96 core meals to be pared with oth­er foods for high­er nutri­tion­al val­ue. Click for larg­er image.

We talk an awful lot about how to rotate your canned, jarred, and oth­er preps for fresh­ness.  We also talk a lot about stor­age, how to store, what to store, etc.  Yes­ter­day, I under­took a small job of repack­ing some of my “basic” preps.  What are some of my most basic preps.  Well, rice and beans, as part of the core.  We all talk about rice and beans, and hope we nev­er have to crack those preps open.  How­ev­er, I have been think­ing a lot late­ly about how to com­part­men­tal­ize my food preps more effec­tive­ly.  First, you should know, that I have not, in the past just poured rice and beans into a mylar bag, sealed it, and put it in a buck­et.  I buy my rice and beans in the gro­cery store in 5lb bags, as well as buy the 1lb bags of beans.  I do this because I want a vari­ety of beans and not just stan­dard­ize on pin­to or black and fill a 5 gal­lon buck­et with them.  Keep in mind I have much more than rice and beans.  I know I am going to get a bunch of emails telling me I need to diver­si­fy.  My rice and beans are part of my starch, fiber, and pro­tein plan.  Also keep in mind, I am a sin­gle per­son with no chil­dren.  All my preps are based on one per­son, three meals a day.

So, what did I do?  I designed a por­tion sys­tem where­by I could pull out a buck­et, and in the buck­et are two mylar bags, each con­tain­ing the same thing.  How­ev­er, each bag con­tains rough­ly 48 “core” meals.  Let me define “core” for you first.  When I say core, I look at a meal that can be pared with canned chick­en, canned tuna, canned turkey, spam, etc, as well as recon­sti­tut­ed veg­eta­bles, canned veg­eta­bles, etc. for a more bal­anced meal and to increase calo­rie count for more sus­tained ener­gy.  So here is what in each bag:

- One x 5 LB bag of white and/or Enriched rice (48 1/4 (dry) cup serv­ings of rice, 3/4 cup boiled)

- Six bags of assort­ed beans.  Black, Pin­to, Kid­ney, etc.

So what does this give you?  This gives one per­son, two “core” meals a day that can be paired with some­thing else for 24 days.  The calo­rie count looks some­thing like this:

- Rice 150 — 170 calo­ries (depend­ing on the brand)

- Beans 150 — 170 calo­ries (depend­ing on the type of beans)

- Your total is rough­ly 300 — 340 calo­ries per serv­ing

Adding a can of chick­en, you add 70 calo­ries per serv­ing and addi­tion­al pro­tein.  Adding some oth­er sides or main cours­es, of course boosts the calo­rie count as well, and gives you greater vari­ety so you do not just get sick of eat­ing rice and beans for 24 days straight.

Each bag is labeled so I can eas­i­ly read the con­tents

Por­tion con­trol.  This is very impor­tant.  If you do not adhere to por­tion con­trol with your food stor­age you go through it faster than you would expect to.  This is why calo­rie count and por­tion size are impor­tant. If you are work­ing hard, split­ting wood, work­ing a gar­den, etc, you will need more calo­ries on a dai­ly basis, and you should bud­get for that.  The “aver­age per­son” burns 1,500 — 1,800 calo­ries per day.

The rice and beans are put into the mylar bag (still in their orig­i­nal shelf sta­ble plas­tic bags).  NOTE:  I use a pair of scis­sors and poke a few holes in the bags pri­or to putting them in the mylar bag.  The rea­son is so that the oxy­gen absorbers can do their jobs effec­tive­ly.  Eight to 10 oxy­gen absorbers are dropped in the bag.  The bag is sealed, and then put into the 5 gal­lon buck­et.  You can com­fort­ably get two of these pack­aged bags in one five gal­lon buck­et.  You can then add addi­tion­al items such as quart packs of dried milk, etc in a small­er mylar bag and pop the top on.

I have aug­ment­ed this food stor­age with a cou­ple emer­gency buck­ets of Wise meals (will be adding anoth­er short­y­ly), as well as var­i­ous oth­er foods as well.  After tak­ing a clos­er look at what I have yes­ter­day, sep­a­rat­ing it into what are close to month­ly por­tions for one per­son, it turns out I have more than three months worth of food stored.  I looked around a break­fast foods, and I had more than I had thought I had stored.  I need to revis­it my food stor­age inven­to­ry list.  But the obvi­ous ben­e­fit was that by repack­ag­ing some of my core preps, I was able to bet­ter under­stand how many “days/months” of food I had, and where I need to fill in some of the holes.

So where do I need to fill in some of the holes.  Well, as it turns out I need more canned pro­teins.  I also need more veg­eta­bles whether dehy­drat­ed or canned.  I also need to stock up on items like pow­dered Tang, Gatorade, etc.  Preps that will be essen­tial in aug­ment­ing your vit­a­min intake when your diet changes dras­ti­cal­ly because of a SHTF of some sort.  Suf­fice it to say, how­ev­er, for one per­son in an apart­ment, I have about four months of long term food stor­age hid­den away.  Not bad.  It could be more, but it is always a work in progress.

Now, as this core stor­age grows, and con­tin­ues to be com­part­men­tal­ized, I can use a bag as care pack­age for a neigh­bor, friend, etc.  with­out reveal­ing “all” my stor­age to them, and I can send them on their way…

Oh, it should also be not­ed, that after not being able to get to my home after Hur­ri­cane Irene, I start­ed think­ing about bet­ter com­part­men­tal­iz­ing my preps, and how I could throw a cou­ple buck­ets in the back of my truck, have a core meal to pair with what­ev­er else I could scav­enge in the field. Pri­mar­i­ly, that is what the Wise Buck­ets are for, but this is addi­tion­al calo­rie and pro­tein count, where it counts…

How do you pack­age your food for the long term?


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