Thursday, June 09, 2011

SHTF: Building A Food Supply Step By Step

Start building your emergency food supplies little by little rather than all at one time.

Read any of the survivalist themed blogs and websites and they will tell you to get busy either a) buying large (hundreds of pounds) quantities of wheat, cooking oil, powdered milk and honey or b) purchasing a stockpile of long term storage food (LTS) from one of the big name online retailers and quickly, as in NOW! NOW! NOW! have a one year or more food supply for you and the family.

If you agree with this statement and have the credit card available with lots of room, please visit any of the Mountain House links on this site and charge away - I would like to show my other half that blogging like this pays off!

But if you are like most of us, laying down a few thousand dollars for a UPS pallet of freeze dried food or a hundred or so white buckets of wheat is out of the question. Instead, our journey of a thousand meals begins with a single can, to paraphrase the famous Chinese quotation.

The conventional wisdom is easy to follow: When shopping, but two for each one. So, instead of buying one can of coffee, pick up two. Same with tuna fish, peanut butter, spaghetti, and so on.

Eat one and stock the other in a quiet out of the way spot in the house. In our home, we have one large walk in pantry for long term supplies and one small one for daily usage. You may decide to use the cabinets in the bathroom, under a bed or the hall closet for your long term foods.

Next, purchase foods to replace short term storage food supplies. For instance, we buy two gallons of milk a week. For a long term replacement, once a month I buy one big box of dried milk, repackage in a large freezer bag, and then store it in a sealed white bucket in the back of the pantry. You can do the same with other perishables like eggs (buy one bucket of powdered eggs every month) as well.

The next problem is dealing with fruit and vegetables. Canned fruit nutrionally are nothing more than fruit flavored sugar with little vitamin or mineral content. Sure, we have some on the shelf for a pinch, but they are not useful for maintaining a healthy diet.
Canned vegetables taste pretty bad out of the can, as in like the metal they are packed in and also suffer from low nutrional content.

We like to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in our home and there are two solutions for long term food storage. First, grow a garden! We have tomatoes, greens, berries, grapes, fruit trees and even a stand of corn in our yard. It's not hard and the whole family actually enjoys the results.

Second, buy fresh produce at the store and start canning (storing hot in jars with lids and rings using a canner) and drying (food dehydrator). Both retain more nutritional content than canned foods and learning to can and dehydrate are useful skills for everyone to learn.

Finally, stock up on dried foods which store well and long term. By dried foods, I mean rice, beans, sugar, salt, spices (especially hard to get ones like cinammon, nutmeg, black pepper and so on), and oatmeal. While it is nice to stock up on wheat, if you don't have a grinder or know what to do with wheat, than it won't do you much good. Before running out and buying 400 lbs of wheat for the family, go to the health food store and buy a pound or two, look up some recipes online and learn how to use the stuff.

Most of all, don't go into debt purchasing food you have never eaten or don't know what to do with. Buy what you eat, suitable alternatives and store appropriately.

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