Q&A – What is the Shelf Life of Flour?

By Ray Gano

Hi Ray & Tracye,

Do you know what the shelf-life is of flour, and how do you keep it from getting weevils? – Peg

Hello Peg,

This is a great question, especially for folks who are setting up their food storage.

To give you a short answer, it depends on where you store it.

You can store it in your freezer for up to 12 months.

You can store it in your refrigerator for up to 6 months

Or you can store it at room temperature (your cupboards / pantry) for  up to 3 months

GETTING THE MOST FROM FOOD STORAGE

Before tackling the question, I want to talk a little bit about food storage.

When you store any sort of food, it is oxygen that is the enemy.  The more air you can take out of your food storage containers, the better.

One of the greatest investments Tracye and I have made is our FoodSaver. The one we own is the FoodSaver FM2435, and we love it. This one also has the ability to do wet / moist foods where older versions could not do that. These run about $100.00 and they are worth every penny.

You can get one on Amazon w/Prime for $96.47 – https://amzn.to/2XVmIfI

You do not know how much leftovers we have saved and not gone to waste because of this. This was one of the first “preparedness” products that we purchased.

I mention this product because with this you can help prevent getting those weevils in your flour and possibly even extend the food items you are storing.

If you do not have a FoodSaver, then you can also use 1-gallon Zip Lock Freezer Bags.

Don’t go cheap and get the regular 1-gallon storage bags, get the thicker freezer bags. They will prevent punctures a lot better instead of the regular bags.

Another item I want to mention are Oxygen Absorbers. These are the little packets you find in vitamin bottles, specialty chips, dried seaweed, basically anything that needs to maintain zero humidity in the package.

What these packets do is “absorb” the left-over oxygen in the package and helps prevent oxidization of the food product, which makes it stale and then rot.

Here are the ones we use – Oxygen Absorbers – https://amzn.to/2VRg74i

These come in two vacuum sealed bags. Just open one bag and use it and leave the other sealed. To protect the already opened bag of absorbers, put them in a mason jar and they will last a long time. When they turn pink, they are used up.

STORING FLOUR – WHAT YOU WILL NEED

With the FoodSaver
FoodSaver Vacuum Food Sealer
1 FoodSaver Bag cut to size and sealed on the bottom.
1 Oxygen absorber (optional)
1 Bag of Flour

Without the FoodSaver
1 Gallon Zip Lock Freezer Bag
1 Drink Straw
1 Oxygen absorber
1 Bag of Flour

HOW TO…

  1. Keep your flour in the packaging. This is yet another barrier to help keep your food safe and bug free.
    2. Put your bag of flour into a FoodSaver bag.
    3.  Add your oxygen absorber packet
    4 Suck the air out and seal the bag

Once you have done this your bag of flour has a pretty dense feel to it because almost all the air has been taken out of the package.

Now that you have this, you can store it in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer.

If you do not have a FoodSaver, you can achieve something close to these results by putting your flour in the freezer Zip Lock bag and zip it just about all the way.

Put your drink straw into the un-zipped portion of the bag and try to suck out as much air as you can. You can put your fingers around the straw and zipper opening and that will help you keep a better seal.

As you are sucking the air out and once you have gotten to the point where you are ready to seal, you need to pull the straw out while sucking and zip the bag all in one motion.

You may not get this on the first try, so do the best you can.

SAVING IN BULK

In today’s world I have been telling people to start looking at food as an investment. I have been tracking the commerce department’s Personal Consumption Expenditures Index and guess what, food and energy prices have risen about 15% + every year. So, the food you buy and store today, will be worth more tomorrow. This is a fact. Think about it, that is a good rate of return for your money. Money saved is money earned.

Folks, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the prices are only going to continue to go up further as the years progress.

So not only is buying in bulk wise, it is also prudent of you to do so.

BULK STORAGE – WHAT YOU NEED

1 5-gallon Plastic Storage Container- this needs to be HDPE, which stands for High Density Polyethylene. If you look on the bottom of the bucket you will see the recycle symbol, a triangle of arrows surrounding the number 2.

If the bucket has this, it is food grade.

Now check what was stored in the bucket prior to storing your flour. Often dill pickles are stored in these, if you get them used. To check, just smell the bucket. You can tell what was stored usually by the smell. It might smell like maple syrup, ketchup, mustard, relish, pickles, there are a lot of things. If they smell, you may want to find a different bucket because your flour may absorb some of the smell.

1 5-6-gallon mylar bag
1 2×4 approximately 12- 14 inches long
1 cotton bath towel
4-5 oxygen absorbers
6-7 whole dried bay leaves

A cheap or used standard iron for ironing clothes – if you have a FoodSaver, you can use this as well.

You can get a great 10 Bag Mylar Bag Kit here — https://amzn.to/2Cf7CZn

The kit contains the following…

  • 10 – each 20″x30″ Foil lined, 4.3 mil Thick
  • Sealable With Hot Iron-Can Reseal After Opening
  • Ideal for Long Term Food Storage
  • 2,000cc Oxygen Absorbers made by Oxy-Sorb with indicator pill/eye
  • Light, Moisture, Oxygen Barrier and Puncture Resistant

You can use these for rice, beans, noodles, lentils, as well as flour. If you go with the kit, you will not need the smaller oxygen absorbers, but it isn’t a bad idea to add a few of these to the flour for extra added safety.

HOW TO…

Take your bucket and make sure it is cleaned out. In the bottom of the bucket put 1 oxygen absorber and 3-4 bay leaves.

Next, open your mylar bag and put it in the bucket. Push it down to the bottom and get a good fit.

Put an oxygen absorber into the mylar bag

Add your flour to half way

Add another oxygen absorber

Fill the rest of the bag to about 3 inches from the rim of the bucket

NOTE: You should have a good amount of bag left.

Put an 1-2 oxygen absorbers on top of the flour and close up the bag.

Make sure the bag is NOT folded but both sides of the bag can touch each other.

Wrap the 2×4 in the towel and put it across the rim of the bucket

Lay a part of the bag on the 2×4 and with the hot iron, quickly seal the bag.

Depending on how your bag is situated, you can seal 2-3 places.

Cut off any excess mylar bag

Put 1-2 more oxygen absorbers on top of the bag with 4-5 bay leaves.

Put the lid onto your bucket and seal it up tight.

On the lid or on the side tape a label telling you the contents as well as the date you sealed the flour.

If you have the room, store it in your freezer and it will keep up to a year, 6 months in your refrigerator or 3-6 months in your pantry depending upon the temperature.

Above all, make sure you rotate your stock and eat off of your food stores. In the end you will see your grocery bill start to go down because you are not shopping as much because you have purchased in bulk.

Now you can use this same method in storing dry goods like beans, lentils, rice and wheat. These items will keep for years.

Just to make a point, wheat discovered in King Tut’s tomb was still edible and able to make flour from it even after being over a thousand years old.

Finally, if you want to get flour with a 5 year shelf life, then look at purchasing some flour from our Thrive Life store.

https://www.thrivelife.com/Gano

A one gallon can (#10 can) is $13.29 per can.

We also have a gluten free flour and a whole wheat flour.

I hope that this has helped answer some of your food storage questions.

I enjoy answering these sort of emails, because it often leads to creating a great article that I get to share with all of you.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me.

Realistic Prepper Shopping

By Ray Gano

When you’re walking around a store – any store – and you’re doing your shopping, how often do you think about your survival supplies?

Is it something you make a list of and make a special trip to town?

Or do you incorporate your survival supplies shopping into your everyday life?

You want to know our secret? We try to buy at least $5 of something every time we go to the store.

Let’s take the other day for example, Tracye and I went shopping at the local Walmart here in Conroe.

While we were walking through the store, I picked up a 2 pack of strike on box matches. At 250 matches per box, that is 500 matches. I took inventory of my matches a while back, and it came to like 6 or 7 boxes of 250 matches per box. So that equals out to around 1,500 – 1,700 matches.

I am one who believes you can never have to many means to make fire, so I picked up another 500. I also got a box of Federal 9mm ammo & 12-gauge #4 shot.

When we got to the food section, we checked our grocery list and as I was walking around, I grabbed 2 jars of peanut butter to put up. One can never have to much peanut butter.

Tracye picked up some Jiffy corn bread mix. These are great. One box is good for one meal and all you have to do is add water. They cost some thing like $1.00 each. Our Walmart has them on sale all the time so you can pick them up for .75 cents a box at times.

While we were standing there in the isle, I was wondering “how well corn bread mix would store in vacuum sealed bags with oxygen absorbers? The mix has an expiration date of 2020. So, I bet storing them like that we can extend the life. That is the kind of stuff I think about when shopping. We got $5.00 worth of corn bread mix.

Here is what I added to my preps from this trip –

  • 50 rounds of Federal 9mm ammo
  • 25 rounds 12-gauge #4 shot – #4 is great for small game – rabbit – squirrel – etc
  • 2 jars of peanut butter
  • 5 boxes of corn bread mix
  • 2 boxes strike on box matches

The ammo is going to be put in their boxes and stored, peanut butter, corn bread mix and matches will be stored.

If I did not get the ammo, the cost of the food and matches was under $10.00.

Easy-peasie, you just have to think about it every time you go to the store. After a while it becomes habit.

I am mentioning this because I see new preppers / survivalist that put a lot of time an effort into their preps. If I put a “lot” of time and effort into it, I would probably get burned out. So, I try to take the slow and steady approach. This is why it has to be a lifestyle. Prepping is what you do all the time, and you do this by taking baby steps. An item here, jar of something there and once you do this for a month or two, you will be amazed at how much supplies you have on hand.

One of the problems that I see especially today, is that people put “too” much time and effort into survivalism. Yea, I know this is an “oxymoron” statement, but hear me out. They feel like they are behind the “8 ball” and they are trying to play catch up. They are prepping in a panic and always on the “go” with their preps. It’s like they jump in with both feet, take off running, but after a while get tired and drop out of the race. This is why I say take baby steps. Think like a turtle and be slow yet steady. Or think like a squirrel, a squirrel buries 1 nut at a time.

It is never too late to start, in fact right now with Easter approaching, it is an excellent time to start. There are many great deals on food as well as supplies. You can save a lot of money because all the stores are competing for your Easter food and gift dollars.

In the prepping world January is when many of the Mormon churches start the preps. Because of this many, prepping companies, like Thrive Life have great sales on their shelves and supplies.  In fact, Thrive Life should be ramping up their Super Sale they have every year around this time. This is a great time to buy and get some incredible deals and really stock up.

Now is a great time to start your preps, things are on sale and the ability to take baby steps will allow you to really make a good prepping effort in a short amount of time without burning out. Remember the corn bread mix? When you see sales like that, buy extra, you will be glad you did.

When I find good deals, I will try to share them with you so that you can take advantage of the savings as well.

In the meantime – check out my Thrive Life Store at …

http://www.thrivelife.com/Gano

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I will be glad to answer your questions.

Gray Man – The Art of Blending Into Your Surroundings

By Ray Gano

Gray Man – A man who can blend in to any scene or situation without standing out , hiding his skills and qualities. Source – urbandictionary.com

Becoming the gray man, it will be an important skill; a skill you will need in the future days to come. You will need to learn how to blend into your environment, look like everyone else, and become the “average looking Joe.”

But what makes you different is that you are alert to your surroundings, you suspect everyone that comes within your 20-foot perimeter and you are ready to react if need be. The real mission is to just be left alone while putting off that “sheepdog” disposition instead of being one of the sheep.

You are not some weekend warrior or paramilitary nut, you are just like everyone else except your everyday carry gear probably includes keys, cell phone, wallet, wrist watch…. a folding lock blade knife, multi-tool, pepper spray, maybe even a flashlight and if you are C&C licensed, a handgun with an extra loaded magazine.

This is today and you have adapted to the “new normal” that we now call America.

Radicalized Antifa members conducting crime, looting, blocked roads, creating riots, muggings, theft, rape and murder. These are more common place today than the days of yesteryear.

Luke 22:36 (KJV) Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

We live in a time where going to the mega-mart or the grocery store is an act of bravery, determination, logistics and security. No longer is it just running to get a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs.

Not that way in your area yet? Just wait.

How To Be The Gray Man

Look around, what are all the guys wearing? Now I am focusing on the guys because I am a guy. Ladies, this is for you also, take my examples and adapt them to what you would wear and so forth.

Here in the Houston Tx area, the majority of men wear some sort of “cargo” shorts or jeans. They go above the knee and tend to be a little baggy. Beige, brownish red, or blue jeans tend to be the color of choice. If not shorts, then blue jeans are the norm.

For a shirt, one will wear a common “T” shirt that is lose fitting sometimes with a pocket on the left breast. Or if they want to dress it up a little, a button up short sleeve or a golf polo shirt will do.

When it gets close to hunting season, around the beginning of August, the “Real Tree” cammo “T” shirts become the norm. See here in Texas, hunting is a big deal, and everyone gets in the mode. It also helps that the local Walmart sells these cammo “Beefy T’s” for only $8.00 each.

On his feet, are ankle socks or rolled over tube socks, he wears hiking shoes, or some form of work boots.

If he is wearing jeans, then cowboy boots are usually the norm.

Finally, the common baseball cap on top of the head and sporting sunglasses.

This is what an “average Joe” looks like when he is in his casual dress out on the street.

This is how I dress, except I try not to wear loud logo-based shirts or something that has verbiage on it. I wear an over-sized survival bracelet on my left arm with my watch, my wedding ring on my left hand and a crusader’s ring on my right.

Now some of you may be asking why an oversized survival bracelet? This as well as my watch could help deflect a knife cut if I had to block a blow with my arm.

Now, of someone asked about you, could they describe you or would they be describing just about everyone else, the average Joe?

How you DON’T want to dress

Like I said You don’t want to attract attention towards yourself. Don’t wear bright colors or “haute de couture” fashion, nothing that makes you stand out.

Example: Here in Texas everyone thinks of the cowboy. We have a lot of cowboys walking around, but they are not dressed in the “A” typical cowboy dress.

The cowboys here are not wearing the long-sleeved shirt with fringes dangling, no 10 gallon cowboy hat, nor fancy rhinestone pants. Everyone imagines the average cowboy looks like Roy Rogers or Hop-along Cassidy, but they don’t.

The average cowboy looks just like the person that I described above except that he probably wears some sort of work jeans. Come fall and winter here in Texas, we all look like the average “cowboy.”

Once in a while you will see someone wearing a cowboy hat. Straw cowboy hats are acceptable for guys over fifty during the summer time. During the winter everyone switches from straw to a black felt hat or baseball cap.

Believe me, if you step out of this mold, you will get noticed and that is not what you want to do.

If you are a prepper, you do not want to be dressing in some sort of combat BDU pants, army boots, and definitely no shirts with paramilitary sayings like “death from above” or pictures that you see at all the gun shows. This is a dead give-away and shouts “HEY… Look at me, I am a weekend warrior.”

Become The Gray Man

Become the average Joe, blend into your surroundings. But walk with a purpose and be alert to what is going on around you.

While you want to look like the average person, you want to project a demeanor about you that tells the wolves “to leave you alone, you are not one of the sheep, don’t mess with me.”

See, the sheep will not notice you, just like real sheep, they do not really notice the sheepdog. But the wolves will see you. Wolves are cowards and seek out the weak, frail and innocent. They do not want to have to work too hard, they want to be in and out and be done with the job.

So, while you don’t what to be wearing some neon sign blinking ” GUN… GUN…. GUN … KNIFE … KNIFE … KNIFE … with an arrow pointing at you; you want to be acknowledged as someone who is alert, aware and not some soft target.

How you achieve this is by training yourself. Look like you are someone alive, not some drained zombie who stairs at the ground, shoulders slumped as if he has the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Make eye contact and smile at people, greet them and wish them a good day or just a simple nod of the head will do.

You don’t want to seem like some bodyguard type either. You know the guys with the little curly tube sticking out of their ear, dark Ray-Ban glasses, constantly scanning, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. That is going overboard.

I bring up the Mega-stores because that is where America shops, it is also where the wolves hang out for some quick prey.

When walking in the parking lot, have a determination to your step, enter Mega-Store and look the greeter in the eye, nod your head say hello and smile. Then take a basket, eye the cashier and the customers checking out, assess if anyone is out of place then move on for that gallon of milk, dozen eggs and a few extra boxes of ammo.

BUT for example, if you enter the store, scan the area and notice someone wearing a trench coat and it is 90 degrees outside. This should raise your red flags. If this happens, step up the pace and move into the store, get out of the general area and do your shopping.

Every Day Carry – What I wear

I do not want to go into much detail in this article as to Every Day Carry (EDC), that is for another article, but for your E.D.C. kit carry what you want. The items above are what I carry, and I don’t look like I am wearing Batman’s utility belt either. My clothes do not scream “Hey.. It’s Mr. Tactical Guy here” either.

I wear Wrangler brand cargo shorts. These have cargo pockets on each side as well as a cell phone pocket that opens above the cargo flap. They have side pockets which the right pocket has a coin pocket inside the deep right. Finally, there are left and right rear pockets.

As for a shirt, I wear a common black, blue, beige, Fruit of the Loom pocket “T” shirt or a short sleeve button up with a left breast pocket. If it is hunting season, which at the time of this writing it is. I also wear cammo “Real Tree Beefy T” shirts because just about every other guy is wearing them also.

An important item that I want to touch on is your belt. I wear a double thick “Justin Boots” black leather belt with a common cowboy belt buckle. Your belt needs to be sturdy enough to carry all your gear if you do not put the items in your pockets as well as hold up your pants. So, you do not want some inexpensive belt from the big mega stores. Invest some money in this and you will not be sorry. You would be surprised how much a cell phone, buck knife, and a Multi-tool weighs when you are carrying it on your hip. With a heavy-duty belt, it will also help distribute the weight of these items more evenly and honestly once you get used to them, you forget they are even there. Another thing, my belt is also a last-ditch defensive weapon. The buckle weighs a good 10-12 ounces and makes for a mean bludgeon and can help keep someone at arms distance if need be.

How I developed my EDC was that I slowly carried one item, then added another and another. It took time in getting used to carrying gear, finding the spot where it is easy to access and not have it banging around on my leg or chest. You will find that some things work, and some things don’t. Carry what tools and gear you need but don’t make it obvious that you are a prepper, or you will look like some paramilitary tactical guy.

If you can get away with it, use a back pack or messenger bag. Look at what others are carrying in your area and adapt to the look. If everyone carries a back pack, carry a back pack. If they carry a messenger bag, well then messenger bag. With this you can also carry a water bottle, small first aid kit and any other gear that is important to you.

Just remember to keep it light, you do not want to turn yourself into some pack mule.

When I dress up, I usually wear black jeans, black cowboy boots, a black long sleeve shirt and a tie. If need be and I need to dress up more, I wear a beige twill sport coat and in all of this, I can still carry most of my gear. This is what the average guy wears here when they dress up, so I am still blending in and looking good too.

If someone would describe me, they would say he had on black shirt, pants and cowboy boots. In other words, I look like every other Joe that walks into a nice restaurant or business meeting.

Becoming the gray man will be an important skill for you to develop, especially with crime on the rise, thanks to the socialist Marxist left pushing the “hate whitey” narrative.

You will need to be equipped to protect yourself and possibly others if needed. You will also want to blend in the background.

Above all, your goal is to get home safely that day. You are not some super hero nor are you there to protect the world. You are ready to defend yourself if you must, but your goal is not having to resort to that.

Finally…

Tactical retreats, AKA running away is totally acceptable. The only one who didn’t walk away was John Wayne and that was in the movies. You are not bullet proof nor knife proof, so run don’t walk if you think you need to get out of the area fast. Your spouse will be glad you did and so will you.

And as a last resort, always remember it is better to face 12 than to be carried out by 6.

So, if you have to protect yourself, fight to win because you will be fighting for your life.

 

Call Tracye Gano and have her help you make memories.
She can help you save $$ on all your travel needs.