Stocking Up? Part 1: Bulk Food

21645187_mThis is the first article in a new series.  Here at, we believe a philosophy of self-reliance and preparedness helps our readers keep their options open.  Rather than being the victim of an unfortunate turn of events, you can minimize the disruption to you and your family by stocking up.  In this series, we will look at a variety of topics to help you “Stock Up” smartly.  This also includes where and how to find the best deals.

Our first topic is buying food in bulk.  There are many choices and you have to decide what is right for you.  The only thing I will stress is that no matter what direction you take in your preparations, put a plan into place to rotate your bulk food stocks.  Originally, fruits and vegetables were canned with the goal of preserving them for one year.  This would allow a family to carry through for a year if a natural event destroyed a harvest.   If you don’t use and rotate your stock, you may discover it has gone bad when you really need it.

Many canned items carry a “For best freshness, use before…” or “Best before…” date on them.  This does not mandate disposal after that date.  However, there are some basic rules you should follow before you chow down.   What are we afraid of?  A little germ called Clostridium botulinum also known as Botulism.   The germ can survive, grow, and produce toxin in a sealed jar or can of food. This toxin can affect your nerves, paralyze you, and cause death.  Even taking a small taste of food containing this toxin can be deadly.  Symptoms include: double or blurry vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, and/or muscle weakness.

From the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website:

1)      If you suspect contamination, do not open or puncture a can.

2)      If the can spurts liquid or foam when opened, throw it out.

3)      If the contents are discolored, moldy, or smell bad, throw it out.

4)      If the can is swollen, leaking, cracked, or has bulges, throw it out.

Remember to use both common sense and your common senses to determine if a canned item may have spoilt.  We will continue this article in “Stocking Up? Part 2: More Bulk Food”.

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