Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dry Goods - Food Storage

I am often asked about what food we store aboard Hold Fast, how much and how.  Generally speaking, we leave our home port with about six months of frequently used dry goods, a few months of canned goods, two to three weeks of frozen meats and about ten days of fresh foods.  We clearly count on supplementing our food supply with fish.  We could survive without it – but how boring is that?

This post is about storing dry goods in containers.  A hint I found in research has helped tremendously in storing food efficiently and effectively:  juice bottles marked as PETE [poly(ethylene terephthalate)] and oxygen absorption pads.

My frustration level was very high when I was looking for well sealing, long-term storage containers.  I bought various types from Walmart and Target and some on-line.  Typically they were expensive, did not hold up in this tough environment or fit well in the limited storage space, and the tops popped off anything that was not a screw on lid.  Then I discovered Grandpa Joe's website about long-term food storage in five simple steps (plus two steps on the longevity research from BYU).  In essence, he advocates buying juices that have the PETE inscription on the bottom along with the triangle recycle symbol.  Something like this:
After we enjoy the juice, I wash the bottle and lid and dry them thoroughly.  I drop in an oxygen absorber pad.  Step 1 of Grandpa Joe’s directions show which foods can be stored long-term and he notes that sugar does not require an oxygen absorber.  A lack of moisture is the key to which foods will store well.

I use the top half of a water bottle to funnel in the goods.  I clean the rim, seal the lid and label it with tape, including the date it was filled.  Once the dry goods have been used, I can reuse the bottle again when we get to a place we can affordably re-provision.

Our favorite juice is Welch’s grape – it must be the Baptist in us – however the shape of the bottle does not lend itself to effective use of space, a critical factor on a boat.  So we learned to enjoy other juices that came in the flat sided bottles below.  This shape stacks and stows well for us.  Our stuffy, Patches, demonstrates that you might want to keep the stored oats out of the reach of ponies.

We keep the unused oxygen absorbers in a canning jar until we are ready to use them.  We are still on the original pack of 100.  The instructions claimed they would last six months after I opened them.  We are coming up on 2013 and they are still working.  We bought them in 2010.  This year when I re-provisioned oats and flour, I re-used the pads already in the bottle and they performed as if new.  The manufacturer may have under-rated their product.

The types of dry goods we store are listed below:

Dried Good
Approx Container Capacity per 64 oz Bottle
Black Eyed Peas
                                2.0 lbs
Great Grains Cereal
                                1.5 boxes
Chick Peas
                                3.2 lbs
Small Eggs Noodles
                                1.2 bags
                                3.5 lbs
Instant Mashed Potatoes
                                1.0 box
                                3.2 lbs
Old Fashioned Oats
                                1.2 lbs
Pasta (Rotini)
                                1.2 lbs
                                4.0 lbs
                                4.0 lbs
Sugar – White
                                3.5 lbs
                                1.0 lbs

As they say, spice is the variety of life.  We buy our most used spices in large containers at Sam’s or Costco, stow them away in those containers, and refill the small containers that are kept in the spice rack. 

Whether you are provisioning to sail away, taking advantage of a good price break, preparing for some sort of catastrophe when the store shelves are laid bare, or seek to be self sustaining, it is hard to find fault with long-term storage of your favorite and most often used foods.  Find a safe place to store them, manage the expiration dates, and enjoy the juice that starts it all!

If you have any trouble with the links or questions, leave me a comment with your email.  We will not publish comments with email addresses.

Happy stowing,

1 comment:

  1. You love grape juice hahaha you crack me up!!
    Love seeing Patches:)

    Love & miss you,
    Jen B.