Food Storage Solutions: Prepare for tomorrow
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Are you the type of person who keeps just the bare minimum essentials in your pantry? Do you prepare for tomorrow if there is a crippling blizzard? A tornado? A flood? Are you the type that has one can of soup on the shelf to share with 4 people in your family because you didn’t prepare for tomorrow? If this is you, then you should definitely keep reading!
The following information is for a person such as yourself. It is a basic guide to build your food supply and life saving essentials… just in case.
Disasters happen, and sometimes on a frequent basis such as fires, floods, and blizzards. Do you want to depend on the kindness of your neighbors to feed your family during these tough times, or do you want to be the one saying, “Me and my family are ok. We have plenty to get us through this?” and have enough to also help your neighbor? Even the government recommends you have emergency supplies on hand…just in case.
Make A Plan
Even our grandparents had a plan. They put items up “for a rainy day”. Grandpa planted extra potato plants for grandma to can or store in the root cellar for a rainy day. Prepping isn’t a new term. it has been around for hundreds of years. You don’t have to be extreme and bury entire storage buildings in the ground or purchase 50 cans of beans all in one day. Write your plan down and adjust it as needed.
Start with a week by week plan and add to your storage as you can. For example: Week 1 you will build your extra water supply. Week 2 you can work on your food supply and Week 3 can be adding extra batteries, flashlights or emergency essentials such as extra bandages, medication ect. However you do it, just do it!
How To Calculate Your Food Storage Needs = This site has an excellent food storage tracker and calculator
You should have on hand one gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days. (hopefully you have room for more than that) but we will begin here.
First, you should definitely invest in a filtration system or you can pre-treat your stored water. If pre-treating, you can add approximately 6-8 drops of bleach per gallon container and let it sit for 20 to 25 minutes. You should use only regular bleach without any scents. You can also boil your water for a minimum of 3 minutes or you can pressure can mason jars of water to add to your water storage.
Using bleach and boiling are good option. LifeStraw has a personal water purifier and a larger family size water purifier. Berkey makes several different size water filters that you can choose from depending on the size of your family.
Rocks, sand, gravel and pulverized charcoal can all be used to set up a homemade water filtration system by layering them in a makeshift container and pouring the water through the layers until it runs clear. This should be your last solution for obtaining water. Your best solution is to already have water on hand that is ready to drink at a moment’s notice.
Water storage ideas: Use BPA free plastic and date your bottles. Store in a cool, dark area.
Build a cistern. Rain barrels. Gallon milk jugs. Boxed water kits from any survival store or emergency preparedness store. Mason jars. Large plastic barrels. Bottled water you buy at the store.
Storing Your Food
There are several ways to prepare your food for storage. Do you have a garden? Then you can dehydrate, ferment, and can your garden bounty easily and safely store it away for your rainy day. Keep in mind that food will spoil if exposed to heat, air or light. Make sure you are rotating your food items also and putting dates on the lids or jars so you know what needs to be eaten first.
Properly storing your food will prevent food-borne illnesses and bacteria and premature spoiling of food. If properly stored and prepared, you will have yourself and your family a large supply of healthy homemade food storage for those rainy days.
Keep your food in dark, cool and dry areas of your home. Throw out any cans that are outdated, swollen, rusty or dented. Know the lifespan of each item you have prepared.
You can dehydrate almost anything you want now a days with all the new high tech dehydrators they have on the market. You can go as cheap as you want or you can purchase the top of the line. The skies the limit when it comes to your choice of dehydrators!
Foods You Should NOT Dehydrate:
Some foods are simply too high in fat content and will go rancid very quickly no matter how hard you try to carefully preserve them.
Avocados– very high fat content, super long dry time and turn rancid quickly
Fatty meats– if you are dehydrating meats say for jerky, trim all the fat off first and slice very thin.
Store bought condiments– it is much better to make your own ketchup from fresh organic tomatoes than to try and dehydrate store bought ketchup that is filled with sugar ad unnecessary chemicals they add for coloring and preserving!
Cheese– the high fat content makes it go rancid quickly and is not good for long term storage.
Nuts- high fat contents make them good for only short term storage.
The best part of dehydrating your food is that you are able to take it camping, hiking, on road trips or pack it in a lunch bag. Some foods can simply be tossed in a bag and eaten right out of the bag such as fruits, vegetables and jerky. Some dehydrated foods can simply have boiling water added to them to make an entire meals such as spaghetti (yes, you can dehydrate spaghetti and spaghetti sauce!) The amount of meal preparation for dehydrating your food is only limited by your imagination! Most stores now have dehydrated meals in either bags or cans and can be easily purchased for future use in case of an emergency and will have a very long shelf life.
Make sure you use oxygen absorbers in your dry canned storage. For example, if you have dehydrated your garden herbs and placed them in a glass jar, be sure to add an oxygen absorber before closing the lid. Here is a great article about oxygen absorbers and how to use them.
Canning Your Food
You can store almost any food item by canning it. Canning is wonderful for winter storage of your garden bounty or the for the “big sale” items you purchased at the farmer’s market of peaches, cherries or cucumbers.
Before you can, make sure you are well versed on what can be water bath canned (high acid foods) and what will need to be placed in a pressure canner (low acid foods). Below is a list of both water bath and pressure canned recipes. You can find thousands of these recipes online or in books
Water Bath Recipes:
Pressure Canned Recipes:
You do not need a lot of room to make a root cellar to store your garden produce or smoked meats. You can very easily make a small corner of your basement into a root cellar. Keep in mind that you will need a ventilated area. Without ventilation, your produce will spoil rapidly. Also try to choose a damp spot since most produce need high humidity to keep at their best.
You will need to build in an area that is cool, damp, dark, and well ventilated with good drainage. You can be as creative or as low budget as you like to create your root cellar. Something as simple as a large trash can and some straw or sand and you have a nice place to store your root crops safely away from critters and weather.
Build a Backyard Root Cellar– This is a great site for simple DIY root cellar
Ready To Eat Meals
There are many sites that offer you ready to eat meals where you would just add boiling water and the meal is ready to eat. I have tried a variety of different brands and some taste much better than others. Of course, it depends on your meal choice and taste preference, but below is a list of a few sites where you can purchase these ready to eat meals. Buying and storing your emergency food this way will be a bit more expensive, but if you find the right sales at the right time, you can really score a good bargain.
Since you are ready to prepare for tomorrow and are ready to make your plans, remember that water storage and amounts you will need should be your first priority! Then food, emergency supplies, flash lights, batteries, can opener ect. Sit down with your family and discuss what your needs will be if you are stuck inside your home in a blizzard or flood and have no way to get to a store.
While you are solving your food storage solutions with your new plan, keep in mind that you may not have any heat or electricity to cook the food you are storing unless you have added the extra cooking source to your emergency supply such as Coleman stoves and extra propane. Make your food storage emergency stash as simple as able for quick preparation. So sit down and begin making your plans and prepare for tomorrow!