Emergency supply- Let's keep in mind a timeline of 1 month for our emergency supply. So think about how many people you have in your home then add some extra portions so you can help out friends or neighbors that might not be prepared. Let's also remember that if we are talking true emergency having a ton of variety and choices are really not all that important. The biggest mistake I see people make when stocking for for emergencies is, they buy a bunch of food they don't normally eat and then it sits and goes bad. If you try to eat healthy most of your food is likely fresh in season veggies and fruit with some meats and dried foods mixed it there too. So don't stock up on canned veggies and processed goods unless you eat them all the time! Here is what our food supply looks like.
- Dehydrated and dried foods- Welcome to the best way to store a ton of food in a small amount of space. We dehydrate lots of the food we grow in our garden as well as food we get on sale at the grocery store. When you dehydrate food it shrinks down so small. We store our food in ziplock bags or recycled containers. Some foods we buzz into powders to add to sauces and soups for extra nutrients or flavor as well. We might buy grapes if they are on sale dehydrate them and boom you have a bunch of raisins. Or we chop carrots, peppers, celery, or mushrooms dehydrate and your meal prep is done the next time you want to make a stew or soup in the crock pot. If you don't want to dehydrate your own food you can also simply buy things like dried beans, rice or wheat berries. We buy our rice, wheat berries and sorghum through a website called www.bulknaturalfoods.com (We also buy nuts and in season fruit as well, LOVE this website) So we might buy a 5 gallon bucket of rice for example, we then use the rice from that bucket ever time we cook rice. When it gets low, we buy another one. It never goes bad that way! We could live for 6 months on the dried food we have in our house. No one wants to eat rice and beans everyday but it's cheap practical, lasts a long time and doesn't take up too much room!
- Canned food- For us we don't keep a lot of canned food on hand, Mostly Jams, Jellies, Sauces and Stocks. We do recommend knowing how to can food though. It's an important skill and you will need not only the equipment to do it but you also need an understanding of how you need to can different foods. Some food can be water bath canned some foods need to be pressure canned. We like the recipes in the Ball cook books because they turn out well and they have proper instructions to ensure you are canning foods the right way. 1 wrong step and you could be contaminating your food or allowing the possibility of bacteria to grow. If you choose to buy up a bunch of canned food from the store that's fine but rotate it and use it. It is a shame to waste good food when so many are hungry in this world.
- Frozen food- This is one of the most popular ways to store food. We use quite a bit of frozen food at our house. We freeze fruits, breads and meats we also freeze some veggies from the garden. Here is the thing about frozen foods, the second your power goes out, unless you have a back up power source your food is counting down to spoilage.... Now if you were smart and learned how to can your food and had a nice propane burner and extra tanks you could start canning that food if you had too. That's what we would do. You could also cure some of the meats if you already had the ingredients on hand. If you decide to can meat or soups and stews with meats in them you really must follow a good recipe to avoid food born illness.
Let's also keep in mind the more you provide for yourself the less you have to worry. A winter ice storm might not find us with tons of food from our current garden but say if a spring tornado takes out the power supply a garden full of growing food is not a bad thing to have. If you don't garden or even if you do think about joining a CSA. We support the CSA from Long Hungry Creek Farm out of Red Boiling Springs. They are so great! During harvest time they let you take all you want of certain items on certain days so their customers can put it away for winter storage! Chickens, & Rabbits are great too assuming you have the food to feed them as well. But if you live in an apartment or just don't have the interest or means to be growing your food, that is not the worst thing as long as you have prepared yourself with some other basic skills. Get some books on edible plants that grow in your area to have on hand (the internet might not be available). You would be surprised how much food is growing in your yard and around you with zero effort. Like Dandelions and Violets, my yard is overrun with them. Never eat a wild plant unless you are POSITIVE of what it is and that it is for sure edible! Learn how to fish if you live near a creek, lake or river. Learn to shoot so you can hunt if needed. There are many skills that can save you even if you have no supplies.