shelf stable pantry storage, things to buy

mountainmoma's picture

Sometimes we need to buy pantry staple foods because it just isnt practical for most of us to grow the high calorie staple foods. It is a good idea also to have food stored in case of supply disruptions of one sort or another. There are varying recommendations on how much to have on hand, so it is a bit individual. In my mind you should start with one month, then quickly go to 3 months worth of staple foods. While it all needs to be foods you can eat, it doesnt have to be exactly in the proportions you usually eat, for example, maybe you do eat oatmeal, but normally might not eat it every day. Some foods actaully come packaged to last 30 years, others you need to rotate or repackage.

So, for me, I have "circles" of food storage. The first circle is foods I normally am eating in my pantry, so this would be grains and beans I have just put in buckets or glass jars, home or store bought canned and dried foods that I will mostly eat in this harvest year. It is important to remember that dried beans cook best fresh and should not be stored in the plastic bags you buy them in, that packaging lets them get stale too fast and then they will not keep as well. When you get the dried beans home immediatelly open the plastic bags and pour them into things like a glass jar with a lid, or a re-used plastic jar or bucket with lid. I do the same with flour, sugar, grains. Although some grain products are packed well enough to leave as they come ( like some hot and cold cereals) . In this circle I also have some convenience foods I dont use all the time, but are good for relatively short term supply disruptions and power outages. For example, I might like fresh or frozen fruit, but I will have canned and dried fruit also on hand. I normally drink fresh, raw milk, but I will have 2 cans of very good dried milk on hand, as I realy feel much better if I have milk for my tea. That is important, to make sure that you have your personal comfort foods like that !

This does not need to be expensive. For example, I was in a discount grocery store yesterday, Grocery Outlet, and there was a 10 pound bag of rice for $5, WinnCo or Costco also would have this. Rice keeps well, it is realy good for stretching other foods, you can combine it into many things, and it cooks in 15 minutes. 10 pounds of rice is 16,000 calories, that is alot of food value for an emergency. Rice is also easy on your stomach and is a recommended first food when you are recovering from being ill. Other grain staples would be pasta, flour, rolled oats or other hot cereals, cold boxed cereals. Having some canned fruit is good as it is more "refreshing" than just dried fruit. I make home canned applesauce, and applesauce is also very good if you have been sick as an early food you can eat. But, I will also buy a few cans of peaches, apricots or mandarin oranges as they are refreshing and have good vitamins if I have a supply disruption or cant get to the store, and just as a treat for variety. I have dried raisons, prunes and persimmons for day to day. Getting a flat of canned fruit, the applesauce, mandarins and peaches, for example can usually be done inexpensively at WinnCo, Amazon pantry if you had no stores by you, likely $1-$1.50 per can, so 12 cans would be under $18. Lentils cook the quickest of the dried beans, and are easy to get an inexpensive. A few cans of Garbanzo beans. SOme canned soups or broth in case you are not feeling well and cannot cook for yourself. You can have a few cans of canned fish or chicken, a jar of peanut butter, a box of crackers. So, all this is pretty normal, we buy all this stuff shelf stable.

What is hard for people is usually the vegetables. It is a good idea to have some vegetables that you can use if it is off season from your garden and there is power outages or supply disruptions. I have found that the best quality shelf stable vegetables are dehydrated, dried, and not canned. Canned corn and canned olives are fine, and can make a good additions for texture, taste and color, but do not have a lot of nutritional value. I have bought dehydrated carrots and onions and found that they are very good, and good and easy to cook with. A few years ago, I spent the winter experimenting with all my regular recipes using the dehydrated carrots and onions. I found that when rehydrated they had a good, firm texture and a great, fresh smell ( so totally unlike mushy canned carrots ! ) I liked them much more than frozen, it is too easy for frozen vegetables to get freezer burn, they do not last that long in the freezer, and also I cannot rely on the freezer always working due to power outages. I tested out the ones from the LDS home storage center, but other places sell these, and you can get smaller 1 pound bags too. The large cans that I tested are enough carrots and onions to last me all winter, this is the home storage center item and price list A #10 can of carrots costs $8.50 and lasts 10 years unopened, and about a year once opened. The #10 can of onions costs $8 and lasts 30 years unopened. I believe I figured out that 1/8 cup of dried diced carrots rehydrated to about 1 carrot, and 1/4 cup of dried onion was one large onion. I bought storage foods there as there is a home storage center not too far from me to drive to. Augasons is a good brand that also sells these, and you can order from Amazon or Walmart, but is more expensive Smaller amounts of dried vegetables are sold in some health food stores and by companies like Frontier Herbs, who has this nice mixed vegetable blend in a one pound bag. ( Remember this is just the vegetables, to make soup you would still need a broth or broth powder ! The one low review was from a confused person that thought it included a broth or flavoring to make soup ! ) Azure standard, where I do most of my grocery shopping as their delivery truck comes to my area once a month, also sells one pound bags of dried vegetables, carrots, minced onion, bell peppers, peas and tomato powder ( I like tomato powder, it is good for when you want less than a can and keeps well in a jar once opened) I dry some things at home. The easiest and quickest to dry are green onion tops, parsley, and greens ( like Kale, chard, lambs quarters, cabbage) I dry these and then put in glass jars to use in the winter ( in my case, just on the counter in the summer, but you could use the solar oven if humid) . So, you can see that you can have vegetables available at your house to see you thru a supply disruption. Dried vegetables have the same nutrients as fresh as long as they are not over dried ( so they should still be of appropriate color) So the dried carrots, kale and dried parsley will add alot of needed vitamens. Of course, potatoes and winter squash, you can just keep in a closet or somewhere to last most of the winter.

Do not forget about your pets ! I like to keep even 1-3 months, sometimes more seasonally, for all animals here, goats, chickens, dog, cats..... It is often 3 months for housepets and less for goats as the hay takes up so much room !

(And, chocolate and Tea.... we are not savages ! )

So, for a budget minded person, just spend something like $50-100 to get started, ( rice from the store, dried carrots and onions from LDS is around $20 of that ) Check the stores for sales on other items.

For those in the USA, go to dollar store or other discount store and get a few things in case of illness, maybe a quart of hydrogen peroxide ( for germ killing cleaning) and a few generic symptom reducers and hand sanitizer, spend maybe $6 -- Hydrogen peroxide, a roll of paper towels, hand sanitizer one big one, one of the pocket sized 3 packs, ibuprofin, peptobismol, for example. This way if there is a supply disruption to your regular stores, you have at least the basics.

mountainmoma's picture

My second "circle" of storage food is food that is for a longer term supply disruption and is packed to last decades. I think it is good to have a months worth for food in the first "circle", foods that last a year or a few years and that you rotate into your regular foods. And then the next "circle" of food is for longer term storage, things I do not need to think about rotating, this would be 3 months to a year of basic, staple foods. Recognizing of course, that what would be one year for one person is 6 months for 2, 3 months for 4 ( my kids come here) , 1 month for 12 (they bring friends) and one week for 50 ( your neighborhood after an earthquake) I am not an island.

mountainmoma's picture

Who knew that Walmart had a home delivery just as fast and free as Amazon ? No prime membership needed. Highlights are just how incredibly cheap the white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are, I use those 2 for cleaning, although a bit of vinegar gets used for pickling vegetables too. That is the least expensive vinegar and hydrogen peroxide I have ever seen. The dried whole milk makes up to about 3.5 gallons, but can be used a spoon at a time for tea, not the usual one I get ( I dont realy want or need the fortified vitamins )

Item Qty Total
Nestle NIDO Fortificada Dry Whole Milk 56.3 oz. Canister $13.68 1 $13.68
Bushs Best Garbanzo Beans Multipack 16 oz (4 cans) $3.09 1 $3.09
(3 Pack) Great Value Chick Peas Garbanzos, 16 oz
Included Item
Great Value Chick Peas Garbanzos, 16 oz $1.36 3 $4.08
(4 pack) Equate 3% Hydrogen Peroxide 32oz
Included Item
Equate 3% Hydrogen Peroxide 32oz $0.88 4 $3.52
(2 Pack) Great Value Distilled White Vinegar, 64 oz
Included Item
Great Value Distilled White Vinegar, 64 oz $1.48 2 $2.96

Item Qty Total
(6 Pack) Del Monte Lite Sliced Yellow Cling Peaches In Extra Light Syrup, 15 Oz
Included Item
Del Monte Lite Sliced Yellow Cling Peaches In Extra Light Syrup, 15 Oz 1.65 12 $19.80

Items may arrive in multiple boxes on different days.
Order summary
Order subtotal: $47.13
Walmart shipping FREE
Total tax: $0.32
Order total: $47.45

Thanks for this Mountainmoma - it prompted me to double check my food stores. Mine are pretty basic - I keep a sack of rice, one of white flour, a smaller sack of red lentils and one of chickpeas. That's it, plus always a few extra cans of beans, crushed tomatoes etc. My supplies are kind of low so I have decided that now is the time to step up and stock up.
This afternoon I bought a dozen extra cans of tomatoes, a dozen of black beans, a couple of weeks worth of plant milks, 2 litres of olive oil and tahini. I am kind of veganish now, and so I use tahini instead of butter, which is a great shelf-stable butter substitute if anyone is looking for one. I have almost no freezer space so shelf-stable is what I am after.
Over the next 2 days I plan to hit up the bulk supermarket and the indian grocer for more rice, lentils, chickpeas and lots of pasta. I'll also get a bunch of pumpkins and some sweet potatoes and more brown onions.
I went to 2 supermarkets today - there was no hand sanitiser or bleach at either of them. People are definitely stocking up, even here in Tasmania. Finally tracked down hand sanitiser at the pharmacy, bought a thermometer as well, and disinfectant.
Apart from that I have planted lots ready for the winter garden. 60 beets, heaps of silverbeet (chard) and kale. Lots of nettles are growing in my nettle patch for tea, and mustard greens and parsley are running riot. Spinach will be the next into the ground and then I'll be ready for anything...

I forgot to mention oats - I always have lots of oats on hand, because porridge, or do you guys call it oatmeal? I bottle or dry a heap of fruit in the summer, or make it into jam, and I pop this on top of my porridge all year. Sometimes I have it for breakfast, but often lunch. Porridge is also very good if you are recovering from an illness, very gentle on the digestion.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Yes, USAmericans do say oatmeal. I've been eating it every morning for the last couple months, but except for two days, have eaten it as a savory dish. I cook it with turmeric (which keeps my elbow tendinitis at bay), garlic, black pepper, salt, and vegetable oil to bloom and disperse the spices. I really love this dish! Oh, at least once I fork smashed some leftover buttercup squash into it. That was okay, but not something I'd serve company.

Two days I ate oatmeal sweet: Once with cinnamon and an apple chipped to small bits and cooked along with the oats. Once with a too-large dollop of plum jam stirred through.

We eat oatmeal regularly (with plenty of raisins as the only sweetener).
I always serve it over a tablespoonful of peanut butter.
The hot oatmeal melts the peanut butter, making it easy to stir in the bowl.

The reason? Besides taste?

Adding the peanut butter means you won't be hungry for hours and hours. That delicious scoop of fat and protein really sets off the food value in the oatmeal and it's cheap too.

This also works with plain, instant oatmeal if you use those little envelopes.

Teresa from Hershey

Ok, so savoury oatmeal and peanut oatmeal.. these are variations I have never seen but which warrant further investigation..

Teresa, I am writing this as I eat my breakfast of peanut butter oatmeal - while I was making it I decided to add 2tsp cocoa powder and some cinnamon, and i topped it all off with blackberries, as the hedgerows here are full of ripe blackberries and i have been picking like crazy. Oh, my goodness, this is seriously a divine breakfast. Thanks for the inspiration!

alice's picture

Thanks for posting this mountainmoma, some really good ideas there. I am on a restricted diet (food intolerances, bah) and I can use some of these ideas like the dried veg.

Can you tell me is it possible to fry the rehydrated onion you mention? I ask because I love the flavour fried onions add to soups and stews.

mountainmoma's picture

Yes. But, you mght let them drain longer or pat dry with a towel a bit. Once they are rehydrated you can use them like regular onions, and that includes browning in oil. Adding to hash brown potatoes, etc.... The regular diced onions are what you should get. The ones sold by the pound as minced onion, in my opinion, would be too finely chopped for that.

alice's picture

Brilliant, thank you.

Most canned or even dried foods (when commercially prepared) last MUCH longer than the labeling indicates.
A: the industrial-agricultural food complex wants you to throw out uneaten food and buy new
B: the industrial-agricultural food complex has zero control over how the consumer stores food so they go with the worst case scenario. I.E., the shopper stores food in the trunk of the car or in a bug-infested, damp toolshed.

Keep everything dry, in the dark, and cool and everything will last longer. Add well-ventilated wire shelves (improves airflow) and a cat to keep the mice in check. If you're concerned about pantry moths, freeze everything dry (like oats and flour) before storing them on your cool, dry, dark wire shelving.

Save yourself the hassle and don't buy dented cans. Date in BIG LETTERS ON THE FRONT the manufacturer's expiration date so you have an idea of how old something is. Rotate your stock with FIFO (First In, First Out), always moving the newest stuff to the back.

Finally, don't buy anything that you don't already eat right now.

A well-stocked pantry means you can skip a week or two if you don't have money or everyone's sick.

Teresa from Hershey

Oh, yes, absolutely. I just bought 4 jars of 'expired' green tomato salsa for 80c each:)
There are some categories of food to be wary of storing though - mainly wholemeal flours which will oxidise and go rancid if stored for more than a couple of months. The local rolled oats I buy don't go through a steaming process and have the same shelf life. White flour ok, but for the most part, only store whole grains.
I would like to buy a flour mill one day so i can store wheat berries and grind flour as I go. Does anyone have any recommendations?

mountainmoma's picture

I have a wonder mill, I did buy it used, but did still pay quite alot. I do love it. I used to just use the Vita Mix, wich is fine for a small amount, but the wonder mill is so easy and quick, and the absolute finest whole grain flour. Grinding the wheat fresh is a while different thing than store bought whole wheat flour. I keep 2 kinds of wheat berries, hard red which I use for all yeast risen doughs, and white spring wheat for pastry flour, so for cookies, cakes

ClareBroommaker's picture

Its been awhile now since I posted about the kidney beans my dad gave me when he moved away. I don't really like kidney beans so I procrastinated 8 or 9 years before attempting to cook them. They were hard as iron, but finally did cook. We ate them and, what? Lived.

Last week, it was beans again. This time canned. A can of pinto beans that expired in 2011. They were just fine in a vegetable soup. They tasted good, the texture was still good, and yes, we are still alive.

The expiration dates really are a guideline.
My girlfriend gave me a five-year-old packet of cookie mix she discovered in her cupboard.
She thought I would compost it.
I baked them up instead for scientific reasons and they worked exactly as advertised.
They tasted fine, other than the standard chemical aftertaste you get with packaged cookie mixes.

Teresa From Hershey

Sweet Tatorman's picture

Here is an old post of mine on corn grinding. I have never tried one on wheat. If you can gain access to one for a trial you should give it a try. Without having tried it I would suspect that the end product would be much coarser than store bought flour and have a rather wide distribution of particle size. The larger bits could be screened out and used as a hot breakfast cereal. These machines are built to last. I don't know what brands would be prevalent in your part of the world.

Thanks for that link Sweet Tatorman, I enjoyed your heartstopping tale of the horror of nearly running out of coffee. The suspense! It occurred to me that my partner has two old hand-cranked coffee mills, so I will experiment with grinding wheat in them. I like very dense bread, so maybe a scattering of particle size will make just the kind of loaf i like. Will report back.
With regards to the corn - I have a very small corn patch, using my own self-saved seed for the first time this year, and it's looking like a good harvest. Not enough for cornbread, but I'd love to give cornbread a go anyway, albeit with store-bought cornmeal. Are you willing to share your recipe?

ClareBroommaker's picture

Cornbread as I know it typically uses half cornmeal and half wheat flour. That can be white or whole wheat. Cornbread is very forgiving, so no precision is necessary.

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk or water
1/4 any oil, liquid or solid.

If using a solid oil, finely cut it into the mixed dry ingredients before stirring everything else in.
Otherwise, mix dry ingredients, add all liquid ingredients. Stir briefly until well mixed. Pour into a small greased pan (8 X 8 inch is good) and cook in an already heated 400 degree oven.

Many people like to cook cornbread in cast iron, from which it usually releases very cleanly. I often cook cornbread on the top of the stove in a cast iron frying pan. To do that, I grease and heat the pan, but immediately turn the flame very low when I pour the batter in. Place a lid over it to retain heat.

Many USAmericans out sugar in cornbread batter, but I grew up without sugar in cornbread, so prefer it non-sweetened. I use cornbread as the basis for poultry stuffing, and do not want it sweet for that purpose.

One in a great while, I will add a can of corn or hot peppers to the corn bread. Some people crumple up bacon or pork cracklins (eh, do you know?--light, crunchy,baked pork skin!) into it before baking.

We eat it steaming hot with butter.

Whoops, forgot to say that it cooks for about 30 minutes and will be lightly browned on top... Here we can buy either white corn meal or yellow cornmeal. They taste the same, but I prefer the looks of top-browned yellow cornbread.

Sweet Tatorman's picture

BJ, here is my version using whole grain cornmeal. Since you will be using store bought cornmeal you will need to add ~80 ml of oil to my version.
400g cornmeal
450ml milk
15ml baking powder
30ml sugar
2ml salt
1 egg
As CB notes above cornbread is extremely forgiving. About the only proportions that matter is the dry/liquid one. The batter should be stiff enough that when you dump it in the center of your baking pan it does not flow and spread out to the edges of the pan. You should need to shake the pan for a few seconds to get it to spread evenly.
Mix dry ingredients. In separate container whisk together milk, egg, and oil. Blend into dry ingredients. For this quantity of ingredients I use a square 30cm X 30 cm cast iron pan preheated in a 230C oven. I wipe the pan with oil once hot. If you don't have a cast iron pan but instead are using a sheet metal pan there is probably not much to gain by preheating the pan. Baking until it looks right should be about 20 minutes with the above oven temperature and pan size.
On the topic of grinding in hand cranked coffee mills, wheat may be soft enough to work. Do not attempt corn as it is much harder and those mills are not robust enough to handle it.
You wrote > I have a very small corn patch, using my own self-saved seed for the first time this year, and it's looking like a good harvest. Not enough for cornbread< That must be a small corn patch! I typically would need only 4 plants to produce enough for the above recipe.

Thanks for these recipes Clare and Sweet Tatorman. Also good to know that it takes 4 corn plants to make a batch of corn bread. At my current rate of production that would give me 4 batches of corn bread this year, so the reason I won't be drying my corn (except for a cob for saving seed) is that my family will be gorging that sweet, sweet corn right off the cob.. and next year, I'll find a lot more corners in which to tuck a few extra corn plants.

ClareBroommaker's picture

I don't know if sweet corn, especially that so sweet that it dries to almost a crystalline appearance ( very shrunken with sharp edges) would make good cornmeal or corn bread.

I'm guessing you'd want to use the starchier corn, the kind that dries a full, plump looking shape, perhaps only dented a bit on the surface that faces outward on the ear--so ideally "dent" or "flint" corn.

Sweetatorman, do you have advice?

I just remembered someone I know was down to the last food in the house and unable to get more. The last food was popcorn. He ground the kernels with a blender, the kind you might use to make smoothies. I guess he just made corn mush with it. Probably needed a lot of soaking and long cooking, especially as I can't imagine the blender worked well. But I figure that's an example of how most of us can make do in unthought of ways if it comes down to it.

Ah, thanks for this Clare. Here in Australia we are pretty much corn illiterate. I did have cornbread once, at a restaurant, and it was yum, hence wanting the recipe. And yes, my corn is definitely sweetcorn, shrivels up when dry. I'll have to see whether I can even find any starchy corn seeds at local seed companies if i want to start making cornmeal, although that may not be high on my current list of priorities. Does the starchy corn grow under the same conditions as sweet?

Sweet Tatorman's picture

BJ, field corn requires more days of warm weather to reach maturity vs sweet corn which is harvested in an immature state. I just had a look at the climate in Hobart and if it is similar to yours there is not enough warm weather to bring field corn to maturity. The terminology as used here in the USA is field corn is a generic term for the type that could be ground into cornmeal as distinct from popcorn and sweetcorn. While I have not attempted it myself, I suspect that dried sweetcorn would not make a satisfactory cornmeal. I have attached a photo below of field and sweetcorn. I note that you are saving seed. Almost all sweetcorn varieties grown are hybrids so saved seed will not be true to type. That said, I have had success with first generation saved seed. Further saved generations have not been very good though one variety I tested "Ambrosia", was still OK at the third generation.
I did a post on the old GW forum that discussed my hybrid seed saving experiments. Can be found here:
Speaking of corn illiteracy, the majority of USAmericans are unaware that in many non-USA English speaking countries the word corn has a different meaning than it does here. In those countries the word corn is used for whatever is the dominate food grain for a given country or locale and there they use "maize" for what we call corn. I don't know what the convention is down your way.

add photo: 

Do you have advice on growing baby corn, like what comes in cans at the supermarket and is used in Chinese dishes?
I've always wondered if that was regular corn, but harvested way, way early.

If baby corn is regular corn, harvested very, very early, that could be a way to get corn (and roughage!) in a shorter growing season. I suppose it could be home-canned, but you wouldn't be able to keep it for seed.

Teresa from Hershey

Sweet Tatorman's picture

Any corn can be harvested for baby corn and yes it will get to that stage in a shorter growing season. There are some varieties that have been developed for where baby corn is the desired product. These varieties tend to produce many ears per plant. Most corn varieties will attempt to produce two ears but often only one will fully develop. It is almost always the upper ear of the two that will fully develop so taking the lower one at the baby stage can be a good strategy if baby corn is desired.

Thanks for looking that up ST, yes my climate is exactly like Hobart's (I am in Launceston in the north of the state), so no field corn for me. I must admit that sometimes it is a relief to know that there is something i can't grow, because I want to grow everything and have to stop somewhere. Sweet potatoes are also out for me, not quite warm enough to grow a decent tuber here in Tasmania. Thanks for the info about saving seed for sweetcorn - my first gen home saved seed corn is growing beautifully right now, with 2-3 cobs per plant, but you're suggesting that one generation is the limit for self-saved seed? The variety I have is F1 from a local seed grower. I think that just means it is a generic hybrid? And what about the longevity of corn seed? Is it likely to be viable in year two, or do you recommend fresh seed every year?
Thank you for answering all the corn questions!
Here in Australia we tend to only have sweet corn, and we call it corn, not maize, but all the old English books talk about corn when they mean wheat or barley, like the nursery rhyme - Little boy blue, come blow your horn, the sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn..

Sweet Tatorman's picture

There are various protocols in production of hybrid seed. F1 is the simplest. F1 hybrids are simply the cross between to separately maintained parent races. More complicated hybrids involve crosses between crosses. My own experience with saving seed from F1 corn hybrids is that eating quality is significantly degraded by the 2nd generation of seed saving. As noted earlier, Ambrosia variety was the only exception to this among the small number I have tested. My experience with longevity of corn seed has been somewhat variable with variety. At dry room temperature storage just a year or two with sweetcorn and three or four with field corn. Provided it is sufficiently dry much longer viability can be had with storage in the freezer. I generally will do a gemination test before using any seed I have doubts about. Once your corn is ready and eaten I would be interested in hearing about your impression of how it compares to the original purchased seed

mountainmoma's picture

The softest, best corn flour comes from flour corn. This is very different from dent or flint corn. I have never seen flour corn flour for sale, it is not grown commercially. But, I grow it for myself. I have grown Cherokee white and a short season that has different names, lavander mandan. Both of these make the lightest corn flour. Look to Carol Deepes book, resilient gardener for more about corn differences and the lavendar mandan. This flour makes the best cornbread, no white flour needed to mix with it. I have also made desserts with it for Gluten intolerant friends. I have made chiffon cake multiple times with home grown and home ground flour corn.

The lavander mandan is short season, so should grow in many places, here I could have 2 crops, if I was organized enough and it was a warm year, depends. You can buy it here

Mountainmoma, that is the most beautiful corn I have ever seen! It would likely grow here, if it grows in the PNW. The trick would be getting it through customs. Tasmania has very strict quarantine regulations due to it being a fairly disease-free island. However i know someone who has a seed importing business so I will do research into that. Thanks!

ClareBroommaker's picture

Yes, grow it just the same.

mountainmoma's picture

It is likely too late to get much for this level, but, you never know.

A few years ago, I came across a major deal on dried cranberries, this is a "mid term" storage food to me, not 30 year packed. SO, the package it came in was not going to keep it nice for long, things like this are packed for maybe a year, and could get a bit dried out during that time. I forget, it may have been 10 pounds of dried cranberries. So, some I put into quart jars with lids. Glass jars like this do not let air in, unlike the bag the cranberries came in. A few jars I used an attachment I have for my seal-a-meal that pulls a vacume on jars, so now those are going to last even longer. Then, the last 4 pounds I put into a gallon mylar bag, with a 300cc oxygen absorber and sealed the bag. ( As soon as you do this, you must re-seal the rest of the bag of oxygen absorbers so they will be good later, and no, a jar or ziplock bag will not do, seal them back up in a seal-a-meal bag or mylar bag). I have a hair-straightening iron that I use for sealing mylar bags, it is inexpensive and easy to use. If you fold over the excess mylar to push out air but seal at the top edge, you can re-use these bags since you dont have to cut off alot when you open.

So, today it turns out I needed more cranberries, so I cut off the top of the mylar right under the seal, filled up a quart glass jar with the cranberries, and re-sealed the mylar bag. I checked and the oxygen absorber was still pliable, so it was good. The mylar bag was dated 2016 ( I write the item and date in marker on the outside) the dried cranberries were like new, not dried out. I did not think I would need these already, it has only been 4 years. This was a 5-10 year packaging job to me, but there is quite alot left in it.

There are downsides to packaging in mylar. It keeps out light and oxygen very well, but you must make sure it is protected from puncturing. Do NOT let your cats walk on it ( Talking to Dave here ! But, I know from experience) their claws will puncture it in a heartbeat. I have mylar packed groceries protected either by putting in a cardboard box or a lidded 5 gallon bucket. Mylar packaging will keep dry foods, like rice and beans, fresh for at least 30 years. Even the cranberries might make it that long ? But, they will be eaten by then !