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 howstuffworks.com|
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!
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 preparednesspantry.blogspot.com|
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 preparednesspro.com . 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 pleasanthillgrain.com, 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
Cons: Price (again). On Amazon.com, 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:
- I bought a little bit of shortening and vacuum sealed it in mason jars for maximum freshness.
- 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?)
- Some point soon, I'll start buying both ghee and regular bottled butter by the case.
- I have some coconut oil making its way to me from Amazon.com as I type this.
What's your oil storage status? How are you dealing with the shelf life issue?