My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


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How Hard Can It Be To Seal Food In A Mylar Bag For Long Term Storage?

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted something strictly “Food Storage” related, and I thought it was about time to return to my purpose for this blog: talking about food storage (why you need it, how much you need, and how to build it without going broke).

 

Filled 2 buckets and mylar bags with yummy food for long term storage.

Filled 2 buckets and mylar bags with yummy food for long term storage.

 

Today, I started packaging food for long term storage.  I bought several different kinds of grain (in bulk), so I can expand my repertoire, but I know I won’t use it all within the next year, so I need to repackage it for long term storage.  How does one do that at home?  I think one of the easiest ways is to use a mylar bag and an oxygen absorber.  While not every food can be stored in mylar bags long term, most grains and beans do very well.  In fact, some can have a shelf life of 30 years or more if properly packaged and stored.  I’m not planning on keeping all of this food for 30 years, but I like knowing that I have a good amount of time to use it.

 

So how did I do it?  I started with fresh, high quality ingredients: Ezekiel Mix and Popcorn.  Popcorn is pretty self-explanatory.  Most people know what that is, but many people have never heard of Ezekiel mix, which is used to make Ezekiel bread (see it here).  Ezekiel Bread is made from a mixture of grains and legumes that form a complete protein.  The recipe is from an Old Testament scripture (Ezekiel 4:9) which reads: “Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles [lentils], and millet, and fitches [spelt], and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof… three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.”

 

Ezekiel Bread

Ezekiel Bread.  Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

 

I have bought Ezekiel bread before, and I like it, but it’s pretty pricy around here at $6 a loaf.  As one who can make bread (see my favorite sandwich bread recipe here), I believed I could make my own, and I’ve wanted to make my own Ezekiel bread for some time.  I was able to find most of the ingredients pretty easily, except for spelt.  So, I decided to buy a pre-mixed Ezekiel mix.  And there I was with 50 pounds of Ezekiel mix, buckets, 5-gallon mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers.  Here’s how I packaged it for long term storage.

 

I started by purchasing the grains I wanted to repackage.

I started by purchasing the grains I wanted to repackage.

 

I also purchased Food Grade Buckets and 5-gallon Mylar Bags. I had oxygen absorbers ready to go as well.

I also purchased Food Grade Buckets and 5-gallon Mylar Bags. I had oxygen absorbers ready to go as well.

 

Before I started doing any food handling of any sort, I washed my hands well with warm, soapy water. Then I followed up with a hand sanitizer for good measure. Next, I set up my 5 gallon food grade bucket and my 5 gallon mylar bag.

Before I started doing any food handling of any sort, I washed my hands well with warm, soapy water. Then I followed up with a hand sanitizer for good measure. Next, I set up my 5 gallon food grade bucket and my 5 gallon mylar bag.

 

To fill the mylar bags, I simply poured the Ezekiel mix from the factory packaging into the clean, new mylar bag.

To fill the mylar bags, I simply poured the Ezekiel mix from the factory packaging into the clean, new mylar bag.

 

I topped it with my oxygen absorbers. A 5 gallon bag needs at least 2000cc oxygen absorbers. I opted to use 5 - 500cc oxygen absorbers which I had on hand rather than buy 2000cc ones.

I topped it with my oxygen absorbers. A 5 gallon bag needs at least 2000cc oxygen absorbers. I opted to use 5 – 500cc oxygen absorbers which I had on hand rather than buy 2000cc ones.  When handling your oxygen absorbers, keep in mind that they must be sealed in  your mylar bag as soon as possible after opening the bag containing them, otherwise, they absorb the oxygen in the air and lose their effectiveness.

 

I removed as much of the excess air from the bag as I could, then I sealed the bag with my iron.

I removed as much of the excess air from the bag as I could, then I sealed the bag with my iron.

 

I folded the bag down into the bucket. (I made sure to leave enough room that the lid could easily fit on the bucket with the excess mylar bag.

I folded the bag down into the bucket. (I made sure to leave enough room that the lid could easily fit on the bucket with the excess mylar bag.

 

Using a rubber mallet, I put the lid on my bucket.

Using a rubber mallet, I put the lid on my bucket.

 

Then I labeled the bucket with the contents and date.

Then I labeled the bucket with the contents and date.

 

I repeated the process with my popcorn, and I had two buckets done within 10 minutes. It was quite fast and easy.

I repeated the process with my popcorn, and I had two buckets done within 10 minutes. It was quite fast and easy.

 

Of course, I wanted to keep some Ezekiel mix out for me to play with, so I poured some into my 1 gallon and 1/2 gallon mason jars.

Of course, I wanted to keep some Ezekiel mix out for me to play with, so I poured some into my 1 gallon and 1/2 gallon mason jars.  The rest of the Ezekiel mix was ground into flour (which I’ll show you tomorrow).

 

Repackaging food is not for everyone.  I don’t do it for everything I buy.  In fact, I often buy them already packaged in buckets with mylar bags.  (Emergency Essentials, my giveaway sponsor, has a HUGE selection of food packaged for long term storage.)  But this time I wanted to try some of the new grains I purchased (kamut, amaranth, spelt, and more), so I opted to buy the grains in short-term packaging knowing I would put most of it in mylar bags and buckets for long term storage.

 

Have you ever used mylar bags and oxygen absorbers to repackage your food? 

If so, do you have any tips for me or my readers?

If not, do you think you will try it now that you’ve seen me do it?

 

 

 

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Laurel Laurie Staten Nguyen Newhall, CA

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Homemade Disinfectant Wipes

I thought you would enjoy this awesome and useful post by another blogger.

Blessings, Bliss, and Bedlam

HomemadeDwipes

I recently made these wipes with my mom and really like them! My mom sells essential oils so she likes to experiment with different ways to use them. We made a bunch to keep in the kitchen and each of our bathrooms for different cleaning purposes. P.S. they are safe to use on glass, just use a dry rag to dry the surface off after cleaning them with the wipes.

Anyways, on to the recipe…

DIY.wipes2

You will need:

1 quart mason jars

1 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

15 drops grapefruit seed extract

15 drops Bergamot essential oil

You can also use lemon essential oil but we were out that day, so couldn’t use any.

Like I mentioned earlier, my mom sells Young Living Essential Oils. You can visit her website to order some! I absolutely LOVE them and recommend them to everyone!

Back to the wipes…

We…

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Saving Time and Money By Making 2 Dinners At Once!

One of my most favorite things to do is save time and money.  I guess that’s two things, isn’t it?  Oh well.  I find that if I double or triple recipes when I’m cooking them, then freezing the rest, saves time (because it doesn’t take much longer to cook more at one time) and money (because I can buy in bulk).

 

This method works very well with one of family’s favorite dishes, spaghetti and meatballs.  Not the store bought meatballs, but homemade meatballs.  My hubby and I have been making these since the early days of our marriage.  Not only is it delicious, but it’s a relatively fast dinner (ready in under an hour even when I’m making huge quantities).  A family friend gave me a Betty Crocker Cookbook at my bridal shower, and it was been well used and loved.  Our meatball recipe comes from that cookbook with a couple of alterations over the years, but not many.

 

Meatballs freeze really well and make a quick, hearty dinner on a busy night.  These meatballs are wonderful in so many recipes.  While we usually serve them in spaghetti sauce, you can also serve them in a cream sauce, with sweet and sour sauce, with Yoshida sauce (one of my favorite appetizers),  and many other ways.

 

Let me begin with the recipe.

 

Meatballs

Adapted from a recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook

 

1 pound ground beef or ground meat of choice

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce (or Worchestershire)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon dried onion (or 1/4 cup diced fresh onion)

1 egg (or egg substitute)

 

Mix together ground beef, milk, and egg.  Add salt, pepper, soy sauce, and dried onion, and gently mix until well combined.  Add bread crumbs and mix well.

 

Roll into balls (or use a metal scoop) and place on a foil lined cookie sheet.  (The foil will make cleanup easier.)  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes until light brown and cooked through.  Serve as is or with your favorite sauce.

 

To Freeze: Let meatballs cool for 10-20 minutes.  Put into a large freezer Ziplock bag.  Label bag with contents and date.  Remove excess air and seal.  Store in the freezer for up to 1 month.

 

Here’s my photo step-by-step.

 

As always, I started by assembling my ingredients.  I decided to use powdered eggs instead of fresh eggs, because I was running low on my fresh ones, and I didn't feel like running to the grocery store.

As always, I started by assembling my ingredients. I decided to use powdered eggs instead of fresh eggs, because I was running low on my fresh ones, and I didn’t feel like running to the grocery store.

 

I added the reconstituted powdered eggs, fresh milk, salt, pepper, and soy sauce to my ground beef. Please note that I quadrupled this recipe, so this step-by-step will show a whole lot more meatballs than you will get out of one pound of ground meat.

I added the reconstituted powdered eggs, fresh milk, salt, pepper, and soy sauce to my ground beef. Please note that I quadrupled this recipe, so this step-by-step will show a whole lot more meatballs than you will get out of one pound of ground meat.

 

Next, I added my dried onion.  You may use fresh onion if you prefer.

Next, after mixing the meat, eggs, milk, soy sauce, and spices together, I added the dried onion. You may use fresh onion if you prefer.

 

Finally, I added my bread crumbs.  Some of these are store-bought bread crumbs, and some are bread crumbs I made.  (See that post here.)

Finally, I added my bread crumbs. Some of these are store-bought bread crumbs, and some are bread crumbs I made. (See that post here.)

 

I mixed the meat well, and they are ready to cook.

I mixed the meat well, and they are ready to cook.

 

I used my handy medium (2 tablespoon) scoop to form the meatballs.  My husband hates a dense meatball, so I take care not to pack it too tight.

I used my handy medium (2 tablespoon) scoop to form the meatballs. My husband hates a dense meatball, so I take care not to pack it too tight.

 

Here are the meatballs after cooking.  I take care to leave the grease and cooked meat juices on the pan and use only the meatballs by removing them one by one with tongs.

Here are the meatballs after cooking. I take care to leave the grease and cooked meat juices on the pan and use only the meatballs by removing them one by one with tongs.

 

Our favorite way to eat these meatballs is with spaghetti sauce.  I use a simple jarred sauce (like Ragu) and add stuff to it to make it to our tastes.  I added pepper, soy sauce, Italian seasoning, and balsamic vinegar.

Our favorite way to eat these meatballs is with spaghetti sauce. I use a simple jarred sauce (like Ragu) and add stuff to it to make it to our tastes. I added pepper, soy sauce, Italian seasoning, and balsamic vinegar.

 

I added the meatballs to the sauce, and let them stew for at least 10 minutes.  The longer you let them simmer together, the better, so if you have an hour or so, let them stew so the flavors combine.

I added the meatballs to the sauce, and let them stew for at least 10 minutes. The longer you let them simmer together, the better, so if you have an hour or so, let them stew so the flavors combine.

 

And here's my favorite part: I put the extra meatballs into a freezer bag, labeled it, and stuck them in the freezer for another day.  I used these a couple of weeks later on a crazy day.  Dinner was on the table in about 30 minutes (including the time to cook the pasta).  Not too bad, huh?

And here’s my favorite part: I put the extra meatballs into a freezer bag, labeled it, and stuck them in the freezer for another day. I used these a couple of weeks later on a crazy day. Dinner was on the table in about 30 minutes (including the time to cook the pasta). Not too bad, huh?

 

How do you save time and money?  Is saving time and money important to you?

 

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