Survival Foods

When disaster turns your world upside down, your survival foods will keep you and your family going until you have a clearer idea of what the future holds. While it is impossible to know exactly when the apocalyptic event will happen, food is one area that you can get started with to get ready well ahead of time.

Photo courtesy of mullica

Making a Shopping List

While you can prepare some foods at home, you should start your emergency food supply by heading out to the grocery store and stocking up on long lasting items while they are still cheap and available. At a very minimum, you should buy:

Supermarket Shopping

  • Canned goods - You don't know what form the apocalypse is going to take, so buying canned fruit and vegetables is a great way to make sure that you'll get all the right nutrients even in times of crisis. Canned vegetables tend to have a shelf life of a couple of years, while fruit lasts around a year. Make sure you check the dates on your cans, and all your survival foods regularly and use up those that are about to go out of date. The rule of thumb is: First in, first out;
  • Dried foods - Rice, beans, pasta, and oats are dried survival foods that you can purchase at your grocery that are filling and will store for a long time.
  • Coupons - by using coupons, you will find you are able to stock up without breaking the bank. The foods you will commonly find coupons for, include: soups, canned fruit, sugar, flour, baking mixes, cooking oil, spaghetti sauce, canned tomatoes, as well as toiletries and paper products

Long-Term Storage Foods

  • Freeze-dried survival foods - usually come in #10 cans, include everything from entrees, breakfast foods, ice cream, vegetables and fruit. When stored in ideal conditions will last for 30 years.
  • Dehydrated foods - in #10 cans or super pails, in addition to meat, fruits and vegetables includes things like: butter, peanut butter, shortening and milk. Like freeze-dried foods, in fact, all survival foods will last considerably longer than the use by date; when stored in cool, dry conditions.
  • High-calorie emergency rations - In the case of an event that knocks out power for extended periods of time, high-calorie survival foods will be your go-to meal to keep warm and give you long lasting energy boosts. Typically these will be cereal bars packed with oats, nuts and seeds and tend to have a shelf life of up to a year. They may last longer if you choose rations that don't contain any dried fruit, as this will start to decompose after six months or so.
  • Ready meals - Also known as Meal Ready to Eat (MRE), these military issue meals can be cooked or eaten cold. Designed for eating on the go, they are a good food to put in a bug out car or as emergency food at the start of the event. You can buy them online from numerous military stores and they can last up to one year if you store them correctly.

Home Made Foods

You can spend a small fortune on commercially produced survival foods, which is why many people thinking about survival will also have provisions that they can make and preserve at home months in advance. With an investment in some equipment, you can prepare your own by:

  • Dehydrating fruit - You can make fruit last for six months by dehydrating it. You will need to buy a dehydrator to get the full effect, but these cost around $80 for a decent size capacity and you can start putting it to use straight away. Popular fruits include apples and oranges, but you should experiment with any fruit that you can grow in your back yard.
  • Home canning - Canning is a great solution to the problem of what to do with a big yield of vegetables as well as putting food away against a worst case scenario. Again, you'll need to invest in canning equipment, including a machine that will seal the tins for you, but once you've got that in place, all you'll need is a supply of empty cans and lids and knowledge of what preservatives to put in with different foods.

One of the advantages of home canning is that you can experiment with foods that a grocery store might not sell. For example, by tracking down a recipe for Boston canned bread, you can give you and your family a long lasting source of carbohydrates that you can prepare months in advance. Whether you purchase your survival foods or prepare them yourself, being ready for the catastrophic event will place you and your family in a better position for staying alive in a challenging time.

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