Be Prepared – Part 4
The easiest items to store for an emergency, in my opinion, are canned goods. They stack easily, no need for refrigeration, and they last for a long time…whether you can your own or buy it from the store. So that’s where I start when I’m storing food for an emergency.
First thing, make sure you are only storing items you (and/or your family) will eat. There is no sense in buying something to store because it was on sale, if your family won’t eat it…even in an emergency. Besides, during a stressful time – whether it’s an illness, power outage, winter weather, or a more severe or long term emergency – we want everyone to be as comfortable as possible, and familiar foods is part of that comfort. You don’t want to try out new foods on your family in an emergency.
I do not (yet) can my own food. That is something I intend to start this summer. I will be on the lookout for canning supplies so I can put up some of our vegetables from the garden we’re planting this spring. But I don’t have a large enough space to grow and can enough food to feed us for a year to get through to the next harvest season. So, I will at least supplement our canning with store bought canned items.
Another way to store your fresh foods is dehydrating. I haven’t done that yet either, but I would like to try it and that will help in our emergency food provisions.
I always like to have cans of soup on hand. I know that my husband and I can share a can of soup for lunch and that will be enough (especially if I also have crackers or bread on hand). If I have 8 cans of soup stored, I know I have 8 meals. So, determine how many servings you will get from your canned goods to determine how many you would need for a meal. You may need 2 or 3 cans to equal one meal for your family. Then determine how many cans you need for the time frame you are preparing for.
Some of the items I like to make sure I have on hand are: canned soup, canned vegetables, canned fruit/applesauce, canned meat (tuna), canned beans (especially ready to heat and serve baked beans), microwaveable ready to heat rice, spaghetti and sauces, peanut butter, crackers, granola bars, and cereal. There are a lot more items you can keep on hand, just make sure they are items your family will actually eat. We don’t eat canned meat other than tuna, so it won't make sense for me to store canned chicken. But if your family likes it, buy it.
One thing I buy for storage that we don’t generally eat is canned vegetables. We usually eat fresh or frozen. But I do store canned vegetables that we will eat…such as green beans and peas. No lima beans here! Sorry!
Another thing I try to do is buy smaller portioned items to store. For example, snack pack/individual serving sizes of items like applesauce or fruit cups. I don’t want to have to worry about trying to keep leftovers fresh, particularly if the emergency is a power outage and there is no refrigeration.
For cooking, we have a propane camp stove, plus we have a travel trailer with propane for cooking. Always think of safety when cooking during an emergency and read the instructions on your cooking equipment before using. We also can use our charcoal grill (always outside) to cook if necessary. During a winter emergency, we have a wood stove in our fireplace where we can cook our food.
Just be sure everything you have on hand is something your family will eat. Also remember to switch out your canned goods occasionally. If you store five jars of peanut butter and you find some on sale, pick it up and put it to the back of your P.B. jars. Then pull the one in front to use now.
Tomorrow I will talk about how to have fresh food during an emergency when you can’t make it to the store.