The question of “What foods to store for the SHTF crisis?” at first glance may appear pretty stupid. “Duh, foods that last a long time without spoiling” you may mutter shaking your head. Yeah, but that’s a grade school answer. I want a college answer. What would you do if I gave you $5000 and said “go buy enough food to last your family for 1 year.” Stop and think. What would you buy?
After emptying the can goods shelves you’re pretty well stumped. Seems everything else has a “Best if purchased by date” labeled on it, and not much, if anything has an extended time of 1 year date stamped on it. Suddenly you realize storing enough food stock for a year is not quite as easy as first thought.
There are also other things to consider. A strict diet of canned chili, spaghetti, soup, etc. can not only get a little monotonous, it also leaves out important and necessary nutritional values that could quickly result in deterioration of your health. If food is in short supply, availability of medicines will most likely be much worse, and as some foods can be used to treat certain illnesses, know which ones to hoard?
My intentions were not to make you feel stupid, I couldn’t answer the questions either, but rather to alert you as to the importance of a subject we may glance over in our survival crisis management plan. We are so conditioned to running to the grocery store and buying what we need that we are hardwired to that philosophy. We must break that mindset and the following information will do just that. Let’s look at foods that should be in our emergency food stockpile.
Foods to Store
Honey is nearly indestructible. It has been discovered buried in Egyptian tombs dating back over 3000 years and was still as edible as the day it was entombed. The environmental changes, temperature, darkness, etc may cause the honey to crystallize or turn colors, but by re-heating to liquid form it’s ready to eat. Besides being high energy, it can be used as medicine, curing and flavoring.
Salt is a mineral with an indefinite shelf life. It may collect moisture and cake, but that does no harm to it. It can be used for curing, preserving, cooking, tanning, medicine, and one very important thing … it can be used for barter. Historically money, especially paper money, can become worthless, and essentials like salt become the new money.
Sugar can add taste to any food. Similar to salt it will absorb moisture, but it does no harm and adding rice to the storage, which will absorb the moisture instead, will solve the problem of caking. Equal parts of sugar and baking soda can be used as a pesticide.
Baking Soda is a Jack of all trades type powder. It’s used for cooking-baking, toothpaste, household cleaner, medicine, tarnish remover and laundry agent.
Wheat is a major part of peoples’ diet for over one third (1/3) of the world, providing 20 to 25% of their daily calorie intake. It’s a high carbohydrate, high protein and mineral food that helps balance a diet. It can used for baking, making alcohol and feeding livestock.
Dried Corn is essentially the same as fresh corn except the drying prolongs the shelf life. It can be used for soups, hominy and grits, stews, livestock feed, and can be used as an energy source by burning it.
Distilled Water & Seltzer Water isn’t a food, as its importance to survival actually exceeds food. Distilled water is the purest form of water with an unlimited shelf life. A supply of canned seltzer water can help in avoiding constipation, but may not help acid re-flux.
Instant coffee, tea and cocoa will enhance your drinking experience by providing variety. Until the seal is broken instant coffee will last forever. All shelf life spans can be indefinitely increased by using desiccant packets (moisture absorbents) or vacuum sealing them.
Non-carbonated soft drinks are a secondary choice flavor wise than carbonated, but the sugars will break down and alter the flavor. Non-carbonated beverages such as vitamin water, Gatorade, bottled water and juices last for a long time without losing their flavor.
White Rice is a great source of calories, inexpensive with a long shelf life, 30 years or more. It can be eaten as the main dish, add to soups or a side dish. It can also be used as a moisture absorbent when added to sugar.
Powdered Milk shelf life can be extended by placing it in the freezer or storage containers designed for long term storage. Can be used to drink and cook with. Caution: If the product develops a smell or turns yellowish, discard it.
Bullion Products contain a lot of salt which prolongs the shelf life. Store the cubes in a pressure sealed bag. It can be used as a drink or for flavoring food.
Eggs & Powdered Eggs Eggs by themselves have a long shelf life and are not required to be refrigerated. However, dehydrated and freeze dried eggs will last nearly indefinitely. They are used as a stand alone meal or for cooking and baking.
Cheeses have a few different stories. Cheese can be stored in the open with no protection, however, mold will eventually begin to grow on the outside. Some people eat the mold, but I’d have a hard time doing it, so I don’t expect you to. The cheese is perfectly good inside the mold, therefore all that needs to be done is shave the layer of mold off and discard. That produces a lot of waste. Cheese encased in wax can last almost indefinitely as it prevents moisture, mold and bacteria from affecting the product.
Protein Bars & Drinks is an ideal compact nutrition and energy source. Whether, tasting more like a candy bar or crunchy granola, the bars are a rich source of vitamins and high protein. Pemmican, a homemade food bar can be a power lunch on its own.
Canned Liquids It’s important to stockpile canned foods with high liquid content. Examples such as pineapple juice, vegetable juice, evaporated milk, condensed milk and coconut milk provide hydration and nutrition simultaneously. Stewed tomatoes, vegetable, beef and chicken stock can be nutritional and used for cooking.
Potato Flour is the entire potato, skin and all, dehydrated. It is gluten free, can be added to make breads, pancakes, waffles, potato soups and more. It can be added as a thickener to broths, stews and gravies. It can also be mixed with other flours to increase the amounts.
Oats and Oatmeal is low in saturated fat and a good source of fiber. One trick is to soak oatmeal overnight which allows it to boil in 9-12 minutes instead of 30 minutes.
Bread Crumbs & Stuffing are a great addition to casseroles, salmon and crab cakes. The issue is storage as they are not normally very well sealed for long shelf life. You can solve this problem by placing them in pressurized storage bags.
Pastas (dried) has no fat or moisture content which resists spoilage. Pastas such as egg noodles, gnocchi, dried tortellini, orzo, rotelle, rotini, linguine, bean curd noodles, Asian pastas, rice noodles and many others are excellent forms of energy.
Vacuum packing helps preserve shelf life
Cereals, Shredded Wheat, corn or Rice Some logic maintains from one generation to another and this is one such logic. In 1911 the Boy Scouts of America recommended shredded wheat as the best cereal for muscle building, digestion and strength and the same holds true today.
Canned Fruits contain twice as much calories per pound as veggies. A fruit cocktail offers 300 – 400 calories.
Canned Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, yams, sauerkraut, cabbage and beets are excellent sources of energy and protein. Throw in olives, asparagus and artichoke hearts and a tasty salad is right around the corner.
Nuts, seeds and nut-butters Nuts such as raw almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and alfalfa seeds are excellent sources of potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamin C. Buy these nuts in sealed cans and don’t open until ready to eat. Don’t forget everyone’s favorite … peanut butter.
Raisins, dried fruits and fruit strips Apricots, dates, cranberries, mango and whatever, mixed with nuts makes an excellent trail mix.
Chocolate syrups, cocoa powders are an excellent source of energy and has an infinite shelf life. Dark chocolate like Dove bars gives a morale boost as well as a boost to heart health. Kids probably like it too.
Crackers although lacking in nutritional value add a sense of normalcy. Who can eat soup without crackers? For long term storage place in zip-lock bags or metal cans tightly sealed.
Popcorn long shelf life. Can be used for other cooking needs after crushing to a meal.
Jellies & Jams are delicious and can be tailor-made for taste, such as blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, grape jellies and apple butter.
Powdered Drinks such as Tang, flavored waters, Gatorade, Kool-Aid last forever as long they are protected from moisture.
Vodka What? Why? You can drink it, cook with it, barter it, use as a mouthwash, or numb a toothache. Applying Vodka drys out cold sores and can be used to treat poison ivy. Wipe it on your skin to repel flies and mosquitoes.
Junk Food not so much for eating, but for starting fires. Foods like Cheetos and Pringles contains a near perfect combination of air and fats for easily starting a fire.
Although rather extensive this list is far from being all inclusive. It’s really more for a novice or someone too lazy to refine their stockpiles to their own taste, and that’s OK. The point is serious, it takes time, research and money to put together a proper stockpile of food that won’t self-destruct and is nourishing enough to sustain good health.