Water, Beans and Cheese

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I need help with three questions, please:

1. I plan to purchase a "Big Berkey" water purifier. Does anyone have opinions on this product. I have two 55-gallon drums for cistern plus a pond on my property. Although it's not running water, the pond might be spring-fed (it never dries out) but there's lots of plant life, frogs, etc in it. The cost of new well/pump is too much for me and I thought this would be a good alternative.

2. Just transferred 50 lb of pinto beans into ziplock bags. Do I need to freeze them before storage? - didn't see any signs of bugs or eggs. Also have numerous one-pound store-bought bags of lentils, split peas, barley, etc. in ziplock as well. Do these need to be frozen as well? I have 20 lb bags of rice in sturdy plastic bags (the ones they came in). I really don't want to transfer them into smaller bags, but should I?, and do these need to be frozen as well?

3. Where can you purchase powdered cheese (like in the mac and cheese packages)? Haven't found this yet. And will parmesan cheese last without being refrigerated?

Thanks in advance. This forum has helped so much!

-- dakota (none@thistime.com), July 10, 1999


Greetings Dakota!

1.Big Berkey - Of all our prep items this was the most expensive one time purchase. IMO this is the best all-around water purifier on the market. Like yourself, we live within rock throwing distance of a 20 acre lake along with several streams. The Berkey is excellant for this application and lives up to it's claims! If it's within one's budget don't hesitate to pay a little more for the most important prep item!

2.Storage of Beans/Rice - The vast majority are storing these items in various ways. The most common method seems to be freezing first then placing in buckets with oxygen absorbers. We have done this as well as vacum seal in bags and place in buckets.

3.Powdered Cheese - We purchased several #10 cans from www.Foodman.com which is located in North Carolina.

Hope this helps,hang in there and keep the faith. One step closer eventually gets you where ya going!

-- Ex-Marine (Digging In@Home.com), July 10, 1999.

In reverse order,

I've purchased cheese from Custom Dried Foods. Also bought Sour Cream powder from them, and a bunch of other stuff. They have good prices and good delivery.

dakota, I am just taking the beans that I buy locally, in little 1 lb bags, putting several bags in a bucket, adding 02 absorbers, and putting the lid on. Freezing kills off adult bugs. If they ain't munching when you buy the beans, you're probably OK. Actually, I have a lot of beans that I've stored by putting several packages into a mylar bag, with 02 absorbers, sealing the bag, and then protecting the bag by just dropping it into a plastic storage container. The mylar bag actually works better than the bucket to keep air out. The bucket provides protection, which isn't needed in this case.

I agree on the Big Berkey. I ran a couple of gallons through mine to get the filters cleaned, and it began to put out real good water. It's especially good for a family, where you pour in water from a creek, pond, lake, etc., let it sit for a while (no pumping) and end up with a water jug with a spout on it. When water gets low, just add some more.

-- de (delewis@inetone.net), July 10, 1999.

Excellent cheese powder from www.oldranchersfoods.com

-- Just (letting@you.know), July 10, 1999.

Kraft makes little (3 oz.) blue cardboard shaker "cans" (like Parmesan cheese comes in) of "Macaroni and Cheese--Cheese Topping." Says, "The great taste of The Cheesiest" (their mac & cheese slogan). Contents: Whey, whey protein concentrate, skim milk, granular and cheddar cheese, buttermilk, salt, sodium phosphate, sodium tripolyphosphate, citric acid, yellow 5 & 6, and lactic acid. Shelf life may be pretty short--bought some at the supermarket in June that expires the end of July. Cost was about $1.20-ish. Threw it in the freezer to see if it would still be OK in a few months. Also, you can get the powdered orange cheese in small quantities from the King Arthur Flour Co. in Vermont. Can't find my catalog, but their web site is www.kingarthurflour.com. For larger quantities of cheese powder, there's another place called Maple Island, 1-800-369-1022. Price: (6) cans (3lbs. ea., nitrogen flushed) Dehydrated Cheese Powder, $66.50. Can call and request a sample. They call it "100% cheese powder" and the ingredients are: cheddar cheese (milk, salt, cheese cultures, enzymes), disodium phosphate, salt, lactic acid, and artificial color, including FD&C yellow #5 & 6. Re Parmesan: Kraft's says, "Keep in a cool dry place, but for best quality, refrigerate after opening." So does the blue can of whatever you would call that orange cheese-like stuff.

-- who (who@who.me?), July 10, 1999.

Hi yall, Have been a lerker for about three weeks. I have been preparing for about three months. My brother turned my head to the y2k mess about six months ago. HE has already prepard for a year I am only preparing for 3 months, I have a 30 ac. farm that I raise goats on. I am planning on buying some chickens next. now to the questions. on the dryed beans can`t you just put them in glass jars? Have put mine in 1 gal. jars. tryed looking at the other Time Bomb but to mutch,mutch Thanks Smokey

-- Smokey (Smokey1057@aol.com), July 10, 1999.

We bought a case of the powdered cheese from Maple Island. In applications where you're gonna melt the cheese i.e. Mac/Cheese or (as we call them in Texas) Hog-rotten potatoes Mama Bear like it *better* than conventional types. The flavor is excellent.

MI were great folks to deal with and delivered as promised.

BTW, thier whole milk is also excellent. It 4% fat so we make it up and mix it half and half with non-fat (store bought) powdered milk. I expect we'll be ordering some non-fat from MI soon.


I'm sorry but this is too good of an opportunity and I can't resist....

-- Got Milk?

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), July 10, 1999.

I have packing my beans and rice in zip-lock sandwitch bags. I put in 2 cups beans or 1 cup of rice. I have been doing this for some time. It is convenient to have it packed in premeasured ready to cook packages. If I need to give food to neighbors, I can just give them a few bags and not let anyone see entire stach.

I have bought dried cheese powder in the bulk food section next to the produce area at my local grocery store. I don't have a list of the ingredients, but it works great.

-- Homeschooling Grandma (mlaymon@glenn-co.k12.ca.us), July 11, 1999.

I am a big advocate of British Berkefeld's "Big Berkey" gravity drip water filter. To see it go to this page:


We've used one daily since our Big Berkey arrived early last Spring. It's convenient to use, processes water quickly, and the water comes out sparkling clear and fresh tasting.

It's not cheap but it's a good value, in my opinion.

My wife and I prefer it over the reverse osmosis system we used to own and the pocket filter I also own.

-- walt (longyear@shentel.net), July 11, 1999.

Check your yellow pages for a restaurant food supply store. You can buy powdered cheese there along with lots of other things. I bought powdered cheese from the local discount bakery store in my area. These stores sell more than bread items. I got 4 packages for $5 and each package makes 2 cups of cheese sauce just by adding water. I buy anything that says just add water and there is a lot of items in the stores that is complete except for the water.

-- Carol (glear@usa.net), July 11, 1999.

Ditto on Berkey - great tool.

Buy a vacuum sealer (go halfsies with other couples?) and buy used mason jars at thrift stores for 15 cents each. Vacuum sealed bags may leak, and even if sealed well at the start, a sharp bean corner can punch a hole. No problem with jars. Also, jars work on some powedery things that don't do well in bags.

Try different brands of potato flakes and dried milk - there are real good brands of each, and some terrible ones. Costco has excellent brands for both, but may carry junk too. Good milk is "Mix-n-Drink", good potatoes are "Real Idaho" or something like that. They do well in jars, too.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), July 12, 1999.

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