Check Your Preps Against These Must-Have Lists
Top 30 Storage Foods:
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One way to stock away food is to get a Dehydrator at Walmart, Target, etc. and start dehydrating your own vegetables, fruits, and make your own jerky. Store the dried food in mason jars that you can screw the top on tight. Use spices, salt, pepper on your products while drying them for instance make cinnamon apples, Parmesan egg plant, and more.
20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan
No matter how many times I write about food, there is always something new to consider or a new and different way to present the same old information in a more useful manner. With that in mind, today I would like to share a method for getting started with your food storage program in an easy, step by step, and cost effective manner.
To be truthful, my initial goal with this article was to respond to readers who were just getting started and wanted a shopping list of things to buy for their food storage pantry. I also wanted to compile a checklist that more experienced preppers could use to compare what they had to what they needed. My goal can pretty much be summed up by saying that I wanted to write about getting started with food storage the easy way. No frills, no fluff – just a common sense list of food items to get you started.
The following items are suggested when selecting emergency food supplies. You may already have many of these on hand.
Charcoal grills and camp stoves are for outdoor use only. Commercially canned food may be eaten out of the can without warming.
What to Always Keep in Your Pantry
These items have lengthy expiration dates, so you can stash them away for long periods of time. Make a list of everything in your stockpile and check expiration dates every 6 to 12 months to keep things fresh. And don’t forget to have a can opener on hand at all times—all that food won’t be of any use if you can’t open it.
• Peanut butter
A great source of energy, peanut butter is chock-full of healthful fats and protein. Unless the jar indicates otherwise, you don’t have to refrigerate after opening.
• Whole-wheat crackers
Crackers are a good replacement for bread and make a fine substitute when making sandwiches. Due to their higher fat content, whole-wheat or whole-grain crackers have a shorter shelf life than their plain counterparts (check the box for expiration dates), but the extra fiber pays off when you’re particularly hungry. Consider vacuum-packing your crackers to prolong their freshness.
• Nuts and trail mixes
Stock up on these high-energy foods—they’re healthful and convenient for snacking. Look for vacuum-packed containers, which prevent the nuts from oxidizing and losing their freshness.
Choose multigrain cereals that are individually packaged so they don’t become stale after opening.
• Granola bars and power bars
Healthy and filling, these portable snacks usually stay fresh for at least six months. Plus, they’re an excellent source of carbohydrates. “You can get more energy from carbohydrates without [eating] tons of food,” says Andress.
• Dried fruits, such as apricots and raisins
In the absence of fresh fruit, these healthy snacks offer potassium and dietary fiber. “Dried fruits provide you with a significant amount of nutrients and calories,” says Swanson.
• Canned tuna, salmon, chicken, or turkey
Generally lasting at least two years in the pantry, canned meats provide essential protein. Vacuum-packed pouches have a shorter shelf life but will last at least six months, says Diane Van, manager of the USDA meat and poultry hotline.
• Canned vegetables, such as green beans, carrots, and peas
When the real deal isn’t an option, canned varieties can provide you with essential nutrients.
• Canned soups and chili
Soups and chili can be eaten straight out of the can and provide a variety of nutrients. Look for low-sodium options.
• Bottled water
Try to stock at least a three-day supply--you need at least one gallon per person per day. “A normally active person should drink at least a half gallon of water each day,” says Andress. “The other half gallon is for adding to food and washing.”
• Sports drinks, such as Gatorade or Powerade
The electrolytes and carbohydrates in these drinks will help you rehydrate and replenish fluid when water is scarce.
• Powdered milk
Almost all dairy products require refrigeration, so stock this substitute for an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D when fresh milk isn’t an option.
• Sugar, salt, and pepper
If you have access to a propane or charcoal stove, you may be doing some cooking. A basic supply of seasonings and sweeteners will improve the flavor of your food, both fresh and packaged.
Supplements will help replace the nutrients you would have consumed on a normal diet.
To heat food in a can:
Using Dry Ice:
Natural disasters—a flood, hurricane, blizzard—often come with little or no warning. Stocking up now on the right nonperishable food items will help you weather the storm with less stress.
By Vanessa DiMaggio
Fueling your body during an emergency is very different from your everyday diet. Because you’ll probably expend more energy than you normally would, you should eat high-energy, high-protein foods. And because you’ll have a limited supply, the higher-quality foods you eat—and the less of them—the better. “In a disaster or an emergency you want those calories,” says Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University. “You want some nutrients and some fiber—something to keep your diet normal.”
“In an emergency, generally you tend to think of meeting more basic needs than preferences and flavors,” says Elizabeth Andress, professor and food safety specialist at the University of Georgia. “But if you plan right, you can have a great variety of foods and nutrients.” Here, Andress and Swanson weigh in on what items you should include.
FOOD STORAGE – Disaster prep can be a daunting prospect. Several many questions must be addressed before spending money willy nilly. If you are considered a Senior, some of the questions change.
You might be retired. On a limited income. Statistically of reduced health and likely w/more medical needs than twenty years ago. And yet you may have other people in your life for whom you feel responsibility; children, grandchildren, perhaps even aged parents.
Another aspect that pops up a lot is space. Space to put all the items collected against that Desperate Day. Where do you put half a ton of number ten cans and gallons of water, hundreds of rolls of toilet paper, and all in a budget? Food Storage can take a lot of room. As a retired senior, living in a small apartment, creative ways to hide it in plain sight might be important. Some will take exception to a few of these methods, but they are merely offered as ideas.
A collection of cases of number ten cans could be stacked and covered with an attractive cloth. A piece of plywood with a cloth could extend over the edges if you wanted foot room. Even a sheet of glass could be used for a table top, the boxed cans making a fairly sturdy stack. This could be done as a coffee table, game table, or even a dinner table.
A wall or corner of a room could be attractively “curtained”, or one of those zigzag room dividers stood up, and a stack placed behind it. Adding a couple bricks under each foot of a bed can raise it enough that the cases of cans can fit under the bed. This allows for an enormous, normally untapped storage area.
Some people set up a limited selection of food storage just for the most extreme of emergencies. They have no intention of using it up and cycling it around. This kind of storage could be put in very awkward places such as under a house in the crawl space. Add some extra tape to the boxes and drag them under, (it is not called a “crawl space” for no reason). But remember that attics are much too hot for storage of this type.
MRE's on the cheap
MRE's are a good addition to any survival bag. They have a good shelf life, up to 5 years under ideal conditions, they have gotten better as far as taste goes over the years (for the most part anyway), they are compact, and offer a good caloric intake. Unfortunatly they are fairly expensive, usually running $79.99-$99.99 for a case of twelve meals depending on where you look, and there is no way of knowing how they were stored or handled and therefore no way of knowing how much "life" they have left.
The price of MRE's and the "not knowing for sure" got me to thinking, "Why not make my own MRE's?" I looked into freeze drying my own meats,fruits, etc. and even a small freeze drying set up was cost prohibitive for me.
So I started looking at foods I eat on a regular basis and their shelf life and came up with a simple DIY MRE that costs between $2.99-$4.00 a meal, depending on what you choose to add, that's $ 38.88-$48 a case, about half of what regular MRE's cost, and a lot better tasting!
I was able to pick up everything in the pictures for $35.85 at the local Wal-Mart. The Kool-Aid, tea mix, peanut butter, salt, creamer, and gum will make 50-60 DIY MRE's. I buy the microwave Complete meals by the dozen, they come in 9 different flavors and cost $1.75 (at least where I live in Colorado). We buy enough boxes of cocoa mix, crakers, and pop-tarts to make a dozen DIY MRE's every other week if need be. The buillon cubes and coffee come 24 to a package so you can get 12-24 DIY MRE's out of them before they need to be replaced.
The main "cost" to the DIY MRE is the Microwave Completes meal, the rest of the "ingerdients" average $.04 each per meal, less if you can buy them in bulk or on sale.
One of the great things about the Microwave Complete Meals is they can be eaten cold (like a regular MRE), heated with an MRE heater (if you have them), by placing them in hot water, or by emptying the package into a canteen cup or mess kit and heating over the fire.
In this issue of the Survival Life Newsletter, I give you a list of 10 items that you probably already have in your pantry that last forever and will be worth more than gold after a crisis. In Survival Tips, I present you with the final of 5 mental barriers that keep people from prepping. In Practical Prepper I test out the Gerber shard multi-tool and see if it lives up to my expectations.
Remember, we're all in this together!
The 10 Pantry Items Worth More than Gold
MRE’s, freeze dried, and dehydrated food can last for up to 25 years. There are also many foods that will last for years when stored properly (wheat, beans, pasta, etc.), but this all hinges on the items being kept at “optimum storage conditions.”
Let’s face it, any type of crisis makes optimum storage conditions a fantasy. Most of these items will only have an actual shelf life of about 5-7 years. In a recent email I gave you a short list of foods that will last forever without ever having to be canned, frozen, or dehydrated. I wanted to expand on that and tell you exactly why these items are important to have for personal use as well as for use as a bartering commodity.
If you’re new to food storage, these staples are a great way to start. They are the longest lasting foods in the world. Most of them are relatively cheap and make great bartering items during a crisis. These items are often referred to as “forever foods.”
Next time you’re grocery shopping, be sure to grab some of these items, put them in the back of the pantry and forget about them. If you ever need them, they’ll be ready to be used. These foods are some of the very few exceptions to the FIFO (first in first out) method of food storage. They are also some of the most relatively inexpensive items you can buy.
The only problem with this is there is ABSOLUTELY no way to live off of these items alone. Your body needs the nutrients from fresh foods in order to maintain its optimum efficiency and anything less than peak performance will put you one step closer to a death sentence.
If you are in a relatively safe area, have shelter taken care of, and water is available, the next step that you need to focus on is preparing and storing any perishable foods that you have available. You absolutely have to have a good knowledge base of how to not only preserve the foods that you have currently but how to cook and store foods that you will have to hunt, catch, or grow in any long term crisis.
Click here to learn the skills you need to cook and store food outside.
When I first started to prepare, I had a very basic idea of how to do these things but it quickly became apparent that a “basic idea” is not enough and can be deadly when it comes to food safety.
Think hard. How sure are you in your ability to store your own food? And if you think that the stockpile of MRE’s and freeze dried food you have is enough to get you through any type of crisis, think again.
Rations are heavy and take up a huge amount of room. They can also be plagued by pests if you happen to have mice or rats that can chew through the Mylar. If your home or storage location becomes insecure your 25 year food storage system instantly becomes your, “however the hell much I can carry right now” food storage system.
Are you still completely sure of your planning? No matter what amount of pre made rations that you keep, you absolutely must know how to cook and store your own food outside, without any modern conveniences.
Failure to have this knowledge is inexcusable.
If disaster were to strike RIGHT NOW, you would not have the time or ability to learn these skills later.
That's why I put together this brand new report titled, "How to Cook & Store Food Outside." This 18-page report is an essential guide to getting started cooking and storing your own food so that you will have the skills and knowledge to gain self-sufficiency should disaster strike.
Click HERE to find out more about the report now.