Whatever food storage plan you develop must be suited to you (your family, your circumstances, etc) in at least three ways:
Food Allergies and Intolerances: These are unchanging. If a family member is allergic to any food (such as peanuts or wheat) you must not store that food. Kitchen hygiene during an emergency may allow for cross-contamination which can be life-threatening. If someone in the family is intolerant of a food (such as milk) don’t store that food for that person. Substitute safe foods for the ones not stored.
Preferences: These are flexible and adaptable. This is utterly and entirely different from an intolerance. It simply means you don’t like certain foods. First, make the adult decision to be in charge of your own life and not a perpetual victim! Second, develop and institute ways right now to broaden those preferences. During an emergency you’ll be under enough stress; don’t add to it by mandating a major change of diet.
Abilities and Tools: These are easily changeable. Growth here, as in the arena of preferences, can be made an adventure. Learn to cook and prepare foods in new, energy-efficient ways or ways using different energy sources. Purchase and learn right now the tools you’ll need to prepare food. This can be as simple as learning to cook over an open fire and as complicated as the salesclerk at the survival store can convince you to spend hard-earned money on.
TRIAD APPROACH TO FOOD STORAGE
I have recommended for years that food storage be pursued along three complimentary axes, like the X, Y, and Z axes of a three-dimensional coordinate system. These are : -Quick Food Kit (aka 72-hour kit, bug-out bag, etc), -Routine Daily Foods, and -Long-Term Storage Foods.
These meet different needs but the use of one is complimentary to the others.
Quick foods are mainly for acute events which are not expected to last long but which significantly interrupt normal family operations. Events such as hurricanes, ice storms, earthquakes, etc are the sexy players here. But these foods are for anything unexpected that shouldn’t last too long or for the first few days of a longer event.
Foods stored under this heading are generally characterized as being: -Easy to fix (no more than boiling water), -Portable (in case you have to abandon your home), -Familiar (make them familiar right now), -Good sources of calories (because you’ll likely be working hard), and -Have good flavor (to lift spirits and encourage eating when you really don’t feel like it).
ROUTINE DAILY FOODS
These serve two purposes. First they are a convenient way to be prepared for short-term events lasting from 1-2 weeks to a few months. Secondly they act as a bridge to the exclusive consumption of foods from your long-term supply. You should store at very minimum a one-month supply of these. Four to six months is much better but is something to develop over several years (if you feel you have the time).
Events such as an extended winter storm (the KY ice storm of 2009 left some folks without power for weeks), hurricane (Katrina: ’nuff said), and others are the sexy players here. But with today’s (Feb 2009) economic situation a layoff or employment cutback is more likely for most folks and can be at least as humbling as their flashier brethren (from sad personal experience).
The role of bridge foods is also critical. Affordable foods for long-term storage taste different from what most of us eat every day and they digest differently. You and your digestive tract need some time to adjust. One Warning ™: do not eat up all your bridge foods then suddenly switch to your deep storage foods. That destroys the whole idea of bridge foods and puts you under unnecessary physical and emotional stress. The simple truth is that you should be eating some foods from your deep storage every week, even if it’s only a pot of beans and rice and some wheat biscuits.
Foods under this heading are the stuff you eat every day with some exceptions. They should not require refrigeration or freezing to store (in case of a power outage). They should be the easier-to-fix items from your weekly grocery trips rather than the all-day-marathon recipe ingredients. In short, they should be easy to fix and familiar.
LONG-TERM STORAGE FOODS
Many people advocate a strict “store what you eat” approach. It has the advantages of familiarity and convenience, but I have neither the space nor the money up-front nor the generator and fuel to support that plan. I store an affordable mix of foods that last a long time in storage and requires no more infrastructure than a dry place to sit. This section is going to be aimed at that approach.
Foods in this category are for sustaining life and health for a long time. They are characterized by a relatively low cost per unit, good nutritional content, and a very long shelf life. Many of these are not familiar in daily American use, but with a tiny bit of work can be made part of the weekly diet of an average family. Included in this ‘deep storage’, as a friend calls it, should be some treats I call brain candy. Hard candy, hot cocoa mix, a few cans of treat-quality canned goods held in reserve, etc are all good ideas. You should also store spices and flavorings to make these rather bland foods more palatable.
The plan I recommend here is based on recommendations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka LDS or ‘Mormons’) which they released about 1983. It recommends you store foods in the following categories:
-Grains (at least 65% whole grains): 20 – 35 lb/person/month based on age and size includes wheat, whole corn, rice, oats, pasta, flour, corn meal
-Legumes (beans, peas, lentils, & the like): 3 lb/person/month including a mix of legumes (1/2 lb each of split peas & lentils; ¼ lb each of limas & soy; remainder any bean)
The LDS Church has recently decreased it’s recommended minimums to 25 lb of grains and 5 lb of beans per person per month.
You will need some extra tools for preparing these foods. You should store most of your grains as whole grains. That requires a grinder of some sort to prepare them as flour or cracked grains. Most whole grains and beans can be sprouted, fantastically increasing their nutritional content. Sprouting kits are cheap or can be fashioned from coarse cloth and a canning jar with ring. You’ll also need to develop skills and gather tools for preparing these foods. A wide-mouth thermos, straw-box cooker, or other insulated container makes cooking beans much easier and more energy-efficient. Cast iron Dutch ovens and the developed skills to use them can turn basic survival foods into a feast.
Copyright: Osage, Alpha Disaster Contingencies, AlphaRubicon.com 2009 you may use this freely with proper attribution. You may not charge any monetary value for this information.
Last friday I had several guests from AlphaRubicon on my show to discuss the basics of preparation. This friday I will have 1 and possibly 2 more from there to discuss food storage. What to store, how much to store, how to rotate it so you are using it before it's expires or goes bad. Osage, one of last fridays guests will be back. He is a military combat medic and he is very knowledgable about food storage in particular and many other subjects as well.
And Remember the lovely young lady on my show? That was Pied Piper, or Piper as I usually call her. She has been living a prepared lifestyle for at least the 6 years I've known her. As she said on the show, when a fire threatened her home, she had a plan in place to get herself, her pets and her preparations out of the fires way. Well she sent me some E-mails which she has graciously given me permission to post here. No worries – happy to do it. I’ve been prepping all my life – grew up in Hurricane Alley, but really got big time after sitting through Andrew at ground zero. That was a real eye opener to me. You have that hurricane outline, so even if you don’t need me, feel free to use information from there. And you might consider telling people to visit ready.gov, but tell them you recommend they treat it as a ‘bare minimum’ set of recommendations.
Will do. I've found the ready.gov sites recommendation to be the "lite" version of preparedness.
It’s definitely insufficient. But mention it for a couple of reasons.
It at least gives people an undaunting target – they’re more likely to start if the task seems small. They’re more likely to finish if it doesn’t take too much time and money.
It shows them this isn’t the fringe. This is mainstream. Even the government is pushing it.
You can even focus on the ready.gov ‘plan’ and build on it. SO you tell your people “we’re going to start with a 3-day supply.” That has to be 3 days of everything beyond what they need for the next 3 days. Then go to the 2-week plan. That’s really bare minimum, and many people have found they’re without power for a lot longer – i.e. ice storm victims.
Then you can build on that.
I love the idea you’re doing food next, because that would give your listeners a schedule. “By next week, let’s plan to have that 3-day supply. Next week, we’re going to add 3 more days, then 3 more the following week, then 3 more our last week of these preparedness discussions. The week after that, when I get on the radio, you should have that 2-week supply in your home.
That gives them a roadmap and ‘deadlines’ they shouldn’t find too hard to meet. Of course, you’ll only have maybe a handful of participants. They might be onboard with a 2-week supply already. So you can add, “for those who already have supplies good for 2 weeks to 5 months, your goal should be to build up to 6 months of supplies. So use our schedule to do that.”
You want to emphasize eat what you store and store what you eat. Emphasize it’s a good opportunity to get to know ingredients and a bit of nutrition, too. When you combine grains and legumes (beans), you get almost all the amino acids (proteins) you need. They actually substitute for meat, and they’ll stay good, on the shelf, pretty much our lifetimes.
Have fun with it.
Oh and can I post your e-mail edited of course on my blog, to explain some of what we are trying to accomplish?
Mark, sure, you can edit and use what's in the email. Check ready.gov to be sure exactly what the gov is recommending (I think it's 2 weeks but can't swear to it). Then use it as a springboard (gov is mainstream, not some weirdo survivalism) and go from there. You might cite the midwest ice storm power outage, Katrina, etc. if you want reasons why folks should do this, but you also could mention how food prices are going up. I did comment, last Friday, that I earned something like a 40% rate of return on some of my food. You just cite the increase in price of rice over last year and invite people to look at other prices on the shelves. Had they stocked it early last year, they could be eating at last year's prices for a while longer.
Then do your challenge. 3 days of supplies each week (but tell them if they can't handle that, then do the same schedule with one day of supplies each week, or even one day extra supplies each two weeks. Just making progress adding things is the goal, but the more they can do, the better off they area. Forgo eating out. Make your lunch instead of buying it near the workplace. Drop the cigarettes or that cup of coffee each morning at 7-11 or Starbucks. Lots of ways to cut out $10 or $20 a week in expenses. Use that for preps. $10 a week can buy a lot!
So as you can see preparedness ISN'T some weird thing certain people do. During and after the Great Depression almost everyone lived a prepared lifestyle. They had too. Food was scarce fuel when it was available was rationed. Unemployment was at astonomical levels. There were no jobs to be had, the banks made no loans. If you wanted to eat you had to grow it and store it yourself. Well, through technology we have a much easier way of storing foods without having to grow it ourselves. And it is very easy to start. It isn't a ginormous gargantuan task. Every week when you go to the store just buy a few extra cans of what you are already eating. Take the new foods you have bought and put them at the back of your pantry bringing what you already have to the front. There you have just rotated your food. The kids and I do this every time we go to the store. It's a bit more difficult with my deep freezer, having to take everything out and put the newest stuff on the bottom, but at the same time it gives me a running inventory of what I already have and what I need to get. Just keep adding to your supplies every time you go to the store, and look for sales on stuff you use all the time. I was able to get canned corn and canned gren beans on sale with a good case price which was more than 15 cents a can cheaper. Well with 7 kids plus myself I bought several cases of both. Those bean and corn now? Instead of the .47 cents a can I paid for it back when it was on sale it's now .89 cents a can, that's .42 cents a can more, almost 100% more than I paid for it. So preparing can also save you $$$$$, in addition to making sure if something happens your family will not go hungry.
This friday on my show I will be asking for volunteers from you my readers and listeners. I want you to take up the challenge I am going to give you. Here it is.....
Starting from where you are now, try to get at least 3 days to 1 weeks worth of food in your pantry. this is in adition to the food you already have. And every week try to add 1 or 2 more days worth to it. Watch for sales and use coupons. Buy from the small discount supermarket such as Aldi's, Save-A-Lot, Sav-Mor and others. Many people don't like to shop at these store because they don't have a butcher, or they ___________ isnert your own description. These stores have excellent deals on canned goods. Sometimes you can get them 3 or 4 for a dollar. Vegetables, soups, stews, chili, pasta. Just because they are a discount store and don't have name brand merchandise doens't mean the quality of the food is poor. Most of the no-name stuff is packaged on the line right next to the name brand stuff, but it doesn't have the really nice printed label and super shiny can. Don't let appearances deprive you of a resource which can help you prepare. So start out with 3 to 7 days worth of food. Take a picture of your pantry before you start, and e-mail it to me. Then start stocking up. When you get 3-7 days worth, take another picture and e-mail it to me. Then keep adding on to your stocks. I will post every picture that is sent to me here on the blog along with your name to help give you some incentive. Come on what do you have to lose?
And remember this friday at 11:00 P.M. Central Standard Time, Osage and maybe 1 other Member of the Rubicon will be on my show to discuss food storage, so you can ask questions you may have.
As I sit here and write this. I am in a Severe Thunderstorm warning, the wind is rather bad, vibrating the whole house. Tornados and severe thunderstorms are running through Central and Eastern Oklahoma, Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri. Seems like a perfect time to post this.
This friday 2-13-2009, on my show I will have a few friends from the AlphaRubicon website on the show to discuss the nature of threats which affect us. And the very basics of preparing for them. Later Shows will deal with more detailed information on very specific preparations and needs.
And as usual I will have my Yahoo Messenger turned on if you wish to ask a question that way. My Yahoo Messenger ID is txfellowship and if yo want to add me to your friends list go ahead and I'll add you right back.