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A Different Kind of Food-in-a-Bucket Plan

storing food by the meal

A while back, I posted a series of pieces on why and how you should protect your food for the long-term.  I suggested ways to get rid of pests and keep out oxygen and light so that the food would remain viable and nutritious for longer periods of time.  The main way I proposed was by sealing the food in Mylar bags and then placing them in plastic buckets with tight fitting lids.

A reader named Heather who is new to prepping asked me more questions about what to store.  She had a very interesting idea about storing food in a way I had not considered-  by the week’s worth rather than by similar contents or purchase date.  My interpretation of her original question was “What should I put in a bucket to feed my family for a week?”

Hmmm…  I gave it some thought and looked around online, but couldn’t find any other people who had posted information about doing that.

I began by making lists of various types of storage foods that could be used for each meal of the day.  Then I started thinking about how much of each ingredient would be needed for the “average family of 4.”

Before long, I came to the conclusion that this was a pretty hard proposition.  I had to decide if I was going to stick with one space-efficient item for each meal (like oatmeal for breakfast, tuna for lunch, etc.) or whether I needed to provide variety.

How many days of oatmeal would people eat before they’d rather pass on breakfast?  Well, what if I provided different flavorings to add (cinnamon and brown sugar, dried blueberries, etc. sealed in small Mylar bags)?  How much would that add to the cost and how much space would I sacrifice?

Then I came to the quandary about water.  Do I assume that the possessor of the bucket has clean water or does it have to be part of the bucket’s supplies?  After all, these are mostly dried foods so they need water to cook or reconstitute, plus the water needed to drink.

In the end, I came to the conclusion that, in most cases, it would be very hard to put many days’ worth of food into one bucket unless you were willing to sacrifice variety (this is survival not vacation, right?) and water would have to be provided or stored elsewhere.

I was intrigued by the idea still, though.  I have long been concerned that we will have more people show up here hoping to move in than we can possibly handle.  I’ve been sick thinking about having to turn people away, especially if they have nothing.  This seemed like a possible solution.  I like the idea of being able to at least hand them a bucket of provisions that would help get them to their next destination.  To the food in the bucket, we could add some items from our Barter Larder like a multi-tool/knife, matches, skillet, and so on.

In addition to these charity buckets, the idea could be adapted to organize meals for a bug-out situation.  If I think there is the possibility that we may have to leave for some period of time (wildfire risk, radiation plume, etc.), then I could grab these specially prepared buckets and know that we have X number of days of food already organized.  Depending on the number of people in my group, I may be able to fit more than one day’s worth of food per bucket.  My other bug-out preparations would need to include the cooking vessels and water, but we would not be doomed to 18 straight meals of Ramen noodles or granola bars.

So, here is what I thought of for the first couple of days:

Day 1

Breakfast-  Oatmeal with freeze-dried blueberries

Lunch-  Canned soup concentrates

Dinner-  Spaghetti sauce and noodles;  powdered milk or other instant drink mix

Extra- If it’s possible to bake, I’d like to include ingredients to make at least two loaves of bread.

Day 2

Breakfast-  Powdered scrambled egg and bacon mix, plus a small jar of jelly to go on bread made the day before

Lunch-  Tuna fish with small condiment packs of mayo and mustard for making sandwiches

Dinner- Canned chicken, “cooking” soup concentrate, rice, and small spice packets

Extra-  Raspberry Crumble freeze-dried dessert

Day 3

Breakfast-  Pancake mix and small maple syrup bottle

Lunch-  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (with bread made from day 1)

Dinner-  Beef Stroganoff (freeze-dried)

Extra-  Instant chocolate milk

Do you have any ideas about other “menus” that could be put together or more useful ways to package food in the buckets?  Any thoughts on what should or should not be included (besides accounting for special dietary needs, like being gluten-free)?  Please mention them in the comments section below.

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109 Comments on “A Different Kind of Food-in-a-Bucket Plan”

  1. nancy Says:

    I would think any of your meal in jar ideas would work for lunches or dinners. Pack in mylar bags and seal up instead of jars. check out Chef Tess’s recipes http://cheftessbakeresse.blogspot.com/search/label/52%20Method%20Printables

    Reply

    • Laura Says:

      Thanks for mentioning the meal-in-a-jar idea. I have several “cookbooks” about making them, but haven’t yet managed to get them read. I thought about those also, but didn’t have anything I could recommend at this point. I will try to read and review them soon.

      Reply

  2. Alexia Says:

    I’m super excited that someone is talking about this!!! I kept thinking it, but I’m new to prepping, and I wasn’t sure how to implement! thank you for taking it on.

    Because I have a family of 6, My thoughts were to have an entire day in one bucket… Variety by labeling the buckets Day A, Day B, and Day C. and I had gotten as far as planning out the meals for each day!

    I’ll be back to check after all the comments start coming in! But once again, THANK YOU!

    Reply

    • Laura Says:

      Oh good! I’m glad this is turning into a useful topic and we’d love to see the menus you’ve come up with also. Please share when you come back.

      Thanks!

      Reply

  3. poormansprepper Says:

    Great post

    One thing I do is when Rice-a-Roni, Tuna Helper, or Mac and Cheese go on sale I buy them up take them home, dump then out into vacuum seal bags and cut the instructions off the box toss it in and seal then up. I do the same with the prepackaged single serving oatmeal, except I vacuum seal 4-5 together at a time. These are not power houses of nutrition, but they will keep you alive and they are easy, fast and familiar. Toss in some cans or bags of tuna, spam, or canned meat of your choice and you have a fast meal ready to go. I also vacuum seal soup mixes like 15 bean, split pea or the like, again easy one off meals.
    I have thought allot about people that might show up on my door and packaging this way allows me fast and easy portion control and calculation. To my mind it will be far better to be able to grab these “prepackaged” meals and hand them over then it will be for me to dole bulk food from my storage.
    One last thought, the completely paranoid side of me also thinks that these small individual packages of food are allot easier to hide…Why hide you might ask? Well I always wonder about the government’s involvement in food shortage situation and I worry about the government going house to house and confiscating “hoarded supplies”. If I see or hear about “Those Guys” coming to take my supplies, a can stash and hide ALOT of smaller stuff really fast.

    As always thank you for this blog and all your great ideas!

    Jeff

    Reply

    • Laura Says:

      Thanks for sharing those, Jeff. (By the way, your new blog is coming along nicely!).

      Good ideas about repackaging the sale items together with the directions. I hate to say it, but the first several buckets of rice I sealed and put in buckets, it did not occur to me to include a copy of the cooking directions. (It was “just rice”, right?). Since then, I’ve realized that even with something as simple as rice, I shouldn’t assume that the person who uses it will have any idea how much water to use or how long to cook it, so now I throw in at least one copy of the directions off the original bag.

      I’m with you about being able to stash stuff away. That is one thing about a root cellar that is alarming to me. Once “they” know we have it, they could get the bulk of what we have worked years to put away in one swoop. If I get wind of “door to door visits” or the like, we will probably be digging some holes out in the woods and throwing leaves back over them later!

      Reply

      • poormansprepper Says:

        Thank you for the comment about the blog, we will see how it keeps going…LOL

        About stashing food, I live in an apartment so I think along the terms of places like behind the fridge, in the sofa, under the mattress, you know everywhere a “normal” person would never think to look for food.

        Jeff

        Reply

        • Laura Says:

          Good point about the interior hiding places. In the summer, we take the cushions off the chairs and couch and line the bottom with unneeded blankets, etc. It would make a good spot for uncrushable food too, especially if it’s a sleeper sofa- you could take the mattress out. We have non-food supplies (soap, lamp oil, etc) behind the appliances that get warm (but not hot) just because we are very tight on space. In a pinch, I’d put food back there too.

          I would think that apt dwellers would be safer longer than folks in the country, especially those like us on “farms.” The average person is probably going to assume that smaller spaces are less likely to provide what they need and “those farmers have whole fields filled with stuff…” We don’t grow field crops, but our small cattle herd is visible from the road. A neighbor stopped by recently to ask if we do direct sales of beef even. I’d like the cows to be less visible, but they have to have adequate pasture.

          Reply

        • Sharon Says:

          How about IN the mattress? Slash, stuff, sew-up. Or IN any cushion that already has a zipper. Unzip, unfill (partially), unload goodies, fill, zip. IN the wall, if wood panels. Remove, shelves between studs, stash goodies, replace panels. dropped ceiling in kitchen with recessed fluorescent lights would work for homeowners – build a structure to store food between the real ceiling and the dropped one.

          Reply

          • moni Says:

            I was also concerned about this as well. So when doing some repairs to my place a wall had to be taken down. when repairing it I made the wall and extra 6 inches deeper,put up the shelving and closed it in. By using hinges and carefully concealing the seams it is invisible. needless to say picking the right wall is critical so the extra depth is not noticeable.
            My place is a pre war house(pre 1950′s) that is tiny. My next project is to repair the back steps. I will be turning it to a mini cold room by hinging the risers or the treads to place food inside. It is partially enclosed area and not an easily visible area.
            I like the idea of using the box of a bed for storage. works for me as I don’t have the coils in my boxspring. looking forward to reading more ideas on this concepy.

            Reply

        • Mona Says:

          an idea..I once knew a woman that created a false wall in her living room and stored tons of stuff behind it. if you don’t talk about it no one should know where your stash is. being in an apt you could hide the fake wall fairly well with furniture coverage.

          Reply

      • snb Says:

        I found a website that has some ideas for keeping your food safe:
        http://www.calamityjanet.com/hoard–seek.html Just one of those things I stumbled onto with Pinterest

        Reply

    • Linda Says:

      OMG, Jeff…I never thought of the gov’t coming around and taking our food supplies away from us.

      Reply

    • ti Says:

      Jeff. i really like the vacum pack idea of dry goods with the instructions, do you know how long it will extend the shelf life?
      thanks
      Ti

      Reply

    • jerryg Says:

      RE: hiding your stash. Buckets make great sense, easy to carry, did a hole and hide them, A word about hideing them in a hole, remove all metal so they can not be found with a metal detector.

      Reply

  4. Practical Parsimony Says:

    One thing that I see that is missing is any kind of fruit or vegetable or nuts. We still need fiber and these nutrients. Nuts keep me full for a long time and keep me regular. Although I don’t store food, I did help a friend. She was going to store buckets of rice, buckets of beans, buckets of dried fruit, etc. I convinced her to diversify in each bucket so that she could bring out a bucket that contained a variety of items. So, your idea is sort of the same, except that you have specific meals, a good idea.

    So, you would pack a five-gallon bucket with food to last four people for a week? For my part if I were giving or receiving, I would like a three-gallon bucket and make two buckets do the job of one five-gal bucket. That would be easier to carry–balance the load, the load could be divided between two people.

    If I don’t have food, I can eat the same thing every day for a week. I have food but often eat oats everyday for weeks. Even children and older people won’t get food fatigue in a week’s time.

    Lately, I have eaten eggs for breakfast because I am not hungry in a few hours. Protein at breakfast everyday might be a good thing.

    Making biscuits might be more doable for the vast majority of people. In an emergency, one does not want to use time and supplies figuring out how to make bread. Besides, biscuits can be made in smaller quantity and take less heat. .

    If you have cans, would you include a can opener? How about drinking vessels and eating utensils and plates? A set of old, mismatched dishes might be appreciated.

    Reply

    • Laura Says:

      All excellent points!

      Some of my thoughts I didn’t really “flesh out” in the posting, but you are very right about having to anticipate the needs for cooking. Cups, plates, and utensils would be very appreciated. We don’t have a lot of spares of those right now, but I think about them when I see plastic picnic-ware go on sale at the end of the summer. For storage reasons, I just haven’t made that a priority yet.

      We keep a tote or two of items we find on sale that could be given as charity or used for barter. They include pocket knives, flashlights, fire starting materials, etc. and I need to be sure there are plenty of can openers in there too. I pick up cast iron skillets at thrift stores also.

      The sample menus I included are quite lacking in fruits and vegetables, so that is something that does need addressing. I also need to see how many calories the menus would really supply also. I suspect it would not be enough for people who may be traveling by foot. Adding more dried fruits and veggies wouldn’t provide a whole lot of calories, but it would help with the fiber, as you mentioned.

      Nuts are a great protein and energy food, so they would be great for the days when you aren’t eating peanut butter.

      About the bread- I agree that it may be difficult, but it could even be baked inside a Dutch oven. It would be worth it if you have one. Otherwise, biscuits or cornbread would be nice. I’d prefer the actual bread for several reasons including fiber, but other kinds of quick breads would be simpler.

      Powdered eggs are very light, but nutritious, so providing them every day is a good idea. At least once a month, we have “breakfast” for dinner anyway.

      Our kids do tend to eat the same things each morning, but only three are real oatmeal eaters. If hungry enough, the others will probably eat it, but a variety of familiar foods would probably make it more likely that the needed calories actually go in. Toddlers are famous for being picky.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

      Reply

      • poormansprepper Says:

        One thing I keep in mind is, peas, lentils, garbonzos, mung beans, and wheat (this is just the short list) all can be sprouted for “fresh” nutirent value.

        Reply

      • Ursula Haigh Says:

        I recently picked up a set of “granitware” enameled tin plates (blue/black with white splatter spots) at the Salvation Army 8 for $4.00 ~ much better price than at the sporting goods store! They are durable, reuseable and compact. I always use cloth napkins, make my own and like to pick up vintage ones at garage and estate sales.
        They are the ultimate in recycling! If using paper napkins/plates dont throw away try to repurpose when starting fire at least!

        Reply

        • Ursula Haigh Says:

          Another item that stores easily, would be hard to come by & would be really useful for storing/ bartering are the disposable lighters~ cheaply priced at $ stores.

          Reply

          • Laura Says:

            Good points! We are cloth napkin folks too.

            About the lighters- definitely need to keep some of those around. We have experimented with various brands, though and found that the really cheap ones do not work well or break easily. We have found that WM carries a refillable Zippo lighter for only $10. I see the same one on Amazon for that price too.

            Thanks for the comments.

            Reply

    • Laura Says:

      I forgot to ask- where do you get 3 gallon buckets? I haven’t seen them locally. The 5 gallon are now easy to find and I can occasionally get gallon buckets from bakeries.

      Your point about not having one bucket be so heavy and being able to balance out the load is a good one. I just didn’t have a better solution at the time. One gallon doesn’t hold much and there would be too many to carry. Five gallon can be awfully heavy and cumbersome, though. Three gallon would be more manageable.

      Reply

      • Practical Parsimony Says:

        If you give people seeds to sprout, include an empty container, maybe plastic peanut butter or a mayo jar AND directions. Sprouting uses water, so maybe they should have directions to use that water to do other cooking with it.

        I got what I sort of assume is a 3 gallon bucket from the bakery/deli/meat/cheese/hot-table part of a grocery store. Maybe I read that on the side of the bucket. I will never buy a mop bucket again since I have appropriated one that I use to mop or wash the car with.

        The bucket has a black rubber seal that I assume provides an airtight seal once reclosed.

        About utensils for giving to people passing through: One summer I was having a big picnic in my yard. I was seething at the cost of plastic utensils, even on sale. I bought cheap 2/25 cent stainless steel utensils in a drug store sale. I used those for three years, year round at the party I threw each month–pot luck, cloth napkins, real dishes and plastic tumblers. Then, I started to buy gallon bags of utensils at yard sales. Some were whole sets; most weren’t. There were some spares thrown in. Never pay a quarter for a spoon or fork or knife. Buy the bagfuls for economy.

        I keep the original set in a cabinet in a flat basket, ready to get out for any occassion. The ones from yard sales are better quality yet mismatched. Exactly why can’t a family, one person, a couple not reuse their utensils? each person could get a fork and spoon. Adults could each get a steak knife that could also double for cooking. A large spoon and an “egg turner” as we called it, should suffice. Napkins are a waste. I made cloth napkins. To give to someone, you could use torn tshirts, old wash cloths, towels rehemmed smaller. These could all be used and reused for whatever purpose. You could cut and hem old flannel sheets. Make a bag to hold utensils and another to hold cloth pieces.

        If people are trying to move covertly, do you want to chance a napkin being found? A rag would not be as telling as a paper napkin discarded, a sure sign of people with abundant food or fully supplied. Besides, at some point people will be able to wash out cloth to reuse. Only a bit of water would be needed to wash all utensils. One tumbler of water could serve to wash them all.

        We cannot exist on disposable forever and especially not when supplies may be limited.

        TP? a 10×10 inch square of any fabric. I wash mine but I have sewing scrap and whole bolts of material that could be disposed of. I do use washcloths and wash them, but I could also use a square of fabric and dispose of it.

        Sorry, did not mean for this to be so long.

        Reply

        • Practical Parsimony Says:

          One of the buckets that I deemed to be three gallons is a frosting bucket that held 24 lbs of frosting. Now, water weighs a little over 8 lbs, depending on several factors like altitude and temperature. However, I would suspect that 24 lbs of frosting would be less volume than 24 lbs of water under any condition. Okay, I just took an empty gallong milk jug, filled it with water and emptied it into the frosting bucket. Two gallon jugs filled the frosting jug to within 1.5 inches of the top of the bucket. This bucket has a black rubber seal that is intact. I have about a dozen of these buckets in various brands. All came filled with food items. They vary in height about two inches. So, none of them hold much over 2 gallons. I just guessed wrong about them holding three gallons. Still, I think this would be a better option from the physical carrying of them than one 5 gal bucket…just my opinion if I were filling them or carrying them.

          Reply

      • Patrick Says:

        Any homebrew or home wine making store carries 3, 5, and 6 gallon buckets. You might have to look around to find one that sells them undrilled. Mostly in wine making they will drill a hole in the lid so an air lock can be affixed, however a lot of the stores will sell them un-drilled, and they will have the rubber gasket around the lid to seal it up.

        Patrick

        Reply

        • Laura Says:

          Thanks for mentioning that. I wouldn’t have thought of it. Most large cities have at least one homebrew supply place. I’ll look into it.

          Reply

      • Sherron Says:

        One thing that may help in a crisis is to store cooking pots & pans, utensils, and all sorts of survival equipment for shelter, warmth and cooking is to scout out a location that you can walk to or drive to (if possible to drive there in an emergency). The location could be used to stash items that are too heavy or bulky to carry, but once you arrived, you can dig it up, or retrieve it from your secret hiding place for instant survival uses. It is imperative to include a destination in your survival plan, so you don’t have to wander around aimlessly looking for a safe place to go. So why not pick out the spot, and deposit your survival equipment there ahead of time? That way you can move fast and light if the need arises, and you know exactly where you are going. Be sure to check on it from time to time to make sure it is still there and intact for your use in an emergency.

        Reply

        • Anisah Says:

          I am always puzzled by the notion of urban dwellers that they can simply deposit their stash “out there” somewhere in the rural area, as if that land doesn’t belong to someone. I hear that a lot from urban preppers, as though the BIG OPEN spaces aren’t private property owned by someone else.

          For those of us living in rural America, we’d rather have you all PREPARE to stay put! We really don’t want you jumping into your cars and trucks and invading the spaces you had no interest in supporting or living in, prior to the “event”. If living in Urban America and voting for politicians who regularly shaft us in rural America… so as to kiss the butts of the urban constituents…. Just stay put and deal with the bed you all have chosen to live with CURRENTLY. Its good enough for you now, so make it work “post event”.
          Leave rural America to its own devises and remember those miles and miles of “open spaces” belong to someone. Those cattle, sheep and other livestock also belong to someone, even if they aren’t right there guarding them. For that matter the wildlife running around on those lands aren’t “Free game” either. They live because rural people have not slaughtered them prior to the event… and haven’t concreted their habitat to build more shopping malls.

          In my opinion the urban preppers need to recognize they helped create their environment and they need to reap the “rewards” for choosing that lifestyle when they saw it as “beneficial” to them; and didn’t care how it effected the wildlife or other Americans or the world in general.

          Keep your stashes on your own land. BUG IN, not bug out unless you own land elsewhere. Then go there. Not to someone else’s land. Rural areas can’t support thousands of migrating people thinking they will “escape” the urban jungle they helped create. Its time the old saying be retold… “you made your bed, so lie in it”.

          Reply

          • RTGolden Says:

            There are millions of acres of public land out west. Your worries are slightly unfounded. I’m a rural raised, suburban dwelling, urban working person, so I’m familiar with all the attitudes you described. Not to mention, I’m in Texas, where public lands are few and far in between. My bug in and bug out plans include both near and far destinations, on public land.
            Not all urban dwellers are the cause for the situation we’re in as a Nation, and urban dwellers didn’t cause the entire situation. The farming community, mainly large co-ops, suck billions of dollars out of the budget every year through the omnibus farm bill. The government and corporate agriculture have provisions in place to keep the price of food needlessly high. These programs include, whole herd buyouts, milk and fruit dumps, acreage reduction incentives, ridiculously cheap farm loans, etc; all subsidized by the huge tax base of those evil urbanites. There are land owners out there who get annual incomes from tax money, to do nothing. They are paid for taking their land out of the agriculture cycle. So, before you point you finger at urbanites for causing all your worries, look around at your rural neighbors and compatriots first.
            As far as private property is concerned, I agree with you, urbans need to recognize and respect the hard work and legacy that rural dwellers have put into their land, and stay off of it.

            Reply

          • Zoey Says:

            Nasty and angry attitude, understandable and good point. Wish I could figure out how to buy a piece of land. When government takes over your land you may be coming closer to a city to stand in the bread line if there is one. I am giving much thought of what to do, where to go. No matter what, it is the creator who is my strength and yet, I am responsible to do what I can. I keep thinking that in the end does anyone have “the answer”? I remember a war movie, not the name, where a man decided to get away from the world. He choose I think an island in the Pacific Ocean and ended up in the middle of the war, reporting air and shipping movements of the Japanese and constantly running from the enemy seeking to kill him. Maybe living in a junky trailer park in a falling apart trailer in the middle of very poor people may be a place to hide out, who would expect a rich stash of food etc there. One thing I have not seen yet is we had better be seen loosing weight etc or it will be obvious that there is something valuable to steal from us. Have you read the book Lord Of the Flies? For myself I’m just getting started with all of this.
            I read of preppers collecting guns, living on defensible land, land where tanks can’t get through but what about drones just blowing the camp away? I see no sure answer. I’m more than just a little worried about all that is going on and pray for our nation, for the world.
            I appreciate all everyone is contributing and urge all to avoid resentments and anger towards one another. If I were to bury stuff on your land, you would have every right to dig it up and use it up.

            Reply

      • AkCoyote Says:

        Try delis. I’ve picked up a couple hundred buckets in the past 2 years.

        Reply

    • Ron Says:

      Did I read your first post Right? You said “Although I don’t store food”, and “I would like a three-gallon bucket and make two buckets do the job of one five-gal bucket”. I think if you don’t store food for yourself, why should I store food for you? From your second post it sounds like you have done a lot of thinking about preparedness, but that first statement, “Although I don’t store food”, tells me you are missing the point here.

      Reply

      • Practical Parsimony Says:

        You took two separate statements and made a new statement and gave it a new meaning. I am not a prepper or survivalist. I have no gamma seals, no oxygen packets, no caches. But, I do have food. As for my saying, “I would like,” I meant that if I were packing this for people to carry from my home. That is all I meant. I do read lots of prepper posts and think there are good ideas and not such good ideas. Sometimes, I chime in. But, yes, if I were walking and looking for shelter or food, I would like to carry two three gallon buckets instead of a five gallon.

        However, you have made some serious mistakes in judging what I will and won’t do. I am not obligated to tell you, but in my life have had two serious hand injuries at two different times. I have a torn rotator cuff and a torn meniscus and my last vertebrae is sitting on bone and I have the L5 out of place and two herniated discs. Do I sound like I will be walking anywhere? I could not carry two three-gallon buckets if my life depended on it, well, not far, anyway!

        No, I am not missing the point at all. I have food. I will never be out on foot looking for anyone to feed me because I can barely walk to the car. I use a little red wagon to get my food to the house from the car. I put groceries in tote bags to get them up the steps into the house.

        However, I can feed myself in an emergency better than most people around. I can eat oatmeal for a year for breakfast, so not much need for diversity. (I do have diversity in my food cabinets. At this time, I have three hens to give me all the protein I need if meat were not available. I can produce. I have a few tomato plants each year and buy other produce to can. I see the necessity of people have stored food.

        At my age, I would be expendable. So, between my age and inability to walk far for help, I will not be asking anyone for food. I won’t be at your door. Promise.

        Do you get it?

        Reply

        • Ron Says:

          Yes I get it. I understand a lot more about you, now that you have explained your self. It’s just your statement that you don’t store food, reminded me of all the others in this country that can make the same statement, and they will be coming to my house asking for food. And the next day they will be back DEMANDING I give them more food, and they will be coming to your house asking you for food. And the next day they will be back DEMANDING more food. If you had made the statement “I don’t store food, but I can support myself by growing my own”, it wouldn’t have shocked me so much. I apologize for jumping to the wrong conclusion.

          I respect anyone that can take care of themselves and not store food, I really do, but there aren’t very many in this country that can and will take care of themselves without storing food. I store food, and I store extra to donate to others that need some help.

          I don’t store food for those that could do it for themselves but refuse to do so. One less iPhone or video game machine or a not so new car will go a long way to providing stored food to help themselves when the chips are down. Anyone with ‘eyes that can see’ will be able to see the problems that are bearing down on this country. Everyone that can’t feed themselves with what they grow, should be storing food. I assume you are also hopeing your next door neighbor is storing food. I know I sure am. I’m not storing enough to provide them with two 3 gallon buckets either. A package of ramun noodles and a fill up of their canteen with water is about it. I have my own family to provide for.

          Again I apologize for taking what you said, differently than how you meant it. In my mind ‘prepping’ means storing food, and that statement just didn’t register as a good thing.

          I’m glad you DO get it.

          Ron

          Reply

          • Practical Parsimony Says:

            I am glad you understand. I suppose I have been planning on an emergency forever. Like so many are, I am not a newcomer to this aspect of life.

            Reply

          • Sherron Says:

            This part of the discussion reminds me of a story my grandmother used to tell me when she was alive. During the Great Depression, Oklahoma City offered free use of 5 acre tracts of land outside the city to residents for growing food for their families. She was one who signed up and worked the land with her 4 kids while grandpa worked his job in town. They worked the plot by hand and never went hungry during the depression. Neighbors who did not want to labor or who could not for whatever reason would show up at her back door begging for scraps of food and she never turned anyone away empty handed. She shared with all even down to potato peelings and other scraps of fruits and veggies. In our society today, I am not so sure that neighbors would ask or if some would just attempt to take what they want from those of us who have prepared.

            Reply

        • Anisah Says:

          Just to add my two centers worth here. I too don’t store food in the same high tech method most preppers seem to. But I’ve had food storage for my whole life. I am NOT a prepper though. But I was raised by a rancher in rural America far from the convenience of 24 hr stores. We learned we could be snow bound for weeks, so we always stocked up. Winter of 96 again reminded me of just how important that is. For weeks trucks couldn’t get up the interstate to restock the food shelves of the local town grocery stores, including the mega chain stores like Wallyworld.

          Like you I live with disability. BUT please don’t underestimate your skills. Nor should preppers. While many preppers talk about their buckets and plastic gizmos, most will be in deep sh#t when they discover that plastic degrades too and rodents have no problem chewing throw the stuff! Nor is it smart to store in large quantities as it allows LARGE spoilage when spoilage does occur.

          I have never used oxygen packets or gamma seals, but my food cellar has been working beautifully for three generations. All this high tech mumbo-jumbo seems to me be a lot of hype…and someone is getting rich off the backs and fears of lots of preppers.

          Human beings have been stocking food for generations without all this high tech gadgetry and yet few preppers talk about LOW tech prepping and how to survive once your own food stores are gone. They just assume someone will start providing them food supply again.

          Its amazing to me. If the rural food producers don’t survive the “event”, and the preppers stockpile of foods are gone… where are they going to get their next meal then? They aren’t teaching themselves how to garden without high tech, or how to raise animals or how to prepare food without their gadgets. They are planning on the notion that the “system” will start up magically post event. Nice thought, as long as someone has been keeping the food producers and food packing company people and their factory workers alive in the meantime to get that “system” running again.

          I guess that is the most intriguing part of the prepper mindset. Lack of realization how their narrow space of the world depends on everyone else out there also surviving so as to feed and provide them with the goods later on.

          Reply

  5. Alexia Says:

    Wow, some great tips here!!

    Ok, Here is my menu for Meal Bucket A…

    *Breakfast: Homemade Instant Oatmeal, Big can of fruit cocktail (remember there are 6 of us). Also, coffee/sugar/ protein powder/ powdered milk.

    Note:eat fruit first, use can to cook oatmeal; then save can to make lunch, and dinner. powdered milk is in water bottle portions. Sprinkle protein powder on oatmeal, or use in milk.

    *Snack: granola bars & dried fruit

    *Lunch: Ramen Noodles (6); Dehydrated mixed veggies, and a can of spam(cubed); cook all together in can from b-fast.

    *Dinner: pasta, tomato paste, spices (cook all in can from b-fast)

    *Dessert: some chocolate pieces, and hard candies.

    So, there would be 3 different bucket meals. and I don’t know. lol Of course this isn’t finished and if you see something obviously missing, or that I didn’t cover please tell me! :-)

    Reply

    • Laura Says:

      Thanks for sharing your menu idea. I especially like how you thought ahead to use the can for cooking things. Very smart. That eliminates the need to carry an additional cooking vessel.

      The only thing that occurs to me at a glance is that the chocolate may melt and I’m not sure how long it stays good in storage. It is one of my greatest weaknesses (I think I almost “fear” being without it!). I have made sure to store sealed cocoa powder for cooking at home because I think the fats in prepared chocolate will go rancid before too long. I need to try to find some definitive answers about that, though.

      Reply

      • Crystal Says:

        Laura – I to have the without chocolate fear , I found the hot chocolate with candy cane on clearance at walmart and purchased 60 of them lol the cashier thought I was crazy But they were only .10 cents each and still have a while on the shelf life .. There is a good idea when you can find hot chocolate on sale :) On another note I went and checked my stash in the basement today and I am missing more than 1/2 of my soups ( that I know of ) they were on sale for .39 so i got a good stock of them tomatoe,chicken noodle and cream of chicken I am down to about 10 of each now :( . i have a neighbor who has a drinking problem and lives in a camper on his brother’s land i have a feeling he has been eating soup alot , we would also have items from our garden to go missing! I am going to be installing a video camera that plays through my TV and see who it is . so protect your stash if it is happening now imagine what it will be later
        .

        Reply

        • Eric Says:

          WHat a great lesson! If your neighbour is swiping your food now, what will happen when SHTF for real? Hide it better and if you are in a location where you are allowed to (like US), then consider some traps to scare people off….. you should also consider strengthening your perimeter, someone is walking in and out of your home without being spotted. Think of your family security.

          Reply

  6. kdonat Says:

    A couple of other good sources for menu ideas and items for bucket meals are the hiking and sailing websites.

    I have adapted several backpacking menus designed for 2 people for a 10 day hike for our bug out bags. I figure the same volume would feed 4 people for 5 days. Most of the menus are based on high caloric values needed for strenuous activity but meals could be stretched somewhat to cover a few more meals or extra days. For example : suggested breakfast one day was 2 cups of oatmeal per person. We could get by with 1 cup or less each. Substituting canned items for some of the freeze dried/dehydrated items in the hiking menus would keep the costs down as you wouldn’t be too concerned about having to carry the extra weight in a backpack.

    Reply

  7. Practical Parsimony Says:

    I don’t think cooking in a can that has had food is a good idea. There are chemicals linin the can that will be activated by heat. The can would be more useful as a stove with a heat source underneath, like a tuna can stove.

    Little, used pots are cheap at yard sales and thrift stores. A wire or string could be put through the handle and it could hang from the handle of the bucket to save storage space inside the bucket.

    Reply

    • Laura Says:

      That crossed my mind also- I think the ones with a white coating have BPA in them and would not be ideal. The BPA leaches out faster when heated. However, I don’t recall the #10 cans (that we use often) have it.

      It would be better to use a vessel intended for cooking, but for a short term situation like this presumably would be (until you arrive somewhere more “civilized” and get a better permanent set-up), this would do probably. Campers have been doing this for ages. Unfortunately for us consumers, even the BPA cans have been heated once already when the food was sealed in them.

      Reply

      • Anisah Says:

        simply enough problem to solve. BURN out the lining of the can by turning it upside down on a flame and heating it to red hot for several minutes. Then it can be used. A coffee can oven can be added to an emergency pack previsions and can be used when a large cook fire isn’t suitable. Many “vessels” intended for cooking these days are worse than a coffee can (in stick-free frying pans and cook pots, aluminum cookware, etc). Its smart to have a small compact stainless steel “mess kit” for cooking and prepped coffee can, that is packed with a tuna-fish can filled with wax and cardboard wick, and some matches. The can also can have small packets of catcup, maynaise, and other condiments as well as a baggie of rice and bouillion cubes and perhaps some instant soup mixes.

        Reply

      • Jen Says:

        Everything that is canned has been heated to kill all bacteria before they were sealed. If you eat canned food daily you already get enough exposure that you don’t need to worry about it if use for cooking especially in an emergency situation. Although if you are planning to carry canned food you might as well plan to carry a small pot as well. What’s a few extra ounces at that point? Also chocolate will keep for years, it turns sort of chalky in the outside but it never made me sick and it still tasted pretty good.
        Just started prepping, grew up poor, lived on a boat for a couple of years as a kid, we grow veggies and have egg laying hens. Started canning this year for the first time since high school.

        Reply

  8. Cheryl Says:

    I read through most of the comments (not all) but one item I haven’t seen anyone mention is packing a multi-vitamin for each person your feeding. Don’t forget any meds (or the holistic version) you may need. I have a supply of valerian root, st. johns wort and 5htp for stress. It’s all about being prepared. I have a first aid bucket but what if it gets seperated or you I don’t have time to grab everything during a bugout situation? Best to have a couple of asprin and meds in each bucket. Just in case.

    A lot of prescriptions last “much” longer than pharmacy’s would have you believe. If you can, get a double dose prescribed. For instance, if you take 10 mg for blood pressure ask your doc for 15 or 20 mg. you can break the pills in half and store with your food bucket.

    Reply

    • Practical Parsimony Says:

      Some pills cannot be broken in half effectively. Some degrade faster. Others have a coating. Then, there are meds that will not have exactly half a dose in each half pill. If there is a score line on the pill, it is formulated to be broken, otherwise, beware.

      Reply

  9. Practical Parsimony Says:

    Ooops, did not mean to post. Some medications only lose potency over time, so a larger dose is necessary. Other medications become toxic or just ineffective. If a full round of an antibiotic is not taken, and that means at full strength, the body will develop superbugs that will not respond to meds. Keep this in mind when storing and administering medications.

    Recently, I discovered animal medications/antibiotics. Since then, I have found that they are identical to human antibiotics. I hope I am not repeating something already said on this post about animal antibiotics.

    Reply

    • Olivia Says:

      This is a really late comment, but I am new at all of this and trying to catch up. I’m a nurse and wanted to add my two cents. Fish antibiotics are usually the very same as the ones for human…..just be careful and buy from a good company. Don’t ever take dog meds….cant’ remember why, but be safe. Plus, please, please, never play doctor and give antibiotics without educating yourself…they can kill you if not taken by the right person, the right time, for the right illness, the right amount…they might even interact with other medicines the person is taking. Most drugs are effect past their expiration dates. TETRACYCLINE SHOULD NEVER BE TAKEN PAST THE EXPIRATION DATE. Be sure you buy a couple of first aid books, a good drug book (with photo of the different tablets and pills)…most of all, start right now and get health, eat right, exercise, keep your mind active. If you have chronic health problems now is the time to work on a plan to provide for the future when you might not be able to get to the doctor.

      Reply

  10. Anisah David Says:

    I recommend the reclaimed tin coffee can/tomato can approach for the “Coffee Can Sterno Stove”. It would be small enough it could be placed in a charity bucket, along with the tin cup that is cooked in…and a set of matches or a lighter, as well as basic instructions on how to use. I’d also add basic condiments most people don’t think twice about. Packets of ketchup, mayonnaise, honey, relish, mustard, etc area all things that take little space but hold great variety if added to the same primary foods. Also they can be consumed as emergency nutrients without cooking. In that same bucket, I’d place a small “survival” booklet, showing people how to make things out of basic items, that will help them survive. A piece of plastic sheeting can do wonders in collecting water! Folding one up and placing it in that bucket could mean a great deal to people. People think about the bugging out context, but reality is most people “bugging out” will likely be the same people who have no previsions and are basically coming through your area trying to just find a place to get something to eat. If that bucket is more than a “hand out” but instead a hand up, that provides them with a quick instructional booklet of how to make items around them work to help them survive, then your efforts of giving a bucket will go farther than you can imagine.

    I’m not just speaking theory here. I worked in Katrina hurricane disaster area. I passed out buckets of cleaning supplies and food. I saw how the simple BUCKET (not what was in it!) meant so much to people. I saw how handing out some plastic sheeting made the difference of Shelter or no shelter. It was the most disruptive zone our continent has had in a long time. Those of us who worked down there for months among the people came to understand the value of so many “take for granted” items. So please don’t just think FOOD in charity buckets. Think food for a few weeks, but mainly think how to provide SAFE water filtration. Think about shelter (plastic sheeting). Instructions on survival skills. Heck toss in a stick with fishing line and hooks! A small knife to whittle with, etc.

    Just some suggestions. I realize I’m preaching to the Choir here.

    Reply

  11. Lori Garrison Says:

    One of the things that people forget is that ( in generally ) most people really don’t want a hand out. All they want to do is take care of their family. We have all heard about barter Items, maby you should think of preparing buckets for others in that sense. That person that wasn’t prepared like you, just may have a skill that you could barter your share buckets for (Dr., Dentist, larborer, Etc.).

    No matter how perpered (or) unprepared a person is, if a situation lasts long enough we will all probably need some form of help, at some point. If you were to get to that point, who do you think would be more likely to help you. The one you helped or the one that you refused, KARMA

    One of the things that I have knowledge is that you can get Ensure, (often used as a meal replacement for people can’t or won’t eat for one reason or another) in a powder. form. A complete nutrition meal replacement. Light weight,and won’t take much room and all you need is water. No fire needed and no cooking. If you were to replace even one meal a day in your bucket with it you would save alot on room and weight.

    Protien Powder is also a great thing to keep on hand, as Protien will be one of the harder things to come by and is also in powder. It is quite like ensure as far as room and weighr goes.

    Another thing that you can find in canping supply stores is a Water Purifying System, some are designed that you can purify mud puddle water. Also a good rain poncho has multi uses, from keeping dry, to protecting your skin, to a water carry means, Etc

    Anyway these are just a few things a hadn’t seen mentioned yet,

    P.S. loved the sprouting Idea, I hadn’t thought of that tip

    Reply

    • Victor Says:

      Some great ideas thanks. I would add that there are some meal replacement powders (like Vega or Now Whole Foods powders), that might be better for some people. These contain in one serving 50% of the daily vitamins and minerals, 15g of protein, 6g of fibre, plus probiotics, a few servings of vegetables, plus it contains herbs known to increase energy. And most important, they are free of common allergens. They are milk, egg, soy, and I believe rice and gluten free. It’s an idea for those who might find themselves eating high caloric but nutritionally lacking food for several days.

      Another idea for the buckets are nutritional bars for hikers, climbers, etc. The only brands I know of are Luna bars, and Clif bars. They are both energy bars and have a good nutrient profile as well (as well as tasting really good). Clif also has a kids version. I always keep some Clif bars on hand and whenever I find myself not eating well due to money concerns, I eat one every few days. Those are some ideas anyways.

      Reply

    • Cheryl Says:

      I wonder what the mylar/oxy absorber/bucket packed shelf life would be for Ensure powder or protein powder?

      I want to store buckets that contain one month of life sustaining calories for one adult.
      I want long term 20-30 year shelf life items, and as nutritionally complete as possible.

      Reply

  12. Lori Says:

    Water will possibly be in short supply. You should consider stocking up on some no rinse soap. They carry it at most Medical Supply stores. It is a widely used for bed ridden people unable to get into a shower or tub. Dilute in water and use for sponge bath, but no water to rinse.

    We alos found something that will come in really handy. It is a toilet seat w/ lid that fits a 5 gal. bucket. It is called a Luggable Loo by RELIANCE. Have you considered what you will do when you feel the need?

    And remember to have a back up plan, location and supplies.

    Reply

    • Joe Says:

      Good point about nature’s calling, Lori. There are some good articles online about how to properly dispose of human waste like that. Some even turn it into compost, but that takes 12+ months to be safe.

      Joe

      Reply

  13. athriftynickel Says:

    We picked up a luggable loo at Bass Pro Shop a few months ago and added it to our bug out supplies..I hate the ideal of having to leave my home but I think it will be necessary very soon….I have chosen to store up dried products that can be hydrated along withe a burkey water filter system…For us the MRE’s were a little pricey..I have stocked up mostly by catching sales and using coupons,, noodles,rice,canned soups.that can be poured over rice for easy meals..Someone posed earlier about making bread, I think at the point we are leaving out homes we will be lucky to have crackers let alone bread to eat..I would serously be afraid that someone would smell the bread and steal what I have

    Reply

    • Joe Says:

      You make a good point. Different supplies may be needed for different situations. On the move or in a hostile environment, fast and easy meals are a must. Even better would be meals that don’t require heating. Once you’ve reached your secluded location, bread making becomes an option again.

      Thanks, athriftynickel.

      Joe

      Reply

    • Olivia Says:

      Don’t forget there are some very easy bread recipes. I just tried one that only using only 3 cups flour a couple of tablespoons of sugar, a couple of pinches of salt. Add enough water to make dough. just mix it up and make like a 1 inch thick pancake. They say you can just lay it on hot coals and flip once. Also, can put in skillet and cook on top of fire, I cooked mine in a cast iron skillet in my oven, flipping when one side gets brown. It was heavy and very filling. With enough butter, it was ok. I would think with a soup or stew, this would be a meal that would carry you for several hours. Any leftovers would travel well in a backpack. Matter of fact, mix all the dry ingredients in ziplock bag and add water when ready to mix at campsites. Someone wrote they mixed the flour half and half, white and whole wheat. Another suggested adding different herbs and such for flavor.

      Reply

  14. Practical Parsimony Says:

    athriftynickel.
    I agree about smelling bread of any kind baking. Foods that just need heating will have their scent wafting less time. I am thinking that full-scale cooking might be a proposition unless people are in a secure place. Burning wood can be seen for a long ways. Other forms of fuel leave no visual cues. Freshly baked bread would be delicious, but crackers would be safer.

    Reply

    • Joe Says:

      These are all good points.

      As an aside, very dry wood burns with significantly less smoke than its green, unseasoned counterpart. Plus, very small fires can be used to cook if needed.

      Joe

      Reply

  15. Brayton Stafford Says:

    Great article on long term food storage. Check out http://lazyprepper.com they have a bunch of long term food storage items prepackaged and ready for storage.

    Reply

  16. Marilyn Says:

    Having read through the comments, I have a few comments. After stumbling across backpacking sites, I bought a dehydrator. Most foods can be cooked and then dehydrated. I live alone and basically make meals for six. Eat what i want and then dehydrate the rest. Most are vacuum sealed in two serving bags. Just add hot water. Soups, stews, noodle dishes, sauces. all are much easier to quickly use without really cooking. I have used a simple solar oven to boil water. It is made out of cardboard and tinfoil. I am just now putting together buckets for breakfasts, lunch, suppers. Grabbing three buckets will give you “X” number of breakfast meals etc. It is very easy to put together your own instant style meals. Just watch your calorie content. I am trying to make certain each meal equates to approximately 600 calories. Throw in a vitamin pack and drink mix with each breakfast pack. Do check out out dehydrating sites and those for backpackers. Certainly is MUCH cheaper.

    Reply

  17. Jennifer Says:

    Okay so I have one for you… How would go about Prepping for a family of 13? I have always wanted to be perpaired, but don’t know where to begin.

    Reply

    • Practical Parsimony Says:

      I would like to know how on earth you get through the day with a family of 13 even when there is no emergency!

      Reply

      • Jennifer Says:

        LoL
        It isn’t always easy, but then again we didn’t sign-up for easy when we decided to have a large family.
        So do you have any ideas on how to get started (on a budget since having a large family is expensive). To give you an idea of our situation we have 11 children ages 15- 6 months, 5 acres, a couple pigs, about 10-15 chickens and 6 sheep. The idea behind the animals is the beginning of your preparedness plan, but it hasn’t gotten much farther than that.

        Reply

        • Jennifer Says:

          *our

          Reply

        • Practical Parsimony Says:

          I read that it takes 1/2 acre of land per person to grow crops to completely feed a person/family. Now, storing rice, beans, oats, sugar, honey would relieve the stress of having to have every crop make every year. A guy with 1/10 (one-tenth) of an acre feeds his family and sells to restaurants. So, not all the predictions of what a person needs is necessarily right.

          While I am not really a prepper, I do have ideas. /And, I do prepare just like I have done all my life.

          Make sure your hens have a rooster to reproduce. Dehydrate any of the extra eggs. Are you going to eat old hens? Can you raise some fast producers for meat only and can the meat in a pressure canner?

          Start now to learn to garden and be prepared to grow spring and winter crops if your climate allows. Learn to do lots of chores/food preps and have the equipment. Don’t plan to learn when you have no choice. Do you know how to butcher the pigs or have someone who will do it and trade for part of the meat?

          Can you always produce/grow green leafy, vegetables? I would get alfalfa for sprouts and let them get green before eating them. Beauregard sweet potatoes and pumpkins are good sources of nutrition. Your family’s tastes and their nutritional needs will determine what you grow.

          Do you know that every part of dandelions is edible and very nutritious? Do you know what wild things are edible and which are poisonous?

          Grow white potatoes in barrels or built up towers to save your time, energy, and real estate. Plant nut and fruit trees. Establish grape vines for jelly or jam. Then, put up the harvest by storing, dehydrating, or canning.

          Okay, I am putting this at the end! In the beginning I would get lists of what nutritions are in what vegetables and fruits. You will want a list for calcium, one for vitamin C and so forth. Learn skills and practice; establish trees and plants like grapes, blueberries. Plan for water storage and purifiction; practice it. Print out everything you need to know. Don’t depend on storing it on the computer. You know everything you need. Make lists of what to store, like otc meds, and start buying them as you can.

          Find the movie on the internet–Back to Eden. It is 1.5 hours long. He uses nothing but a rake, no tractor, no digging, no commercial pesticides or fertilizers.

          Do you have friends, relatives, or neighbors who are of like mind. As for storage, just start somewhere that suits you and work at it steadily.

          You have children old enough to carry buckets of food if you had to leave. I would not try to leave home with children to protect. However, you could prepare five to seven buckets with assorted meals of food if the necessity ever presented itself.

          Good luck. I hope I answered any questions and did not just ramble. The large family means more mouths to feed also means many hands to make chores light. Even little ones can do things–feed chickens, entertain the baby in your sight…figure you have them all helping out by now.

          I suppose I got way off the track of buckets! Sorry.

          Reply

        • Eric Says:

          Prepping with kids is much the same as prepping normally, except that you should try to turn it in to a game. With 13 of them I assume that money is a problem, but it doesnt need to be. As long as it a game, 13 kids can be quite usefull, even the smaller ones.

          - Step one is security. Defending 5 acres is quite a task. Secure your perimeter as much as possible. Get the older kids and grown ups some self defense lessons (specially the girls). Make sure to lock up your guns, kids can do some irresponcible stuff and watching 13 of them could be quite a challenge I think. You could nudge them to play with catapults and bows and arrows, but make sure they are carefull.
          - Get them gardening, when SHTF even the smaller kids can help farm. They will likely think it’s fun and it is good for them to know. 5 acres can feed 15, the old idea of an half a hectre (not acre) per person did not take high density planting and verticle gardening into account.
          - As going out in the wild could be possibly hazardous to your smaller children, take them camping out on your own 5 acres. Make them pack up their stuff and go to the far end of your property. They can only take what they can carry and whatever they forgot they will have to do without. Have them help build a shelter, collect fire wood, etc. Survival trip, but with the safety of home nearby.
          - Get them envolved in food storage. Kids can cut out coupons for you and more often than not they are great at hiding things. You might learn a thing or two from them.

          There are many ways to get kids envolved in prepping, small boys love playing soldier, small girls love playing house, just influence the games a bit. Just as a word of advice: keep it fun and they will learn faster. No need to have them grow up in fear, because mummy and daddy were scared about the end of the world ;-)

          Reply

          • dextrollc88 Says:

            Keeping it fun for kids is key. Try getting a used bath tub from someone renovating and use it in the backyard for above ground garden. Less weeding, which is more fun for the kids! One bathtub will grow a lot of veggies.
            Great post.

            Reply

          • Anisah Says:

            I found that kids love raising small livestock too, such as poultry, bunnies & even goats & sheep. Getting them involved in those levels of self-sufficiency is also a great way to expand their understanding & skill sets. Even the youngest of tots can help collect eggs from poultry & help herd turkeys to their shed at the end of the day. My 4 yr old regularly helped in farm yard duties, including herding the turkeys. So don’t assume gardening is their only skill set, just because they are young.

            Reply

  18. mike I Says:

    just a thought powdered or jar gravy and be used as a soup base or add to bland noodles or rice

    Reply

  19. Happy Preppers Says:

    I still like this article… I keep coming back to it. The thought of Charity buckets sounds very nice to me. . I wonder if the charity takers would come back and endanger the family. Right now, my charity is reserved for extended family who aren’t prepping

    Reply

  20. Jeff Says:

    Great post and amazing comments.
    To the person who mentioned that because of their age they are expendable….NOT TRUE.
    In my humble opinion you have a high value from life experience and living through various stages of our society. I routinely talk to older people in my area who lived through the Great Depression and find that they are an amazing source of information.
    As always, this is a great blog and I appreciate the time everyone has taken to share ideas.

    Reply

  21. Anisah David Says:

    I’d like to make a suggestion. It may be something that could be used. I’m not speaking from a theory point of view, but an already tried point of view. My adult daughter and another friend, lived in poverty stricken Giza, Egypt for 6 years each. They both experienced living without and we started getting real creative on how to get “variety” and “luxuries” to them since the mail service was basically so corrupt nothing really got through.

    One of the techniques was an adaptation my mom taught me, for Car Emergency kits. Its those little mylar packets of ketchup and mayo and jelly and peanut butter, etc. You may not think much of them but the relishes, hot sauces, ketchup and peanut butter as well as mayo and honey care great for adding to those weekly buckets. They add options that can change the flavor of rice or any other dish!

    They also can be eaten as emergency calories, straight up!

    I ended up collecting bundles of them and tea bags, individual coffee packets, creamers, etc and packing every nook and cranny of my suit cases with them! Those small flavors can be a worth of welcome to someone who can’t get anything “normal”.

    Another suggestion: Bendy straws! Not something you think much about in modern America, but that and TAPE are God-sent items that can be adapted for all sorts of needs! Also alcohol wipes. Not in huge boxes, but in small handfuls in each bucket.

    Just a suggestion from someone who lived overseas and also lived in Katrina’s aftermath for six months as a coordinator.

    Oh, and don’t forget paper and writing instruments. You may not think highly of them know, but without internet — google — phones and the like — we do resort back to needing pens, markers, pencils and paper.

    Reply

    • Ursula Says:

      Great tips,Im going to ask for extra packets of
      Everything now when offered.
      My grandma was famous for tucking packets
      Of sugar salt.,pepper in her purse when dining
      In cafes :-)

      Reply

  22. Eric Says:

    It really is a good idea. You are crossing MRE with stockpiles. However, some of your ideas need some rethinking:
    - Nuts and longterm storage are incompatible, they often go stale in no time.
    - Giving away buckets to zombies is a bad idea. Keep the food for your own. Don’t let strangers in the house. Dont give away your barter items. You will be overrun in no time. Either they come to barter, or they come to see the end of your barrel. Being nice is not an option.
    - Buckets are great for storage, but bad for transport. Consider getting cheap backpacks, packing the food in them, then packing the bags in the bucket.
    - Consider making a few extra and burrying them in a second location, in case you are overrun and need to bug out. Put some of your barter items in those buckets and maybe some ammo. Tarps, space blankets and other such items would then also be very important and dont forget medical supplies including antibiotics (in all likelyness there will be one or more casualties when you get run out in a battle overe your home)
    - Don’t ignore possible addictions. Say, if you are a smoker, pack yourself some tobacco. You will have to quit anyway, but maybe not in such a stressful situation.
    - If you live in an urban area consider also packing some cooking fuel. It will help your travelling speed if there is nothing to collect.
    - Backing bread, apart from the above reason of smell, also the time and effort needed to bake it is a concern when trying to cover distance.
    - a compass and a map of where you are going could be usefull and is not very heavy. e sure to code your map and not write down where your home and supplies are ;-)

    The problem with travelpacks is that you will want to pack everything, but you must choose. In general, comfort brings discomfort. The more you pack, the more you carry. If you know where you are going, you would be able to leave yourself supplies on the way, with the risk that someone might have got them before you.

    Really, I can’t stress enoug: DON’T FEED THE ZOMBIES! (for your families sake)

    Reply

    • Anisah Says:

      “Don’t feed the zombies”. Amazing some some people think that others have no value. FIrst off, your assumption is that those “zombies” aren’t people who were run out of their homes by thugs. Secondly you assume you have to “barter” goods for goods. Some of those “zombies” will be the physically weak who just happen to be a wealth of knowledge that YOU don’t have, that could make your little family crew survive.

      I recommend not being so animalistic that you revert to MY PACK only survival techniques. If so, you may as well be kulled early, so those left to rebuild can be less like you & more societal. Sorry, but I saw this sort down in Katrina. They were self-righteous & hoarding (even general donations they acquired) while others shared out & went without.

      They were all about SELF. But let me tell you something. If you haven’t mapped out who in your region has skill sets you don’t, that you may find valuable, you are FAILING to recognize the bigger picture. It TAKES A VILLAGE to make it!

      Individualism is CUTE, but not realistic in a SHF sort of setting. Its why humans have always gathered in groupings for survival. You plan on “going it alone” you will die alone. When you get sick, no one will be there to nurse you back to health. Just think about that. How many of you all know what plants under your feet, while trekking about from one zone to another, is valuable due to medicinal purposes or food? How many know where to gather fruits & berries? How many know how to survive without electricity, gas, or other energy sources to keep you warm? Could you survive Superstorm Sandy with your little “Emergency bucket plan” or would it have all washed away with the tide?

      Where is your generator? Basement where it can be flooded or in the attic? Do you keep animals that can help you identify ppl approaching, or do you assume animals have no value unless eaten? Romans lost a major battle due to geese warning the villagers of the Roman soldiers. Pigeons too have been used in times of conflict, as well as dogs, horses and other critters.

      If you Stash food outside your home, know that its just as likely to be found by others who are traversing the countryside, in an effort to “BUG out”. Its just as easily given away at your door. At least you know you gave it away, and don’t assume its available in a greater Emergency. If you recruit people with skill sets you will need, by feeding them — you build your village & thus your ring of protection. Not necessarily a bad thing. Even Zombies have their place. Hungry Zombies do great at keeping the alpha provider safe from others.

      Reply

      • James Says:

        Love this blog! I just sat and read every single comment too! Good points all, but on the last issue I am going to have to semi-agree with the cold comments about steering clear of giving out food and supplies to the general public…I prep for me and my son, if my sister and her family need a bit of assistance I will do my best… But, many a person I have spoken to about what they will do when SHTF state that since they have big guns, they will simply take from those who have food/supplies and move on… I watched a video of LA rioting yesterday and believe me they weren’t even hungry, starved, or scared… But they DID loot, riot, rape, and murder their fellow citizens for no good reason… I live in a populated semi-woodsy area, and their are many neighbors with big guns and lots of beer that are on the edge of robbing people already without necessity…. God is my greatest ally in this of course, but wisdom dictates that the overlooking of important truth results in disaster… My father said to me growing up “Loose lips sink ships”… I feel this is a good metaphor for showing the block the courtesy of informing them where a good house to pillage is… your house…whatever warm fuzzies arise at the thought of helping my fellow man, one look at my son trumps all…

        Reply

      • Eric Says:

        I missed this post, but will answer that.
        I’m sorry to have offended you Anisah, but in my crew there are various people, from 0 to 70 years old, we do not have the luxury of being nice about it. If you want to test these principles, I suggest trying to deal in some way with a junky and you will see how people react when they are in trouble. Even if you offer a junky all the food, shelter and drugs they need, 99% will still steal from you. Try that when food becomes an issue. I think you answered it yourself: “They were self-righteous & hoarding (even general donations they acquired) while others shared out & went without.”. I cant have people I care for go without and die. I’m not worried about our physically strong, I’m worried about the physically weak.

        Look at it from the other side. I’m 6’1″ reasonably strong, wearing cammo and armed to the teeth, if I’m a hungry man, will you let me near your children and their food?
        Let’s be honest, I’m a nice guy, I help people all the time and my table always has an extra place, my house always has an extra bed. If my family goes hungry, believe me, I will steal, even murder if I have to. Please talk to some people who have lived in war zones and weigh what they say. One by one they will tell you, your friends are no longer to be trusted, nothing personal, but every man wants to eat.

        Reply

  23. rayra Says:

    I’m working on something similar to this, but more of a long-term storage of stuff we already use, using a modified galvanized trash can as my bulk storage. Sort of like a giant holiday popcorn tin, partitions inside, with multiple staples in gallon mylar bag portions. We often use family-size commercial rice dishes or sides as a base, adding various things to ‘plus up’, including several extra cups of regular rice. So akin to the ‘meal in a jar’ concept, I’m working up ‘big meal in a gallon mylar’, the idea being to put 3000-4000 calories worth of meal items together in the bag. Just add water and simmer. Or add to water in a large pot, or turkey fryer setup. Good for regular use, good for post-disaster use, good for handout if need be.
    http://www.grouchyconservativepundits.org/index.php?topic=56244.0

    I’m looking for any info on cooking food inside mylar food storage bags, via pouring in boiling water as with dehydrated hiling pouch meals. Will the mylar bags take the heat without negative effects?

    Reply

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  25. Jeanie B Says:

    Glad I found this site, alot of great ideas here. However I have to voice an opinion about something here. I am torn on the situation of helping others or just me and mine. I am a Christian and the Bible says we should be prepared and take care of our family, but it also says that he who turns his back on the hungry, hurt or lost is basically up sh++ creek. I assume many here of other beliefs but most I have studied have many of the basic same principles. I know its off topic but it keeps me up at nite. Also I too am one of those disabled folks I have 1/3 of acre which since i cant stand or bend long times I scoot on my butt and hand dig with a hand spade which isnt easy in adobe ugh lol.

    Reply

    • elaine Says:

      you have the third of an acre, and pulling yourself around is great for the abs and upper arms, but it is also extremely fatiguing. I too have limited mobility, I have found that using containers vertically stacked and utilizing the hydroponic principles, have multiplied my bounty and has been a blessing to my back and knees. I could not afford a regular system so I decided to use old cat food containers. They are hard plastic rectangular, and after drilling a hole in the center for the support pole I can stack them one on the other in a spiral array. So my peas,beans strawberry are at the top and my carrots,opnions,cilantro etc are lower down. I have quadrupled my produce. My cheery tomato plants I cut the same hole in the bottom, threaded the rooted end through and filled the container with black kow. I drilled a hole in the underside of my eave and put in a bike hook. This is August, I live in Florida. THe first tomatoes were in March, the plant reaches the floor ten feet down. It is producing like crazy. I have discovered they are great as a soup base too. LOL Too much of a great thing calls for experimentation !

      Reply

  26. Cheryl Says:

    My family recently moved to New England and are in the process of buying a really old colonial home. For home school my sons researched and discussed daily life of the early American family. Meals were redundant and mostly a corn meal based diet. Butter, cheese, sugar and tea and coffee were luxuries most could never afford. Meat puddings were a familiar meal too. When I think of survival or bugging out I take into account that “life as we know it” may never be the same. It would be a luxury to pull together a full meal including dessert. Life sustaining food based purely on nutritional value to survive would be difficult, but much more important than planning 3 course meals for a bug out situation. We’re keeping it simple.

    Reply

  27. Val Says:

    I like the bucket ideas. I think you’d want quite a few, some 3 gal and some 5 gal. The 3 gal would be more portable for bugging out, and 5 gal would be for bugging in. Be smart and don’t store all your food in the same spot (ie. don’t put all your eggs in one basket!). I have a “fake” stash of food (mostly past its expiration date or stuff I found incredibly cheap and got a few extras). This fake stash I keep in several milk crates. In a SHTF, I would put just one of them out at a time, knowing I may have to sacrifice it if someone official came knocking on the door. Then I’d bring out another and have that ready for other situations. These foods also may be ones I’d use for barter (I include things like sugar, for example, that would be nice barter items). The real stash, of course, would be more cleverly concealed and in different spots. Yes, it is more effort to rotate these foods to ensure they stay as fresh as possible. My theory, however, is that if I happen to miss a few cans of something that goes too far past the exp date, I’ll simply add it to the fake stash.

    I keep a backpack filled with bug out food (and another for bug out survival items for cooking, shelter, etc). Both backpacks I always keep very handy, check them often, and rotate food items as needed. In it is mostly dehydrated foods (done either by myself or a mix from the store), granola bars, beef jerky, etc. I hadn’t thought about the protein powder, so thanks to whoever made that suggestion above. It would be simple to sprinkle some into oatmeal (or even just into a water bottle).

    Hopefully in a bug out situation, I have a few minutes to also grab a few items I keep right on my counter, which includes chia seeds (can eat raw or soaked…..great source of omegas and protein), PB2 (a brand that is a sort of dehydrated peanut butter, which can be hydrated or mixed in with things), some nutritional yeast (can be added to anything and has no real taste and is very good for you) and whatever quick foods might be lying around that day (perhaps a can of V8 to throw into each person’s jacket pocket as we head out the door). I’m going for nutrition and ease. Much of the dehydrated foods I pack have a variety of veggies and fruit, so if I don’t have time to grab anything lying around the kitchen on the way out the door, so be it.

    In a bug in situation, you definitely do not want to be giving out your food. One site I read recently suggested making up a big, official looking sign that reads “Food and Water, 4 miles that way” with an arrow. It may not fool everyone, but it might help detour people away from your neighborhood. You’d want to organize your neighborhood, which I realize is dicey sometimes, but in a SHTF, you need to know who is eyeballing your stuff and who is willing to consider working together to keep the neighborhood safe and work together. Have people list skills they’re willing to put forth. Ask EVERYONE to be willing to put a few rows of food in their yard (even if they already have some…these extra rows would be for everyone to share). In reality, you’d not want to trust everyone with this task, and be prepared to grow most of your own stuff. Offer to help the others with their gardens if they aren’t used to gardening. Be of USE, which will make you more valuable to the community.

    Start vigilante gardening *NOW*. That means grow fruit trees and berry bushes on public land where you think you can. Grow things like asparagus, rhubarb, jerusalem artichokes, and other perrennial foods. Grow a survival forest garden (search on youtube)…in fact, grow in several places. Be overt as well as covert – hang coffee cans on telephone poles and trees that get sun (with a couple drilled drainage holes about 1/3 inch along the SIDES for water overflow) filled with soil and veggies. You can even paint them colorfully to brighten up the area. Grow climbing beans up the side of telephone poles. Sure, some folks will loot the veggies – but you may start a movement as well. Find local business that may be open to the idea of you growing some things on their property – including fruit trees and the others I listed. This isn’t just for your use. This is for the community. If the community has an already-established atmosphere of growing food, they will be less desperate.

    By starting now, it lets everyone know that there are other ways to be fed, and that your community cares about making sure everyone is fed. Don’t let a few looted plants discourage you. How expensive are bean seeds? Not very. It only takes a couple of weeks for most seeds to sprout to a point where you can happily plant them somewhere. Get creative. Do you know how quickly a few cut-off stems of raspberry bushes will multiply in a run down lot? What about that abandoned house we all have near us? I doubt anyone would complain if plants, berry bushes and fruit trees started popping up. Make your community one great big source of food, get your friends involved, ask businesses if you can grow wheat/quinoa/chia/etc in that big overgrown field out back of their building that is simply an eye sore.

    Get proactive. If you’re the only one with a garden in your yard, bugging in becomes a whole lot more complicated. If the entire town has spots of food growing here, there and everywhere, then few go hungry and more people are energized about survival.

    Reply

    • Val Says:

      oh, and p.s. berry bushes and fruit trees can happily be eaten by anyone at all on these public spaces….just think how excited people will be to know they can go pick berries and fruit every year for free somewhere? If TEOTWAWKI never comes, it will still be a great addition to your community. It may be neccesary to….make the planting of some items anonymous depending on the locale and the atmosphere therein ;)

      Reply

  28. J Says:

    I usually pack a mix of items in my buckets and bins…the thought being that if I need to move out quickly and I don’t get all of my storage I will probably have enough variations to cook a real meal. I don’t prep for survival as much as I do for surviving comfortably. If you eat good, you feel good.

    Reply

  29. Joy Says:

    What about using instant bread mixes (ton of variety there, and most: just add water), and a pie iron, assuming power in down? Or even tin foil? You should include a roll of that anyway. Instant “cookware” worst case scenario.

    Reply

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  31. janet Says:

    Bug out conditions beg the question, “Where will you go?” While your menu seems good you need to ask yourself where you’ll cook this food. For our “get the hell out quick” bags I have canned meals with pull tops (no can opener worries). If I’ve a source to cook on great, if not, you can still eat cold chilli. Canned stew, chicken noodle soup or beef and rice soup takes care of your starch. Three days would be quite doable…a week is also if you understand your dilemna. For us, bug out means quick, easy, mobile. We may not be able to stay in one place long enough to bake bread. I also pack canned dog food for our security system.

    Reply

    • Practical Parsimony Says:

      Pull/pop top cans do not fare well over time. They can be ruined by knocking them about, pressure on the top, dropping the can, extremes in temperature. Then, a whole bucket of stored food might be ruined or ruin other foods. Carry a can opener or two.

      Reply

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