A Food Storage Test

March 23, 2016

Mormons have been advised to store food staples since the Great Depression. It’s always seemed natural to me. I like to eat. I like to cook. I would feel desperate if my children were hungry and I had nothing to give them.

Now my kids are pretty well independent, (one is on an LDS mission), and I still have enough stored food for  . . .well, a long time. I gave lots of it away to the kids so that they could supplement their own storage. I still have lots of food.

It’s mostly staples: wheat (I’ve gotten rid of most of the red wheat and now have white wheat which is lower in fiber and causes less “digestive distress” which is a euphemism for “odor” which is a euphemism for “flatulence.”) Powdered milk, sugar, salt, dried fruit, dried onions, oats, peas, beans, lentils, yeast, oil, peanut butter. Meats are wet canned in pressure cooked mason jars. Textured Vegetable Protein or TVP is pretty good these days, especially the taco or sausage flavors.

The grains, sugar and salt can be stored for another 20 years without much loss of quality. But I have always heard that the milk has a much shorter shelf life. Well, I put it to the test today. As I’m clearing out closets, it’s natural to get rid of some of the old stuff. This seemed to qualify.milk can lid

Thomas was a toddler when that was canned. We canned it in our garage using the Colorado Springs North stake portable drypack canner. The children enjoyed that Family Home evening. There was one oxygen-absorbing packet in the #10 (gallon-sized) can.

As a side note, I recently found out how the oxygen packets work. They’re full of iron shavings. Iron rusts. That’s the process of an oxygen atom attaching to the iron atoms. Iron oxidizes very readily. So the iron rusts, capturing the present oxygen atoms before they can oxidize the milk or other contents of the can.

The good news is that this 18-year-old milk is still perfectly fine. At least it was as perfectly fine as the day it was put in the can. I noticed no difference at all. It mixed readily and the flavor has not changed.

One other note. It seems to me that the Carnation milk or other brands of instant powdered milk that you can buy in the grocery store in five-gallon or 8 quart boxes, spoils much more readily than the milk I have dry-packed canned. In fact, I think the bulk powdered instant milk, (purchased in sacks of 25 to 50 pounds) that is not granulated but a very fine powder, is almost identical to regular skim milk in flavor, once it has been chilled for a few hours. The grocery store versions seem to me stale-tasting from the time of purchase.

This is NOT ‘morning Moo’ or any other type of sweetened product. It’s nothing but plain, dry, instant, skim milk. Apparently it has a much, much longer shelf life than anyone was willing to assert 18 years ago.


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