Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ask the readers: Being Prepared on Vacation

I need to ask you all a hypothetical question. Picture a family going on a National Lampoon Vacation-style road trip from, say, Illinois to Disney World.

Chevy Chase and Co. in "National Lampoon's Vacation"

This hypothetical family consists of two adults and four children that range in age from nine to a newly-minted toddler. They will be on vacation for about two weeks total during the spring. They already anticipate that the essential items they'll bring along on this Griswoldian trip will create sardine-like conditions in the family mini-van.

With these facts in mind, what preps should this family take along?

Keep in mind that this is a completely hypothetical question. It has nothing to do with a vacation my family is undertaking in a couple of months.  Not at all....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Month Ten in Review and Month Eleven Prepping Plan

I feel so accomplished. Hubby Dear and I really got a lot done around the homestead this month.
  1. I upgraded my EDC. BTW, thanks for all the great comments and ideas. The stuff some of you all carry around is quite impressive. 
  2. Our Food Storage Blitz Month was quite successful. It's such a nice feeling to know that we wouldn't have to go hungry during an emergency or job loss.  
  3. We did a ton of work in the yard. Literally, we moved a ton of materials into our garden, a few bags at a time. First, Hubby Dear finished filling all 19 of our garden boxes with Mel's Mix. This was a major undertaking, especially since we had to drive 50 miles each way to get the materials and could only fit a certain amount in the ol' mini-van. I think we exceeding the load limit a few times.

    The boxes - filled with Mel's Mix and grids in place
  4. We're also nearly done putting down pea gravel to cover the pathways between the boxes.
    The grids are optional, but handy. The larger areas are where we're planting
     pumpkins. Radishes, lettuce, and peas are in the smaller boxes.
    We planted radishes, peas (sugar snap and shelling), lettuce (both a romaine and leaf lettuce mix), cabbage, strawberries, and onions.
    The Thinker's radish seedlings.
    We also added a few more raspberry canes, doubling our raspberry patch in size.  We're still waiting on the organic seed potatoes we ordered to arrive. The delay is irksome enough that I think next year we'll buy our seed potatoes closer to home, even though they may not be organic.                                 
  5. You might be asking what happened to the cloth pad project? Well, I got sidetracked with all the gardening work. And I got a huge stack of uber interesting books at the library. Then the NCAA basketball tournament started. (We are giant college basketball fans.) The result? I still have only two (partially completed, at that) cloth pads. I will get back and finish the project, eventually.   
What's in store for Month 11 of my Prepping Plan?
  1. I want to add more cash to our BOBs/at home emergency stash.
  2. We're going to craft our own water filter using food safe buckets and ceramic filter elements.
  3. Using some of the suggestions from my Ask the Readers post, I'm going to stock-up on some more can openers.
  4. I'm going to buy some garden seeds for long term storage.
  5. We're going to continue building our food and oh-so-important toilet paper supplies.
  6. We'll be very busy in the garden. Hopefully we'll have some lettuce to harvest.  
  7. I have some preps of a unique nature that I'll discuss with y'all in an upcoming post. I've got to pick your brain again!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Food Storage Blitz Month, Part Four and Month End Results

My Shelf Reliance unit has filled up a lot since this photo was taken
Sorry, I don't have a photo of the remaining items I bought for Food Storage Blitz Month. Every time I went to the grocery store, I bought a few extra items based on what was on sale and what I had coupons for. I never remembered to take pictures of my haul before I had them put away.

I bought:

- Several boxes of cereal
- Lots of canned soup
- Canned mushrooms. This is not something we usually buy, but there was such a good deal on them I couldn't resist.
-Refried beans
-Spaghetti sauce
-A few bags of 15 bean soup mix
-Tomato sauce

So, at the end of our Food Storage Blitz Month, where are we?
  • Our Three Month Supply is much closer to being complete. I still need to fill in some items, but we made a huge jump forward this month.
  • In terms of long term storage, we have:
        - 957 lb of grains, consisting of wheat, flour, oats, rice, and pasta.
        - 148 lb of legumes, not counting the canned beans (approx. 50 cans) I have stored.
        - About a 6 month supply of miscellaneous fats.
        - 150 lb of sugars.
        - 84 lb dry milk, 20 cans of evaporated milk and 10 lb dry eggs

All told, when you combine our three month supply with our long term items, we have 245.79 days of food storage for our family of six, according to the Food Storage Analyzer. Not too shabby!

Our goal is to have a full year's supply of food storage, so we still have a ways to go. The Food Storage Analyzer revealed that our storage is low in Vitamins A &C, so I need to remedy that, as well. Dried fruits and vegetables, legumes, and oils are my priority for the next few months.

There you have it! I hope you have been able to add to your food storage over the past month. What have you added to your storage lately?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Using Your Food Storage: Dirty Rice

I love it when I cook a great meal for my family and no one knows it's from food storage! I made food storage-friendly dirty rice the other day and thought I would share this simple and tasty recipe with you.

In case you are not familiar with dirty rice, it is a dish that hails from Louisiana. I spent three years in Louisiana as a teenager, long enough to pick up a cute southern accent and a predilection for Cajun food. The accent didn't stick around very long after I moved away, but I still love Cajun food. The version of Dirty Rice that I make gets its "dirty" look from ground beef rather than the chicken giblets and liver that are traditional.

One thing I should mention is that this recipe includes a bit of ground red (cayenne) pepper. We don't think it is spicy - my children scarf it up without complaint - but I have some relatives with weaker palates that would think I was trying to kill them. If you are sensitive with heat, start off with just a little cayenne or skip it and add Tabasco to taste at the table.

Dirty Rice - savory and delicious

Dirty Rice

1 lb lean ground beef (OR 1 pint canned ground beef, drained OR freeze-dried beef or TVP, reconstituted)
2 garlic cloves, minced (OR 2 t. garlic powder or freeze-dried garlic)
2 celery ribs, chopped (OR 1/4 c. dry celery, rehydrated according to package directions)
1 medium onion, chopped (OR 3/4 c. dry onion, rehydrated)
1 T chopped fresh parsley (OR 1 t. dry parsley)
1 green bell pepper, chopped (OR 1/2 c. dry bell peppers, rehydrated)
1 t. salt (Omit if using bouillon)
1/4 t. ground red pepper or to taste
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1 T. Worchestershire sauce
1 c. white rice
1 can beef broth (OR bouillon prepared to equal 2 cups. Omit salt if using bouillon.)
3/4 c. water

Cook ground beef and next 5 ingredients in a large skillet or Dutch Oven over medium-high heat, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink. If you are using canned beef and reconstituted dry vegetables, simply cook together until items are warm.

Stir in salt and next 3 ingredients; stirring well. Add rice, broth, and 3/4 c. water, stirring well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 to 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir as necessary to prevent sticking to the pan and add a bit of water if it gets too dry before the rice is cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Enjoy!

Food Storage Blitz Month, Part Four

Another case of dry milk

I got yet another case of powdered milk from Walton Feed. I ordered it on February 28th and it just arrived yesterday. I guess the food storage companies are still really backed up with orders.

Click here if you haven't read my post on powdered milk. This post from Survival Blog mentions how important powdered milk is to have on hand during a nuclear crisis. Again, I'm not too worried about radiation from Japan making it over the US, but it goes to show how essential dry milk is to have as part of your food storage.

Stay tuned for a new food storage-friendly recipe coming soon!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Food Storage Blitz Month, Part Three

My next contribution to Food Storage Blitz Month is another 12 pints of meat.

Canned chicken breast and ground beef

Since I learned how to can meat, I have been slowly adding to my stores of canned chicken and ground beef. It's easy for me to do and Hubby Dear is very thankful that he won't ever have to subsist solely on rice and beans.

Speaking of Hubby Dear, the disaster unfolding in Japan led him to admit to me that he's actually glad that I am building up our food storage. He's come a long way, hasn't he?

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Review of "Just in Case: How to Be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens"

Image from
I don't know how you made your entry into the realm of preparedness, but for me, it started with someone on a homeschooling forum sharing a link to Food Storage Made Easy. (BTW, did you see they posted my Baked Oatmeal recipe last week? I feel so famous, he he! ;) One thing led to another and over the course of five or six months, I morphed into a full-fledged prepper. I downloaded charts and copied lists of prepping essentials. I scanned articles on blogs, websites, and any other sources I could get my hands on. I became a woman possessed with prepping.

Did I learn a lot by doing my own research? Yes, indeed. I was one motivated momma and, in case you haven't figured it out by now, I really enjoy this whole prepping business.

But what if you're just beginning a journey toward preparedness and you don't know where to start? Or maybe you want to share your knowledge with a friend or family member in an easy, unintimidating package? Have I found the book for you!

I recently checked out a copy of Just in Case: How to be Self-Sufficient when the Unexpected Happens by Kathy Harrison. How I wish I had gotten this book a year ago! It contains a wealth of information for beginning preppers.

The author describes her OAR System, which stands for Organize, Acquire, and Rotate. She gives some ideas on how to find space for food storage, deciding what you need to store, as well as ways to use your food storage. Although it isn't as extensive as Peggy Layton's Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook, there are some useful recipes as well as some handy fresh/dry food equivalency and substitution charts. The author even inspired me to try making cheese from some of our powdered milk. I'll let you know how that goes!

In this book you'll find easy-to-understand information on storing water, bugging out, car kits, and dealing with a power outage, to name just a few of the topics. There's also a section on preparing for emergencies like tornadoes, pandemics, tsunamis, etc.

The Pros and Cons of this Book:

Is Just in Case a preparedness encyclopedia? No. You won't find instructions on how to raise rabbits, grow wheat, or set up a solar panel array. That is part of the reason why this is such a good introductory book - it is completely non-intimidating for newbies.  It is not the only book you should have in your survival library, but it is a fabulous place to start.

The biggest peeve I have with this book is that it doesn't provide a list of resources for further reading. Just in Case will whet your appetite to learn more but it leaves you on your own to find resources that go in further depth. For that, I recommend How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It by James Wesley Rawles. That book covers some different topics than Just in Case and also provides an extensive list of recommended reading.

All in all, if you're a beginning prepper or have someone you'd like to "convert", I'd definitely recommend this book.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Food Storage Blitz Month, Part Two

Here's the next installment of our Food Storage Blitz - a run to Sam's Club.

I bought 150 lb of rice, 50 lb of sugar and another 50 of flour. I'll be storing them in buckets like I described in this post.

I bought a few more long term storage-type items at Sam's, but also some comfort foods for our three month supply.

Canned fruit, fruit snacks (hey, I've got four kids), Carnation Instant Breakfast, granola bars, maple syrup, honey, sliced almonds, chili powder, brown sugar and chocolate chips. The almonds, brown sugar, and chocolate chips will get put into canning jars and vacuum sealed.

Chicken and beef bouillon, pudding cups, a wedge of Parmesan cheese, 12 lb spaghetti, 12 lb macaroni, and 6 lb penne. I also bought a couple of jars of my favorite salsa and one of bread and butter jalapenos. I hope to can my own versions of those this summer.

Part III of Food Storage Blitz Month coming soon.

What are you stocking up on?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

And they thought I was being paranoid...

(If you're reading this in a feed reader, you might need to click on my actual blog post for the video to appear.)

When I bought my family a supply of Iosat potassium iodide tablets, people thought I was overreacting. Now I'm ahead of the curve!

I'm not terribly concerned about radiation from Japan since I am east of the Rockies. I am glad that we are already prepared in this area, though. If you don't have a stock of potassium iodide or potassium iodate, don't freak out. Take this as your cue to get some for the future.

Welcome to March in the Midwest

One day you're working outside in a short sleeved T-shirt. (Not ONLY a T-shirt. Don't get any strange ideas about how we roll.)

Hubby Dear contemplating the lettuce seeds he was about to plant

Hubby Dear planted two types of lettuce and radishes

You go to bed dreaming about fresh spring breezes. The next morning you wake up and it looks like this.

That would be 6" of snow. Surprise!

12 hours later, it was all gone. Gotta love March.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Food Storage Blitz Month, Part One

As I shared previously, my main goal for this month was to seriously amp up our food storage. We doubled our prepping budget for March and christened it "Food Storage Blitz Month". 

The thought of spending several hundred dollars all at once on food storage made me both excited and apprehensive. I was thankful to be able to get a bunch of food in one fell swoop, but I also felt the heavy responsibility to spend the money wisely.

After a lot of thought, I decided to split the money between our three month supply and our long term food storage. The goal is to have a balanced range of food stored and to gradually increase the amounts of all types of items until we have a full year of food.

Here's the first installment of our Food Storage Blitz Month: an order with Emergency Essentials.

I ordered 4 "Superpails" of hard white wheat, plus mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and buckets to package some things on my own. (More about that in Part Two.)

We now have ten of these six gallon buckets of wheat and yet we still need to buy a lot more. We're about 200 pounds short of what we're supposed to have according to this food storage calculator.

I also bought some whole egg powder, freeze dried green peppers, drink mix, and lentils. Not very exciting, eh? I'm going to buy a dehydrator sometime soon and dry the peppers we grow ourselves, but these freeze dried ones are good to have on hand for now. The drink mix is high in Vitamin C (something that we are a bit short of in our food storage at the moment) and would be very welcome if we were living on stale-tasting stored water. The egg powder and lentils are simply good staples to have around.

More of our Food Storage Blitz Month coming soon!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Meet My New Favorite Garden Gadget

Hubby Dear and I worked our tails off in the garden this weekend. The weather is lovely and we'll be planting in just a couple of days. I'm so excited for the upcoming garden season!

I wanted to share a handy gadget that is perfect for my fellow gardeners. It is so simple, yet extremely useful. Meet the Weather Watch.

It indicates both wind direction and wind speed. You can even figure out the wind chill by using the chart printed right on it. It has a thermometer, rain gauge and a marker that you can use to keep track of the total amount of rain you have received. We bought thiselectronic rain gauge at a local farm supply store and if it wasn't getting clogged with grass clippings, spiders jammed it up with webs. It stopped working altogether after one season. This is an instance where low-tech works much better! 

If you homeschool your children like I do, this is also a great educational tool. We are currently using RSO Earth and Space Science and there's a whole section on weather observation. Bingo! Some children just got some "homework".

We bought our Weather Watch from Lehman's, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to shop. I highly recommend it for the meteorologist in you!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Could the Japanese Tsunami Deepen the Global Food Crisis?

While I was up with Baby Dear in the wee hours of this morning, I happened to turn the TV to CNN. I listened to accounts of the horrifying earthquake damage in Japan. I watched the tsunami waters consume homes, vehicles, and countless lives. The magnitude of the disaster is stunning.

Now, I'm obviously not an economist, agronomist, or any other -ist that means anything. I'm just a paranoid mom who knows that the world is already on the brink of a massive food crisis. With that caveat in mind, here are my thoughts:
  1. If you watched any of the tsunami footage, you saw the waters engulf what appeared to be fields and greenhouses. A quick check on Google confirmed that Sendai, ground zero for the disaster, is in the midst of the Japanese agricultural heartland.
  2. A rice paddy
  3. The same Google search showed that one of the major crops of this area of Japan is rice.
  4. Salt water, debris, any chemicals picked up by the water, etc. are bad for crops! Not to mention the huge societal disruption Japan is facing. This could disrupt agriculture in the area for some time to come.
  5. Japan consumes a massive amount of rice.
  6. Up until now, the Japanese have imported very little rice and mainly consume what they grow themselves.
  7. With a large portion of their rice crop in jeopardy, Japan will be forced to import rice.
  8. This could lead to a spike in the price for rice, or perhaps even a rice shortage.
  9. Even worse: If the unthinkable happens and those damaged nuclear plants have a Chernobyl-type accident, crop land in Japan could be contaminated for years to come. This would continue the food shortage/price increase scenario in addition to all the other tragic effects of such a disaster.
Again, these are just my own thoughts. Who knows if they have any real validity. I do know one thing. I'm buying a bunch of rice the next time I make a trip into town. I was going to do that anyway, but this gives me added motivation.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Adding to my EDC

EDC is one of those acronyms that gets casually thrown around by hard-core prepper/survivalist types. It took me a bit to figure out exactly what it stood for. So, for the newbies like me out there: EDC stands for Every Day Carry. It is comprised of useful, preparedness-oriented items that you take with you everywhere. If you read blogs like M.D. Creekmore's The Survivalist Blog, you'll find there is much debate about what should be in your EDC, from food to firestarting supplies to weaponry. I'm often curious as to how some of these guys with huge lists of EDC items tote it all around. Do they walk around with strangely bulging pockets? Do they carry it in a backpack?
Camo is optional!
Well, every woman I know, prepper or not, already has an EDC. We call it a purse and they contain a variety of items necessary for feminine survival. Mine tends to collect little girls' hairbows, Cheerios, and ballpoint pens. I kid you not, the last time I cleaned out my purse it had 17 pens. I decided it was high time that I upgrade my EDC. Unfortunately that did not mean that I got a new purse. ;)

 A List of EDC Contents for My Fellow Harried Homemakers:
  1. A fully charged cell phone. I don't use my cell phone very often, so I'm guilty of turning in on, sticking it in the bottom of my purse, and forgetting about it. More often than not, my batteries are low. I need to get better about keeping it charged up.
  2. Cash and coins. Once upon a time I got stuck in a parking garage because I didn't have any cash on hand to pay the unsympathetic parking attendant. Ironically, this happened on the same day I took a tour of a Federal Reserve bank where I had been literally surrounded by money. I learned the hard way that it is wise to have both some cash and coins with me at all times. 
  3. First Aid Kit. Click here to read about what's in the first aid kit I carry in my purse.
  4. A Swiss Army knife or other multi-tool. I selected a Leatherman Squirt PS4 Keychain Toolbecause it was little, cute, and would go on my key chain. Plus, it came in blue, my favorite color.
This is teeny-tiny - just over 2 inches long - and very lightweight

Lots of handy tools

This is not the knife you want to have if you're fighting off grizzly bears in the wilderness. If you're fighting off grizzly bears in the wilderness, why are you toting around a purse, anyway?

5. Flashlight. I bought a Photon Freedom LED Keychain Micro-Lightand I'm super-pleased with it. It is small and inobtrusively fits on my keychain. According to the company, its beam is visible for a mile. It is definitely bright and you can even set it to continuously signal an SOS.

6. Victorinox Swisscard Lite Pocket Tool There is some overlap between this and my other EDC items, but I had to have it. It is just too cool!

This little card is full of surprises.

It holds a ballpoint pen, letter opener, straight pen, tweezers, scissors, and a screwdriver. The card has an LED light, magnifying lens, and can be used as a ruler.

And it will fit easily into a credit card slot in your wallet. Since I don't use credit cards anymore, I had plenty of room for one of these.

There is so much more I could add to the list, such as a firesteel, paracord, and a compass. I think this is a practical list and a good start for any woman's EDC.

What is in your EDC? What are your "must have" items that you carry in your purse? (Or "murse", for my male readers!)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Want Some Free Batteries?

Yeah, me, too! A girl can never store too many batteries!

Here's how:

Free Rayovac Batteries at Wal-Mart posted on The Krazy Coupon Lady site

Hurry and print this off because I'm sure this is a limited time offer.

Using Your Food Storage: Beef and Barley Soup

The recipe that I'm going to share with you today is one of my family's favorite winter meals. The ingredients are so simple that it might seem boring, but I promise you that this recipe is transcendent. This soup has such a wonderfully beefy flavor. And if you serve it alongside a slice of bread made from wheat you ground yourself? It's divine!

One of the main ingredients in this soup is barley, which is a great addition to your food storage. If the only barley you've ever had is the mushy stuff in canned vegetable beef soup, you're in for a treat! Barley has a mild nutty flavor and a pleasant chewiness. If you don't have any barley on hand or have some sort of weird aversion to it, I have also made this recipe using egg noodles. I just throw them to cook in with the soup about 15 minutes before the soup is done.

I have listed the food storage substitutions for the fresh ingredients below. If you use all food storage ingredients, especially canned beef, I have written revised directions. You don't need to brown the already cooked canned beef and you can allow the dehydrated vegetables to rehydrate in the soup while you cook it.

Beef and Barley Soup, adapted from a recipe published in Cooking Light magazine

2 lb beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (OR canned beef [home-canned or store-bought])
2 t. vegetable oil
2 c. chopped leek  (OR 2 c. chopped onion OR about 1/2 c. dry onion)
2 c chopped carrot (OR about 1 c. dry carrots)
4 garlic cloves, minced (OR 2 t. freeze-dried garlic OR garlic powder)
6 c. water
1-1/2 t. salt (Omit salt if using beef bouillon. Reduce according to taste if you're not using reduced sodium broth.)
1 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
4 bay leaves
2-14 oz. cans less-sodium beef broth (OR beef bouillon prepared to yield 4 cups broth)
1 c. uncooked pearl barley

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add half of beef; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining beef.

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add leek, carrot, and garlic; saute 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Return beef to pan. Add water and next 5 ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Add barley; cook 30 minutes or until beef and barley are tender. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Food Storage Items Only Directions:

Omit browning beef and sauteing vegetables. Place liquid ingredients, an additional cup to 1-1/2 cup water, seasonings (omit salt), and vegetables in Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Drain liquid from canned beef and cut beef into 1" chunks, if necessary. Add beef and barley to the soup. Cook 30 minutes or until barley is tender. Taste broth for salt and add additional salt if necessary. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Fat Problem

No, I'm not talking about the extra pounds I'm carrying on my thighs and around my waist. I'm talking about fats as part of my food storage plan.

You're supposed to avoid foods high in fat to control your weight and stay healthy now, but in a SHTF situation, you'll die without them! How ironic is that? Fat-rich foods like oil and peanut butter are calorie- dense and contain fatty acids that your body needs to survive.

Image from

Just how much of the fatty stuff should you have on hand?   

According to the LDS calculator, for a year's worth of storage you need:

Shortening          4 lb per adult, 2 lb per child  
Vegetable Oil      2 gal per adult, 1 gal per child
Mayonnaise        2 qt per adult, 1 qt per child
Salad Dressing    1 qt per adult, 1 qt per child
Peanut Butter      4 lb per adult, 2 lb per child

BTW, an "adult" according to this calculator is anyone age 7 and older.

Just in case you think that number is crazy, Rawles in How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It suggests that you store 96 lb total of fats per adult per year.

Read that number again. That's a whole lotta lard!

The Problem

Not only is that just a huge amount of oil that you have to budget for, buy, and store, there's an even larger problem. Oil goes rancid quickly. Stored in a cool, dark, room, you've got 1 year to 18 months of freshness, tops. Not only is rancid oil yucky, some people say that it basically amounts to poison.

Leaving aside peanut butter, salad dressing, and mayonnaise, what are your options for storing a sizeable amount of fats and oils?

Candidate #1: Shortening

Pros: Long-ish shelf life, especially if repacked into mason jars and vacuum sealed. Available in plain or butter flavors.

Cons: High on my personal yuck factor. I don't mind using it in pie crust, but no way am I going to spread it on bread or anything. It is supposedly made without trans fats these days, but no one is claiming it is a health food.

Candidate #2: Powders like shortening powder and butter powder

Pros: Very long shelf life. Just add water and you will have shortening and butter ready for use!

Cons: Am I really going to eat that? I am trying to only store foods that my family will eat and that we'll gladly rotate through. I have heard shortening powder is fairly close approximation of "fresh" shortening (an oxymoron if there ever was one), but there are a lot of bad reviews on powdered butter.

Candidate #3: Regular, Fresh Butter

Pros: Yum! When frozen, it lasts for a long time. I currently have about 12 pounds of butter in my freezer and I plan on adding more and rotating through it.

Cons: Without electricity, my butter will go bad quickly.

Candidate #4: Commercially Canned Butter 

Image from
 Pros: Just like the fresh stuff, only canned. Good for spreading on toast, baking, etc.

Cons: Pricey. Emergency Essentials sells a single 12 oz. can for $7.50. I can buy a lot of fresh butter for that!

Candidate #5: "Bottled Butter"

Image from . Visit this site and search for bottled butter to read her opposing take on this issue

Pros: It's shelf-stable butter on the cheap.

Cons: Possible agonizing death. I know a lot of people can their own butter, but I just don't think it is worth the risk. Botulism spores can easily live in oil-based products and home canning cannot effectively get it up to the proper temperature for long enough to ensure they are all killed.

Candidate #6: Ghee (clarified butter)

Image from, a source for canned butter, cheese, ghee, etc.  

Pros: Ghee is clarified butter - butter that has had the milk solids removed, extending its shelf life and making it perfect for high-heat applications. It has a very long shelf life - probably at least 10 years in a cool, dark place.

Cons: Price. At Pleasant Hill Grain, 1-16 oz. can is $9.49

Candidate #7: Vegetable Oil, Stored in the Freezer

Pros: The same oil you use everyday, but with an extended shelf life. If you keep it in the freezer, you can expect it to last about four years.

Cons: You still have to rotate it and without electricity, you're going to have that same shelf life issue.

Candidate #8: Coconut oil

Pros: A shelf life of  anywhere between 2-5 years. You could extend this by storing it in the refrigerator or freezer. Despite what I learned back in the day about "tropical oils" being bad for you, a lot of people think that coconut oil is actually extremely healthy. Take it with a boulder of salt, but some folks claim it is a miracle cure for most anything that ails you.

Cons: Price (again). On, a two pack of 15 oz. tubs of Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is $11.75 if you select the "Subscribe and Save" option. Some brands will make your food taste like coconut while others are neutral in flavor. Coconut oil is solid when stored below 76 degrees and is liquid at or above 76 degrees.


If that didn't make your head spin, you're smarter than I am. It took me a while to wade through all the information out there and distill it down. Regardless of whether you use the LDS or Rawles' calculations, our family falls far short in this area.

My solution? We're going to build a store of a little bit of everything, with the exception of powdered shortening/butter and "bottled butter". What I've done so far:
  1. I bought a little bit of shortening and vacuum sealed it in mason jars for maximum freshness.
  2. I buy extra virgin olive oil and vegetable oil in bulk from Sam's Club. As I build up my store, I'll have to put new bottles in the freezer of our extra refrigerator. That's going to fill up quickly, so I'll have to devise another solution. (Feel like buying me a chest freezer, Hubby Dear?)
  3. Some point soon, I'll start buying both ghee and regular bottled butter by the case. 
  4. I have some coconut oil making its way to me from as I type this.  
I'm suspicious of this whole "coconut oil miracle" business, but I'm willing to give the product a shot. Maybe in the quest for a perfect food storage oil, I'll end up find something that we really like using.

What's your oil storage status? How are you dealing with the shelf life issue?