Emergency Food Supplies - Have You Started Long-Term Stockpiling Yet?
Why Are People Stocking Food?
Recent events, such as Hurricane Katrina, have shown that bad stuff can happen. To anyone. And relying on outside help isn't the best way to handle it.
If you work on your own emergency preparedness, you won't need to depend on anyone else when bad things happen.
Emergency Food Supplies 101
Always keep a store cupboard stocked with canned goods. Make sure you stock for variety and food groups. Don't just get a crate of baked beans, buy canned fruit and vegetables, and stock up on protein like canned tuna, salmon, and chilli. Look for sales and special offers.
Canned food lasts. Tests have been carried out on the edibility of canned foods found in storage many years past their intended use by date, and proved that, as long as the can remains undamaged, with no dents or corrosion, the contents are sealed against decay and will be edible. The flavour and nutritional value degrade over time, but if it came down to a choice between starving or eating, I'd reach for my can opener.
Which raises another point. Always have a can opener and a spare. Seriously.
Long Term Food Storage
Dry pack canning is a way of storing foods for significantly longer periods. It's a good survival skill to learn. The process is good for storing most dried foods like pasta, pulses, grains, herbs and spices and dehydrated fruits and vegetables. Nuts and seeds - not so good, as their oil turns rancid.
You'll need food grade cans, oxygen absorbers and a can sealer. The dry food is placed in the can with an oxygen absorbing sachet and the can is sealed. For food storage most people use #10 size cans. Under perfect conditions, dry packed sugar can last twenty years.
Sealable Mylar bags are a high barrier membrane used to keep oxygen away from foodstuffs. They have the advantage of being able to pack portion sized quantities, so helping to reduce waste. If you buy one of the kits for sealing foods in mylar bags, make sure you store the mylar bags inside food grade plastic containers. Mice and rats can easily gnaw through bags.
Long term food storage part 1
A One Year Pantry
Don't know how to tackle long term food storage? Focus on building a one year pantry. Want to know how much food that is? Google 'Food Storage Calculator' and follow the link to About.com, which has an online calculator to figure out your needs. Take a notebook and pen and sit down with the calculator to work out your own survival analysis.
When should you buy all the extra food? If you have the spare cash, the transport, and storage space ready, you could take a few days to get the whole thing done. But it's easier to just buy a little extra each week - canned goods and dry goods - to store and rotate in with your usual supplies.
Food Storage List
Baking powder, baking soda, salt, and yeast
Beans of various kinds
Canned meats and fish
Canned fruits and vegetables
Boxed goods like stuffing and instant mashed potatoes
Dry soup mixes
Powdered drink mixes
Don't forget seasonings, and herbs and spices. Peanut butter is tasty, nutrient dense, and will keep for ages. Buy a lot of jars and rotate them in with your normal food supply.
Buy an emergency supply of bottled water. Because if it's bad enough to be called a disaster, it just might knock out your mains water. And as every woman knows, chocolate is a necessity, not a luxury. Buy Mars bars and Snickers for calorific value. They store well in good conditions, which basically means any cool, dry, dark place. Dried goods like rice and pasta keep long term, are cheap, and provide carbohydrates to go with any meal.
Home Food Storage Safety Tips
Store your food in air-tight containers, away from heat and light. If you can, keep them in a basement away from direct contact with walls or floors in case moisture seeps in. Food stores are a magnet for rats and mice, but prepare against rodent infestation with traps rather than poison.
Poison bait is a risk for both children and pets, and the latter might eat the carcases of poisoned vermin.
Rotating Food Storage
Organization helps reduce waste through spoilage. Label each package with the item name and the packaging date. Store them neatly, similar items together, oldest to the front. Rotate food storage items into everyday cooking and eating as their use by dates come due.
Agri-Zap Rat Zapper Ultra
MREs - Meals, Ready To Eat
The military solution to feeding troops in the field is the MRE, or meal ready to eat, which is pre cooked food in foil and plastic pouches. These are sold online and at camping stores, and are another solution to consider when it comes to building your supplies. You can find out all about MREs here.
Each pack includes a main course and a side dish, along with dessert, and crackers or bread. You'll generally find cheese spread, peanut butter or jelly, and a powdered drink. Many items are fortified with nutrients.You'll also find a plastic spoon, a flameless ration heater, or FRH, and an accessory pack. This contains chewing gum, matches, napkins, and food seasonings.
Each meal provides 1,200 calories, and has a shelf life of 3 years, depending on storage conditions. Basically, the colder the storage the longer they last.
Long Term Food Storage
The easiest and quickest way to build your emergency food supply is to buy a long term food storage package.
These will feed you for between three months to a year. The packages can include freeze dried meals, dehydrated foods or a mix, and include everything you need to live on. You can find long term food storage packages from the three main dealers listed below.
Plus, they put their meals in 4-serving mylar pouches, helping to avoid wastage.
#1 Wise Foods
Wise foods offers some of the most affordable packages on the market. The food has a 25 year shelf life. And the meals are easy to make. Just add water and stir. Want to know how much you need? Use their food storage calculator.
#2 Ready Store
The Ready Store offers you a wide variety of long term packages, many of them including the most popular brand of freeze dried food - Mountain House. You can get packages with deluxe freeze dried meals or your basic essentials package.
Nitropak offers long term packages that also include popular brand Mountain House. You can get packages with all freeze dried foods. These taste better and retain more nutrition than dehydrated food. You can also get packages with dehydrated foods, a more cost effective option.
Wise Foods 6 Month Supply
6 Month Dehydrated Food Supply for 4
Freeze Dried Food Flavour
While researching the article I found one reviewer who had sampled a number of emergency food rations, MREs, hiking and camping food kits and found them wanting in terms of quality or flavour.
While these may not be the most important considerations in a survival situation, they do have a bearing on keeping morale high through tough times. The reviewer did a comparison test and Mountain House came out a clear winner, with Hamburger Helper a tasty second, and canned food third.
And the moral of this story is - buying emergency food supplies is always going to be a trade off between taste and expense. Deal with it.
Review - Mountain House #10 Can, Freeze Dried Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce
A delicious entrée smothered in an Italian tomato with beef and noodles. One pouch serves two people.
High barrier foil, stand-up pouch makes cooking your meal a breeze and keeps your meal hot. Just mix contents with boiling water in pouch, let stand, and serve.
Mountain House Pouches have a shelf life of 7 years. For
best results, avoid prolonged storage at temperatures
about 75° F (24° C).
Kept on hand for emergencies, this 72-hour Emergency
Meal Kit from Mountain House provides hearty meals
under challenging circumstances. The kit includes three
breakfasts, three side vegetables, and six 10-ounce
packets of lunch or dinner entrees. Featuring a seven-year shelf life, all of the meals can be easily prepared by adding water.
Mountain House creates their freeze dried foods by
cooking fresh or frozen foods and then freeze drying them.
Mountain House foods taste as close to fresh as you can
get. Backpackers consistently rate Mountain House as
one of the best tasting freeze dried food brands and praise their ease of preparation.
Rocket Stove - Take A Tip From A Tramp
You've done your best. You've bought all the emergency food supplies you could possibly need, for the whole family for a whole year, pets included.
But something's preying on your mind. Water? No problem. You have stored supplies, plus bleach to sanitize emergency water supplies.
No. What you forgot was emergency cooking supplies. Your power's out. Unless you want to end up eating cold oatmeal, you might consider buying a camping stove. And if the worst comes to the worst, look up 'rocket stoves' on YouTube for a number of instructional videos about how to improvise a cooking range from old tin cans and bricks. Crude, but effective. And it always pays to have an extra card up your sleeve.
Coffee Can Rocket Stove #2
The Nature Of Catastrophe
Don't delay.The nature of catastrophe is that it could come at any time. The sooner you're prepared, the better.
Don't worry. Get organized and do this. Use the tools provided to make your list of necessary supplies for one year for everyone in your immediate family. Then start buying them, a little at a time, when you do your normal food shop.
Make sure you have enough storage space, which should be cool, dry, dark, and rodent free. Consider a long term food storage package.The dehydrated foods are cheaper, but lose out on flavour. The freeze dried foods win on flavour, but don't come cheap. Weigh the pros and cons and make a choice. Today. Because any choice, even the wrong one, is better than waiting until it's too late.