My copy of The Walking Dead: Compendium One arrived the other day. The new season of the TV show comes out next week, but I’ve been wanting to read the source material for a while now. Obviously, there are some differences…most notably that the books are Daryl-less, and the fella that lost a hand was Rick. Anyway, the compendium arrived today and its about as thick as a Manhattan phone book. Should be plenty of interesting reading. For a real ’3-D’ experience I should read some of this right after eating a pizza and then head to bed…should pretty much guarantee zombie dreams.
So I was perusing storage food at the gun show and it occurred to me that no matter how cool the picture on the can, how razoo the can is, nor how long the shelf life is, there are some things that, to me, just don’t make sense in terms of purchasing. For example, a sealed #10 can of rice. Right off the bat, rice stores pretty well. Grab a clean and dry gallon pickle jar, fill with rice, screw the lid on, shove it in the back of your cabinet, and assuming there are no bugs in the rice you’ve pretty much done all you need to do. Why pay $$$ for a nitrogen sealed #10 can of rice when you can, virtually, get the exact same thing on your own? So, no, I don’t buy #10 cans of rice.
Another thing I was looking at was freeze dried diced tomatoes. Okay, I use tomatoes a bit but I usually keep dozens of cans of them in storage. They dont have twenty year shelf lifes, but I go through them enough that they get rotated fairly evenly and they certainly will last several years on their own. So why would I spend the money on more expensive freeze dried diced tomatoes?
Of course, there’s more to factor in than just the cost. For example, if I were to have to grab as much food as possible and beat feet outta here then the freeze dried #10 stuff gives me more food per pound than the non-FD stuff. Plus, the FD stuff in the cans is pretty much immune to low temperatures whereas ‘wet packed’ stuff may experience some issues in freeze/thaw cycles.
Then again, there are some things that simply do not store well over time in any other form except as freeze drieds. For example, I picked up some FD mozzarella cheese. Now, I can keep mozzarella frozen for a good while but the whole point of a disaster is that electricity is usually absent. In fact, if you’ve got electricity you really arent having a disaster..youre having an inconvenience. But you can’t take a brick of mozzarella (and we’re talking pseudo-mozzarella since real mozzarella is from buffalo milk and most of what we buy in the grocery store is not from buffalo milk) and stick it on the shelf and have it be edible in a year. So, in the case of this cheese, FD makes sense.
AN excellent example of this sort of mispurchasing was when I bought honey powder in #10 cans. :::headdesk::: Honey in its normal liquid form will store forever on a shelf…so there was no need to spend the extra bucks for powdered honey when regular honey would have worked just as well. (This discounts other factors like portability and packaging.)
Anyway, I was at the gun show and someone there had a table full of the Thrive stuff and they had quite a few flavors that Mountain House and Augason Farms don’t carry so I figured I’d pick up a few cans of stuff to sample and see if they were worth going long on. While I have a pretty decent selection of stuff it’s always good to have some variety..especially with things that open up the potential to create new dishes. There may never be a time when we have to live off of what we’ve got socked away, but if it ever does come to that I don’t plain on eating a ‘Gump-style’ menu of fried wheat, boiled wheat, cracked wheat, wheat gumbo, wheat pilaf, wheat soup, wheat stew, wheat cereal, wheat l’orange, wheat gruel, etc, etc.
My point is this – before you plunk down the money for the long-term freeze-dried version of a food ask yourself if the regular version of the food would store almost just as well.