Here’s a list of general preparedness hints for the survival food pantry and kitchen.
Let’s get right to it:
1. High quality foods
When choosing foods that you won’t be consuming right away, it is important to use so called ‘high quality’ foods. This will help assure that your preservation method coupled with long term storage will result in a more nutritious and tasty meal later on.
One thing this means is to beware of storing foods which may be nearing their end of shelf life. For example, sometimes fresh foods are put on sale at the grocery store because they’re seemingly just hours away from ‘going bad’. This might be a good deal to make an upcoming meal, but for food storage – not so good…
Another thing this means is simply that some foods aren’t that good of quality. This may be manufacturer related or for other reasons. Generally you have come to know what’s ‘good’ versus ‘not so good’, so use your better judgement when selecting long term storage foods.
2. Good variety of foods
Variety is the spice of life. And that includes the foods you eat. As you fill your deep pantry, be consciously aware to procure a variety of foods. Not only a variety of foods, but also a variety of storage such as canned, dry goods, freeze-dried, dehydrated, etc..
3. Store foods in the coolest place
This can sometimes be difficult. That is finding the stereotypical ideal ‘cool and dark’ place to store your foods. You might have already filled your kitchen shelves and cupboards, and maybe even a small kitchen pantry. But what about all the rest?
Some are tempted to store some of their long-term food storage in a shed out in the backyard. The big problem with that is summer heat! Higher temperatures will drastically reduce the food’s shelf life!
Others will store food in the basement. This is a good idea (it’s cooler and generally ‘dark’) however be very aware of potential rust problems because many basements are somewhat damp with a higher humidity level. Additionally, this excessive moisture will work its way into many types of packaging and eventually affect the food.
4. Rotate your foods
Don’t just set it and forget it… A good food rotation plan or method will keep that food in motion. Use the oldest first.
Take From The Right
For example, if one of your shelves holds a variety of canned beans, when you remove a can, take the one all the way over on the right. When you restock, put the new can on the left while sliding the remaining cans to the right. This technique always ensures that the can on the right is the oldest (and the next one to consume).
Take From The Front
When your shelves are deep enough to store multiple rows of food items, place the newest items in the back while moving the older items to the front. This will assure that what you take from the front is the oldest – which should be consumed first.
5. Be aware of potential issues if storing lots of wheat
Most all serious preppers will have a storage of dry goods, including wheat (wheat berries). However be very aware that not everyone can adapt to eating lots of wheat. It may take time for your system to adapt, while others may have issues no matter how long they try…
So it’s a good idea to actually process and consume some of that wheat on a regular basis (e.g. make your own bread) so if TSHTF your body won’t be in ‘shock’ while suddenly consuming other foods. This will also let you know if you or anyone in your household has an issue with wheat.
6. Beware of appetite fatigue
This ties in with having a wide variety of food storage. Can you imagine eating just rice and beans over and over and over again? While it is quite easy to quickly acquire a large quantity of dry goods such as rice and beans (for example), don’t just stop there… because if the SHTF and you and your household are now eating from your long-term food storage, it won’t take long for appetite fatigue to set in. This is a serious thing, so don’t ignore it… Be creative and really expand your pantry for variety.
7. Store what you eat and eat what you store
I dare say that most preppers simply build up a big food storage, and then mostly ‘sit on it’. I suspect that too many people do not actually proactively consume (rotate) from their deep pantry stores. The obvious problem with this is shelf life. While some of your storage may have a decade or longer shelf life, other foods may not. Additionally, why risk having ‘bad’ food if and when the time comes to use it? I realize that food storage is an ‘insurance policy’, but the beauty is that unlike a typical insurance policy, you can actually use (consume) what you put into it.
A serious goal should be to really begin to eat as much as you can from the foods that you store. This will enable excellent food rotation and minimal waste. Plus, if you aren’t eating it, that might mean you’re acquiring the wrong foods…
8. The importance of cooking oil
Cooking oil is a very important item to have in your storage. It is hard to cook without, and it adds calories and flavor to your meals.
Be cautious of how your store cooking oil. Without proper storage, it may begin to go rancid in a year. So definitely keep in a cool and dark (dark is important) place (maybe in a box, sitting on the cool basement floor). If you are able to freeze it, it will last a very long time (many years).
9. Spice it up
I cannot overemphasize how happy you will be if you’ve stored ahead lots of spices. Try eating rice and beans with no spice (for example). With a big variety of spices, you can tremendously expand you’re menu…
10. Beans with rice, wheat, or corn
The combination of ‘rice and beans’ makes a ‘complete protein’.
Rice is rich in starch, and an excellent source of energy. Beans are rich in protein, and contain other minerals. The consumption of the two together provides all the essential amino acids and it is no wonder that this combination is a staple of many diets throughout the world.
By adding either of the grains (wheat, corn, or rice) with beans – makes a nutritious combination.