Monday, February 4, 2013

Rice Done Wrong

Back in 1998 I got caught up in the Y2K hysteria that was just starting to roll, not because I really believed everything was going to come to a grinding halt on 01/01/00 and we'd all be back to using mules and wiping our collective asses with corncobs. (I still wonder what happened to those folks who quit their day jobs and moved to ten acres in the Arizona desert). Mostly I got caught up in it because I made a LOT of money selling chit to panic buyers. I could pick up one of those mylar "survival blankets" from Walmart for $1.49, put it on Ebay with photos and a full, accurate description, and when the bidding war finally came to an end, sell the dang thing for $8-9.

Good times.

Which is not to say I simply cashed in on my fellow man's paranoia and continued my usual, decadent Western nation ways. I stocked a few things up myself, namely 5 gallon buckets of rice, beans, flour, pasta, etc, and did it in the very way everyone OMG OH NOZ about today.

Dumped it all into Homer buckets and called it good! :D

The one thing I did do, that I think is the real reason everything emerged unscathed (except for the pintos, which turned into rocks after the second year and that's just pintos for ya), was I froze everything for two weeks prior to bucketizing them. The freezing kills off any hitchhiking bug eggs, which are your biggest concern.

I don't have photos of those original buckets, sorry. I could take pics of the ones I have now though, since I still store things the same way, with the same results. In fact, I think I will. Here's my bucket 'o pasta! Note the bright orange Homer bucket! Note the lack of O2 absorbers and mylar! Note the date! I had a regular paint bucket lid on it until about three months ago, when I drug it out of the garage and slapped a gamma lid on so I could get in and out easier. Eating it now, veggie spirals and egg noodles underneath, and they're fine. No bugs, no funny colors (other than the original funny color on the veggie pasta), tastes fine.

I got those plastic liners from US Plastics, which is something fairly new for me as I've only been using them for the last two or three years. It started because I was getting free buckets from a restaurant and couldn't get the pickle stink out. The liners were supposed to keep my food from smelling like pickles. Yes I know the horrors of using non-food grade plastic buckets, but you know what? It won't kill me nearly as fast as starvation so I don't lose sleep over it. If I can get food grade, I do, otherwise it's Homers, and since _no one_ who disses them has ever been faced with the decision to starve to death or eat what was stored in 'em...... I'm just sayin. People who were dying of starvation in Poland during WWII found themselves sucking the grease from their combs and eating their fingernails. In Mao's China, they boiled leather belts for lack of anything else to eat. Keep that in mind when you hear someone yammering about only storing all organic, non-GMO food in approved containers with angel sprinkles and kitten kisses to seal it with.

The point of this post (yes I'm finally getting to it) is that while 4 mil mylar and O2 remover packs and food grade buckets and organic wheat is all clearly blessed by Jesus when it comes to long term storage, don't let it be the reason you put off putting food away. I promise you, that bucket of rice will last a _lot_ longer than the naysayers insist, provided you give it the two week freeze. I have a bucket in the garage now that's four years old and just fine to prove it. Don't freeze it longer than two weeks, as the bag will get ice crystals in it and then when it thaws it'll be damp. Moisture is the biggest threat to your food, even worse than those bugs coz if you were really starving you could eat the bugs. You can't eat molded food without some unpleasant consequences.

Set a goal for a year's worth of staples. I don't mean the canned stuff, though you should put aside a good bit of that as well, but the basics that cost nothing and make everything. If you can afford to package them all the way the "experts" tell you do, go for it, but if you don't it's ok. This post has gone well beyond windy, so I'll save that for another day.

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