One of the corner stones to being prepared is food. Studies have shown that most people have enough food in their home to last them 3 to 4 days, and that’s it. If a disaster should occur that keeps you in your house for a week or grocery stores closed, you will need more food than that. You get a freak snow storm that dumps 1.5 feet when your area is used to 6 inches at the most……your stuck at your house for almost 7 days. (Been there, done this)
During this event in my area people were walking to a corner convenience store for something to eat. This was prior to starting to think long term, but we thankfully bought groceries to last a week, so we were in good shape. What if it had been 14 days? Would we have had the food? Sure, we would have made it, but there may not have been a piece of food left in the house.
Now let’s say a big ice storm rolls through and tears down power polls putting thousands without electricity. (Been here, done this also) Most people were without power for a day, some 5, and for some a couple of weeks. With the grocery stores out of power how would you get food? If relatives came to stay that were worse off than you, would you have the food needed to support your family and theirs?
The key is to start small and buy what you already eat. Spending an extra few dollars a week for one or two items over time will make a difference. Some make the mistake of running out and buying 5 lbs. of beans and 5 lbs. of rice. It is relatively cheap and easy to store……. but do you like beans? If you will not eat it, do not buy it. The other thing to keep in mind is best buy dates. These items should last for a bit, but for many products it is a “Best Buy”, not “Sell Buy” date. If it’s a “Sell Buy” it is only good for a short time. If it is a “Best Buy” it may not taste quite the same and may lose some nutritional value, but it is edible for a time period after that date. The period of time is largely dependent upon the food in question. There is a limit though so use best judgement is all I can advise.
For me and my family I started with…..
- Canned items…..vegetables, fruit, beans….whatever. Almost anything in a can has at least a year shelf life.
- Dry beans
- Raw nuts
- Dried fruit
- Peanut Butter
- Corn bread mixes
- Granola bars
- Jelly – Stays good for some time until you open it. So, if not in a refrigerator is available eat it quickly.
- Mac & Cheese
It’s important to point out that I didn’t buy these things at one time. I bought them gradually, over time as the money allowed. I also chose to store a quantity of 3 each; because that is about how fast my family went through them in the period I had in my head and due to storage space.
Below are a few topics you will need to address in your food storage adventures.
- For the best results storing your food, keep it in a dark cool place. Most of us have a little pantry space, but if not a shelf in a closet will work. Many people use their garage as storage, but this is the wrong idea for storing food…..unless you live north……like Canada.
- The biggest challenge using stocked food is using the oldest first. By the nature of buy a little at a time to start stocking up you’ll end up with the oldest food (that needs to be used first) in the back and the newest in the front. In the organization circles this is referred to as FIFO, or First In First Out. There are many racks you can buy for cans that will help with this, but I have found nothing that will help with bags or boxes of items. Some kitchens have a rotating shelf that might work, if you have one. Be diligent and rotate them out is what I do.
Good luck and happy eating.
Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.