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Week 20 of 52: 1 Month Supply of Food

This series installment marks our 20th week in our 52 week series of getting you prepared. This week we focus our concentration on long-term food storage. Ensuring that our basic needs of food and water are met during a short or long-term emergency will help us stay strong, healthy and focused on getting past the disaster.

wk 20
We are all preparing for different reasons and to different degrees, however, most of you can agree that we are all preparing for a scenario where we will need to have emergency supplies to fall back on when the time comes. We have discussed in previous newsletters how storing food is both economical as well as promotes personal responsibility. Knowing that you can sustain your family in a disaster also provides peace of mind, which is priceless.

When storing food for long-term emergencies, it is hard to calculate how much food a person or family will need. One of the golden rules of prepping is “it’s better to be over prepared rather than under prepared.” Ensure that your family has enough food for long-term emergencies by researching to find out how many calories a person needs per day in order to survive, and knowing how much food to store. Remember to turn to the long-term food supply guideline to ensure that your food stays within it’s expiration date.

Certain foods can stand the test of time and are lifelines to families.  The following is a detailed list of the suggested prep items for you to purchase this week. Most of these items are lifetime survival foods, meaning their shelf life is 20 years+ and would be a good investment to make towards your food security.

  •  White Rice – White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, is rich in starches and carbohydrates, is cheap and has a long shelf life.  Although some prefer brown rice, white rice is the better storage choice. Even though brown rice has more nutrition, it is considered a “living” food and tends to not last as long as white rice does. If properly stored, white rice can last 30 years or more. Rice can be used for breakfast meals, added to soups, made into a variety of side dishes and is also an alternative to wheat flour.
  • Beans – These low cost preps are not only packed with nutrition, but are extremely versatile. Beans are packed with protein, iron, fiber, folate, antioxidants and vitamins. When beans are accompanied with rice, it makes a complete protein which provides all the amino acids needed to survive. One serving of beans and rice provides 19.9 g, or 40 percent of your daily vitamins.
  • Wheat – Wheat is one of your long-term emergency must haves! Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita­mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein. Wheat berries are best to store as they will last longer than flour. The berries can also be used as a  breakfast cereal, added to soups for additional nutrition, popped like popcorn, ground into flour for baking, used to make alcohol, livestock feed, used as a leavening agent, for sprouting.
  • Oats – Steel cut, rolled or quick cooking oats are the most common types of oats you can buy in bulk. Oats are considered a whole grain and can be a valuable protein source during a long-term situation. In addition, oats can be used in a variety of cooking recipes, ground into flour, sprouted for needed vitamin nutrition, and used as livestock feed. Oats also have proven to be very effective in soothing the skin, and can be used medicinally. The alternative medicine community boasts that infusions of oat straw has also been used to assist in nicotine withdraws, and  used to treat flu symptoms and coughs.
  • SaltSalt is a multipurpose, low cost prep that will be highly desirable if a long term disaster were to come around.  Prepping calculators suggest having 25 pounds of salt stored for one year. Salt can be used for curing, as a preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, and tanning hides. Salt that is stored in it’s paper packaging can be subject to caking due to exposure to moisture. Packing salt in long-term packaging is suggested.
  • Sugar – Sugar will be highly desirable in a long-term emergency mainly because it will add a bit of normalcy to the situation. With a little sugar stored away you can use it as a sweetener for beverages, in breads, cakes, as a preservative, use it to make alcohol,  for curing, gardening, and as an insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches). Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container. It is suggested not to add any dessicant packets to sugar as it will cause the sugar to brick.
  • Bouillon Granules – Bouillon granules are a great way to add flavor to dishes during a long-term situation. This could be a great way to beat food fatigue (eating the same types of food repeatedly that causes one to lose their appetite). Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved.  However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered.  If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best to repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags. Bulk quantities of bouillon granules can be found at most super stores.
  • Powdered Milk – Because dry milk will probably be the most sensitive food item you are storing, the drier powdered milk can be kept the better. In fact, adding a dessican’t packet when storing for long-term would be helpful in preserving this necessary food item. Powdered milk is not just for drinking. It can be used in a variety of recipes, added to soups, used to make breads, and also has many beauty uses as well.
  • Cooking Oil – Many overlook this critical prep item. Having oil is not only essential to use for cooking purposes, but it can play a large role in our diet as well. The fats contained in oil have nine calories per gram compared to the four calories contained by either carbohydrates or protein. This makes fat a valuable source of concentrated calories that could be of real importance if faced with a diet consisting largely of unrefined grains and legumes. Having cooking oil on hand could also be helpful to aiding the diet intakes of children and elderly since they consume less food and may be risk for malnutrition in a long-term disaster situation. Storing cooking oil could pose a problem. Due to the instability of most cooking oils, unopened bottles of  oil have a shelf life of 1 year. This is one example of why it is so important to use the foods that we store. Ironically, coconut oil has a longer shelf life of 5 years when properly stored in cool, dark place. Although darker colored oils have more flavor than paler colored, the agents that contribute to that flavor and color also contribute to faster rancidity. For maximum shelf life buy paler colored oils.

Preps To Buy:

  • White rice in bulk quantities
  • Beans in bulk quantities
  • Wheat in bulk quantities
  • Oats in bulk quantities
  • Sugar in bulk quantities
  • Salt in bulk quantities
  • Bouillon granules in bulk quantities
  • Powdered milk in bulk quantities
  • 2-gallons of cooking oil

Action Items:

  1.  Calculate the amount of food your family will need for a month long disaster.
  2. With the food storage items purchased last week, begin assembling Mylar bags and storage containers and pour food contents in and seal for long-term storage. Have a print out on hand on the directions for packing food long term to ensure that you are storing food correctly.
  3. Ensure that food lids are sealed correctly.
  4. Store sealed food containers in a cool, dark, and dry area of the home.
  5. As a reminder, remember not to forget your pets in your long-term food storage plans and ensure that you have packed enough food away for your pets. Dog and cat food can also be stored in food grade plastic containers for long-term use.

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on September 16th, 2011