Welcome back to part three of Thor’s three part prepping prelection!
Last post was about how we can prepare for interruptions to our lives that will absolutely happen within our life time. We discussed what we can do to prepare to stay hydrated during power outages, snow and ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and unemployment.
This post will continue prep discussions with the greatest topic of all – food!
Many of us, even without thinking of preparing for any event, have at least a week’s worth of food on hand. This should be good enough for any likely event, right? We keep our freezers stocked with pizzas and our spare freezers stocked with steaks, chicken, and all yummy things. Unfortunately, that won’t do much for us if the power is out and we can’t turn on our stoves. Why stockpile food when we can just go to the store? Transportation routes can be affected by disasters, power outages can result in closures, and quite possibly in a few months from now you may simply not be able to afford to purchase much due to lost employment. Stocking some essential items now instead of that second tablet could save you stress and your hair line (sorry dads).
Non-perishables are a good choice because they are cheap, they last years (lets you amortize your prep investment), and these days there are some pretty delicious options in those cans. Before we get in to the details of what to stock, let’s talk heat sources.
If the power is out, a good old-fashioned fire place is your best bet. Stock up on wood, some paper, matches or BICs and you are ready to eat. However, many do not have the luxury. The next best bet for eating without power is a camping stove.
They are relatively cheap and so are their propane canisters. My wife and I have whipped up some stellar meals while camping on these bad boys.A more expensive option is to have a solar charger and a hot plate or microwave.
I’ll tailor the food section to preparing for a month’s worth of food – more than enough for most recent events that would affect your ability to mosey on over to the local supermarket. You are going to want to stock up on items that your family typically eats and will eat. The last thing you need is for everyone to have troubled tummies during the tumultuous time. Rice, dehydrated peas, and beans will serve you well. They are super cheap and yummy with the right seasoning.
If you are looking to eat cheaply for up to a month, grab 20 lbs of both rice and beans/peas/legumes. Keep in mind these need to be hydrated so eating these items will cut in to your water supply. Get some spices to make them yummy like salt, garlic salt, curry, ketchup, garlic sauce, bacon bits, onion/garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
Eating rice and beans can get tiresome so get some yummy treats. Canned soups, pears, peaches, beets, sauces, stewed tomatoes, corn, maple beans, and chili are some of my favorites. For a family of 4, get a couple of cans for each day that you want to prep for to go along with the beans and rice.
Get yourself a couple of huge jars of peanut butter, too. Each are high in protein, deliciousness, and contain up to 6000 calories. They will help keep you full and happy, as long as you don’t have a nut allergy. As much as I love nuts, canned and packaged nuts are expensive and do not last long enough to stock and forget. They are more of a buy-and-eat item than a prep item.
The ultimate canned food is honey. Honey has been found to last thousands of years if covered and kept free of moisture. Seriously, it was found in Pharaoh’s tombs as fresh as the day the honey comb was ransacked! Honey has been shown to hamper the growth of food-borne pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella and it can help keep wounds clean as well as make whatever you are eating taste yummy! Get yourself as big of a container as you can justify buying. Get the real stuff, not the imitation. It will last longer and taste better. Sure it’s not cheap, but you will thank yourself.
A big ‘ol container of olive oil will help flavor your dishes as well. A big bag of sugar, flour, corn meal, and salt will help round out your dishes as well. All cheap and all vital to reduce dreading meal time.
There are many other household items that you may want to stock up on. For example, medical supplies set aside for emergency use only. If you prep items that you pull out of your stores for every day use, please make sure you take note and replenish.
1L of hydrogen peroxide, a big container of adult multi-vitamins, a big age-appropriate bottle of child multi-vitamins, a box of sterile gauze and pads. Get as expensive of a med-kit as you can justify to yourself or afford. These can get very pricey but if you need it one day you are going to wish you had splurged. Assorted adult and kids bandages, As big of a bottle of crazy glue as you can justify for closing wounds or fixing broken items, duct tape, 15g+ of Polysporin, a bottle of age-appropriate children’s Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen, and big bottles of both adult Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen , and big ‘ol bottles of antacids and loperamide. The last one especially if you prep foods your family does not typically consume. Nobody wants the runs to add to their misery!
Now that you have all of this, you should take the time to document everything and note each and every expiration date. Entering everything on a spread sheet will allow you to sort by date so that you can plan for cycling out items as they are about to expire. No need for anything to go to waste. Keep in mind that most expiration dates are a complete farce. For example, my honey container says it expires in 2017 when it will last in that bottle until the plastic breaks down. On the other hand, it is better to be safe than sorry especially when it comes to items children will be eating.
82% of US homes have been found to have traces of mice so please keep your food inside of plastic bins. Yeah I know, gross, but the little buggers can get in to everything so please keep your food safe and unspoiled. A 20 lb bag of rice could keep a family of mice fat for a decade! Rubbermaid roughnecks have served me well in the past, but any durable container with a lid will do.
There are a great deal of other topics of preparation but we will end it here. I hope this post will be helpful to you and if not, I hope it gave you some food for thought.
Please comment back any questions, critiques, or improvements!
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