Basic Long Term Storage (LTS) Foods. This covers Chow - Rice, Beans, Wheat, Milk (Non-fat, Non-instant dry milk), salt and honey. This does not cover planning; spices (needed) or any related logistics items – water/storage/purification; any related hygiene items; fuel for cooking; recipes or other parts that make up a full-spectrum storage plan. There are basic, long term, long lasting shelf life storage items. This also is not a balanced food set; it does provide a base to work from/add to/build upon. To follow this document, you will need to make a minimum investment in: · Mylar bags, one gallon · Oxygen absorbers, 300cc minimum. (500cc better) BTW 1 cc = 1 mL · Four each, 5 gallon buckets, I used Home Depot as they are readily available and inexpensive, buy lids at the same time you get the buckets. · To make the most of your wheat storage, you will need a mill. While you can use a blender/food processor to crack what, making flour, even coarse flour, will open a world of menu choices for you. I will cover mills in the next posting. Mylar bags may be sealed with a common household iron What We begin with rice and bean in storage. For this document, I call out two bags of black beans, 25 lbs each; one bag of long grain white rice, enriched, 50 lbs. These can be purchased at your local Big Box store or a natural foods outlet. How Product will be loaded into a '1 gallon' , 7 mil Mylar bag. Then a pair of O2 scavengers (300ml) are dropped in, then the bag is sealed with a hot wire sealer or household iron. Amount of product per bag During extensive testing, it was determined through empirical observation that 14 cups of product provided a good amount of product to volume and still allows a solid seal of the bag. Note - You can fit up to an additional two cups in each bag, but then the bag becomes very fussy to close and seal. YMMV. Rolling or 'burping' the bag to remove air helps. Results You should get four bags of 14 cups each out of a 25lb bag of dry black beans. You should also be able to get 8 bags of rice, each with 14 cups of product from the 50 lb bag. At the end, I had about 3 cups of beans and 4 or so cups of rice we chose not to bag. Four bags of either rice or beans will fit comfortably in a Home Depot five-gallon bucket. These buckets are not food grade, but that is not a storage factor. These buckets were the least expensive new buckets in town. A total of four buckets will be used. How many will it serve? CAUTION – Math ahead One serving of cooked rice is normally listed as single one-half cup. I find that hard to believe – unless the rice is a side dish. But, ½ C is a 'standard' serving, so I'll go with that. Because 1 cup of raw (not instant) rice makes 3 cups cooked, then it follows that 8 teaspoons (1/6 of a cup) of raw rice equals a single one-half cup serving of cooked rice. A 1 gallon bag of rice (as above) should provide 84, one-half cup servings per bag. (14 C raw = 42 C cooked – so that yields 84 ½ cup 'servings'. 762 ½ cup servings per 50 lb bag. That yields 336 ½ cup servings per 5 gallon bucket. . This IS NOT a meal, it is a serving. One 50 lb bag of rice @ 16 USD – gives 8 1-gallon bags of rice. Each 1-gallon bag gives 84 servings, so one 50 lb bag will give 762, ½ cup servings. $16/762 gives a cost per serving of $0.02. Yes, two cents. Eat a full cup and the cost rockets up to $0.04 per servings. I'll came back to these numbers. Minute Rice (TM) lists 1/2 cup of uncooked rice = 1 cup of cooked rice - 1 serving. So 1 cup dry instant rice + 1 cup water = 2 "servings" Minute rice is .parboiled, and only requires re-hydration to eat. Cost The beans were about 16 USD at my local (Anchorage AK) Costco. The rice was about 26 USD at the same vendor. The cost of 7 mil Mylar bags is very vendor dependent. (For us, the bag + 2 scrubbers was 0.61 USD) The buckets are 1.98 USD at the local HD outlet, the lids, 0.98 USD each. Alternate choices for the rich and lazy: In contrast, I looked on the web, several web outlets listed a 'bucket' of instant rice (112 servings in 14 ea, "8 serving" pouches) - at a cost of 50 USD to 110 USD - depending on the vendor. This is $50/112= $0.45 per ½ cup serving to the high end of $0.98 per serving. Before you buy any commercial LTS product, do the math. Oddly, all of the vendors DO NOT list the 'serving' size - I have to assume that the serving is the standard 1/2 cup, cooked. The FDA, Diabetic Assn, even MIT say 1/2 cup of cooked rice is a 'serving'. Minute Rice (TM) also says 1/2 cup is a serving. You do the math. Final thoughts on rice. Raw rice has to be cooked - simmered for 20 min with conventional means. I cook mine with boiling water in a thermal flask. 2 cups boiling water to 1 cup raw rice. Takes "about" a half hour. Yields 3 cups of rice. Minute Rice (TM) takes 1 cup of boiling water to 1 cup of product. Yields (about) 1 cups of product. Takes about 5 minutes. Fuel usage with thermal flask cooking is a wash for the same amount of rice. Time-wise, Minute Rice wins. Just ensure you use a wide-mouth thermal flask or you will regret the choice of the standard mouth flask. This is experience speaking here. Now, let's do a math check. 50 lbs bag of rice = 8 storage bags (1 gallon) of 14 cups of raw rice each. 25 lbs bags of beans = 4 storage bags (1 gallon) of 14 cups of dried beans. 1/2 cup of raw rice = 1.5 cups cooked rice and 1 cup of dried beans yield 2 to 3 cups of cooked beans. Call it 2.5 per single cup dried. 14 cups raw rice = 42 cups of cooked rice. so then each 1 gallon bag yields 42 cups of cooked rice. 8 storage bags = 336 cups of cooked rice. 1.5 cups/day (336/1.5) = 224 days /person/50 lb bag of raw rice. 14 cups dried beans = 35 cups of cooked beans. Call it a cup a day or 35 days per 1 gallon storage bag or 140 days/25 lb bag of beans. To balance out my storage (more or less) I need an additional 116 days worth of beans - or 84 cups. Call that 3 more 1 gallon bags of dried beans. So, just buy another bag of beans – I did. For each 50 pound bag of rice, you should have 50 pounds (more or less) of dried beans. This will give you around 224 days of food (beans and rice) per person per 100 pounds of dried product. Space required– 4 x 5 gallon buckets. Calories count would be 218 calories in 1 cup of Black Beans 240 calories in 1.5 cups cooked rice 458 calories/day and that is well short of a balanced diet or even a 'survival' level of nutrition. Now, let's add some wheat to this mix.: One cup of wheat berries will yield one cup of flour – there are some minor losses in milling. 1 pound (450g) of dry (uncooked) Wheat Berries = 2 1/2 cups uncooked = 5 cups cooked. 25 lb bag (I looked in Walmart) of wheat is about 63 cups of dry product. At 14 cups per 1 gallon bag, you should get three each, 1 gallon bags, with about 7 cups of wheat berries left over. Wheat must be cooked to be consumed. Uncracked dry wheat is cooked with 1 cup wheat berries to 4 cups water. Yield – 5 cups of 'eatable' product. One 25 lb bag of wheat will give ~312 cups of cooked product. I use this for planning. There are 407 calories in 1 cup of Whole Wheat Flour. So, 25 ln bag of wheat is 63 cups x 407 = 25.641 calories. Since I use flour, I use this calculation. Currently a 25 lb bag of (bulk) wheat sells for ~ $15.00 That is (15/63) $0.24 per cup. YMMV depending on location. Now, let's add some dry milk to this mix: I buy and use DariyX, a brand of non-fat, non-instant dry milk. It comes in 50 ln bags. This milk takes a while to fully rehydrate, so mixing and leaving set overnight in the fridge gives better tasting results. Currently, a 50 ln bag of dry milk powder (Land o Lakes) sells for $97.50. Dry milk is 3.76 cups / pound. So – 50 ln bag is 188 cups of dry product. 5 and 1/3 cups of dry product give 1 gallon of skim milk. So, a 50 ln bag should yield about 35.5 gallons. Cost - $2.77/gallon. Now, just add salt. Salt, in the standard container seen by most is 26 oz/1 lb, 10 oz. These sell for $1.50 per container. Five pounds will work for most folks – call it $7.50. Salt is cheap, stores 'forever' and is used for many things. Add pickling salt if you have a garden. Finally, we should add some honey, molasses or sugar: I store 10 gallons of honey, this instead of sugar. Cost varies wildly based on location. I got mine from the farmer's field, right from the hives. Real world cost varies because so much of what is sold as "honey" isn't – it is not real, whole honey. Some of the less expensive crap (from China) is more sugar that anything. Walmart sells 80oz of "pure, filtered'" homey. The brand I'm quoting is "Golden Heritage Foods" and it is certified as real honey. Cost $12.48 or $0.15/oz. For comparison, white, granulated sugar sells for $0.23/oz. Bottom Line: Planning is key to a successful long term food storage program. I did the math so you can see it is worth the time to compare bulk or store brand, repackaged by you to the nasty, overpriced crap sold in "buckets". Friends don’t let friends buy Bucket food. I covered Rice, beans, wheat, milk, salt and honey – a solid base for any LTS food storage plan for you or your family. You add meat, spices, veggies (dry or canned) to round this out. Only you know what your posse will eat, so you should do the planning and buying. Avoid the Bucket food vendors and not only will you save real money, you will have a far better idea what you really have stored. As with any LTS food, rotation is the key – the items I listed (Rice, beans etc) will store for decades, so you can focus your rotation efforts on the other items in your pantry.