Providing Food For Survival
An interesting historical tidbit is that centuries ago, in Sweden, a man was forbidden to marry until he had 40 years’ worth of food for a family stored up. This food was in the form of a basic flour and water bread that was undoubtedly as hard as rock, probably a form of hardtack, but it would see a family through a crisis. It is probably not inaccurate to say that now, most people could survive on less than a week with what is available in their refrigerator or cupboards.
Emergency Food Kits
Buying an emergency food kit is probably the easiest and quickest way to provide food security for your family. Kits are available that will provide food for a few days right up to a year’s supply, or more. Depending on the manufacturer, these kits will remain viable for up to 25 years, provided that they are properly stored. In order to keep the food in these kits fresh, they should be stored at 50 to 55 degrees F, away from the light. Storing in a warmer spot will compromise their quality and shorten their shelf life.
Many of these kits will also provide first aid and other safety or sanitary items, so choose the kit that will best serve the needs of you and your family.
Assembling Your Food Yourself
It is also quite possible to put aside an emergency food supply from your grocery store. Canned food has a shelf life of several years, and food in vacuum sealed pouches is also available that can be kept for years at a time. You should be aware, however, that the shelf life of food from the grocery store will never match that of some of the prepared kits, so if you are looking for really long term storage, a kit will probably work best for you.
You can also dehydrate or can food yourself. If you garden, it could well be to your advantage to buy a good food dehydrator so that the vegetables and fruit that you grow can be preserved in that way. Even if you do not garden yourself, a dehydrator will allow you to take advantage of sales at the grocery store or the fresh produce available at farmers markets. Food that you dehydrate yourself will not last as long as commercially dehydrated food, but if this supply is kept cool (below 60 degrees F), and away from the light, it will probably be good for up to two years.
Besides dehydrating food, it is also possible to can food for an emergency supply. Canning is perfectly safe as long as pressure cooker is used, and directions are followed. Most home canned food is good for about one year, so make sure that when you can your food, that each jar is labeled with the contents and the date.
Pay Attention To Storage
Regardless of how you acquire your emergency food supply, it is important to store it properly. If you have a basement, that will be the place to keep it, but make sure that it is protected from vermin as well as heat and light. Do not store the food right next to a wall, as the temperature gradients can cause condensation. Taking a bit of time and effort to provide safe storage for your emergency rations will mean that they are there when you need them.