The LDS Bishop Storehouse/Cannery list of foods available shows a storage life of 30 years for most properly packaged foods. The Cannery Food Commodities sheet includes this statement: “For longer-term storage, avoid teaching people to ‘store what you eat and eat what you store’.”
Think about it: in money terms, you don’t want to dip into the principle. The same is true for emergency food storage.
Here’s some sample prices as of December 22, 2007:
Hard red wheat $4.75 for a 25# bag (you’ll transfer the wheat to a food-grade bucket; for how-to, check SurvivalBlog archives)
Hard white wheat $6.25 for a 25# bag (ditto) (by the way, four 25# bags will fit into three 5 gallon buckets)
Black beans $4.72 for a #10 can (already treated and sealed)
Regular oats $2.00 for a #10 can (ditto)
If you buy 6 #10 cans (can be mixed), they’ll provide a box, plus two plastic lids for the cans.
There are more than 16 items on the list besides the above (including powdered milk, rice, sugar, apple slices, carrots, macaroni,onions, potato flakes, spaghetti, cocoa). Not all on the list have a shelf life of 30 years, but all are available treated in sealed cans.
Of course you should purchase small quantities from your local grocery store and try out cooked wheat berries, rolled oats, white beans, etc on your family to see if they will tolerate the stuff. Maybe even add it to your regular meals here and there so a sudden transition won’t add to the stress caused by a disaster (as taught in the “Rawles Gets You Ready” course).
Folks who aren’t members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can buy these dry-pack food from the LDS Cannery, which is associated with the Bishop Storehouse. Be sure you ask for the Cannery because only Mormons are served from the Storehouse part of the Storehouse/Cannery complex.
Folks who aren’t members of the LDS Church can also volunteer to work in the Cannery and buy part of the wet-pack products they help can.
One great feature of volunteering (usually in 2 or 4 hour-shifts) and then buying is that you will know the food you can (chili, for example) is absolutely fresh. And you will also know the food is prepared and canned hygienically. Those who train and guide the volunteers make sure you are comfortable with the tasks you’ll be doing. It’s actually not only very educational, but also a lot of fun. Check to see what age limit there is on the teens you may want to bring with you.
When you call, ask what is being canned and when (the food to be canned depends on availability–think fruit in the fall, for example). Then find out what day/time slots are open that will fit your schedule. You can choose to volunteer one time only, or you can volunteer now and then, or you can set yourself up with an ongoing schedule if you wish. But you do need to pre-schedule. The staff will be very helpful.
It may be possible to can your own foods if you have enough to make it worthwhile. In that case, of course, you will pay for the cans and lids.
If you want to dry-pack your own food at home, current prices are $0.58 for a #10 can and $0.13 for a lid. A case to hold 6 #10 cans is $0.57.
Oxygen absorber packets are $.09 each.
You can find if a storehouse is near you by checking your phonebook White pages under The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–look for the Bishop’s Storehouse listing; it will usually be right at or near the top of the LDS listings. If you don’t find a listing, call any of the listed Bishops; they all know where the nearest one is located. Even if a storehouse/cannery is some distance away, it may be worth the trip if you are buying in quantity.
Prior to Y2K, the LDS Canneries were mobbed with non-LDS, so limits were imposed. In the event of another like situation, limits would no doubt be imposed again. So, now would be a good time to get acquainted with what’s available and do a shopping run.
Don’t worry about being invited to hear about the LDS Church. Nobody will even try to hand you a pamphlet.
The form you will complete for your purchase will ask for your “ward” and “stake”; just write-in “non-member”.
I hope this will be helpful. – Bob B.