People who stay in disaster-prone regions recognize the relevance of emergency food storage. Most states in America have their fair share of natural disasters. We could use California and its wildfires, for example. In other regions, it could be floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, or whatever.
Whereas some of these unfortunate events can be predicted, a few can be sudden and instant. As such, if you stay in a place vulnerable to specific disasters, you should take extra care to be ready for emergencies at all times.
Man-made disasters, fire outbreak mainly, can also be devastating. In most events, a fire outbreak renders hundreds or thousands of people homeless for some weeks. It would do you well to have enough food to fall back on during this period, don’t you think?
Ask ten survivors of a hurricane, and I bet that at least seven of them had an emergency food pack prepared ahead. No, they didn’t know it would happen, but they were ready, nonetheless. If you waited for an emergency before packing your food, you are most likely to select every item you come across and not necessarily what your body needs. Remember that eating the wrong foods for 2 – 4 weeks can be unhealthy and make you very sick.
What Food Should Be In My Emergency Food Storage?
Storing foods for a disaster isn’t the same as putting food for tomorrow morning in the fridge. That is, you can’t use home-cooked meal items in your emergency food storage. There are various foods produced, especially for this purpose. They typically include canned, dried, and dehydrated foods.
Let’s review the right foods to be in your emergency food storage before you start planning.
Foods You Enjoy Eating
In ordinary circumstances, you’d have to eat whatever food you can lay your hands on— but that shouldn’t be so if you’re planning. I mean, why eat what you don’t want when you have the foresight of planning? When packing your emergency foods, why not select what you like to eat?
Thankfully, nearly every food item is available in canned, dried, or dehydrated forms. You can, therefore, store any of your favorite foods. So, be it macaroni, waffles, cheese, mashed potatoes, steak or pizza, you can always eat your best foods during disasters.
You can buy your food choices from the local supermarket or order online from companies selling emergency survival kits.
Well, you don’t want to feed on foods with minimal nutrients and zero-calories for weeks, do you? I hope not. Doing so will cause you health discomforts, no doubt. Fortunately, canned foods are also nutritious, although maybe not as rich as the fresh options.
Since you’re planning, plan for the best. Most survival stores sell foods with high nutritional value and calorie levels. If you can’t trust them to make your choices for you, you can decide what you want and shop for them across shelves.
In some cases, you may have to see a doctor or dietician to identify the ideal foods for you.
Foods that will make up your emergency kit must be long-lasting choices. You don’t settle for perishable foods simply because you enjoy them.
You may not have needs for foods in your emergency food storage for 2, 3 years, and even a longer while. This is obviously because disaster may not occur when you expect. You have to select foods that will remain good and healthy until then.
If you live in regions with annual disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, or flooding, we can agree that you buy foods that last at least 1½ years. If, however, your region is prone to sudden, unexpected calamities with no way to predict accurately, it would be much better to select foods that will remain healthy for five years.
Luckily, most canned or frozen foods remain good for an average of 20 years if still sealed. That is, some foods will remain good for 20 years as long as you don’t open them. Well then, that’s your cue.
Maintaining Your Emergency Food Storage
Foods with a shelf life of 20 years wouldn’t last two years under poor storage conditions. This emphasizes why you must keep your emergency food storage in healthy conditions at all times. This can be done through thorough checkups and cleaning from time to time.
Let’s look at four smart tips for maintaining your emergency food storage.
Keep Storage Space Clean and Dry
Irrespective of where you’re storing your foods, make sure they are kept in a clean, dry place. Never store your foods in a humid or wet environment. They’ll spoil and lose nutrients quickly, thereby becoming unhealthy for consumption. You just can’t keep foods in the corners of your basement and leave them unattended for months. Trust me; you’ll be wasting precious money and food.
Avoid Humid or Moist Spaces
Moisture is often the worst destroyer of most foods. Even foods of excellent quality can become quickly unhealthy and spoil if stored in a damp or humid basement. This doesn’t mean that you store foods in a tight box, as they have to be aerated as well. Make sure you store foods in a cool but dry place.
Buy High-quality Foods
Some canned or dried foods are poor in quality. Low-quality foods will spoil quickly and eventually cost you more money than you were trying to save. Therefore, make sure you select foods of high quality when shopping for emergencies. Anything else will make the maintenance of your emergency food store trickier.
Conduct Checkups Intermittently
Endeavor to examine the food items in your emergency store from time to time. This will help to identify spoilage in foods either from spills or leaks, moisture, or wrong storage strategies. Periodic checks will also help to keep track of your store.
Final Thoughts On Emergency Food Storage
We hardly like to think of disasters, but that doesn’t stop them from happening. Our best action, therefore, is to prepare ahead before they happen. Planning emergency food storage is an excellent way to survive amid the chaos and destruction during calamities.