Week 7: Sugar
15 lbs of White Sugar
After this week, you should have 15 lbs stored. The program goal is 40 lbs. We will address White Sugar 2 more times (in weeks 12 and 28).
Sugar has a lot of pros and cons. The cons are obvious...and that is it just isn't very good for you. But there are some pros. For example, whenever people are stressed, they often turn to sugar. While this may not always be the best practice, sugary foods are considered comfort foods, and do not underestimate the importance of comfort during an emergency. It is during these stressful times that foods (or snacks) with sugar may actually be very beneficial. Sugar is also instant fuel, which again, may come in handy during emergency situations. For these reasons, I always like to have a few comfort recipes on hand. And chances are, those recipes are going to call for sugar. If your family doesn't use much sugar, then find a substitution and store it instead.
Sugar as a Preservative:
Sugar is a great preservative and is a commonly used in canning fruit and jams. Bacteria evolved in environments where the concentration of sugars and salts is the same as or lower than those inside the cell. High sugar concentrations cause the bacterium to lose water by osmosis and it doesn’t have any cellular machinery to pump it back in against the osmotic gradient. Without enough water, the bacteria can’t grow or divide. And of course, we weren't the first ones to figure this out. The Egyptians actually used honey as a part of their mummification process. We can apply this same knowledge to first aid. See the "Did you know" section below. It's very interesting.
There are very few requirements when storing sugar. The main thing to remember is moisture is an enemy to sugar. Moisture makes granulated sugar hard and lumpy. Sure you can break it up with your hands and possibly reuse it, but why chance it? Keep your sugar dry and you’ll be good to go for a long time. Second, sugar likes to absorb any odor it can. Have you ever made flavored sugar? You can combine granulated sugar and dried herbs or spices, let them sit together in a glass container, and after a few weeks, you’ll have lavender or rose sugar. Try it. It’s tasty for cooking and for use in herbal teas, but not so good for your sugar storage.
The storage containers you choose for sugar need to be chosen carefully. They need to keep the sugar away from moisture and strong odors. The 5 gallon food-grade plastic buckets are a great option. They are sealable and will keep your sugar free from moisture and odor. Some prefer glass canning bottles, but I feel this takes up too much space, and I’m always worried those bottles will break. #10 cans work well if you have the means to seal them correctly. But as long as you store your sugar correctly, it will last for 30+ years (some say indefinitely).
Note: DO NOT add oxygen absorbers any of your sugar containers. It will turn your sugar into a solid rock. Ask me how I know this...