What are some things I Need to do In Order To Survive An Economic Collapse Or a Natural Disaster ?
# 1 Food Storage Part 1
Those of you who aren’t too caught up in the trivialities of life or Hollywood, and are actually paying attention to what is going on in our economy (and no, mainstream news and Associated Press articles do NOT count) are hopefully coming to the realization that we are on a one way course into disaster with no U-turns in sight.
More and more people are beginning to wake up and realize that things could get really ugly, really quickly, and they are starting to think about what they can do now to get prepared. I have found myself answering a lot of questions and lending a lot of advice to those considering food storage, and I am encouraged to know that so many others are getting their houses in order. The more people who can feed themselves, the better off we’ll all be.
In my last post regarding the state of our country, I wrote about the need for us to start preparing for troubled times ahead. One of my recommendations was that you begin building a food storage, if you haven’t already. I even went on to say that, in these times, I strongly believe that it is wiser to have food stored up than to have money in a savings account. If hyperinflation sets in, what good will your money be? None. It will take a wheelbarrow full of your paper money to buy one loaf of bread. And if you are to lose your job? Then, groceries would be one less thing you’d have to worry about paying for! Food storage is just a good idea.
You may not believe that hyperinflation could be a reality here in the United States, but let me share something with you. I have keep a list of prices for the things that I buy some things have doubled in the last two years. I see inflation subtly creeping in. Keep your own records, watch how our prices are rising, see for yourself.
This is why we are feeling such a strong urge to prepare. This is why we are building up our food storage. We want to have what we need while we can still afford it. We want our dollar to buy the most it can while it still has buying power.
But having a food storage isn’t only wise in preparing for the possible collapse of our economy. What if for whatever reason trucks can no longer bring food into your local grocery store, and the shelves are suddenly wiped clean? What if your town is quarantined, or a natural disaster strikes? Do you want to have to rely on somebody else to feed your children? Not us. We don’t want to have to *hope* that we would be taken care of. We choose to prepare. We choose to survive.
But how much food should you store up? What all do you need? Well, the girls over at Food Storage Made Easy have some great tools to help you figure all of this out, including a Long Term Food Storage Calculator, which helps you estimate how much of something you’ll need for “X” amount of time.
I think it’s important to get other people thinking about being prepared as well.
We cannot simply hope that everything would work out for the best.
As you look through the list there is some of the things that you can make yourself with some of the basic storage I have made a notation behind some of the things you can make yourself . And don’t forget store what you eat and eat what you store in a time of crises you don’t want to be introducing new food to you family that they are not use to.
What do I need in order to survive an economic collapse or a Natural Disaster ?
A Year’s Supply of Food. This means enough shelf stable food to sustain every member of your family for an entire year. And it can’t be just rice and beans. You’ll need, and appreciate, a nice variety!
Here are some things you’ll want to stockpile:
Wheat (Wheat Berries)- Flour will go rancid after a few months; ( I do have flour stored but I rotate it and when I store it I put spearmint gum in the buckets with it and store it in the shed where it freezes in the winter months the freezing helps prolong the shelf life) wheat berries store for decades My Dad has wheat that has been stored for 40 years he checked it a while back and it is still good.. You will need a wheat grinder to turn these into flour; I’d recommend a hand grinder in case you are without electricity. ( Start using wheat flour now so the family can get use to it. I stated a little at a time in all my recipes and have gradually added more ( I made brownies the other day and used all white flour the kids wanted to know what was wrong with them they didn’t taste right so they do get use to the wheat flour )
Beans and Lentils- Cheap and very nutritious! An important source of fiber, protein, carbs, iron, and vitamin B. Store a variety: Pintos, Black Beans, White Beans, Navy Beans, etc.
Rice- Although Brown Rice is better for you, it will go rancid quickly. White Rice will store for 30+ years, and makes a great filler in many recipes.
Rolled Oats- Not only for oatmeal, but also for cookies, breads, meatloaf, etc. Store Quick Oats and/or Old Fashioned Oats, depending on which recipes you plan on using.
Dried Corn- For grinding into cornmeal. If you don’t use cornmeal normally though, this isn’t really a necessity. .
Sugar- A major staple!! Especially if you want to be canning jellies, jams and preserves, and stuff like that when they come into season. Also, you should store some sort of drink mix or tea bags, just to break up the monotony, and you’ll definitely want a sweetener for those. (Plus, you do not want live with me when I’ve been without sweets for too long.)
Pasta- Another cheap and filling staple. Store Macaroni, Spaghetti, Lasagna, ABC shapes for the kids, etc. Cheese is expensive, but if you can store up some cheese powder and/or dehydrated cheeses, that would be nice in pasta dishes. Don’t forget spaghetti sauce! You can make your own from canned tomatoes and spices. Find a good recipe to plan on using. Ingredients to make Stroganoff and Alfredo sauce would also be a nice way to mix it up. ( Learn how to make you own pasta invest in a pasta maker fresh is so much better and your not having to make room to store the pasta as far as sauce learn to make you own )
Powdered Milk- For drinking and for using in recipes.( If you have the room consider a milk goat or cow then you can have butter, milk, Ice cream, and cheese and the extras milk can be used to feed the chickens and the pigs )
Honey- For recipes. Also good for sore throats and coughs.( If you are in an area that you could have bees I recommend bees for the honey then you don’t need as much sugar stored and the wax you can use for candles in soap making , lotion and herbal salves)
Vegetable and Olive Oil- For baking breads, homemade salad dressing, frying foods, etc. If you prefer a different type of cooking oil, then substitute that instead.
Salt- Not only for flavoring foods. It is important to store Iodized salt, along with any other type of salt your family uses (ie: Kosher, Sea Salt, Canning salt). Iodized salt contains Iodine, which is an essential trace mineral our bodies need to stay in good health. It can also be used for preserving meat.
Yeast- Don’t forget to store this for baking breads. This needs to be stored in the freezer (I will post a recipe for everlasting yeast in a later post)
Baking Powder ( you can make your own )
Baking Soda- not only for cooking, but cleaning and you can make toothpaste ,deodorant, and washing soda (I buy my sodium bicarbonate in 25 lb bags at the feed store the same thing but much cheaper )
Spices and Condiments- Look through the recipes you plan on cooking from your food storage to see what spices you’ll need. Learn how to make your own Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Salad Dressings, etc from these spices and other ingredients, or stock up on your favorite condiments.
Canned fruits and vegetables- Even if you plan on having a garden, you can’t depend on it giving you enough food to last an entire year. Store up foods your family normally eats. We eat a lot of green beans. Corn and potatoes so that’s mostly what we’ve got stored. I’ve also got tomato sauce, paste, whole and diced tomatoes for using in recipes. The same goes for fruits; applesauce, mandarin oranges, peach slices, pineapple bits, and fruit cocktail are among our cans. Don’t forget the jams and jellies, and pie fillings!
You can also get fruits and vegetables freeze dried or dehydrated.
Canned Meats- Although we have our own chickens and other animals to butcher, along with hunting for wild game, we know we won’t be able to depend on these options always being available. Buy chicken, beef (you can even can ground beef!), and other meats you eat a lot of and can them yourself, or buy already canned meats. Tuna is another good thing to store, if your family likes it. ( Again if you have the room raise your own meat and know how to process it.)
Dried Potatoes- Could come in the form of instant potatoes, freeze dried, potato flakes, etc.
or dry your own.
Dried or canned Onions- Dehydrated slices, diced, minced, whatever. again you can dry or can your own.
Vinegar- White and Apple Cider; for cooking, medicinal remedies, and disinfecting/cleaning.
Shortening or Lard- for baking.
Chocolate Chips- for sanity.
Molasses- for baking, making brown sugar, etc.
Lemon Juice- for cooking, dehydrating and canning.
Peanut Butter- if you like it. We eat a LOT of peanut butter around here.
Cream Soups- Cream of Chicken, Cream of Celery, Cream of Mushroom; for recipes. ( Learn to make your own )
Evaporated Milk ( when you can get a good deal on milk buy a lot and can it )
Cheese Powder- or dehydrated cheeses; for recipes ( Be sure to try some before you buy a large amount some cheese powders are nasty )
Powdered Eggs- Even if you have laying hens, it wouldn’t hurt to have some of this stored up. You’ll need eggs in a lot of recipes. ( You can freeze or dry your own eggs )
Popcorn Kernels- just for fun.
Powdered Drink Mix or Tea Bags- You can order different flavors of powdered drink mix in bulk, . My family drinks a lot of sweet tea, so we have tea bags stored up.( I drink herb tea from herbs that I grow )
Coffee- If you are a coffee drinker, and even if you’re not, this would be good to have on hand. You might need that extra boost of caffeine. I’d suggest storing coffee beans instead of already ground coffee. Again, a good hand cranked wheat mill will do a great job of grinding coffee beans.
Pectin- For canning you can make your own.
Once you have enough of these basic staples stocked up, you can think about other treats for your food storage. Some people like having dessert mixes, hot chocolate, pancake mix (like Bisquick), and other convenience foods on hand. I’d say definitely spend your money on more substantial foods before splurging on these things.
How much of all of this food do I need?
How do I store all of these foods?You can go to Foodguys.com for food storage calculator to know how much you need to store.
It is extremely important that you store your foods properly. Nothing would be worse than to open a bucket of grains to find it crawling with Weevils, or to find that a mouse has been enjoying your stockpiles before you could! Take a few extra steps to ensure that your food will still be good when you are ready for it. Many of these things can store practically indefinitely if well protected.
Buckets- When looking for a bucket to store your grains in, you need to make sure that you use a food grade plastic bucket. You can’t just run to the hardware store and buy buckets. On the bottom of a food grade bucket will be an HDPE, with a number two within a triangle of arrows. I’ve read that the colored buckets, even if they have the #2 on them, are not safe. If you wanna be safe, get white buckets.
You can find these for free, or sometimes for a small price, at your local bakery. Just ask for icing buckets with a lid. Size doesn’t really matter. Gratefully take any and all they offer you! You can also order them online, but they are pricey. Gamma Seal lids are awesome, but again, are pretty expensive.
#10 cans- You can buy some food items already packed in #10 cans, which are about 3/4 gallon; these will already be prepared for long term storage. If you have a cannery in your area you can buy bulk foods and can them yourself using their equipment. Packing #10 cans yourself is definitely the cheaper of the two options.
Mylar Bags- Some people seal their food in mylar bags before putting them in a bucket. Although it isn’t necessary, it is an added protective measure. Personally, I feel safe enough with just a well sealed bucket. You can buy these online and at survival stores.
Oxygen Absorbers- You’ll need to put these absorbers in your buckets, and #10 cans if you are filling them yourself, along with the food you’ll be storing. They will absorb all of the oxygen in your container, killing any bug eggs that might be ready to hatch out in your foods. Make sure that the container you will be putting these in is airtight.
As soon as you open the sealed bag of absorbers, they will begin working. You have about 10 minutes to get them into a bucket and sealed before they start losing their potency. If you will not be using them all, store the extra oxygen absorbers in a small glass jar tightly sealed until ready to use again. They will lose a little bit of strength since they will have absorbed the oxygen in the jar, but not much.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)- A naturally occurring substance, safe for consumption as long as it is “food grade” DE, and not what you will find in swimming pool supplies. Mix one cup of DE into every 40 lbs of grains and legumes; approx. 1 cup per 5 gallon bucket. Do this in small batches to ensure that every kernel is covered in the powder. Use a mask when mixing to avoid inhaling this product. You might want to protect your eyes as well. You can order this online, some garden centers and feed stores also carry DE. Read the ingredients on the bag before buying to make sure that other chemical insecticides have not been added.
Iodized Salt- Add 1 cup of salt to a container of pasta to keep weevils out. You won’t be wasting the salt, ’cause it will still be usable when the pasta is gone.
It all looks overwhelming but start a little at a time as much as you can do get the main basics first ( wheat, sugar, Baking soda, Baking powder, Powder milk, Salt, Beans Meat, Oils or shortening, Vinegar, fruits and vegetables.) then add the other things
I live in an area that is cold so I store my flour , grain, sugar ect. in a shed outside the, winter months keep it froze so the bugs don’t grow and they keep through the couple hot months of summer after having been froze all winter.
You do want to make sure the caned goods do not freeze.
Where do I store all of this food?
Consider converting a large closet into a storage pantry
Build more shelves in existing closets, as high as it will go. Clean out unnecessary accessories, gadgets, and kitchen tools you never use from your cabinets, and use that space for food storage.
Raise every bed in your home to accommodate small buckets or boxes.
Stack large buckets in every corner of every closet, as much as possible. If you have a garage, basement, or root cellar, you are very fortunate!! Use this space to the best of its capacity! Make sure you take preventative measures in protecting your food from water damage in flood prone areas. Just keep in mind that the food needs to stay relatively cool. Hot, humid places should be avoided.
Make sure that you are using the more perishable items in rotation, paying attention to expiration dates. Some things will only last for a year no matter how well they are stored. Use these foods in your every day cooking, and replace them as you go.
Phew! Well, I think that covers that. Did I miss anything? Obviously, water needs to be stored, but that will have to be an entirely different post.
Hopefully that will help you get started, or motivate you to finish storing up your year’s supply. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them for you.
Also if you can think of something else please feel free to comment. I will do a separate post on dry goods ( T.P. soap ect.) and medical supplies