In a crisis or emergency, it is crucial to maintain your strength; both mentally and physically. Eating nutritiously is one way of helping you do that. However, that may not be possible if you went to the grocery store and found all the shelves empty. You need to be prepared for such a situation by storing adequate amounts of emergency food.
With the world facing the worst food crisis for at least 50 years, click here for detailed tips on emergency foods shopping. In the meantime, let’s look at several options available to you.
Buying bulk staples: Wheat, corn, and beans are food items you can purchase in bulk quantities, and most have a long shelf life. If the worst comes to the worst, your family could survive for months, if not years, on these staples. Hard grains like buckwheat, soft white wheat, hard red wheat, and millet can last for 10 to 12 years if stored properly. Soft grains like barley, rye, grits, and quinoa can last for nearly eight years if sealed properly with oxygen absorbers.
Other bulk purchase alternatives: You can supplement the above bulk staples with commercially prepared freeze-dried or air-dried foods. A good selection would be canned meats, rice, and beans. Ready-to-eat cereals, rice mixes, pasta mixes, dried fruits, etc. may also be good options to include in your shopping as they add variety to your daily menu.
Dried or freeze-dried meat: Meat jerky that can easily be bought at the store will last for almost two years unopened. When stored in ideal locations, freeze-dried meats that have been professionally packaged can have a shelf life of nearly 15 years.
Dry pasta: When not exposed to moisture, dry pasta can last close to 30 years. The pasta you typically find at the local store can still be safely eaten two years past the printed ‘best by’ date if sealed with oxygen absorbers.
Dried/canned beans: Dried beans sealed with oxygen absorbers are good and can last for nearly five years. If stored under ideal conditions, they can stay good for close to six years. As always, with any canned food, check the cans for broken seals and signs of botulism before eating.
Dry milk/dairy products: Dry milk is a handy emergency foodstuff you should have in your arsenal. It should be stored in an air-tight container, preferably at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and can serve you for 12-24 months. Other dairy products that are good for long-term storage include powdered cheese, canned evaporated milk, and pasteurised cheese spreads.
Foods for infants: Special attention should be paid to stocking infant supplies. Powdered formula is one of the least expensive forms of infant formula that you can easily stock up. Other options include commercially canned liquid formula concentrates or ready-to-feed formulas. The amounts you might need will vary, depending on how old the infant is. Infant formula should never be used past the printed expiration date. Ensure you also have a variety of other baby foods and infant cereals.
Vitamin and mineral supplements: Emergencies may lead to shortages in specific food items, and to compensate for possible vitamin/mineral deficiencies, consider stocking up multivitamin/mineral tablets. Be careful about their expiration dates. Click here for some more food storage tips.