Emergency Food Preparation
Prepping for any disaster, may it be natural or man-made, is a must for every family and individual. A natural disaster is inevitable and can strike at any time—leaving you and your family to fend for your own survival. Thus, it is a must to start preparing your emergency supplies including your emergency food supply so you can be ready for any situation that may come.
Natural disasters such as a flood, a hurricane, or a blizzard can cause situations such as food shortages that can greatly affect communities, including you and your family members. Other causes include supply chain disruption, inflation, and social unrest.
In this article, we will be discussing how to start your emergency food preparation and what supplies and equipment must you acquire to ensure your food security and survival. We will also be giving tips and methods on how to organize and prepare your emergency food supply such as the FIFO method and canning, among others.
How do I start planning for my Emergency Food Supply?
Planning for your emergency food supply can be an overwhelming task especially when you tend to overthink everything. However, this should not be the case as you can tailor your emergency food supply planning to fit your needs. You can start planning based on your food storage goals - it can be for a two week supply or even decades for prepping experts.
Food prep strategy - plan for your specific needs
Firstly, you should consider your family’s preferences and special diets such as allergies and sensitivities. Next, you may research various items that are a must in your food storage and consider what type of prepper pantry or food storage you want to have. Whether it is a long-term storage type or a working pantry where you utilize the food supplies you have that also act as your emergency food supply.
The FIFO System - A working pantry strategy
The FIFO Food Storage System is our highly recommended method in your planning and organization for your prepping. This is also a great method for starting preppers who want to delve into doomsday prepping. We already dived down into discussing the FIFO Food Storage System in one of our blog posts. But to sum it all up, FIFO stands for “first in, first out” which describes how the food supply in your stockpile should rotate depending on whether the item is perishable foods or non perishable food.
Buying emergency food supplies in larger quantities is helpful so that the quantity you have on hand will last you longer. This will save you from food supply shortages or SHTF situations. This means that the food that you purchase is consumable and will guarantee you an on-hand supply and food safety.
These food items can be commercially canned foods, perishable food, refrigerated or frozen foods, dairy products, and other foods. Remember to always check the shelf life and expiration dates of basic foods whether they are short term food storage or long term food storage types of food.
Experts recommend that you must store at least one gallon of water per person per day that is clean and readily available to you. You may use containers that are FDA-approved food-grade containers for storage that do not transfer toxic substances to the water and prevent bacteria from forming.
You can also apply the FIFO method to the water supply in your as well, however, sometimes it is not economically sound for some families to store a large amount of water for long-term storage. We recommend that you avail various water purification tools or equipment to have on hand. This can help you save money and have potable water readily available.
There are numerous tools available in the market that can help you in times of disaster. There is the Lifestraw used by individuals to have any source of water purified by just drinking through the straw. There are available ceramic water filters as well that you can avail for larger amounts of water emergency supply.
What Food Should you Store in an Emergency?
We have already delved down as to which specific food items and staple foods must you store in your food storage. With these items, you can plan nutritionally balanced meals with little or no preparation in case of a power outage.
We highly recommend dry goods, canned foods, dehydrated foods, freeze dried foods, and various long term food storage food items. For dry goods, you can have instant cereals such as sweetened cereals, powdered milk, wheat crackers, granola bars, and dried fruits. We also recommend other well preserved foods such as peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, and other seasonings that can add flavor to your staple foods in times of emergency. Stress foods such as trail mix with nuts and dried fruits or even hard candy can come in handy too. Remember as well if you have pregnant women or children to have infant formula or baby food on hand for their food safety and security.
We do not typically recommend refrigerated foods for your emergency food supply, as these may not last you long, especially in the case that you experience a power outage. You may opt for frozen foods to plan food supplies. However, they may susceptible to bacteria growth once the high temperature hits these foods. You may consume frozen foods with ice crystals. When these items contain ice crystals they can still be refrozen however it is not recommendable to store them as your emergency food.
We also do not recommend fresh foods for emergencies as they are perishable foods. Fresh foods such as fresh eggs, fruit juices, green beans, fresh meats, or other raw foods can be susceptible to getting rotten in a few days without freezing these goods. Once these foods have an unusual odor this can already mean that it is spoiled and unsafe to eat. Learning more about food science can help you with this dilemma and help you and your family to consume safe food.
What canned foods are best to buy for an emergency?
There are a lot of canned foods available in the market such as canned soups, green beans, canned meats, and other canned vegetables. We recommend that you choose the type of canned foods that best fit your family’s taste and specific canned foods that have a longer shelf life as your stored food for emergencies. These foods can be high energy foods that take little or no cooking.
Long term food storage kits
You may also opt for various long term food storage such as emergency preparedness kits. These contain food that has a long shelf life and that is very easy to prepare. With just food and water you can already have a well balanced meal.
One of the best options for long term storage kits is ReadyWise, which we review in detail here.
Emergency Food Preparation Equipment
We recommend that you have at least the basic supplies that you can purchase from camping supply stores. Items such as a charcoal grill and fondue pots are useful to heat food. It is also recommended that you have chafing dishes, a frying pan, and a can opener for your emergency equipment.
What other methods can you use to prepare emergency food?
Food preservation is an ideal method for building your food storage. However, is not beginner-friendly and takes a lot of research and food science to fully achieve it.
One method that we recommend is canning. Home canned foods and canning, in general, are very helpful towards your survival. With canning, you preserve your own food through picking or fermenting that will last you years' worth of food. Vegetables and fruits are ideal for this method.
Freezing is another method that is very easy to do compared to canning but can result in less quality tasting food. However, with proper packaging, this can last you longer and can minimize oxygen with lengthens its shelf life.
Mylar bagging, on the other hand, is one method that we highly recommend. This method is just simply filling the bags, partially sealing them with a flat iron, and throwing in oxygen absorbers them seal them shut. Although mylar bags and oxygen absorbers are expensive, they can last you for a very long time and can help you store large amounts of food.
If you sense that these methods are not for you, there are budget-friendly MREs and long term emergency food storage like ReadyWise that are ready to consume and can be stored for decades for you and your family. After all, it is all up to your preferences and choices.
Storing food and water for your family is a basic necessity. However, storing for only a two week supply is highly different from storing food for the long-term intended for emergencies and natural disasters. You must always be prepared for anything that may come and we hope that these tips will come in handy for you, especially for prepper beginners out there.