Some Survival Tips On
Food Storage

(in regards to an emergency)
(part two)

Kraig J. Rice

(Clicking on these internal links will move you down this page)

Do you plan on rotating your food supplies?

Then there are several other things to consider for your survival in an emergency:

                              Where are you going to get water?
                              How are you going to prepare and cook this food?
                                                                   if you have no electricity or natural gas available?

      Some cooking utensils A cooking stove
      A cooking fire A coffee pot
      Some eating utensils  

                              A few additional "survival tips"
      A grinder for Wheat and corn A mortar and pestle
      Medical Supplies Shelter
      An electric generator Miscellaneous items
      An emergency checklist  

                              A few frequently asked questions"
      Hardtack Water on sailing ships
      Pilot Bread Space Food Pills
      Astronaut Space Food K Rations (World War 2)
      Cooking stove additional equipment Food Insects
      Make your own jerky Some foods from your local store
      More dehydrated food info  


Do you Plan on Rotating Your Food Supplies?

When I was in the U.S. Navy in 1967 aboard a World War 2 aircraft carrier I handled all of the dry storage food commodities in my "issue room" before it went to the galley to be cooked for the crew. My job title was "Jack of the Dust" and I had to order the food out of 6 warehouse compartments after looking at the weekly menu. I had sailors working for me on mess cook duty who were called "mules" because they had to carry the cases of food on their backs with canvas straps. I would send them from my issue room with their food orders to the 6 warehouse compartments where they picked up their burdens. Most men could carry 3 cardboard cases of 6 #10 sized cans at a time. Each case weighed about 25 pounds or so of weight apiece. Some of the dehydrated food cases were a lot lighter. My mules had to traverse on foot from deck to deck, up and down stair wells, through the bowels of the large ship with their burdens- until they got to my issue room which was their destination. Then I took the food that they brought in and had to stack the cases on top of each other with the labels facing out. Why did the labels have to face out so they could be read easily? Because the Navy believed in rotating it's food stocks- out with the old and in with the new. The expiration date for that case of food was stamped on the label. We were on a warship and couldn't take the chance on being put out of action due to bad food.

I really recommend that you rotate your food supplies. Cans of food from the super market make good storage foods, but you should use the oldest ones first and replace them. This is called "rotating" your food. The easiest way to do this is to put the date that you bought the food on the top of the can with a magic marker. This makes it easy to use the oldest first. Canned foods will keep for at least one year, if kept in a cool, dry place and not allowed to freeze. Try to arrange your "survival food" shopping list so your perishables get priority attention at home- put purchase dates on packaging and rotate your food supplies on a regular basis. Be sure to always date food packages and use the oldest first when rotating your food. Many cans have a date stamped on the bottom. Use this "best if used by" date as a rotation guideline.

Food storage rotation is important in avoiding rancidity. Too many times we buy and store the types of unhealthy foods we are accustomed to eating. In the United States an average adult consumes each year the following approximate amounts of dietary fat in these various forms:
24 pounds in cooking and salad oils and mayonnaise-type dressings;
23 pounds in shortening and frying fats;
20 pounds of dietary fat from meat, poultry, fish, and cheese; and
13 pounds in butter, margarine, peanut butter, and other foods.

If you don't have a cool place for your food storage, plan on rotating your storage quickly enough to prevent food loss. Was my "issue room" on the aircraft carrier a cool dry place in which to store food? Absolutely not. It was located above number 3 boiler so it was hot much of the time. As a consequence some of the cans would bulge out or burst open and when this happened I knew that the food inside of the cans was spoiled and I had to throw it out. Why? As bacteria grow and reproduce inside of canned food, they produce gases that can cause contaminated cans with botulism to swell and burst. Health officials say the extremely potent toxin from the bacteria causing botulism can adversely affect people if it is eaten, inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the eyes or breaks in the skin. Beware of moldy wheat, botulism-bulging cans and oozing bottled goodys. The regular shelf-life of a canned good is 18 months max- past that discard it.

Some basic foods need more frequent rotation, such as vegetable oil every 1 to 2 years.

Do not procrastinate on your food rotation saying, "Oh, I will let it go for another year"- this is not a good idea. One fella stated that food storage is like doing laundry- you may catch up from time to time but the task is never truly finished. If left undone for too long the food may turn bad, hence, you have lost some money needlessly.

Remember- don't place anything refrigerated or frozen in long term storage.

Where are You Going to Get Water?

Water is crucial to survival. You can't live without it. You have to have water to drink, to clean with, and to use to reconstitute dry and dehydrated food stuffs.

How Much Water do I Need?

FEMA and the American Red Cross advise to store at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking.

You should keep, at least, a three-day supply of water on hand. It is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water if you can afford it.

How to Store Water:

The question is not only where are you going to get water but how are you going to store your water once you get it?

I stored my red winter wheat in one gallon glass jugs. Once the wheat was out of them I could use them to store water in. That way I got a double use out of each one. I also used plastic bottles commonly used for soft drinks as well as small glass containers used for instant coffee to store food in. I could get a double use out of these as well. You can also use fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic substances. You can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums. A large water holder called "a Jerry Can" is good for this purpose and is portable. Seal water containers tightly, label them and store in a cool, dark place. You don't need any mold to start floating on top of your water. Rotate this water every six months.

Some emergency outdoor water sources:
If you need to find water outside your home, you can look around and see what is available. Here are a few ideas of where to look:

Rainwater (from a cistern)
Streams, rivers, and other moving bodies of water
Ponds, lakes, and swimming pools
Natural springs, wells, and water pumps (need electricity).

Avoid water with floating material or water that has an odor or dark color. Use saltwater only if you distill it first. You should not drink any flood water.

Hidden Water Sources in Your Home:
If a disaster catches you without a stored supply of clean water, you can use the water in your hot-water tank, water pipes and ice cubes. As a last resort, you can use water in the reservoir tank of your toilet (not the bowl).

Contaminated Water:
In addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water can contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis. You should treat all water of uncertain purity before using it for drinking, food preparation, or hygiene. Before treating, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth. There are many ways to treat contaminated water. Find the way that is best for you.

A few ways to treat contaminated water-

Water purification tablets:
When I was in the Boy Scouts I carried water purification tablets with me on all major outdoor camping expeditions. After all, the Boy Scout motto is:
"Be Prepared." U.S. military personnel fighting in the jungles of New Guinea and Burma during World War 2 carried water purification tablets with them. Any canteen full of stagnant creek or river water had to have these tablets added so the soldier wouldn't get sick. Tablets for this purpose are still available for purchase today. Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.

Boiling is the safest method of treating water. Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking.

Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This will also improve the taste of stored water.

Treatment with bleach:
You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms in water. A sanitizing solution can be prepared by adding 1/8 of a teaspoon (8 drops) of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to every gallon (4 liters) of water. Do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches, or bleaches with added cleaners or thickeners.

Distillation of salt water:
Distillation of salt water will kill most microbes in water, and will also remove any heavy metals, salts, and most other chemicals. This is really a good way to go. I drank this kind of water on the aircraft carrier that I served on in the Navy and it tastes good.

Here are a couple of websites that might give you more emergency water info if you are interested:

How are you going to prepare and cook this food
   (with no electricity or natural gas available)?

Well, we've gotten this far. Let's say that we have the food and the water available but what are we going to do now? We need to cook what we've got.

Cooking Utensils:
So, let's break out our cooking utensils and let's just take an inventory of what we have or what we should have in order to do some cooking.

We need to soak our food. Whether I am soaking pinto beans or rehydrating some dehydrated food I need a large "soaking pot". Let's pick one out. Eventually, on other cooking projects, you will also need a frying pan and other pots as well. There are several pots and pans on the market but I recommend that you purchase cast iron ones. Why? What's wrong with aluminum pots? Or stainless steel ones? Aluminum and stainless steel cooking utensils are light duty- they are not made for heavy slamming, bashing, and banging around. It's too easy to burn the bottom out of a light duty pot. In a survival situation you want cookware that is going to last and last over a period of time and just keep on working for you. So, it is my opinion to go with the durable and proven cast iron. I had my cast iron cooking utensils in storage for years and I had no trouble with them except I had to make sure they stayed rust free because they will rust if neglected. Here are some pictures of Dutch Ovens. There are more on the market but I think you get my point.

A heart shaped Dutch Oven

   Cocotte Dutch Oven

      Cast Iron Skillet Set

Cooking Stove:
My food is now ready to cook but how am I going to cook it? I need a stove, a griddle, a fireplace, or open fire pit in which to light a cooking fire. A wood burning cook stove is ideal for this goal. It can actually serve two purposes- it can help you cook your food and help you stay warm at the same time (if in wintertime). A cook stove is a good survival tool to help with baking corn bread, biscuits, or home made bread.


Or you can cook your food on a griddle. You cannot bake home made bread with it but you can cook your food over red hot coals. It will put out some heat to warm you (if in the wintertime) and is easy to store away when not in use. It doesn't use any stove pipes and it's handy to have in an emergency but some folks say they can do just as good cooking over a camp fire or fire place.

Cooking Fire:
We need to build a fire in our stove so we can cook our food. Besides wood, we need matches or a magnifying glass to start our fire. These may sound like simple everyday items that we take for granted but have you ever tried starting a fire without them?

When I was in the Boy Scouts we used to take "strike anywhere" kitchen matches and waterproof each one by dipping it's head into molten hot parafene wax. That's a great way to also preserve them for long term storage if you can keep them cool and dry. Never try to store away Bic lighters or portable cigarette lighters that are full of lighter fluid in long term storage. Especially do not store them around your food or near a fire source.

Coffee Pot:
Now that we are cooking our food let's put on a pot of hot tea or hot coffee to go with our meal. What's a meal without a hot drink to help settle it down? And if it is cold it will warm you to your bones. The pot will get hot on the wood stove about the same time the food does if you time it just right. If you don't have instant coffee but have only regular ground coffee you can place some coffee grounds in an old dirty stinky sock and boil it in the hot water. That's called hobo coffee. The stinky sock adds flavour. No- I'm just kidding. You can use a clean sock!

Eating Utensils:
We can eat MRE's with our fingers and don't need any silverware. Other than that we are going to need some help to eat our hot food. There are a lot of options one can choose from. The picnic favorite is paper plates and "plastic silverware." We can eat off of plastic or glass plates. Or we can do like I did aboard ship-

I ate off of a mess tray like this one when I was in the U.S. Navy on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War era. Don't forget the sugar bowl and salt and pepper shakers. A good butcher knife is not an option- it's a must have item. Protect it against rust if you place it into long term storage with your food. A stainless steel tray like this one is ideal to store away for any emergency. It's strong and is fairly easy to wash- I know- I washed thousands of them while on mess duty. And it won't rust. Stainless steel silverware is also a good way to go.

I am proud of you if you have followed me this far without getting hungry. So far we have covered the basics and yet there is a lot left to be said and done.

The secret for survival:
everyone needs to work together-
"no man is an island"

A few additional "survival tips"

How are you going to pulverize any winter red wheat or hard kernel corn that you break out of storage? What if you have no electricity available? You basically have two options. You can use a grinder or mortar and pestle.

This grain grinder can also use an electric motor to power it

The wheat grinder:

Your food storage plan needs to include a hand powered grain grinder. I bought a wheat and corn grinder made of sturdy aluminum that I mounted on a slab of thick wood to make a sturdy base. That way it was portable so I could move it around and it was steady so I could attach an electric motor to it to turn it. It had a hand crank if I had no electricity available. I had electricity at the time so I purchased a large pulley wheel and fan belt for a small car to fit it. I mounted a small electric washing machine motor (that had a small pulley on it) to the wood base and put it all together. It worked great and I was able to grind up my red winter wheat and hard kernel corn. This food tasted delicious and it was healthy for me, my wife, and our 3 children. I recommend that you purchase a good grain mill that has an external, removable hand crank- and one that can be fitted to attach to an electrical motor.

Wheat needs to be ground into flour for bread, rolls, and pancakes. It's one of your staple foods from the leading major foods groups. Corn needs to be ground into corn meal so you can make corn bread and corn muffins. My late father loved to eat hot buttered corn bread more than chocolate cake with icing!

If you don't have coffee stored away, soy beans and chick peas can be roasted in your oven until dark brown, like coffee beans, and then ground up for a pretty good coffee substitute. Some folks like to mix this with a 1/3 volume of real coffee if you have it, but it is doesn't taste too bad all by itself in an emergency. And, of course, it will lack the caffeine that some folks like. When I was in the Boy Scouts in California I made manzanita bark tea. The manzanita bush grows wild in the California hills and it's outer bark is red in color. Cut the bark in long strips and peel it from the bush. Separate the green inner bark from the outer red bark. Boil the green inner bark strips in hot water for a few minutes. The liquid looks and tastes like store bought tea. Add more bark strips to make it stronger tasting.

The mortar and pestle:

If you do not have a grain grinder you can use a mortar and pestle. In the small town of Volcano, Calif. there is a state park called Grinding Rock State Park. It's named that because early American indian women made surface holes in the surrounding rocks by grinding their grain and acorns that way. Wheat and corn grain is hard so it will take a lot of effort to "grind" them this way.

A mortar and pestle also comes in handy for pulverizing dry garden herbs and for pulverizing food lumps. Dry milk powder and white sugar are just two items that can get lumpy over time and need to be pulverized back into powder as much as is possible.

Medical Supplies:

Besides emergency food and water you should also consider storing away some medical supplies. You should be able to choose from many good first aid kits at some of your local stores. Storing away extra prescription medications has its risks as some needs to stay refrigerated and some have a short shelf life. Taking expired medication can be dangerous because some legal drugs have a change in their chemical formula after their expiration date.


Some folks like a portable house trailer that can be pulled to any where at any time during almost any emergency. It's kept stocked with emergency food and water supplies. The small refrigerator can run on propane gas or off of a car battery for awhile. And most of these refrigerators can run on electricity, if available. FEMA uses house trailers many times to help give displaced persons emergency shelters. But some folks like a tent. That way they can use it to camp out on family vacations. Also they can eat some of their stored food that is ready for rotation. Some folks like a secluded cabin up in the mountains where they can live in peace.

If you want to plan for a permanent emergency shelter- an underground one is the best. Some folks like to live in underground "berm houses" that stay cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter, are safe from tornadoes and hurricanes (but not earthquakes), use less energy, and serve as an underground bunker in case of a local hostile nuclear detonation. I have written a little more about this in another one of my web pages at

Electric generators:

Electric generators come in all shapes and sizes. Some are powered by gasoline and some by diesel fuel. If you need emergency electricity then this is a handy tool to have. Run a machine like this safely outside of your house so no one can breathe any harmful exhaust fumes.

In 1982 I was a maintenance superintendent at a local geriatric hospital in Cloverdale, Calif. The facility was required by law to have a nice backup electric generator and I was required to test it from time to time. I had to make sure it always had enough fuel and oil and I had to stop it from leaking oil that it was prone to lose. One night the lights went out and the generator came on automatically and powered the entire facility. I have liked generators ever since. I don't recommend hamster generators because the cute little critters are nocturnal and won't work for you during the daylight hours:-)


You might also want to store away some books, clothes, valuables, and anything else you want to use in an emergency situation. Don't forget a non-electric can opener. You can use a meat cleaver for opening any cans when you don't have a can opener. Store a few extra knives, axes, shovels, and other usable tools for bartering purposes. As long as you can- keep your freezer clean and at 0 degrees F or lower. Keep it full of emergency food. Rely on some old-fashioned common sense for anything else.

Here is a basic
Survival Kit Checklist
(no electricity)

The very first item on this basic survival kit for surviving an emergency is food.

  emergency food
  plenty of water
  cooking and kitchen utensils
  wood burning stove or charcoal briquet grill
  wood or charcoal briquets to burn
  liquid "charcoal lighter" or Sterno cans
  lots of matches and/or magnifying glass (for fire starting)
  portable tent or shelter (if necessary)
  extra flashlight batteries for your flashlight(s)
  portable radio(s) and/or cell phone(s)
  cloth rags (for many uses)
  hygiene supplies (especially toilet paper)
  blankets, sleeping bags, extra clothing, etc.
  clothing for infants and small children
  portable camping shovel for latrine and garbage burial use
  first aid kit
  camping cookstove and fuel (if possible)
  electric generator (if possible)
  extra gasoline for the generator (if possible)
  fire extinguisher (if possible)
  money in a waterproof container or extra items to barter with
  tools: hammer, saw, axe, knive, guns and ammo, etc.
  a good Bible or two to read and study
  a good book on survival techniques

When in doubt
Throw it out

A Few Frequently Asked Questions"

How was food preserved aboard the old time sailing ships 500 years ago?

The sailing food of yester-year mostly included but was not limited to:

hard tack (flour) preserved meat
salt beef salt pork
molasses raisins and dehydrated fruit
suet biscuits
pickles rice or oatmeal
peas potatoes
lime juice (to prevent scurvy) beans
coffee tea
water (collected rainwater) mustard
pepper salt

Meats were kept in salt for preservation. Some fresh foods, such as potatoes, could be kept for long periods in the hold of the ship (a dark, cool, dry place).

Great explorers like Columbus, Magellan and Cook carried dried foods and foods preserved in salt and brine.

A Hardtack biscuit

What is Hardtack, is it still available today, and if so, how can I make it?

Hardtack is a simple type of cracker or biscuit, made from flour, water, and salt. It is inexpensive and long-lasting but can be hard as a rock. It is and was used for sustenance in the absence of perishable foods. Historically known as Hardtack (or hard tack), the name derives from the British sailor's slang for food, "tack."

Hard tack was used during long sea voyages and military campaigns as a primary foodstuff usually dunked in water, brine, coffee or some other liquid to soften it up or cooked into a skillet meal. This biscuit was little more than flour and water which had been baked hard and would keep for years as long as it was kept in a cool dry place. It was also known as sea biscuit, sea bread, ship's biscuit, tooth dullers, sheet iron, molar breakers, or dog biscuit.

Because it is so hard and dry, properly stored and transported hardtack will survive rough handling and endure extremes of temperature.

"Life aboard an old time sailing ship was anything but comfortable. Seamen lived in cramped and filthy quarters. Rats gnawed through anything, including a ship's hull. Food spoiled or became infested and fresh water turned foul. One staple of most ships was hard tack, which seaman often ate in the dark to avoid seeing the weevils that infested the hard biscuits. To soften hard tack and make it more palatable, cooks might soak and boil them in rum and brown sugar to create a porridge-like mixture." 1

"During the American Civil War, 3-inch by 3-inch hardtack was shipped out from Union and Confederate storehouses to front line troops. Some of this hardtack had been stored for 20 years or so as it was left over from the 1846-1848 Mexican-American War. With insect infestation common in improperly stored provisions, soldiers would just drop the tack into their morning coffee, and wait for the insects to float to the top so they could skim off the bugs and resume consumption." 2

Some folk currently buy or bake hardtack in the United States. Most of these folk are Civil War reenactors or devout survivalists.

Here's how you can make this stuff today if you want to:

    * 2 cups of flour
    * 1/2 to 3/4 cup water
    * 6 pinches of salt
    * 1 tablespoon of shortening (optional)

Cooking Procedure:
1. Mix all the ingredients into a batter and press onto a cookie sheet to a thickness of 1/2 inch.
2. Bake in a preheated oven at 400F (205C) for one hour.
3. Remove from oven, cut dough into 3-inch squares, and punch four rows of holes, four holes
     per row into the dough (a fork works nicely).
4. Flip the crackers and return to the oven for another half hour.
     * Some recipes also recommend a second baking at 250F (120C) to thoroughly dry out the

How did they get fresh drinking water in the days of the sailing ships?

While at dock, in a port, a ship "took on" food, water, fuel, and ammunition supplies. But during rain showers at sea, the sailors spread a canvas and funnelled the fresh rainwater into empty water barrells stored below decks.

How did we get fresh water on the old World War 2 aircraft carrier that I served on? We had desalinization plants on the ship that converted sea water into drinking water. When I took a shower on the ship I had to turn on the fresh water only long enough to get my body wet and then turn it off. Then I had to soap my body down. Then I had to turn on the water again only long enough to wash off the soap. This rinsing could last no longer than 30 seconds. We had a Master at Arms person who monitored the ship's shower rooms and would "write up" any sailor he caught violating the ship's fresh water shower privileges.

pilot bread

Can I purchase pilot bread?

Yes. You can purchase commercially baked pilot bread in the continental United States. Commercially available pilot bread is a significant source of food energy in a small, durable package. Just one store bought "gram cracker" can contain 100 calories, 20% from fat, 2 grams of protein but practically no dietary fiber. I have eaten pilot bread that came out of some Canadian life boat food tins I purchased one time from a military surplus store. The crackers were tasty and nutritious but extremely dry to the mouth.

Some think that this is the modern day equivalent of Hardtack. It is used in emergency life boat food kits. The Japanese keep pilot bread in their national disaster kits. Some campers, hunters, and hikers in the U.S. like to take it along for a quick and easy lunch when away from civilization instead of trail mix. It's great to put into long term storage when packaged in vacuum tins. Keep an eye on some of the metal containers as they will rust over time and you might have to paint them to prevent this.

Can you tell me a little about Space Food pills?

In a nutshell Space Food pills have the best possible nutrition in the smallest possible volume. They are made that way because there is not a whole lot of room on any space craft going into orbit. They are also called Survival Food Tablets. They are good for emergency food rations and for disaster preparedness.

Survival food tablets (tabs) evolved from the early space program. Back in the 1960s the U.S. Federal Government was searching for a food source that could be used in specialty situations. The objective was to find a food product that would last a long time and yet be nutritious. The research was involved and intense. Eventually, a food tab was perfected and used widely as an emergency food. It came to be known as "Survival Tabs".

These things will keep you alive for quite awhile in an emergency. They are nutritious, have a 10 year shelf life, and taste ok. They are convenient, compact, and lightweight.

What's the difference between these tabs and regular sugar pills? These tabs have more vitamins and nutrients added to them. 180 food tabs will last one person for 15 days. That's 12 tabs a day- over 2,000 calories per day. The total weight of this amount of tabs is under 1 pound.

What's in these things? Calories plus 100% of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 15 essential vitamins and minerals. I would eat these things up after keeping them in storage for 10 years because the vitamins and minerals will start decreasing in potency after that time and they won't be as nutritious.

You can purchase these tabs if you want to use them rather than storing emergency food. Some food companies sell these tabs in plastic bottles. The bottle does not allow either light or outside oxygen to penetrate and deteriorate the product. But you will have to place them somewhere where rodents won't be able to chew through them. A good place to store them (in long term storage) might be in a 40 gallon steel garbage can that has a tight fitting lid. Or you might want to store this food away in empty 5 gallon poly buckets. Store them in a cool dry place with low temperatures, if possible.

What can you tell me about freeze dried space food?

Freeze dried space food or Astronaut Space Food, as it is also called, is more bulky and more filling than the space food tablets or pills.

Most food for the Apollo missions was preserved through a process then known as freeze-drying. Prior to packaging, a food was quick-frozen and then placed into a vacuum chamber. The vacuum removed all moisture from the foods. They were then packaged while still in the vacuum chamber. This is a common practice today among certain food companies.

Some of these Apollo foods, the cereal and cookie cubes, for example, could be eaten without cooking. The others must have hot or cold water added through the nozzle at the end of the package. The food is then squeezed into the mouth through the flat tube stored in the package. After the food has been eaten, a small tablet is inserted into the package to kill bacterial growth because air has gotten into it.

Freeze dried food is readily available today for purchase and it varies in price from food company to company. So shop around and get the best buy. Freeze-drying allows food to keep it's nutrition. That means it will also taste better after a long period of time. Foods preserved this way are extremely light and compact and require no refrigeration. Many folks prefer this kind of food over the food tablets or pills. The paper wrapping on many of these kinds of packages are thin and flimsy and will tear easily. You will have to place them somewhere where rodents won't be able to chew through them. A good place to store them (in long term storage) might be in a 40 gallon steel garbage can that has a tight fitting lid. Or you might want to store this food away in empty 5 gallon poly buckets. Store them in a cool dry place with low temperatures, if possible.
This info comes from the web. Web address is

What were some of the preserved foodstuffs that the U.S. Army give to it's front-line fighting men during World War Two?

Front line U.S. infantry troops during World War Two ate mostly k-rations among other things. This food was nutritious and well preserved. This food was a marked improvement over what front line troops ate during World War One. How so? A larger variety of biscuits was increased, newer and more acceptable meat products were introduced, malted milk tablets and D bars gave way to a variety of confections, additional beverage components were provided in improved packages, and cigarettes, matches, salt tablets, toilet paper and spoons were ultimately included as accessory items.

You've probably heard the old expression, "the navy gets the gravy but the army gets the beans." Well, one day when I was in the Navy while at sea during the Vietnam War era we ate k rations left over from World War 2. How did this happen? The military had this stuff in storage for at least 21 years and they wanted to properly get rid of it. It was still good. It was made for U.S. military personnel to eat so it was brought aboard our aircraft carrier for that purpose. The admiral told our division officer to use it up so we did. For one day we ate k rations for breakfast, for lunch, and for supper. We had thousands of men to feed so we distributed it to them fairly rapidly. It was pretty neat for me to eat the same stuff that I knew my father had eaten when he was on the front lines during World War 2.

When my father was stationed in barracks in the United States he was given spam to eat. It was sliced and fried to served with eggs in the morning for breakfast. It was served uncooked inside of sandwiches for lunch, and "ground up" and served with stir fried potatoes for supper. He ate so much of it he got sick of it. He hated it and after he got out of the military my mother never served it to him but we 3 kids ate plenty of it.

I get boxes of cabbage leaves along with slightly limp carrots free from the local store. I dehydrate these so dry there is virtually no moisture left in any of it. I keep on storing these away for emergency use only because no one would want to normally eat them if I reconstituted them. Am I just wasting my time doing it this way?

Well, it depends on how you look at it. Most folks want to reconstitute their dehydrated fruits and vegetables and eat them at their convenience. But this is not what you are doing. You are going for long term emergency food instead. You just store this food away and forget about it. A lot of folks like to do this. If you never use this food at all you are not out much. I would think that in an emergency you could break out this food (cabbage and carrots), reconstitute it, and cook a nice tasty stew out of it. If you added some onions, garlic, peas, rice, and beans it would even taste better. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I think it's time for lunch. Keep up the good work.

Can you get aluminum poisoning from cooking with aluminum pots?

This was an old rumor that was going around during the 1970's. To my knowledge and in my opinion there is nothing to it. The rumor was that aluminum molecules would come off of the pan and get into the food that was cooking in it. And then you would eat the aluminum molecules along with the food. However, aluminum is at the present time the most widely used constructional material for cooking utensils. I had aluminum cooking utensils in my mess kit when I was in the Boy Scouts. We cooked on open camp fires and those pots worked real good.

However, there is something else to be concerned about. Aluminum pots are thin walled. If you use them repeatedly over open fires you will eventually burn the bottom out of them. I burned the bottom out of one of them one time when I forgot and left a pot of boiling water on a lit stove burner. When I came back the red hot empty pot was practically welded from the heat to the burner. So aluminum pots are not durable.

Using cast iron cooking pots over open fires will assure prolonged life in this regard. In my opinion all long-term survival cooking pots should be made of cast iron. Just protect them against rust if you store them away for a long period of time.

Stove Pipe Damper

Besides getting a wood stove- what else will I need to buy that goes with it?

You are going to need some fire retardant material, some stove pipe, and a stove pipe damper to help control smoke, heat, and air flow.

One day I was given a broken cast iron boxwood stove. One of the legs had broken off of it so I welded it back into place using a "cast iron" welding rod. And I braced all of the legs so they would be sturdy and durable and do their job of holding up the stove. Then I wire brushed it real good to clean off the rust and painted it with silver heat resistant paint. Then I put it into storage for an emergency but the emergency that came was not mine.

In the 1970's in the Graton, Calif. area there was a poor single lady and her 12 year old son who attended our Assemblies of God church there. There were massive rain storms, flooding, and lots of high winds that knocked down trees. Some of these trees fell across electrical power lines knocking them down and cutting off electricity for thousands of folks in that area for several weeks. Her and her son had food and water but were without propane and electrical power. She had been using a portable camp stove to cook their food on. Her house did not have a fireplace. She told the congregation in church that her small house was cold and she asked us for our help.

After church the pastor and several of us men held a conference to see what we could do to help her. She wanted to stay in her house and not be put up in a motel. So I went home to Cloverdale and got my silver painted boxwood stove out of storage and drove to her house. I also brought along a damper and extra stove pipe I had "tucked away." She and I managed to set it up in her house. We ran the stove pipe out her small slide-up-and-down living room window. We had to use quite a bit of fire resistant material for the stove to stand on, for wall protectant, and around the stove pipe where it went through the window. She had lots of fire wood. We fired it up before I left and it worked perfectly. She was a very happy lady and I was glad to have helped her. She used that stove to cook on and to help her stay warm and toasty for the next few weeks. I was glad to have helped her in her emergency and that is only one example of how some stored away emergency equipment can be used.

In some states in the United States new houses are being built without fire places. Some local, county, and state environmental concerns are touted to prevent this from happening. In my opinion this is a bad mistake. These officials, well meaning as they appear to be, are not planning for any emergency in their area. A fire place is one piece of equipment in a home that can be utilized for an emergency. It can provide heat and a place to cook one's food (if necessary).

I know a guy who placed all of his survival food inside of a 20 foot long metal shipping container and then buried this container in the ground with 3 feet of dirt over the top of it. He planned to store this container that way for 30 years. Is this a good idea?

Well, yes and no. With 3 feet of dirt over the top of it the food is protected from any harmful nuclear fallout. That is good. You don't have to worry about somebody coming along and stealing your food if they don't know it's there. And you don't have to worry about bears or other surface animals rummaging through your expensive supplies.

There are a lot of ways to store food. This is just one way- everybody has their own way of doing things. I used glass jugs and glass jars- not everyone likes to use glass containers because they might break in an earthquake. Some use plastic jugs and plastic buckets. Some use metal cans and metal buckets. I guess it all depends on what you like and how much money you want to spend.

Some business people store food away like this as an investment. They spend a certain amount of money now in hopes of making a lot more money in the future. In an emergency they plan on selling the food for a handsome profit to needly individuals who can pay.

The problems with placing a metal container under the ground might involve rust problems, water seepage, and collapse of the roof under the weight of the dirt. There is no easy accessability to this food- you will have to dig it out when you need it. There is no easy way to rotate any of this food. There is no easy way to check these food supplies from time to time to make sure they are still good. And you have to make sure that any underground water table won't push it to the surface.

It just makes more sense to me to store the food away in a cool basement where you can continually check it, rotate it, add to it, change it, and eat it when you want to. You want to protect your investment the best way that you can. What good is it having a hobby unless you can continually work on it and have fun with it?

I have some thin rubbery plastic lids that just pop onto the top of my open cans of stored food. Will these keep out insects?

No. Containers selected for storage of grains and dried foods should have a hard lid and tight seal that will not allow passage of tiny larva of the pests which may infest dried foods. These pests, either larva or adult, are capable of penetrating thin plastics. Stating it another way- only thin plastic lids on top of open #10 cans are not good enough to prevent insects from finding their way into insect free cans of stored food. And bugs can eat through plastic bags. Don't use any plastic bags or thin plastic containers or lids. Glass, metal, and heavy plastic, 5 gallon containers appear to resist insect invasion the best.

Where to the bugs come from? The infestation may be in the food product, either as live insects or insect eggs at the time you buy the food, or the stored food may become infested during storage. You want to use the proper containers to keep the bugs out.

You also need to protect your food against microbes and fungus. You can do this by keeping excess moisture out of your stored food.

I do not see any bugs or bug eggs in my sacks of grain. Are you "pulling my leg?"

You cannot see germs, either, but they will make you sick many times. Believe me, they are there and they are hungry. They will eat you out of house and home. I am not joking about this. Bulk grains, such as field corn and wheat contain insect eggs.

There are other things to watch out for as well. Other things that cause food to go bad are moisture, oxygen, high temperature, and animals getting into the food. Good storage containers will most often keep outside insects and animals out. Watch out for a high moisture content in your food. Already dried foods such as dried beans, white rice, powdered milk, instant potatoes, pasta, white flour, etc. usually don't require additional drying and can be repacked the way they come from the super market. Dry beans, grains, and flours contain an average amount of 10% moisture. Although it is not necessary (and very difficult) to remove all moisture from dry food, it is important that any food stored be stored as dry as possible. Excess moisture can ruin your food stored.

Make sure you kill all bug eggs before you store your food away. Either you are going to eat your food or they will...

I want to make my own jerky. Got any tips on how to do it?

Probably the best thing you can do for yourself is to pick up a good book on the subject. The next thing to pick up is a good dehydrator. I had one and made some excellent jerky with it. If you don't want to use a dehydrator you can also use a stove oven or a smoker.

Dehydrators are good tools to use to dry thin meat slices because they are slow and you don't have to baby sit them, other than rotate the trays once or twice. But they are typically the slowest method (12-24 hours depending on the wattage and brand name). Drying time varies depending on the thickness of the jerky meat. Spread the meat strips in a single layer on your dehydrator trays. Follow your dehydrators instructions for temperature and timing.

Cut the meat into thin strips using a sharp knife or a meat slicer. Use selective cuts of meat such as flank, top and bottom round, and sirloin tip cuts. Cut your strips 1" wide, 3/16" thick to whatever length you want. Trim off all visible fat. Stay away from commercial hamburger even if it's labeled "lean" or "extra lean" as most store-bought hamburger is too fatty for making ground jerky.

Some folks prefer venison (deer meat) because venison is considered by many to be leaner and more flavorful than other meats. Remove as much of the deer tallow (fat) as you can before cutting steaks and roasts. All the remaining cuts and trim (minus the bones, tallow and gristle) can be ground twice through a medium grinder. This is ok meat to use to make ground jerky. The leaner the meat the better the jerky!

In volume, jerky meat shrinks as much as 60% from start to finish. In weight, you must lose 60%. In other words it must be dried to 40% of its starting weight. One pound of lean-ground meat will produce less than 1/2 pound of ground jerky strips, or if you start with five pounds of ground jerky meat (green weight), you'll net only two pounds of finished product.

Here is how to prepare some original-style ground jerky

5 lbs. lean meat (any meat of your choice)
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon curing salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons black pepper (or 1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup soy protein concentrate (or non-fat-dry milk)
coarse black pepper

I suggest keeping your jerky frozen as long as you can. It's one year only shelf life starts when you take it out of the freezer and put it in your pantry.

I have a 1 year plan and only shop at my local store. I can get a lot more shelf life from some of that food than what you say I can. Why are you being so conservative on shelf life?

Well, I do not want you or others to eat spoiled food and die. Some folks gamble way too much when it comes to their food's shelf life. Some think that this happened in the bible days of Joseph in Egypt when the chief royal baker cooked up some delicious "tainted" delicacies for Pharaoh. The cup-bearer failed to sample any of the food, first, before he gave it to Pharaoh. Pharaoh ate it and got food poisoning and nearly died. Then Pharaoh executed his chief baker for his mistake. Here is the biblical account:

"Some time later, Pharaoh's chief cup-bearer and chief baker offended him. Pharaoh became very angry with these officials, and he put them in the prison where Joseph was, in the palace of Potiphar, the captain of the guard. They remained in prison for quite some time, and Potiphar assigned Joseph to take care of them."
(Genesis 40:1-4).

That should give you some idea about my concern for being conservative on a food's shelf life. Be careful in this area- your life could be on the line.

Here are some additional tips in regards to the 1 year plan on foods you can purchase yourself, directly from the super market, usually at considerable savings. Some of these foods are white flour, powdered non-fat milk, corn meal, instant potato flakes, dry beans, wheat, dried corn, dry pasta, white rice, and soybeans. You can store these in their original packages inside of 5 gallon sealable poly buckets- with the moisture and oxygen removed.

You can store other items, unopened, in their original containers such as vegetable oils, baking powder, instant coffee, tea, cocoa, salt, sugar, honey, non-carbonated soft drinks, bouillon products, red pepper sauce, soy sauce, crisco (or the generic brands), vinegar, and even mayonnaise. These should be stored in a cool dry place. Note that mayonnaise may loose some of it's flavor over time.

Sugar, salt, white flour, powdered milk, etc. mostly come in paper containers of some kind. Some of these such as salt and sugar, will attract moisture and cake or harden. This does not mean that the salt or sugar is not usable, but it must be pulverized before it will pour. By placing these kinds of food stocks in plastic bottles, or similar air tight containers, their shelf life can be greatly increased- especially if you are just storing them away in your cupboards.

Grains and other such foods can be stored in 5 gallon buckets, and if properly done, will have about 5 years of shelf life instead of 1 year. Once you re-open one of your big buckets of stored food it will have lost it's air tight seal and it's nitrogen content will escape. How do you treat this surplus food that you don't eat right away? You treat it as being "on borrowed time" and consume it right away before spoilage can take place.

Got any more tips about dehydrated food?

I have just a few basic tips to share with you. You can reconstitute dehydrated food by soaking it in water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Then cook it and serve it. In some cases this simple procedure will restore the foods to their original shape, texture, color and flavor. For example, apple sauce granules only require cold water and then you are ready to eat.

However, many of the air dried foods will require some cooking to help rehydrate them. For example, potato granules will make instant mashed potatoes and if you add them to boiling water along with some salt and butter you are ready to eat. Also peas, corn, and carrots require a 10-15 minute simmer time to help rehydrate them fully.

If you purchase canned dehydrated foods- this food should last from 9 months to 3 years after the seal on the can has been broken. There is no need to refrigerate- simply store in a relatively cool, dry place.

Remember to reseal the opened cans with a plastic lid after using. This will maximize the storage or shelf life. When removing smaller portions from the can, dip the food out rather than pouring it. This method minimizes nitrogen loss and introduction of air and moisture, permitting the food to retain its freshness for the longest possible time. But the thin plastic lid will not keep all insects out so use it up as soon as possible.

What are some of the advantages of using dehydrated food? Dehydrated foods are very much like fresh food when reconstituted. They maintain a lot of vitamins and nutrients. They store in 1/5 the storage space over wet-packed foods. They won't spoil too readily and can be kept for awhile without refrigeration. The cans from food companies are coated and enameled inside and out to prevent corrosion and chemical reaction. The food is sealed in the can with a special inert atmosphere to insure maximum shelf life. They are easy and quick to prepare after rehydration. This food is economical, especially if you grow your own.

Is there anything else you think I should know?

Yes- just a couple of reminders. Make sure you have a manual can opener and disposable utensils available. And don't forget nonperishable foods for your pets. I don't know how many people you are storing food for but plan on storing more food for feeding others. Plan on being a blessing to them- remember, you reap what you sow. If you sow kindness and generosity, it will come back to you. You should plan for approximately 2,195 calories and grams of protein per person per day when you store your food. Don't forget to store a lid lifter for any stored cans of food, and you might need a whole grain cookbook. Other than that, I think you should be set.

garlic is delicious and healthy for you


Storing food away is a fun and rewarding hobby. You can preserve food that might, otherwise, go to waste. You can save money. Your money and effort is never wasted because you can always eat this food. And you are prepared, in this respect, for an emergency that might happen very suddenly. It's a win-win hobby that you can make as fun as you want to. I enjoyed storing food. I have written this so you can enjoy this hobby too.

7  Star Admiral's Vision of Evangelism (7 SAVE) or Kraig J. Rice shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by this information. The contents of this web page or web site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Nothing reported in this web page or site is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

  • Click here to go to my Food Storage (part one) web page

    Click Here- An Important Link For You To Click On
    Here is an invitation to you to view my Christian website (mainline doctrine)

    Here are a couple of other survival webpages I have written:

    How to survive a nuclear emergency

    How to load your own bullets

    I encourage you to prepare for an emergency and trust in God at the same time. I do not want you to wallow in fear but to keep the uplook for His soon return.

      The PH of Alkaline and Acidic Forming Foods



    The Christian Counter
    June 17, 2014