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Deep Pantry for people who like food

Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2404
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  73


Erica from North West Edible Life wrote an excellent blog post about storing food that you like.

http://www.nwedible.com/2014/02/food-storage-for-people-who-dont-hate-food.html


Permaculture Kingston
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2547
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  62
You beat me to posting this, Adrien. Erica nails a lot of wonderfully key issues in her post. I especially appreciate her "par" approach. We're still developing our "par" here at base camp with fluctuation numbers of folks to feed, changes in cooks and food preferences, and still sourcing (not yet growing) a lot of our food.

6 out of 8 of the adults here eat grains. So we are purchasing 25-50 lb sacks of whole grains of many varieties.

Paul and I want our food stored in glass (preferred) or plastic containers ASAP after purchase to reduce bug and rodent temptation.

I also want to prevent these whole grains from going rancid. I don't want to "dry can" them, so we are left with freezing or refrigerating (in air-tight containers only), or we are also experimenting with burning a candle to replace oxygen with CO2 in some of our containers.

I'd love to hear what other people do to keep large quantities of whole grains fresh over long-term pantry storage.

Here is a 2 gallon glass crock we're using for a variety of things (Amazon affiliate 2 gallon glass crock link):



When we have flour or cornmeal in it, we put a tea candle on a plate on top, light it, put the lid on, and let it burn until it goes out. The candle goes out before it runs out of wax, because, in theory, it has used up most or all of the oxygen, and replaced it with carbon dioxide. CO2 is heavier than oxygen, so it should work to infiltrate down through the canister of grain. The goal being to prevent or at least slow the oxidization that leads to rancidity. I am concerned that if the lid gets bumped (there is no seal for the lid on this one - the lid just rests on top of the canister), oxygen will get into the jar again. I'm not sure how much the CO2 displacement will remain in a jar without a seal.


Hands-on workshops in all shades of green - Cascadia & Seattle Eco Events Calendar | QuickBooks Consulting and Accounting Services - www.jocelyncampbell.com
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2547
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  62
This 2.5 gallon jar (Amazon affiliate link again) says it has an air-tight seal with a metal lid though it costs almost 3 times as much.

Dayna Williams


Joined: Feb 01, 2013
Posts: 66
Location: Zone 8b, Umpqua River Valley, Oregon
    
    2
Jocelyn, what is "dry canning," and why don't you want to do it? Is it just putting them in a jar with an oxygen absorber?
Julia Winter
volunteer

Joined: Aug 31, 2012
Posts: 848
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
    
  75
I love that post, and I love Erica's blog in general.

Someday I will have a pantry, and then I can really follow these suggestions, but the simple one (that's down in the comments, not in the main post) of marking purchase date on everything with a Sharpie is a great one. More information is always good.

The next step is actually cataloguing the information. Like, if you mark the purchase date on the item when you move it into the kitchen or pantry, and then add the "open" date when you crack the seal, and finally have a file somewhere where you log the purchase date, the open date and the "all gone" date: that would get you some very useful information for planning purchasing and storage.


Ask me about food.
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2547
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  62
Dayna Williams wrote:Jocelyn, what is "dry canning," and why don't you want to do it? Is it just putting them in a jar with an oxygen absorber?

I've never done it myself, but I've read that the method is to put dry goods into canning jars and then heat them in the oven until a seal forms, locking out air and moisture.

Jackie Clay, who writes about canning for Backwoods Home magazine, responded to a reader once that she does not recommend "dry canning" dry goods.

I think baking your dry goods to get that seal could alter them so they might not be as fresh or moist in your baked goods when you use them. That's the primary reason I don't want to do it.
Rudy Valvano


Joined: Aug 15, 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Toronto, Ontario
As you said, CO2 is heavier than O2, so they shouldn't mix if the lid is bumped. But a simple seal could be added with a rubber band and some contact cement. This could also keep out moisture, another cause of spoilage.
The oxygen might need to be removed after each time using the jar. I've seen prepper videos which use hand-warmers but are the chemicals safe so close to food?
I'm still getting the hang of these forums. Not sure if I can or should reply to a specific poster. Tech v.s. social learning curve.
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2547
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  62
Rudy Valvano wrote: As you said, CO2 is heavier than O2, so they shouldn't mix if the lid is bumped. But a simple seal could be added with a rubber band and some contact cement. This could also keep out moisture, another cause of spoilage.
The oxygen might need to be removed after each time using the jar. I've seen prepper videos which use hand-warmers but are the chemicals safe so close to food?

I forgot about trying to seal the jar. Thanks for the reminder! It has just shy of a dinner-plate-sized mouth, and I don't have rubber bands that large at the moment. I know some create a seal with petroleum jelly - though I'd prefer lard/suet or coconut oil, perhaps. We'll definitely look at adding this to our systems.

We do re-light the candle after getting into the jar. One tea light has lasted us quite a bit as the oxygen seems to be used up rather quickly, even when the jar is only part full.

I'd rather avoid the hand warmer chemicals, too.

Rudy Valvano wrote:I'm still getting the hang of these forums. Not sure if I can or should reply to a specific poster. Tech v.s. social learning curve.

This was a great post! No need to reply just to one poster - the forums are largely about replying to all! I'm just being a bit geeky about quoting.
Ann Torrence
pollinator

Joined: Jun 27, 2012
Posts: 415
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
    
  31
We use two solutions for bulk goods. It's not cheap, but it a reusable solution for smaller quantities: we bought a FoodSaver with a vacuum accessory port and the mason jar sealers. Half gallon mason jars are available for dry sealing (not recommended for actually canning anything except juice!). The canning lids are reusable so long as you don't trash them on opening, so I don't mind opening a jar for even a single meal. This lets me buy in bulk and divide, say nuts from Costco, into a few quart jars. Somehow that slows down the snacking habits to a reasonable rate. The only thing the food saver has struggled with is powdery stuff like dried milk. If you guys are going to be harvesting much meat, the hunters around here love their FoodSavers for vacuum packing meat before freezing. Just don't put anything pokey into a bag (ask my how I know this.)

For larger quantities, I have been happy with the convenience of food grade buckets and gamma seal lids. A 25 lb bag of oatmeal fits into one 6 gal bucket. A 50 bag of flour takes 2. I like being able to get into the bucket quickly when in the heat of the cooking battle if my kitchen canister runs short. I'm not thrilled about the plastic, but a glass jar would be too heavy to handle. The buckets stack well. We keep pasta, rice, sugar, etc in the garage in these pails. And cat food in an orange Homer Bucket. No mixing that one up from the rest! (If only the cat would actually eat the mice in the garage!) I've been using the same buckets since 2008, through 2 moves, and they still work great.

Whole grains are pretty unlikely to go rancid very fast if you can keep them cool. I just remind myself that in the pre-industrial era, foods like wheat and rye were harvested once a year, and lasted just fine on the farmstead until the next harvest (or two or three). It's whole wheat flour that goes off quickly, so the farmer would take the grain to the mill to be ground as needed. Not having a grinder, I keep 5-10 lbs of whole wheat in the freezer. If we buy a big sack of rice that will take a while to eat, I may stage it through our freezer in half gallon jars, 2 days per jar then into the main bucket, just to kill any bug eggs that came in the bag. So far it's worked.

PS Jocelyn, you were the first person I heard mention Azure Standard-thanks for the lead! Got our first order this month. I had to drive 2 hours to meet the truck and it was still worth it! I'm trying to get some pals interested so we can at least share the pick-up duties. Even if that doesn't work, it's still closer than Costco or any of the organic nuts&fruits type places. And they have organic chick starter!!


Blogging about homesteading, photography and living in a small Utah town | Growing mostly cider apples at Stray Arrow Ranch
Andrew Schreiber


Joined: Apr 01, 2012
Posts: 139
Location: Zone 6a, Wahkiacus, WA
    
    8
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

I'd love to hear what other people do to keep large quantities of whole grains fresh over long-term pantry storage.



Hi Jocelyn and all,

we bulk dry store all manner of things (beans, rice, whole grains, sea salt, sugar...)

We utilize 5 and 3 gallon food grade plastic buckets with air-tight (they have a rubber o-ring). We fill up the containers to the tipy-top. We have not had problems with rancidness, or any intrusion by rodents, ants, water, etc...

We keep the goods stored in a 40 foot shipping container cellar where the temps get below freezing in winter, but only get about 60 degrees in summer (when outside temps in the 90's regularly) because it is heavily shaded by oak and pine trees to the south and west.

A 25 lbs sack of beans and 50 lbs sack of dense goods like salt fits PERFECTLY into a 3-gallon bucket. Larger 50 lbs bag of grain fit very well into 5-gallon buckets.

This has been an enduringly great method of storing large quantities of food for upwards of 4-years (that is the longest we have had anything stored). The dried goods The have the same fresh smell as when we put it into the buckets.


Windward Intentional Community
Julia Winter
volunteer

Joined: Aug 31, 2012
Posts: 848
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
    
  75
Gamma seal lids for 5 gallon buckets are so cool. Jocelyn, if you find those on Amazon you should put in a link.

I highly recommend those things. We've used them for years.
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2547
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  62
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Paul and I want our food stored in glass (preferred) or plastic containers ASAP after purchase to reduce bug and rodent temptation.

Going forward, and to be husp appropriate, we do not want plastic. I should have been more clear about that.

The vacuum sealers for mason jars sound doable, though even the half gallon size jars sound like they could be pretty tedious to fill and seal when working with 50-lb sacks.

We're thinking the glass jars with candles - as long as we freeze first to kill bugs - and then store out of the light might be how we'll aim to do things around here.
Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2404
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  73
you just need a wofati freezer!
Keith Smith


Joined: Feb 03, 2014
Posts: 4
What about using canning jars and a vacuum sealer. I have a vacuum sealer that has a jar lid vacuum. You place the canning lid on, screw the vacuum attachment and pull a vacuum which pulls the lid down creating the seal. Remove the adapter and then put the jar ring on. I am not sure if it gets enough air out to preserve the dry ingredients long enough for you or not. Worth a try.
Sam Barber


Joined: Nov 27, 2013
Posts: 445
Location: Missoula Mt
    
  33
So the after after dinner conversation tonight revolved around food storage using the most inert containers possible as well as the best way to prevent the big food ruiners Light, heat, Oxygen, pests (bugs ,rodents). Some of the ideas that Jocelyn talked about were using big glass jars (glass being really inert) and using candles to remove the oxygen from the jar.

This is a good route however it is important to know what is in your candle because it may not be just wax and wick some candles, especially cheap ones, contain lead in their wax or wicks which is freaky toxic! The other thoughts on food storage where mentioned above one using the half gallon jars and vacuum sealing them with the food saver is a great option.

Another option would be to take your glass container and drop a chunk of dry ice into it the important thing to remember is to not seal it right away because then you would have a nasty glass explosion. The dry ice will preserve your food because as you let it sit there it sublimates (solid to gas conversion) which will displace all of the oxygen in the container. If you seal the jar up before the dry ice is sublimated you will have a "boom cut" scenario. Another option that was discussed was using a stainless steel 55 gallon drum and putting the sacks of various grains into the drum with the tops cut open so that you could easily access any of the bulk contents easily and then seal it up again and if you put a non toxic candle into the barrel you could light the candle in the barrel every time you open it. I was also thinking about modifying the barrel to put a one way air valve in it so it could be vacuumed sealed easily. I was thinking the same thing for mid sized storage (think 5 gallons) except modifying a stainless stock pot with a one way valve.

We also talked about making a water tight wood box for food storage but that might be susceptible to pest problems and mold and stuff. I have thought of a few other Ideas one of them being buying one gallon gold phenolic lined paint cans food grade which would be a more durable alternative to the glass jars and they have an airtight seal on them. The only thing about that route is if there is any sort of toxicity in the gold phenolic lining I know that gold is inert but I am not sure about the phenol. If anyone knows about this please post! Thanks!


May your journey always be fruitful.
Ann Torrence
pollinator

Joined: Jun 27, 2012
Posts: 415
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
    
  31
They are way more expensive but metal dairy cans (the kind farmers used to set out for the dairymen to collect) are air-tight. They come up to at least 10 gals and won't break when you drop it.

You guys are going to need to find a cooper if you are going to run that operation without 5 gallon buckets.

Do I hear another workshop for cooperage? It's a dying art you know.
Jay Peters


Joined: Mar 20, 2013
Posts: 50
Location: Montreal, QC mostly. Developing in Southern New Brunswick, Canada. Zona 5a. +/- 45" annual rainfall
    
    1
Fun thread!

A cooper and sturdy wooden barrels would certainly be one option, or what immediately came to mind which might be even more 'ancestral'. Pottery ! Check ancient Greek pithos. Grain and wine storage the size of a full grown adult.

I can't find anything ceramic of decent size for sale Except flower pots and you'd have to watch out for glaze on the interior as it can be based on some pretty nasty stuff.. But they could be made by someone with some know how using fairly local materials,in theory, fired in a rocket kiln, and glazed on the exterior..if necesarry with something benign. Poses all the same problems in terms of getting rid of the oxygen but pretty diy-able I'd think. I imagine you could make a wooden plug for the top and seal with rubber or tallow again.

Who knows, maybe modern pithos crafting could become a cool artisan business for someone with the skills.

j


Do it.
Alder Burns
pollinator

Joined: Feb 25, 2012
Posts: 900
Location: northern California
    
  27
Years ago I was able to score, from an open recycling center dumpster, a collection of 5 gallon, heavy plastic square jugs used for swimming pool chlorine. They have tight screw-on lids with rubber gaskets. After a thorough washing and sunning until odor-free, they've been the backbone of our storage pantry for ten years now. We use them for all kind of bulk dry stuff, and usually dollop smaller amounts out of them into glass jars which are kept in the kitchen. These jugs also have indentations such that they stack neatly.


Alder Burns (adiantum)
Andrew Schreiber


Joined: Apr 01, 2012
Posts: 139
Location: Zone 6a, Wahkiacus, WA
    
    8
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Going forward, and to be husp appropriate, we do not want plastic. I should have been more clear about that.


Well the idea of using metal 55 gallon drums to several whole sacks in is certainly a time efficient and inexpensive and durable option (the barrels will literally last forever) and you only have to make one seal. hey make clamping seals for the drums, but in my experience they are not air-tight. especially when you have differentials in temperature from season to season. The metal shrinks and expands...

two very traditional ways to store bulk grains and such is either large clay/pottery amphora type vessels, and woven willow containers that are covered on the inside and out with with a kind of cob (clay/sand/cut-straw) mix. I believe they could also be sealed with the clay. But I have no good resources on this.

these options are a bit more time/capital intensive to get going, but if kept in a cool dry place, would theoretically last for a very long time.

As far as creating an airtight seal on something. another option is to use bees wax. This was a traditional way to seal canned goods, glass bottles, and the like.

Jay Peters


Joined: Mar 20, 2013
Posts: 50
Location: Montreal, QC mostly. Developing in Southern New Brunswick, Canada. Zona 5a. +/- 45" annual rainfall
    
    1
Andrew: Having done some pottery when I was a kid (large pieces require serious skill) and having looked at prices for large pottery after writing my last post it seems like the cob covered woven willow would be a great, much simpler and cheaper (DIY) solution!

I had thought about the beeswax solution, but glazed over it thinking there would be no way to extract what oxygen might be present between the grains, legumes or other stored items..but clearly this worked in the past. Maybe since the wax creates a seal immediately on top of the food being stored and leaves no gap the oxidization that occurs is just very minimal, and eats up all the oxygen present between the tightly packed grains before causing any noticeable damage.. ?

Either way - I'm really liking the possibility for ancient and simple to reproduce solutions to this problem.
Ann Torrence
pollinator

Joined: Jun 27, 2012
Posts: 415
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
    
  31
This thread is starting to sound like solutions in search of a problem. Whole grains come with their own natural storage capsules. Don't grind up too much at once. Keep the whole grains cool, dry and pest-free and they will be fine for a year or two, quite possibly longer (with the possible exception of brown rice-I don't know why). Grow more in the interval.

Unless you are stock-piling for the zombie apocalypse, the grains will last just fine as long as it takes to turn them over in your pantry.

Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2547
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  62
Ann Torrence wrote:This thread is starting to sound like solutions in search of a problem. Whole grains come with their own natural storage capsules. Don't grind up too much at once. Keep the whole grains cool, dry and pest-free and they will be fine for a year or two, quite possibly longer (with the possible exception of brown rice-I don't know why). Grow more in the interval.

Unless you are stock-piling for the zombie apocalypse, the grains will last just fine as long as it takes to turn them over in your pantry.


Good point, though we haven't purchased a grinder yet. (That's another whole thread!) Do you grind your own polenta and cornmeal, too?

(And glad you enjoy, Azure, Ann. That's where many of these items are coming from for us to figure out how to store!)

I like the brainstorming about how to store in containers that aren't plastic: glass, metal, pottery, wood. Displacing the air makes sense to me if it will be super-easy to do and as part or our normal "par" pantry stock rotation. (And to free up freezer space for more perishable items.) I think we'd only employ apocalyptic storage methods if we encounter some type of bargain or surplus that requires more than a year of storage before it will be used in normal pantry rotation.

Sam raised good points about toxicity. The potential for toxins is a crucial factor that Paul (and all of us here at base camp) want to do our best to eliminate.
Ann Torrence
pollinator

Joined: Jun 27, 2012
Posts: 415
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
    
  31
Another thing you can use to seal up stuff in larger but still reasonable-to-handle units is growlers and old gallon juice jars with a capper. The home-brew shops have this equipment and caps pretty cheap. Funnel in some wheat berries and throw in a a 10¢ oxygen absorber if you want, then cap it.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Do you grind your own polenta and cornmeal, too?

The only thing I've ground is Painted Mountain corn in the blender. It works for cornbread, but a mess for polenta. At some point I'd like a grinder, still researching myself. It seems to come down to powered or not or both. I'm sure plenty of my neighbors have them, if I'd gut it up to ask. It's in the long range budget, but getting trees in the ground is eating up cash right now.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
I like the brainstorming about how to store in containers that aren't plastic: glass, metal, pottery, wood. Displacing the air makes sense to me if it will be super-easy to do and as part or our normal "par" pantry stock rotation. (And to free up freezer space for more perishable items.) I think we'd only employ apocalyptic storage methods if we encounter some type of bargain or surplus that requires more than a year of storage before it will be used in normal pantry rotation.


So how often do you want to devote a day to unloading and repackaging a big buy? It takes me a couple hours after a full run to the city and Costco to get the dry goods squared away and vacuum pack nuts and staples. I try not to do that more than 2-3 times a year, hopefully the same as we shift over to Azure. Labeling is the biggest pain, but a group of folks could make it fun work in assembly line. Putting in larger numbers of smaller jars helps with budget and calorie control on snack stuff. If you are buying a lot of variety of grains and beans, you probably won't want more than a quart jar or two of most things anyway. How many quart jars of beans do the troops eat in a week? A month? As you get a track record of what you use it will be easier to figure, I imagine.

The most important tool in my arsenal is a good canning jar funnel or three for repackaging day. I have one like this one (sadly plastic) that straddles the rim of the jar and is really stable when pouring awkward stuff into the jar. I haven't seen a similar one in steel, which I would prefer. (BTW did you ever see Erica Strauss's ingenious discovery that a regular canning jar is threaded the same as most blender jars? Can you have too many canning jars? I think not.)

What is your earthquake risk at the ranch? Glass has its disadvantages for sure. I think it was in one of Eric Toensmeier's books that referred to the 5 gallon bucket as the most valuable use of petroleum ever devised by humanity.

And while we are on unusual containers, one of the oddest Zinfandels I ever tried was aged in redwood barrels. They said it was traditional Amador County style before oak barrels were available. Traditional does not always mean good. The memory of its resinous flavors persists 30 years later! A sad waste of a valuable grape.
Gail Saito


Joined: Dec 31, 2012
Posts: 66
Location: Medford, OR
    
    1
Jocelyn...I have always placed a bay leaf in my flour, cornmeal, etc. to repel the bugs and I think it does work.
Adam Moore


Joined: Apr 24, 2013
Posts: 102
Location: Mansfield, Ohio Zone 5b percip 44"
    
    1
I also like to use 5 gallon food grade buckets and gamma seal lids. If you don't want to use plastic like you stated then you could use a stainless steel trash can and add a gasket to it. Others have mentioned pottery. I would recommend large crocks used for sauerkraut. Look for a local source to get a better price. For instance I live an hour from Lehmans. Their prices for crocks online is much higher than the ones I can pick up at their store. They also have huge crocks on the sales floor that would be too difficult to ship. I wouldn't suggest wooden barrels because it needs liquid inside to stay sealed. Lehmans does have some wooden barrels the are sealed inside with a tar mix but I know that is not what your are looking for.

I would also agree that storing whole grains, not flour, is the way to go. I have a country living grain mill with an electric motor and I love it. It will grind anything. As for cornmeal I prefer to use my Vitamix because of easier cleanup.

Does anyone have any Hutterite communities close to you? I would be interested to learn how they handle the storage of their bulk supplies.


"I - am a thoughtful guy. I think alotta thoughts; about alotta things." Rhett and Link
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2315
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
I bought a bunch of these for the pantry (when I had a gift card to spend): http://www.amazon.com/Vittles-Vault-STACKable-40-Stackable/dp/B0002H3S5K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393257530&sr=8-1&keywords=gamma+pet+food+container

They have the gamma lid but stack like the bulk containers at whole foods. Still plastic. But they stack in the pantry really nicely. I still tolerate plastic for this use--raw whole grain is not a leaching concern.

I have plastic and metal 55 gallon drums for storing feed and grain. I buy bulk silica gel for drying flowers from hobby lobby and put it in a paper lunch bag. and DE and bay leaves. I don't use oxygen absorbers on the grain. I figure that keeping it 50-60 degrees, dry, and dark is good enough.

We use the same glass containers for on the counter for immediate needs. They are nice as long as the stuff won't be in there too long.

Maybe Tim needs to weld up some bulk bins for storing grains. Was carbon steel HUSP approved?

ETA: I forgot this thing: http://vacucanner.com/why-vacucanner.html
If you want to seal a BUNCH of jars at once, this is the way to do it. I have used the foodsaver attachment and it works, but more than a half dozen jars and you are hating life. The vacucanner will do a whole load of jars faster and a super-deep vacuum. There is a non-electric bike-pump looking thing out there somewhere, too, but I can't find it right now.


"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi. "Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2547
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  62
Ann Torrence wrote:The most important tool in my arsenal is a good canning jar funnel or three for repackaging day. I have one like this one (sadly plastic) that straddles the rim of the jar and is really stable when pouring awkward stuff into the jar. I haven't seen a similar one in steel, which I would prefer.


So you find the double-rim on that plastic one more stable than these stainless steel wide-mouth funnels (affiliate link) or compare price with the funnel at Pantry Paratus?



Or this funnel with the strainer (affiliate link) or compare price with the strainer funnel at Pantry Paratus?



We use these stainless steel funnels frequently.

I'm just thinking with 8 adults to feed on a daily basis - and counting! - we are looking at quantities far larger than quart or half-gallon mason jars. We're baking so much bread, pancakes, etc. these days that we are going through 1 to 2 gallon jars of flour each week. That's just flour. 1 or 2 gallon jars are looking to be the reasonable size for us in the house. I like the glass gallon jars (see pic next), though our cook prefers the wider access in the 2 gallon glass canisters I posted near the top of the thread.

These are the gallon glass jars available through www.azurestandard.com:



We've been looking at growlers, and we do save the glass gallon juice jugs, and we even spent some coin on a 5 gallon glass jar (for pickles or candy?) in an effort to find inert storage solutions.

Our back up pantry is in the garage office, which is kept wonderfully warm by one of our new rocket stove mass heaters. While we could move the back up pantry to the garage section of the building, which is NOT heated, that part actually gets quite HOT in the summer. The office is better insulated and somewhat shaded by the garage section, so it stays far cooler.

We don't have a lot of earthquake risk that I know of (being plenty far away from Yellowstone), though I do understand the fragility of glass and less ability to stack is a concern.

Metal might be how we go for larger quantities, though hearing about seals not staying on metal cans means it might behoove us to do more research first.
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2315
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
We use those jars for raw milk. We prefer the smaller neck pickle jars because our milk strainer fits better. Plus we can get them cheaper than the empty ones, WITH PICKLES. We can get replacement lids for either from the Amish down the road.

We end up breaking a lot, with a bunch of kids trying to get milk. A full gallon is a huge mess to clean up! Good thing they love pickles.

Bill Erickson


Joined: Jan 25, 2014
Posts: 155
Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
    
  13
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Ann Torrence wrote:<snip a bunch of good stuff>

We don't have a lot of earthquake risk that I know of (being plenty far away from Yellowstone), though I do understand the fragility of glass and less ability to stack is a concern.

Metal might be how we go for larger quantities, though hearing about seals not staying on metal cans means it might behoove us to do more research first.


I wanted to comment on the earthquake risk in Montana and I'll use a quote from the USGS site on Montana's seismic activity.

Montana is one of the most seismically active States in the Union. Since 1925, the State has experienced five shocks that reached intensity VIII or greater (Modified Mercalli Scale). During the same interval hundreds of less severe tremors were felt within the State. Montana's earthquake activity is concentrated mostly in the mountainous western third of the State which lies within a seismic zone that also includes southeastern Idaho, western Wyoming, and central Utah.


I think the area along the Bitterroot Valley is one of the quieter areas not on the east side, but it is still there. And Yellowstone is a lot closer than you think geologically speaking. Basically the area from Craters of the Moon in central Idaho to the Yellowstone Caldera is geologically linked and active. I'd post up some of the information, but the above link has most of the prurient information.


Back on topic - large cookie tins and the like are generally very tight sealing and keep basic food stuffs pretty well long term. Not deep storage tight, but a coat of wax along the sealing point would make them fairly air tight. I've opened up many an "empty tin" and found goodies still undamaged and tasty, if pretty crunchy.

Long term husp compliant will be the larger glass jars, large pottery and food grade ceramic containers (like the sauerkraut crocks) I think will also need a good sealing material to keep them clean of bugs and air. The seal seems to me to be the biggest issue. Tinsmithing up some containers is fairly simple, just have to make sure it is clean of storage oil and no lead is used in the seams. Soldering was the main method of manufacture of them back in the day, but rolled seams are the present solution to that issue.

"...specialization is for insects." - Lazarus Long
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2547
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  62
Bill, thank you for your excellent, helpful information yet again. It sounds like I stand corrected about earthquake risk in Western Montana, though it does seem a milder risk than the Seattle area (based entirely on my subjective experience and visiting with folks in both places).

The sauerkraut crocks are generally sealed with some kind of fired-on ceramic glaze, and Paul has concerns about that, so we have been using glass crocks or mason jars for our ferments instead. Though I agree that ceramics might be a big part of husp approved food storage in one form or another.

Rolled seams versus lead-welded seams in tins and all of your other tips are incredibly welcome.

We're looking into some basic things this week and hope we can post pics of some our progress and choices soon.
Ann Torrence
pollinator

Joined: Jun 27, 2012
Posts: 415
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
    
  31
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

So you find the double-rim on that plastic one more stable than these stainless steel wide-mouth funnels (affiliate link) or compare price with the funnel at Pantry Paratus?


The single necked ones I have are plastic, and yes, the double-neck one is much better. It doesn't wobble when filling, I don't need a hand to hold it still while filling, and it sits upright on the countertop instead of rolling around in between jars.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Or this funnel with the strainer (affiliate link) or compare price with the strainer funnel at Pantry Paratus?



Oooh shiny! Want! That would be awesome for when we make cheese.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
I'm just thinking with 8 adults to feed on a daily basis - and counting! - we are looking at quantities far larger than quart or half-gallon mason jars. We're baking so much bread, pancakes, etc. these days that we are going through 1 to 2 gallon jars of flour each week. That's just flour. 1 or 2 gallon jars are looking to be the reasonable size for us in the house. I like the glass gallon jars (see pic next), though our cook prefers the wider access in the 2 gallon glass canisters I posted near the top of the thread.

With that kind of volume, at least you don't have to worry about flour going stale! Restaurants use flour bins on dollies for that kind of volume.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
We've been looking at growlers, and we do save the glass gallon juice jugs, and we even spent some coin on a 5 gallon glass jar (for pickles or candy?) in an effort to find inert storage solutions.

I haven't seen a flour pump and I'm not asking anyone on my payroll to lift that kind of weight in something breakable. Talk about a workers' comp claim waiting to happen. I worry about you guys losing the ranch to some crazy liability claim.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Our back up pantry is in the garage office, which is kept wonderfully warm by one of our new rocket stove mass heaters. While we could move the back up pantry to the garage section of the building, which is NOT heated, that part actually gets quite HOT in the summer. The office is better insulated and somewhat shaded by the garage section, so it stays far cooler.

probably fewer mice in the office too. I just discovered how useless my stupid cat is when I or-orged the pantry shelves this week. Everything in the garage is now in 5 gal buckets or glass.
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Metal might be how we go for larger quantities, though hearing about seals not staying on metal cans means it might behoove us to do more research first.

I still think old-fashioned milk cans might be the way to go for larger quantities. There's a 10 gal unit with a rubber gasket on EBay right now for $83. (this link will probably die an ungraceful death at some point). Flour used to come in printed sacks, ala the depression era sack dresses. If it's plastic-to-food contact that is unacceptable, I guess you could line a large food storage canister with a DIY cotton bag. If it's off-gassing, how do you feel about galvanized garbage cans holding an open bag of flour? Or again, lined with a flour sack. The ones I use for critter feed seem to seal up pretty tight. That'd be the cheapest.

The longest lasting solution, most ergonomic, and the one that will grow with you when you have to pull that inevitable food handling permit, is to have a steel guy who does restaurant sinks fab you up something. It might end up being less to get a 3 bin container on wheels that holds sacks of flour and oatmeal or whatever in volume. Find the gaskets first and design around them! I was shocked at how cheap it was to get our island counter made. Might even be able to find someone local to barter some of it. We are talking some very simple welds. I wouldn't rule it out without asking around. (PS am not wishing the food handler make you sad squad on you. Maybe your state is more reasonable. Ours you can't even bring homemade cupcakes to school for a birthday party-they have to come from a store. That makes me very sad. Sticking my head back in the sand right now, because this is an ugly topic.)
Bill Erickson


Joined: Jan 25, 2014
Posts: 155
Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
    
  13
It is my pleasure, as always, to provide useful inputs. The rest of the time I'm just trying to figure stuff out myself.

Agreed on the difference in impact of seismic activity and size between Montana and the Coast.

I am interested in seeing what you guys decide upon and how it works. I'm afraid I'm in the "5 gallon buckets are AWESOME!" camp because it does simplify deep storage needs.

New 55 gallon drums with the removable lids like Ernie and Erica used on their RMH are available with rubberized or butyl seals that would make for great bulk deep storage. Lumps of dry ice in them and allowed to properly sublimate before sealing the lid would provide a good low/no oxygen storage atmosphere. I have read of people just putting it on the top of the food (separated by cardboard or something), and letting it do its bit to displace the oxygen, with a candle or something right next to the container to determine when the container is "full' of the gas. I also think a nitrogen bottle with a hose into the bottom of the container and slowly pulling it out would be a better inert gas for bulk storage. Since you guys are already getting gases for the Lab to support the welding and such, a nitrogen bottle would be a simple add to that.
Julia Winter
volunteer

Joined: Aug 31, 2012
Posts: 848
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
    
  75
Ann Torrence wrote:
The longest lasting solution, most ergonomic, and the one that will grow with you when you have to pull that inevitable food handling permit, is to have a steel guy who does restaurant sinks fab you up something. It might end up being less to get a 3 bin container on wheels that holds sacks of flour and oatmeal or whatever in volume. Find the gaskets first and design around them! I was shocked at how cheap it was to get our island counter made. Might even be able to find someone local to barter some of it. We are talking some very simple welds. I wouldn't rule it out without asking around.


Hmmm, I believe there is someone on site with some pretty mad welding skillz. . . so where do you look for the gaskets?
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2547
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  62
Ann Torrence wrote:
I haven't seen a flour pump and I'm not asking anyone on my payroll to lift that kind of weight in something breakable. Talk about a workers' comp claim waiting to happen. I worry about you guys losing the ranch to some crazy liability claim.


Very smart point.

Ann Torrence wrote:I still think old-fashioned milk cans might be the way to go for larger quantities. There's a 10 gal unit with a rubber gasket on EBay right now for $83. (this link will probably die an ungraceful death at some point).


I like this idea! Plus we'd like to have milk cows eventually. Though I had no idea stainless steel milk cans were so expensive new.

Eugene Rominger


Joined: Mar 03, 2014
Posts: 11
Location: Paso Robles,Ca
the 2 gallon glass crock could be sealed with a wax seal

Also for food that only need protection from light and pests in popcorn tins like this

Get then cheap from the dollar store post X-mass. (feed the stale sugar coated contents to children left unattended at the lab)
or get misprinted tins new from a dealer.

J.O.T, DYI level 7.5, Maker of stuff and curmudgeon in training
Dan Boone


Joined: Jan 24, 2014
Posts: 284
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a) annual rain 42 inches
    
  19
Sadly those cheap popcorn and cookie tins are not pest-proof as you find them. They have a crimped seam that's fairly open (these buckets often do not hold water, and the contents are usually shipped in cellophane inside the buckets to prevent staleness). I found this out the hard way once, storing a big batch of Chex-mix in one of the tins and having it get infested with lightning speed by some kind of weevils.

That said, I suspect you could seal the seams against pests with candle wax or mucilage or something like that.
Eugene Rominger


Joined: Mar 03, 2014
Posts: 11
Location: Paso Robles,Ca
Sadly those cheap popcorn and cookie tins are not pest-proof as you find them. They have a crimped seam that's fairly open (these buckets often do not hold water, and the contents are usually shipped in cellophane inside the buckets to prevent staleness). I found this out the hard way once, storing a big batch of Chex-mix in one of the tins and having it get infested with lightning speed by some kind of weevils.


I have 5 large popcorn tins and a dozen assorted cookie tins. some are 12+ years old,
They have been used to store flower,rice beans,instant potatoes,hops and all kinds of baked goods - all in their factory bag or a ziplock (to seal out air)
I have seen weevils in rice and flower sealed in mason jars. i suspect the weevil eggs were in the Chex- mix from the factory like the flower and rice.
They can not be completely excluded, much like wild yeasts and molds.
 
 
subject: Deep Pantry for people who like food
 
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