Planning | Food
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 a disaster. It is important to have food security before disaster arises.
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 ‘entrees’ containing multiple items for a complete meal. Freeze-dried foods need to be reconstituted by adding boiling water in order to consume.
Shelf Life: 15 to 30-years
Advantages: Does not require refrigeration, lightweight, quick preparation, 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 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
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. Commercially canned foods retain their best quality until the expiration date on the can, which is usually 2-5 years from the date of manufacture. For emergency storage, commercially canned foods 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. TruPrep offers the Keystone brand canned meats which include: Pork, Chicken, Turkey and Beef which usually carry a 5-year shelf life.
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, temperature controlled storage required
Dry Goods Storage
This storage method involves sealing bulk foods inside air-tight containers. Containers are usually food-grade 5-gallon buckets with Gamma lids and several oxygen absorbers are added to provide maximum shelflife. 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 foods 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 Department of Defense 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, temperature controlled storage required
We carry a wide variety of food storage options that span all the different types of food storage. These include Mountain House, Honeyville, Wise Company, Keystone, MRE-Star and Datrex.
Mountain House are sold in individual, two or three 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. #10-Cans are also available in many varieties and contain between seven and 22-servings.
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.
Since 1951 Honeyville has grown from a specialty grain mill into a national food supplier leader specializing in storable foods, quality baking ingredients, and kitchen appliances. We strive to offer excellent quality foods at competitive prices to all of our customers no matter what your volume requirement is. Honeyville’s diverse line of products includes freeze dried and dehydrated foods, whole grains, flours, baking ingredients, canned foods, corn products. You will find most of our Honeyville products at TruPrep comes in #10 cans for your storage convenience. These cans include: Instant potatoes, Egg Whites, Fettuccine Alfredo, Beef Crumbles, White Chicken, to Dried Mangos and much, much more.
A premium USDA product with an average shelf-life of 5-years, Keystone meats is a very easy and economical way to store animal based proteins as part of your family’s food security. Options like, Shredded Beef, Chicken, Pork, Turkey and Beef Crumbles are a welcome addition to any food pantry and offer a quick addition of calorie dense nutrition to your dried grains or pastas. TruPrep has carried Keystone products since we opened our doors, that’s how good they are.
An American company with offices in North Carolina and Florida, MRE STAR and its associates boast more than 30-years of experience in the food industry. Their staff and advisers are highly recognized in the “retort” area of food production or the food engineering process, which provides the extended shelf life to the MRE meal products. Truprep offers MRE Stars full line of entrees which include: Cheese Tortellini with Marinara Sauce, Beef Stew with Potatoes and Vegetables, BBQ Chicken with Black Beans and Potatoes, Chicken Noodle Stew with Vegetables, Pasta with Marinara Sauce and Veggie Crumbles, Chicken Rice with Vegetables, Vegetarian Chili, Lentil Stew with Potatoes and Ham and Pinto Bean Stew with Ham. We sell them individually or by the case which makes for great food security and a quick and easy source of nourishment for you and your family during and emergency.
Datrex is the gold standard in simple emergency food rations. They are individually wrapped and highly concentrated into individual 200 calorie bars then vacuum bagged in a specially designed polymer-foil package. This high level of protection is certified to keep the contents fresh for a minimum of five years in even the harshest environments. Get the best, you or your family’s lives could depend on it! Baked and packaged in America at FDA certified facilities. These bars are available through Truprep and we recommend them for any bug-out-bag especially ones for your long haul boats.
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 to 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-made 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 Mountain House.
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.