Saturday, September 13, 2014

I Bought These Food Storage Pantry Items Today.

     It seems that accumulating the fruits and vegetables necessary for my food storage pantry is more challenging than I expected it to be.

     Not by choice, I ended up studying best-by date movement or lack thereof on store shelves for at least a couple of years.  I ended up doing this to see what products would actually be beneficial to have in my everyday food pantry that also serves as my food storage.  I was determined to not just amass foods that all had the same best-by dates.  People really need to pay attention to the best-by dates when buying their foods.  Some of Wal-Mart's canned fruits seem to be canned in almost yearly intervals, which is fine, but you just have to space out your purchase so it doesn't become an issue for you to have to deal with.  Somehow, the stores can have three or four different best-by dates on a shelf that has just been fully stocked. 

     I firmly believe in not buying a case of a food where all the cans have the same best-by date.  Unless the best-by date is years away where I know our daily use would exhaust that product before the date came, I don't buy large lots of canned foods.  I also do not buy Manager's Specials when they are selling cases of a particular canned product.  Usually, when they do that, the  best-by dates are getting ready to be met.  People usually end up giving foods like that away or decide to use it until they can't bear to see another can of it in order to not exceed the best-by date.
     I always take my Inventory 3-Ring Binder with me to check the dates on every product I purchase.  Initially I didn’t do that.  I found out that by not taking it and using it for a guide, I ended up buying some foods that had earlier best-by dates than ones I had purchased six or more months ago.
     I share this with you here to hopefully help you avoid that same issue.  Today I went to Wal-Mart and purchased some canned and jarred fruits and vegetables.  I want to share the items and best by dates with you.  Now maybe you don’t use some of these foods.  You still need to watch the best by dates on whatever foods you do buy for your family.
     Here are those products and their best by dates:

Green Giant Sliced Mushrooms   -   March 2018
Bruce's Candied Yams   -   December 2017
Polar Sliced Pears   -   April 2017
Luck's Fried Apples   -   May 2015
GV Sliced Pears in Extra Light Syrup   -   March 2017
Dole Tropical Fruit   -   February 2016    
     This information shows that you don't need to stock up on only MRE's or freeze-dried or dehydrated foods.  I have some of those foods as well, but my primary foods are normal everyday grocery store foods.  Simply tracking the best-by dates allows me to successfully accomplish this.

     I hope this information is helpful to those folks that realize the importance of being prepared for enduring any interruption in their daily lives, whether it be from a power outage, a snowstorm, hurricane, truckers strike or whatever else may come along. 
     Stock up on some foods for your family’s protection so you won’t be caught like most of the population will be.  They think the doors to the store will always be open, and if they aren’t, it’s the government’s responsibility to take care of their families. 
Have a wonderful day, and thanks for stopping by!
Bob Hotaling

Friday, September 5, 2014

How long do grocery store foods last before reaching the best by date?

For those folks who are considering tracking the best by date of items in their food storage pantry, this is a partial list of some items and their best by dates that I have recently purchased. 

You may not like the same things that I do, but this list is intended to show that you can get normal food with long best by dates from a regular grocery store.  You don't need all your preps to be MRE's or freeze-dried or dehydrated foods.  It's best to have a good mix so you don't have to get into your long term storage foods for short term events.
Happy Prepping!
Bob Hotaling

Food Category Serving Size/Total Best-by Date
Apples, Fried w/Cinnamon, Luck's 1/2 Cup Jun-15
Apples, Fried, Luck's 1/2 Cup Apr-15
Applesauce w/Cinnamon, White House 1/2 Cup Dec-15
Craisins, Ocean Spray Original 24 oz. Bag 1/3 Cup Apr-15
Cranberry Sauce, Whole Berry, GV 1/4 Cup Nov-15
Cranberry Sauce, Whole Berry, Ocean Spray 1/4 Cup Sep-15
Fruit Cocktail, 100% Juice, GV 1/2 Cup Mar-16
Fruit Cocktail, NSA, GV 1/2 Cup Mar-16
Fruit, Dole Tropical 1/2 Cup Dec-15
Oranges, GV Mandarin in Light Syrup 1/2 Cup Jan-16
Peaches, Sliced, in Juice GV 1/2 Cup Mar-16
Pear Slices, Polar in Glass Jars 1/2 Cup Jan-17
Pineapple Slices, Dole, in Heavy Syrup 2 Slices Sep-16
Prunes, California Ones Pitted, Single Wrap 4 ea. Aug-15
Raisins, Sun Maid in Individual Serving 1 oz./Box Dec-15
Roland Canned Papaya Chunks in light syrup 1/2 Cup Jul-16
Very Cherry Fruit Combo, Del Monte 1/2 Cup May-16
Banana Peppers, Sliced Sweet  1 oz. Mar-16
Bean Salad, Four Paisley Farm, from BJ's 1/2 Cup Nov-15
Beets, GV Pickled 14.5 oz. 4 Slices Jun-15
Black Eyed Peas, GV, Canned 1/2 Cup Dec-16
Carrots, Glory Seasoned Honey  1/2 Cup Mar-16
Goya Light Red Premier Kidney Beans Can 1/2 Cup Jan-18
Green Giant Creamed Style Sweet Corn 1/2 Cup Oct-16
Mushrooms, Sliced, in Jar, Solids and Liquids 1/2 Cup May-15
Olives, GV Stuffed  5 Ea. Jan-16
Olives, Pearl's Medium Pitted California Ripe Black  5 ea. Nov-16
Potatoes, White, New Sliced, GV 2/3 Cup Oct-15
Sauerkraut, Silver Floss, Barrel Cured, Shredded, Jar 2 Tbsp. Nov-14
Sweet Corn, Whole Kernel, Libby's Naturals, Non-BPA 1/2 Cup Dec-16
Sweet Potatoes, Glory  29 oz. 2/3 Cup Jan-16
Tomato Paste, Contadina 1/4 Cup Nov-15
Tomato Sauce, Del Monte, w/Garlic & Onions 1/2 Cup Jul-15
Tomatoes, Diced w/Garlic & Onion 1/2 Cup May-15
Vegetable Soup, Campbell's Chunky Savory 1 Cup Dec-15
Vegetables, Libby's Mixed  15 oz. 1/2 Cup Dec-15
Yams, Bruce's Candied  2/3 Cup Sep-17
Beans, Baked, Bush's Best Country Style 28 oz. 1/2 Cup Jan-16
Beans, Bush's Best Onion Baked, 28 oz. 1/2 Cup May-17
Beans, Garbanzo, Bush's Best 1/2 Cup Jan-18
Beans, Goya Premium Garbanzo 1/2 Cup Jan-19
Beans, Red Kidney, Low Sodium 1/2 Cup Jan-18
Beef Ravioli, Chef Boyardee  1 Cup Sep-15
Beef Stew, Dinty Moore  1 Cup Dec-16
Campbells Chunky Sirloin Burger Vegetable Soup 1 Cup Sep-15
CB Spaghettios with Franks 1 Cup Nov-15
Chicken & Dumplings, Sweet Sue  1 Cup Sep-15
Chicken, Chunky, in Can @ Sam's 1/3 Cup Nov-16
Corned Beef Hash, Hormel  1 Cup Feb-17
Corned Beef, Hormel White Label 2 oz. Mar-18
Dark Red Kidney Bean, Bush's Low Sodium 1/2 Cup Feb-17
Deviled Ham, Underwood, 4.25 oz. can 1/4 Cup Jan-18
Ham, DAK Canned, 1 Pound Can 2 oz. Feb-18
Peanut Butter, Jif Natural  2 Tbsp. Apr-15
Peanuts, Planter's Dry Roasted,Lightly Salted 1 oz. Apr-15
Pinto Beans, Bush's Best, in Chili Sauce 1/2 Cup Oct-16
Ravioli, Chef Boyardee Mini  1 Cup Mar-15
Sausage Hash, Hormel 1 Cup Apr-17
Sausage, Vienna , Libby's 3 links Apr-16
Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chef Boyardee  1 Cup Oct-15
Treet, Original  2 oz. Sep-16
Turkey, Chunky, in can @ BJ's 2 oz. Sep-16
Apple Jacks, 17 oz. Box 1 Cup Feb-15
Bisquick Heart Smart 1/3 Cup Apr-15
Cheerios, Plain, Whole Grain Oat Cereal 1 Cup Jun-15
Corn Muffin Mix, Jiffy  1/4 Cup Jan-15
Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour 5# Sack 1/4 Cup Jun-15
Oatmeal, Quaker Old Fashioned, Contains NO CALCIUM 1/2 Cup Mar-15
Pasta, GV Thin Spaghetti (Blue Box) 2 oz. Mar-15
Pasta, Knorr Chicken Flavor Fettuccini 2/3 Cup Oct-15
Pasta, Knorr Italian Sides, Four Cheese 3/4 Cup Aug-15
Pasta, Knorr Sides, Butter & Herb Fettuccini 2/3 Cup Sep-15
Pasta, Original Spaghettios 1 Cup May-15
Pillsbury Bleached All-Purpose Flour 5# Sack 1/4 Cup May-15
Rice, Knorr Sides Creamy Chicken 1/2 Cup Sep-15
Calcium Sources    
Beans, Bush's Best Canned Navy,127 mg of Calcium in 1 and 1/2 Cups. 1 1/2 Cups Jun-16
Black Beans, Goya, Can 1/2 Cup Nov-17
Borden Condensed Milk, has 120 mg of Calcium per 2 Tbsp Serving. 2 Tbsp. Jan-16
Collards, Glory Seasoned, 357 mg of Calcium when chopped and cooked. 1/2 Cup Nov-16
Double Q Pink Salmon 14.75 oz. 1/4 Cup Sep-17
Fish Steaks, Beach Cliff, in Soybean Oil w/Bones.  One can has 330 mg of Calcium. 1 Can Jan-19
Glory Seasoned Collards, 357 mg of Calcium when chopped and cooked. 1/2 Cup Jan-16
Greens, Margaret Holmes Mixed, Seasoned Turnip and Mustard Greens. 1/2 Cup Jan-17
Grits, Quaker Instant, Box of 12, 100 mg of Calcium per Pouch. 1 Pouch Jan-15
Instant Oatmeal, Quaker Original 1 Pouch Apr-15
Molasses, Brer Rabbit Unsulphered, 137 mg of Calcium per tablespoon.  137 x 2 Tbsp. = 274 mg of Calcium per 2 Tbsp serving 2 Tbsp. Mar-18
Quaker Instant Oatmeal Apples & Cinnamon, has 100 mg of Calcium per Pouch 1 Pouch Jan-15
Quaker Instant Oatmeal Peaches & Cream 1 Pouch May-15
Salmon, Pink, Double "Q" has 200 mg of Calcium per 1/4 Cup serving 1/4 Cup Sep-18
Sardines, Beach Cliff, in Soybean Oil w/Bones.  One can has 330 mg of Calcium. 1 Can May-18
Sardines, Ocean Prince Lightly Smoked, in Soybean Oil w/Bones.  One can has 330 mg of Calcium. 1 Can Oct-18
Sardines, Sol-Mex, in Tomato Sauce 15 oz. Can.  Has 400 mg of Calcium per serving  1/4 Cup Dec-16
Argo Corn Starch 1 Tbsp. Sep-15
Hunt's Catsup No Preservatives 1 Tbsp. Jul-15
Karo Syrup 2 Tbsp. Oct-15
Kikkoman Low Sodium Soy Sauce 1 Tbsp. Sep-16
Lee-Perrins Worcestershire Sauce 1 tsp. Jan-15
Log Cabin Pancake Syrup w/no HFCS 1/4 Cup Jan-16
McCormick Mild Chili Seasoning 1 1/3 Tbsp. Dec-15
Mt. Olive Sweet Relish in Jar 1 Tbsp. Oct-15
Welch's Natural Strawberry Spread in Plastic Jar 1 Tbsp. Dec-14
Alpine Spiced Apple Cider 1 pouch Oct-15
Coffee Mate Coffee Creamer 16 oz. 1 tsp. Jan-16
Country Time Lemonade Mix 1/8 "Cap" Mar-16
Maxwell House Instant Coffee 1 tsp. Aug-15
Nesquick Chocolate Syrup 22 oz. 1 Tbsp. Oct-15
Nestle's Hot Dark Chocolate Drink Mix 1 pouch Apr-15
Tang Orange Drink 1/8 "Cap" Mar-15

Monday, August 4, 2014


     About four years ago I was getting into prepping and I bought several cases of oatmeal from the LDS Online Store.  It seemed like it was a good price so I ordered it.  When it was delivered, I dutifully stacked the cases in my storage room.  After almost a year had passed, I decided that I wanted some rice in my storage as well.  So I ordered one case of rice from the LDS Store.  It was delivered and my excitement for being prepared grew even more.  Some days I would look at my supplies and be quite content that I had done the right thing by going to a source that received such high praises from so many people on You Tube (YT). 

     I had learned about the potential for infestation by various insect pests while I was a Contract Administrator for a large pest control contract.  I decided that I didn’t want all those cardboard boxes in my food storage room as they serve as food for the bugs in addition to being excellent breeding grounds for American and German Cockroaches.  I built new wooden shelving and unpacked my #10 cans of oatmeal that I had purchased from the LDS Store.  All were fine and I had no complaints about them.  However, when I opened the case of rice, it was a different story.  The condition of the cardboard case was perfect.  Not a dent, bump or snag was to be found, so I saw no need for concern and I let the cans stay inside the unopened box for several months.

     Here are pictures of the box showing its condition:


     When the day came when I removed the cans, I found something totally surprising!  Half of the cans were damaged!  They didn’t just have damage like small indentations on the sides, some were crushed on the seams by some type of compressive action coming from the direction of the bottom. 

     Here are pictures of the damaged cans:


     When you’re ordering something that’s advertised as being something that your family’s lives might depend on, you simply don’t expect to receive it in this condition.  That might seem trivial to some folks, but it isn’t trivial to me.

     At this writing, I suspect it was from the machine that put the tops on the cans while spinning them at high speed.  Watch the video in the link provided in a paragraph below and at 6:44 into the video, you will see the can almost fly off the lid machine because it is still spinning when the inexperienced man releases the lever that holds it.  Also, if the machine wasn’t adjusted properly, the lever action by the operator could easily provide the crushing pressure to damage the cans in the way they have been.  The sad thing about that is that multiple people handled those damaged cans on their way to the shipping carton.  It wasn’t just the lid installer operator that did all this work.  Someone else was helping them.  Combine that fact with the excellent condition of the case and that leaves only one fact:

     The crushed cans were knowingly placed in the shipping box while in that severely damaged condition to be sent out to a customer.

     That extent of damage could not have occurred in transit or else the box would have been crushed and ripped open.

     I have come a long way with my preps.  I have a year’s supply of food for seven people, and I broke it down into the five nutritional groups.  They are:  Fruits, Vegetables, Protein, Grains, and Calcium Sources (not Dairy).  I have taken serious looks at what people are promoting on YT for a few years now.  I feel that most of it is incorrect or just plain deceptive.

     I used to think that all these people really knew so much about being prepared.  I was mistaken.  Some do, some don't.  I have come to realize that most of them know enough about prepping to prey on people’s fears and try to sell them all kinds of foodstuffs and storage gimmicks.  Then you have others that when you look at what they’re doing, it clearly doesn’t make any logical sense.  I know now that I have a much better understanding of being prepared than they do.  On top of that, I don’t try to sell people anything, I don’t do product reviews in order to get free samples, and I don’t have a book I’m trying to sell.  Further, I don’t need people to “like” me on Facebook, because I’m not even on it or any of the other “social media” sites.  If they are indeed social media, why are so many corporations on there pimping their products?  Think about it.

     The thing that concerns me most about the LDS cans that were obviously severely damaged prior to shipment is the high number of YT videos available for viewing that show exactly what I had. Boxes upon boxes that have not been opened since they were received, because the boxes are in perfect condition.  What will those people find when they open their boxes from LDS?  I hope they’re not disappointed with what they find.

     Now there is cause for additional concern.  If they or their volunteers will knowingly ship out crushed cans that people expect to use for survival food, what proof do we have that an oxygen absorber was even put into the can when it was being prepared?  We have no proof.

     It’s a known fact that people go to LDS Canneries and volunteer in the packaging of foods allegedly for long term storage.  Look at some of the videos on YT about volunteering at the canneries.  Look at people wearing gloves and then scratching their faces or sliding their glasses up on their nose without replacing the gloves before touching the food products.  How about face masks in a food packaging facility?  Where are they?  Where is the Quality Control?  Where is the Supervision?  Is there a possibility that an oxygen absorber was not placed into every can?  Are we even positive of what’s actually in our cans?

     Here is a link showing where children as young as 10 are normally allowed to help in the canning process:

     As all kids will do, I believe that they are just there having fun doing something different and as such they are not really paying attention to food packing.  That potentially allows many packaging errors to take place without corrections being made.  If it sounds like I’m aiming this discussion at innocent children, I’m not.  But then you must consider the alternative.  That would be an adult knowingly placing those severely damaged cans in the box for shipment.  In any event, I will not be ordering anything else from the LDS Store.  I will either order from a regulated commercial vendor or package the food myself.  I have no hard feelings against the LDS Store, but it was a good lesson learned.  I should have opened the cases as soon as I received them.  Open your cases of food as soon as you receive them and inspect every can, regardless of what the outside of the shipping container looks like, OR who you order it from.

     I know now that I trust myself better than anyone when it comes to being prepared.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my experience.  I hope it promotes you to exercise reasonable caution when you're working on your family's food storage pantry.  Feel free to share your comments if you would like to.

Have a great food storing day!
Bob Hotaling