Building a comprehensive food stockpile is a daunting task, to say the least. For that reason, I recommend you begin stocking your home grocery store with basic foods that will enable you to survive during a relatively short-term (two weeks to three months) emergency and then gradually expand your inventory to enable you to survive a long-term emergency (one year or longer) that includes a full array of food and non-food items necessary and tailored to your family’s needs and likes.
When considering what to store, keep in mind young children, babies, elderly family members and your pets. Keep special needs items on hand also such as baby food, formula and pet food. Don’t forget the toilet paper.
The following 12 categories of food items (stored somewhere in your home) could very well save your life and the lives of many others in an emergency situation.
1) Garden Seeds
I suggest you purchase non-hybrid garden seeds. The seed can be harvested from your own garden and saved from year to year. If we have a situation where garden seeds are not available, you will have your own. Garden seeds are a great barter Item. Garden seeds have a shelf life, so check the package for the expiration date.
Basic garden seeds to have on hand that will grow in most climates are: asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beets, cabbage, cantaloupe, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, green onions, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, melons, mustard greens, okra, pole or bush beans, parsley, parsnips, peas, peppers, pumpkin, radish, rutabaga, spinach, squash, sweet corn, Swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips, and watermelon.
2) Sprouting Seeds
Many different whole grains, beans and legumes, as well as seeds, will sprout when soaked overnight. When you sprout these foods, they provide an excellent source of enzymes and nutrients that you would normally eat if you had fresh vegetables. After sprouting these seeds, grains and legumes, their vitamins and minerals increase by 75 percent. Sprouts can be used in place of salads and in stir-frying.
The most common seeds and legumes for sprouting are alfalfa; broccoli; lentils; radish; red clover; salad blends; sprouting peas; sunflower; wheat; and legumes such as adzuki, garbanzo, kidney, mung, pinto, red, beans and soybeans.
Wheat is the most common grain and the main constituent of bread. In many cultures, whole grain bread is considered the staff of life.
If you are allergic to wheat, there are other grains that you can use such as barley, buckwheat, amaranth, Kamut®, millet, quinoa, rye, spelt, triticale corn, farina, germade, oats and rice.
White rice stores much longer, but brown rice is much more nutritious. Brown rice can be stored in the freezer to extend the shelf life.
4) Beans And Legumes
A wide variety of beans are available, such as black beans, great northern beans, lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, or dried split or whole peas. Beans are a great source of protein. When combined with rice, they become a complete protein. They can be cooked whole in soups, stews or by themselves. They can also be sprouted. Beans can be ground into flour and used to make refried beans or thicken soups. Dried beans and legumes last at least 15 years if kept sealed and in a cool storage area.
5) Spices And Bouillons
With grains, rice, beans, pasta and other staples, you will need spices to make the bland food more palatable. Dried or granulated bouillons, gravy mixes and dried soup bases are very important and can be mixed with canned meat to flavor any rice or pasta dish.
6) Canned And Dried Soups
Canned soups that your family enjoys should be part of your emergency food. These soups are easy to fix and ready to eat. Canned soups can be great starters for a larger pot of soup or stew. Cream-based soups can be used as a gravy or sauce. Purchase soups you normally eat and rotate them.
Dried soup mixes will last much longer than canned soup. They are very important to store. And let’s face it: In a stressful situation, anything that’s easy to fix will be great.
7) Dried Eggs And Dairy Products
Dehydrated eggs are considered a protein food. Dried eggs are great for long-term storage because you can add a small amount of water to the powder and it reconstitutes into the equivalent of fresh eggs. They can be used in scrambled eggs and omelets or in any recipe calling for fresh eggs.
Dried dairy products are also great to store because they last a minimum of five years and can be reconstituted to the equivalent of fresh milk, chocolate milk, butter, buttermilk, sour cream and cheese similar to mac and cheese sauce. Dried dairy products last a minimum of five to 15 years if kept cool.
8) Canned Or Dehydrated Fruits And Vegetables
I suggest you store dehydrated, freeze-dried and commercially canned fruits and vegetables.
Dehydrated food weighs less and is much easier to store than wet-pack food. It requires far less space than wet-pack canned food. Dehydrated food will yield at least double and triple its dry weight and is less expensive. Add water to restore it to its natural state. The taste is still great, and the food value is excellent. Dehydrated foods store from five to 20 years, depending on the product. Dried fruits and vegetables are great for snacks. These dehydrated or dried foods are available here.
9) Protein Foods And Canned Meats
Protein foods are one of the most important foods to stockpile. Canned meats are an excellent food to store. I suggest you store tuna, salmon, Spam, beef dices, beef stew, chicken dices, beef, ham and sausage. Canned meats with a canned cream soup for the sauce are great over any rice or pasta dish. I stockpile canned ham so I can add it to my beans along with some dehydrated vegetables. It makes a great ham and bean dish.
Freeze-dried meats are available on the market and come in gallon-sized cans as well. They can be rehydrated and used in any dish calling for meat.
10) Baking Ingredients
Basic ingredients for baking include things like wheat for grinding into flour, powdered milk, whole dried eggs, baking powder, soda, salt and yeast. Sweeteners include sugar, honey, maple syrup and stevia. Fats and oils include butter powder, shortening, olive and vegetable oil.
11) Fun Foods
Fun Foods are foods such as canned juices, drink mixes, jams, jellies, condiments, olives, pickles, popcorn, pudding, salad dressings and anything else that would be considered extras. You might not consider putting these items in your storage, but they are a nice supplement to the food you already have. It makes a meal more interesting if you have some fun foods on hand. I keep several gallons of popcorn in my food storage.
12) Pre-Made Meals (Just Add Water)
I’ve been testing a line of nutritious fast-and-easy gourmet meals by GoFoods Global that will store for a minimum of 15 years. You just add water, cook for 15 minutes and eat. It reminds me of the pre-packaged food from the grocery store like soup mixes, Hamburger Helper® and Rice-A-Roni®.
Some of the features of GoFoods pre-packaged meals are:
- The food is dehydrated from premium-grade, fresh raw fruits, vegetables, dairy products, grains, beans and legumes.
- All meals are complete with everything in them. All you do is add water.
- These meals can be used every day for fast, convenient and healthy food.
- There are no genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in GoFoods.
- There is no added monosodium glutamate (MSG).
- No ingredients are imported from countries using illegal fertilizers and insecticides.
- They contain no hydrogenated oils.
- They are packaged for long-term storage in Mylar® pouches.
The company lets you try before you buy; simply go to www.peggylayton.mygofoods.com. Click on “sample” to receive three packages of sample meals that will feed two to four people per package. All you pay is $9.95 for shipping.
Meals include soups like cheddar broccoli, Italian chicken, vegetable beef, tortilla, corn chowder, minestrone, chicken noodle, chili and potato cheddar. Entrées and other baking items include chicken pasta Alfredo, cheesy chicken rice casserole, beef stroganoff, au gratin potatoes, instant seasoned potatoes, pancake mix, corn muffin mix, cornmeal dumplings, granola, powdered milk, wheat bread mix and buttermilk biscuit mix. Check it out at www.peggylayton.mygofoods.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This information came from the book Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook. To purchase any of my seven books or other products including dehydrated food, water storage, water purification and preparedness products, go to www.peggylayton.com.