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Old November 5, 2005, 11:29 PM   #1
therealsteamer
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Freeze Emergency Supplies?????

Long Story Short (sort of)... My wife and I have given in to the "Bird Flu Paranoia" and have insisted that we keep an ample supply of staples on hand. She works in the not so local mall and has "connections" that allow her to bring home the empty buckets from the "cookie place" that they get icing in. These vary from 5 gallon, 3 gallon and 1 gallon. They have an O-ring seal in the lid. Anyway, we clean the hell out of 'em and use them to store bulk sugar, flour and rice. She has just now told me on her breaks she read in a cooking book that these supplies should be frozen to last for any peroid of time (anything past 4 months). Is this correct????? Can anyone give me any realistic (cheap) suggestions for other stuff to keep on hand... We are on the great American limited budget and already keep the pantry heavily stocked w/canned goods. ANY suggestions and info would be greatly appreciated.......

Steamer
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Old November 5, 2005, 11:47 PM   #2
Majic
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Why in the world would you try to freeze dry goods? Something can only freeze if it has a significant water content.
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Old November 5, 2005, 11:55 PM   #3
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I am just goin' on what the ol' lady has said. Right or wrong it is worth investigating.
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Old November 6, 2005, 12:23 AM   #4
springmom
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freezing flour, etc.

Yes, you can freeze flour and dry goods. Yes, you should freeze them if you want to keep them long term. Yes, there is a reason to do that. It's to keep any critters from hatching and eating the flour.

We'd all like to think that everything we eat has no, um, unwanted insect contents, but the fact is, flour can get mealworms eventually especially if it is in a warm, moist place (you know, like a kitchen....). Therefore, if you freeze it, it won't do that.

But you don't need to freeze these huge buckets!!!! Assuming you're buying 1-pound or 5-pound bags of flour, all you need to do is pop them in the freezer for a couple of days. Any eggs that are in there will freeze, die, and you're good to store it.

However... I gotta tell you that unless you are intending to quit your jobs, both of you, and holing up with absolutely no human contact whatsoever, you might better spend the money on Tamiflu and Relenza prescriptions just in case; then eat well, take good care of your health, get the REGULAR flu shot that is out and available now, and don't worry about a disease that does not even exist yet.

Just my $.02 from a Texas babushka

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Old November 6, 2005, 12:26 AM   #5
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My problem with your strategy is your stuff is going to spoil in 4 months and your assuming you will have electricity to keep stuff frozen. I was a sucked up by an earlier paranoia (terrorism). I went with the canned food route. Most canned food and bottled water will last 2 years or more. I have enough canned food and bottled water (I got 1 gallon per person per day) to last the family almost a week. I figured if the "you know what hits the fan" with the food in the house and the emergency supply, I could stretch it out for a month. Basically its canned veggies, fruit, beef stew, and pasta and meatballs, all of which could be eatten cold. I also got comfort stuff like instant coffee, koolaid mix for the kids, soap, first aid kit etc. I planned once a year I will buy a new stash, and put the year old stuff into the regular rotation in my kitchen cabinet, so the stuff will never go bad. It is a little more expensive, but easy to build up over the course of a few supermarket runs (talk to the wife, they always have canned food specials). When you look at what happened in New Orleans, and what is going on in the world with possible terrorist attacks and pandemics...like the boy scouts, its good to be prepared.

Don't worry. Your not a real paranoid bird flu guy....until you get some Tamaflu.
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Old November 6, 2005, 12:30 AM   #6
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Hey! I resemble that remark!

My doctor wrote prescriptions for Tamiflu for me and hubster because we both have asthma and if a really really bad flu of ANY sort hit us, well, that would possibly be all she wrote. Relenza is another flu medication that is prescription, and some authorities are saying that IF the bird flu ever DOES become something that transmits human to human, the two together might be useful.

But I still think eating healthy and taking care of yourself now is the best strategy.

As for freezing, again, the stuff does NOT need to stay frozen. It just needs to BE frozen to kill off any eggs from mealworms that might be in the flour.

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Old November 6, 2005, 12:49 AM   #7
Sir William
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OK. MREs? Longterm shelf life, hermetically sealed, condiments included and the nutritional requirements are met. There are sugar substitutes/sweeteners that last a longer period and can easily be vacuum sealed. Rice can be hermetically/vacuum sealed also. Why do you want flour? I suggest noodles, crackers, wheat thins and prepared pizza dough. OTC remedies are Fishermans Friend cough drops and Gypsy Cold Care herbal nasal decongestant tea. These come in sealed packet bags. You can purchase and rotate frozen doughs also. No need for flour. If you are sick, are you really going to feel like playing Julia Child?
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Old November 6, 2005, 12:55 AM   #8
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You won't need to freeze them. My family has been eating off of 50lbs of flour and 25lbs of sugar that we've had in food storage buckets for the last 8 months. The only problem we've run into is lumpy sugar. But, our containers are not O-ring sealed either. My recommendation would be to actually eat off your supplies and replenish as needed. Idea is, say you keep 100lbs of flour in a few of these containers. When the first 50 is gone, switch to eating the other and buy another 50lbs. That way you rotate stock. Same with your rice and sugar. That way when SHTF you've still got at least 50lbs of flour, 25lbs of sugar, etc. Assuming you've got a good stock of all your dry goods you could concievably not leave home for a good 2 months. My family buys almost everything grocery related from BJs (a wholesale club). Once prior to moving we stopped going shopping except for milk, eggs and such for about 2 months so we wouldn't have to move food. We didn't exactly starve, and though our cabinets were a little more bare than I like to see, we still moved some food.
Just don't overlook stocking spices, baking powders/soda, yeasts by the brick, some canned milk, powdered milk, tomatoe sauce, beans, veggies, etc...even coffee. If you're not a member of a discount club like BJs or SAMs, become one if this is the plan. Stocking up like that will take a few months and feel horid in the grocery bills, but once you're there maintaining that stock is actually cheaper in the long run than buying from a regular grocer. Also if you ever suddenly become unemployed and are then underemployed for a longer period--happens to average American more often than SHTF situation--you won't have to worry about family going hungry for a while.

Now I'm assuming you're already well stocked on the ammo
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Old November 6, 2005, 01:31 AM   #9
chrisandclauida2
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unless your out handeling wild birds or birds that contact wild birds in countrys where this exists i would not worry abnout the bird flu. or if your going to some foreign country handeling said birds. the only way there will be a bird flu issue is if the strain mutates to be able to be passed to a person from another person. otherwise forget about it. and people dont die from the flu or bird flue or colds. they die from secondary issues such as age pnuemonia etc and usually only if they dont get medical care.unless your some conspiracy paranoid black helos are buzzing your house and reading your thoughts kinda guy go for it. or if you want to be prepared for any circumstance. preparing for some illness that dosent exist is out there.i am all for haveing 72 hours to a couple weeks supplies or more but do it for the right reason

Last edited by chrisandclauida2; November 6, 2005 at 10:25 AM.
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Old November 6, 2005, 02:53 AM   #10
AJ Peacock
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I have been told that putting a chunk of dry ice on top of a bucket/barrel of dry/bulk food and letting it melt (turns into CO2). The CO2 displaces the oxygen (which mealworms etc. need), and VOILA! Reseal and have bug free supplies.

I don't know how large of a chunk to use for each size container etc.

Anyone else heard of this?

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Old November 6, 2005, 09:31 AM   #11
therealsteamer
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As far as the possibility of contracting this avian flu thing, my wife works at one of those well known chain/franchise pet stores. They bring in ALOT of birds, none of which can they attest for the breeders environment or isolation form their local wild birds. She believes that all of the "big" exotic birds have to be captive born and bred in the U.S. They are all leg banded. She has even gotten her coworkers on the OH S$@T bandwagon...... They are kept pretty uptodate through some sort of .gov and people-who-love-and-have-too-many-damn-critters network...
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Old November 6, 2005, 10:33 AM   #12
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Here's what I did during my Y2K paranoia phase:
First, you need mylar bags:
http://waltonfeed.com/grain/faqs/iva5.html

to fit in the plastic buckets (with O-ring sealed lids). Buckets alone won't maximize your storage life.

Mainly I got rice and beans, together they make a complete protein, are easy to prepare, and are dirt-cheap bought in bulk.

Put a bag in the bucket, take a 4 oz chunk of dry ice, wrapped it in a paper towel, put that in the bottom, then poured the stuff over it. Using an iron, seal the bag just leaving a corner open. As the dry ice turns to gas, it pushes out the air (CO2 is heavier then air). This kills any bugs or eggs in the food. After 15 minutes or so use the iron again to seal the corner, put the lid on, and it should last a couple decades at least.

All you need then is a source of clean water, and a means to boil it.
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Old November 6, 2005, 03:27 PM   #13
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There is a difference between being prepared, and being paranoid. The trick is to know what the difference is.
I don't think freezing sugar and white flour is going to help much. Wheat or rye, ok, but not bleached white flour.
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Old November 6, 2005, 08:25 PM   #14
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We have cans of spam stored. Keep forever, but do rotate on a regular basis.

Have stored rice, beans, flour, sugar, with one difference, I place a small candle in the container, light the wick and then seal. The candle burns off the oxygen which will increase it's shelf life.
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Old November 6, 2005, 08:54 PM   #15
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And corn meal

If you're going to freeze dry goods, then yes, freeze the ones that have more of a "whole grain" sort of texture. Don't forget corn meal (both to freeze and to store). Corn cakes and tortillas can be made pretty easily.

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Old November 7, 2005, 02:25 PM   #16
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I started getting nervous about the bird flu when they did the genetic testing on the 1918 spanish flu and found out that both bugs are related. When it does mutate to a human virus, it is going to get more than a little crazy.

http://www.webmd.com/content/article...ld%20and%20Flu

http://www.stanford.edu/group/virus/uda/
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Old November 7, 2005, 03:28 PM   #17
springmom
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Remember the "swine flu"?

Anybody else on here old enough to remember that little bit of fun? I was in college at the time. Got the quickly-produced shot, which made me sick; it did worse with a lot of folks, who ended up with guillan-barre syndrome (neurological problems). And the flu itself? An enormous flop.

I'll worry when there is actually something to worry *about*

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Old November 7, 2005, 03:57 PM   #18
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I remember, that was Gerald Ford's administration. IIRC more people got sick (and some died) from the side effects of the swine flue vaccine than would have gotten the flu had there actually been a swine flu outbreak. From what I have read I think that the flu vaccines produced these days work differently. Back then the shot actually gave you a mild case of the flu and these days it does not do that.

I just got a flu shot last week, first time since 1974 - those darned shots used to make me sicker than a dog, so I quit taking them.

So far so good. So far.....
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Old November 7, 2005, 07:57 PM   #19
chemist308
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Get your flu shots. If nothing else, it keeps me in a job

And don't buy any more 7.62x51 ammo...saves more for me and drives the prices down!
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Old November 8, 2005, 02:03 AM   #20
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Living 65 miles from the grocery store (well ... there was a convenience size store pretty close ... but it was expensive) and loving to bake my Mom always stocked up on sugar and flour.

Just like you, she kept them in big, airtight containers. Worked great. Flour would only get buggy if she left it open.

Remember, though ... if you're hungry, you can sift the bugs out and still use the flour for cooking. Gross, but people have done it for a long time before current food storage methods. And if you're hungry, you'll be glad to have it.
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Old November 8, 2005, 02:52 AM   #21
BillCA
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+1 on all the above advice on freezing/killing critters in bulk food stuffs.

+1 on the advice about mylar food storage bags too. Good stuff.

No one mentioned it, so I will. Invest in one of those Tila Food-Saver[tm] vacuum seal units. You can create smaller portion sizes of some things - rice, beans, flour, instant potatoes, etc. which can be stored up to 2 years for dry goods and a year (frozen) for meats & veggies. I recently cooked up a half-salmon that kept for a year in the freezer this way. And it was tasty.

Vacuum sealed foods keep fresh by keeping air out and this also prevents freezer burn.
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Old November 9, 2005, 09:34 PM   #22
hillmillenia
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Wow!...

The media really is a fear driven machine feeding off our insecurities. We're talking about a what if that has not materialized. I think the most sane statement made here is to stay healthy and stalk up on your regular survival kit. Here in the midwest we keep a supply of food and things in case of weather related problems. Being a shooter, I too feel it's a good idea to have a gun and some ammo...if something did happen you might not have the national guard confiscate your weapon allowing you to protect yourself and your food. Times have been strange for thousands of years with the only difference now I can call the other side of the planet on my telephone.
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