You are going about your busy day. It’s nice weather and you decide to get a movie on the way home. You think what the heck and grab a pizza too! You are half-way through your movie and enjoying your meal when it happens … The power goes out. At first, you are mad because you want to know what is going to happen in the movie. Then you realize you do not know when you will have power again. Recently you got ground turkey, shrimp, hot dogs, not to mention all your other items (milk, cheese, yogurt, and tasty beverages) in your refrigerator. How are you going to store your food long term? Do you have emergency food stored in case of these emergency situations?
Emergency Food Storage Considerations
Something to keep in mind is that you do not want to rely on any items that need to be kept in your freezer or refrigerator. If you have the ability to eat them first. It’s terrible when you need to eat all the ice cream before it melts, but sometimes that has to happen. If there are any questionable foods just toss it, trust me. Giving up some food is way better than sitting on, or bowing to, the porcelain thrown for hours on end.
Something that I do is to take out my cheese and lunch meats from the fridge and put them in the freezer. Another option is to toss an extra ice pack into your cooler the day before you will need to use it. This allows the cooler to get cold and when you need it, toss in ice and your items. You will notice the ice lasts longer (also keep some ice on the top of the cooler or what I do is take an ice pack in a paper bag and keep it on the top).
Items on your shelf are simply the best. There are a lot of options with freeze-dried foods, but many people overlook what they have in their pantries. As long as you have a can opener you can eat a good meal. Remember to have some jarred or canned veggies for another great option. Freeze-dried foods are actually pretty good. I will later post some of my favorites to see what you all think.
Ideas on Long Shelf Life Foods
Having a variety of foods to eat will help you not get bored. I can eat the same items for a day or two but eating the same can of black beans every day would be awful. It is also a good idea to check your long term foods once a year. I tend to check them every April. I know some people that check their food storage every time they change the clocks (side note checking the batteries in your smoke/carbon detectors when you change the clocks is a good way to always have them working properly).
Another idea that I have used for years is that I don’t wait for the items to expire. Every so often I will use what I have and buy some extra ones. Examples of this are when I go on a road trip or camping. If I purchase a can of tuna, for example, I will make sure I use one of the older ones and stash the new one I just purchased. Some of the freeze-dried foods can last over 10 years, with those I just keep them in my emergency backpack. Then every once in a while I will check the dates and replace any that need it.
A Basic List to Get You Started
This is a list that could go on for a very long time. I also know there are a lot of people with food allergies (I am included) so I will list a variety of foods. There are some that I really do enjoy (check later for links to the items) and there are many more that I will never eat again. This list will include the ones I enjoy, no need to go through the horrible process of illumination.
- Canned foods
- Dried foods
- Instant oatmeal
- MREs aka Meals Ready to Eat
- Freeze-dried like Mountain House or Alpine, powdered eggs
- Pasta & rice (good but they do take time to make)
- 36-hour bars
- Any type of candy bar (Snickers, Payday, 100 Grand)
- A few other ideas
- Protein powder
- Tea or coffee
- Any items that just need water or to eat on their own, if you have a fruit tree, etc.
- Any spices you like (salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, everything but the bagel, hot sauce packets)
- A long-handled spoon (this is for the bags or MREs)
- A mug, plate or bowl
You can also go online or to your local store and buy a bucket full of meals ready to eat. There are a lot of different types and I would suggest taking one out to try it. Personally I really like Mountain House items and they come in bags you can add the water in. If you do not have access to a stove or fire ring, another option is to cold soak the meals. It is the same concept as adding hot water, just remember it will take longer for the food to soak up the water. I have had good luck with Mountain House breakfasts and instant oatmeal for cold soaking. My advice is to get a container that has a tight seal (just in case it gets knocked over or you are taking it somewhere). It is also a good idea to try before you need to cold soak, there is some guesswork involved.
Preppers That Have it All
For a while, I was a closet prepper, but then I realized how many of us are out there. I am not one of those guys that goes overboard and has a bunker full of canned foods (yet) but to quote the military adage, “Proper planning prevents poor performance.”
I have heard of some that not only keep their house fully stocked, but also their vehicle and even have items in different locations. This is mainly due to prepping for something to happen. It allows you to get from your work to home or home to your secondary location.
Having a plan is the best, planning for what life throws at you is even better. In my example of the power going out. I have always done my best to keep my vehicle above a half tank of gas, I keep a decent amount of water on hand, I have a lot of the package freeze-dried food available, I make sure there is fuel for my stoves (if I get down to one canister I go buy a few more), and make sure I have canned foods. When the power goes out I am never bothered, unless I’m watching a movie then I’m sad. I go about my day like I always would. I don’t need to panic and sit in a mile-long line for a loaf of bread or gas for my vehicle.
Having a simple plan will help you out. Knowing you have canned chili, tuna, veggies, along with dried foods will get you past the typical 72-hour set up most people have.
I get on some tangents when I start to write, but what can I say, I feel very passionate about these topics.
It is pretty common these days to hear about people prepping for everything. Making sure you have a few staple items in your pantry will be a peace of mind for when it happens. A few other things to consider is making sure you have water, a way to boil water (I use an old Coleman two-burner stove and a Pocket Rocket for backpacking), and fuel or a way to make a fire. To be completely honest, all you need are some granola bars and water and you are set. But after eating that for a few days you will be very glad you thought ahead and can have actual meals.
Please leave a comment below on what you do for emergency food and storage. If you have any questions or concerns please comment as well. I take pride in reading all the comments and love learning new things. If you have a question that I don’t have the answer to, I will find it.
Thanks for reading and see you next time!