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Food storage - some questions

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by Bandit99, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey++

    I am fairly new to the Monkey Tree so please forgive me if I am posting this in the wrong area. I will gladly change it to the correct one if told.

    In brief, my wife and I arrived back stateside (it’s a long story) about 1 year ago and we decided to settle in Northern Idaho. We purchased 5 heavily treed acres with a small house in a quite rural area. We love it.

    We have quite a bit of canned and dry food stored but we desire more, especially those basic items that store for a long time: rice, beans, sugar – the basics. Luckily, money and availability are not a problem but, we have some basic questions which I hope I can build a rapport with the folks here to assist me in answers because there’s a lot of now on the internet that talk a good line but... Some are silly questions and some I believe I already know the answer to but want confirmation and some I am just searching for ideas or recommendations so…

    1. White Flour – yes, I know about grinding your own wheat and how it stores better, better for you but that will have to wait. I have 2 refrigerators with large freezers plus a huge freezer in the garage. We have purchased White Flour and placed it in gallon zip locked bags. We pull one bag out at a time and use it until it is consumed. There are only the 2 of us.
    Question: How long will flour keep in the freezer?
    Question: Would it be worth the cost and effort to put it into Mylar bags and then freeze it?

    2. Dried Instant Potatoes – I like this idea and came across a place where I can purchase in bulk but I know nothing about how they keep (expiration) or should be stored, obviously they should be in temperature controlled environment which by luck I have (huge crawl space that I can almost stand up) but...
    Question: Anyone have any knowledge about these? And, can I just store them in a 5-gallon food type bucket with a good rubber seal like rice or beans or…?

    3. Yeast – we looked at our dried yeast and the expiration date is ~1+year…which obviously, in my opinion, isn’t long enough.
    Question: Is there anyway to extend the shelf life (I doubt Mylar+Oxygen Absorbers would help since it’s already sealed but..?) or perhaps there is some sort of long-life dried yeast?

    4. Powdered eggs – I consider eggs as necessary (for cooking and protein) and we should have chickens come Spring but want a couple of #10 cans of powdered eggs for crisis. I know Mountain House is good (I’ve used it all over the world) and I have about a month worth of their stuff tucked away but they are expensive.
    Question: Is there a good alternative for powered eggs besides Mountain House? What about Augason Farms as there is a Walmart in town that carries them but I have never tried Augason and know nothing about them.

    5. Canned food - most of our canned food seems to have a 'best used by date" of ~1-1.5 years. I find this strange because my wife coming from a third-world country has been canning all her life and anything she puts up is usually good for 3 years, some longer.
    Question: Are canned goods purchased at the grocery store truly only good until expiration date?
    And, if not, how can one know how long it is good for? For example, if I purchased a case of chili on sale would it be good for 2-3 years and how would I know when it would be bad?

    I have more silly questions but will leave them for now…

    Kind regards,
    BlueDuck and Motomom34 like this.
  2. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Welcome to the tree, watch out for the old monkeys..

    Near Couer d Alene? Beautiful country, spent a couple of trips up there in '69 & '71

    Anything will last a long time in the freezer, if you use Mylar it will last forever.

    OK where did you find instant potatoes in bulk, was it a good price, are they flakes or powdered?

    Again store them in Mylar with Ox absorbers.

    Yeah I put up one of those big bricks of yeast you get at Costco, I forget how long it is good for, ... you know you can make yeast, and you can keep a sourdough starter going for... well forever

    I think Augason is good, chickens are my favorite for real eggs, throw in some ducks, and I've seen Mallards swimming in rivers with ice bergs.

    Basically canned food is good until the can puffs out, basically a real long time, oxygen is what causes food to lose it's "goodness".
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
  3. Seepalaces

    Seepalaces Monkey Site Supporter+

    We all want your potato source, just fyi... Do Food Expiration Dates Really Matter?
    I think Azrancher nailed it. IMHO: if your flour has been frozen for a few days, you've killed any potential bug eggs. I freeze mine and then pack it in mylar with oxygen absorbers, but I don't have sufficient freezer space to keep flour. Have you considered keeping a stash of pasta? It's already dehydrated, fairly inexpensive, and most of us eat a lot of it.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  4. Legion489

    Legion489 Shining the Light of Truth

    Flour, if bug/mouse free will keep forever, possibly longer.

    I have never noticed the difference between many years old and "fresh" dried instant potatoes.

    You can catch your own yeast and make sour dough and other breads/cakes/flapjacks/etc.

    You can dry your own eggs, but 78% of the dried egg is shell (put on garden).

    Cans are good to go for YEARS! I am eating my way through stash of five years ago and if it isn't rusted through it is good to go. I have eaten far older ones and they were fine. SOME water soluble vitamins WILL leach in the water and other vitamins that are "age related" will keep getting less and less as time goes by. Actual studies have shown that metal cans from WWII that were stored in a dry basement were fully edible 50 years later.

    By the way, most multi-vitamins that have 50 different vitamins in them don't have enough of any one to be worth while after it goes through your gut.
    Seepalaces and Motomom34 like this.
  5. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    Welcome--I couldn't find a single silly question in the lot, but I do have a suggestion for when your chickens are producing and you have eggs to store.

    Powder them. It's not hard at all.

    How to Make Powdered Eggs
  6. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey++

    Thanks to all for the quick replies! For the record, I really would like to Mylar more but it is very time consuming to do so but I have every intent of doing it over time (got the 5 and 1 gallon bags in last week off Amazon) but my immediate concerning is getting enough basics stored and getting them put up now.

    "Near Coeur d Alene?"
    Yes, we're about 20 miles North of Coeur D'Alene (CDA). We do our shopping in CDA. I wanted quiet and no people but couldn't get the wife to going any farther North. :):):) It's beautiful up here and people are great.

    "OK where did you find instant potatoes in bulk, was it a good price, are they flakes or powdered? Again store them in Mylar with Ox absorbers."
    We just discovered the place. It's called Winco. They we're flakes.
    QUESTION: I know Mylar would be better but is it necessary to store them in Mylar or can they be stored just in a sealed food grade bucket like rice? Seems like since they are already dried they would be okay in bucket for 1-2 years but...honestly I don't know. I bet they lose some of their nutritional value sitting in the bucket...but maybe not.

    "Yeah I put up one of those big bricks of yeast you get at Costco"
    Okay, I have never seen these bricks of yeast but will look the next time we're Costco or Winco. That's a big deal. And, I do need to learn how to make yeast...another notation on the Do List.

    "I think Augason is good..."
    Good. I will pick up a #10 can of powdered eggs next time they have it at Walmart.

    "We all want your potato source, just fyi..."
    Winco. I never seen one before but they have loads of stuff you can purchase in bulk, spices too. Wife went nuts on the spices. The nice thing is you can purchase the portion you want - meaning - if you need/want only 2 pounds of Scottish Oats, that's what you take. I took only 3 pounds of these potato flakes because I wanted to try them first before purchasing 20 pounds or so...What I want to find out is if they have 40 and 50 pound bags of stuff already to go. I did see the big bags of rice and beans but didn't have time to ask about potatoes. We'll be going back soon...

    "but I don't have sufficient freezer space to keep flour"
    With just the two of us, we have lots of freezer space right now but do intend to Mylar up flour in the future...

    "Have you considered keeping a stash of pasta?"
    Yes, we have quite a bit of pasta stored, a full 5-gallon food grade bucket of it plus some extra on the shelf. It doesn't go bad does it? I don't think so and we do rotate our stuff, eat the old and replace it with new.
    Hey! Before I forget, thanks for pointing me towards that link "Do Food Expiration Date Matter".

    "Flour, if bug/mouse free will keep forever, possibly longer."
    I thought I read something about flour (white all-purpose flour) would spoil if left out...can't remember why. So, I froze the flour, killing bugs and their eggs, so you think it would be okay to just store in in a normal food-grade bin/bucket now?

    "Powder them. It's not hard at all."
    Yes, I would be interested in trying to make my own powdered eggs come this Spring.
    Thanks for the link on it! You will certainly be getting questions from me this Spring! :):) And, we do have a dehydrator which we experimented with this past summer. The apples turned out great but the bananas were a failure, too gooey, but tasted good.

    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
    Seepalaces likes this.
  7. duane

    duane Monkey++

    Food storage is funny, white rice, white flour, pasta etc will keep nearly forever, but I haven't had any luck, outside of freezing for whole wheat flour, brown rice, wheat germ, totally fresh unprocessed flax seed oil etc. Seems even with oxygen tabs,the oils get rancid. I can't keep them over a couple years without a taste change that makes it taste bad and I don't really know what the food value is.
    Seepalaces and Garand69 like this.
  8. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey++

    Yes, I have heard that and I think people said the way to get around it is to store the wheat whole and then grind it yourself when you're ready to use it. Seems like a good idea but it is one I can't currently do... I did just learn that Converted Rice is far superior in vitamins than White Rice so I am glad that, at least, I haven't made a significant purchase of white yet. So much to learn...and I hope there is time. - Rick
    Seepalaces likes this.
  9. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    Wheat stores better unground because of the oil in the berries. Once the berries are ground into whole wheat flour, the oil is much more exposed to oxygen and goes rancid much more quickly.

    Refining takes the oil (and most of the nutrition) out, so white flour stores almost indefinitely.

    Pasta is usually only good for a year or so if made with whole wheat flour because of the oil. White pasta stores longer if no oil was added to it. Ramen noodles go a little off in flavor after about two years (MOL) but are still edible.

    Recycling is always a wise idea. All bulk foods should be broken down into small lots (bags or jars) whenever possible so that if something is/was/gets infested, it won't spread. Also, that lets you use test lots of LTS food from time to time to assess how well it's holding up in storage.

    Oil eventually goes rancid, but is good for a long time if stored cool and dark. For reasons of nutrition, I store and use only olive oil.
    Bacon grease is always worth saving, especially if not processed with nitrites.

    Likewise, I store and use only real butter. Margarine is much cheaper and much more harmful to the consumer.

    The trick with banana chips is to just keep on drying them--like for about 15 hours. Check them after cooling by cutting one in half. If the texture is the same all the way through, they're dry. Put a handful in a jar and set it in the sun. If any moisture appears on the glass, they aren't quite dry. Experiment--you'll find the time time & temp that works well with your dryer.

    One thing my wife likes to do is to dry several types of veggies, then mix them in jar lots. For soup, she just grabs one jar and pours out however however much she needs. Makes some great soup that way, quick & easy.

    Do keep in mind that every glass jar with a lid can be used to store "dry stuff". You don't have to use a mason jar to store white rice. We also use a lot of Christmas cans (the type that held popcorn, etc) because they are cheap and very durable.
  10. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter

    Welcome to the tree @RickR ... I have been wanting to run into Winco since they opened... Just never seem to have the extra time.. Have heard that some of them carry Mylar bags and have wanted to see if they had them.. Just a quick tip, you can pick up reasonably priced metal barrels in Athol... Keeps the mice out of the chicken feed, not that they mind the extra protein..
  11. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey++

    Like Uncle Morgan, I didn't see one stupid question, only a lot of really good answers.
    Ask away - and welcome.
  12. Garand69

    Garand69 Monkey Site Supporter+

    azrancher and others got you covered, I'll just add that I have had great experiences with Honeyville Grain products, and they have powdered eggs that are great and shipping is only $4.99 for any order. Honeyville Grain

    Here is a link to making yeast. 3 Ways to make yeast
    Motomom34 likes this.
  13. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey++

    "For reasons of nutrition, I store and use only olive oil."
    We prefer olive oil also. On a safe average, how long do you think olive oil keeps? This is something I didn't think much about and should - cooking oil.

    "Bacon grease is always worth saving, especially if not processed with nitrites."
    Because it can be used for cooking? I honestly don't know...but curious.

    "One thing my wife likes to do is to dry several types of veggies, then mix them in jar lots."
    That's a really good idea! I will have to talk to wife about it. She puts up (cans) a lot and if she dries the veggies it would save space in the freezers for other things.

    "you can pick up reasonably priced metal barrels in Athol"
    Yes, I know the place you are referring to. That's a good idea as I forgot about them!
    You will be surprised when you see WinCo. I certainly was. It's huge and had good products that I was looking for at pretty good prices. The Bulk section was pretty impressive and had everything: candy, nuts, spices, soap mixes, grains, etc. We'll be going there a lot in the future. My wife was so impressed that she wants to work there, employee owned company if I understand correctly.

    Whoa! $4.99 shipping! That's unheard of in this day and age. Yes, I will order some today, in fact, I'll order right now as Walmart normally sells out very quickly of the Augason stuff. It appears you can get a 40 pound bag of Potato Flakes for $67 which seems a good deal to me. Big thanks!

    Garand69 likes this.
  14. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    I cook with either bacon grease or coconut oil. Both you should always have on hand. Bacon grease add so much flavor plus I use it to oil my cast iron. Also it can be used to waterproof you boots.

    PS- Love Honeyville. I have many of their items.
  15. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    And if you use it on your boots, you will attract ever Brown Bear, within Odor Distance, in your neighborhood...
    Yard Dart, Tikka and Garand69 like this.
  16. Garand69

    Garand69 Monkey Site Supporter+

    RE: Olive oil.

    I was told that Extra Virgin "Cold Pressed" in metal cans lasts vitually forever. Glass is good as well as long as it is stored out of sunlight.

    Bacon Grease on my boots would probably turn my good dog bad, I know it did when I was a teenager working at a fast food joint. The family dog that never chewed a shoe in his life destroyed mine after spending the day in front of a fryer [roflmao]
    Tikka and Motomom34 like this.
  17. john316

    john316 Monkey+

    Question: How long will flour keep in the freezer?
    most food,when stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower,in an air tight container,will last forever.
  18. Garand69

    Garand69 Monkey Site Supporter+

    I only freeze flour long enough to kill any critters that may be packaged with it. It then goes on my shelf. After critters, Oxygen is the enemy of flour so O2 absorbers and mylar is your best long term storage method for it. I have flour on the shelf for a year and a half doing nothing more than freezing it for a few days and it is still good. But for the longest term, I have whole wheat berries to be ground when needed.

    Here is an interesting link on shelf life (though it is for "Best Quality" and not whether it is "Not as tasty, but still safe"). Still Tasty
  19. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Bananas do fine if you cut them thin, like 1/4 of an inch. They make nice round crispy snacks.
  20. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    They've salvaged olive oil in pottery containers from Greek and Roman shipwrecks. One article said it was usable. So unless someone corrects us; I'd bet on you being correct.

    A leather chew toy with bacon flavor? [lolol]
    Garand69 likes this.
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