Having food and water stored are key for survival when a disaster strikes. There are many types of foods that can be stored, but this article will focus primarily on foods for emergency situations. Creating a food storage can seem like an over whelming task, but when taken one step at a time this task can be accomplished with ease.
When disaster strikes and the power is off for a prolonged period of time the first food that should be eaten is in the refrigerator. I know this seems like an obvious answer but most people avoid opening the fridge because the items in the fridge will be exposed to air temperature. The reality is the food in the fridge will maintain its coolness because the food itself is cool, and the refrigerator will work like a cooler. The first time the refrigerator is opened a list should be made of the items in the fridge so the door isn’t open needlessly. Having a list will decrease the amount of time the door is open.
After the refrigerator food is eaten, next go to your freezer food. Freezer food is usually good for up to three days after the power is off. As long as there are ice crystals in the center of the food, it is still good to eat. After the perishable foods have been eaten during an emergency you will next want to consider consuming your food storage.
Let’s talk about how and what to store in your food storage. When creating a basic food storage all items can be broken down into the following seven categories:
- Canned or bottled goods
- Paper products
- Dried foods and grains
- Fats and oils
- Sugars or sweeteners
Make sure you store appropriate amounts of items from each category. You can determine what the proper amount is by taking inventory of what you currently consume and use.
The first step when beginning to store food is to create a two week supply. When going to the grocery store start getting into the habit of shopping the ads and buying extras. You should store foods that are delicious and nutritious. Also, you should store foods that you are familiar with and that you currently eat. Consistently purchasing foods your family is familiar with will provide a sense of security when a disaster strikes.
Make sure while you are storing this food that you create an inventory system so you are naturally rotating your food. Placing new food items in the back of the storage area will force you to use the older items in front. Before storing these foods make certain you date and label each item. This will help in your rotating system. If items get disturbed or fall off the shelf you will know what order to put them back in and what foods you should eat first.
If possible, store all food in a dry, cool, and dark place. When storing crackers, cookies or boxed items store them in air tight containers to maintain freshness and keep moisture out. Try to store mainly non-perishable and staple items. These will sustain life and last longer in emergency situations.
After completing a 2 week food supply and creating an inventory system, move on to create a 3 month supply. This can be accomplished easier by first creating a master menu schedule. Without having a master menu schedule it would be very difficult to know what kind of supplies you really need. Over a period of time purchase the items for the menus on the master menu schedule and store and track them with the inventory system you created earlier.
After storing all of this food, secure a way to cook it in an emergency. Inexpensive charcoal grills, propane barbecues, and camp stoves are great sources of cooking in emergency. You can also use simple chafing dishes or fondue pots. Make sure you have stored matches. Without matches, cooking is next to impossible.
By following these simple suggestions you will feel prepared the next time an emergency situation arises. Have fun with your food storage, and try new things as you rotate your food.