Food Storage Basics | By Ryan Dennis
Most people know the basic elements of survival. They are water, food, shelter, and clothing. Surviving a long term emergency requires having these core four essentials in place before the unexpected happens. Having long term food storage however can be difficult. Many people have a false sense of security because they have some items set aside, but in time of need, realize they have not properly prepared for their nutritional needs. These food storage basics will help you avoid common mistakes.
Variety is the key to a successful storage program. As you start to store food, remember that to survive long term, you must have a mix of different food items and nutrients. If you have stored only the basics, there’s very little you can do with it. By adding even just a few things, it greatly increases your options, and the prospect of you and your family surviving on it.
Begin by buying small amounts of several items, rather than a large quantity of just one or two things. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you will be much better off having a few months supply of a variety of items than a year’s supply of two or three items. Most people only have large amounts of basic items stored such as wheat, milk, honey, and salt. Not many people could survive long term on such a diet. Instead of loading up on wheat, choose a variety of beans, which add texture and color to your food. Also be sure to store spices and flavoring such as bouillon, cheese, onion and a good supply of spices that you normally cook with. Also, make sure you have cooking oil, baking powder and soda, shortening, and yeast. These are basic ingredients in almost all recipes.
Because you will be on a limited diet, you will need to supplement you food with vitamins. Be sure and have a good quality multi-vitamin and vitamin C to start with, and build on that as your budget allows.
Having some quick and easy foods is a good idea to help you through times when you are mentally or physically unable to cook your basic storage items. “No cook” foods such as freeze-dried are perfect because they require little effort to prepare. MREs (Meal Ready to Eat), and canned goods are also a good alternative. Also having a few treats such as candy bars or cake mix will add to your variety.
Always store your bulk foods in proper food storage containers. Food that is left in sacks is highly susceptible to moisture, insects, and rodents. If you are using plastic buckets make sure they are lined with a food grade plastic liner. Do not use trash can liners because many are treated with pesticides. The final point to remember is that you can’t just buy your food storage and forget about it.
You should constantly be using and replenishing your supplies. This will keep your supplies fresh, and you will be use to eating these foods if an emergency happens. It is a good idea to have a food storage cookbook and practice making these meals before it is a matter of survival. Properly storing food can seem overwhelming, but taken one step at a time, is actually easily done, and may just save your life.