I was doing my semi annual cleaning out/inventory/ arranging of food storage today and learned a couple of good leasons I thought I might share with you all.
In 1998 I had stored Cal Rose white rice in 5 gallon buckets (six of them to be exact as I had expected a lot of folks for y2k). These 1998 buckets of rice were put up only with bay leaves, oxygen absorbers, and silica powder that I placed in a coffee filter and twist tied closed as a moisture preventative. No gas, no mylar bag lining the bucket...just food grade buckets and the above added.
Well, I have been eating that rice all these years, no problem. In fact, I have been eating a lot of things put up for y2k, and they have all been just fine. Fortunately all there is left from 98 is now one last bucket of rice and 9 buckets of wheat and one bucket of dehydrated potatoes (which will keep forever).
Anyway, maybe what I learned today will help someone else.
Lesson #1: white rice keeps just fine for 13 years when put up with bay leaves, O2 absorbers, and silica powder. (As does wheat and white flour, BTW.... I'm still working on the wheat and I just finished the flour off about 6 months ago.)
The rice does have a very faint flavor of bay leaves (lol), but it has kept perfectly fine and all these years and tastes great to me. One little drawback...I now think plain old white rice is completely tasteless when I eat someone else's because theirs hasn't been stored with bay leaves for 13 years!
Lesson 2: Bay leaves are effective as a natural bug deterent/bug killer.
As I was moving buckets around and cleaning and mopping (my semi annual clean the storage room thing) I noted a few dead bugs on the floor. Not cockroaches or mealy bugs or anything...just the usual mountain critters....I live in the mountains so I have carpenter ants cruising through from time to time and roly polies and this other centipede type critter and of course any number of daddy long legs and other spiders..just goes with the territory when you live in the mountains in an old house. A few dead bodies were there, but nothing was alive. Even the spiders were all dead (and there weren't very many of anything, compared to what I find in the rest of my house on any given weekend while housecleaning! My theory is that they all died because they wandered into an area with bay leaves scattered around. You see, just for extra measure, I have always scattered bay leaves around on the floor between the buckets and on the shelves. I've decided that bay leaves apparently really do work as a natural deterent to bugs!
Lesson # 3: While white rice may last 13 years or more in a bucket, coffee filters desentegrate somewhere after 12.
I was down to the bottom of the second to the last 1998 bucket of rice and so I got into it to empty it of the last of its contents while I was in there dealing with everything. I gently tapped the coffee filter that held the silica powder as I went to scoop the rice, barely bumped it and it simply crumbled.....just plain desentegrated before my very eyes! Silica powder going everywhere falling down into the rice! Obviously I had to throw the rest of the bucket of rice out as silica powder is not to be taken internally!
In the future I will be looking for professional packets to use as a drying agent in my buckets...and in fact, now that I had to dump the rest of that rice due to the poisonious silica powder being mixed in it, I am going to open those 9 remaining buckets of wheat from 1998 and carefully re-package them for long term storage without the coffee filter rigging! Having a coffee filter disentegrate and contaminate an entire bucket of wheat (or anything else) in a SHTF scenario would be a nightmare.
Oh, and one last thing...as I am more than 10 years older now and my back is not as good as it used to be (nor my strength), I have found those 5 gallon buckets are a bit heavy and bulky for this old lady to work with. I can still do it, but certainly not with the ease I could 10 years ago!
Some years ago, my family grew up and out and I found myself living alone and not needing the maginitude of preps I had earlier. That combined with getting older and my back injury worsening over the years, led me to decide to go to 3 gallon buckets as I replenished my food storage. Today as I was moving everything around, I really noticed the difference between the 3 gallon and the 5 gallon buckets and was glad I had made the switch. They use the same gamma seal lids and they stack just as nicely as the 5 gallon, if not nicer since the heavy ones don't tend to get top heavy when stacked high. But mainly, they are just so much easier to handle without breaking my back! I moved that entire room around today and I am not even sore tonight. Wouldn't be able to move at all if all those buckets had been 5 gallons ones! Might just be something for older folks here to consider.
So that's it folks...just a few lessons I learned today as I went through and did my thing in my food storage pantry.... hope what I learned can benefit someone else.