Newbie needs food prep advice..... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I have been lurking for a couple months, trying to get all First Things accomplished simultaneously while dealing with creeping dread & anxieties. There has been so much great info here, thanks so much for your time & effort and advice. My heat source and water source preps are in process...the food is next but food prep has me stuck..

I have spent hours reading about food storage and I just can't get a handle on what's best to do. I normally love to research but I am feeling like *time is running out*! I have hesitated to write you guys because I feel like I should figure it out myself, but I need a helping hand.

I have talked to two people in the neighborhood who have been prepping for a year. One is going the mylar bag-O2 absorber-desiccant-bay leaf way for storing grains/beans etc. The other feels that the store packaging is adequate, is buying things in 5-10 lb quantities and throwing them in a 55-gal food grade plastic drum without other modification. He notes that he's had 10 lb bags of rice thrown in the corner of the closet with no ill effects and doesn't anticipate any now. I am uneasy with either option--I can't afford $2-$3 in prep materials for each bag of food, and I worry about the dump n' leave 'em philosophy. Since it is so late I am planning on a lot of canned food (do you really have to take the labels off & spray them?). For grains and beans I am hoping to store rice, kidney beans, black beans, lentils. Also soy grits, oatmeal, flour, sugar, oil, sprouting seeds, TVP (if I can find it), milk powder, dehydrated eggs & cheese?(anyone have sources for these?). I have a full basement, live in the Northeast, and find the basement is damp & mildew-y in the summer but OK winters. I am only planning (hoping) to store the food for about a year--I think that's all I'll be able to manage. I will be mostly getting things in 5-10 lb quantities.

Can you help me with a simple, adequate low cost method of storing these items? I am thinking now about dumping grains in 5 gal buckets with dry ice which seems easier/more economical to me than the O2 route. Can I put the grains in "bare" with dry ice? Does the dry ice need to be wrapped in something? Can I put the grains in the buckets in their store wrapping and be OK? Can I put different items in their store bags (ie some rice, some beans) in the buckets with dry ice? (will the CO2 permeate through the store bags) Should I put desiccant (silica gel) in the buckets with/without dry ice? How much silica gel, and do you wrap it or put it in something? What happens in the bucket when it absorbs moisture & you have a little 'sponge' sitting there? Are regular ziploc type bags (or several together) OK for storage inside a plastic bucket? What about storing 'soft' stuff like flour, oatmeal? Someone mentioned two-liter soda bottles...are they OK with the cap back on? Do you need dry ice/desiccant? Are the paper bags OK if put in plastic containers?

Thanks, this will go a long way in helping me get past this 'block'. Best luck and best wishes to all of you in the coming months.......... Deb

-- Deb (, July 16, 1999


Deb, good luck. This is gonna be one of them "ask 3 people, get 5 answers" opinion type questions. Let's see about it one item at a time:
Grains an dry ice...Pour the grain into the bucket, wrap the dry ice LOOSELY with craft paper and set it on top of the grain, and set the cover on top of the bucket LOOSELY. You can if you wish add an envelope of silica gell to top with the dry ice. Dump a couple TBSP of silica gell into a standard mailing envelope, seal and drop in. DON'T worry about the "sponge" as the gell DOESN'T let go real easily.

Use the dry ice technique for the oatmeal, too.

For flour, I am using the bags they came in, in a garbage can with a bag liner (and a garbage bag wrapped TIGHTLY around each 25 pound bag of flour) and have had no problem so far, with flour that is, oh, a half year old. (bread machine still devours the stuff, and gives out good bread) 'Course THIS is the opinion part and your mileage may vary ( which others abreviate YMMV)

OH right. If you are putting stuff in the buckets in store packages that are plastic or glasine, you might want to pierce the palstic a couple times at the top and bottom for the CO2 to fill the packages. If the store packae is paper, you DEFINITELY need to use buckets of some type, seal them and etc. But, paper in buckets should be OK (YMMV).

OH YEAH, Don't peel and spray the cans unles your basement is REALLY VERY WET in summer. You will wnat to know what is INSIDE them and, trust me, you will NOT remember, in July of '00 what was in THAT particular can. (Real embarassing to open the can of green beans when you REALLY wanted the can of pears).
PS you can try one of the crystal water absorbent things for closets and such for your basement. Most LOWE's carry something like Damp Rid or similar.

-- Chuck, a night driver (, July 16, 1999.

You can also check out the Prep forum at: (Y2000)%20Preparation%20Forum

TB2K Preparations Forum

-- Chuck, a night driver (, July 16, 1999.


You really should have put this to the prep forum. Living in the NE, I have no real experience here, but I am prepping similar to you with lots of canned goods due to fears of water shortages. I also posted a thread a few weeks ago about couscous and bulgur wheat. They are pre-cooked and require less heating fuel to eat than most "grains". My email is real if you have any other questions.

-- nothere nothere (, July 16, 1999.

Thanks to you both for suggestions. Sorry I am new to computers too and I thought I was posting this question to the prep forum. Anybody know how to get it over there? Thanks

-- Deb (, July 16, 1999.

Deb, There are many good y2k prep books you can buy. The information is right at your fingertips. Check out and do a y2k search. Making the best of basics by James Stevens is a good one.

Good Luck!

-- FOX (, July 16, 1999.


to get the question to the prep forum the easiest way is to copy and paste.

drag your mouse over the entire post. copy it [ctrl-c is the easiest way] Go to the other forum and set up to post a new message there.

then, in the dialog box, hit ctrl-v to paste the message in. fill in your name and addy, and submit.

-- de (, July 16, 1999.

Here is my take on it.

Many of the food storage recommendations that are given out in this forum and others were developed by survivalists who were anticipating having to store far more than one year's worth of food. Most of their techniques are overkill in a one-year storage scenario.

Your major enemies are insects, damp, and critters. I suspect that store packaging and lidded plastic buckets will take care of both damp and critters fairly well. They will also prevent external insects from entering your stores. What they won't do is save food that carried insect eggs that hatched after you stored it in the bucket. In my opinion, the simplest, least-work method for dealing with possible insect eggs is to assume damage and store 20% more than you think you need and store in smallish batches so an infestation is limited in the damage it does. Also, humans have eaten weevily flour for centuries. Bugs in your grains are unappetizing, but only rarely inedible.

I have stored cans in a minorly dampish basement for up to three years without any special preps. They were fine. If the furnace never went on in winter, I expect I could have seen some rust, but with the furnace working, no problems at all.

My approach is to become as informed as possible on the "best" methods, but to try to trust my judgement as to which methods are worth the effort and how much fuss is needed before I feel safe enough to get by. I stop well short of requiring my food storage to last eternally.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, July 16, 1999.

Deb, you may find this useful. My website has an article entitled "Food" that will have an updated version posted to my site by my new site administrator in a day or two, OR you can look at, and search the archives (easy to do on that site) for MinnesotaSmith (look for new food article), OR you can E-mail me and I will send it to you free. It is not as extensive as the food sections on a number of other Y2K websites, but I have tried to come up with some ideas/info I wasn't often seeing the like of elsewhere. Hope everything works out for you.

-- MinnesotaSmith (, July 16, 1999.


Thanks for asking the questions as some are very similar to mine as a very recent GI. I have been reading the web sites and forums, too. I think mine will be a combination approach-- we've had some things sitting around the house for a few years as is, so some things seem like overkill (and I can't afford the bags and buckets and 02 absorbers, etc., anyway). I can't give you much advice on this other than:

1 - about buying the books. Well, hey, a lot of them are in the library, too. And most were 'available' (not checked out). There's one called Basic Family Preparedness by (drawing a blank here - something Talmage something). He also has one called Don't get caught with your pantry down. But anyplace selling the books can give a description of the contents and the author's name and you can do a quick check at the lib for it. (Realize you may need some of the info sooner than that... but it comes back to that overall conflict between time and money).

2 - If you have time, go out to the y2k kitchen website. Home page is at

shopping/storing is at

Sally's y2k kitchen is a site I happened upon by accident, but it was really influential in helping me 'get it.'

Best to you

-- winter wondering (, July 16, 1999.

Deb: Good questions! I think you are smart to ask around, it saves having to 'reinvent the wheel', so to speak.

I have enough food and water stored for three months. Here's what I did (on a tight budget and without much support from my husband.) I realized that I would get more support from hubby if I was very frugal and if I only stored the types of food that we already eat. I have cases of canned fruits and veggies, flour in 5-10 bags, sugar in 25 bags, spices, home-canned meats, veggies, and fruits, oatmeal, rice, pastas and beans in 20 pound bags, plus staples in 'regular' sizes.

All of the dry goods; ie, rice, pasta, oats, beans, flour, etc, have been frozen for 48 hours and (with the exception of the flour) divided up into smaller Zip-Loc freezer bags, dated and stored in 3 to 5 gallon buckets. The buckets I got free at local grocery stores. Just had to ask at the deli if they had any buckets with lids. They were happy to give them away. These buckets were food grade and had good, heavy lids with a rubber gasket to help them seal. I then wrote on the outside of the bucket the contents and the date. These buckets are in a cool, dry, and dark pantry.

The sugar was poured into clean and DRY gallon milk cartons. 25 pounds of sugar fills up 4-1 gallon jugs. I made a note on the jugs so that we would know it was sugar (you know how all those white products, flour, sugar, etc, look alike,) and stored these also in the pantry.

My canned goods are in the original cans. All I did was to make sure that the shelf life extended well into 2000 (or even better, into 2001.)

Food items with a shorter shelf life, I have left until later this year to purchase.

One of the primary concerns for me was that our diet not change if there are any disruptions next year. I was very careful not to just buy stuff because someone else said it was best. (Not to step on toes here but many people advocate buying wheat, beans, and rice. My thinking is that if you aren't already eating these things on a regular basis, then you will be adding stress to an already stressful situation.) We don't eat wheat (except in breads) so I didn't purchase any. Of course, I'm only planning for three months also. I think that those who have purchased wheat, etc, are planning for longer term than I.

Dry ice and/or silica gel is not in my budget so I've made do without it and I think that you probably could too, depending on where you are able to store your foods. Of course, all this 'advice' is just my opinion.

Hope this helps. Linda

PS The author of those two books mentioned in the post above me is James Talmadge Stevens. Great stuff in his books.

-- newbiebutnodummy (, July 16, 1999.

For things like dried beans, rice, flour, sugar, I've got Rubbermaid containers. It doesn't matter which brand of container you use, though.It'd be a good idea to use Diationious Earth in them. Another thing you could use, which might be cheaper is plastic 2 liter soft drink bottles. You'll need a funnel to get the stuff inside. You can use the plastic bottles for water storage. Cheri

-- Cheri Wallenbrock (, August 22, 1999.

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