Donner…Party of Four? Your Table is Empty.

So yesterday we talked about your shelter from the storm, how ’bout we make sure you’ve got something to eat while you are there.

I wrote a post a few days ago entitled “How Long Could you Survive”, in that post is a poll asking how many days you could survive in your home with no electricity or water. Check it out for the responses. About a dozen of you have responded and I have to say, I’m impressed by the ratio of folks who are in the 30 day range. Good work. If you took the survey and didn’t quite reach the category that you would have liked, then let’s talk about what all you can store up for sustenance during an emergency.

First of all let’s talk about some of your options for food storage. If budgetary considerations are your biggest concern (and trust me, that I understand!), then one option is canned goods.  They are most certainly inexpensive in comparison to other options; however, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, the shelf life of canned goods is not optimal for long-term storage. They can be rotated out according to their  shelf life, but keep in mind that this can be a serious pain. Tracking the expiration dates and replacing them can be time-consuming.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t go this route, but if you do, be prepared to rotate them frequently. Also, consider the weight and bulk of a large stockpile of canned goods! Lastly, it would be a real shame to have a vast amount of food that you couldn’t get access to…i.e. have a hand-crank can opener!

Another choice for food storage is food ration bars. Some folks refer to these as calorie bars. Now these are not energy bars. I’m not talking about power bars either. These are literally edible bars of calories. They are shrinked wrapped and have a five-year shelf life. They come in several varieties based upon calorie content. You can find unflavored or a couple of other varieties (such as apple cinnamon). I’ve gotta be honest. I’ve eaten one of these and unless I’m on my deathbed and someone (who obviously wants to punish me) stuffs one into my dying mouth, I won’t do it again. I can think of a lot of scary, disgusting things I might eat in the end times to survive, but these wouldn’t make the list. Having said that, the price point for these is reasonable and if we are honest if you’re hungry, you’re hungry. They also don’t take a lot of room for storage. They can be a bit heavy but hey, it’s a whole day’s worth of food in one bar. So, these may be your best option. Only you can decide what works best for you and your family.

Now, let’s talk about MRE’s. These are Meals Ready to Eat. Anyone whose served in the military has had the opportunity (or misfortune depending on who you ask) of trying these. My hubby for instance is in love with the cheese sauce in MREs. Can’t get enough of it! I wouldn’t say that MREs are ever going to be something I’d crave, but seriously, in a crisis these are not a bad option. You can buy these at military surplus stores, some sporting goods stores, and of course via the interweb. Officially the shelf life of an MRE is about 10 years. This varies occasionally a little bit between companies. Essentially though the actual shelf life of MRE’s has to do with how long they have been in storage in combination with the temperature of that storage. The hotter you store them, the shorter the shelf life. There are numberous sites online that discuss MRE shelf life. There are charts that show a ratio of time to temp. and the resulting shelf life. However, this chart has been updated, so make sure you are looking at the most recent version. The price point of MRE’s in my opinion, for what you get, is reasonable. Again, you need to do your research and make choices based on your budget and/or your long-term emergency plan.

Lastly, I want to discuss freeze-dried and dehydrated meals/foods. The name says it all for what these constitute. These are actually my preferred method of food storage. There are many brands to choose from, they are very lightweight, and the shelf life is AMAZING!!! Try 25 years for some varieties. Be sure to verify the shelf life of the brand and type of food you purchase. Also keep in mind that some folks easily confuse freeze-dried with dehydrated. Some brands of emergency meals actually combine them both. Either work, but their shelf lives can vary, so just pay attention. You can actually choose between full meals (like lasagna) or separate food items (such as just chicken, potatoes, blueberries, yogurt  bites, etc.) If you are interested in certain brands, let me know. I can vouch for those that I’ve tried.  For me, the light weight, often waterproof packaging, huge selection, and awesome shelf life make these the best option. You can find small individual servings anywhere you buy camping supplies but honestly the price point is much better to buy in bulk via the interweb. Who knows maybe I can walk us through some taste tests for future postings.

Essentially, these are all viable options. No one knows what you can afford or store but you. Maybe you can have a short-term, cheap option of canned goods while you save for the ultimate of food storage pantries consisting of one of the more expensive but longer lasting options. Good luck. Any questions or concerns. Drop me a comment and let me know.

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