Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Prudent Prepping: Food Storage or The Bucket of Holding

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Now we concentrate  on what to do in, and how to plan for, the long term via Prudent Prepping.

Food Grade Pails 
for Long Term Secure Storage

In my Buffet Post two weeks ago, I mentioned buying 5 gallon pails to store my emergency supplies and said that a review and test is coming. Well, here it is.

This is a work in progress, as I am trying to distribute my supplies as evenly as possible per-pail in case one or two pails are destroyed. That way, all of one important item will not be lost if its pail is damaged. I also have the added benefit of being able to share a pail, knowing that a complete selection is already inside. When time is short or your local disaster hits, grabbing what you can reach and not having to worry about what is in the bucket should lower your stress.

What to Expect


The easiest way for me to learn things is by seeing and doing, so I am showing you how I figured out the approximate volume of a 5 gallon pail: one standard grocery bag, plus a bit extra

This is just a sample of my stored food which was easy to grab and fill up a grocery bag. The pail still has room for more items to be easily added.

Back row:
  • 2 lbs sugar 
  • 2x 13oz. cans of chicken 
  • 3x 5oz. cans tuna 
  • 2x 28oz. canned pasta sauce
  • 1x 40oz. peanut butter
  • 1x 4.5oz cracker 

Front row:
  • 1 box (6 1.25oz. packs) cocoa mix 
  • 1 box (10 .42oz. packs) instant coffee 
  • 20 Mango black tea bags 
  • 2x 16oz bags of pasta 
  • 3x 4oz. bags of jerkey 
  • 3 lbs. of brown rice

This is just an example of what is going into the pails. Not all of them are getting 2 lbs of sugar, peanut butter, rice or beans; some are getting 5-10 lbs of various beans, 6 lb. cans of Tang, and salt, pepper and other spices.

A 25 lb bag of rice is going into its own pail.

Prepping the pails
The pails are food-grade plastic, but that doesn't mean you can -- or should -- put your storage items directly into the buckets. Mine had a faint 'plasticky' smell that I didn't want transferring to the food, so I washed them out (lids too!) with liquid dish soap, rinsed them well, filled them to the top with clean water and then set them in the sun for several hours. After draining and drying out, this reduced the odor to nearly nothing.

The Process
Since these supplies are regular pantry items which get rotated into my kitchen cabinet, I have not gone to the extra step of lining the pails with mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, nor am I using nitrogen to preserve the contents.  The rice may be treated this way in the future, but my immediate goal is to start purchasing freeze-dried foods and other provision already sealed for long term storage.

I have juggled the contents back and forth several times to divide them evenly across the buckets, but this just showed me that I am lacking some items: several real can openers (and not just surplus P-51s), small-sized salt & pepper dispensers, and spices (like Tabasco) in enough quantity to have some in each bucket.

Purchases Last Week
  • 7 box pack of Land o' Lakes Cocoa Mix, 6 foil pouches per box; Sam's Club, $11.98.

As always, if you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased be me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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