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12 minutes ago, Borax Johnson said:

OK,

Grains, canned foods, John Wayne biscuits. What about food that can last a while (not like the survivalist: last 250 years). anything in between? maybe 2-3 years without rusting through?

Whole corn and whole wheat or spelt can keep for several years under favorable conditions. Moisture will cause them to sprout and/or rot, though. I have been able to sprout and grow corn and spelt that is several years old. Since they are viable, I am sure they are also edible. I am not sure how you could reliably keep them dry on a boat. Maybe vacuum bag them with desiccant packs inside.

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Many seeds and bulbs can last years in dry storage. Glass jars in the dark can survive for decades. If you can survive on corn, wheat, hemp and garlic you're set. 

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1 hour ago, mckenzie.keith said:

Whole corn and whole wheat or spelt can keep for several years under favorable conditions. Moisture will cause them to sprout and/or rot, though. I have been able to sprout and grow corn and spelt that is several years old. Since they are viable, I am sure they are also edible. I am not sure how you could reliably keep them dry on a boat. Maybe vacuum bag them with desiccant packs inside.

Just remember: Weevils is good eatin’!

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Just now, toddster said:

Just remember: Weevils is good eatin’!

I have corn and spelt in my pantry that has been there for years. No weevils. But I have had bags of flower with some type of "mealy worms" in them. Worth researching how to control them, though.

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Haven’t we already done this thread a few times?  And there are books on the subject.

Some cruisers beg freezer space from local restaurants to freeze out weevils from flours and meals.  But hey, weevils in your flour is just like beef in your alfalfa!

I’m a bit partial to R&B.   Rice & Beans. 

And we can always learn from the master:

818v-i-nDYL._SL1500_.jpg

Can be used to make pretty decent fish cakes too!

And back in the day when *ahem* certain friends and family members were on “assistance” those powdered eggs and dried skim milk went a long long way.  Though there is a bit of a learning curve to them.  Last year, I dug out some DSM that was at least ten years old and it was pretty passable, as long as you chilled it overnight before consuming.  All kinds of fancy foo-foo brands on Amazon but plain ol’ generic commodity is just the same.  

 

 

 

 

 

… And of course there are things like Ramen and Instant Mac&Cheese. However, on the day that I passed my oral exams, I swore never to eat those again.  They have not passed my lips in at least 33 years.  

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3 hours ago, mckenzie.keith said:

Whole corn and whole wheat or spelt can keep for several years under favorable conditions. Moisture will cause them to sprout and/or rot, though. I have been able to sprout and grow corn and spelt that is several years old. Since they are viable, I am sure they are also edible. I am not sure how you could reliably keep them dry on a boat. Maybe vacuum bag them with desiccant packs inside.

Just to be clear, whole wheat FLOUR will not keep even for one year. The oil goes rancid giving it a bitter taste after maybe 6 months. I am referring to the whole wheat berries. I am not sure how long corn meal lasts, but the whole kernels of corn (corn seed) last for many, many years. I had excellent yields growing corn even after about 7 years of storage. There are ways to eat wheat berries and whole corn kernels. You can look into it.

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58 minutes ago, Whinging Pom said:

Chorizo sausage, salami etc.  Salt cod,  air dried meat, eg biltong.  Anything invented before refrigeration as long as kept cool and dry.

Well that sounds a whole lot better than instant mashed potatoes, dried corn and wheat berries! I'm crewing for you...

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5 hours ago, mckenzie.keith said:

I have corn and spelt in my pantry that has been there for years. No weevils. But I have had bags of flower with some type of "mealy worms" in them. Worth researching how to control them, though.

We had good success putting a bay leaf or two in bags with flour, rice, etc.

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7 hours ago, Borax Johnson said:

OK,

Grains, canned foods, John Wayne biscuits. What about food that can last a while (not like the survivalist: last 250 years). anything in between? maybe 2-3 years without rusting through?

Slim Jim’s and twinkies  last decades 

On  a long passage with a slow boat these two delicacies , plus plenty of coffee are all that is needed

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@Borax Johnson Frankly, I think you're asking a lot when you set the bar at "years" of storage. A year, two years tops is a more reasonable bar unless you're storing military MRE's or Mountain House freeze-dried hiking/survival food.

First, heat is the enemy even of "long shelf life food."  If the boat is in an area that experiences hot summers, you should deduct some shelf life accordingly. Eat some of this stuff and rotate your stock on a regular basis.

Second, cans are good, glass is better. @bmiller is quite right that even canned soup degrades over time. I experienced this first hand on my trip to Maine. I brought along cans of soup from my home's "hurricane stash" to rotate it out and it was edible but visually not very pleasing. Most cans have an invisible, BPA-free plastic liner. Eventually, something about the liner or the metal of the can leeches into the food. It's not harmful but doesn't taste or look pleasant. Glass is...just glass and doesn't impart anything to the taste but must be kept out of direct light. That's the trade-off.

Parmalat UHT shelf stable milk will last about a year if kept at stable temperatures (see note above about hot summers).  The cartons are metal foil lined which is part of the trick. Parmalat must be refrigerated once opened, obviously.  Milk is useful for cooking many dehydrated foods. UHT milk tastes perfectly normal and is available in all the common fat contents (whole, 2%, 1%, skim). https://parmalatmilk.com/milk-pasteurization-process/

Peanut butter is another shelf stable, high protein food. I've opened jars that are over a year old that tasted perfectly fine. You may need to stir them up if the oil and solids separate but that's about it. It didn't seem to matter if the jars were plastic or glass. Just keep them out of direct sunlight.

The trade-off between food that lasts "years" and food that lasts about "a year" is that the really long lived stuff is super high in salt, preservatives and chemicals. It often requires lots of water to prepare. It's expensive.  Food that lasts about "a year" can be prepared by you at home from whole foods with less preservatives, is healthier, and can often contain some liquid of its own, requiring less water to prepare.

Seeds, some rices, nuts, beans (basically many legumes) can be shelf stable for years, done right.  You can sun-dry or oven-dry peppers and store them in a glass jar or buy one of those home vacu-seal jobs and store some in vacuum packages as a cooking ingredient.  Yeast for baking bread will keep a long time if purchased in a glass jar and kept at a stable temperature.

Coffee, stored in a vacuum especially in whole bean form, can last well over a year. Of course, it does require water to prepare.

Regarding spices for cooking:

My experience is that modern plastic containers that many seasonings are sold in allow humidity inside and ruin them in as little as 60 days. Purchase any cooking spices (basil, oregano, garlic powder/blends) in glass containers. Don't buy the plastic "picnic sets" of salt and pepper. Buy glass bottles and plug them with cork or rubber stoppers. I buy these:  https://shop.americasnationalparks.org/product/44830/Cobalt-Mustard-Bottle/  You can also drop a few grains of rice inside the salt to absorb moisture and keep the salt from caking up. I've kept spices usable for well over a year by storing them in glass.

Lastly, @estarzinger and his wife have world cruising experience at storing foods without refrigeration. His wife, Beth Evans wrote and article for Sailing(?) Magazine or some world cruising publication about it. You might look for that.

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Yeah, most of the ancient food preservation methods are good for "about a year" sometimes two.  Back in the day, I had a few courses in food and dairy microbiology and worked summers in food tech.  Growers of perishable crops are always looking for new ways to preserve the crop because it's pretty difficult to harvest, transport, and market something that's only good for two weeks.  More correctly, I guess we were always looking for new ways to get people to consume them.  

Off the top of my head, methods for food storage and preservation:

Live.  On the hoof, so to speak. (But may include some modern controlled atmosphere storage.)

Dried, including related methods of curing, salting, brining, and sugaring. 

Fermented.  (There are some weird and frightening fermented foods consumed by different cultures around the world.)

Heat-treatment: Pastuerization, Tyndalization, Canning

Irradiated.

Frozen and Refrigerated.

===========

I got fed a lot of salted cod in Spain - I think I'd rather eat Spam <_<

Started the season with some of last year's beers in the ice box - ew. Stale and nasty. And one "sporty" day a couple of them blew up.  What a mess.

Canned fruits and tomato products are only good for two years max - they corrode right through the can.

Whole grains are actually a form of "live" storage.  They are metabolizing - slowly - and will eventually consume the starch reserves. That's why we crush, roll, split, etc. them before storage.

I see that Amazon is offering quite a few dried vegetable products.  I am a bit skeptical. Especially of the leafy greens. I don't doubt that they're "edible," but veggies typically lack enough sugar to prevent oxidation and preserve flavors.  And once the packet is opened, I'd think it would absorb moisture pretty rapidly.  Unless kept in the freezer.  Still - might be worth experimenting with a couple of small packages.  (There is an onion-dehydrating factory out in the desert east of here.  Not as unpleasant as a pulp mill, but you don't want to be down wind of that place for very long.)

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14 hours ago, Ajax said:

Beth Evans wrote and article for Sailing(?) Magazine or some world cruising publication about it. You might look for that.

That should be Beth Leonard (we have different last names) if you are trying to use it to google.

Yea she wrote quite a bit about buying and storing food to last on passages.

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58 minutes ago, estarzinger said:

That should be Beth Leonard (we have different last names) if you are trying to use it to google.

Yea she wrote quite a bit about buying and storing food to last on passages.

I have these two: Livingwithoutrefrigeration.pdf Provisioninglist.pdf

Free Range has one too...A Free Range Guide to Provisioning.pdf

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On 10/18/2021 at 10:20 PM, Borax Johnson said:

OK,

Grains, canned foods, John Wayne biscuits. What about food that can last a while (not like the survivalist: last 250 years). anything in between? maybe 2-3 years without rusting through?

I have lived in rural and off-grid locations at various times in my life, and have several friends who were veterans of the Peace Corps in the 1980s who lived for years in remote areas with no refrigeration. 

Alan T. Hagan's "Prudent Food Storage FAQ" is one of the most comprehensive guides and dates from the UseNet era.  Available at http://www.ccrettraining.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Food-Storage-FAQ-v4.pdf for free, 124 pages, worth reading every word if you are serious.  It has a list of sources and references for further reading.  I exchanged some correspondence with Hagan back in the early 1990s.  His personal web site has been gone for a while and I don't know if he's still around.

Rice, beans, white flour, and certain other grains (e.g. oatmeal, cornmeal) will all keep for many years without loss of quality, if stored properly.

Otherwise there are many processed foods that will keep for several years as long as the container remains intact, including sugar, dried milk, dried eggs, most herbs and flavorings, baking powder, yeast, salt, pasta, etc.  There are some building blocks that, while wet, are concentrated: tomato paste, lime juice; these will keep for several years.  Oils will keep if treated with BHA or BHT.

A fact to consider is that you will need roughly 2 pounds of dry, starchy food per day to meet the caloric needs of one active adult.  So if you want a year's worth of food for a couple that's roughly 1500 pounds of food.  It will take up at least 30 cubic feet. Canned or frozen foods increase the weight.  Most people grossly underestimate the total amount of food required for long periods.

Ultimately it depends on your goals.  You can eat rice and beans with sauce made from tomato paste and an occasional can of tuna fish and meet your nutritional needs.  If you want palatability and variety it gets harder.  If you want something that doesn't require cooking, it gets harder.

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54 minutes ago, 2airishuman said:

palatability

Thinking of this topic reminds me of days back in grad skool when I would mix Mac&Cheese (generic, 15 cents) with tuna (generic, 35 cents), for a bit of protein. And a multivitamin. It wasn’t “food.” It was just “fuel.”  I was hoping for a bit better than that in retirement… But who knows? Maybe I’ll find enlightenment and leave such vices behind.  

I think your “two pounds” rule of thumb includes a lot of water, which isn’t necessary to store.  

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17 hours ago, Ajax said:

Coffee, stored in a vacuum especially in whole bean form, can last well over a year. Of course, it does require water to prepare.

 

Well, for some definition of "last" this is true. But it will definitely not be anywhere near as good as a week or so after it was roasted.

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2 hours ago, mckenzie.keith said:

Well, for some definition of "last" this is true. But it will definitely not be anywhere near as good as a week or so after it was roasted.

the only food that really tastes good after a year or more is whisky.

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And whisky (and whiskey) ticks the "grains" food group dietary requirement. The USDA website recommends 6 ounces of grains per day...that's only four shots. Seems like a sailor requires more to function...or maybe that's the recommended minimum?

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6 hours ago, mckenzie.keith said:

Well, for some definition of "last" this is true. But it will definitely not be anywhere near as good as a week or so after it was roasted.

I know that we have some real coffee snobs here for whom the beans must be perfectly roasted mere moments before brewing. I'm talking about in more survival type or long-term, budget cruising situations.

 

Also, I'm a Navy guy. Our coffee was absolutely the worst, nastiest, most industrial shit water I have ever tasted, even brewed moments after the can was opened.  For me, almost anything is an improvement. I have a vacuum storage can on the boat that keeps my coffee acceptable (to me) for months.

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7 hours ago, toddster said:

Thinking of this topic reminds me of days back in grad skool when I would mix Mac&Cheese (generic, 15 cents) with tuna (generic, 35 cents), for a bit of protein. And a multivitamin. It wasn’t “food.” It was just “fuel.”  I was hoping for a bit better than that in retirement… But who knows? Maybe I’ll find enlightenment and leave such vices behind.  

I think your “two pounds” rule of thumb includes a lot of water, which isn’t necessary to store.  

Certain situations will require you to store water:

  • Prolonged, unplanned power outages
  • Weather/natural events that disrupt utilities
  • Cruising on passage

It's always wise to stash one or two 5 gallon water cans. Every 6 months, dump the water into the veg garden and refill the cans with fresh water.

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7 hours ago, toddster said:

Thinking of this topic reminds me of days back in grad skool when I would mix Mac&Cheese (generic, 15 cents) with tuna (generic, 35 cents), for a bit of protein. And a multivitamin. It wasn’t “food.” It was just “fuel.”  I was hoping for a bit better than that in retirement… But who knows? Maybe I’ll find enlightenment and leave such vices behind.  

I think your “two pounds” rule of thumb includes a lot of water, which isn’t necessary to store.  

In our college apartment it was 23-cent boxes of Kroger mac and cheese. This was 3x per week fare.  But we jazzed it up: one day add can of Le Sueur small peas; another day add cut-up hot dogs; on the weekend splurge with bacon.  Best consumed while watching Rockford Files reruns on an old black and white tv. 

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7 hours ago, toddster said:

I think your “two pounds” rule of thumb includes a lot of water, which isn’t necessary to store.  

You need some number of calories a day to remain strong and healthy.  The exact figure depends on activity levels, gender, weight, sleep habits, climate, and many other factors but I like to use 2500 calories for planning purposes.  Carbohydrates and proteins provide 4 calories per gram so through the awesome power of arithmetic we can see that you will need 625 grams of these to meet your needs.  Grains contain a negligible amount of fat.  Typical dry grains are a little over 10% water and have some non-digestible fiber (a few %) and the cooked yield is typically going to be around 90% due to food residue left on cooking and serving utensils, spills, food residue left on packing material, and so on.  So with some more arithmetic (625/.8) we get 781 grams.  Works out to 1.72 pounds.

A box of Kraft mac & cheese is 7.25 ounces and includes some fats that drive up the calorie content, and a gradskooler who adds a 5 oz can of tuna is eating 12.25 ounces of food.  Few gradskoolers would have one such meal a day and call it good -- there's going to be a peanut butter sandwich or beer or cereal or all three.  Most people don't realize how much they eat, and most people don't realize how great the calorie content is of beverage-type foods whether juices, soda, bheer, or 4loko.

 

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7 hours ago, Ishmael said:

We have enough food for us and the cats for two weeks, much longer if we harvest the deer. It's time, we have been feeding them for years.

Primitive peoples and the industrial food system both utilize the strategy of slaughtering animals as needed for food rather than engaging in lengthy storage of butchered meat.  It's difficult to do aboard -- even during the age of sail the slaughter of livestock on passage to feed those aboard was a practice that mainly served the culinary needs and desires of upper class individuals, whether passengers or officers, not crew.

Aside from grains there was never much long-term storage of food prior to the industrial food era (1920s on).  The back-to-the-land movement in the 1970s and present-day imitators put great focus on home preservation of food through canning, freezing, and drying but these practices were never widespread and were chiefly used to extend the useful life of food through the winter rather than provide a long-term reserve.

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58 minutes ago, Israel Hands said:

In our college apartment it was 23-cent boxes of Kroger mac and cheese. This was 3x per week fare.  But we jazzed it up: one day add can of Le Sueur small peas; another day add cut-up hot dogs; on the weekend splurge with bacon.  Best consumed while watching Rockford Files reruns on an old black and white tv. 

Whoa, that's going way back.

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8 minutes ago, Bull City said:

These can last from one Christmas to the next, ad infinitum.

image.png.c53b7fef35370bee737a73ab78767711.png

Good point Bull. I have my Newfoundland grandmother's recipe for a dark fruit cake made with a lot of rum that lasts for years. Think wedding cake tradition, where you save a piece for the first-born...

Quite nutritious too. I believe fruit cake probably kept Chichester going at sea.

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6 minutes ago, Jim in Halifax said:

Good point Bull. I have my Newfoundland grandmother's recipe for a dark fruit cake made with a lot of rum that lasts for years. Think wedding cake tradition, where you save a piece for the first-born...

Quite nutritious too. I believe fruit cake probably kept Chichester going at sea.

The Trinidad Black Cakes are similar. Fruit is soaked in rum for 3-6 months. Then the cake itself is basted in rum. My kids called it "drunk cake". If you keep it from drying out, who knows how long it can last? 

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13 minutes ago, Jim in Halifax said:

Quite nutritious too. I believe fruit cake probably kept Chichester going at sea.

and delicious!

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13 minutes ago, Bull City said:

and delicious!

Yes, I never understood the complaints about eating fruit cake, because a good one is excellent. And makes you feel satisfied with one serving. And a Christmas pudding with hard sauce is good as well.

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3 hours ago, 2airishuman said:

Primitive peoples and the industrial food system both utilize the strategy of slaughtering animals as needed for food rather than engaging in lengthy storage of butchered meat.  It's difficult to do aboard -- even during the age of sail the slaughter of livestock on passage to feed those aboard was a practice that mainly served the culinary needs and desires of upper class individuals, whether passengers or officers, not crew.

Aside from grains there was never much long-term storage of food prior to the industrial food era (1920s on).  The back-to-the-land movement in the 1970s and present-day imitators put great focus on home preservation of food through canning, freezing, and drying but these practices were never widespread and were chiefly used to extend the useful life of food through the winter rather than provide a long-term reserve.

For some reason I was thinking about polar expeditions last night/early morning, and the benefits of using dog teams to pull the sleds. With the right planning, the team would return fairly well-fed but dogless. 

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18 minutes ago, Ishmael said:

For some reason I was thinking about polar expeditions last night/early morning, and the benefits of using dog teams to pull the sleds. With the right planning, the team would return fairly well-fed but dogless. 

Old tradition in lifeboats,

Drawing lots to choose a victim who would die to feed the others was possibly first discussed on 16 or 17 July, and debate seems to have intensified on 21 July but without resolution. On 23 or 24 July, with Parker probably in a coma, Dudley told the others that it was better that one of them die so that the others survive and that they should draw lots. Brooks refused. That night, Dudley again raised the matter with Stephens pointing out that Parker was probably dying and that he and Stephens had wives and families. They agreed to leave the matter until the morning.

The following day, with no prospect of rescue in sight, Dudley and Stephens silently signalled to each other that Parker would be killed. Killing Parker before his natural death would mean blood to drink. Brooks, who had not been party to the earlier discussion, claimed to have signalled neither assent nor protest. Dudley always insisted that Brooks had assented. Dudley said a prayer and, with Stephens standing by to hold the youth's legs if he struggled, pushed his penknife into Parker's jugular vein, killing him.[13]

In some of the varying and confused later accounts of the killing, Parker murmured, "What me?" as he was slain.[14] The three fed on Parker's body, with Dudley and Brooks consuming the most and Stephens very little. The crew even finally managed to catch some rainwater. Dudley later described the scene, "I can assure you I shall never forget the sight of my two unfortunate companions over that ghastly meal. We all was like mad wolfs who should get the most, and for men—fathers of children—to commit such a deed, we could not have our right reason

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_v_Dudley_and_Stephens

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4 hours ago, Ajax said:

Certain situations will require you to store water:

  • Prolonged, unplanned power outages
  • Weather/natural events that disrupt utilities
  • Cruising on passage

It's always wise to stash one or two 5 gallon water cans. Every 6 months, dump the water into the veg garden and refill the cans with fresh water.

Well, I have a RO setup with a 20 gallon tank in the lab that constantly makes (and wastes) fresh DI water. (Because stored water absorbs CO2 and volatiles) So when the power goes out, I just have to hike out to the lab to fill the teapot.  While I pull on my boots to go start the generator and get the well back on line.   

My boat is relatively small - got 16 gallon tank and a water maker.  If I ever really take this boat "on passage" I'd can-up or more likely install a bladder tank in the bilge to have "get there" capacity in case the WM dies.  Current planning scenario is more like staying holed up in a nice anchorage for a while.  

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4 hours ago, 2airishuman said:

Primitive peoples and the industrial food system both utilize the strategy of slaughtering animals as needed for food rather than engaging in lengthy storage of butchered meat.  It's difficult to do aboard -- even during the age of sail the slaughter of livestock on passage to feed those aboard was a practice that mainly served the culinary needs and desires of upper class individuals, whether passengers or officers, not crew.

Aside from grains there was never much long-term storage of food prior to the industrial food era (1920s on).  The back-to-the-land movement in the 1970s and present-day imitators put great focus on home preservation of food through canning, freezing, and drying but these practices were never widespread and were chiefly used to extend the useful life of food through the winter rather than provide a long-term reserve.

Canning , lead poisoning from the can seam  and the Franklin Expedition 

https://www.historytoday.com/archive/canned-food-sealed-icemens-fate

 

8F8FDCED-DE97-4A18-933C-414D21DE85A7.png

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32 minutes ago, Ishmael said:

For some reason I was thinking about polar expeditions last night/early morning, and the benefits of using dog teams to pull the sleds. With the right planning, the team would return fairly well-fed but dogless. 

wtf? 

353080671_Dogsride.thumb.jpg.07d3b6903031261f2bd47c0108e20edc.jpg

 

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4 hours ago, 2airishuman said:

You need some number of calories a day to remain strong and healthy.  The exact figure depends on activity levels, gender, weight, sleep habits, climate, and many other factors but I like to use 2500 calories for planning purposes.  Carbohydrates and proteins provide 4 calories per gram so through the awesome power of arithmetic we can see that you will need 625 grams of these to meet your needs.  Grains contain a negligible amount of fat.  Typical dry grains are a little over 10% water and have some non-digestible fiber (a few %) and the cooked yield is typically going to be around 90% due to food residue left on cooking and serving utensils, spills, food residue left on packing material, and so on.  So with some more arithmetic (625/.8) we get 781 grams.  Works out to 1.72 pounds.

A box of Kraft mac & cheese is 7.25 ounces and includes some fats that drive up the calorie content, and a gradskooler who adds a 5 oz can of tuna is eating 12.25 ounces of food.  Few gradskoolers would have one such meal a day and call it good -- there's going to be a peanut butter sandwich or beer or cereal or all three.  Most people don't realize how much they eat, and most people don't realize how great the calorie content is of beverage-type foods whether juices, soda, bheer, or 4loko.

 

Well of course there was a big sack of oatmeal and a jar of PB.  I usually figure more like 1600 kcal but whatevs.  BITD nerds were not expected to be strong and healthy.  (I actually got bitched out by the dean one time for going outside for some exercise but that's a different story.) I never could put away as much food as some sources recommend.  Maybe when I was bicycling long distances regularly.   

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2 hours ago, Fleetwood said:

First-hand experience?

I was going on your description of being reared on it. I realize English is not your first language, so I may have misunderstood.

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2 hours ago, Ishmael said:

I was going on your description of being reared on it. I realize English is not your first language, so I may have misunderstood.

Yeah I suppose I speak strine these days, a working knowledge of most other dialects tho'.....

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On 10/19/2021 at 4:37 PM, mckenzie.keith said:

Whole corn and whole wheat or spelt can keep for several years under favorable conditions. Moisture will cause them to sprout and/or rot, though. I have been able to sprout and grow corn and spelt that is several years old. Since they are viable, I am sure they are also edible. I am not sure how you could reliably keep them dry on a boat. Maybe vacuum bag them with desiccant packs inside.

We used a vacuum sealer to break down large bags of flour, rice, etc.

The trick is to put the flour in a paper bag and tape it, THEN suck it down in a vacuum bag. Otherwise the flour gets sucked into the vacuum sealer which is not so good.

We had some dry goods kept for a pretty long time.

Also, stick it in the freezer overnight once it's sealed to kill any unwanted visitors.

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On 10/20/2021 at 12:55 AM, Ajax said:

@Borax Johnson Frankly, I think you're asking a lot when you set the bar at "years" of storage. A year, two years tops is a more reasonable bar unless you're storing military MRE's or Mountain House freeze-dried hiking/survival food.

This is an important point.

Realistically speaking, unless you're Reid Stowe drawing hearts and sea turtles in the south Pacific on a Mars-inspired cheese caravel, you're really not going to be far away from someplace where you can get things like rice, dried beans, flour, etc. for a year. Maybe if you were planning an antarctic expedition or something, but being so far away from people you can't get anything for a year is very unlikely.

You can get most staples when you're "out there." Of course, you may not like the price or the quality. But dry goods aren't impossible to come by almost anywhere there are people. And people are almost everywhere.

But even if you're ranging quite far out from civilization, six months+ supply is quite a lot to carry. Yeah, you may have to make a stop somewhere ON the beaten path every few months. And if it's some fishing village in the Aleutians or an atoll in the Tuamotus, the quantity you can buy isn't like going to Costco, and neither are the prices. But you won't starve.

We did throw a week or two's worth of freeze dried backpacking food in deep storage, just in case. The only time we used any was when we sent off camping expeditions in the dinghy.

But we rarely stored anything more than six months before it got used, because a few months worth of something is about all you really need for most of the world.

Meat protein is maybe most problematic to store and carry. @estarzinger and his wife, as mentioned, are good resources for that - I guess you can can things and keep them. We have a freezer, and that's how we store most of our meats.

Four four of us, we stocked the freezer in Panama in April before we headed west and loaded it full of ground beef, pork loin, chicken breasts, and some cheese (you can freeze it OK if you are just cooking with it). We didn't buy much meat in the Galapagos, the Marquesas, or the Tuamotus, though we did eat on shore more than a few times. We finally ran out in July. We also bought a lot of fresh bread in the French countries, and fresh vegetables and fruits in markets.

 

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Staples should be available everywhere. Your favorite brand of <input condiment x> is probably not. I’m going to load up on that. 

I bet there’s not much Branston Pickle or Ningchi Chili sauce in the South Pacific. 

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59 minutes ago, mcmurdo said:

Honey, if unadulterated and properly packaged, will last thousands of years.

Thanks, @mcmurdo!  I will make sure to remember this valuable tip next time the good ship 2Legged sets off on a thousands-of-years-long passage.

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7 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

Realistically speaking, unless you're Reid Stowe drawing hearts and sea turtles in the south Pacific on a Mars-inspired cheese caravel, you're really not going to be far away from someplace where you can get things like rice, dried beans, flour, etc. for a year. Maybe if you were planning an antarctic expedition or something, but being so far away from people you can't get anything for a year is very unlikely.

Usually people who want food to last for multiple years aren't actually planning on eating it.  They want to have it as a reserve while they eat something else.

That actually makes sense if you are responsible for, say, a mountaintop radio transmission facility where there's a real possibility that a crew working at the site could get stranded up there without much warning if the access road becomes impassible due to weather.  You might want to leave 2 people x 30 days of food and water on site with the idea that you'll throw it in the dumpster or give it to the food shelf every five years and replace it.  There are a few other similar situations where people may get stranded in a location where there isn't ordinarily any food, not many.

I think many people find something attractive about the idea that you can achieve a certain level of food security by just buying the right things and then forgetting about them.  Usually, but not always, the people who think like this don't have a particularly deep understanding of food preparation and meal planning.

I encourage people who are interested in food storage to start by seeing if they can plan ahead and then go for 14 days without purchasing any food.  Then try a 7 or 14 day period eating only shelf-stable foods, if that is the intended storage approach.  Most people can't do it.  Good way to learn.  The smart way to manage the food supply when out in the middle of nowhere (and I imagine that most of you who have done long passages or trips to remote areas know this) is to plan a progression of foods where you start out eating the bulky, perishable items (like leaf lettuce), then things that will keep longer like most fresh vegetables, then to things that have a limited but lengthy shelf life like potatoes, onions, squash, and cabbage, then onto things that are shelf stable like canned and dried items.  You augment that with frozen foods that are packed in such a way to maximize storage while still allowing access (by avoiding things like whole chicken that are bulky and things like frozen french fries that have good non-frozen alternatives).  Done right you can go 30 days with minimal freezer/fridge space and without making people bored.

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Well, I do like to keep a few months of food on hand.  We do get cut off for weeks at a time, occasionally.  But the key is to rotate the stock, not just put it away forever.  

(The above-mentioned Dry Skimmed Milk was put away and forgotten, but happily seemed to be OK.  Left over from a protein-bar making enterprise, during which I discovered that I can't make decent protein-bars any cheaper than I can simply buy them.  At least on any reasonable scale.)

Since the boat is my "fallback shelter" in case of wildfire or other disaster, ideally I'd like to keep it stocked as well.  And there's always the idea that "if only" I could take off on a cruise at a moments notice...   When not cruising, what that looks like is loading a bunch of stuff on in the spring and taking it all off again in the fall.  It occurred to me that what I really should be doing is making a point of having dinner (at least) on the boat once a week (at least.) Even if it's just sitting at the dock.  Thus keeping it well-stocked and in the rotation. (The problem with that is that the marina is technically "in town" so the boat is within walking distance of half a dozen brew pubs. :rolleyes:)

 

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On 10/20/2021 at 12:18 PM, Rasputin22 said:

In some of the varying and confused later accounts of the killing, Parker murmured, "What me?" as he was slain.[14] The three fed on Parker's body, with Dudley and Brooks consuming the most and Stephens very little. The crew even finally managed to catch some rainwater. Dudley later described the scene, "I can assure you I shall never forget the sight of my two unfortunate companions over that ghastly meal. We all was like mad wolfs who should get the most, and for men—fathers of children—to commit such a deed, we could not have our right reason

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_v_Dudley_and_Stephens

Regina v. Dudley and Stevens is an old law school chestnut that stands primarily for the proposition that one should pack a bit of pork rub and some barbecue sauce if going on a long sailing voyage with others.  It's also applicable to rugby tours involving long flights over mountain ranges. 

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32 minutes ago, Lex Teredo said:

Regina v. Dudley and Stevens is an old law school chestnut that stands primarily for the proposition that one should pack a bit of pork rub and some barbecue sauce if going on a long sailing voyage with others.  It's also applicable to rugby tours involving long flights over mountain ranges. 

"See the world...become a cabin boy, Mum and Dad said"

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3 hours ago, 2airishuman said:

Usually people who want food to last for multiple years aren't actually planning on eating it.  They want to have it as a reserve while they eat something else.

That actually makes sense if you are responsible for, say, a mountaintop radio transmission facility where there's a real possibility that a crew working at the site could get stranded up there without much warning if the access road becomes impassible due to weather.  You might want to leave 2 people x 30 days of food and water on site with the idea that you'll throw it in the dumpster or give it to the food shelf every five years and replace it.  There are a few other similar situations where people may get stranded in a location where there isn't ordinarily any food, not many.

Agreed - I don't think the giant cache of survival food is all that useful for the cruising lifestyle model. While we didn't head to as many remote like Beth and Evans did, in our more typical cruising experience through the tropics and South Pacific, we rarely had trouble supplementing on board stores with fresh, local stuff or getting more food in cans and dried.

Realistically, you need to look at how long you spend away from any sort of port. If you can't collect of make water, that's not every long at all. Otherwise your limits are fuel for charging and moving as needed (which you can limit consumption of quite tightly) and food.

Then the second question of storage my be what you want that you can't get too easily.

Early in our cruising we were discussing provisions and shopping with another cruiser and got to what you could find and where.

"You must be fairly new to cruising," she said.

"How can you tell?"

"You still have real maple syrup on board..."

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3 hours ago, 2airishuman said:

The smart way to manage the food supply when out in the middle of nowhere (and I imagine that most of you who have done long passages or trips to remote areas know this) is to plan a progression of foods where you start out eating the bulky, perishable items (like leaf lettuce), then things that will keep longer like most fresh vegetables, then to things that have a limited but lengthy shelf life like potatoes, onions, squash, and cabbage, then onto things that are shelf stable like canned and dried items.

One of our best provisioning experiences was on an organic farm in the Galapagos. Vegetables and fruit in the stores were always terrible and expensive, but a local cafe always had great stuff to serve and was reasonably priced. So we asked where they got theirs stuff, and he hooked us up with the farmer.

The farmer had done this before - helped cruisers provision. We expected a farm stand, and he had one. But when we told him what we wanted, he grabbed a machete and took us into the fields. There he proceeded to pick a bunch of different fruits and vegetables we wanted, cutting them and telling us with various stages of ripeness how long they would be ready. So we had pineapples that would be good in 2-3 days, and some that would be good in a week, same with melons, and other types of fruits and veggies selected to staggering their ripeness over the first 10-11 days of the trip.

He also cut us an entire stalk of bananas. We were dubious, with visions of suddenly needing to make 30 loaves of banana bread all at once. But they ripened gradually from the bottom up over the course of a week+, and we hardly wasted any, as we could just pull them off as they ripened. Banana bread is an excellent watch snack though.

---

Provisioning in Panama was a different story, because my Spanish sucks horribly. After a couple of months there I'd learned enough of a pidgin Spanish that, coupled with charades and occasional use of the Google Translate app (not quite as good in 2014) let us get most things done.

A lot of grocery stores in the world will take big orders of meat and vacuum seal them for you in individual/small packages as you specify and freeze them, generally for no extra charge. This is a huge time, money, and energy saver. We found the place cruisers used in Panama and placed our order. Partial list for two adults and two teenagers:

  • 64 pounds of ground beef
  • 32 pounds of chicken breast
  • 16 pounds of pork loin

We showed up to pick it up, and realized that somehow I'd screwed up the word for "boneless" chicken breast, and there was 32 pounds of bone-in breasts, all vacuum sealed, frozen, and sitting there taking up like three times the space of boneless breasts for considerably less actual meat. We couldn't have fit it in the freezer even if we wanted to.

So a panicked discussion with me, my phone, Google Translate, and the butcher ensued. Eventually I got the point across, and the store graciously agreed to keep the bone-in breasts, and produced a bunch of two pound packages of chicken for us in short order, though we had to vacuum seal and freeze them back on the boat.

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    There was an attempt at equipping WW2 bombers with lifeboats that were suspended beneath the bomb bay doors. So many bombers were getting shot up over Germany and being forced to ditch into the North Sea of the English Channel the idea was that these flying lifeboats could get airdropped right to the downed crew who would climb onboard and make their way to safe harbor or surface rescue ships.

Image

    This one was designed by none other than Uffa Fox the sailing maestro.

Image

Image

The flying lifeboat, one of the great steps forward in Air-Sea Rescue techniques during WW 2. This Vickers Warwick of 269 Sqn RAF gets fitted with a 'droppable' lifeboat, containing a sail, a radio and provisions for several days at sea. This system was used well into the 1950s.

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27 minutes ago, jamhass said:

Dinty Moore Beef Stew.  A can last for-ev-er.  My wife says I can eat it only as I step into the life raft.  We keep a can on board as a reminder ...

It tasted pretty good in 1964 but I think they have improved it out of human taste range. Even dogs won't eat it now. Save it to throw at seagulls.

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12 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

Thanks, @mcmurdo!  I will make sure to remember this valuable tip next time the good ship 2Legged sets off on a thousands-of-years-long passage.

When you get shipwrecked on Inis Cealtra and stumble across Gormflaith's emergency food cache, you'll thank me.

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I kind of forgot where I was. I would not bother trying to store wheat berries or dry corn on a cruising boat unless that is the kind of stuff you eat at home. When I left on my two year cruising voyage (decades ago) we brought lots of canned food and pasta and rice. In the go bag we had a some less palatable stuff (cliff bars or something like that... maybe powerbars... never eaten and eventually discarded). Some of the canned food was meal worthy (chunky beef soup). That over rice is pretty good. White rice keeps for a long time. So does dry pasta. Other canned food was more like a light lunch or side dish (canned corn or beans with rice and olive oil can make kind of a salad that is not too bad). We didn't fish a lot while underway but we speared a lot of fish in some anchorages. Sometimes we would spear fish and share with other cruisers who had refrigerators and freezers. It all works out. It is not really that hard to make sure you have a basic survival cache of food for every passage, and then supplement along the way through trade or enjoying local delicacies. If you have a freezer, you can keep some frozen meat in there. Something we would have killed for!

I do think it would be really stupid to starve to death on a sailboat after getting dis-masted. You could run out of fuel and then have to jury rig something with a storm sail and a spinnaker pole or whatever. A 10 day passage could become a 40 day passage or whatever. So it is a good idea to have 40 days worth of survival rations. But the easiest way to do that is to keep 40 days of food that you actually like eating and will eat eventually regardless of whether you ever get dismasted.

None of our food went bad. We put all the cans inside thick plastic bags. Most of them didn't get wet. Whenever we found wet cans we tried to eat them right away before they got rusted through. Botulism is a real thing. Don't be overly paranoid but spend 5 minutes reading about botulism and canned food online so you will be in a position to make a sane choice if you DO find a suspect can.

Another thing I did in Mexico was buy like 50 lbs of oranges right before I left. I kept them in the cockpit and ate one or two every day. A lot of them rotted. But I cherished them and looked forward to them on the long passage to the Marquesas. Each day I would also check for any rotten ones and throw them overboard.

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7 hours ago, mckenzie.keith said:

I kind of forgot where I was. I would not bother trying to store wheat berries or dry corn on a cruising boat unless that is the kind of stuff you eat at home. When I left on my two year cruising voyage (decades ago) we brought lots of canned food and pasta and rice. In the go bag we had a some less palatable stuff (cliff bars or something like that... maybe powerbars... never eaten and eventually discarded). Some of the canned food was meal worthy (chunky beef soup). That over rice is pretty good. White rice keeps for a long time. So does dry pasta. Other canned food was more like a light lunch or side dish (canned corn or beans with rice and olive oil can make kind of a salad that is not too bad). We didn't fish a lot while underway but we speared a lot of fish in some anchorages. Sometimes we would spear fish and share with other cruisers who had refrigerators and freezers. It all works out. It is not really that hard to make sure you have a basic survival cache of food for every passage, and then supplement along the way through trade or enjoying local delicacies. If you have a freezer, you can keep some frozen meat in there. Something we would have killed for!

I do think it would be really stupid to starve to death on a sailboat after getting dis-masted. You could run out of fuel and then have to jury rig something with a storm sail and a spinnaker pole or whatever. A 10 day passage could become a 40 day passage or whatever. So it is a good idea to have 40 days worth of survival rations. But the easiest way to do that is to keep 40 days of food that you actually like eating and will eat eventually regardless of whether you ever get dismasted.

None of our food went bad. We put all the cans inside thick plastic bags. Most of them didn't get wet. Whenever we found wet cans we tried to eat them right away before they got rusted through. Botulism is a real thing. Don't be overly paranoid but spend 5 minutes reading about botulism and canned food online so you will be in a position to make a sane choice if you DO find a suspect can.

Another thing I did in Mexico was buy like 50 lbs of oranges right before I left. I kept them in the cockpit and ate one or two every day. A lot of them rotted. But I cherished them and looked forward to them on the long passage to the Marquesas. Each day I would also check for any rotten ones and throw them overboard.

MREs are the best emergency  food source on small craft 

A sea bag full goes a long way …very compact , self contained 

696DA997-C4AB-4843-B771-350364F9D22A.png

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42 minutes ago, Elegua said:

@AjaxAre the rumors of excessive flatulence true? 

Mainly in the menu selections you'd expect, such as the "chili and beans" above. The biggest risk is constipation due to the high salt and preservative content.

Hydration is a must.

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3 hours ago, slug zitski said:

MREs are the best emergency  food source on small craft 

A sea bag full goes a long way …very compact , self contained 

696DA997-C4AB-4843-B771-350364F9D22A.png

MRE food is probably the best choice for the extreme case of hunger. Like on a desert island awaiting rescue. But for the more common situation of remaining aboard while only delayed ... Like lost rig or something ... real food is far better and simpler.  For my reserves I took rice, canned fish, and box juices. Cans of crap like chili with beans is an inefficient way to achieve nourishment being 99% water and starch. Pick you favorite fish but it won’t matter much when you get hungry. Rice does tend to constipate, but you might enjoy having something to occupy the time...heh. 

Funny story though. One of my rice containers spilled it’s contents in rough seas. A few pounds found its way throughout the saloon. Arriving in Hawaii the Ag Inspector crunches her way in to the rice infested saloon to ask “Any food on the boat?” I smiled and replied “Nope.”

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On 10/18/2021 at 8:20 PM, Borax Johnson said:

OK,

Grains, canned foods, John Wayne biscuits. What about food that can last a while (not like the survivalist: last 250 years). anything in between? maybe 2-3 years without rusting through?

Look at Webb Chiles’s site.  He’s got more experience with this kinda stuff than just about anybody, I’d bet - over many years. He’s done a lot of testing and analysis of long-life (but not necessarily canned, more likely freeze dried) foods. 

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On 10/19/2021 at 1:16 PM, toddster said:

Yeah, most of the ancient food preservation methods are good for "about a year" sometimes two.  Back in the day, I had a few courses in food and dairy microbiology and worked summers in food tech.  Growers of perishable crops are always looking for new ways to preserve the crop because it's pretty difficult to harvest, transport, and market something that's only good for two weeks.  More correctly, I guess we were always looking for new ways to get people to consume them.  

Off the top of my head, methods for food storage and preservation:

Live.  On the hoof, so to speak. (But may include some modern controlled atmosphere storage.)

Dried, including related methods of curing, salting, brining, and sugaring. 

Fermented.  (There are some weird and frightening fermented foods consumed by different cultures around the world.)

Heat-treatment: Pastuerization, Tyndalization, Canning

Irradiated.

Frozen and Refrigerated.

===========

I got fed a lot of salted cod in Spain - I think I'd rather eat Spam <_<

Started the season with some of last year's beers in the ice box - ew. Stale and nasty. And one "sporty" day a couple of them blew up.  What a mess.

Canned fruits and tomato products are only good for two years max - they corrode right through the can.

Whole grains are actually a form of "live" storage.  They are metabolizing - slowly - and will eventually consume the starch reserves. That's why we crush, roll, split, etc. them before storage.

I see that Amazon is offering quite a few dried vegetable products.  I am a bit skeptical. Especially of the leafy greens. I don't doubt that they're "edible," but veggies typically lack enough sugar to prevent oxidation and preserve flavors.  And once the packet is opened, I'd think it would absorb moisture pretty rapidly.  Unless kept in the freezer.  Still - might be worth experimenting with a couple of small packages.  (There is an onion-dehydrating factory out in the desert east of here.  Not as unpleasant as a pulp mill, but you don't want to be down wind of that place for very long.)

We've actually been using a lot of dried potatoes and dried garlic and dried onions and powdered milk (we had a covid stock).  Add a little water and you actually have a decent meal.  They seem to last indefinitely in our basement.

For instance:

https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Earth-Products-Onions-Chopped/dp/B007C7NHVS/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=freeze+dried+onions&qid=1635126808&qsid=142-5025746-7047739&rdc=1&sr=8-6&sres=B0096GQ1C0%2CB007C7NHVS%2CB01HZY8X16%2CB0861D4MD2%2CB00C7ZEE44%2CB07NH5VFFL%2CB08TRYCCZG%2CB08G37BXSX%2CB01FYE9I5E%2CB01FYE9I4A%2CB01FYE9KJ8%2CB08H66LLHT%2CB001VNGMW0%2CB008OGCMTY%2CB074ZQ5FX4%2CB008OGCMQW%2CB0096F5HSK%2CB085WCXKF7%2CB0096GFPJU%2CB000WR8TXG&srpt=HERB

Claims 25 years in proper conditions.

They also have freeze dried cheese good for 30 years, but you're gonna pay for it big.  Of course, 1 pound of freeze dried cheeze will cost you $50.  One POUCH of macaroni and cheese from Moutain House is $9.  So... definitely cheaper if you go the bulk route and stay away from the pre-prepared stuff.

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Canned chicken.  Rinse it to get rid of excessive salt then add it to your favorite dish: pasta, taco, whatever.  Surprisingly tasty.  Available at Sam's Club or similar stores.  

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42 minutes ago, Grrr... said:

We've actually been using a lot of dried potatoes and dried garlic and dried onions and powdered milk (we had a covid stock).  Add a little water and you actually have a decent meal.  They seem to last indefinitely in our basement.

For instance:

https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Earth-Products-Onions-Chopped/dp/B007C7NHVS/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=freeze+dried+onions&qid=1635126808&qsid=142-5025746-7047739&rdc=1&sr=8-6&sres=B0096GQ1C0%2CB007C7NHVS%2CB01HZY8X16%2CB0861D4MD2%2CB00C7ZEE44%2CB07NH5VFFL%2CB08TRYCCZG%2CB08G37BXSX%2CB01FYE9I5E%2CB01FYE9I4A%2CB01FYE9KJ8%2CB08H66LLHT%2CB001VNGMW0%2CB008OGCMTY%2CB074ZQ5FX4%2CB008OGCMQW%2CB0096F5HSK%2CB085WCXKF7%2CB0096GFPJU%2CB000WR8TXG&srpt=HERB

Claims 25 years in proper conditions.

They also have freeze dried cheese good for 30 years, but you're gonna pay for it big.  Of course, 1 pound of freeze dried cheeze will cost you $50.  One POUCH of macaroni and cheese from Moutain House is $9.  So... definitely cheaper if you go the bulk route and stay away from the pre-prepared stuff.

FWIW, I was looking at one of their other products today (broccoli?) and down in the comments section, they say “we meant to only claim 2 years, but Amazon won’t let us change it from 25.”  Seems a little sketchy.  

But whatever. For most of us provisioning boats, we only need a year or so in case of emergency.  Keep rotating the stock, stick with what tastes good, and everything will work out OK.  As mentioned above I’ve had some stuff that lasted ten years.  But a lot of flavor compounds are volatile - only likely to last in vacuum-sealed pouches.  

On a completely different (but really, not) subject, I’ve spent a lot of time and money lyophyilizing (freeze-drying) bacterial cultures.  We hope we are saving them for future generations, but nobody really knows.  Some can be revived after ten or twenty years, and some just disappear.  Oh, there are type culture collections, but they don’t have the mojo to grow all the diversity of life.  Not everything is E. coli.  Many microbial species last only as long as the last Old Professor that cultivated them does.  As I am now retiring, several species (one once quite famous) will likely vanish forever.  Well, it’s out in the wild, but may never be caught again.  Actually, growing things is quite out of fashion now. We only know about many living things by random DNA sequences extracted from mud.  In a Star Trek universe, we could just reconstitute them by plugging the sequence into a machine.  But we’re not there yet.  But, hey, digression comes full circle. Maybe before long, the Star Trek food synthesizer will be a thing.

1000?cb=20090306201145&path-prefix=en

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On 10/20/2021 at 8:30 AM, Bull City said:

These can last from one Christmas to the next, ad infinitum.

image.png.c53b7fef35370bee737a73ab78767711.png

Traditionally made fruit cakes can last for a long time, but occasionally have to be brushed with rum to prevent growth on the surface.  I've researched it a bit and these Claxton fruit cakes last forever, but please read the chemical preservative makeup.  Not meant for human consumption.

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