk was still in the original boxes, which isn't the best way to pack them because they can pick up surrounding odors. But then the speaker said that they were all out of date. I'm not sure when the video was made but they expired in 2008.
How does this differ from my storage program? You are what you eat. And I like ice cream! Besides that, how do you make sure that you don't end up with a bunch of food that's old? You use the stuff. I know people say to stay out of your provisions. Don't get into your stored food. I fully and completely disagree. You need to use it and make sure you buy more to replace what you use. Fortunately I don't shop often because if I had to rotate everything all the time I wouldn't do it. I'd be eating the new stuff first. After all, why would I want to use a two year old box of cake mix when this other box was just purchased last week? Why? Because if you don't use the older stuff first you will just be throwing it out, or you will be using really old food when you need to rely on the stored food in bad situations. Are you really planning on surviving on Captain Crunch, old powdered milk, and soda?
Now if I had the money to buy a year or five or ten worth of dehydrated and freeze dried canned goods I'd still get into that. I love freeze dried strawberries! I just couldn't imagine if I had a five year supply of these I wouldn't really use them and five years before they expired I eat them and nothing else.
Canning jars. In these storage videos I rarely saw home canned goods. Do people just plan on learning how to can when TSHTF? Most every storage program had boxes of new canning jars proudly stacked in a corner. That's nice. I have lots of canning jars too. Usually they are filled with food. Or at least it runs in shifts. Some years at the end of summer I'm scrambling to find jars. At the end of winter I usually have lots of jars available. Why? Because we use what we can. They aren't just sitting on the shelves. Now sometimes I can too much of some things and not enough of others. The other day I made plum fritters with plums I canned in 2008. The fritters turned out great. That was the last of the 2008 jars. I didn't can any plums in 2009 because we had 60 jars from 2008. I did again in 2010. When we eat canned fruit it is rarely from that season, it's usually a year in arrears.
We eat fresh fruit each year but the canned fruit goes in cycles. Some years the trees just don't put out enough fruit. In other years they overproduce. I can plums, peaches, nectarines, apples, pears, figs, and berries. We haven't had enough cherries yet to can. We eat the citrus fresh. When I finish canning fruit for the season we may have 300+ jars of fruit canned between fruit, jams, juice, and syrup. While this amount usually gets rotated completely every two to three years, if needed it could be used in a SHTF situation and only need to last up to a year. I have the ability to can at least that many jars each year if necessary.
I don't can as many vegetables because we freeze them. If we were in a SHTF scenario and lost power to the freezer, if it was summer the food would easily and quickly get dried outdoors. If it was winter, I'd have to set up the dining room (the location of the wood stove) and dry what I could indoors. On the other hand, we do have enough store bought cans of vegetables (mostly peas, corn, green beans, beets) that I could give the freezer stuff the to animals.
OK, back to canning jars. Have a lot. Have lots of lids. I've seen the reusable lids advertised but I've never used them. Right now, canning lids cost about 20 cents each. The reusable lids cost between 60 and 80 cents each. After using them four times they'd become money savers. It would be worth getting. You would still need to use your rings and it seems that I need to replace them somewhere between every five or ten years. You don't need nearly as many rings as you do lids, but you can't buy rings separately, they come with lids. That's ok. It's always good to have some backups. But I think I'm done buying Kerr/Ball lids. I'm going to try the Tattlers.