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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

Dried Foods

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EdwinSm, View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 25 2017 at 10:32pm
In stocking up (I don't have a great stock level yet), one of the problems that I am encountering is an increase in more highly processed foods replacing the basic goods on the shop shelves.

For example we were low on kidney beans for the Saturday meal, and instead of buying a bag of kidney beans, we had to buy 8 small boxes of pre-cooked kidney beans.  OK the boxes do have a shelf life of 2 years, but they take up more space and are more expensive. 

Another example is that at Christmas we have a fruit soup made of dried fruit.  I used to keep the dried fruit in stock (one wants some special foods in stock), but about two years ago most of the dried fruit sold in the shop became the special "soft fruit-type" with a shelf life of about 3 months.

It is becoming harder and harder to get the basic goods for cooking from scratch at the local shop, which is the only one in the village.  We now have to look to the big city (some 80 km/ 50 miles from here) for the sort of staples that can go into forming very long term stores.  What is good with our village shop is a lot of the root vegetables are from local farms and they are always good for near term storage (ie 2 - 3 months)
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KiwiMum View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KiwiMum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 26 2017 at 12:06am
What part of the world do you live in? I'm in NZ and have similar problems but our supply issues are to do with sparse population - I live in the South Island. 

It's taken me a long time to find my suppliers but now I have a list of where to go to to buy cheaply and in bulk but often it's via mail order. It's frustrating but the best I can do. 

Perhaps your solution is to buy in big sacks once a year from the city.  Good luck. I'm sure you'll find a way. 

If it is to be, it is up to me.
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Technophobe View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 26 2017 at 8:58am
The dried stuff is being replaced here too.  I am now hunting out aluminium cans, which do not rust and researching my own dryer.

Older style tins are being wax dipped to keep them dry, but this is time consuming (its a pain in the a**) and they still take up loads of storage space.  This is not an ideal replacement as if you can find the dried stuff it will literally keep for decades (if treated right) so there is  no comparison.  I find that old beans take longer to cook though.
Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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jacksdad View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 26 2017 at 9:32am
The method I use to store dried foods is mylar bags in 5 gallon plastic buckets, with oxygen absorbers. A bucket will hold between 20-30lbs of things like flour, rice, beans, sugar, etc. I know KiwiMum mentioned before that she had trouble getting mylar bags, but I found mine online pretty easily.

The mylar seals the food completely (no moisture, oxygen or odors can pass through it), and the oxygen absorbers prevent any insect infestations. The bags themselves are pretty strong, but they can be punctured, hence the plastic buckets. They also prevent rodents chewing through the bags.

There are a few important things to remember - the food has to be dry or you risk anaerobic bacterial/fungal growth, and the long shelf life of foods sealed this way can be compromised if the buckets are stored in a warm/hot environment. And the oxygen absorbers arrive vacuum sealed for a reason - they will immediately start to absorb O2 when opened, so have a small airtight container or bag ready to put the remaining ones in or they'll lose some of their effectiveness. It's really easy to do - even an idiot like me had no trouble. I did have a bunch of pictures of the process somewhere. If I find a link, I'll post it.

Edit - found the link to the pics I posted. Hope it helps explain the process a little better.

"Buy it cheap. Stack it deep"
"Any community that fails to prepare, with the expectation that the federal government will come to the rescue, will be tragically wrong." Michael Leavitt, HHS Secretary.
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