10 Things I Wish I Had Known About Food Storage 10 Years Ago

By Kellene Bishop

I hate having to learn dumb lessons.  Don’t you?  As I’ve looked back and realized all the simple tricks and strategies I’ve learned over the last 10 years, I cringe at the thought of all of the money, time, anxiety, and energy I’ve wasted.  So I decided to share them with you.  You’re sure to learn something in this list!  I hope you’ll learn from my mistakes NOW!

  1. Yeast will last indefinitely if stored in your freezer!  Outside the freezer it only lasts a year, but inside that freezing climate it lasts over 5 years—so far.  When I use it in my bread, I just use it directly from the freezer into my bread dough with no problem.  I cringe at the though of all of the yeast I’ve wasted over several years.
  2. clipping couponsI can obtain food storage for FREE or better, and certainly inexpensively, if I just use coupons and an organized system! Now that’s really something to cringe about!  I acquired a great deal of my food storage over the years from Costco, but now that I can get name brands for free or dirt cheap elsewhere, I figure I can’t afford to shop at Costco, thanks to coupons! It really IS worth using coupons.  I can’t believe I was so pious to think that coupons were “beneath me.”
  3. Cooking with a pressure cooker is a sanity saver. They are fast, nutritious, fuel friendly and SO easy to use!  I wish I hadn’t been afraid of them way back when.  I’m so grateful that a patient teacher showed me their merits!
  4. Yes, you can CAN MEATS!  And it’s the easiest thing in the world to can.  Simply stuff the RAW meat into a mason jar with a bit of salt, put the clean lids on it, put the jars in your pressure canner for the recommended period of time, and VOILA!  You have BETTER THAN CANNED meat.  (The canned stuff you buy has been processed twice.)  This meat will be SO tender, so juicy, and will save you a BUNDLE over the canned stuff!  (Let’s see.  Tastes better.  25% cheaper.  Easy to do. Dang!  I wish I could relive the last 10 years!)
  5. cheese-wax-goudaCheese wax is a God-send! I can have all of the REAL cheese I want if I simply use cheese wax to preserve it!  The cheese will keep for 25 years using this method.  Now I’ve got Swiss, Monterey Jack, Colby, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Cheddar, Gouda, Blue Cheese, and even a delicious smoked cheese literally sitting pretty in my food storage!  If I had known about cheese wax 10 years ago, I would have made much better use of the cheese sales over the years and never tried that nasty processed stuff.
  6. Preserving eggs that I buy from the store is a snap! After I wrote a lengthy article on egg preservation, I discovered that a quarter cup of warmed mineral oil, coated on my eggs that I buy from the grocery store works great.  I then can store them pointed side down in a Styrofoam carton, in a cool, dry place.  I don’t have to get the eggs FRESH from a farm.  And I don’t have to stack them carefully in anything.  How’s that for easy?!  I have WHOLE, REAL eggs for up to 9 months!  Forget the bran flakes, the paraffin wax, the salt storage.   Just some mineral oil is PERFECT.  WOW!
  7. I never have to live without yummy chocolate again!  I can buy all of the candy bars, Hershey kisses, chocolate chips, peanut M&Ms, Dove chocolates, Lindt chocolates, stuff them in a Mason jar, and with my trusty Food Saver jar attachment, seal their goodness for YEARS!  (I like getting them on sale after a holiday)  This also works for ANYTHING that doesn’t require refrigeration.  When I open the jar years later, they still taste as fresh and yummy as they would have on the day I bought it!
  8. ONLY store what you eat. If I don’t eat it, I won’t eat it, and thus it’s a waste of money.  If you can’t eat wheat, DON’T store it.  If you can’t stand the taste of powdered milk, store canned milk or soy milk instead.  Fortunately I’ve learned to prepare all my oddball foods that weren’t previously in my regular diet, but it sure would have saved me some headaches if I had done things differently.  If I store what I eat, the rotation is a cinch!
  9. You can have meals already made, cooked, and stored in a Mason jar!  You can bake bread, cake, cookies, casseroles, pudding, and more, in a Mason jar, seal it, and they will last for SEVERAL years!  That way you don’t have to figure out how to cook up something every day while you’re enduring a crisis.  Do it in comfort now, so you can live in comfort even in the worst of disasters!
  10. solar-oven-kelleneSolar ovens are the bomb--not just in an emergency, but every single day the sun shines!  I LOVE cooking in mine.  I haven’t found anything that I can’t cook in it that doesn’t turn out wonderful!  I’ve essentially tripled the life of the fuel that I have stored, since I won’t need to use any of it on cooking anymore except on cloudy or rainy days!  Not having to worry or pay for a years supply of fuels such as propane, kerosene, fire wood or isopropyl alcohol, makes the price I would pay for a solar oven well worthwhile. So… like any woman, I bought two! :)

I’ll be writing more about each of these items later, if I haven’t done so already.  The point is food storage can be GLORIOUSLY DELICIOUS.  You don’t have to do without and it doesn’t have to be expensive and boring either.  One dollar a day, per person, will provide you with absolutely comforting and delightful meals regardless of your challenging circumstances.  Enjoy!

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Comments

I looked into the mineral oil for the eggs and I found a "special" food grade mineral oil for that very purppse. Is that required or can I get plain old mineral oil from over the counter at the pharmacy?

And for those times when you don't have electricity and want to vacuum seal jars... just get a brake bleeder kit from your local discount place or auto parts store.

Just plug the hose into the top of the jar sealer (you can even just press it up against it if you don't have an appropriate end for the hose) and give it a dozen or so squeezes until the pressure hits 20. Voila. Vacuum sealed jar without using the wall juice.

Remember that the mineral oil sold at the pharmacy is probably packaged and sold as a laxative. Actually, that's another reason to have some on hand. You're *supposed* to be consuming it.

It's going to be at least as good as food grade.

For the record, I only know this because I was buying some to use in making a dummy load for my ham radio.

Yup. We've got plenty of dehydrated eggs. But sometimes a girl's just got to have a deviled or fried egg. And there's simply no substitute. :-)

Lucky you, Fernwise. Mine doesn't. But it's usually only with double or triple coupons that I get things for free anyway. What area are you in so that other readers will know that Costco takes coupons?

My pleasure, Bridget. This is the kind of stuff that gets me excited. It doesn't take long to can your meat at all, so you can have a years worth of protein for only about 50 bucks if you get your meat on sale. Also, the Foodsaver is a LIFE SAVER and you can easily get one on Ebay for a fraction of the price!

Hey Kellene, just to let you know they don't techinally "sell" the coupons on ebay lol. Almost every single auction specifically states something similar to this: "I do NOT sell coupons, you are paying for my TIME to collect, process, handle, and mail coupons." I can not afford to buy a lot of newspapers when there is just one hot coupon I need many of to grow my food & supply storage. I do not have friends and family to give me their Sunday coupons. (to far away or I have gotten them into couponing too) Sometimes ebay is my best bet where I can usually get a set of 20 for under a few bucks. Of course that unrealistic stupid show Extreme Couponing has made the prices go way up. There are also 5 or 6 good coupon clipping services that you can find online to get more coupons, just search :coupon clipping service:

TB--ultimately the person on E-Bay has no authority to redefine the legal definition of selling, transferring, auctioning, etc. of coupons which is clearly posted on most coupons as making the coupons invalid. Keep in mind, I'm feisty and a bit rebellious, but I know when something is wrong and I don't push the envelope in that regard. I've never had to do something illegal or unlawful to bring home a boatload of valuable assets to my supplies and I'm sure as heck not going to start just because some unknown person on E-bay tells me that it's fine. I mean really, I don't think a person can get more foolish than that. I don't buy a bunch of newspapers to do my couponing. I think that the people who are buying and selling the coupons are just rationalizing and willing to talk themselves into the violation all for a good deal. Pretty sad commentary on our society nowadays.

Bottom line, I stand by my statement that I shared with the other person just before you in trying to use the same rationale.
"Yeah, that rationale doesn’t seem to work for the drug dealers when they try to tell the cop that they aren’t selling drugs, they are simply charging for their time and delivery expense. It’s illegal, plain and simple. Just because you haven’t gotten snagged with it yet, doesn’t mean it’s correct. I’ve interviewed both Proctor & Gamble and Unilever execs for my Resource Guide that I wrote and they both emphatically stated that it’s illegal as is clearly indicated on their coupons. They may not be desperate enough to pursue it now, but I wouldn’t want to be in their sites when things do get more desperate. Even if they didn’t catch me, I just couldn’t do it now that I know they frown on it so much. In my opinion, I need all the blessings I can get and I can’t exactly expect to be blessed if I’m doing something that’s unlawful. And I sure as heck wouldn’t stake my future on something that someone on E-bay says regarding the legality of what they are doing. Are they also willing to pay for the legal fees if a person gets in trouble too? :-)"

I actually have been fascinated with that manual. However, I've found some things that are just plain incorrect--but still doable in a pinch. What do you expect for government, eh? :-)

Actually, scratch that. Buying, selling, auctioning, or transferring coupons is a No-No. Read the fine print of the coupons. This is pretty clear on all of them.

Actually on ebay, most auctions for coupons state that you are not paying for the coupons just for the seller's time for collecting, cutting....etc. I have purchased and also sold coupons there with no problems.

Yeah, that rationale doesn't seem to work for the drug dealers when they try to tell the cop that they aren't selling drugs, they are simply charging for their time and delivery expense. It's illegal, plain and simple. Just because you haven't gotten snagged with it yet, doesn't mean it's correct. I've interviewed both Proctor & Gamble and Unilever execs for my Resource Guide that I wrote and they both emphatically stated that it's illegal as is clearly indicated on their coupons. They may not be desperate enough to pursue it now, but I wouldn't want to be in their sites when things do get more desperate. Even if they didn't catch me, I just couldn't do it now that I know they frown on it so much. In my opinion, I need all the blessings I can get and I can't exactly expect to be blessed if I'm doing something that's unlawful. And I sure as heck wouldn't stake my future on something that someone on E-bay says regarding the legality of what they are doing. Are they also willing to pay for the legal fees if a person gets in trouble too? :-)

That's absolutely right. RAW meat with the exception of ground beef which I cook and add about a 2 Tbspn of water. Everything else, including seafood, I just do raw. YUM!

I've made a reference to your site on Stealth survival.I didn't have access to your website when i did,sorry,so I could not credit you.I,and other's,would like more tip's and trick's on canning meat.If you'd like to do a guest post on his site,just tell him I recommend you! I'm really interested in this..you raw pack the meat,no juice???Not pre cooked?
Please share your knowledge!
Dean in AZ

I started getting serious about coupon use about a year and a half ago and I can't believe the number of things that can be gotten free or nearly free.

Just as an example, for the past couple of weeks our Kroger has had 1 lb bags of Mahatma rice for 99 cents. I had 50 cent coupons in my coupon binder plus I ordered 20 from ebay (cost $1.64). Since my Kroger doubles up to and including 50 cents, I've been stocking up on almost free rice. I've spread the purchases out over a few shopping trips to avoid clearing the shelf at one time.

They were still on sale today when I used the last of my coupons, so perhaps others here can check their Kroger to see if they can take advantage of this sale.

Egg's can also be done in a dehydrator,for powdered egg's.a tablespoon of powder and water equal's 1 egg.

Just found several Foodsavers on E-bay for a GREAT price (below $75 bucks) Also, jump on those Foodsaver bags when you can! Also found Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers. Cool!

kellene, i read on a forum 2 years ago about a woman using little milk bags (bottle inserts for babies) in her foodsaver. she said they worked great for single portions. could that actually be true?

Yes, but that doesnt' make sense to me with the new bags that you can cut down to size. The Foodsaver bags (especially if you get them on E-bay) are much less expensive than the baby bottle bags. And, unlike the baby bottle bags, you can microwave in them and boil the food right in the bag, even for long periods of time. The baby bottle bags are intended for such high heat for extensive periods of time.

Holy Smoked Gouda! You rock, Kellene! This was a great post! Seriously - mineral oil- who knew?

By the way, I'm a pressure cooker convert because of you. Many thanks!

I LOVE this article! I have been fretting since I have only been working at accumulating and using food storage 1 whole month! There are so many folks online who are sooo far ahead of me, I was afraid something big would happen and I would be caught unprepared at the bottom of a steep learning curve. Thank you so much for sharing this hard-earned wisdom for us newbies.

My Costco takes coupons - just doesn't double or triple them. So for some products it pays to shop there with coupons.

Joi, you can use either, however, I prefer to use the food grade one. Remember, you only need a 1/4 cup of it warmed for about 60 eggs or more. It goes a long way!

Coupons are such a wonderful thing.

Also, very interesting about the eggs. I did not know that they stored like that.

I am going to research the cheese a little further as well because that sounds great.

Mineral oil is used as an aid with digestive issues. I'm not putting it on my food. I'm putting it on the shell of my food. And it's a heck of a lot better than the chemicals that are on our produce, etc. Additionally, another method of preserving the eggs is to use Vaseline. But that's too expensive for my taste. I prefer the mineral oil. As a petroleum based product, it inhibits bacteria growth and oxygen permeation.

Hey there. On your food saver thingy ... is that a Tilia Foodsaver? I keep looking for what you wrote and the Tilia keeps popping up.
Thanks!!!

I'm buying one today then. Thanks a lot!

I just discovered your blog yesterday and I can tell, I'm going to be spending a LOT of time reading the past entries! You're awesome!

hey Kellene, you have some awesome ideas here. I have also used cheese wax but have to hang my cheese or it goes moldy where it touches anything. How do you store yours? do you apply anything as a finishing coat?
I started canning chicken this year! So easy! Salmon is next, i just found some wild at a great price.
We have chickens, so i'm going to try the mineral oil and upside down thing. i've never heard of this. mineral oil in the RX is food grade if it is prescribed for ingesting.
Does chocolate really store that long? I buy in bulk from Guittard every year and i have only found the food sealer this year and am anxious to try it. Do you think that the little bits wrapped in foil (kisses) have are an additional bonus for long term storage?
I have heard that baking and storing in mason jars only last a year or less. where do you get your stats on this? I've never done this but it sounds pretty exciting!
I have considered looking into a solar oven but here in Oregon we have to have a back up plan cause when the clouds roll by that ends the cooking time! Do you have one you recommend. We have a group buy on rocket stoves if you are considering adding an alternate stove.
While i use a pressure canner for canned meat storage because you have to use one, unless you can freeze and count on electricity and we know that is not going to be likely, i do not use a pressure cooker for daily cooking, i also avoid the microwave. Nourishing Traditions discourages the use of pressure cookers as they super heat foods and knock out most of the nutrition and microwaves damage fats and proteins and make them more difficult to assimilate and digest. Amino acids can be altered in milk and become toxic so you never heat a baby's bottle in a microwave, but i guess everyone knows that.
I wish there was a better way to store some foods... have you ever done lacto fermenting?
Thanks for all your efforts and recommendations!
Sally

Yes, chocolate stores that long IF you forget that you stored it. :-)
I primarily hang my cheese in cheese wax after it's coated. My firs 3 -4 coats are dipped. The last one is brushed on.
If you bake in a jar, but do not use eggs, it will last longer than a year. Use clear gelatin instead of the egg.
See my most recent post on solar ovens for recommendations.
Nourishing Traditions is incorrect in their estimations of nutrition. There is no where for the nutrition to escape. That's why the veggies are still green, for example. It is the permeating pressure that cooks the food more so than the heat.
Never done lacto fermenting.
Do some searches on our site for some more info on some of the other topics you've asked about. You will most likely enjoy it.

You recommended using styrofoam egg cartons. Do they work better than the paper ones? Should paper cartons NOT be used? Could a flat be used--like the ones they sell at Costco or do they need to be more enclosed?

Your site is amazing! I can't wait to try this and many of your other tips! Thank you!

Can you please go into a little more detail about storing the meat in jars?
Is it cooked first and how is it cooked. I have to admit I'm terried of pressure cookers since I was almost decapitated by a flying lid when one blew up in my aunt's kitchen as a child. Thanks for all your help!

If you do a search on "canning meats" on this site, you'll see some step by step instructions complete with pictures. You'll even find an article on canning bacon step by step too.

Hi, Kellene,

I'm a first-time visitor to this site. My question is: what difference does it make if the pointed end of the egg is down? What's wrong with it pointing up? Shouldn't the styrofoam egg containers be washed first to prevent the possibility of salmonella passing to the diners? Thanks.

Bob

Love your blog. I am glad you put the things out there to help other people. And I do wish I had known these things 10 yrs ago. As far as the people that argue about the coupons....they say on the coupons they say you can't even transfer them.....so the people on ebay can't send them to you. I understand people wanting to save money in these times(me included) but when you use ebay there is a trail that if they decide to prosecute it will get to you too.

If you raise chickens the eggs can sit on the counter at least a month before worrying about them getting bad. First time I ever saw people that didn't refridgerate eggs was when we were in Costa Rica years ago. They thought I was weird thinking eggs were not supposed to be on the counter.

How do you bake and store bread? Long term?

The bloom on the eggs will degrade after 10 days though. So to be safe and get the most out of them, if you want to preserve them then coat them with either mineral oil, jojoba oil or waterglass--the last two are not petroleum products.

you bake the bread in the Mason Jars and put warm lids on them when they are still warm.

So the warm bread & warm lids create the vacuum while cooling & self seal with no further processing? Is that correct?

Regarding Eggs: Safely store eggs for months by rubbing unsalted butter on the shells. I have done this and it works beautifully without using a petroleum product like mineral oil. Whatever goes on the shell, goes in the shell.

I wouldn't recommend the butter, but you can use jojoba oil or waterglass, both of which are not petroleum products and the jojoba is actually GOOD for a person.

Share your thoughts on the matter