Food Storage: Where to Start?
When actually packing for my 72 Hour Bag I look for prepackaged foods with a long shelf life. I’ve written about MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), Camping foods, bars and other assorted goodies which can last a long time in the back of your vehicle even in the heat of Southern California. That is to say even the bet long term foods need to be rotated because the’ll eventually go bad. But we should also look for foods to store at home in the event of an earthquake.
The advantages to storing foods at home is they don’t need to have some of the long term food storage characteristics like what we’d throw in the trunk of our car. We know at home they can be stored in a cool dry place; some can even be stored in a freezer in the garage. If the electricity goes out and as long as they stay dry they’ll still be good. In this case we can look to other types of foods which are much cheaper, far less processed and much more healthy. The downside is they may take a little longer to prepare but if you don’t have to go to work, what else are you going to do?
One of the problems most people face when trying to wrap their head around just what to buy and how to plan is where to start. Even after conducting some research about disaster preparedness your eyes may start to wiggle. It’s hard to just come up with a list and take the first step of actually buying items which will be useful.
The following is from a PDF I found. It gives you a step by step about what to buy to prepare for an emergency. Here goes:
1. Head to the nearest Wal-Mart, Kmart, Costco or whatever and pick-up 20 lbs. of white or brown rice and 20 lbs. of pinto beans. White rice has a better storage life while brown rice has more nutritional benefits – your choice.
2. While you’re there grab 5 lbs. mixed beans, 5 lbs. of white sugar, 5 lbs. of iodized salt, one gallon of olive oil (can be frozen to extend shelf-life), 5 lbs. oats, 10 lbs. each of white or wheat flour and cornmeal.
3. Now head over to the canned foods and pick-up 20 cans of canned fruits and 20 cans of canned vegetables. Be sure to buy only those brands and contents you normally eat and nothing exotic. No need to shock the senses.
4. Now over to the canned meats. Pick-up 20 cans of various meats, salmon, stews, spam and tuna. Again buy only those brands with contents you normally eat and nothing exotic.
5. Okay. Now to the to the peanut butter shelf and toss two 40-ounce jars in the cart. The listed shelf life is just over two years and each jar has over 6,000 calories. Peanut butter is an excellent instant survival food.
6. Over to the powdered drink mix – go on I’ll wait…Okay, pick up two 72 Ounce Tang Orange drink canisters (provides 100% of the US RDA vitamin C requirement per 8 oz. glass). Also grab six 19-Ounce Containers of Kool-Aid Drink Mix. If you use Iodine tablets to purify your water, you’re going to want some thing to flavor your water.
7. Off to the vitamin and supplement aisle, pick up 400 tablets “one a day” multivitamin and mineral supplements. I buy this brand at the local Wal-Mart – comes in 200 count bottle for $8 each.
8. Now to the department we all love – sporting goods. Go to the camping aisle and pick up 4 five gallon water containers. Fill with tap water as soon as you get back home. I recommend getting at least a 55 gallon drum and treating the water with an additive which will keep the water good for 5 years.
9. Head to Home Depot or Smart and Final and buy 5 gallon Food Grade buckets with lids. When you get home use these to store the food you’ve bought. Secure the lids with duct tape around the edges to keep it air tight.
10. Get the largest size jar of honey you can get, a 1lb or as big as a 40lb bucket are available. In the modern times we live in we’ve all become addicted to sweets and honey has NO expiration date so it’ll be good 100 years from now.
11. And lastly pick up the best LED flashlight you can afford, extra batteries and bulb. Also grab two boxes of wooden matches and several multi-purpose lighters. Don’t forget to date, use and rotate – remember first in first out.
Get started! What would you add to the list?
Okay so there you go. It’s a jumping off point, as you gain more knowledge you’ll buy more supplies and begin to finesse what you put into your inventory.
What kind of estimate is this for? 2 people 4 months? I’m assuming more.
Maybe I could add some type of “seal a meal” device to vacume pack smaller items.
Andy – This list is really meant as a jumping off point for people who have no idea where to start with prepping for an emergency situation. I think a Sealer is a great idea, I’ve been using a Kenmore and find it only lasts for about 1 year and the seals begin to leak.