Food Supply for a Food Crisis
When my husband Mike and I were newly introduced to the concept of prepping, especially building a food supply, I was terrified! All I could imagine was a big truck driving up our narrow waterfront street, unloading carton after carton of powdered meals… enough to last us for a year! And since cooking for family and friends is my heart’s delight, I knew I would HATE anything that truck left behind with us.
I want to assure you… nothing could be further from reality! If you are just getting started, recognize that it’s not rocket science. Keep your mindset in terms of what you and your family already eat on a daily basis, and you’ll be okay.
Prioritiy 1 – Build Food Supply for 3 Months
Start by working toward saving food to feed yourself/your family for 3 months. That doesn’t mean you have to spend the cash TOMORROW to buy food for 3 months. Have you ever heard that the only way to eat an elephant is “one bite at a time”? It’s the same with buying 3 months’ worth of food… just a little bit at a time. In other words, every time you shop for groceries, buy several things to add to your stash. Soon you will have reached your first goal.
Having reached that first goal is exciting… providing enough motivation to do it again, and then again, and one more time… until you have accomplished your ONE FULL YEAR GOAL!!! And I knew you could do it all the time!!!
Food Supply for Basic Cooking
My approach was to think of foods I prepare on a regular basis. I thought about how they would translate to (1) sitting on a shelf and (2) preparing food in an emergency living situation. So I started with canned or bottled (not refrigerated) liquids, which will become the base for soups and stews and just general hydration. Such as cartons of chicken stock, beef stock & vegetable stock; apple, vegetable and pineapple juice; coconut milk and unsweetened vanilla almond milk (my favorite!).
In a later section, I will confess to including commercially produced spaghetti sauce, even though I love to prepare the sauce myself. So here in “Basics.” I will also tell you I have included jars of Wegman’s (my favorite regional market) Alfredo Sauce in the food supply. No worries, here, and no judging!
Don’t Forget the Oils
In my food supply area, you’ll find medium-sized bottles of olive oil and grape seed oil. Although I cook often with both, larger bottles may have a tendency to go rancid, while the smaller bottles are not cost effective for me. You can also include organic shortening and organic butter, which will give you both more choices and an extended shelf life.
What About Flour in the Food Supply?
Flour is invaluable for cooking, from making gravies to browning fresh-caught fish and chicken, and to preparing salmon patties and crab cakes. Whole wheat flour is recommended for its nutritional values. Be sure to repackage in Ziploc freezer bags or generic freezer bags, since the paper flour is sold in is susceptible to little critters. And while we’re thinking in this vein, a great investment as you begin your stockpile is a FoodSaver vacuum sealing system. There are so many items which will stay fresh longer or must, of necessity, be protected from little critters, that this approach will help you tremendously! Don’t forget to order either rolls of FoodSaver plastic 11″ or 8″, or pre-sized quart bags.
Bisquick, corn muffin mix and prepared bread mixes are also good ideas for your food supply.
A Variety of Milk Products & Eggs
For almond or coconut milk, it’s obvious to store the shelf variety and not the refrigerated type. Even so, I would typically open a carton of almond milk only when I could plan to use it all at once (several people using for cereal, using it as a primary ingredient for a meal, you get the idea).
As I continue to read more and more prepper sites, I pick up nuggets of information everywhere I go. For instance, do you know that canned coconut milk will help boil rice faster than water, provide valuable nutrients and flavor, stores indefinitely in the Prepper’s food supply, and will keep you from using water from your stored supply?
You can always start and end your day with cereal… such a versatile food!
Our current favorite cereal is crunchy raisin bran, with the “crunchy” part coming from the addition of granola. That serves as both a breakfast and a “Good Night” food. I’ve also included shredded wheat, Apple Jacks and a good supply of oatmeal, not only for its cereal appeal, but also to use as a coating to brown such things as salmon patties and crab cakes. Cooking oatmeal with apple juice instead of water is a good change, too.
Veggies on the shelf
A large corner of a food supply storage is reserved for canned tomato sauce (I don’t yet know how to can foods, although mastering the craft is next on my list), tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, carrots, corn, peas, green and yellow beans, asparagus, olives and sweet peppers, potatoes, water chestnuts (for crunch!). Although I typically use tomato sauce or canned tomatoes as a base for sauce for pasta, I’ve also cheated and included several flavors of Hunt’s canned spaghetti sauce for those days I just don’t feel like cooking!
Fruits for nutrition and flavor
Don’t forget fruits… canned peaches, pears, pineapples, mandarin oranges, fruit cocktail. Raisins and prunes are great, too, but I have repackaged in freezer bags to protect them from any little critters and to preserve space.
What goes better with fruits than nuts?
There’s a section of my storage area devoted to nuts… walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts. My choice has been to purchase them in bulk, unsalted, and then package into 2-cup measurements in sandwich size freezer bags for future convenience. Also, I don’t want to be opening bigger ziploc bags many times and exposing the nuts to the air until I’m ready to use them.. In our house, nuts are a mid-afternoon snack food and an ingredient in many foods, as well.
Herbs & Spices
For my own mental health, I have included herbs and spices like oregano, an already blended supply of “Italian spices,” cinnamon, rosemary, sage, parsley, basil, thyme, cumin and definitely bay leaf for soups and stews. I’ve also included taco seasoning in bulk, since we have sources for ground venison and beef. These herbs, spices and seasonings are packaged in freezer bags with an oxygen inhibitor thrown in to prevent the growth of molds.
Preparing Dehydrated Foods
The process of dehydrating is one I find especially interesting. Having a supply of dehydrated foods is a good idea for many reasons. I don’t mean complete meals in envelopes! What I mean is a variety of fruits, along with herbs and spices you can dehydrate yourself. This is an area of food preservation which I believes warrants its own blog, so I will cover this subject in a separate area.
With all the basics already stored to make Italian sauces, what a pity if there were no pasta to go with! Stock an ample supply of spaghetti, elbow macaroni, egg noodles, spirals, shells. Consider repackaging for the sake of organization and space in your food supply.
Meat, Chicken & Seafood
Can you live without peanut butter & Jelly? My husband and I cannot! We have stored saltines and graham crackers in metal containers, Jiff Peanut Butter, jams, jellies and honey.
Cookies & Candies
Be sure to include cookies and candies. As a morale booster, alone, they are extremely valuable. In addition to the dessert types, include nutrition bars which are high in protein.
Look around when you’re shopping at the grocery store or market and find some “feel good” snacks, like Oreo Cookies. For us, it would be dark chocolate (either the candy or the cooking varieties), either red or black licorice, or sugar free (for us) jelly beans! Definitely not the food of life, but something that makes you feel good!
And in conclusion…
There is truly no “conclusion,” as you will soon see. My words, here, are intended to get you started toward your 3-month food supply goal. Then, as you read more and more about Prepping and become better established, you’ll continue to add ideas and content to your original plans.
I wish you well and may God bless all of us!