Saturday, April 30, 2011

Preparing an Emergency Food Supply

Every family should have an emergency food supply; do you have yours? When planning your food supply there are a few things you will have to consider. You will have to take into account how many people are in your family and what kind of special needs they might have. You will also have to decide how much food to stock. Other considerations are what kind of food to stock up and how long you will want your supply to last are.  Some people have enough food stocked up to last five years. There are basically two types of foods that have a long shelf life. There are canned foods and there are dried foods. There are also a few foods that have an indefinite shelf life. Water is another item that should be on everyone’s food supply list.  
Canned goods are a great emergency food. Test conducted by the military showed that canned food was still good to eat 46 years after the expiration date. There is a wide variety of canned foods you can choose from. Another benefit of canned food is that it is already cooked. While it may taste better warmed up, there is no need to cook it. Food that does not require cooking or water makes for an excellent emergency food.
Dried foods are another great emergency food. I recommend that all dry foods be stored in mylar bags. Mylar bags have a barrier that keeps moisture and oxygen out of the food keeping the food fresh and free of microorganisms. Mylar bags also come in a variety of sizes. Rice, beans, and pasta are all great dry foods to stock up on. Powdered milk and instant potatoes are also another great dry food item. Spices are a great food item to stock up on. A long time ago spices were used as a form of currency. Dry foods have a long shelf life if they are stored properly. Powdered milk if stored in a Mylar bag in a cool, dry, and dark place has a shelf life of 20 years.  The down side with dry foods is that some of them require water and cooking.
Here is a list of some foods that can be stored indefinitely:
·         Honey
·         Vinegar
·         Hard liquor
·         Sugar
·         Salt
·         Corn starch
·         White rice
·         Pasta
·         Vanilla extract
·         Corn syrup
As long as these foods are stored properly they can be stored indefinitely.
Water is extremely important to have in your emergency food supply. The average person consumes almost a gallon of water a day. I recommend purchasing 1 to 5 gallon jugs of distilled water. If you collect your own water make sure you filter and treat the water before drinking. There are two main ways to treat water. Boiling water is by far the easiest way to treat water. Boil your water for at least one minute. If you live in a high altitude area you should boil you water for five minutes. You can also treat your water by using non scented bleach. Use 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water. Do not drink the water for at least 30 minutes. The water should have a slight smell of bleach.
Having an emergency food supply can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. Remember to also store your food supply properly.