Foods You Need in Your Food Survival Buckets

If you are ready to start stocking up so you are prepared for an emergency, you probably have a lot of questions. What do you need? Keep in mind that you may or may not have power, so hopefully you will prepare yourself with sources for cooking and cleaning too. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to have some food that can be prepared and eaten cold, such as freeze-dried and dehydrated options. This will help save some of your resources.

Baking

Many people overlook raw materials when they start building their storage buckets, but staple items, such as sugar,  flour, baking soda, baking powder and oil can be huge assets. You may want to pick up mixes for pancakes, muffins, etc., when you  catch them on sale as well.

Golden wheat, red winter wheat and other grains can be bought in bulk. You may also want to consider buying a hand mill and stocking up on raw grains rather than flour. This way you can mill it as you need it. This is cheaper too.

Food

It never hurts to buy bulk canned goods, ramen noodles, crackers and other items that you buy already. When something is on sale, buy two and put one in storage. However, although these items usually have a fairly long shelf life, you will still need to rotate and keep an eye on them. At some point, they will need to be eaten and replaced.

When you are stocking up on long-term survival foods, you will utilize food storage buckets to hold items, such as nitrogen packed legumes, grains, freeze-dried and vacuum-packed foods and MRE’s. These Meal, Ready-to-Eat often have up to a 10-year shelf life. Make a goal to buy a few every month to add. They are convenient, nutritious, quick and easy to prepare, but they are a bit costly. It’s definitely worth it to splurge to have a few stocked up.

Don’t Forget Dessert

Just because you are under emergency does not mean that you can’t have dessert. Besides, dessert always makes things seem not so grim. Surprisingly, you can actually buy MRE desserts that include brownies, pound cake and more. Hand candy is easy-to-store and you can never have enough of. If you have a sweet tooth, sometimes just a Werther’s Original is satisfying all on its own.

Supplement

Since it is unlikely that you will be gathering fruits and vegetables from your garden (unless you are really lucky), you should include supplements and even probiotics in your storage kit. Just make sure they are whole food vitamins or natural products; it is proven that artificial strands can do more harm than good, and some aren’t even digested.

 

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Is Freeze-dried or Dehydrated the Better Choice

When you create your emergency stash of storage food, you may find yourself wonder whether you should choose freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. Well, they are both excellent choices and will store perfectly in your food storage buckets. The biggest differences between the two is nutritional value, cost and taste.

Freeze-dried Food

Some people are just recently being introduced to freeze-dried foods while others have been appreciating it for 25 years or longer. You can buy it in pouches or cans. The cans are great if you have a storage pantry, but the pouches store great in a bucket, or they are ideal to take hiking, keep in an emergency kit in your car, etc., because they are super light. All you have to do is add cold or hot water, and they are ready to eat.

When stored properly, some cans can have a 20-year shelf life, but even pouches are good often as long as seven years. Unlike canned items, freeze-dried food returns its full flavor. The process locks in color, freshness, shape, aroma and texture. Basically, the food is cooked and then flash frozen in a vacuum chamber that is about -50 degrees Fahrenheit. When low-level heat is applied, ice crystals evaporated, as opposed to returning to liquid. This removes as much as 98 percent moisture from the food. The fact that it retains nutritional value is a huge benefit, especially if you are in an emergency situation.

How is Dehydration Different?

Dehydrated foods go through a similar process and are also good for about the same amount of time and take up minimal space. The big difference is that although dehydrated foods cost approximately one-third of freeze-dried foods, they  don’t measure up in nutritional content or taste. That being said, dehydrated food is still an excellent choice to use to stock your food storage buckets.

 

It should also be noted that when using cold water to prepare them, freeze-dried can be ready in as little as 5 to 10 minutes while dehydrated could take as long as 1 to 2 hours. Obviously, if you are at home, preparing the meal early and letting it hydrate, the time frame is not a big deal, but if you are out hiking or broken down on the side of the road, freeze-dried is the better option.

The great thing about dehydrated is that you can do it yourself at home, which makes it convenient, affordable and practical. All you need is a dehydrator or a convection oven, and you can package, label and store your own food.

So which do you stock in your food storage buckets? A little of both doesn’t hurt! You can stock up on bulk amounts of dehydrated foods (or make them yourself), and then add in a few freeze-dried ones for the nutritional content. Just be sure to use separate containers for both, and label everything clearly.

 

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Preparing for Basic Survival with Food Storage

The foundation of every long-term survival plan includes shelter, food and water. It is never too early or too late to stop thinking about it, and just start stocking up. If something happens, you can only survive so long without food. Americans take for granted that they can simply go to the store whenever they are running low on something, but what if this isn’t possible? What if the shelves are empty? What if the air is contaminated, and you can’t go outside? No one can predict the future, but everyone can prepare for it.

How Much Food Should You Store?

Well, there certainly is no limit to how much you should store. As long as you keep products rotated, and use any before they expire, you can just keep adding to your pantry. You will find that most survival foods that you store in food buckets, have an incredibly long shelf life, so you don’t have to worry about eating anything you buy in the next year.

Experts suggest that you need two week’s worth of food, as a minimum amount. The great thing about stocking your survival stash is that you can simply keep adding to it. Start out with a three-day supply of food, increase to a week, two weeks and a year. If you buy one thing like food, a storage bucket first-aid supplies, water, etc., every paycheck, it will add up. It’s easier to buy one thing at a time than it is to splurge all at one time and hope that you have enough. If you have pets, don’t forget to stock up on their food when you see sales, but keep an eye on expiration dates.

Why do You Need so Much?

Well, let’s say that your area is hit with a brutal winter storm. You may remember when Washington DC saw 30 inches in 1995 and the entire city of Philadelphia had to shut down for a week once. Even if you could get to the store somehow on your snowmobile, the shelves won’t be stocked because trucks can’t get through.

Keep in mind that you may want to help your elderly neighbor next door, or maybe your daughter has friends over who get stranded at your place. You could have extra mouths to feed. It’s also important to note that food prices continue to go up. The cost of living in general continues to go up. Doesn’t it make sense to stock up now and store food while it’s more affordable? Plus, if there is a disaster and resources are limited, prices are often dictated by supply and demand.

Not to mention, if prices go up because there is a shortage, disaster or both, there is a good chance that you are not working either. If banks are closed, you can’t withdrawal money and if the power is out, ATM machines won’t work. There is always a scenario that you need to prepare for now, because it may be too late tomorrow.

 

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Rotating Your Emergency Stock

The worst thing you can do is start throwing items in your food storage pantry or in buckets and not label or rotate appropriately. Most people continually add to their stock, but if new items are put in front of old, or things aren’t marked properly, you will end up wasting food. The whole purpose of storing food is to be prepared and ultimately save yourself money. If things are getting thrown away, it defeats the purpose. Not to mention, if disaster strikes, you don’t want to find out at the worst time ever that most of your food has expired. Rotation is a vital practice when it comes to storing food for emergency purposes.

When to Rotate

Rotation is an ongoing process. Every single time you add food to your stock, it should be placed in the appropriate location according to expiration date. Keep in mind that just because you buy a case of canned goods today does not guarantee that the expiration date is longer than the ones you purchased months ago. You need to look at the dates and put newly purchased items in the appropriate spot.

It is also important that you go through and check dates every two months, especially if you are not adding to the stock. You may find you have some items expiring soon that you will want to move to your kitchen to use, and then make a note to purchase more to add to your stock.

It should also be noted that canned food doesn’t necessarily go bad. Most items have an 18-month expiration date and then can still be consumed long after that. The texture will deteriorate, nutritional value drops and the food will significantly lose its taste, but the only way it will actually go bad is if the can is somehow punctured.

Labels

Do yourself a favor and either buy a label maker or simply get some plain stickers you can write on, and label everything. If expiration dates on pasta sauces or cans are difficult to read now, just imagine if you have limited light.

Everything in your food storage buckets should have labels, whether it is freeze-dried, dehydrated, pickled, and vacuum-packed or anything else. The only way you can properly keep track of and make the most of your inventory is to label it.

Write the date put in the bucket, the expiration date and what it is. Again, don’t take for granted you will be able to see what everything is. It only takes a second to add a label.

It is also recommended to keep your storage organized. Don’t have legumes in three different buckets, grains in two, etc. Designate one bucket to a certain category. This will also help you keep track of what you have a little easier, and find what you are looking for when you need it.

 

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