Saturday, July 20, 2013


While my wife is away visiting the kids, I am doing my own cooking. Usually this consists of opening something in a can from the pantry.  If I feel really motivated I microwave something from the freezer. Tonight I tried to cook some frozen chicken.  It tasted like sawdust.  I tried putting hot peppers on some of it, and even that didn't help. Finally I gave it to the dogs and they ate it but without much evidence of pleasure. I had a can of chili from the storeroom.

I pay a lot of attention to our food storage. Most of the things we eat regularly go into our pantry, or the deep freezer. Things I am going to keep for awhile I try to buy a case or two at at time. Those go into the large storeroom in our basement. For instance, when Walmart had Hormel chili on sale at half price, I bought four cases of it, just over 100 cans.  Same with peas, corn, and anything else that goes on deep discount.

Some things I buy expressly for their long term storage value. One that is a really good buy is Keebler Export Soda Crackers.  These crackers are a lot like ships bread, dry and hard but they will keep forever and they aren't bad served as a side dish with something like stew or chowder.  I get them across the state line for $3.00 a can at one of those places where they just open the cardboard box at the top and you  take what you want out of it. No frills, but cheap and the food is good.

The can is pretty big, and when you have eaten the crackers you can store a lot of rice or beans in it.

Another thing I like to keep down there is canned bacon.  It costs a lot more than plain old bacon from the store, so we don't eat it unless it starts to get near the expiration date. I'm sure we could keep it a lot longer than that, but as a general rule with meat I keep an eye on the "best by" date and try to use it somewhere in that time frame. Doubtless it would last twice as long if I wanted to try it.  I got mine from MRE Depot the last time I bought some, although The Internet Grocer carries it from time to time. You have to shop around to find the best price.

Then there's the Australian Kraft Cheese in cans.  Cheese powder is ok for cooking, but this is like real cheese, same taste and consistency although the can says it is a "cheese product" whatever that means. I try to keep two cases of this in the long term storage but it tends to get snacked on or used in cooking when we run out of cheese at home. It really is good stuff.  If you just google "Australian canned cheese" you'll find a lot of places that sell it.

There's also canned butter from New Zealand.  I buy "butter powder" in the number 10 can for cooking, but for eating on bread or whatever, you can't beat this stuff.  Probably isn't good for your heart because it's old fashioned butter, not margarine, but if you are using your emergency stash of food that won't weigh too heavily with you I wouldn't imagine.

 This comes in cases too, and from the same suppliers.  Prices vary so if you keep an eye peeled sometimes you can get a case or two at a reduced price.

These are things that aren't that easy to come across. You have to make a special effort to get them. I think it's worth the extra cost and time to obtain them though. They sure add a lot to what could otherwise be a bland diet.  I keep food stored in the pails, packed in mylar and flushed with nitrogen. It's all things like wheat, potato flakes, different dried vegetables, corn meal, powdered milk, rolled oats, sugar, etc.  Great stuff but you have to turn it into a meal people will eat. Having some of these canned goods on hand would be a big help.

There are some books that will help with using materials from your long term food storage to make meals. I'll dig out the photos of those and do a post on them before too long.

We may find in the long run that tinned food is a deadlier weapon than the machine-gun.

George Orwell


  1. Around my part of the woods I have a hard time finding a number of things like you discussed. We just don't have anything besides straight up grocery stores to choose from. The more budget oriented or specialty or off the wall type stores just don't make it here for some reason. Same with really big box or supple stores.

    I need to focus more on getting stores like you mentioned now that I have the very basics almost completely covered.

    Good post!!!

  2. I mostly get this kind of thing from distant suppliers via UPS. I'm lucky to have a "Grocery Outlet Store" just across the state line. You never know what they will have but every time I go, I find something really useful and I buy a lot of it. Last time I went I found Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and chilis, in different sized cans and different "flavors" for fifty cents a can. At our Walmart the same food was $1.27 a can. I bought a lot of it because I eat that frequently with stew or chili, or even just put it on something I've cooked in the frying pan.

    I take food really seriously. Many years ago, as a young fellow in the Marines, I was on a mountain top in South Korea, at a radio repeater site. The weather closed in and the helicopters couldn't lift us out. We didn't bring much in the way of sleeping equipment or food. I think that's the only time in my life I have been really, desperately hungry because it took several days to get us off of there. Having that experience makes me more mindful of how important food storage could be in any number of different scenarios. That in turn makes me more willing to spend scarce dollars on what might appear to be frills or luxury. In fact, those items could really help make bland stored foods palatable. Like you, I don't have access to much in the way of places to buy locally, so the internet has been a God send to me in that respect.