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Friday, May 11, 2012

Emergency Food 101

Original Article


Once in awhile, it’s worth repeating the basics. So, here’s some Emergency Food 101. The first thing a newbie prepper does is to start stocking up on extra food. This, after all, is the first building block of the prepper’s castle.
It is also the easiest thing to do, while times are ‘good’. You don’t even need a lot of money to make significant progress, although spending a moderate sum will ensure a well rounded and long lasting food storage supply.
Be sure and collect food supplies that are tailored towards their purpose. There is more than one purpose.

Food for your car kit

A major consideration for your car kit is to have enough food to survive 72-hours for each person who may likely be in the car at any one time. Consider foods that are less likely to spoil or melt while kept in a warm vehicle during the summer, while also being similarly conscious of freezing temperatures during the winter. I have found an effective way to somewhat normalize the temperature of your stored food is to keep it in a insulated ‘cooler’, out of the sun (in the trunk).

Count the calories of the foods you are considering. Avoid low calorie foods. Focus on calorie-dense foods. Plan on 2,000 calories per day. Personally, for my car kit, I keep a variety of items including canned foods such as beef stew, canned chicken and beef. Don’t forget the can-opener, and remember that you can eat food right out of the can without cooking it. I also keep some MRE’s, peanut butter, chocolate bars (they tend to melt after awhile), Food Bars, and a few other items.

Especially being stored in a car, with temperature extremes, be sure and rotate the food often enough (twice a year should be good) and eat it with plenty of time before risking it going bad.
This post is about food, but I must mention ‘water’. You must also store enough water in the car to go along with your food. It’s a good idea to include a portable water filter too.

Food for your backpack kit, a.k.a. bug-out-bag

Again, it is a good idea to plan for 72-hours. The challenge with a backpack is that the intent is for you to carry it. Therefore the food must be as light weight as reasonably possible while still providing the calories you will need (and water).
To a large extent, my bag contains high-calorie Food Bars of various varieties. I like them because they provide a good cross section of sugars, protein, and nutrients. And they are light weight.

Food for your home (everyday consumption)

The best advice here is to simply buy more of what you already eat at home. Don’t go extravagant. Just buy more of the same stuff. What we do is only buy ‘extra’ when we happen to see the things we normally eat go on Sale. Otherwise we don’t bother. If you are starting out though, and feel the urge to get a jump start, well then don’t hesitate to spend normal retail price – you will sleep better knowing you have a surplus in your cupboards!
Here’s the most important thing though, and something that I know many preppers don’t really practice. That is, to actually rotate and eat what you store. Don’t set it on the shelf and forget it. Rotate it! Eat it! This way it won’t spoil.

Food for your home (long term storage)

After you have established a comfortable surplus of your ‘normal’ food, then you can begin to focus on the really long term storage. These are the foods that you will set and forget, for the most part. Things like bulk rice and beans that you properly seal and store to last many years. Freeze dried foods of all varieties in #10 cans that can potentially last for a decade or longer. Bulk wheat and grains, again stored properly will last for years to decades. Sugar. Salt.

Building a supply of long term food storage will cap off your overall food storage plan, providing you with food insurance for getting into a jam while in your vehicle, to having to lug supplies on your back, to bugging in at home for months, to outlasting the apocalypse.

Once you have reached your goal, you will be amazed at the sense of self-reliance that comes along with it. Use that ‘force’ to continue into other areas while striving for independence and self-sufficiency.

How much food should you store for home?
Given that most main-stream people probably don’t have much more than 1 to 2 week’s worth of food, you will be ahead of the pack by anything more than that. I would strive first for 3-months, then 6-months. Ultimately I would push for a one-year supply of rotating food as a very good baseline. It’s easier to accomplish than you may think. If you factor in a stockpile of long term food storage as well, you could conceivably get to several years worth of food once you put your mind to it.
Now go do it!

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