This is a guest contribution by Lee Flynn. Lee Flynn is from the Greater Salt Lake area and grew up in a family where everything they did was outdoors. Lee was raised with survival and preparedness as a way of life. After graduating from college, he began a survival course teaching basic survival knowledge and preparedness advice and has been doing this now for 10 years.
Now that you’ve made the decision to create a food storage system based on your family’s needs, the first step is to determine where you’ll put it. You may only have enough space to store a few weeks’ worth of surplus food if you’re short on space. This is the time to get creative when it comes to building your emergency food storage. Whether you live in a house, condo, or apartment, every bit of available space has the potential to serve as a place to store extra food.
Food Storage Tips
Store your emergency food in a space that gets a limited amount of light and generally stays anywhere between 50 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Pantries, cupboards, or basements work great. Some families store surplus food in their crawl space under their home, provided the food is properly sealed and contained.
As long as food isn’t stored in extra warm temperatures or kept near hot pipes or furnaces, it probably won’t spoil. However, be sure to always check the expiration date on your storage food prior to eating it since it could possibly be bad. Many people also like to store food in a basement freezer chest with a variety of frozen foods as well.
What Kinds of Foods Should Families Store?
While you’re trying to figure out what kinds of foods to store, stop and consider what types of foods both you and your family actually like to eat. Don’t buy things you know your kids won’t touch. In order to build an effective food storage supply, stockpile the foods you’ll actually eat since you’ll be rotating your food supply anyway. Also, if you’re not accustomed to eating a particular food, you may find yourself with some unpleasant digestive issues in the end.
Here are some ideas for food staples that many people choose to stockpile in their emergency food supply. Again, consider the tastes of your family along with any special diets anyone may need to follow and adjust your supply accordingly.
Canned Vegetables and Fruits
Several canned vegetables and fruits are not only full of healthy vitamins and minerals, but they have a shelf life of at least three years.
Beans and Legumes
Dried navy beans, kidney beans, great northern beans, and a number of legumes can last up to 20 years if properly stored and they’re an excellent source of protein as well. Cook them and simply eat them plain, or put them in tasty homemade soups or other recipes.
Most people don’t realize the importance of salt. Your body needs the iodine found in salt in order to survive. Therefore, if you want to create a long-term food supply, put iodized salt on your list.
In many cases, dehydrated fruits and vegetables last longer on the shelf than several bottled or canned versions. A few produce items aren’t good for drying, but foods like peas, apricots, carrots, bananas, apples, and onions work especially well for dehydration.
It’s obvious you need water in your food storage. Ideally, your water should be stored in large polycarbonate barrels and kept in a cool, dark area. Figure one gallon per day per person; one-half gallon to drink, and the other half for hygiene and cooking. Also, the water inside your hot water heater can be put to use as well. Just be sure you have a quality water kit or purification tablets to ensure it’s usable enough for cooking and/or drinking if necessary.
If you want to use powdered milk in your back-up food supply, make sure it’s never exposed to any moisture and keep it cool and dry. Stored properly, powdered milk can last on the shelf as long as 18 – 24 months.
Not only is rice an excellent of source of energy for your body, it’s fairly inexpensive and makes an excellent staple to have on hand for various recipes or just plain. Rice can last 8 – 10 years on the shelf if it’s properly stored.
Your emergency home food storage supply can provide both you and your family with great peace of mind and satisfaction knowing your food requirements are met in case you ever need them in the face of an emergency. It also helps financially as well. With a solid plan, you can start building your food storage as soon as today, which will enable you to be fully prepared in those unfortunate times of economic or personal instability.