Expert offers advice on storing foods, supplies, come what may

NASHUA – If the apocalypse comes, be it economic or otherwise, Jim McClarin plans to be ready.

McClarin, a city resident and founder of the Nashua Preparedness Group, said the current economic meltdown may not be over, and it makes sense to be ready if food, and other resources become scarce.

“I think there’s a good chance that we’re nowhere near the bottom of the current economic turmoil,” McClarin said to about 10 people during an hourlong workshop at the Nashua Public Library. “You don’t want to wait until crisis time to do this. It’s better to have it ready and stashed away already.”

McClarin said he has stores of oats, wheat, white rice, honey, spices, molasses and four types of beans at his house.

“It’s given me a lot of peace of mind to know I’ve taken steps to protect myself from financial ruin and starvation,” he said. “I do think the signs are there that there could be some very hard times ahead.”

McClarin formed a local preparedness group this year to serve as a purchasing co-op for people interested in buying and storing bulk foods such as wheat, oats, honey or dozens of other staples.

Monday’s workshop was a hands-on demonstration of a couple of simple procedures to store many foodstuffs, including whole wheat and rolled oats.

There weren’t many people at the workshop, but Christopher Yanni, a Hudson resident, said bulk food storage is something he’s been interested in for some time.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see a second American revolution in my lifetime,” Yanni said.

Llalania Ghose traveled from Manchester to attend.

“I don’t see the Depression as something that couldn’t happen again. I definitely think we’re headed that way again,” she said.

In the library’s theater room, McClarin set up a children’s wading pool, a food grinder, a hand-crank flour mill and about 10, 5-gallon buckets, along with 100-pounds each of oats and whole wheat.

While talking about the need to have several months or years worth of food or other supplies in case of war, famine or economic collapse, and while answering questions from the crowd, McClarin showed how each of the grains could be safely stored.

The whole wheat he poured into the wading pool was mixed with a cup of fossil shell flour, which protects the wheat from insects. That done, he transferred the wheat into three of the 5-gallon buckets, where it will stay useable for several months.

To keep the oats fresh, McClarin said, it was OK to remove the oxygen from the buckets. He didn’t do that with the whole wheat, he said, because that would make the wheat hard to germinate in the future.

To remove the oxygen, he placed a small piece of dry ice on the bottom of the bucket and filled it with the oats. With the lid placed on lightly, it would take about 24 hours for the carbon dioxide from the ice to force out the oxygen, he said.

While he was doing that, two volunteers put some of the wheat through the grinder and used the flour mill to make whole-wheat flour. By the end of the workshop, they had used those simple ingredients to make some tortillas on an electric griddle.

McClarin said he advocates having enough food, water and other emergency supplies on hand to last a few several months. Even though government agencies and charities would try to help during an emergency, they aren’t always able to, he said.

“Look at the job they did with Katrina,” he said. “It could be like that here. I don’t think we’re immune. We are easing the burden on the charities and the government.”