Buy dry foods, canned goods and peanut butter, then use the oldest on a regular basis and rotate new stock into the pantry. Too many people buy foods that they will only eat when the SHTF and then since you’re not using it on a regular basis, it’s gone or going bad. If however you buy many of the foods you currently eat for SHTF planning then you can eat the oldest food and rotate new stock into your holdings as a routine part of your meals.
I opened my MRE and noticed that everything was still pretty much the same. You have food in foil packets although my packets weren’t in separate boxes. They did include the nutritional insert though and I never understood why they had the extra boxes anyway. Another thing we didn’t have when I was in was the handy ration heater. The ration heater is activated by placing a little water in a bag. The water mixes with an element and causes a chemical reaction that generates heat. You wrap your entrée in the bag, and in 10 minutes you are supposed to have a hot meal. It didn’t work that way for me.
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In practice, the process can be a bit tricky. Freeze-dried meals require that you have potable water lying around, which might not be the case in the event of a serious calamity (some Wise Company kits include water purifiers). The cooking instructions for the Wise products I tested call for using the entire four-serving bag at once, which means that you have to have a container on hand to store what you don’t eat, and a fridge to keep it from spoiling. Even at my office kitchen, the only way I could make it work was by pouring about a fourth of the packet in a mug, filling it with water, and putting another mug on top of it.
Some people carry both, but most choose one or the other. Multi-tools are nice for everyday utility like opening a bottle or fixing a screw on your sunglasses. There are tons of great options from popular brands like Leatherman and Gerber. But as in most things, the 80-20 rule applies here, and you’ll find that you won’t use most of the features in the extra-gadgety options and should avoid the unnecessary weight.
Today, Luther says she keeps a pantry with three different levels of “defense.” The first consists of boxes of cereal, frozen foods, and other items you might fall back on if you couldn’t make it to the grocery store for a week or two. The second, her “short-term” food storage, includes canned goods and other items with a longer shelf life — “Stuff you’d use if perhaps you lost a stream of income and times were tight for a few months,” Luther explains. The third is her long-term food storage: Mylar bags full of dry goods like beans, rice, and wheatberries, as well as some freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, and meat. Layer three, she says, is for “a situation in which all hell has broken loose.”
Making bread is not as hard as you might think. Getting used to doing it in a Dutch Oven or solar oven is different but totally doable. I think the solar oven would be much easier to regulate the temperature and prevent burning but if you are cooking on a woodstove or hearth then you can still do it but you will have to pay more attention during cooking times.
A very timely article! I’ve been purchasing some basic dehydrated foods to experiment with this past month or so and hope to start cooking with them in the new year. I want to see what I will use and what, if anything, won’t be as popular. I’m starting small, but really looking forward to playing with them. 🙂 Also, there is something very seductive about not having to worry about whether or not I have any fresh eggs or milk or sour cream on hand just when I need them!
Below are two Prepper Supplies Checklist resources. The first is a free PDF of the original 17-page preppers supplies checklist. Over the years, I’ve collected feedback on how to improve the list and compiled the updated preppers supplies checklist into a book. The book is a 35-page “Preparedness Plan Workbook”. There are 9 categories of preparedness that are covered: Water, Food, Warmth, Light, First Aid, Hygiene, Communication, Financial, and Protection/Hunting. The Food & Water Checklists include formulas to determine how much of each you will need depending on the size of your family/group.
“If you’re using it for emergency survival, the fact is you’re going to buy it once, and hopefully you’re not going to use it,” Shields said. “But it’s there as a safety net for you and your family.” That’s what intrigued me about freeze-dried food: You can wait up to a quarter-century to use it, but in an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to eat it at all.