THIRTY YEAR FOOD*
note: free book. Plague road trip https://amzn.to/2KBrxHu . Nothing to do with the apocalypse, just plain old military fiction ( WWII ) https://amzn.to/2KHRCos , just for something different to bedazzle and confuse.
Having worked for ten years in food banks as a donation driver, which really was far more satisfying than most other jobs I’ve had besides being an author ( of course, ruined at the half way mark by being placed under the supervision of the worlds biggest Special Ed boss ), I’ve picked up quite a few #10 cans of freeze dried foods. And that is the only way I’d ever have had a grand total of more than zero, if they were free. I simply cannot think of a worse way to spend your prepper supply budget than buying freeze dried foods. I’m not saying they don’t have a purpose, on a limited basis. They certainly work quite well for bugging out ( if you simply must bug out ).
The issue I have when placing freeze dried foods in your preps is when you rely on them for a long period of time. Then, you are so much better off doing almost anything else. The two areas your freeze dried foods shine long term, meat and butter, you are still better off, if buying in ANY quantity besides bug out or two month die-off culling waiting periods, is to wet can your own supplies at insane levels of money savings. Right now, this week ( every week differs ), I can wet pack pork for $2.50 a pound, total price including container. Last week, hamburger for $3.25. The last time I checked freeze dried beef was north of $12 a pound in a #10 can, and you didn’t get a free Mason jar after you ate it.
Again, freeze dried has a LOT going for it, on a short term basis. As I’ve said before, everyone should have six months frozen meat of hand. This costs you nothing extra and in fact saves you money as you only buy on the sale. You should have six months of regular grocery items on hand. Again, so you ONLY buy ANYTHING on sale. Plus as a bonus you are well stocked in variety. But for the apocalypse, you will need a short term food supply that is very filling and has variety and takes minimal preparation.
Freeze dried CAN provide this easily, if you have the desire and budget. You don’t need it, however, as there exists other choices. But, regardless of budget level, you do need “easy peasy fat and protein queasy” foods for two months. First, you must wean yourself off of your typical Yuppies Scum American Middle Class diet. You can’t go from one night meat and potatoes to the next night all white flour or rice. This will be a time of great stress. The unprepared will stress and make poor life decisions, whereas the prepared will just stress. A lot. You need your comfort foods at this time.
Secondly, you need to keep up your calorie levels for potential combat, or at least heavy domestic chores. The whole point of the Underground Weasel strategy is to go to ground at the onset of the collapse and to hide out from everyone and wait for the 99% to die-off, saving your ammunition and your life. But one never knows and this is the most dangerous time and you must be ready for it just in case. Your body needs calories to fight effectively and the typical soldier uses three to four thousand calories a day to perform at par ( heavy physical labor, burning extra fat staying warm outside, etc. ).
Third, this is a time where, yes, you should be well hidden but easier said than done and it makes sense to keep noise and smells at a minimum. It is better to pour boiling water on freeze dried or stick a already cooked piece of meat from a Mason jar on the stove for a minute to heat than it is to be cooking up Roger the Rooster or cooking raw meat from the freezer ( right! Like how many off gridders have an actual 12v freezer? The six months of meat is for immediate budget savings and half a year of unemployment-not really applicable for after the collapse ). Even if your spot is off the beaten path, no need to tempt someone passing by to alter course and check out your supply situation.
But once past that two month period, budgetary realities if nothing else are going to make it more likely that you revert back to peasant food. For the first two months, quality AND quantity is important. After that, quantity alone is the issue. Because no matter how much you want variety and nutrients, that crap costs mucho money. At least on any meaningful time frame. I’d rather have five years of wheat than six months of freeze dried. I know for a Gott Damn Guar-an-humping-tee that the coming Dark Ages are going to last WAYYYYY past six months. Five years is the minimum food storage ( I’d have more but we are getting close to my natural shelf date as it is with just that ).
And the only way for the average person, for most people, is to stock wheat if you are looking at a year or more of food storage. After wheat, then I try to introduce a small amount of variety to supplement that wheat. Also peasant food. White rice, white flour, pasta, spices and sugar. Sugar is a relatively recent peasant food, but if purchased now is quite affordable. Far more costly than wheat, but barely, and “far” being a bit of hyperbolic ( 38 cents a pound verses 22 ). You aren’t going to eat a pound of sugar to a pound of wheat, so a little goes a long way ( just like with dry beans, you only need a fifth of beans to your grain of choice ).
There is also shortening. It isn’t as cheap as it was. For a year or three the countries largest grocery store, Kroger, had dirt cheap vegetable shortening at under $3 a can. You ignored me, even when I told you to run down and buy as they were “clearancing” it, but you could have easily had three to five years of fat for a mere $30-$50. Shortening is of course quite bad for you, but as you should be aware, NO fat is even worse for you. I’m still dumbfounded when I hear “experts” tell you to stockpile olive oil in the freezer for your storage food. These are the people whose frozen corpse can soon be shoved aside as you raid their home. You need fat to survive through winter, and a “healthy alternative” oil that starts being perishable as soon as the grid goes down is NOT going to cut it. You need longevity and only hydrogenated oils have that, regardless of their unhealthy well deserved reputation.
What do all these foods have in common, the post-two month items? They are thirty year foods. You don’t need freeze dried. Grocery store foods last a good long while. Continued tomorrow.
END ( today's related link https://amzn.to/2lCE7Ie )
* By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there
Home canning meat is fine, but you really have to rotate it. We would can meat back on the farm, and I have ate two year old jars of chicken. Not good.ReplyDelete
As to the shortening, that may be the better way to go. There is even butter flavored shortening now. Legend has it it was developed bt the Germans for submarine use and the crews figured out it was edible also.
While still not budget friendly, home freeze driers have come down on price, if you have an established tribe, it may be worth splitting the cost of one, just guessing.
When I get the ability to stock freeze dried, it would be butter and add nothing mashed potatoes.
I'm trying to remember the price of the FD machine. $2500?? It isn't god awful unreasonable like a FLIR scope or a Ghost Gun machine. Search Canadian Prepper for his vid on the machine-rather well done and I usually don't care for his stuff.Delete
I was planning on backpacking at one time, and was floored by the price that was being charged for the freeze dried stuff. I decided right then and there that I would substitute the expensive stuff with dehydrated potatoes (Au Gratin) oat meal or cream of wheat, dehydrated fruit, jerky, trail mix, etc.ReplyDelete
That Crisco vegetable shortening (I’m referring to the type that resembles white axle grease) is some useful stuff. It also lends itself well to blackpowder shooting, and that’s the stuff that I always used. You can buy the higher dollar stuff that’s specially formulated for blackpowder, but its only advantage is that it doesn’t melt and make a mess as easily as does the Crisco.
For one freeze dried meal you could jerk one to two pounds of beef or six pounds of chicken ( is the brown meat lean enough? I might be overly generous if not ). Since beef jerky is a food of the gods and freeze dried is dried devil dingleballs, I don't know why Freeze dried keeps winning.Delete
I bought a Freeze Dryer June of 2016. By the time I had it up and running I had over $4,000 in it. You need quite a lot of supplies, including pump oil (which it uses in quantity), a cart to hold it, bags, a bag sealer, oxygen absorbers, and more oil; as well as other supplies. It is a chore to operate. And you will screw up a few loads learning to run it. Do it wrong and your goods end up sprayed all over the inside, a nasty cleaning job. But most of the people reading this are probably smarter, faster, and younger than I am.Delete
Nevertheless, I ran it steady for the first year and stored a large quantity of the fruit and vegetables I grow here. It was a good year. Our problem is not production; it is storage. Pears or peaches, for example, come in all at once, but are consumed over the year. And some years production is better than others. Meat we keep on the hoof until needed, so most of our animals are of the smaller breeds: rabbits, dwarf goats, chickens, ducks, and geese. Some cattle, but that's mostly for income.
Furthermore, understand that the freeze dryer only functions properly within a narrow range of ambient temperature. I don't like air conditioning, so we freeze dry Spring and Fall. I move it from indoors to outdoors (remember the cart?) to take advantage of the difference in temperature, but winter and summer are mostly no go for freeze drying.
And more pump oil. And the maintenance on the pump is very, very messy. You spray oil all over, so take it outside (remember the cart?) to do a good job.
Again, it was worth the cost and trouble to eat fine all winter off my own trees. I'm a year ahead now and have some slack. Good thing because this year looks like a poor crop. My tomatoes aren't setting and the peaches are very small.
All inconvenience is justified by the satisfaction of being somewhat self-sufficient. All long as I have pump oil.
My schedule is to be able to close the gates on a moment's notice and not venture forth for six months. And the six-month plan is modified as time goes by and the unforeseen eventuates, don't you know?
We will see. I have 1,300 acres of most oak with a creek running through it. How much I can hold, for how long, remains to be seen.
Cheers, and best of luck to us all.
We have a Mobil depot here in town, selling drums of petroleum products. I wonder if they carry the equivalent of your pump oil. Seems like you need a actual 55 gallon drum :) That sucks about the ambient temp. Seems like a seasonal dryer is not much of a bargain. Since you aren't freeze drying fat, why not just regular air drying? A solar dryer would have more capacity and is much cheaper. You can still store for a good number of years.Delete
Jerky is entirely different. Definitely the way to go. You trim the fat off the beef, flank steak seems to be pretty lean and cheap. Use the Crisco to make pemmicanReplyDelete
I've never heard of shortening being used in pemmican. Doesn't it taste gross, like, you know, shortening? Or does it end up tasting like shortening in the melted state?Delete
Dunno, but it certainly could improve the preservation processDelete
They use to use bear lard, Crisco can't be much worseDelete
But can it be much better? :)Delete
I use a food saver vacuum sealer on store bought dry good foods. Does any brainiac minions have a timeline past the dated packaged that stuff will be edible/not rancid etc. I stored white rice, pastas, ramen packages, instant oatmeal packs. Any similar experiences or experiment feedbacks. Thanxs folks.ReplyDelete
I just did that article on the food in my BOB that was ten years old.Delete
I read a "survival in the mountains in winter" book a long time ago about a fellow who ate lard by the spoonful. Kept him going till he could kill something. I would prefer a fat chick but you make due with what you have. Hoping the collapse of civilization comes soon so you can enjoy being right for a little while before dying at the hands of the millennial hordes! Peace...ReplyDelete
A little sugar sprinkled atop that lard...pretend it's a donut.Delete
Good article. I can think of another time when folks will want "easy peasy" chow. When you or member(s) of your group are sick or injured. It will happen.ReplyDelete
Good point. Who wants to cook a meal from scratch inbetween bouts of projectile diarrhea?Delete
I thought about canning meat, because I don't have refrigeration, but a big jar is way more than a meal. So I would be worried about spoiling before I could finish eating it. Maybe canning in little one serving jars. Only that sounds expensive for all the jars, rings ect. Any suggestions?ReplyDelete
$11 for a dozen quart jars, $9 for a dozen pint jars ( bought at grocery or big box ). They come with rings and lids. Lids thereafter, twenty five cents. That is cheaper than a fridge or freezer. Also, research if you need to actually fill up that jar. If you can just fill a pint jar half way or a third, there is your one meal. Lids and canning fuel are the same cost, close enough, for the various sizes.Delete
It seems like long term, post collapse, the PA survivalist would be better off concentrating on air drying; that’s what the natives did. I saw this mentioned in a few of my survival books as well. So you would need the drying racks, and would want them to be covered with fine screen. I’d imagine that you would really want to salt the meat down as well. But even with the salt, you’re using far less resources than the replacement lids for canning (yes, I’m aware of the tattler lids, but reviews seem to be mixed) and the fuel or electricity involved for canning.Delete
I’m hoping to have an old style refrigerator (ice box) in my subterranean building. I figure that the heat load will be low enough, that block ice should last a good long while, as it did in the ice houses of yesteryear. I might even have a dedicated ice house. I plan on forming my own molds for the ice, and will wait for winter to do its job.
Wet canning is for now, to wean off the fridge, just like a 12v fridge ( or, your ice box ) is a way to shop for meat in bulk without freezing or canning. It is only good for as long as the trucks still run. Meat drying PA is only possible because they weren't using corn fatty meat. So, you really can't air dry now, nor can you fridge, freeze or can later. You must do both, during their time.Delete
Well, the Injuns also made the Pemmican. Which was a combination of the meat, along with the rendered fat, and I believe berries as well. Unless you are saying that corn fattened beef specifically cannot be used in this particular application, vs naturally fattened beef, which could very well be the case for all that I know?Delete
Speaking of DC coolers, I’ve done some research on this. I found that almost all of them were energy pigs, and consume on average, 40 watts. I did find one however that has what is referred to as an “Eco-Mode”. While in the Eco-Mode, it is said to be possible to run this particular cooler off of a USB battery pack. I was planning on getting one for off-grid, and was going to run it on the standard mode by day, and switch over to the Eco-Mode by night. Yes, it’s small, and provides limited meat and produce storage options. But it does provide enough storage to keep some perishable items, for perhaps one or two people, possibly for up to a week. I only researched this for someone that is utilizing a lower output solar set up. If you have hundreds of watts, and a bank of batteries, then obviously you have much better options. I only have 100 watts and one battery, so this doesn’t apply to me.
The meat has to be lean, and obviously cows weren't available to the Indians. So, grass fed whatever. Not sure if cows are lean enough in the end. To fridge, I'd only use the freezer with the plug in regulator running it at fridge temps. Minions report 150-200 watts total per day, so a dedicated panel would probably work just fine. But even with its own batt and inverter that is only $500 total. Seems to be cheaper than any 12v direct system, and will hold a lot more. Just bulky, a chest freezer about 4x4 or so.Delete