Deciding How Much Food to Store
The more food you can store for yourself and your family, the better your emergency supplies will serve you in the event of a disaster. Unfortunately, there are two basic constraints on how much sustenance you can stockpile. You are limited by your money – dried food tends to be fairly expensive, so you will need to budget carefully to get anything like the amount you want and require – and by your storage space, which is less flexible than your purchasing power in many ways.
Your need for food and your need for water go hand in hand, which means that storing a supply of water and getting the necessary filtration and purification equipment to make more potable water is essential, too. The reason for this is simple – most of the dry foods and food ingredients you store cannot be eaten until they are cooked. This is not merely a question of palatability – many of them are literally inedible until they have been rehydrated and heated. Your food supply will be useless without a way to get clean water to cook it.
This is part of the reason why a complete list of your emergency supplies needs to be drawn up before you start buying the food. This way, you can distribute the supplies across weekly purchases that will make getting the chow less financially onerous, but still accumulate the necessary food in an efficient, thorough manner.
Figure out how much money you can budget from your weekly paycheck to pay for food stockpiling, and base your minimum projections on how much food to store from this. You may need to cut back on nonessential purchases, such as entertainment and trips to the restaurant (an extremely expensive habit, both in terms of money and time – as well as a risky one, since you’re gambling your digestive health on whether or not a stranger decided to wash their hands after using the bathroom).
To make the pinch easier, allow yourself one small luxury, and also bear in mind that your food storage could save your life if there is an emergency – or even if lose your job and can’t find another, an all too likely scenario in today’s economy.
Finding storage space can be either easy or problematic, depending on what your house is like. For food storage, you need an area that is dry and has a constant temperature over the course of the year, preferably never getting warmer than the lower 70°’s Fahrenheit. The area should be dry and, if you are in an earthquake area, made as sturdy as possible.
Your three largest threats to successful food storage are insects, mice, and moisture. As such, all food needs to be stored properly in dry, sealed containers. Do not store your food in bags, no matter how tempting the cheapness is – these are easy for rodents and insects to break into, and the food inside will soon be spoiled with disease-bearing mouse feces.