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Letters To The Editor

Dear Editor,

I read a recent Off the Grid article about the short-term viability of storing brown rice. Does that apply if you have it in Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and a sealed bucket?
John in Tucson

Hi John,

The storage life of brown rice is only about six months in average conditions. This is because the essential fatty acids (the oils) that are in the outer shell of brown rice go rancid as they oxidize. White rice has the outer shell removed, which includes these fats, and that’s why white rice will store so much longer.

With Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and a sealed bucket, your brown rice has a life expectancy of about one to two years. If you can get the temperature of your storage area as cool as possible, that will help as well. If you drop the temperature by just 10 degrees, from 70 degrees to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, you can possibly double the storage life of your brown rice.
The Editor

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Dear Editor,

I just read the letter regarding using oxygen absorbers to keep bugs out of grain. On a related topic, once a can or other sealed container of flour or grain is opened and, typically, placed in a non-air tight canister or other container for use, it can still be kept bug-free by placing a bay leaf or two in the bottom of the container. The bay leaves do not affect the flour. Having just a 2-ounce container in your emergency storage will provide enough bay leaves for your long-term emergency needs.

Utah Reader

Hi Utah,

Yes, we’ve gotten quite a few emails from readers who use bay leaves for pest control in their grains. It’s an easy, cost effective way to manage grain stores, and, as you’ve pointed out, is excellent for use in an open, non-airtight container. We highly recommend the method.

The Editor

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Dear Editor,

Utility prices are going through the roof, and my water bill has skyrocketed since the drought has set in and I’ve had to resort to watering to keep my garden going. This month’s bill was $170!! Do you have any suggestions to help me keep a garden without going broke?

Water Poor in Georgia


Dear Georgia,

I won’t go into the most obvious small helps you can use (such as heavy mulch) to help conserve moisture around your garden plants. You need a solution that drastically cuts your water usage. Like you, I’m in the drought-affected Southeast as well, and for the same reasons you’re citing, we installed a drip irrigation system for our plants this year. It has greatly reduced our water bill, and it’s much more effective at watering than sprinklers ever were. Click here to read our article on drip irrigation.

The Editor

If you’d like to contact the editor, please send an email to [email protected]

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