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dawg

Bulk Survival Food or DIY?

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Beginning prepper here with a question about survival food. I'm looking to establish about a month supply of food for my family (2 adults + 2 kids). Just wondering if any of the bulk survival food (buckets, 10# cans, etc) is any good and if so, which brands? I see a lot of this stuff on the internet, but with mixed reviews. I admit the ease of just purchasing a few buckets and tossing them in the basement is appealing... but if the stuff is crap I don't want to waste my money. We stick to pretty simple cooking and haven't done any canning/preserving, so I wouldn't know where to start with any of that. If the only real option is for me to do it myself I can, but I'd sure like to be able to just purchase something and not have to worry about it - if possible.

 

Thanks for any suggestions!

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Are you looking to store food for the very long term (years+), or a stock that you will rotate out every year? The big bulk canisters (and 5 gallon bucket loads) are typically used by folks storing much more than a month's worth of food - the 'one year' and '3 year' type of supply.

 

As an example, my wife and I prep for hurricanes, with the goal of surviving 5 weeks without help from the government (etc). We use canned goods, the regular 'buy it from the grocery store' type, for the bulk of our food storage. It is the most economical choice for a month's worth of food, and we can buy a few cans extra every time we go grocery shopping. We mark the top of each can with a Sharpie marker, and we rotate all of the canned goods out after every hurricane season, swapping the oldest cans out for fresh ones. We do have some freeze dried food items in #10 cans (Mountain House brand), but we didn't buy any of those until we had a solid supply of standard canned foods. The FD foods are shelf stable for 25+ years, weigh very little, and taste great. They do require water to prepare, however, so you have to have a good supply of water stored along with your food. Canned goods have lots of water in them already, so you don't need as much extra water on hand (but the trade off is 1-2 year shelf life, and they are heavy). The other advantage of canned goods is the chances are pretty high that you already know which brands/items your family likes, and can stock a food supply that your family will enjoy eating if you end up in a survival situation.

 

So for a month's worth of food (for your home/bug in location, not for bugging out), I would use standard canned foods. You can add some FD items as your budget allows - and you can try the individual serving sized packages of all the FD foods to see which ones you like/don't like, before you invest in a $20-30 bulk can of something. You can buy the smaller servings from any large sporting good chain store (Dick's Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, Gander Mountain, Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, etc). They run about $8 for an entree like 'Spaghetti with Meat Sauce', for example (it's excellent, and feeds 2 people for one meal). try a few and if you like them, buy the bulk cans to extend your food supply beyond a month.

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I agree fully with Survivalcyclist. My wife and I have done about the same thing. Right now I have about a months worth of regular canned goods for four people and we have begun looking at #10 cans. We have bought some of the freeze dried pouches. If you check online you can usually find them on sale. I've bought from Cabelas and Emergency Essentials. As far as brands from what Ive seen Mountain House is the best but also one of the most expensive. Eventually Im working towards 6 months to a year for food and water. To me water is the hardest part as far as storing.

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To me water is the hardest part as far as storing.

 

We have a combination of bottled water (in half liter bottles), 5 gallon Aqua-Pak containers, collapsible 5 gallon water jugs, and a pair of WaterBOBs. The bottled water and the Aqua-Paks are always ready to use, while we plan to fill the collapsible jugs and the WaterBOBs as soon as we get the warning that a hurricane will be heading for us.

 

We also have the tools and accessories to harvest water from our hot water heater (and other folks water heaters...), from rain water, and from swimming pools. I've got my kit for purifying water using CalHypo, and eventually we will have the Berkey Light water filter system (still saving up for it). The plan is to have enough water on hand to be comfortable, while I go about restocking/purifying our supplies.

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I just have 5 gallon bottles and a few cases of the half liter bottles. I do have 2 water bobs also. Ive looked into the stackable 5 gallon jugs to bottle myself and water filters/purifiers. Would also like to do rain barrels.

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I agree that Canned food off the shelf is the first thing to gather and store.I have made my own "dry packs" for storage..

2 cups of Raisin bran(i crush it) 1 cup of Instant dry milk,2 scoops of Total soy meal replasement,one pack of Quaker instant oatmeal.Add 3 cups of hot water and I have a meal.

not everyone can eat this mix,so try something that fits your budget and taste..

I will eat just about anything.

 

If I could afford freeze dryed food in #10 cans I would..

 

links..

http://www.thereadystore.com/emergency-essentials-vs-trs?gclid=CIW7x5L98K8CFYhM4AodFzkJYg

 

http://beprepared.com/

 

shop around after first finding out what you like and what you need for the family.

jmo

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My wife and I have 6 children. We actually started storing food about 7 years ago but do to moving around we have had to restart a couple of times. Each time it seems to actually get easier and I believe that it is because of experience. We started with just small cans buying extra when ever we went shopping any way.

We rotate the standard size cans and and expanded to #10 cans and 5 Gal buckets. We have recently added 2 dry packed 55 gal drums for mylar packed foods and 2X33 gal 2X55 gal and 2X275 water containers.

The thing you need to ask about buying bulk goods is 1. Will you be comfortable eating it? Will your children? 2. Is it finacially better to buy the bulk goods or the smaller individual packs? 3. Do you have the storable area for the bulk or are you going to have to stash it in smaller areas.

My recommendation is to start small with stuff that you know will work and experiment as you go with canning and preserving, Grow as much of your own as you can, and look at a basic bulk items that will support your for a month then a year continue to improve and rotate all the time.

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dawg,

I feel like I'm piling on here, but I think SC gave a solid answer. Stock what you eat and eat what you stock. That way you rotate and keep fresh stuff in the pantry. We have some bulk stuff but we also have some #10 cans of the same bulk. That way we are used to eating what is in the stock pile. When you first shift to whole grains you may find some gastric troubles because of the different food value. We grind our own flour because it is better tasting and better for us. Wheat berries (whole wheat, soaked in water - method on the internet) are great as a cereal or as an additive to salads and such. Catch is when you first start eating them, they have a laxative effect if you eat too many of them. Not a good thing after TSHTF. Get used to eating what you store now and if you have to go with it, there is no change in diet.

 

It is also easier and cheaper to buy a case of 8 cans of chili every couple of weeks than go out and buy $1500 worth of stuff you don't know how to cook! Also the Bulk Food deals do not (at least none of the ones I've seen) have everything you need to cook and eat. Spices and oils are usually missing. Things like yeast, baking soda and powder etc are routinely not in the 'bulk' pack. Make sure you have what you need. The bulk stuff is a great supplement to extend the 3 months out to a year. Milk powder, peanut butter powder, rice, etc. can really extend the range of the store bought stuff. I'm not against it but it isn't sufficient by itself.

 

That is my experience.

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Thanks for all the advice. As suggested, I think I'll start out with small cans of what we actually eat now and build from there. I really appreciate the help.

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Family of 4,we buy what we eat,rotate and replace always,and I do lots of canning,and preserving,make my own bread,ham,jerky,sausages,and an occasional cheesecake,

always what we eat,not to much dry goods because of the water situation,also in case of power

failure,your open goods that require refrigeration will spoil,and looking for ice,fuel(long term),is another issue,and headache,by the the whole family gets involved,and we really enjoy it.B)

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Family of 4,we buy what we eat,rotate and replace always,and I do lots of canning,and preserving,make my own bread,ham,jerky,sausages,and an occasional cheesecake,

always what we eat,not to much dry goods because of the water situation,also in case of power

failure,your open goods that require refrigeration will spoil,and looking for ice,fuel(long term),is another issue,and headache,by the the whole family gets involved,and we really enjoy it.B)

 

Cheesecake? You store Cheesecake???? It never lasts long enough around our house to justify figuring out how to store it!;)

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I was recommended to use 1/3 fresh ground wheat flower to 2/3 normal stuff for the first month then drop to 2/3 fresh ground to 1/3 for the second month tapering off to 100% wheat to keep it easy on the intestines but that's a very conservative time frame.

 

An excellent way forward. Eases the transition; I'd do it now so as not to add extra stress for after TSHTF.

 

One note of caution; if you're using home ground flours, be careful if you give it to visitors who may not be used to it. I really think the home ground whole wheat tastes great but I would have to be careful to not cause gastric problems for friends who are not used to whole wheat.

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An excellent way forward. Eases the transition; I'd do it now so as not to add extra stress for after TSHTF.

 

One note of caution; if you're using home ground flours, be careful if you give it to visitors who may not be used to it. I really think the home ground whole wheat tastes great but I would have to be careful to not cause gastric problems for friends who are not used to whole wheat.

 

Huh, learn something new every day.

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Cheesecake? You store Cheesecake???? It never lasts long enough around our house to justify figuring out how to store it!;)

Always make two,freeze one for a later day,but,like you,around this house no use hiding sweets

and believe me, I have tried.

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Guest survival101
Would leaving wheat bread where the golden hoard can find it be an unethical way of dealing with that?

 

Auto, I want you on my side. Vicious. lmao

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Dawg,

 

My wife and I are also a bit on the "noob" side of prepping but we have utilized coupon shopping as one method to stock up on everyday items we use for a drastically reduces price. It is a bit of a pain to clip coupons, but we have amassed a several month supply of dry/ canned food goods for pennies on the dollar. As was said earlier, purchase what you eat but it certainly is a bit cheaper that dropping a couple grand on a large order of pre-packaged long term meals. Best of luck.

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