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I have been working on this article for about a year, it was just not ready to be published, then this week Price Cutter had canned veggies for 29 cents a can. Harter House used to weekly have them for 39 cents, now I noticed they are up to 49 cents. With that in mind, here are my ideas on stocking up on food, the EASY and INEXPENSIVE way to do it.
There are more than a few articles about food for long and mid-term. Some say to buy it all at once, others give a list of what to buy every week. Many are based on ‘dry’ goods (beans and rice) only or refer you to MRE’s or premade freeze dried foods. While all these are ‘good’ articles you should get food you will actually and ‘normally’ eat as a part of the solution.
Instead of feeling like you must run out and buy all you need at once, I suggest you simply buy a couple of items every trip to the grocery store.
I have written previously about water: http://theweeklygeek.com/2014/03/19/having-enough-water-and-long-term-storage/
Securing your home and ammo purchasing: http://theweeklygeek.com/2014/04/16/easy-way-to-start-your-physical-security-on-a-budget-part-1-firearms/ if you buy groceries at Walmart, once a month buy a box of ammo for the firearms you have.
Here is how I have chosen to stock up.
Every trip to grocery store:
1 extra can of canned veggies, 1 extra can of pasta (ravioli), 1 extra can of “meat” (tuna/ SPAM..) do this for 3 months or until you have enough canned food to fill your normal needs for 2 weeks (i.e. if you eat a total of 8 cans EACH of canned veggies a week you need 16 cans EACH in your emergency supply).
1 can of soup, one you and your family will eat.
DON’T buy bent or damages cans! It is my understanding, and I have physically checked cans after opening them, that the inside is coated to prevent the liquids / juices from touching the metal and causing rust inside the can. When a can is bent / dented, they thin layer of coating is broken, this leads to the cans contents and fluids touching the metal and rust / contamination occurs. So you don’t save with “damaged” cans.
Buy 1 extra packet of pasta or rice do this for 3 months or until you have enough food to fill your normal needs for 1 month (i.e. if you eat a total of 2 packages of rice or pasta a week you need 8 packages in your emergency supply).
Buy 1 extra can of pasta sauce do this for 3 months or until you have enough pasta sauce to fill your normal needs for 1 month (i.e. if you eat a total of 1 can of sauce a week you need 4 cans in your emergency supply)
Buy 1 case of water per month (see my article on water): http://theweeklygeek.com/2014/03/19/having-enough-water-and-long-term-storage/
Next time you need pasta, sugar, salt, or flour buy 2 of the normal size you buy if it takes you 6 months or more to consume it, if you consume what your normally buy in less than 6 months, on your next shopping trip buy 1 more and the next trip another. In theory you will have 3 full containers and one open one if you consume the product (pasta) in 6 months or less, only 1 new one and one open one if you consume it in more than 6 months.
Rotate the one you buy this trip with the emergency one. FIFO (First In – First Out – use the ‘oldest’ first), that way it will have the later expiration data. Same with sugar and flower, rubbing alcohol, Band-Aids, bleach (Gallon plain, no smelling / scent).
Sort and store by date (or year) they expire so you rotate the food out. Next year in January you pull out all the food that expires in the 1st quarter (January through March) of that year, put those on the shelf you pull from to fix meals, replace them little by little as you shop throughout the month. Once you buy them (after looking at the dates and trying to find the latest dates) put them back in your emergency storage area.
Pasta, sugar, flour and salt can be put in 5 gallon buckets with gamma seals, or you can use those storage bags (I use ‘The Original Space Bag’) that you connect the vacuum cleaner up to suck out all the air, these are the ones they show on TV for shrinking the space of your sweaters et al. In such a container, I ‘extend’ the expiration date by one more year. So if it expired January 2014, I keep it stored until 2015, then pull it out to use. Personally I have gone 3 years past expiration on vacuumed sealed flour and sugar. The sugar was clumpy when I put it in our sugar container but easily was broken back to the granular form and tasted just fine. The flour was just fine. By the way, I get self-rising flour.
You will need to store the food and hygiene items in a cool, dark dry place. Under the bed, in the coat closet, in the kitchen cabinet. Please don’t put them in your basement or cellar / root cellar, the humidity will destroy the cans faster than you think. Even if you have a dehumidifier, if power goes out so does the benefits of the dehumidifier. Under your house et al is not “dry”.
You could connect solar or wind power to a de-humidifier which should help during a short term (2 weeks or less) power outage. Though, during the 2008 ice storm in the Ozarks we did not have enough sun or wind to compensate for the lack of power, therefore solar and wind power did not help.
If you choose a cellar or under your house to store items, and use a de-humidifier, then comes a loss of power, you would need to move the food et al to another storage area. Of course if this is a long term event or TEOTWAWKI event that is different. Midterm storage after an event, could be in your home under blankets et al. moving your couch out slightly from the wall. Just keep items covered and away from windows and where “guest” would see what it obviously was. Maybe in the guest room or under the couch. This is not good for TEOTWAWKI.
With all that said, stocking up on canned food, Dehydrated food, MRE’s is all relatively short term, I don’t believe you as an individual or as part of a small group (see www.PatriotFireTeam.com for an example of that) can store enough to last for years. You need to learn how to garden, which means you need a piece of land you can cultivate and protect and of course you need seeds!
Your seeds need to be a mixture of year around foods. Statistically you won’t have enough land to grow for one season and then can your food for year around. You need to also be buying seeds for foods you actually will eat.
We have a very small garden, we test different foods to see what we can grow and will eat. We do some very basic canning and pickling of foods. It is practice and you need to do that, actually try growing cultivating and keeping up with a garden. Besides humans you have bugs, snails, small and large animals along with birds that will be attempting to eat your food.
There are plenty of web sites you should go to and learn about gardening.
You should have a plan on food – micro term is what you have in the refrigerator and freezer, week long is what is in the cabinet, next you should have MRE’s and Canned food for the 1 week to 3 months, then dehydrated food for the 3 month to 1 year and a garden plan for 1 year and more.
You will need to start implementing dehydrated food into your diet now! You must know what it takes to prepare and what your body can handle as well as build up the ability to eat it.
You must start your garden today, not when you are running low on other food.
For more articles on this and similar being prepared topics click here http://theweeklygeek.com/category/survivalprepping/
Until we meet again, have a virus free week.
PS some of my qualifications are: growing up south of Houston Texas in hurricane alley, Boy Scout / Eagle Scout, Order of the Arrow and being a single father of two (thank the LORD I have been married now 20 years the my Beautiful Bride).