Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Great Ideas Sometimes Fail

UPDATE: From Foodsaver

Some dry foods have the potential to puncture FoodSaver bags.

For these items, you may:

1. Use FoodSaver Canisters or mason jars
2. Use a paper towel as padding for dried foods with a puncture potential when using FoodSaver Bags.

Since the point was to have lightweight meals I can store at work, I hope the paper towels work.

Original Post
I had this super idea for making some emergency packets of food to keep at work as part of my preparedness challenge. I am fortunate to be in a building that has a full service cafeteria in addition to various snack machines; however, should there be a disaster that prevented us from leaving the office, we have 400 people in our buildings, and that doesn't count the other tenants. How long would the supply of food really last, especially without refrigeration?

Our offices, and even every cubicle, are furnished with a wardrobe. Half of this is a closet with a hanger rod for coats or extra clothes. The other side has two deep shelves plus three file drawers below, all can be locked up. I have seen these shelves looking more like Kroger than an office, everything from soup, bread, candy and sodas. Why not stock it with a few days worth of full meals that needed no refrigeration, at least enough to keep you from starving.

The dehydrated food we've been preparing sounded like a good idea to me, my own homemade MREs using our dehydrator and vacuum sealer. I took a couple pieces of beef jerky (purchased only for demo purposes. I can't trust that this commercially prepared product is safe to vacuum seal). Then I layered the bag with dehydrated potatoes, green peppers, cucumbers and zucchini, topping it off with a couple of dried orange slices for a sweet treat. Light weight, cheap and will last for a very long time.

It worked perfectly- see how pretty it is? --------Was------A few hours later I picked up the bag and everything shifted- the seal had broken when the sharp edges of the dried vegetables pierced the bag. Drat!

This isn't over yet- it is still a great idea. Even our CERT trainer said we need provisions at work, and a change or two of clothes. I've e-mailed Foodsaver, the maker of the bags, to find out how best to proceed. I'm sure there is a solution, perhaps wrapping the vegetables with another material before using the sealer.

If you all have any experience with this, please let me know!


Michelle said...

We had a similar problem. When useing the vacuum seal on meat, the juices stopped it from sealing. So we wraped the meat in plastic first. It took care of the problem. It might work for you. I hope so.

ellen b said...

I don't have any experience with it so I'm of no help...
Looks like a good idea.

Teresa said...

Well, that is a very interesting and creative idea.

http://getnickt.blogspot.com/ said...

Mmmmm. Dehydrated zucchini? Not sure about that one. But like the idea.

Judie said...

Well, I have to say that it certainly LOOKS pretty! Hope you get it figured out! We rarely lose power because our utilities are under ground, but I have plenty of food in the pantry that we could eat in case of an emergency, and there is always the gas grill on which to cook if the fridge fails and we have to use things quickly.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I love the idea of having great food to eat. I hope you find the solution.

Susan Anderson said...

I'm no expert, but this looks like a good idea. Hope you figure it out.


Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

We are happy to finally have a gas fireplace, just in case we lose power during the depths of our cold Canadian winter.

jen said...

I bought a food saver and loved it . . . for the first few weeks. Then I got busy and forgot about it. Thanks for this good idea. I may need to pull that thing out again.
Visiting from Alphabe-Thursday.

3rnigerians said...

I sure hope Foodsaver gets back to you with a remedy soon. It's a GREAT idea. I'd love to try it.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Wrapping them in a paper towel before the vacuum process was the best they can offer. It will work but awww, takes away the pretty look! Well, whatever works.

Jenny said...

I don't know much about this method of food preservation. It does look pretty and seems like a really creative solution to this type of food storage.

I'm impressed that you even thought of this.

Good for you!

Thanks for sharing your clever ideas here.