Long term storage ideas for chocolate/cocoa/Tang or Vitamin C?
After a lot of research online over the years, the closest I can come to 10-15 year storage of chocolate chips and/or cocoa is to vacuum seal in a Mason jar with an oxygen absorber and keep in cool, dark place.
Also looking for suggestions regarding a source of Vitamin C for long term storage. Thanks!
RedneckContributor - January 26, 2023
Lots of garden foods are high in vitamin C. Is it possible for you to store those seeds as opposed to trying to store the vitamin itself? Foods like peas, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, etc. are great sources of vitamin C.
Just so happens, I’m getting ready to plant a food that is one of the best sources of this critical vitamin… hardy kiwi, also known as kiwiberry. I have 2 females and one male that are in transit and scheduled to be delivered tomorrow. It can be grown most anywhere & can survive temps as low as -25 degrees. It grows like a grape and is about that size too. It is not fuzzy like its more commonly known cousin and you can eat the skin too. It grows similar to a grape so it needs a trellis, fence or some structure to grow on.
Amy S. - January 31, 2023
I’m on the same page as Redneck, relying on the garden for vitamin C. I live in Southern California so vitamin C is pretty effortless to gather outdoors around here. I have more lemons and blackberries than I could ever use year round (for lemonade, ice tea, salad dressings, etc etc). Not to mention nasturtium, dandelion, and lots of other prolific “weeds” that are great sources. I am intrigued by the kiwiberry and am going to look into it for something new to try.
RedneckContributor - February 1, 2023
I planted those 3 hardy kiwi on Monday and decided I needed more, so I ordered 2 more females. Very easy and cheap to extend the trellis at this point, prior to building it. So down the line I will have 2 female Anna hardy kiwi, then a male, followed by the 2 additional Anna that I ordered. Putting the male in the center will aid in pollination. Hope to start building the trellis in the next week, as soon as I finish pruning the blueberries.
As I’ve matured and gained experience, I realized it was hyper important to grow foods that provide great nutrition and calories… and require little or no special care. From my research, hardy kiwi fits this bill. It is supposed to be very resistant to pests and disease. Along that line of thinking, I also planted an additional 6 rabbiteye blueberries, to fill in some gaps in the blueberry patch. Blueberries taste great, are super nutritious and require no spray at all.
Hans - January 27, 2023
I agree with Redneck. Canned tomato sauce in particular is cheap, well-liked, stores well, and is easy to use and replenish as they age.
Lentil sprouts (or any sprouts, really) also store well in their dried form and then just need to be soaked to sprout which changes and unlocks their nutrition profile. While not necessarily a Vitamin C powerhouse, they do provide a nice array of vitamins and minerals.
Regarding chocolate, I think you’re on the right track. From personal experience, I can tell you that we’re on year 3 of some semi-sweet chocolate chips we purchased at the beginning of the pandemic that still taste just fine (might have had an over-exuberant costco run back then…). Those have just been stored in the pantry in their sealed original bags.
wildfireexpert - January 27, 2023
Thanks. I have a lot of Emergency Essentials powdered tomato purchased on sale a few years ago, and I have a lot of lentils/hard red wheat that can be sprouted.
@Hans–I think we all may have had an over-exuberant Costco run back then. I rationalized that “it could be given to the local food center if not needed in a year”, then went nuts. Boy–was the food center excited a year later! Thx for input re chocolate chips in pantry in original bags.
Hans - January 27, 2023
You sent me down a fun internet rabbit hole of what (successful) sailors did back in the day. Apparently, dark colored, airtight glass bottles (no copper fittings) filled with lemon juice was the most effective way to preserve lemons to fight scurvy. Eventually that will break down, too, though.
If you’re looking at 10+ years, I think you’re ultimately looking at plantable seeds like Redneck mentioned.
While it’s not chocolate, I also have sugar production in my long-term, bug-in plans. That can include bee-hives, sugar beets, sugar maples, sorghum, or boiled down fruit juice from pressed fruits. Sugar cane, too, of course, but that doesn’t work in our climate.
I also picked up a bag or two of some of those electrolyte powder packs from Costco. Really good for preventing/treating heat exhaustion.
M. E.Contributor - January 28, 2023
I, too, did the equivalent of over-exuberant Costco runs (though mine were to other stores since I am not a Costco member). I can’t say any of my chocolate lasted three years though! I have no regrets. 🙂
I also discovered cacao nibs during the pandemic. While not quite the same as chocolate chips or cocoa, they are still delicious and satisfy my chocolate craving. It seems they store well for long-term storage. I like to sprinkle them in yogurt or granola; a little goes a long way.
As for Vitamin C, I recommend looking for nonconventional sources. For example sauerkraut is a great source of Vitamin C; granted the shelf life of the canned version seems to be “only” around 5 years (I say “only” because in a true SHTF situation 5 years is a long time).
Most people think of only fruits like lemons and so forth but red cabbage and broccoli are also high in Vitamin C and can be relatively easy to grow; some survival food companies also sell freeze-dried broccoli. Strawberries and blueberries are also fairly high in vitamin C and the freeze-dried versions can be bought in forms that claim a 25-30 year shelf life.
One thing I do now, when abundant food supplies are available, is make a conscious effort to eat as much variety as possible. Essentially I’m storing nutrients in my own body. It takes about three months with no vitamin C sources to develop scurvy. I figure if you start an emergency situation as healthy as possible, and you have a lot of variety in your food stores, scurvy is likely to be the least of your worries. 1/2 a cup of freeze-dried broccoli claims 50% of your daily requirement for vitamin C, and can be stored for up to 30 years. Freeze-dried strawberries have 80% of the daily requirement in 1/2 a cup. I’m not sure that would hold for 30 years, but honestly in a SHTF situation we probably won’t be around in 30 years. But going out with a strawberry smoothie would be kind of a nice way to go.
wildfireexpert - January 30, 2023
@M.E. – thanks for heads up on freeze dried strawberries. Out of 6 family members who are VERY picky eaters during non-emergencies; strawberries are about the only fruit they would all eat. I’ll watch for sales on #10 can, freeze dried strawberries. When I did the math conversions, there are 24 adult recommended daily allowances (RDA’s) per #10 can of freeze dried strawberries. (If I can buy for $12/can, that’s about 50 cents per day per adult.) I’m also going to purchase L-ascorbic acid powder. I wasn’t able to get a definitive answer during research on shelf life, but since a teaspoon equals 6,000 times per adult RDA, it should be ok even if it loses potency over time.
LizzieC - February 1, 2023
Rose hips are high in vitamin C and make a tasty tea.
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