Firearms instructor and survivalist Colonel Jeff Cooper wrote on hardening retreats against small arms fire. In an article titled "Notes on Tactical Residential Architecture" in Issue #30 of P.S. Letter (April, 1982), Cooper suggested using the "Vauban Principle", whereby projecting bastion corners would prevent miscreants from being able to approach a retreat's exterior walls in any blind spots. Corners with this simplified implementation of a Vauban Star are now called "Cooper Corners" by James Wesley Rawles, in honor of Jeff Cooper. Depending on the size of the group needing shelter, design elements of traditional European castle architecture, as well as Chinese Fujian Tulou and Mexican walled courtyard houses have been suggested for survival retreats.
Quick and easy foods help you through times when you are psychologically or physically unable to prepare your basic storage items. No cook foods such as freeze-dried are wonderful since they require little preparation. MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), such as many preparedness outlets carry, canned goods, etc. are also very good. Psychological Foods are the goodies – Jello, pudding, candy, etc. – you should add to your storage.
In his 2016 book, Can It! The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods, Gary Allen, a food writer and adjunct professor at SUNY Empire State College, traces the evolution of food preservation as a source of culinary innovation. “The original food-preservation methods—like salting and drying and all that—actually turned the food into something else,” he told me over the phone. “Cabbage sauerkraut is not the same thing as cabbage. Wine is not the same thing as grape juice.”
Over the years we have had a number of weevil infestations in our pantry. I finally had the county entomologist share with me that they tend to be in most commercially packed grains and that all you can do is to go through what you buy fast enough to keep from having a full weevil life cycle get out and into your pantry. I have heard of your suggestion to freeze flower and have been told that this only delayed the start of the insect life cycle to when you took it out of the freezer. (The implication was that your freezer couldn’t get cold enough to kill them but only make they go dormant.) I am looking for information about generating CO2 to replace the air in your packing containers and this would either kill them or keep them dormant the entire time you ore storing them. I have seen one description of using a coin size piece of dry-ice inside the mylar bags before final sealing. The dry-ice idea would not be available after the event. There has to be a simple lime-stone and acid in a mason jar with a piece of aquarium tubing????? (Looking for details on this!???)
Mylar bags & Oxygen Absorbers: What I love about Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers is they protect against every single one of the food storage enemies. Prices do vary but for the most part, they are inexpensive and easy to keep on hand. And while you can seal them up with a FoodSaver, some tubing and a common clothes iron, I find it infinitely easier with a cheap hair straightening iron that you can pick up $20 or less.
Medical is another critical group of items that should be well-stocked for the average and serious prepper alike. The most important thing about this is the individual needs of yourself and your family. Special antibiotics, diabetic medicine, hearts meds etc.. will vary from family to family. Aside from the basics be sure to understand your family’s special needs as well.
Variety is the spice of life, so make sure when you are prepping; you get a wide-range of things. Getting only wheat flour might get boring after a while and could be dangerous if someone is allergic to it. So it is a good idea to have a variety of grains to use, as well as a grinder that you can turn dried food into flour-like substances to aid in supplementing nutrition.
Good ole MREs. My fav was chicken and shrimp jambalaya. Absolutely hated Country Captain Chicken. I include them in our 72 hour bags for convenience, but I field strip them for space. I once found an authoritative website with pictures and charts about how MREs stack up in prolonged heat (can’t find it now) and the results were frightening, so I don’t stock up on too many because I live in the desert with temps over 100 for many months and I’d be in trouble if power went out. But a case or two in an interior closet is a… Read more »
I had the blessing of knowing my grandparents who lived through the Depression. I was a prepper before it was a ‘thing’. I always had a pantry to rely on. When I actually ‘got into’ prepping, I went overboard, was a bit fanatical, and then I got burned out. Too many ‘doomsday’ articles and sites. I have since changed my approach to more of a ‘homesteader’ mindset. Homesteaders and preppers have a lot in common, and the ultimate goal is the same, to be more self sufficient.
The way I think of it is, it depends on the food. How long will it last once you open it? Will it last long enough once opened for your family to consume it before it goes bad. Also, only buy foods you know how to use and that you will actually like to eat. No point in buying wheat berries if you dont have the manual grinder to process it and if you don’t know how to cook with it. I have a family of 4 including 2 small children. If I store rice in a 5 gallon mylar, will we use it before it goes bad once it’s opened? Possibly not. So i put it in 1 lb mylar bags. We can pull out smaller amounts at a time.
Still, these extraterrestrial-looking foodstuffs seem to be having something of a moment: For the past four years, Costco has been selling pallets of shriveled vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats that promise to feed a single family for up to a year—and if you’re not a member, you can purchase similar survival kits, many of which boast a 20- to 30-year shelf life, at Walmart and Target. One top seller, Wise Company, saw its sales nearly double over the past four years, reaching around $75 million, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story last November. The company’s CEO, Jack Shields, told me he estimates the industry as a whole generates between $400 and $450 million annually in retail.