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In the consumer society in which we live, we often perceive the idea of an emergency food supply and stockpiling provisions as weird.
Why stock up at home when all you have to do is go to the supermarket?
Yet our food supply has never been more precarious.
Cities are becoming more and more populated… and food production there is simply zero.
All the resources must therefore come from outside, because of the cost of storage and for the sake of freshness, the cities are supplied in a just-in-time (JIT) way.
The average city in North America has a three-day supply of fresh food (dried, canned and other preserved food supplies will last a bit longer)
If there is a problem in the supply logistics, the consequences can be disastrous.
For our grandparents, storing food was something essential, something everyone did naturally, they didn’t expect a break in their normality, they just expected the winter.
Stockpiling food should be something natural, with a little practice it will become a routine that you will perform without even paying attention to it.
Forget the cupboards full of freeze-dried foods that cost you a fortune and that you probably don’t like.
What I am proposing is simply common sense.
Tip #1: Know your needs when it comes to emergency food supply
In order to know what you really need, I recommend a simple and very effective method:
1) The first week, cook your meals and record everything you use.
Use only foods that can be stored for at least one month and do not need a fridge.
Don’t forget to note the condiments you like for seasoning your dishes such as salt, pepper, oil, broths, etc.
2) The second week, buy everything on your list and try to eat only that for one week.
If you are missing something, add it to your list.
3) The third week, multiply all the items on the list by four and buy them.
You now have a stock of food adapted to your needs for one month!
Be careful, don’t forget that you need to store balanced food to keep a good health!
Tip #2: Storing what you like
We unfortunately often ignore this simple and common sense rule.
We see regularly the image of the American survivalist who stored several years of freeze-dried food in their bunkers.
Food that he probably never tasted…
Imagine being stuck in a bunker for an indefinite period, and you realize that you hate to eat what you have stored.
Good luck for keeping your morale up!
Food is a real comfort, store what you will enjoy eating in case of a hard blow.
Tip #3: Don’t just store food for cooking
It is not always possible to make a fire to prepare food.
Especially in the urban setting, this is something that can happen quickly, all it takes is an outage in the city gas or electricity network.
Even if you have camping stoves, gas cartridges are not endless.
Most of the foods you select should therefore be safe to eat without cooking.
For example :
– You can eat canned ravioli without being cooked, it’s not very good I grant you, but it’s edible.
– Rice, on the other hand, needs cooking, it is the same for pasta.
Tip #4: Make your stock step by step
Building up a food stock is expensive, depending on the size of your family it can vary from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Few people can afford to buy everything at once.
The trick is to stock up month after month by taking advantage of promotions.
I advise you to organize yourself like this:
- Determine how much you will put in each month.
- Define what you need to build up your stock, your shopping list
- Every month, take advantage of the supermarket promotions to complete your list.
You will thus build up your stock at your own pace and at the best price.
Tip #5: Don’t overstock
One of the basic mistakes is storing too much food.
Storing for more than a year is not very useful.
It is much more interesting to think about food production systems (agriculture, breeding, hunting, fishing) in order to become rapidly self-sufficient, or at least to meet part of your needs with fresh food.
Keep in mind that almost all foods have a shelf life.
You will therefore have to eat regularly what is about to expire, or throw it away if you can’t eat it all.
Tip #6: Use By Date (UBD) and Best Before Date (BBD)
Don’t put blind faith in UBD. They are often set arbitrarily, most often for commercial reasons.
What do we do when a product is out of date?
We throw it away and buy one back!
For example, yoghurts keep for more than a month after their UBD, they are just a little more sour.
Dry foods such as pasta, rice, lentils, rusks can be stored for years after their expiration date.
Some products simply do not expire, such as honey, oil, salt, sugar.
It is difficult to know if a given food is still good for consumption, there is no absolute rule.
Trust what you see, smell and taste. If you have any doubts, throw it away!
Tip #7: Dynamic Stock
Once their stock is ready, some people do not touch it anymore.
And when a few years later they need it, they realize that some food is out of date or has been badly stored and is not eatable anymore.
An efficient food stock must be dynamic, you must check regularly that food is stored in ideal conditions and that nothing is out of date.
The best way to avoid losing food is to eat from your stock daily.
All you have to do is go grocery shopping regularly to put back what you’ve taken out.
Put the oldest food in front and the newest food behind. That way, you don’t have to worry about UBD anymore, just take the first food item in front of you.
Caution: you must always place food in a dry place and ideally above the ground to be safe from water leaks and floods!
Tip #8: Water, the mistake not to make
Human beings can survive over 15 days without food, but only 48 hours without water!
A minimum of 2 liters of water per person per day is required. For one month autonomy, you should store 60 liters of water.
Because of the lack of space it is, unfortunately, rarely possible. For a family of 4 people, it would take 240 liters or 240 bottles of 1L (33.8oz).
I therefore recommend planning only 10 days of drinking water per person, it allows you to be autonomous for the first few days and then find a place where you can resupply afterwards.
The simplest way is to store 1L or 1.5L water bottles. There are also 3 gal (11.4L) or 5 gal (19L) bottles, but they are difficult to carry.
The ideal is the 24L Compact Portable Water Tank. It is an excellent compromise between capacity and ease of transport.
If you need to walk to get water, it is much more efficient than 24 bottles of 1L, it also takes up less space in the storeroom.
You can store them in your parking lot or your cellar if they take up too much space at home!
For storage, I recommend storing the water away from light and heat.
New water bottles have a storage life of 2 years if stored in proper conditions.
Be careful however with PET (polyethylene terephthalate), the plastic with which water bottles are made, if exposed to light can degrade the water and give it a plastic taste.
It is possible to fix this with glass bottles.
As with food, remember to renew the stock regularly by consuming the bottles with the most recent UBD as a priority.
Tip #9: Don’t forget the condiments and seasonings
Don’t just provide the basics, but also the seasoning for your dishes.
Imagine eating rice with rice and pasta with pasta for a month… How awful!
Salt, pepper, oil, broths, spices and sauces should be part of your stock.
There are freeze-dried sauces that take up very little space and will enhance your dishes, so you will avoid falling into a food routine that can be harmful to your morale.
Tip #10: Treat yourself with small extras
If you ever have to use your food stock in “real condition” there is a good chance that the situation will be critical and that your morale will be low.
There’s nothing like eating something you love to relieve some of your stress.
For example: I love Tagada strawberries and gummy bears, so I have a one kilo box in my cupboard in case of a hard blow.
The most difficult thing is to not dig into it.
Too bad if it’s not balanced or nutritious food, the benefit to your morale is well worth it.
Avoid products that are harmful to your health, such as alcohol.
BONUS: A shopping list
Since the mid-1800s, Mormons have been preparing for a period of great unrest.
In anticipation, each family should have an emergency food supply for at least one year.
Here is the list of what they recommend storing for one year and two adult people.
The idea is obviously not to follow this list to the letter, but to adapt it to your personal situation.
If you wish to get the monthly quantities for one person, divide the mentioned quantities by 24.
The latter-day Saints 1 year food stock:
|386 lbs (130 kg) of wheat
|121 lbs (55 kg) of powdered milk
|55 lbs (25 kg) of flour
|25 cans of unsweetened condensed milk
|55 lbs (25 kg) of corn flour
|22 lbs (10 kg) of other dairy products (hard cheese)
|48 lbs (22 kg) of oat flakes
|99 lbs (45 kg) of rice
|55 lbs (25 kg) of pasta
|6.6 lbs (3 kg) of honey
|79 lbs (36 kg) of sugar
|Vegetables: (in cans and jars, not fresh)
|6.6 lbs (3 kg) of cane sugar
|59 lbs (27 kg) of dried beans
|2.2 lbs (1 kg) of molasses
|22 lbs (10 kg) of soybeans
|6.6 lbs (3 kg) of jams
|9 lbs (4 kg) of lima beans
|9 lbs (4 kg) of peas
|9 lbs (4 kg) of lentils
|2.2 lbs (1 kg) of baking powder
|9 lbs (4 kg) of freeze-dried soup
|2.2 lbs (1 kg) of baking soda
|59 lbs (27 kg) of corn
|1.1 lbs (0.5 kg) of yeast
|59 lbs (27 kg) of peas
|11 lbs (5 kg) of salt
|59 lbs (27 kg) of green beans
|1 gal (4 liters) of vinegar
|59 lbs (27 kg) of carrots
|77 lbs (35 kg) of potatoes
|9 lbs (4 kg) of onions
|77 lbs (35 kg) of applesauce
|39 lbs (18 kg) of tomatoes
|59 lbs (27 kg) of banana chips
|77 lbs (35 kg) of fruit juice
|Fats and oils:
|77 lbs (35 kg) of canned fruit
|4 gal (15 liters) of vegetable oil
|4 gal (15 liters) of olive oil
|9 lbs (4 kg) of fat
|317 gal (1200 liters) of water
|6.6 lbs (3 kg) of mayonnaise
|An efficient and robust water filtration system.
|9 lbs (4 kg) of butter
Check out the printable 1-year food stock list.