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Monday, August 9, 2010

Win Some Silver - The One Bucket Per Month Challenge

An anonymous poster made a suggestion in a comment to a post ("Focusing Your Skills Building") that I want to follow-up on.   The comment said,
I have been trying to find the ideal contents for a 5 gal bucket cache of food for one person for one month. The easy to prepare foods that store a long time and provide the primary calories for a meal. The intent is to hunt and gather greens, fish, small game, roots, etc. to supplement the cache. It would be an interesting post for your blog to open it up for discussion. One bucket = one month. 12 buckets = 12 months. Simple, repeatable and invaluable. I could easily dig 12 holes outback to protect my food in case I am forced to leave my home either temporarily or long term. But a years supply on shelves is problematic if someone is breaking down the front door or you have to bug out for any reason. Any ideas?
Sounds like Contest Time, to me!

I'm going to change the rules just a bit, and provide some guidelines:
  • The contents of the bucket have to provide food for one person for one month. 
  • Assume it is the dead of winter, and you can ONLY survive on the supplies in the bucket.  The one exception is, you can assume you have unlimited access to clean water.
  • The bucket will be a 6-gallon bucket.  For general guidelines, these will hold about 40 pounds of dry rice or beans, leaving you with a bit of head room.  The food you store must be able to have a shelf-life of at least 5 years.  If you want to use mylar bags, FoodSaver bags, desiccants, oxygen scrubbers or anything else to promote longer life, go right ahead.
  • Expect to need 2,000 calories a day.  That would be approximately 60,000 calories for a 30-day bucket.  I know, I know, it may be more or less than that, but we need to add some number to at least have a starting place.
  • It should come close to the USDAs Recommended Daily Allowances (PDF) numbers for protein (91g), carbohydrates (271g) and fat (65g).  Think about vitamins and minerals as well.
  • Equipment available to you to cook/prepare the food:  Whatever you want.  If you want a full-blown kitchen, or a standard camping set-up, that's your call.  Design your bucket accordingly.  And NO, the cooking equipment doesn't also have to fit in the bucket!
  • Price is no limit.  Like the food prep guidelines, spend in whatever price range as fits your lifestyle.
  • Include the item, amount, calories and grams of protein, carbs and fat.
Post your ideas in the comments section.  Be sure you have an email address attached to your post or your profile so I can contact you to arrange delivery (which I'll pay, of course).

Alternatively, if you want some privacy, you may send me a private email to the "info @" email address with any code you'd like - say "12345" or "Big Ears" or whatever you'd like.

This email must be time stamped BEFORE your post in the comments section.  When you post your entry, just start or end it with "code 12345" or whatever you chose.  That way, I'll have a way to contact you if you win.  Any email addresses I receive will be used for this contest ALONE.  I hate spammers, and I won't be one!

I'll run this until Sunday, 8/15 at 11:59pm, then pick a winner.  Picking the winner is my decision, and mine alone.

The winner will receive a one ounce .999 silver bullion coin.  This one, in fact -

The one with the Bison, of course!

Here's my entry to get you started (no, I can't win!) -

Powdered eggs, white rice, pinto beans, 30 multi-vitamins.  I'd add as much salt, pepper and other spices in ziplocks and/or FoodSaver bags as would fit in the bucket after the food.

With the powdered eggs, I'd need 4 of the #10 cans.  I'd transfer each can to a FoodSaver bag.  Each of the 15 pounds of rice and beans would be in separate mylar bags, each with 2-500cc oxygen scrubbers.

Packing the bucket would take a couple of days.  I'd start with 15 pounds of beans in a mylar bag and then I'd seal it up as shown in this video.  After the air had been evacuated, I'd place another mylar bag on top of the beans, fill it with rice, and repeat the process.  The powdered eggs in the 4 FoodSaver bags, along with the vitamins in a ziplock would then be placed on top, and the lid would be pounded on.

Here are the stats -

Spartan?  Boring?  Yep, but you'd be alive after a month.  The cost for the food would be about $135 for the eggs, $12 for the beans, $7 for the rice and (I'm guessing) $5 for the vitamins = $159.  The bucket, gasketed lid, mylar bags, FoodSaver bags and oxygen scrubbers would run less than $20.

Accept The Challenge

Now get to it!  I really like this idea, especially the thought of a full month of food in a nice, compact, easily transportable container.

Be creative.  Maybe sneak in some sweets, different whole grains, more spices - whatever.  Just remember:  That's all you'll be eating for a whole month...


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Shy Wolf said...

Not being any kind of expert on food, nor wanting to be, I look at the contents and think, "I'd starve on that diet- no fats." And my second thought is to throw in some Slim Jim type of beef sticks, say one a day, for the fat content (not to mention they're spicy enough to awake the taste buds).
OK... I know I can't eat outta yours, so now I gotta come up with my own pail... shux, Chief!

Chief Instructor said...

Shy, I hear ya. Got to have the fats! But they shorten shelf life in most instances.

I found this site that has something similar -

This is supposed to be enough food for 1 person for a year (or for 4 people for 3 months). Price is pretty good - under $1300 for a year's supply.

I have yet to find the nutritional content, so it could just be full of air like the package that was/is being sold by that Lipscomb guy.

I'm going to try and do one with a bunch of Just Add Water recipes and see how much I can cram in a bucket.

suek said...

I agree that fats have a shorter shelf life - less than the 5 year limit you stipulate - but lard has a pretty amazing shelf life. And if you look in most grocery stores these days, they don't even refrigerate it. In our area, it mostly comes in one pound packages, and costs about $1.25. The brand I buy (the only one I've seen, actually) is "Farmer John's", and is also labeled "Manteca"(Spanish for lard). I refrigerate mine, and know for a fact that even after about 2 years there's not really noticeable taste difference - which is _not_ true with something like Crisco. But a small - 1lb maybe - can of Crisco every other month might do good things. I'd rather have lard...but I haven't found it in cans recently. As another bye note...for whatever reason, bacon fat gets rancid _much_ quicker than lard. Protein is 4.4 calories per gram, carbohydrates are 4.0, and fats are 9.0 - so adding fats is definitely a good idea.

Funny story. _Years_ ago when we were stationed in Germany, my downstairs German neighbor and I were discussing "stuff", and she commented about how expensive things were, and how hard it was to get good quality lard. At that time the Commissary had a brand that came in a 3 lb can. I bought a can, opened it up for her to smell (my test), and she astonished me by dipping her finger into it and licking it off her finger! She assured me that it was very good quality, and we split a can. She also told me that during the war, they couldn't get butter, so they used lard to spread on their bread. Never read _that_ one in a history book!

Andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea said...

Okay, let's try this again! I think this will all fit into a 6 gallon bucket, assuming it's all vacuum-packed for space-saving. I can always sit on the lid to squish it shut, right?

10 lbs pasta
10 lbs brown rice
10 lbs great northern beans
5 lbs wheat berries
4 lb can of powdered milk
1 pint of honey
1 qt. of coconut oil- (2yr shelf)
1 3 lb bottle of ketchup
4 packets yeast
1 lb salt
1 lb sprouting seeds

Nutrition per day---
Protein: 85
Carb: 378
Fat: 38

This bucket has everything you need for simple breads (using the yeast to make a sponge/sourdough starter), pancakes, fried rice, beans and rice, simple salads using the sprouted seeds and milk and honey for comfort foods. And don't forget the ketchup! Fry up a nice batch of brown rice cakes and dip them in ketchup and you'll think you're in Hog Heaven!

Anonymous said...

Suek- you bring up a memory from the old days of my youth... which were long long ago in a galaxy far, far away... the golden age of R&R and Elvis was new and just entering the building.
Anyway, times were hard then and we spent our time working in the woods. Our main staple? Lard sandwiches with salt and pepper, sometimes other spices.
When it's ten below and you're hungry, they were welcome with a cup of real cocoa and double spoons of sugar. MMMM, deliscious.
As to Slim Jim shelf life, I've had some in the GHB for several years and though a bit slippery as eels, taste just fine. :P
Interesting- the veri-word is redfin... a can of tuna has no fat, either.

Pete Smith said...

I would buy Mountain House #10cans
3 White Rice = 72 3/4 cups
3 Ground Beef = 54 3/4 cups
2 Pilot Crackers = 140 crakers
1 Green Peas = 24 1/2 cups
1 Granola with Blueberries = 20 1/2 cups
1 Scrambled eggs with bacon=16 1/2 cups
1 can Potato Flakes= 28 1/2 cups
Then a few store bought items...
2 Jars of Peant Butter 16oz
1 Jar of Fruit Jam 16oz
1 pack of 2 oz salt and pepper
1 butter sub 2 oz size

I would take all the MH canned foods and break them down and put them into foodsaver bags with oxygen scrubbers and then pack this tub with care. After putting in the last item I would fill the holes with small hard candy in small bags just for a little extra.

With all of the above you would have:
30 days of food
70% Calories from fat
100% of Carbohydrates
41% of Dietary Fiber
182% of Protein
14% Vitamin A
57% Vitamin C
26% Calcium
92% Iron

With the bucket and lid it should be about 30 lbs.

Survival Chic said...

I made these buckets for my family for christmas...

30 mountian house freeze dried dinners (good ones that taste great)
15 breakfast eggs and bacon freeze dried.
10 pounds pinot beans
My own mix of spices for salsa. canned dehydrated tomatoes. (sill looking for dehydrated green chilis).

10 pounds corn meal (tortillas and cornbread)
BAking powder, salt
30 desserts freeze dried.
10 Freeze dried Vegtables
10 freeze dried fruits.
30 vitamins
Deydrated Biscuit mix
10 pounds Sugar

Josh said...

2 Bottles Survival Food Tabs------------------------------------- $40.00
(Each bottle contains 180 tabs which is a fifteen day supply all of the essentials.)
Ingredients: Non-fat Dry Milk Solids, Sucrose, Vegetable Oils (including Sunflower And/or Safflower Oil), Calcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Acetate, Niacinamide, Ferrous Fumarate, Zinc Gluconate, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Calcium Pantothenate, Potassium Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamin Hudrochloride, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Cyanocobalamin.

Calories 240
Calories from Fat 108
Total Fat 12g, 18% Daily Value
Saturated Fat 3g, 15% Daily Value
Cholesterol 3g, 1% Daily Value
Sodium 140mg, 6% Daily Value
Total Carbohydrates 30g, 10% Daily Value
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 12g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A 100%
Vitamin C 100%
Calcium 20%
Iron 100%
Thiamin (B1) 100%
Riboflavin (B2) 100%
Niacin 100%
Vitamin D 100%
Vitamin E 100%
Pyridoxine HCL (B6) 100%
Folic Acid 100%
Vitamin B12 100%
Phosphorous 10%
Iodine 100%
Pantotyhenic Acid (B5) 100%
Zinc 100%
Manganese 100%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2.000 calories diet.

4 Dozen Home Made Powdered Eggs--------------------------- $6.00
(Sealed in mylar bag. Allows for a consumption rate of 2 eggs per day.)

5 Packets Yeast-----------------------------------------------------$3.00

1 lbs. Sea Salt (In Mylar bag)-------------------------------------$2.00

1 lbs. Succanat (In Mylar Bag)-----------------------------------$2.50

10 lbs. Unbleached All Purpose Flour (in Mylar Bag)---------$5.00

10 lbs. White Rice (in Mylar bag)--------------------------------$4.00
(I prefer brown rice but white has a much longer shelf life.)

3 lbs. Pinto Beans------------------------------------------------$2.00

This is a rather small supply, but it would keep me alive.

Code: Kaito

suek said...

>>(still looking for dehydrated green chilies). >>

Why don't you dry your own? It can't be much harder than the red chilies - just hang and let dry... Or so it seems.

suek said...
(do a page search for "green")

This one is interesting. One of the local grocery flyers offering Hatch chiles, along with "free" roasting. I had no idea what they were talking about - and here it is! Ahhh... the internet! They say they no longer sell to individuals, but you may find some interesting info here:

suek said...

Hah. This looks like what you're looking for...

suek said...

I was shopping yesterday. "Just because", I checked out the Crisco that was available. Mostly it was in aluminum type wrappers, but they did have a one pound can for sale. "Best if used by Apr 2012" was printed on the bottom. As I've said ... I prefer lard...but...I really think you should include _some_ form of fat, and a can of Crisco every second month or so might be a good idea. Peanutbutter is a good source of calories, but doesn't do much for cooking! Well...frying, anyway.

By the way...are you assuming that no cooking methods are available? How do you eat all the stuff you have in your buckets? cold? what utensils do you assume you have? what's available to mix whatever with water? How about adding water - just add as much as you think, or some ability to measure?

Sorry - I'm new to this idea. Also, I'm not expecting to _go_ anywhere. I think our home is located as safely as anywhere - or almost anywhere - you're likely to go. My goal is to stockpile what I normally have and expect might be either not available or very pricey. My husband want's to know why I bought a 4-pack of Spam yesterday. I just muttered a response. He thinks I'm slightly nuts, anyway. I already have some 6 packs of chicken that they sell at Costco - he likes that for chicken salad. I have to admit - I really have no idea what I'm doing... I just think _something's_ going to blow and feel like I have to do _something_.

The starches aren't a big problem. They're pretty stable and storable. It's all the other stuff. How long do we need to hold out? Will normal ever return? I live in a food producing area - at least vegetables. I suspect they'll be pretty available. But meats? eggs? Milk? Not so much, I think.

Chief Instructor said...


Crisco is a great source of fat. It is that hydrogenized (sp) stuff, so it has a better shelf life, but MIGHT clog your arteries.

I've actually been doing some experiments with the butter flavored stuff - trying to find out how much salt to add so it could be a palatable, spreadable alternative to butter. I'm getting close!

Regarding cooking, the rules were you can do whatever you want - high-end full-blow kitchen, or a camping stove set-up. Your choice.

Spam: Lots of people don't like it for a bunch of reasons. Personally, I like it.

I have found that the low-salt stuff goes over better with people that aren't too sure about it.

Also, if you cut it into bacon-like strips and pan fry it, it's great.

suek said...

>> has a better shelf life, but MIGHT clog your arteries. >>

That's _so_ funny! Somehow, I think that if everything hits the fan, my arteries will be among the least of my problems!

Which isn't _exactly_ true - if the SHTF, my guess is that medical care won't be especially clogged arteries actually _might_ be a problem. On the other hand, probably not for long.

Anonymous said...

I am not planning on leaving my house either but it could be burned, blown away, overrun, etc. So I am planning for the possibility I might have to leave my house and still survive.

In the event I have to use my month in a bucket it will probably be under less then desirable conditions. That could mean nothing but a campfire and a tin can. What will you do with wheat berries??? Rice will cook in 20 minutes in a tin can with water over a campfire.

Lard is a viable fat for food storage. If you are in a survival situation I think clogging your arteries should be way down on your list of worries. This particular disease is genetic and if you have it your body turns ordinary food into excess cholesterol. If you don't have the gene you turn fats into energy.

If I make 12 buckets for me and 12 for my wife and maybe 12 for each child I simply cannot afford to include mountain house meals or other high priced foods. My bucket will be mainly rice & beans with smaller amounts of pasta, sugar, salt, spices and one jar of instant coffee. I can put a bucket together for about $25 apiece including the bucket. That way if I never need them I can afford to let them sit where I buried them until hell freezes.

I am assuming I can scrounge or hunt and gather other food. Berries, dandelions, cattails, small animals, fish, etc. This allows me to pack my bucket with easy to cook essentials and not ketchup and spoilable items.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon, wheat berries are very versatile. You can sprout them to get a ton of new types of nutrients, and you can soak them then boil them to make a great breakfast porridge.

Sorry - the clogging arteries comment was a joke. With the stress and extra physical activity expected from a big disaster, I'm guessing those calories would be burned off in short order.

My "bury buckets" will also be more towards the inexpensive, very stable foods. Rice, beans, oats, wheat, pasta, salt, sugar, eggs. I do intend on including a number of Just Add Water meals where ever there's space.

Anonymous said...

I am open to the possibility that wheat berries are a viable storage food. Obviously if you have a grinder, an oven, yeast and a work place you can make bread. But other then that your options are limited. I have tried sprouting wheat berries and they are nasty. I have soaked them and then cooked them and again; nasty. Edible and better then nothing but no comparison to rice. I can cook rice with no pre-preparation (ie. soaking). It is ready in 20 minutes. It goes well with everything and you can add anything to it to change the taste. No one is allergic to rice. So my point was why store wheat with it's huge limitations when the same amount of rice provides more meals and 100 times more versatility. This is especially true since I expect to use my food bucket under the worst conditions.

Maybe another suggestion for a challenge is what to do with wheat. Rules are no stove/oven/pots/pans. No clean flat surfaces. Just a small campfire and a tin can. You can add anything that could be found in the wild like berries, fish, greens, rabbit, etc. What can you make with it and would you eat it. I KNOW I can meet this challenge with rice.

Let me add that I bake bread and have a bread receipe that is tasty and uses very little beyond flour. I think wheat has potential but I am concerned about it's value in the worst scenario situation.

Anonymous said...

One more comment on rice. I have set up a cooking system that consists of two vessels. The outer one is a tall stainless steel container I bought at Walmart. It is about 12" tall and 6 inches in diameter. I put about 1-1/2 cup water in it and something to keep the second pan from sitting on the bottom. I am currently using a tuna can with top and bottom lid removed but I'm looking for something better. The second vessel is about 9 inches tall and about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. I also bought this at Walmart and it is a cooker for asparagus. The smaller "pot" has a lid and I use a piece of sheet metal as a lid for the larger pot. Put a cup of rice and two cups of water in the smaller pot. Throw in a couple pieces of chicken or rabbit and some carrots or other veggies. Put the small "pot" inside the larger pot (with the water in the larger pot of course) and set it up over some charcoal. I can cook this meal over three charcoal briquits in about 1/2 hour. I can leave it and it doesn't overcook since the briquits give out after half an hour so I can do other things while dinner cooks. I can do this on my patio or while out camping. I can throw anything into the pot or cook just rice (with a little butter is good). I know the explanation is long but this is the simplest thing you have ever done. I have calculated that one $6 bag of charcoal will cook over 50 meals using this technique. You can use a campfire too but that requires you pay attention so you don't burn it or undercook it. Just an idea. I have 4 dutch ovens and I love them but of course they require about 24 briquits to cook a meal. Admittedly the dutch oven works well with a campfire so I'm not trying to diminish their value. My two stainless steel "pots" weigh about 1 lb my smallest dutch oven weighs about 16 lbs, so if i'm hiking I'm leaving the dutch ovens home.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon, yeah, unground wheat has some issues, but I think they're worth it. Wheat has nearly twice the protein per pound and almost the same calorie count when compared to rice.

If you soak the berries overnight, then boil them up, they make a half way decent food. I personally mix them in with other foods, such as stews, rice dishes or salads.

I once made a breakfast porridge (for lack of a better term) using just the berries. Sugar, milk and boiled berries. Honestly, it was like chewing rubber!

Think of them as an additive, not a stand-alone food.

I'm going to look into putting together something along the lines of what you discussed for cooking the rice meal. I like the idea of the "set-it-and-forget-it" so you can do more things at once.

Oblio13 said...

I'm way late to the party here - just recently discovered your excellent blog - but this is a fascinating, thought-provoking idea.

One of the weak links in storage food is fats. Coconut oil is the only one I'm aware of with a five-year shelf life.

My relatively simple hypothetical bucket would have contained:

coconut oil
baking powder

I'd hope to be able to supplement those things with
foraged greens, mushrooms, meat and fish, and the plethora of natural teas containing vitamin C that are all around us.