We all NEED food! In any real disruption, whether that be short or long term, people realize that they need or will need food. If you doubt, or need a reminder, just think back to pictures of grocery store shelves during winter storms or hurricanes. The problem with “ordinary” people (or maybe we should call them irresponsible), is that they wait till the disruption is right at their doorstep!
I knew when I started in preparedness that I didn’t want to be irresponsible. I have a family and I wanted to make sure that their needs are met if I can help it. So to me, as a father and husband, it is a no brainer to have long term food storage!
When most people start thinking about preparedness, they focus on food. Not shelter, gear, sanitation, power, self-defense or the myriad of other concerns that need to be addressed following an emergency or disaster situation. Quite simply, food is the number one concern people have second only to their concern for having an adequate supply of water.
What type of food should you buy, where should you buy it, and how should you store it? You are going to learn that acquiring food for the preparedness pantry does not have to be overwhelming. Furthermore, long-term emergency food storage is something you can do over the course of a week, a month, or even longer, if that is what it takes.
Perhaps even more important, when you have filled your storage pantry, you will be secure in the knowledge that if a disaster strikes, you will have plenty of food to feed your family, along with a few treats and surprises along the way.
My Long Term Food Storage Dilemma
After doing my due diligence and researching long term food storage, I soon realized that I wouldn’t be able to afford to purchase those big pallets of food for my whole family. It would have been nice and easy to place an order online and then just park all that food in a room, but it wasn’t happening for my budget, and I bet it isn’t happening for your own budget either.
There is also the issue with what your family will eat. Many of those long term food packs come with food that your family might not like and won’t eat. Yeah, I know. In an emergency, if they were starving, they would eat it. But still…why push it.
I knew I wanted to store long term food for my family, the issue was how and how much. It wasn’t long that I found that you could store food long term in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers inside of plastic 5 gallon buckets.
Side Note: Now, I will tell you here that I think the easiest form of food storage is buying canned foods at your local grocery store. You can easily create a 30 day menu by using cans. I wrote the article, Anyone Can Do It – Fool Proof Food Storage, which provides information to an old Y2K website with a ton of recipes…no guessing! Below that article, you will find a ton of links to other types of food storage from many of my friends who also blog about preparedness. BUT – canned foods aren’t meant to last for the “LONG TERM.”
The only thing that worried me about making my own long term food storage buckets was ME! At that time, there wasn’t as much information about making your own food storage buckets like now! What if I screwed something up and the food that my family depended on went bad and we were caught without any food during a long term crisis? It’s kind of scary if you think about it, but you have to GET OVER IT!
Making your own long term food storage buckets is very easy. I’m going to list out the steps in a 1,2,3 format. But if you need more encouragement, I’m going to include so many links after my steps that you are going to OD on information and feel like a long term food storage expert!
Steps to Making Your Own Long Term Food Storage Buckets
1. Acquire Your Supplies.
You will need mylar bags, O2 absorbers, 5 gallon buckets w/ lids, a mallet, a pail or bucket opener, an iron, a 2×4 board and the food you want to store.
Mylar Bags – Here you have a few options. You can go with big 5 gallon bag sizes or you can go with 1 gallon bag sizes and place 4-5 in each 5 gallon bucket. You really want to purchase mylar bags that have a decent thickness. I usually get 4mil thick bags from Amazon.
I have a big family, with big boys. I chose to use the big 5 gallon size bags. I figure that we are going to eat! If you are putting together buckets for just two people, you might want to use the 1 gallon size bags and place various types of food in one bucket.
O2 Absorbers – O2 absorbers will absorb the oxygen that you can’t push out of the mylar bag. Various sizes of bags require various cc’s of oxygen absorbers.
To take the guess work out of it though, you can purchase packs of mylar bags with O2 absorbers. Like I said, I purchase them from Amazon already put together.
- Purchase 5 gallon mylar bags (4.5mil) w/ O2 absorbers here.
- Purchase 1 gallon mylar bags (3.5mil) w/ O2 absorbers here.
5 gallon buckets – You don’t really NEED buckets, but you should use them! The buckets are there to protect the mylar bags from being punctured by accident or by little fury critters. They will also serve as an easy place to store your food when you open up your mylar bags. I purchase the orange buckets from Home Depot. I purchase the lids there too. Home Depot has also started selling gamma lids, lids that easily screw off. But you can also purchase them on Amazon.
Mallet – You will need this to hammer down the lids on the buckets after you finish sealing your bags.
Bucket/Pail Opener – This isn’t necessary, but will save your nails and fingers when you try to open your buckets. They are cheap and you will be glad you have one. You can purchase them on Amazon too.
Food – If you are doing this on the cheap, you probably want to stick with white rice, beans and pasta. All of these foods will last for a very long time. This will get you started, but you might want to add more. Like for example, you might want to store sugar. You can put that in a mylar bag, but don’t include an O2 absorber. It will turn your sugar into a hard block. For other examples of foods that you can store, see the links below.
Iron and 2×4 board – When you get ready to seal your mylar bags, you will place the top of the bag on the board and then iron over it. I used an old iron we didn’t throw out and I had a 2×4 just laying around in the garage.
2.Fill Up the Bags
First thing – Do not open the package that the O2 absorbers come in until you are ready to start sealing your mylar bags! Once you open the O2 package, the absorbers start working. You want to wait until you are really ready.
Setup your buckets in a line or in a work area that will allow you to move easily. Turn on your iron, connect with an extension cord if it makes it easier, and set it on high.
Place your mylar bags inside the buckets and pour your food inside. You might want to go ahead and label your lids with a Sharpie and place it under the buckets of food so you don’t forget what is inside each bucket…in case you are the forgetful type!
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