Second to water, food will be high on your preparedness list. Here are some keys to planning.
• Purchase shelf-stable foods! These are foods that can safely sit on the pantry shelf for at least one year and do not have to be cooked or refrigerated to eat safely. Making sure a portion of the groceries you regularly buy are shelf-stable is an easy way to prepare.
• Knowing how to prepare food without electricity will be critical for some people, as electricity may not be reliable.
• Understand how to store food so that your supply isn't ruined or wasted.
If an earthquake, hurricane, winter storm, or other disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, and electricity for days, weeks, or months.
By taking some time now to store emergency food, you can provide for your entire family, and hopefully others around you in need.
You can use the canned goods, dry mixes, and other staples already on your cupboard shelves, but be sure to add plenty more to ensure you have enough to go around. When you add new food, put it in the back, and be sure to check expiration dates of new items and follow the practice of first-in, first-out.
UNDERSTANDING FOOD OPTIONS
There are four basic ways to secure food and provisions. Let's look at each one so that we understand your options: INTERNET RESOURCES: Some of the advantages of purchasing food online is that a.) it gives you a plethera of options to choose from b.) it ships to your door and illiminates the time and effort associated with shopping c.) you can purchase pre-packaged and/or emergency rationed meals. LOCAL GROCERY: Some of the advantages to buying at a local grocery store is a.) you can purchase items you need immediately. Larger stores such as Costco and Sam's Club are very good for buying more food or "bulk" items. b.) it eliminates shipping delays or issues with items purchased online. FARMERS & GARDENS: Some of the advantages of buying at a local farm, or growing your own food in a garden is a.) in the case of food shortages, or supply chain issues, where food is not readily available, the ability to grow your own food, or partner with local farmers, will be paramount. b.) you know how the food is grown, and the freshness of the food. c.) it builds community and trust, which is something that is very needed during difficult times of disaster or other events. Locating and discovering your local farming co-op and farmer's markets will broaden your understanding of available resources and relationships for specific needs, including proteins & meats, fruits & vegetables, as well as dairy. These people can also help in your quest to self-sustain through your own garden, farm, or livestock. GAME & WILDLIFE: If typical food sources are depleting, usually game and wildlife will be available to some extent. If you are not experienced in fishing or hunting, it will be very useful to discover and/or build relationships with local fisherman, hunters or trappers. Locating and discovering your local hunters and fishermen will help you with sourcing wild game, and also connect you those who understand ways to self-sustain in tough times.
PREPARING AN EMERGENCY FOOD SUPPLY
We encourage a supply of food for 3-6 months at the very least, and 1 year at the most. Let's look at 2 primary levels for food supply: LEVEL 1 - We will call this scenario EMERGENCY FOOD SUPPLY, and extreme measures may be needed. This is the worst case scenario, where running water, gas/electricity, and use of cooking appliances are unavailable. In this case, you will want to have non-perishable, shelf-stable, or ready to eat meals. This could possibly last longer than typical "emergency preparedness" guidelines. In this scenario, you will need easy to store & easy to prepare foods; MRE's (meals ready to eat), canned goods, protein bars, anything that doesn’t require cooking (electricity/propane) will work as well. You will also need to make sure you have bottled water, or a water source and "life-straw" type tools to purify water. See the page for "Water" on this website. LEVEL 2 - We will call this LONG-TERM FOOD SUPPLY. This scenario is more for semi or long-term food supply, where gas/electricity and running water are available, even if on a limited bases, but food supplies may not be as readily available, may be interrupted or intermittent. In this case, freezers and refrigerators will be able to be used to preserve the food stock-piles. In addition to level 1, this level would mean adding in dried foods (for instance beans and rice are a complete nutrition source that is very sustaining), any other foods that can be made by adding water (oatmeal, grits, pasta, etc), powered milk, as well as frozen foods. You will need a means of cooking, such as a a propane camp style stove, or a Campmaid Dutch oven, which are solid choices because they offer many possibilities to cook your food. Eating only canned or cold goods for an extended time is not a pleasant experience, and it can create food fatigue. In this scenario, it will also be a good idea to have a supply of heirloom seeds in order to grow a garden and supplement your food supplies. We encourage overall readiness for both of these scenarios, to the best of your ability and capacity.
FOOD STORAGE TIPS
Keep food in a dry, cool spot—a dark area if possible. You will also need to keep your food what they call “shelf-stable”. Here are some ways you can do that: • Open food boxes and other re-sealable containers carefully so that you can close them tightly after each use. • Wrap perishable foods, such as cookies and crackers, in plastic bags and keep them in sealed containers. • Empty open packages of sugar, dried fruits, and nuts into screw-top jars or air-tight canisters for protection from pests. • Inspect all food for signs of spoilage/expiration date before use. • Regularly go through your canned goods, and throw out ones that become swollen, dented, corroded, or are out of date. • Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies, dated with ink or marker. Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in front.
Foods such as dried beans, rice, flour, grain, and others will need to be made “shelf-stable”, where no moisture, mold, or bugs can live. Here is a useful video that demonstrates the DIY"shelf-stable" process :
KEY FOOD ITEMS
Flour & Grain NOTE: All must be either prepared for long term storage treated with Co2 OR done yourself to avoid bugs hatching. Remove all moisture and oxygen. Treat with Dry Ice etc.
Salt (Redmond Real Salt is preferred)
Beans of various kinds
Rice in bulk which forms a complete protein when used together with beans.
Eggs. (Dehydrated or freeze dried)
Fats/oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, shortening, lard, butter, or ghee
Dehydrated or freeze dried vegetables
Canned or prepackaged meats such as tuna, chicken, beef, Vienna sausage, sardines, etc.
Beef, chicken, vegetable stock/broth