Good article! A few years ago, a medical condition for someone in my family required that I learn how to cook without high fat dairy, no corn products, no fish, and very low sodium. That means almost no packaged or processed foods, no fast food, almost no snack foods, no packaged flavor packets, no bottled flavorings…well you get the idea. Now I visit Costco a couple times a year for rice, beans, pasta, and meat. I grow almost all the vegetables we eat year round. Our grocery bills have gone way down. And now I actually know how to cook almost anything from scratch ingredients that I always have on hand in bulk. The foods many preppers stock up, are foods I never have in my house so I wouldn’t miss them if they suddenly became unavailable. In hind sight I’ve learned that “stuff” isn’t as important as skills. Trust me, cooking is a skill.
For example, have you considered the need for feminine products? What about canes, walkers, and manually operated wheelchairs? Pets need food, crates, and toys to keep them occupied while the rest of family members are recovering from chaos. It will be impossible to cover every contingency but be aware of what those needs are now then prioritize those that you deem most important.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, the most important thing you need to survive a disaster is water. The body can go weeks without food but only a few days without water. And once you start getting dehydrated, there goes your energy levels, your clear-headedness, and your ability to make rational decisions. You will need this gear to ensure your supply of water:
Based on factors like the proliferation of nuclear weapons, global political tensions, and unchecked climate change, scientists said the symbolic clock was poised at three minutes to “midnight,” a.k.a. doomsday, in 2015 and 2016. That’s considered a very high-risk state of affairs—much worse than 2010 (six minutes to midnight) or the end of the Cold War circa 1991 (17 minutes to midnight).
Mountain House, Wise Food, My Patriot Supply, and Ready Store need to get better in this regard. In some cases, we had to call a company and dig deeper than reasonable in order to find out calorie content — or we had to look at individual nutritional labels to reverse engineer the math. In other cases they called something a “1-month bucket” but that was based on silly calorie numbers.
Of course, one of the most rewarding things about learning to make something with your own hands is that you can pass that know-how to other people. As students put the finishing touches on their shelving units and sawhorses, I get to chatting with Kathleen Lokey, a flannel-clad farmer from Greenville, Tennessee, who works for a nonprofit called Rural Resources. Through a series of workshops and training programs, the organization equips low-income, food-insecure teens in her area with the skills they need to take care of their nutritional needs, including many of the old-timey ones Daisy Luther teaches: growing their own fresh fruit and produce, canning, pickling, and making jams.
There’s a really good app called Prep and Pantry. It allows you to create did inventories, including expiration dates. It scans the barcode too so you don’t have to enter it by hand. This helps me know what I have and lets me plan my meals around when food is expiring. I think it’s about $8, but it’s helped me save a lot of money by not throwing food away.
Great article! I’ll be trying out several of these soon, since my family is in a tight spot financially and I’ve made the decision to stop buying dry goods or canned foods for the next several months in order to reduce spending. So we’re eating from long term food storage whenever I can incorporate ingredients into meals — one of our family favorites is canned meat fried up with rehydrated potato shreds & eggs & cheese to make sort of a corned beef or Spam hash! And we’ve already had good experiences with using cheese powder & dehydrated potato slices from the grocery’s “bulk food” section (very similar to the same items in our long term food storage) to make au gratin potatoes.
With that goal in mind, let me say this: this is not a list of items intended for deep storage. Nor is it a list of items packaged so that they have a 25 year shelf life. (And in reality, do you really need your stored food to last that long?) I am also not going to list items that might be foreign to your palate, difficult to find, or too costly to absorb into your weekly shopping budget.
Where there used to be occasional forays into the bush with minimal equipment to test his mettle, now there are several buried caches in specific but remote bug-out locations on public land. The caches include dried beans, rice, water purification and fire-starting devices. “Some people say – well, what if you never use it. But it doesn’t cost much and, if we do need it, it is there.”
It isn't hysteria, and GMO isn't 'evolution'. One of the biggest issues for preppers and survival is that GMO seeds will not reproduce in the same way if the seeds are saved and re-used. In fact, in many instances (maybe all?), it's illegal to save the seeds and re-use them! It's far better to track down heirloom seeds that are native to your area and/or compatible with your climate. A good place to start looking is
Nygaard is a busy woman: In addition to working a full-time job, raising chickens, and growing sweet corn, potatoes, and peppers, she runs a blog called Living Life in Rural Iowa, where she shares bits of wisdom that she’s learned on her prepping journey. Looking back, Nygaard says becoming a prepper encouraged her to develop new skills, including the sorts of home repairs and outdoor work she once counted on her husband to tackle. “Before you get divorced, you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s outside. My husband can take care of that.’ And then when you become a single parent, you’re like, ‘Wow, I have to do outdoors and indoors — why did I think he should take care of all that?’ You have that sense that you can do just about anything you set your mind to.”
“The answer is you probably could,” she said. Though research suggests it might cause a mild depletion of vitamin C and other antioxidant chemicals, she explained, freeze-drying fruits and vegetables doesn’t have any significant impact on their nutritional value; packaged as stand-alone ingredients, they can even make for a healthy alternative to more caloric snack foods.