If you are anything like me, there is no such thing as a crisis worth surviving if breads, cakes, and pastries are no longer available. Aside from flour, one of the most important ingredients in food is sugar.
From making medicinal wines to high calorie foods that will sustain you in a time of need, it is very important to know how to store sugar so that you can use it in a time of need.
4 Reasons Why Sugar is a Survival Staple
When it comes to long lasting supplies for your stockpile, sugar is one of the most important. Depending on the type of sugar, it can be stored away for as long as 30 years. You will also find sugar costs less and can be used for a wider variety of survival needs than other items on your list.
No matter whether you are just starting to set supplies aside, or you have been doing so for years, here are some reasons to store away as much sugar as possible.
Important for Basic or Staple Recipes
Even if you don’t prepare many meals from scratch right now, you will find that sugar is in almost everything you eat. During a major social collapse, this is not likely to change. No matter whether you want to make leavened bread, pancakes, or other staple foods, sugar will be absolutely necessary.
In addition, sugar is also very important for making medicinal wines from herbs that may not have enough sugar to produce sufficient fermentation.
Vital for Caloric Intake and Energy
As you may be aware, your cells use a very simple form of sugar known as glucose for energy. When you consume foods and beverages, sugars are broken down first so that your body has the fuel required to carry out other processes.
As such, sugars are very important for every metabolic function in your body. Sugars and starches also provide the highest number of calories in your diet.
Other Uses Besides Food
While food may be a primary concern, there are several other important ways to use sugar. First, as strange as it may seem, you can pour sugar on wounds to prevent them from getting infected. Honey, as a form of sugar is especially effective in this arena because it also contains a molecule that breaks down to form hydrogen peroxide.
Since sugar doesn’t dissolve well in cold water, you can use it as a short term abrasive while washing your hands. When combined with vinegar, sugar can also be used to feed flower stems. Depending on the plant, this mixture may also accelerate root development for cuttings placed in water.
Insofar as gardening, sugar can also be used to increase microbial activity, which can help get rid of nematodes. Sugar can also be used to feed insects such as butterflies. You can also use sugar as bait to trap wasps and other unwanted insects. This includes luring roaches to areas where you have baking powder (which kills roaches) laying around.
Versatile Source Options
Today, many people think of sugar only in terms of white, granulated sugar. This sugar can be made from sugar cane or beets. Since modern brown sugar only requires the addition of molasses, you will find that granulated sugars are easy enough to make in the time after a social collapse.
It will be best to focus on beets since they are easy to grow and heirloom seeds can be stored away with no problem.
There are also several other important sources of sugar or sugar like products that you can store away for a time of need. This includes maple syrup from the sap of sugar maple trees, honey, and stevia.
It should be noted that Stevia differs considerably from other sugar types. To begin, it is much lower in carbohydrate. It can also be difficult to locate suitable plants that will produce a sweet tasting powder. That being said, some newer research indicates that Stevia extracts may fight Lyme disease as well as, if not better than modern antibiotics.
Even if you do not cultivate Stevia for use as a sugar replacement, it may be a good idea to make sure you have some onhand for managing Lyme disease. Sadly, in a post crisis world, getting bit by a tick can lead to endless suffering or death if you do not have the antibiotics required to treat a possible Lyme disease infection early on.
Different Kinds of Sugar and How to Store Them
Aside from providing a variety of tastes and textures for various recipes, you will also want to store different kinds of sugar to achieve other goals. Regardless of the type of sugar you are interested in, there are some basic rules you must follow.
First, sugars should always be stored away in a cool, dry location. As with many other foods, increases in temperature can increase the risk of bacterial growth. By the same token, an increase in moisture can also bring along an increased risk of fungal growth, mold, and mildew.
Many people also say that you should store sugar in a dark location because darkness will supposedly inhibit bacterial growth. While this may work for some bacteria, others will thrive in a dark location.
Since the bags and buckets you will store the sugar in are not likely to be light permeable, it makes little to no sense to concern yourself with the overall lighting in the storage area.
Right now, there is also considerable amount of controversy over how to store sugar so that it will last as long as possible. Sadly, just because there are more “modern” methods such as vacuum sealing, oxygen absorbers, and other storage products, that doesn’t mean they work as well or are as reliable as you would want them to be.
To begin, let’s have a look at vacuum sealing and oxygen absorbers. Typically, these storage methods are both used to deter the growth of bacterial organisms. They are also very useful for keeping moisture from building up in the bag.
Unfortunately, some of the most dangerous micro-organisms do not require oxygen to grow. In particular, the bacteria responsible for botulism can easily grow and proliferate in vacuum bags and other environments where oxygen is not present.
Unlike cans where you will notice swelling or other signs of contamination, it can be difficult, if not impossible to determine if a vacuum packed bag of food has been harboring the bacteria responsible for botulism.
If you have ever done any kind of baking, then you already know that granulated sugar will melt easily enough in an oven setting. This, in turn, means that it is not a good idea to try and oven can this kind of sugar. By the same token, heating honey is also not a viable option because it destroys some of the most important nutrients within the honey.
While it may seem very simplistic, the best way to store sugar is in large, airtight buckets that can be stored in a cool, dry place. Do not use oxygen absorbers or try to reduce the amount of air in the buckets. It is also very important to mark the bucket with the date you stored the sugar away.
Be sure to rotate your stores often and inspect the contents from time to time. As you gain experience with storing sugar, you will also gain a good idea of how to spot spoilage and avoid this problem as much as possible.
Here are some common sugar types and how long you can expect them to last:
If you buy this sugar pre-manufactured, you can expect it to last for about 30 years. Depending on how much sugar you plan to use on a weekly or monthly basis, it may be best to break the bag down into smaller amounts. Just make sure that you store the package in a place where moisture cannot get to it.
If the area is too damp, the sugar will form into a hard brick. Even though you can still use the sugar for a time after it hardens, it may also be more susceptible to mold, mildew, bacterial, and fungal growth.
When processing beets for sugar, do not forget to check the stored sugar often to see if you need to make changes in the storage method or container type.
While granulated sugar is cheap and easy to store, it is also a bit hard on your health. Excess processed sugar consumption is associated with diabetes, weight gain, and heart disease. New research also indicates that consuming too much processed sugar can also lead to an increased risk for many types of cancer.
While granulated sugar will be a necessity before, during, and after a major crisis, it will be worth your effort to work with healthier sugar options.
Can be stored indefinitely as long as it is kept in an airtight jar and away from excessive moisture. It is best to keep honey away from excess heat or freezing temperatures. If you notice crystals forming on the honey, simply warm it up to get rid of this problem.
While most honey on the market does not come with the honeycomb, you may want to store it as well. Aside from being edible and useful for making beeswax, the honeycomb can also extend the shelf life of honey jars that have been opened.
Honey is a viable option to granulated sugar and is much better for your health.
Today, more than a few preppers avoid buying large quantities of honey for their stockpile because it is expensive. On the other side of the equation, the increased concern of declining bee populations has spurred a good bit of innovation in backyard bee keeping.
You can make a small sized hive out of little more than a few mason jars and some wood. Gear for bee keepers is also readily available, as is the training in how to manage a beehive safely and efficiently. Aside from getting honey at a lower cost, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are doing something useful to help prevent a mass bee extinction.
As long as you don’t open the original container, it can be stored indefinitely. It will taste best if stored in a freezer, and must also be refrigerated once opened. Maple syrup is similar to honey in the sense that it is best stored in an airtight jar as opposed to a bucket.
Smaller jars will also make it easier to avoid wasting a whole bucket if you don’t use it very often. If you don’t find keeping bees appealing, growing sugar maple trees may be more suitable to your lifestyle. These trees grow quickly in just about any region and will produce enormous amounts of maple syrup once the tree is mature enough to tap.
All you will need is a good bucket and a means to insert a drain into the truck of the tree.
This derivative of a succulent (not a cactus!) is rapidly becoming favored over corn syrup and other sugars that pose a risk to human health. Unfortunately, the shelf life of agave is only 2 to 5 years even in the best of circumstances.
You will also find it somewhat more expensive than other kinds of sugar. If you are interested in using Agave as a form of sugar, you may be better served by focusing on how to grow the succulent it comes from and then determine how best to harvest it.
There are two ways to obtain and store Stevia. First, you can purchase pre-processed Stevia from a number of different manufacturers.
While this form of Stevia may last indefinitely, there are some growing concerns about the process used to extract the sweetener. In particular, there is very little information on the chemicals used and the long term health impacts.
While Stevia extracts may be very useful for a healthy diet, they may not be such a good idea in the pre-processed form.
You can also obtain Stevia extracts from plants that you grow. Typically, this extract may have a shelf life of just a few years. It will be up to you to decide if you are going to store away leaves as you would other herbs, or if you are going to experiment with oil infusions or other storage methods.
Do not forget that vacuum bags and sealing can do more harm than good.
As with many other sugars, the shelf life for corn syrup is usually indefinite. While corn syrup is fairly cheap and readily available, it is also very dangerous to your health. Corn syrup is a refined sugar that puts an excessive burden on your pancreas and digestive system.
If you must use corn syrup, do so sparingly. It is truly better to use some other sugar source and avoid this one as much as possible.
Things You Should do When Storing Sugar
When it comes to storing sugar, many people overlook the fact that insects, rodents, and other vermin are drawn to the smell of sugar. Even a few small drops of sugar on the floor of your store room can bring swarms of ants and other hungry insects.
Therefore, when storing away sugar, it is very important to make sure the area is kept clean and free of anything that will offer comfort to these creatures. Try to avoid storage areas where rodents can exit and enter easily. Without a question, if these animals can get in, then insects can as well.
If you store away sugar for even a few months, you can rest assured that the local insect and vermin population will eventually sniff it out. Once that happens, you will have a never ending struggle to keep these creatures from getting into your stockpile of sugar.
While you may not have to worry about liquid sugars stored in glass jars, granulated sugars can present a problem. In this case, it may not be enough to store the sugar in a plastic bucket. Instead, you may need to store the sugar in a metal can or something else that mice and other creatures can’t chew through.
Sadly, many people mistakenly believe mice cannot chew through plastic. Even though it may take some effort for the rodent to get started, once the plastic begins to develop an abraded surface, sharp teeth will make quick work of the rest.
In conjunction with metal bins or pails, you will also be well served by using both animal and insect deterrents. For example, you can sprinkle peppermint or spearmint around your stockpile room to deter mice.
There are also other herbs and flowers that will deter ants and other insects. Finally, as long as you can provide the electricity, sonic frequency generators can also be used to deter unwanted animals and insects.
Things to Avoid When Storing Sugar
Without a question, the worst thing you can do when storing sugar is to store it in containers with large quantities. Once you open a large bag or bucket, the sugar may only last for a few months to a year, even though it may take much longer to consume it.
Buy small jars and packing materials so that you have just enough to last a month in each container. While it may take a bit more room to store sugar in smaller packages, you will find it very useful. Aside from making it easier to avoid waste, smaller packages are easier to transport.
If you have to bug out, taking along two or three packages that weigh a pound each will be much easier than trying to lug around a 10 – 20 pound bucket.
One of the worst things you can do when storing sugar is focus exclusively on pre-manufactured products. While these items can help you get started, you must also know how to make your own sugars and store them away safely.
No matter whether you choose to start with beet sugar, maple syrup, or honey, the more you can do from scratch, the better. Ideally, you should be able to do everything from plant seeds and save them to cultivate plants and process them into sugars for long term storage.
As you learn more about the fascinating uses of sugar, you may be surprised at how versatile it really is. Being able to process and store away different kinds of sugars can help you do everything from manage insect problems to heal wounds and cure infections.
Knowing how to store sugar away for long periods of time will make it easier to have different kinds of sugars onhand now, as well as in a time of social collapse or other extended need.