Bulk Emergency Foods
It is obvious that all of us live in uncertain times – the recent tsunami in Japan with the resultant nuclear power plant destruction and civil unrest and food shortages in Belarus tell us that even countries that seemed very stable can suffer sudden reverses. Both situations highlight the fact that food can become unavailable in a very short amount of time. Theoretically, it is possible to live for weeks without food, but you will only weaken and be more susceptible to disease. A much better idea than simply waiting for events to overtake you would be to provide an emergency supply of food. One of the most economical ways to do this is by purchasing bulk emergency food supplies; these will generally be cheaper to buy than individually packaged meals.
What Sort Of Bulk Foods Are Available?
Bulk emergency foods are generally those that have been dehydrated, rather than freeze dried. Dehydrated foods will usually not have any other ingredient in them – they are basic foods. There are buckets of dehydrated eggs, milk, cheese, potatoes, vegetables, and fruits available. They come in containers of 10 to 50 pounds, and will need to be rehydrated and cooked before eating. Please bear in mind that once the container is opened, even if you do close it tightly after use, the contents will begin to deteriorate; you will not be able to take out a bit, close the container then put it back into storage. It is even possible to buy imitation meat in 25 pound boxes.
There are also basic dried food available for bulk emergency rations such as different beans, flour, and grains. Most grains will have a shelf life of decades, so it will be possible for you to grind fresh flour whenever you need it. Remember that you will need a flour grinder or mill, and it would be best to have one that does not need electricity, as this service is often one of the first to disappear when there is a disaster.
The Proper Care Of Your Bulk Food
Most bulk emergency foods have a very long shelf life – up to 25 years. However, improper storage can reduce this to mere months. In order to get the longest life out of your bulk foods, store them in a place where the temperature is about 55 degrees. The higher the temperature, the shorter the shelf life. A basement or root cellar are best as the temperatures generally remain constant year round. Do not place the food right against the wall, as fluctuations in temperature can cause condensation, which will affect the quality of your food. Likewise, keep the buckets out of sunlight, as this will cause deterioration as well.
As most bulk supplies come in plastic buckets or containers, if rodents are a problem in your area, you should take further measures to protect your food. The sharp, gnawing teeth of rodents can chew right through plastic, so the best thing to do is to place the buckets in a new galvanized garbage can, and make sure you use the lid. Any bucket that rats or mice manage to get into will have to be discarded, as these vermin not only eat the food, but despoil it with their urine and feces.