Saturday, July 5, 2014

Portion Sizes, Critically Important*


How do you 'know' and 'control' the number of meals you have available in your long term food storage? Here's how I calculate the number of meals available in dry bulk storage before I have to hunt, trap, fish or scavenge (beg) for other foods.

Your Long Term Stored Food is typically stored based upon weight or by gallons in buckets. Mine is based on Gallons. I bag all my bulk dry foods in one gallon quantities in Mylar bags with absorbers and store 4 gallon bags per 5 gallon bucket. 4 bags is all I can fit into a single 5 gallon bucket. The exception is my Hard White Wheat, All Purpose White Flour, Sugar and Salt, these are stored bulk in 5 gallon buckets. The reason is once I open the wheat or flour I use it up quickly like in 2-6 months. Salt and Sugar last forever if just kept dry.

What I do is prepare every food item I store so I know exactly how much dry food it will take to make 2 cups when prepared. For planning purposes I use the amount of 2 cups of prepared food for each meal for each person. This may seem like a lot to eat but I'm betting I will only have time to eat 2 meals a day and because of the stress I will be hungrier than I'd normally be. If it's too much to eat I can always cut back and prepare less. That will increase the amount of stored meals available.


Here's how I went about measuring stored Spaghetti.

A Spaghetti Measure:
You can buy these in most supermarkets for a couple dollars. They have holes to measure the number of servings of spaghetti. This one has holes to measure for 1, 2, 3 or 4 servings. Using one of these will prevent preparing to much pasta for each person.


Shown here with a single serving measured.


The same single portion weighs 3.5 oz. or 4.5 servings per pound of spaghetti.


Here is the same portion cooked. Prepared it makes almost 2 cups. Good enough for storage calculations.


Same portion in a 6 inch diameter by 1.25 deep paper bowl


Summary:
Food storage is to save your life when a disaster event happens and when everyone around you is in chaos. You are truly on your own! It is important that you test prepare every item you store so you can know how many meals you really have in stock. From the above test I also now know how much tomato powder is needed to make spaghetti sauce to match the 108 meals available from the stored spaghetti.

Warehouse stores sell spaghetti in 6lb bulk packs. Four packages (24lbs total) fits nicely in a 5 gallon bucket. I Mylar bag each 6lbs with an absorber. This 24 lbs makes 108 servings per bucket.

You need to test cook all your stored foods so you truly know how many real meals you have in stock. Trusting the labels or the internet as to how many meals are in a #10 can, pouch, package, box or bucket is not smart. Test everything for yourself. Trusting labels is like trusting a politician. 


7 comments:

  1. but trusting Mike because he first-hand tests everything before posting - go for it! thanks Mike, buddy, for always posting such helpful information!

    your friend,
    kymber

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kymber, I hope you and Jam are ready for the weakening hurricane winds that are passing over you today!
      As for the food prepping, I have been at it since Y2K and have seen/read so many companies claiming 2 meals in a pouch where you just add water. I know of no one who canoes or backpacks that doesn't count that as a single meal so they can fill their tummies and replenish the calories they have consumed for the day.
      A good example is the single serving oatmeal packets, maybe single serving for a 5 year old but not today's adults.
      What I encourage is for people to test all the foods before storing for a disaster event.

      Delete
  2. your very welcome Mike! jam and i have learned much from your site, and from your tried and tested recipes! and we know all about those "pouches" having tried them ourselves. we are now moving to doing to more like you do, make our own whole foods packages.
    we can't yet freeze-dry them - but we can suck the oxygen out, or dehydrate or freeze. we are of the mind that if it all goes to hell in a handbasket - then we are going to learn to eat like our ancestors did! my friend Phelan just did a post about water-bath canning green beans over a fire. it's tricky but it can be done. just like people did 100yrs ago. FDA be damned!

    as for the hurricane, it's been downgraded to a tropical storm. although it is wreaking havoc in other places - we are actually happy that tropical storm arthur hit our area today. i have a post up about it. you can read more there.

    and yes - encouraging people to test before they spend tons of money on junk is a very admirable thing to do!

    your friend,
    kymber

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post i have to find one of those pasta gauges (my wife always makes to much) for the house.I do not remember who posted but if you put 4 5lb mylar bags in a bucket use sugar,pintos,peas as filler in between bags.If i remember he favored sugar due to price and future value.but no corn or rice as it can punture your mylar bags.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Portion control is important. making to much food and eating second helpings is the easiest way to add additional pounds to yourself. But when it comes to food storage reckless portioning will guarantee you running out before you planned.

      As for the filler of corn, rice, sugar, etc. it sounds OK but I personally would rather dedicated each bucket to a single variety of food. It makes checking inventory easier for me.

      Delete
  4. Nice article, glad I found this site while surfing. Need to look for that spaghetti portion thingy. There was a study several years ago about portion size and the average American eats 3-4 'portions' of a item at one time. Group I was with did a weekend test that each person was only given a single portion size for their meal - 3 meals on Sat and 2 meals on Sunday. I had to raid my 72hr bag for additional food between meals because I was still hungry. I always cringe when I see those bucket meals saying "300 servings" and people thinking they are 300 meals .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We here in North American eat far to much per meal and is why there is hardly a person that doesn't need to shed a lot of pounds. Understanding just how much to eat will take some getting use to but I think once you do it should be easy. I'm going to be getting deeper into portion size and control in the near future as I must shed a bunch of tonnage. I will post what I'm doing and the results.

      Delete

Your thoughts are welcome!