Using the 55 gallon metal drum for the 7 years of long term food storage seems to make sense

Another new project for me in 2013 on getting at least 7 years of grains, rice and beans on hand. I know it sounds a bit daunting but using a friend’s idea of 55 gallon metal drums and the fitting 4 of these drums on a pallet I think it is doable. If not perfect, the food should be in good shape for 10-25 years depending on the conditions where you can store the drums.

This is my plan and it’s based on 1 person for every pallet of four drums:

  1. Rice: about 300 pound per 55 gallon drum is equal to 4 years of rice based on 2  4 oz. servings everyday. 75 pounds per year per person. 500 4 oz. servings per 50 pound bag. Approx. cost $200.00 including the drum.
  2. Wheat grains: about 300 pound per 55 gallon drum is equal to 4 years. I used a 1.5 pound loaf of bread per person per week.  My cost for hard red wheat is about $14.00 per 50 pounds. Total cost would be about $125.00 including the drum.
  3. Beans: Now it starts to get a little more expensive 350 pounds of beans is just under 4 years worth based on 8 serving per pound and 2 meals per day. My average cost on a pound of beans tends to be under a dollar per pound depending on the type. I figure filling this drum will cost about $350.00 including the drum.
  4. Last drum is the Misc. staples you want to add grains like dent corn, barley, oats and whatever else to add variety to your meals and if there is a sale. I figure the total cost to be about $150.00 and will give you 4 years adding variety to your basic “bulk food” setup.

A pallet worth of food in 55 gallon drums really does not take up all that much space at 4 ft. x 4 ft and 4 feet high. If you have a family of 4 that is a year of food for less than $900.00 total that is good for many years and will keep you fairly healthy and full as I allowed for little extra per drum. If you plan your meals and add in what you have grow in the garden, add in a little foraging as well as critters for protien, you should be able to stay healthy and feel that you are eating pretty good even if the meals could get a bit boring.  You can start cheap under $50.00 with your first drum and 50 pound bag of grain or rice and each month add to your drum or start a new one. I get my pallets for free by just asking if stores will let me take them off their hands.

Heck you could turn a bedroom into a huge storage area with a “Loft bed” held up via 4 barrel of food/water in the drums for long term storage and your pantry of canned goods and short term stuff underneath the bed.  I saw a cool set of drawers that was for a bunk bed that you could walk up like stairs. Might make a good safe area in a storm if you don’t have a storm shelter. Or start placing one barrel of food and one of water in each closet and place a small board on top and store your shoes or what ever in between the barrels. Who says your bed can’t be 3-4 feet off the ground? Since heat rises it makes perfect sense to place your bed higher so it’s warmer, and with a couple of fans below your bed it might keep it cooler in summer.

Think outside the box and about the possible. Do it different and what works for you!  If you really give a darn what others think about you and how you live your life you probably ain’t a prepper!  I think it’s great I have “dee” comment on my site and we are on kind of opposite ends of the economic spectrum and I don’t care!  I learned more from her free fist aid stocking up from a “Preppers perspective” than I have learned in the last 6 months on some of the more popular sites. I love how riverrider shared what he learned going without power for over 10 days in a heat wave after the little/sarc wind storm that blew through.  Big tough guy had to get some AC and went on a 100 mile drive and just happened to have a few cooler he could fill with ice for the neighbors.

I see the goombas that are supposed to be the elites, smarter than “the people”  and how they think they are going to save us!  Then I watch the “people ” go to work and make stuff happen.  I take quite a lot of glee when I see people fix the problems and bypass the PTBs because I know it drives them nuts!  I’ll take “dee” a self described liberal over at least 90% of the Republican party as I know she’s goes out and get dirty and gets the job done.  I’ll take tough guy riverrider who actually pays the gas and brings back ice paid out of his own pocket to his unprepared neighbors over 90% of the Democrats who claim they care about the little guy.

It’s a lot easier to talk a good game than play a good game. Results is what matters and I have no idea what I’m doing will work. I’ve study history and I think I doing the best I can based on logic but that does not mean I’m right. I’m hoping we have 2013 to stock up and finish up those last minute things I’d like to have on hand. I’d like to have another five years to help folks but I think that is a wash. Heck if I’m wishing I might as well go over the top and think 16 trillion + in debt is no big deal, and the Fed buying up 90 million in junk paper won’t really matter. I think it will matter sometime in the near future.


17 Responses to Using the 55 gallon metal drum for the 7 years of long term food storage seems to make sense

  1. Wildflower says:

    double line the barrels with plastic liners be also sensible

    just don’t place the barrels in a flood zone

    lost two that way

    • Jamie says:

      Wild, good ideas, I’m placing my barrels on a pallet and storing in new bags so that should add another layer of protection.

  2. riverrider says:

    j, HAHAHA! one thing i’ve never been called before is a “big tough guy”, LOL! tough little guy maybe, lol! i’m not ashamed i went for ac in 100 degree heat wave, if momma ain’t comfortable nobody is. i always thought it was stupid to suffer thru feild problems when an easier way was right there available to you. my old sarge used to say “maximum use of available resources, son”. so i’m always looking for an easier/smarter way…… it sounds like a solid plan you got there. i just worked out a similar plan using superpails. i trust their sealing technique better than mine. i’m ordering 5 pails every month except the first month which is oats(i’m very short on them). it’ll be ten pail of oats. every other month will be wheat, alternating with beans/rice. i figure about 10 months will top me out. storing it in a little cabin we have out back. i’ll have to run ac out to it for climate control, no biggie.

    • Jamie says:

      river, the driving in AC wasn’t a slam I loved how you talked about not “Sharing” and then got people ice. Doing not talk is the true measure of a person. I still want to get that portable mister set up for summer!

  3. China says:

    I am going to be using some of your ideas. I kind of dropped my food storage,I have some but not enough. This post was a good kick in the ass to get me back at it.Thanks!


    • Jamie says:

      China, help yourself. I have a feeling food is going up a lot more and if we can store what we need now it will help stretch those Dollars.

  4. My goodness, Jamie! I am humbled that you think my ideas are worthy of mentioning. Wow. Got a question on those drums. The wheat it really doesn’t matter so much, but how are you preserving that rice? and would not something that heavy be hard to move. I am a little women, less than 125 lbs, and right at 5 ft.The pails of wheat that I have, are heavy enough, and 55 gal drums of water, were only moved, and poured the water on the lawn, when we moved. Once those barrels are filled (on a elevated/or non-concrete surface, the water won’t get moved except by siphon.
    I love the idea of using them as a safe place or placing boards for shoes, desk, etc.

    • Jamie says:

      Denise, I have the buckets to transfer any grains as they are needed. I plan on using bags and DE to store inside the drum. The food safe 2 gallon Freezer bags hold about 10-12 pounds so they should be easy to move into buckets as needed, but like the water barrels they are going to be staying once they are in place. I’ll be getting my first food drum on Tuesday along with some grains and will be able to get you some better idea on the numbers and how tight the bags fit in the drum.

      • Jamie says:

        Also Denise you will want to use white or parboiled white rice for long term storage. Brown rice goes bad to quickly to be good for more than two to three years. Most folks probable know that but just in case we got some new preppers on the site it’s best that they learn some stuff just can’t be stored long term.

  5. dee says:

    cool! Post a pix, when ready.

  6. don says:

    Storing grain in 55 gallon drums is a great idea. But take in to consideration that all grain has been exposed to insects whether at the mill or straight out if the field. Most grains will have insect eggs present when you purchase it. I recommend putting your grain in smaller mylar bags with oxygen absorbers which prevents eggs from hatching because no oxygen is available and then storing in 55 gallon drum. By do so when you need to open your grain you will open smaller quantities at a time and allow them to be consumed before insects take over. The last thing you want is to have spent all that money and time storing grain to find out years down the road or when the time comes you open your grain drum and see insets have hatched and eaten your grain. (Make sure you are using food grade drums, its not worth chancing your health and when the time comes you are having to use your stored food you will need all the help you can get to stay healthy)

    • Jamie says:

      don: I use DE for bug prevention and after storing food for 3 years I have yet to see a bug in any of my buckets. My 55 gallon drums are used food grade drums that I get for about $30.00. I think I cover how I’m storing the bulk foods in later posts.

      • Sean says:

        Where do you get them?

      • Jamie says:

        Sean, I’m not sure what you are refering too. The Drum or the DE so I’ll cover both.
        The food grade drums I get from a local Farm store called D&B Supply, the DE I got over the internet but a local healrh food store carries DE and so does D&B Supply. Make sure you get DE that specifically says FOOD GRADE.

  7. lora c. says:

    Hi I was given a metal barrel full of wheat is it safe to eat?

    • Jamie says:

      lora c. I have no idea, but if you don’t know for sure it’s safe I would throw it away! It could be seed wheat and if you eat it or your animals eat it it could kill! Not a total loss the metal barrel could come in very handy, I would stay away from storing any food or water in the barrel.

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