Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekend Roundup--Q and A #4

This didn't post last week because I was down and out with the flu. Anyway, here are some more Q&A's in full glory, but just a few business items first:

1. We've added tabs to the top of the blog to help you navigate the website easier. Because it's all about being easy. Some of the links that used to be on the sidebars can now be found in the above tabs instead.

2. Lately, we have begun having some problems with plagiarism. While this is a bit flattering and motivating, as it entails our blog is being read and our information relied upon, it is also disheartening. We want you to use this website, but we would appreciate if you remembered to give us some credit. There's no need to dust off those old citation text books from freshman English, just add a link or our blog name. Thanks!


Each Saturday we will
post some questions that readers have asked with some (hopefully) good answers. Please be patient as we try to answer all your questions. More questions? Email us!

Previous Question and Answer Posts:
Question and Answer #1
Question and Answer #2
Question and Answer #3

Other Informative Posts:
All About Oats
All About Beans
Let's Talk About Wheat
All About Rice

I am getting ready to buy some blue 55 gallon water barrels. I'm not sure if they are safe though. They had fruit juice in them previously. I know FEMA recommends not using plastic milk containers or cardboard juice containers. Do you know much about this? What would be your recommendation. Many church wards have purchased them in bulk... I assume they are safe, but don't want to be wrong.

You are right about re-using milk containers or cardboard juice containers. That is not a safe method of storing water.

To clean your 55-gallon barrels thoroughly, use a pressure washer to really get it clean. If you don't have a pressure washer, take the barrel to a DIY car wash, where they are available to use. If you are still concerned about it getting clean enough, buy a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and pour it around in the barrel, it will kill whatever is left in there. Then, fill the barrel with water from a new hose (a cheap one is fine - old hoses may have mold) and add Clorox to the stored water, just to be on the safe side. You really don't need much - 1/2 teaspoon Regular bleach per five gallons of water (5 and 1/2 teaspoons total).

When you get around to using your water, it should still be fine, but you may have to bleach it again as you use it. Also, it's always a good idea to store drink mixes in your food storage (Crystal Lite, etc), because the plain stored water can taste stale or a little bleachy.

One final note about 55-gallon drums: be sure that when you are filling them with your water, they are placed where you want them to stay. Moving those things full of water is nearly impossible. Also, consider getting a small pump to use for when you need the water. It's much easier than using a bucket or something else to actually get the water out!

We have a built-in gas BBQ. Is there any way that you can convert this into an oven if you didn't have any electricity?

Mountain Man worries that the direct heat from the gas burners would make it difficult to treat your gas grill like an oven. It would probably be a good idea to put something like a brick or a flat stone on top of the rack, and under your bake ware. It would serve to distribute the heat, and protect the bottom of your dish from scorching. Compared to a normal oven loss of heat might be a problem, so you'll probably have to play around with the cook time. It's always a good idea to try something out before the emergency happens. Mountain Man promises to try it out sometime and let us know how it goes...

I've been trying to find out how long the wheat will store after it's ground into flour. I can't believe how hard it is to find that information! (at least I have had no luck) It'd be great if you could help me out on this one!

Not long, believe it or not. So, I have always stored my extra ground flour (from bread making) in my freezer because my aunt told me to. That's how I live life, but after doing a little research, it turns out that the germ in the wheat kernels contains oil, and the oils being exposed after grinding will go rancid. You can delay this by storing your ground wheat flour in an airtight Ziploc or container in the fridge (for a couple of weeks) or in the freezer (for a couple of months) but do keep in mind whole wheat flour is the most nutritious when it is freshly ground--so try to grind only as much as you need at a time. I do grind a couple of cups extra so I can make crackers or whatever and not have to drag out my grinder, but never more than 2 or 3 cups.

About your box oven, does it matter what the temp. is outside? For instance if you were to do it outside in the winter?

When we baked in our cardboard box oven, the temperature was in the 90's and it didn't seem to affect the finished product, but we have never tried it in the cold. It appears that Boy Scouts regularly use them on Klondike derbies, so they must work. Our advice is the same as above--give it a try! We'll be trying it too, so let us know how it works for you.


MissManda-Mae said...


thank you so much for commenting on my blog... I am ALWAYS interested in finding fellow blogging, food storage gals... I can't wait to read over your blog... Have a great Sunday!!


Someone You Know said...

Dear Hannah, Abs, and Everyone Else,

I recommend against using a pressure washer/car wash. The chemicals from the soaps, engine cleaners, and waxes are still in the hose and nozzle. They will contaminate the inside of the barrel and make your stored water, in that barrel, undrinkable by you and your family.

To clean the barrel, with fruit juice or soda residue, simply rinse using tap water. Drain then fill. The water will taste like the juice/soda residue but as you rotate your water, by draining and refilling every six months to a year, the juice/soda residue taste will diminish.

I use a hose designed for potable water to fill my barrels. Got it on clearance. You can find them at an RV store.

A regular one works, I didn't die from drinking from one as a kid, but make sure you let the water run a little bit to keep the leached chemicals, from the hose, out of your stored water.

Definitly treat your water with bleach, 5.25% Sodium Hypochlorite as the only ingredient, to disinfect for storage. You should not have to treat the water after that when you need to drink it.

Good point about the weight of a 55 gallon barrel, over 400 pounds! Plus, keep the water barrel out of the sunlight. Encourages algea growth.

Water will go stale. (still safe to drink, just taste weird) If it happens, put the water in a closed container and shake it up. The stale taste is from the water losing its dissolved oxygen from setting too long.

American Red Cross - Water Treatment

American Red Cross - Emergency Food and Water