Long term storage of foods invite rodents… mice. Protect your investment. The best way to deal with mice is to eliminate them. Use a better mousetrap. I don’t care how much work you put into discovering how and where they’re getting in, good luck with that. Though you should look for ways in and plug it up. Still, you’re going to have to set the mouse traps. There are several precautions that you must take in order to be assured that your extra food will stand the test of time. Not only should you be concerned about the storage environment (temperature, etc..), but also be very aware of your food storage containment — the container it’s kept in. Rodents (mice) have a way of finding food. And there are precautions that you can take to prevent rodents from destroying your valuable food storage! Many of you store dry foods including grains, rice, flour, and beans. Perhaps various processed goods in their own containers / boxes, etc.. It is VERY IMPORTANT to realize the likelihood that sneaky little rodents (e.g. mice) will find your food. They will do whatever they can to separate you from your food storage! Here’s the the thing… If they can smell it, they will try to get it. Mice Got To My Food Storage One reader of Modern Survival Blog emailed me some time ago and told me his story of a multi-hundred dollar mistake. He had acquired a lot of freeze-dried food. They were in those foil / mylar packets. He had kept them stored in a cardboard box. The mice discovered it, and most of his supply became a total loss. He mentioned how a simple steel garbage can with a tight fitting lid could have prevented his loss (as one example). One of my own examples from awhile ago: We had an issue with a few mice that had somehow entered the house (still not sure how!). They discovered some of our processed foods which were only stored in their pressed-cardboard boxes on a shelf. They chewed their way in and ate some, while leaving their excrement behind (gross). We didn’t lose much since we had caught the problem in time. Much of our food storage of that particular variety is stored in plastic bins (except for what the mice found). A Better Mousetrap By the way, I’ve got to tell you about one of the best mouse traps (reusable) that I’ve discovered. They work exceedingly well. Truly the better mousetrap! They’re so easy and simple to operate (and dispose of the dispatched rodent). Either put a little peanut butter on it, or a piece of cracker (my own experience finds that a cracker seems to work better as mouse bait). Position the trap along a wall (mice run the edges), and voila… SNAP! I have lots of these mouse traps now. Keep them set in various places to bait any newcomers… The Better Mousetrap(view on amzn) Acrobatic Opportunistic Mice One thing we discovered is how absolutely seemingly acrobatic these clever mice are. They can climb and are opportunists. Fortunately they often leave a trail of ‘turd’ clues – so you know where they’ve been… Mice Resistant Buckets, Bins, Trash Cans Generally speaking (though not absolute!) most typical small mice won’t readily chew threw your 5 or 6-gallon pails of dry goods. Unless of course you’re dealing with some extraordinary beast of a rodent 😉 I’ve never had a problem (so far) storing foods within plastic storage bins either. [ Read: A Great Way To Store Food ] Metal trash cans would be the best (if it’s an issue for you). Never Assume There Are No Mice! One thing to keep in mind is to never assume that a given room, pantry, any location — is secured from rodents. These little buggers can squeeze through very tiny thin openings. I swear they can ‘beam me up Scotty’ to anywhere they want… So you’re better off keeping mouse traps always baited. Check them once in awhile and check your storage once in awhile for signs. What are your ideas (or horror stories) regarding rodent control for your food storage?
There are lots of people who are, or consider themselves to be financially ‘poor’. More specifically, they don’t think they have enough money to build up a cupboard or two full of extra food for preparedness. Some have difficulty getting enough food at all… There are many people who live week-to-week, paycheck-to-paycheck while struggling to make ends meet. There are bills to pay. There’s little money left over for other things (such as buying some extra food for preparedness). There might only be enough food in the house to feed the family for a few days or maybe a week – until the next paycheck comes in. Well here’s the thing: There likely IS a way to put some extra food in the pantry… Firstly, those who consider themselves “poor” or under too tight a budget to procure extra food – consider the following… Many people have more money then they may think they have. Their problem is wants versus needs. Wasted money on things. Take a close hard look at yourself and what you spend your money on. There is often a way to adjust one’s spending habits. Take a look at what is being purchased every week, and make adjustments. Not everyone might like it (a shift in diet), but there are likely some foods that could be replaced with alternatives to free up a few dollars for purchasing extra food. There are lots of foods that you can buy that are really relatively cheap compared to foods that the family might be currently eating. Think in terms of value. Some foods are so comparatively cheap that there’s little excuse not to be able to stock up a cupboard or two! I’m going to throw out a few ideas, and I welcome your input as well. Find A Less Expensive Grocery Store Some grocery stores have higher prices than others! Go to the cheaper store (if the driving logistics – cost of gas – makes it worth the trip). Clearly, some grocery stores cater to being more “upscale”. And you pay for that! Buy Store Brands To Save Money Brand names cost more! Period. “Store brands” cost less. Period. Buy Only If It’s On Sale, If Possible Grocery stores always and regularly offer sales promotions to get you in their store. “IF” some of these food sales are part of your regular diet, then buy on sale! They count on you to buy other things while you’re there. Resist spending beyond your intent! Most grocery stores have some sort of clearance rack or shelves. You might find some great deals there. Use Coupons This can save quite a lot of money. But don’t buy things you don’t need! Don’t Crater To Your Kids Eating Demands Don’t buy everything that the kids want! Kids want SUGAR foods! And don’t tell me that your kids will ‘only’ eat this or that (their preferences). Because unless there are allergic reactions involved, the kids won’t starve if they don’t get their particular demands. When they’re hungry enough (after putting up a stink about not getting what they want), they’ll eat! Right? Compare Unit Prices It is amazing how many people do not compare unit prices (or don’t know how) when choosing a particular food! In most every grocery store the unit price is printed right on the price tag at the shelf (price per ounce, per pound, etc..). Often you don’t even have to do the math to figure out the posted price versus the number of ounces your getting. The unit price should already be normalized so just go with the cheaper unit. Though the units are sometimes different (math involved here) ? Regularly Buy Some So Called “Cheap Food” Buy some so called ‘cheap’ food every week for preparedness. Even if it’s not part of your normal consumption. Maybe things like Mac-n-cheese. Pasta. Rice. Dry beans. Look for sales like 10 for 10 (e.g. 10 jars of pasta sauce for 10 dollars) or any such sale of cheap foods. These items will eventually fill your cupboards and there will be food available for emergencies or whatever else. Cut The Expensive Bad Habits & Vices Do you smoke? That’s expensive! It’s hard to quit, for sure. But you will save a boatload of money, and will live longer as a result. Similar for alcohol. Maybe you quit buying top or mid-shelf. Or stop altogether… These are very expensive habits for being “poor”. Stop The Luxury Spending Do you go out to eat? Stop. Does your cable package include all the goodies? Cut back. This is budget discipline. No one wants to cut out their luxury spending, but to put some extra food in the pantry… ? Grow A Garden If you have a patch of yard or dirt, try growing a garden. Even if small. Tomatoes are ridiculously easy to grow. How about some bell peppers? Think of the money saved when harvested. Plus it will taste WAY BETTER than the grocery store. Your turn… Put yourself in the shoes of someone who may be poor. Any ideas of particular techniques to acquire extra preparedness foods?
What size oxygen absorbers should you be using? Well this short post should help you out… When storing bulk dry foods like rice, beans, wheat, etc., a key factor for successful long term storage is to remove the oxygen from the environment. That’s what oxygen absorbers do. Here’s why to use them, and the size of the oxygen absorber you need. Oxygen enables bad things to happen to your food over time. These bad things include… – Spoilage from organisms that will grow– Molds– Rancidity– Oxidation of vitamin content– Condensation– Bugs The result could be bad or spoiled food at a time when you will need it the most. A solution to this problem is to use Oxygen Absorbers. For Mylar Bag Fitted In 5-Gallon Bucket Total of 2,000 cc of Oxygen Absorbers. I HIGHLY SUGGEST purchasing O2 absorbers INDIVIDUALLY SEALED. Why? Because many are sold in bulk packages. Once you open them, they ALL start absorbing oxygen. So whatever you don’t use would need to be sealed up again (vacuum sealer, or stuff in canning jars with lid, etc..). Currently as of this post, I like these 500cc oxygen absorbers (individually sealed). Just use four of them for a 5-gallon size. Drop one in the bottom. Then partially fill. Add another. Etc.. > > 500cc O2 Absorbers (100 Packets)(view on amzn) What is an oxygen absorber? It is typically a packet consisting of powdered iron oxide. It is safe for foods, and is very effective if you have used the right amount in a sealed environment. Earth’s air contains 21% oxygen. The proper quantity of oxygen absorbers in a sealed Mylar bag, or a sealed pail or can, will reduce the oxygen levels to .01%, effectively eliminating (minimizing) the risk of bad things happening to your food storage. There is a caveat to effectiveness however. The container MUST be air-tight. Most people use Mylar bags to fit in their 5-gallon buckets. Use With Mylar Bags The Mylar foil will provide an air-tight seal if sealed properly, and the bucket will provide protection for puncture or rodents. [ Read: How To Seal a Mylar Bag in a 5-gallon Bucket ] NOTE: You should check your new Mylar bags for leaks. Use a flashlight shining inside the bag in a dark room and look for any light escaping. Some may have small holes at a folded crease. They’re Shipped in a Sealed Bag Oxygen absorbers themselves are shipped in a sealed bag. So, remember, once you open that sealed bag, the absorbers will start absorbing the oxygen of the air around it. So don’t leave them sitting around for long (try to keep it under 30 minutes) while they are ‘absorbing’ the oxygen in the room. Have your food ready and already packed in the Mylar bags, ready to seal, before you open up the pack of oxygen absorbers. Then, use what you need and save the rest in an air-tight container. You could use a vacuum sealer bag for the remaining O2 absorbers (probably the best way), or you might keep them in a canning jar with an air-tight lid (fill the remaining air space inside with rice which may help reduce the volume of O2 inside). Oxygen Absorbers are rated in cc (cubic centimeters) The sizes of oxygen absorbers correspond to the amount of oxygen they absorb. For example, a 300 cc oxygen absorber will absorb 300 cc’s of oxygen. So the key to knowing how big of an oxygen absorber to use, is to know how much total air (oxygen) it will need to absorb… …which is the ‘head space’ air plus the air that’s all around the individual pieces of food inside the Mylar bag or bucket, called void space. To determine the total residual air that will remain in your storage container (sealed Mylar bag), you could apply a moderately complicated procedure and formula, or you could follow some general advice based on other people’s experiences and others who have run the formula as follows… 2000 cc For 5 Gallon Bucket For foods like rice, beans, or wheat stored in a Mylar bag to be contained within a 5 gallon bucket, use 2000 cc’s of oxygen absorbers. This leaves a bit of a safety margin which is particularly important for larger size items such as beans because they have a bigger void space around them. Given the value of your investment, it’s worth adding a bit more oxygen absorbers than necessary. While 2000 cc’s is enough (for a typical 5-gallon pail with Mylar bag filled with rice or wheat, etc.), 2500 or even 3000 cc’s will absolutely assure best results. It’s up to you. What has been your experience? [ Read: Diatomaceous Earth For Long Term Dry Food Storage 5-Gallon Buckets ] [ Read: How To Install Gamma Seal Lids For 5-Gallon Bucket Easy Access ]