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I found this great article on a simple method for long term food storage. It's simple to store a year’s supply of food for a family of 4 for less than $300.
The basic idea is to seal rice, dried kidney beans, barley, lentil, peas and garbanzo beans in mylar bags. Then set the bags in 5- gallon buckets. The mylar bags keep the air out and the bucket keeps critters out. Both together with some bay leaves and oxygen absorbers, the food will last for 25 years. Yes 25 years.
The Seasoned Citizen Prepper fills 8 buckets to feed his family of 4 for 1 year. I have copy and pasted parts of the article below. Also check out the original article here:
Original Article Excerpts:
What you need:
- 8 Standard 5-gallon buckets (find these at any hardware store or online)
- 8 large Mylar bags (great combo deal here)
- 8 oxygen absorbers 2,000 cc (not sure what these are?)
- 8 gamma lids (find them here)
- A handful of bay leaves
- 90 lbs. of white rice
- 22 lbs. of kidney beans
- 22 lbs. of barley
- 22 lbs. of yellow lentils
- 5.5 lbs. of split green peas
- 5.5 lbs. of garbanzo beans
- 1 lb. of salt
- A big box of beef and chicken bouillon.
- A measuring cup
Fill the Buckets
- 3 buckets with rice (shake it down good. Get it all in there!)
- 1 bucket each of kidney beans, barley, and yellow lentils
- In 1 bucket store the split green peas, garbanzo beans, salt, measuring cup and bouillon. (I removed the bouillon from the box and vacuum sealed it as bouillon contains a small amount of oil.)
- Yep, that’s a total of 7 buckets, so far.
The 8th Bucket
- Dry onion. Let’s face it, what’s bean soup without onion! Sprinkle on the onions just before serving.
- “Just add water” cornbread mix packets. I just can’t eat bean soup without cornbread.
- Beef jerky and Vienna sausages. Add protein and zest to the bean soup
- Instant oatmeal. Do you really want bean soup for breakfast? Freeze the oatmeal for 3 days before packing to kill any bugs.
- 10 lbs of jellybeans. Now, don’t laugh – it’s a bean. Jellybeans don’t melt like chocolate might. The high sugar content is quick energy, and a morale booster – with just enough of a high to help you over the really bad days. Easter is about here – stock up!
Making your bean soup
- 8 oz of rice (1 cup*)
- 2 oz of red kidney beans (1/3 cup*)
- 2 oz of pearl barley (1/3 cup*)
- 2 oz of lentils (1/3 cup*)
- 1 oz of split green peas (1/4 Cup*)
- 1 oz of chick peas/garbanzo’s (1/4 Cup*)
- 6-7 quarts of water
Add 6-7 quarts of water. Add bouillon or salt to taste. Then add any other meats, vegetables, potatoes or seasonings you have on hand. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for two hours. You should have enough to feed 4 people for two days. This is thick and hearty. You will be warm on the inside and full with one large bowl. Kids usually eat half a bowl.
* I (Lauren) added these for the American folks like me.
Back to my thoughts on this plan.
What I like about this idea:
Compact. I really like this idea, it doesn’t take up too much space and could work for an apartment dweller. It could be hard to find space for so many buckets, but the original author suggests using the buckets instead of a box spring or stacked between the couch and the wall. I think it would just take some creative thinking to find the space, but definitely doesn’t require a full basement.
Cheap. The Seasoned Citizen Prepper filled their long term food storage buckets for $300. I wrote an article on short-term food storage for one person for one month for $150. My article is a great first step for those thinking about food storage, and likely includes more foods you eat on a regular basis. However with this bean soup in a bucket method, you can store 12x the dinners for only 2x times the cost!
Long-Term. This long term food storage method is good for situations beyond the normal unexpected guests or blizzard. A simple, shelf-stable cheap source of calories could ease the burden of a prolonged income loss. This soup could easily be supplemented with vegetables or canned meats on hand when available. However in a pinch, a soup that warms the body and fills the stomach is what you need. The Mylar bags and bucket also make the ingredient shelf-stable for 25 years.
What I don’t like about this idea:
Risky. One would have to open every Mylar bag and every bucket in order to measure out a couple of ounces from each bag. Then one would have to reseal all the bags if they no longer needed the food. While it seems convenient to have a bucket of rice and buckets of beans, I think a pre-mixed bag might work better. You would only need to open one bucket at a time. This would reduce the risk of the food going bad or becoming contaminated.
Rationing. Doing the calorie math, this is meant to be eaten only for dinner. Four people could not eat 2-3 meals a day for 2 days from one batch of this soup. If we assume two of those people are children eating ½ bowl each, then we really have 3 people for 2 days. By my calculation there are 1,610 calories in one batch of soup (check my math below). Each person may be full eating +5 cups of soup a day, but they would only be eating about 270 calories a day, which is fine for one meal. Most people eat 1,500-2,000 calories a day depending on their body type and activity level. If you added extras from your last bucket like fatty sausages the calorie count would go up, but one could not live on this soup alone. However, the author does note this is a starting point and not a complete solution.
Note: I will consider moving forward that one batch of soup of 1,610 calories could feed 2 people sitting around for a day. This would give 800 calories per person. Or you only plan to eat the soup for dinner.
So how does this recipe translate to pre-mixed soup?
Original Quantities (7 buckets):
- 90 lbs. of white rice (16 parts)
- 22 lbs. of red kidney beans (4 parts)
- 22 lbs. of barley (4 parts)
- 22 lbs. of yellow lentils (4 parts)
- 5.5 lbs. of split green peas (1 part)
- 5.5 lbs. of garbanzo beans (1 part)
Say I wanted to fill one 5-gallon bucket with pre-mixed dry soup. I will still leave out the spices on a per batch basis. Consider my 5-gallon bucket holds approximately 30lbs.
Scaled Quantities (1 bucket ~ 30lbs):
- 16 lbs. of white rice
- 4 lbs. of red kidney beans
- 4 lbs. of barley
- 4 lbs. of yellow lentils
- 1 lbs. of split green peas
- 1 lbs. of garbanzo beans
This one bucket would yield 30 batches of soup, with each batch of soup feeding two people dinner for 2 days. (This assumes no rationing of calories.) To make the soup you would mix 2.5 cups of the pre-mixed dry soup with 6-7 quarts of water and spices to taste. In total the 30lbs would result in 4 months of food for 1 person. If we planned to only eat this soup for dinner, every day of the year, my family of 2 would need 6-7 pre-mixed containers for soup and the 8th container for salt, spices, canned meat, and extras.
We tried this soup and found it kinda bland, as expected really. Note: we used pinto beans because we like them better than kidney beans. Our thoughts:
- Don't add the rice or lentils until 30 minutes before it finishes. The rice completely disintegrated because it was cooked way to0 long. This made the consistency something like gruel.
- It tastes better with pepper and Parmesan cheese. Tim actually discovered this, but his theory is everything tastes better with cheese!
- Watch out for burning the bottom. We actually burned the soup, as the rice and beans stuck to the bottom and burned on. Adding the rice late might help this. Also cooking slower over a lower heat and stirring more often would help.
- Seriously, add bacon. Bacon makes everything taste better, but not really a shelf-stable survival food though.
This soup is a great starting point for a family's long-term food storage plans. It would supplement well other plans for vegetables and packaged goods. We will continue to play around with the types of beans in the recipe to find one we like best (probably no chickpeas or kidney beans). What do you think?
How would this work for your family? What would you keep in your last bucket (canned sausages, spices, jelly beans, oatmeal, jam, coffee?) Thanks for reading!
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