When disaster strikes, you don't want to be that guy in a panic-buying spree, fighting tooth and nail for a lame can of beans. You'd want to be the prepper who has a secured, well-stocked survival pantry at home.
A survival pantry or stockpile should be able to see you through a SHTF situation, which can range from 72 hours to an entire month. Keeping an organized pantry takes a bit of know-how. As a prepper, you have to be equipped with long-term food storage skills so your food stays safe and your stomach stays fed when the rest of the world goes haywire.
Here are 9 useful long-term food storage tips for your survival pantry:
Know How Much Food To Store
The main question when building a survival pantry is this: how much food should you store? To answer that, you have to consider the following:
- Who you’re storing for. Do you live alone or with a family? Do you have kids? Do you or your family members have special food needs or allergies that you have to look out for?
- How long you’re prepping for. Are you preparing supplies good for three days? A couple of weeks? An entire month? Most crises are solved within 72 hours but the residual effects, like power failure after a hurricane or EMP attack, could last for weeks, so it’s always best to prepare for a longer duration.
- Calorie needs. Ideally, adults need about 2,000 calories a day. Still, this could differ with gender, weight, age and physical activity. You can meet these energy needs by stocking high-calorie foods like rice and then supplementing them with other nutritious items like fruits, beans and meat.
Consider The Place
Picking the right place is crucial for your survival pantry. Warmth and moisture are the perfect agents of spoilage, so choose a cool, dry place away from any humidity. Direct sunlight also promotes spoilage and oxidation, so keep your supplies away from it.
Some preppers have favored picking the coldest room in the house--- that way the temperature can stay low even when their refrigeration system fails. Others choose to maximize space and trick out their cupboards, cabinets and pantries with convenient shelves. Still, there are preppers who love to keep their stash hidden by placing them in crawl spaces or even under a loose floorboard.
Keep It Varied
Variety is the name of the game when stocking up for survival. You’ll be eating these foods for a while, so it's always best to choose items that are:
- High calorie
- Easy to prepare
Survival pantry mainstays that meet these criteria include white rice, beans, dehydrated fruits and veggies, canned meat and soups, honey, and condiments, to name a few.
You also have to consider preference. Since you’ll basically be subsisting on those foods until the situation stabilizes, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a couple of shelf-stable foods that you would actually enjoy, like jerky, peanut butter or fruit jams.
Throw In Some Freeze-Dried And Dehydrated Food
Freeze-dried and dehydrated food are some of the most shelf-stable food products to date. Some of them last for years, even decades! Their long shelf life means you don’t have to worry about restocking or changing your inventory every so often. Don’t mistake them for the tasteless MREs of old either; freeze dried or dehydrated meals come in a lot of varieties and are actually quite tasty.
They’re also easy to prepare. You mostly just need to add hot water to reconstitute them and voila--- instant dinner. Store some for you and your family along with other standard pantry items for variety and convenience.
Make Sure You Know How To Cook It
Another crucial thing that most people overlook is food preparation. For example, a lot of people store sacks of flour but don't know how to make bread from scratch, or store meat but don't have a backup plan in case their gas ranges don't work. That being said, you have to make sure that the food you're storing can easily be prepared.
You also need to have a Plan B in case your stove gets busted. Solar ovens and butane stoves are great alternatives when the gas or electricity go down, so get a hold of those, too, just in case.
Don’t Forget Water!
In the event of a major disaster, your water sources could be compromised, that's why it's also important to store adequate amounts of water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene.
Dehydration is a real threat in any given survival situation, so it's always best to stock around 4 gallons of water per person per day. If you can't store that much, you can always keep water purification filters or tablets to make your water safe for consumption.
Use The Right Storage Containers
The right storage containers could make or break your entire pantry.
Your food has to be properly stored in the right containers to protect them from humidity, oxidation or pests. Mylar bags and food-grade buckets with gamma seals are great for keeping your food dry and secured from pests. They also protect them from direct sunlight. Oxygen absorbers have also become a staple, since they're effective in preventing oxidation. Air-tight jars and ziplock bags are also great in storing food items in your pantry.
Labels Are Everything
When storing food, it's important to be organized and systematic. Put the right labels on everything: write down what's inside the container, its manufacture date and expiration date. Rotate your supplies by employing the First In, First Out method. This way, you reduce waste and make sure that the oldest items get consumed first.
Take It Slow
What intimidates people from building their own survival pantry is the sheer cost and size of the whole set-up. Here’s the thing: you don’t have to buy all those supplies in one go. In building a survival stash, they key is to take things slow. Buy an extra can or two on your usual grocery run. If you’ve got the budget to buy things wholesale like a 50kg sack of rice or a bucket of powdered eggs, do it. It might take some months, but in building a survival pantry, slow and steady wins the race.
How many times have you been stuck at home unable to go out for food after a bad snowstorm or hurricane? Did you often wish you prepared better?
When emergencies strike, a well-stocked pantry could be the only thing standing between you and starvation. Make sure you're prepared by stocking up food and supplies beforehand. Remember, your local grocery store's shelves would be cleared in a heartbeat when SHTF. Spare yourself the stress and prep that pantry today.
Anything else we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
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