Food Storage

Food Storage

Keeping your family fed and safe is always in the forefront of every parents mind.  A close second is keeping your caloric needs up as you forage for food for the family or use your strength to build a secure environment.  If you run out of energy your body will turn on itself and start eating you, literally.  Starvation is no joke.  If you don’t feed your body, it will start to burn stored fat in order to keep your brain functioning, that’s the ultimate goal, to keep your brain functioning.  Once your stored fat is gone your body will burn to muscle tissue, this is what happens with anorexics, and it isn’t pretty.  Having a supply of emergency food on hand will be a key factor to your family’s longevity and safety.

In our segment Getting Started – Phase one, we recommended you store at least seven days worth of food for your family in can or dry goods.  Foods that required no heat or power to prepare, something you can eat right out of the can if you had to.   Keep in mind what each of the kids likes to eat.  Don’t go out and buy a bunch of canned tuna fish if no one in your family likes tuna fish.  Just extend the quantity of items your family currently enjoys and place them in your pantry.

In our segment Getting Started – Phase two, we recommended you store at least three months’ worth of food for each person living in your household.  In this segment we will go into the different types of food you can store for the long term with the benefits and consequences of doing so.

 

Frozen Foods

While frozen foods offer a wide range of choices and can be mixed and matched to create just about any meal, as an emergency food they just don’t make the cut.  Frozen foods require too much power, and constant power at that, to keep frozen.  As a non emergency food source they are great and very few can argue the convenience of frozen foods.  This of course will open a whole debate about fresh vs. frozen foods, which we won’t go into here.  Use frozen foods as part of your daily meal plans if you must, but do not count them as part of your long term food storage system.  When an emergency situation happens, frozen foods, and the items in your refrigerator, should be the first items you consume.  Frozen or refrigerated foods will quickly spoil unless you have some emergency power supplying your refrigeration/freezer unit(s).

    • PRO – Almost an unlimited amount of different meal combinations.
    • PRO – With continuous power frozen foods will keep for several months.
    • CON – Without continuous power frozen foods will spoil very quickly.
    • CON – Requires some form of heat to prepare meals.

Canned Goods

Most experts will agree that canned food items can be safely stored for about two years past their expatriation date.  Some experts will even attest that can foods will never expire, quoting 100 years old can food items found underwater in sunken ships.  These cans were brought to the surface, opened and tested in a laboratory to be free of bacteria and safe for consumption.  Albeit these sunken can goods lost most of their color, flavor and nutritional content, they were still edible!  Canned goods with a low acid content rated among the best to survival well past their expiration dates and surprisingly canned meat stores the longest.  We think that a large supply of canned goods should be part of long term emergency food storage.  If you choose to include canned goods in your emergency food supply, we recommend you purchase a storage system and at least a dozen quality hand operated can openers.   Remember to keep track of expiration dates and use or donate canned goods that will soon expire.  Rotating your long term storage of can goods into your family’s normal meal plan can’t hurt either.

    • PRO – The canned food route may be your cheapest long term storage option as you can use coupons and discounts to practically prepare your emergency storage for darn near free.
    • PRO—Canned foods will allow you to fully tailor your meal plans around your entire family’s likes and dislikes.
    • PRO – Cooking may not be required to sustain your family.
    • CON—Canned foods have a short shelf life for an extended emergency food source.  Constant rotation and inventory is required.
    • CON – Canned foods take up a large amount of space.
    • CON – Canned foods are heavy and this weight (and size) will be a huge factor in a bug out situation.

Freeze Dried or Dehydrated Foods

There are a number of companies who supply freeze dried or dehydrated foods.  Wise Foods is one such company.  Harveston Farms is another.  The storage of this type of food is generally 10 to 25 years.  To use the product you simply add water to the packet.  Hot water works best and will enhance the flavor of your meal; however, cold water can be added too.  There is a wide range of meals, side dishes and desserts.   Wise Food Storage System will allow you stack and rack their products as well as provide a “grab and go” option at no additional cost.

    • PRO – Lightweight and easy to store.
    • PRO – Can be used in a bug out situation as a grab and go bucket.
    • CON – Expensive as a startup.  Over time much cheaper than canned goods.
    • CON – Requires use of your drinking water to rehydrate meals.

Sustainable food sources

Gardens and livestock should be part of any post apocalypse survival scenario.  Some of you just rolled your eyes and some of you just felt a moment of panic.  Did I really just read post apocalypse?  Yes you did.   While this is a far stretch from your first days of preparing, we need to be mindful that your long term survival may stretch into a post apocalypse scenario.  In a long term survival situation it doesn’t matter how much food you have stored, your family will eventually consume it all.  You need to have a plan to replenish your food source and having a garden and livestock will do just that.

Most of us don’t have the real estate to create a garden large enough to sustain our family’s food needs for the long haul, let alone the space required to maintain livestock.  I can already hear the post coming in, “My garden is only 5’ x 5’ and I have to give away half of my food because it spoils before I can eat it”.  Okay, while most of us may be physically able to create a garden in our back yard today there are other factors to consider.  One being the large amount of stored water required to maintain a functioning garden in a post apocalypse scenario.  Remember water flowing out of the tap may not be an option.  A portion of us live with an HOA governing our homes.  Most HOA’s do not permit a large garden.  I’ll grant you post apocalypse who will care what your HOA has to say, but water is still going to be a concern.

Have a supply of seeds and tools on hand to start your garden when you can.  I cannot stress enough how much more having gardening experience will trump reading how to garden from a book.  The two just don’t compare.  If you can, start a small garden now.  If you can’t, find a local farmers market and volunteer your time.  The experience will be invaluable.

You must also consider that having a garden and livestock is a risk pre-apocalypse.  You’re your neighbors do not have any food they will take from those that do.  If you have a garden and/or livestock now, you can bet your neighbors know it.  If they have not prepared they know where to go to find food.  You will need to protect it or lose it.  Either way, make sure that decision is part of your survival plan.

As for your livestock, today we can afford certain luxuries, like veterinarian services, or butchering services.  In a post apocalypse scenario, you will need to know how to perform these tasks and have the correct tools to do so.  Make sure your training and preparation are part of your survival plan.

    • PRO – Having seeds and tools may ensure your family’s long term survival.
    • PRO – Having seeds and livestock may enhance your ability to trade and barter.
    • CON – Having a garden and livestock will require you to provide protection of those resources.
    • CON – Both garden and livestock require large amounts of water to maintain.
    • CON – A pre-apocalypse garden or livestock announces to your neighbors you have food when they don’t.
    • CON – Can you kill your livestock and properly prepare and store the meat with little or no spoilage?

Hunting, trapping and foraging

Can you kill Bambi?  Bet you could if you were starving.  Can you eat that funky looking mushroom?  Again, Bet you could if you were starving.  Hunting, trapping and foraging are skills that require a lot of time and knowledge.  You would need to be extremely lucky to just walk into the forest and just shoot your supper.  Tracking an animal takes skill and patience.  And keep in mind, in a post apocalypse scenario you won’t be the only person out there, at least we hope not, we’d like to be there too.  As for foraging you need to be careful what you eat, you may make yourself sick or worse yet die.  We can’t venture to far into this topic in this article there are just too many variables.  Read some books and practice these skills.  Looks like we have another article to write on Hunting, trapping and foraging.

Prepare Strong.

Prepare.  Survive.  Live.

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