Hurricanes, blizzards, terrorist attacks, power outages, epidemics, and so on — you will never know what natural and manmade disasters will take you by storm. Such stressful times necessitate every ounce of physical and emotional strength and it is crucial to have an emergency food supply for at least three days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This survival food storage guide will walk you through how to come up with a game plan. This includes advice for planning your food stock and food storage tips for your emergency survival food to last for as long as possible.
Plan Smart According to You and Your Family’s Needs and Tastes.
The average American male consumes just less than 2,500 calories a day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Practical Preppers consultant Scott Hunt urges preppers to ensure a supply that provides at least 2,200 calories per day and covers basic nutritional requirements. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends including vitamin, mineral, and protein supplements to ensure adequate nutrition.
Pay attention to individuals with special diets. Babies need liquid formula, in case mothers are unable to nurse. Prepare powdered milk for toddlers and canned dietetic foods, juices, and soups for the ill or elderly. Also, take note of food allergies.
Try to replicate the diet that you are used to eating. Familiar foods boost morale and give a feeling of security amidst uncertainty. Needless to say, pets should be considered. Store non-perishable food for them.
Your Survival Food Kits Should Withstand Harsh Conditions.
Catastrophes often require you to be mobile for safety. Calamity food buckets to help you in cases like natural disasters are highly recommended for being portable, handy, and durable enough make it through any calamity or even mishandling. Some food kits come in sturdy and ready buckets, making it convenient in that you no longer have to deal with packing and worrying about bulky and fragile food containers.
Another important consideration is space. Choose food kits that take up the least space and are stackable to make things easier for when you need to evacuate.
Mind Their Shelf Life.
Know what to consume first the moment the electricity goes off. According to FEMA, use first perishable food items from the refrigerator, pantry, garden, and other parts of your house. After that, use the food items from the freezer. A well-filled and well-insulated freezer can have frozen food that is safe to eat for at least two days. Professors Judy Harrison, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Andress, Ph.D. of University of Georgia add that you should consume the foods only if they have ice crystals remaining or if the temperature of the freezer has remained at 40°F or below. You need to limit the number of times you open the freezer door to conserve the remaining cold of the appliance. Stick a list of contents on the freezer. Also, cover the freezer with blankets to hold in cold. Pin blankets back so that the air vent is not covered. Last to be consumed are the non-perishable foods and staples or those that have the longest shelf life.
Maintain Food Quality by Storing Them Correctly.
CDC says that certain storage conditions can enhance the shelf life of canned or dried foods, the ideal location being a cool, dry, dark place. Keep food in temperatures between 40 and 60°F. Keep foods away from ranges or refrigerator exhausts as heat causes many foods to spoil more quickly.
Some food products absorb strong smells so keep food away from petroleum products, such as gasoline, oil, paints, and solvents. Also, protect your supply from rodents and insects by storing them in boxes or in paper cartons. It will also help in preserving food longer if they are heavily wrapped or stored in airtight containers.
Be Never Without Water
One can survive more than three weeks with reduced food intake or even without food (think Mahatma Gandhi). However, it is different with water. Water comprises at least 60% of the adult body and plays a crucial role in every living cell. With this, according to Randall K. Packer, a professor of biology at George Washington University, the longest a person can go without water seems to be a week, which is, however, a generous estimate. The typical period would be three to four days.
According to FEMA, a normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts (half gallon) of water each day, though people in hot environments, children, nursing mothers, and ill people will require even more. Prepare at least one gallon per person, per day, for drinking, food preparation, and hygiene purposes for at least two weeks.
You can buy commercially bottled water, which should be kept untouched in its original container until you need to use it. You can also treat water yourself by boiling, chlorination, or distillation. It is best, though, to combine methods for safer water.
Avoid salty and spicy food, as these will increase thirst. Instead, have salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content. If possible, reduce activity and stay cool to further minimize thirst. You can ration food, but never water. Drink what you need today, and find more for tomorrow.
Always Practice First-In, First-Out.
Make an inventory of your food items and the expiry dates. Put the best-before date on each item with markers. Work with the shelf life of your stock by rotating them. Store the older supply at the front while put the new ones at the back when replenishing emergency food.
Cook Food Wisely
According to FEMA, for cooking indoors, you can use a fireplace. On the other hand, use a charcoal grill or camp stove for cooking outdoors. Keep cooked food hot with candle warmers, chafing dishes, and fondue pots. To avoid further disasters, use only approved devices for cooking and warming food. Canned food can be eaten straight out of the can, but if you heat it in the can, open it and remove the label before heating.
CDC adds that having the following items on hand will help you in food preparation despite loss of electricity, gas, and water: Cooking utensils; knives, forks, and spoons; paper plates, cups, and towels; a manual can and bottle-opener and heavy-duty aluminum foil. They also cautions to never burn charcoal indoors, as the fumes are deadly when concentrated in a confined place.
Never famish despite whatever challenge life throws at you. Events beyond your control should not unnerve you as long as you prepare to the best of your ability. Nothing is certain in this world, but a practical, survivalist mindset will bring a sense of security and make you feel on top of things.