3 uses for good water bottles……
Submitted by: servantheart, Editor at Large
Have you discovered the heavy-duty, round plastic water bottles? We like the Ozarka Spring Water (red label), which is one of the choices available in our area. DO be aware that Ozarka was bought out by Nestle’ last year, but it appears to have retained its original sourcing of natural spring water from (mostly) Texas – so far, anyway. Nestle also produces a filtered municipal (city) water with this same bottle, under the name “Nestle”, blue/white label. It is nothing but filtered municipal water; so, I won’t be buying the Nestle brand.
What makes these bottles so useful? They have a deep indent in the bottom, which means they stack very nicely and stay in place. They are also a very heavy plastic, so, they are durable – even for long term storage – unlike plastic milk jug bottles, for example.
Well, now I have a NEW use for them! Initially, I used them by consuming the natural spring water, then filling them with municipal (tap) water, adding a pinch of Leslie’s pool shock (73% calcium hypochloride) or a teaspoon-ish (I don’t measure) of liquid bleach, then using them for walls in outdoor storage buildings. DH built me a small greenhouse, but he only framed it in, roofed it with opaque fiberglass ridged sheeting, and hung a 24-light door we found at the local dump. We did get 12×12 inch concrete blocks and built a “floor”, sweeping sand in between and packing it tight. With the bottles filled with treated water, the little greenhouse provided adequate protection through the mild winters of the Deep South for even my most tropical plants. I did duck tape free styrofoam sheeting across the top, where bottle tops left air gaps; I rescued the styrofoam from a refrigerator box. Although it did get cold, and some plants appeared to have “died back”, they came back beautifully with warmer weather. I have run electric heaters J(which raised the electric bill significantly!) in this greenhouse in the past, but, last winter, I chose not to, and the plants did just fine.
It does get cold in Mississippi, but nothing like it does for some of you. And we do occasionally get snow in some parts of the state, but not much, and it doesn’t last long. Even so, I think it would still work in the colder climates; the water would freeze, so make sure you don’t overfill the bottles, and think “igloo”!
I have a second use for these heavy-duty bottles; once refilled, I am lining the inside of our six foot privacy wood fence (we live in the city – bummer!) with these bottles of water as one of many “back up” plans for water. We will boil this and drink it if necessary; but, more likely, boil it and use it for bathing, cleaning, household, etc.
But I’ve found a third practical use for these very useful bottles! Long-term storage of my rice supplies (and other similar dry goods).
I keep referring to these as “gallon” bottles. They are not actually “gallons”; they are 101.4 fluid ounces. There are 128 fluid ounces to a gallon. If I’ve done my math correctly (and I have not yet sipped my first cup of coffee – so, check me!), this works out to 3 1/6 quarts liquid. Since there are 4 quarts to a gallon, clearly, this is not a gallon of water. You may want to consider that when making long term storage plans – just a thought.
Once the bottles are empty of good water, I leave them out overnight, spout open, and let them “air dry”. Then I fill them with white rice (or, whatever), shaking them down occasionally. The more full your storage container, the less air; the less air, the longer the food remains at peak freshness.
One bottle holds about 13 cups of rice; 13 cups, properly cooked, equals about 26 cups of ready to eat rice (1 dry cup equals about 2 cups cooked).
Why do this? Several reasons: (1) it’s easier to handle a container like this than a 50-lb. bag of rice; I buy in bulk and, yes, in 50-lb. bags @ about $18 per bag; (2) It will store better in these bottles than in the original plastic-woven bags, especially for long-term. Just keep the bottles away from heat and light, for longest storage life; and (3) post-IHTF, when someone needs food, someone you know did not prepare and could have, and you just can not stand the idea of their children with no food, give them a bottle of rice, and whatever else you can spare. Don’t let them know you have lots of these, just hand them one, or, whatever you can spare.
We currently pay a buck a bottle at China Mart and other such places for this product. We think that’s a bargain for good water AND good building materials AND a good storage container!
What food stores do YOU have that might store well in these bottles? Whatever it is, KEEP STACKIN’ IT HIGH!