Once you have decided you want to better prepare yourself for the possibility of a disaster, one of the first things you must consider when starting your preparations is food. During many disasters, food as we know it now will be in short supply. It doesn’t take much to disrupt established food supply chains, and it is likely you will not be able to go down to the local grocery to pick up essentials during
Types of Food Storage
There are many types of food preparations that we carry at TruPrep. We discuss each of these types below:
Freeze-dried foods are fresh or cooked and then frozen. The freeze-drying process involves a special chamber that causes the water in the food to quickly change from a solid to a gas. This process preserves the cell structure of the food without compromising vitamins, nutrients, color or aroma. The result is a light-weight food option that appears and tastes fresh after being rehydrated with a minimum amount of water. Many freeze-dried options are complete ‘entrees’ containing multiple items for a complete meal. Freeze-dried foods need to be boiled in water to be reconstituted for consumption.
Shelf Life: 15 to 30 years
Advantages: Does not require refrigeration, lightweight, quick preparation, tastier, better texture
Disadvantages: Due to the more costly process, the cost of freeze-dried foods is typically higher than dehydrated.
Dehydrated foods are made by slowly removing the water through the use of heat. This has been done for hundreds of years through the process of air drying, sun drying, smoking, or wind drying. It can be done today by the individual using our Excalibur dehydrators or commercially using large commercial units. Dehydrated foods are usually single ingredients that can be mixed to formulate your own meals.
Shelf Life: 15 to 30 years
Advantages: Does not require refrigeration (can be stored at room temp), lightweight, space savings, cost effective, taste retention, great for soups, gravies, or sauces
Disadvantages: Texture can be considered ‘chewy’,
Canned foods are like those bought off the grocery store shelf. For the sake of this type of stored food, we are talking about foods stored in liquids. Items can be bought in a store or home-canned using a canner like we carry. Commercially canned foods should retain their best quality until the expiration code date on the can which is usually 2-5 years from the date of manufacture. For emergency storage, commercially canned foods should remain safe to consume as long as the seal has not been broken (as long as there is no swelling or obvious signs of spoilage), but the quality will not be guaranteed. We offer canning supplies and canners for the do it yourselfer.
Shelf Life: 2 to 30 years
Advantages: More readily available, easy to can at home
Disadvantages: Requires more space to store same amount of food, shorter shelf life, frequently contains high levels of sweetener or sodium
Dry Goods Storage
This storage method involves sealing bulk goods inside air-tight containers. In the case of our Wheat Montana solutions the containers are 5 gallon buckets and the oxygen has also been purged by nitrogen for maximum shelf life. Sometimes the contents are placed inside a large Mylar bag with oxygen absorbers before being sealed in the bucket which is referred to as “super-pails”. This is the most economical method of storing goods as it doesn’t require any processing of the food prior to storage. These goods are typically good for 8 to 15 years or more depending on storage conditions. Only certain food items are suitable for this storage method. Items stored using this method are typically grains, rice, and beans/peas.
Shelf Life: 8 to 25 years
Advantages: Lower cost, easy to store
Disadvantages: Items require full cooking prior to consumption, limited food options
MREs are complete meal solutions. This is a popular food type, due to its use within the military. They are not the best choice for long-term food preparedness due to their high-fat, high-protein, high-carbohydrate, and low-fiber content. Because of this, the DOD recommends they not be used for longer than 21 consecutive days. They also have a more limited 3 to 10 year shelf life. When comparing MREs, pay special attention to the number of calories they contain. The lower-cost MREs typically contain a very low calorie count and aren’t ideal solutions for people who will be very active.
Shelf Life: 3 to 10 years
Advantages: Does not require refrigeration (can be stored at room temp), complete meal solutions
Disadvantages: Shorter shelf life, poorer nutritional content, limited use
We carry a wide variety of food storage options that span all the different types of food storage. These include Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry, Gourmet Reserves, Wheat Montana, Wise Company, and A-Pack.
Mountain House/Backpacker’s Pantry
Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry are sold in individual, two or four serving packages and are very popular with the backpacking and camping crowd. These entrees are generally considered tastier and are typically sold individually for consumption.
Wise Company food storage solutions are sold as individually sealed pre-packaged entrees stored in buckets. Wise Company foods contain a mixture of freeze-dried and dehydrated products. These are very popular for long-term food storage due to their long shelf life and the ease with which they can be prepared. This makes it a great solution for long-term emergency preparedness. The longer shelf life Wise Food solutions are entrees containing VBP (Vegetable-based protein). Newer meat/fruit/vegetable-only products are now available in the Wise Food line of products as well. Wise Food Grab and Go buckets can be bought as individual buckets or as part of a larger food storage solution.
Our Gourmet Reserves are stored in sealed #10 cans for long-term food storage. The cans are constructed of heavy-gauge steel with food grade enamel coating on the inside. An oxygen absorber is placed in each can to insure the very best shelf life. Resealable plastic lids are included with each can. Gourmet Reserves solutions contain a mixture of freeze-dried and dehydrated products. They are a very popular food choice among preppers due to the versatility of the food options available. Food items can be stored long term and you can pick and choose individual items you like. Food systems are also available that are formulated to sustain one person for one month up to one year.
Our Wheat Montana products are stored 45 pounds at a time in 5 gallon buckets. The buckets are sealed and have had their oxygen purged and replaced with nitrogen to maximize shelf life. The grains are stored in unprocessed form to maximize shelf life.
A-Pack provides commercial MREs with its Ready Meal line of products. These contain everything you would need to prepare a meal on the go, including a heat source, condiments, spices, and utensils. Each case of A-Pack Ready Meals contains two of six different types of meals for a total of 12 MREs per case. Our Ready Meals may be purchased individually or by the case.
How Much Food Do I Need?
The amount of food you need depends on two factors – the length of time the food will be needed and the number of people you will be feeding.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends everyone have on hand at least 72 hours of non-perishable food. However, most preppers are more comfortable with supplies to sustain them for much longer periods of time. Even if you believe the government will be able to supply essentials for everyone during an extended disaster, do you really want to be forced to endure FEMA camps, long lines, and the dangers it may present? How long you want to prepare for depends on your level of comfort and available resources to commit to food preparations. Many preppers store enough food to get them through the next growing season so they can raise their own food stocks. This would typically be a 6-9 month supply of food. However, this only works if you have the space and supplies to start your own garden.
You must also also consider how many people you need to prepare for when making food purchasing decisions. Not all food manufacturers measure their servings equally, and unfortunately, there is no standard when measuring servings. Be sure to take into consideration serving calories when determining the amount of food you need.
So What Should I Get?
After reading about all the different options available, you may be more confused now than you were before. A well-rounded food storage plan should include a variety of food solutions. There may be days when you won’t have the time or energy to prepare a custom meal and want a pre-prepared meal like those offered by our Wise Food solutions. However, you may not want to be limited to just the meal solutions Wise Foods provides and would also like the versatility of Gourmet Reserves.
In order to determine the best food solution for you, our recommendation is to first identify the length of time you want to prepare for and vary your food options to fill that time. Contact us or come see us in our store if you have questions about how to better prepare yourself and/or your family for a disaster.