Storing Food For The Long Term
So a crisis hits your area and your food is rotting in an unpowered refrigerator.
What are you going to do to feed yourself and your family?
If you are prepping correctly and you know the risks of some upcoming trouble in your neck of the woods, you are going to have to educate yourself on some good ideas for getting your food stores in order and learning about the way of ‘Survival Food.’
So what are you going to do to eat in the event of that crisis?
Making Survival Food Plans
Most food that you buy in the grocery store is only packaged to last a few months up to a year.
Hardly what you would consider survival food.
The only exception to this is canned goods, which can last for years if the seal isn’t broken. Check how short the life expectancy is by looking at the expiration date on the package.
Food manufacturers and processors don’t bother with the added expense of packaging it for long-term storage because most people don’t keep food around for very long.
However, that doesn’t apply to survivalists, who may store their food stockpile for years. This means that preppers need to repackage most foods they buy. With proper storage, these survival foods will last for much longer—as many as 20 years.
That proper packaging will keep out insects, rodents, microorganisms, oxygen, and moisture, keeping the food tasting fresh while retaining its nutritional value.
Long Term Food Storage
Survival food will need to be stored for the long term so it is ready for you after a crisis. You do not want to be one of those countless people pushing and shoving themselves to and at the supermarket at the last minute.
Let us get started now:
Gather Equipment. You will need a vacuum cleaner with a hose and either a hair straightener or a clothes iron to seal the Mylar bags. It is also helpful to have a rubber mallet to close the buckets with, although this isn’t absolutely necessary. Also, do not forget the very good food storage devices that are sold in stores. Vacuum sealing “kits” are available at a very doable cost for storing food for the long term.
Pack Food. You’ll want to fit the most usable food in your buckets in order to save the most money on your storage. Put the Mylar bags in the buckets, and fill them to about an inch from the top with dry food. Most people only put one type of food in each bucket, although it is possible to mix foods that you’ll prepare together. Stay organized by using multiple bags within the bucket.
Create a Seal. In order for the food to keep for a long time, the bucket needs to be totally sealed so that oxygen can’t get to it. The Mylar bags are excellent for this because they melt together when the heat is applied, forming an air-tight seal. With a hot clothes iron or hair straightener, melt the top two inches of the bags together, leaving a two-inch gap at the end unsealed.
Remove Oxygen. This is the most critical step in the process. Add an oxygen absorber to the bag. For flour, sugar, dry milk and other baking essentials, you’ll need a 750 cc oxygen absorber for each bucket. When storing beans, pasta, and whole grains, you’ll need a 1,000 cc oxygen absorber for each bucket. These work quickly to absorb oxygen so you’ll want to move fast at this point. Once you put the oxygen absorber in the bucket, suck out as much air as possible with the hose of a vacuum.
Seal the Bag. Now that the oxygen has been taken care of, it’s time to seal the bag. This is done the same way that the seal was started: with a hot clothing or hair iron. Be sure to hold the bag closed while sealing it so more air can’t sneak in. Work quickly so that the oxygen absorber doesn’t get used up on the air in the room rather than in the bucket.
Close the Bucket. The sealed bag will keep the food fresh, but won’t protect it from rodents. Fold the flap down and put it inside the bucket, and then secure the lid on top. You can pound the lid down around the edges with a rubber mallet or just use your hands to force it down tight.
Mark the Contents. Don’t forget to mark the bucket with what’s inside. If you have more than one type of foodstuffs stored together, put the quantity of each. Try not to count on your memory as it can fail, particularly when storing items for several years.
Store Food. All your food stocks should be kept in a cool, dry place. While moisture can’t get inside the bucket and bag combination, you still don’t want mold and mildew growing on the outside of the bucket. Heat can cause the food to lose its nutritional value more quickly, and a cool location helps keep it fresh.
When The Work Is Done:
Most foodstuffs stored in this manner should stay fresh and usable for 20 years or more. While the bag by itself isn’t able to keep rodents out, the bucket can. However, even though five-gallon buckets are waterproof, they aren’t as airtight as the Mylar bags. By using the two together, you ensure optimal protection for your food.
The real key to this system is the oxygen absorbers. Not only do they protect the food from oxidation, but no insects can survive without oxygen inside your food. So, even if there are insect eggs in the food, the insects won’t survive inside the bucket. Nor can bacteria survive without oxygen. With this method, your food will be as fresh and usable when you open it as it was when you packed it away.
Also, you should consider growing and raising your own food.
What Is The Best Survival Food?
When I did the research on survival food one of the questions I ask myself is how can I make this ordeal a little easier?
How much do I really need and are there foods out there that can cover a lot of bases for a short term and a long term situation without putting me in the poor house?
Of all the survival food supply lists I have come across, seeds, nuts, and grains found their way on to almost all of them.
Most nuts and seeds contain vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that are necessary for vibrant health. They have high levels of anti-oxidants which help your body reduce inflammation, eliminate toxins, and produce energy, all situations you will have to contend with during a crisis and a possible survival situation.
Due to their ideal nutritional profile, these little energy powerhouses are a smart addition to any survival food list.
They are great sources of plant-based protein, B vitamins, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Since they are naturally cholesterol-free, they can replace animal protein sources and reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet.
If you love nuts and seeds, you will enjoy eating this type of survival food as a supplement to any other survival food you might have stockpiled, or as a stand-alone source of needed calories and nutrition.
- Hemp Seeds
These nutty little seeds are incredibly nutritious and one of the best botanical protein sources, containing all 20 amino acids, including the elusive 9 essential amino acids that our bodies can’t produce for themselves. This is especially helpful for vegetarians who may be deficient in the essential aminos.
Hemp seeds are an excellent source of essential fatty acids too, offering a perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 acids. This makes them the ideal choice for cardiovascular health as these healthy fats protect the heart and are naturally cholesterol-free.
Including hemp seeds in your diet can keep you young and healthy. They are a rich source of phytonutrients which support the regeneration of cells, tissues, and organs and protect the immune system.
- Sunflower Seeds
A staple on most salad bars, and a favorite snack at the ballpark, sunflower seeds have been considered a health food for decades. They provide protein, antioxidants and essential minerals in a delicious little package.
These nutty, crunchy kernels are one of the best sources of B-complex vitamins, such as folic acid, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin. The body uses these nutrients for energy production, and they also can alleviate depression while boosting your immunity.
Sunflower seeds contain high levels of antioxidants such as vitamin E and polyphenol compounds that help your body remove toxins and protect you from free radicals. These components support regeneration and DNA repair at the cellular level, which is essential for healthy skin and organ function.
The popularity of almonds has grown significantly in recent years. Not only are these nuts delicious in a snack mix, but they also are a great replacement for dairy products and can be used to make gluten-free baked goods. They are packed with fiber and nutrients and have numerous health benefits.
These nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells from damage, in addition to promoting skin regeneration and immune function.
Almonds are a wonderful alternative for people with allergies and intolerances to certain foods, particularly peanuts, wheat, and dairy. Ground almonds can replace flour in baked goods, thus reducing the amount of gluten. For those who can’t digest dairy, almond kinds of milk, cheeses, and yogurts are a delicious alternative.
This little nut packs a tremendous amount of nutrition into what lies inside its shell, providing essential nutrients for two of your most important organs. The rich complement of vitamins and minerals in walnuts support both brain and heart health, which makes them an obvious choice for a convenient snack.
There are high levels of antioxidants in walnuts that improve the health of your brain, such as vitamin E and other phytochemicals. Including these nuts in your diet will help memory function and can increase melatonin levels to better regulate sleep patterns.
The many risk factors of heart disease can also be lowered by eating walnuts. They are an excellent source of essential fatty acids that promote good cholesterol levels and reduce bad cholesterol levels that can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
Walnuts also are a rich source of nutrients that regulate cell function and growth. Minerals such as copper, iron, potassium, selenium, and zinc are just a few of the necessary elements that regulate the functions of the body.
- Chia Seeds
Long considered a superfood by the cultures of ancient America, chia seeds have a nutty flavor that complements many foods, and they add an interesting crunch to salads, yogurt, and cereals. In addition to the high protein content and healthy fats that you would expect to get from a seed, they also offer a dieter’s dream: soluble fiber.
When chia seeds are mixed with liquid, they form a gel that not only keeps you full longer but also slows down the digestion of sugar. By releasing carbohydrates more slowly into the bloodstream, you’ll have more sustained energy throughout the day and will avoid the dreaded mid-afternoon slump.
Another outstanding nutrient that chia seeds offer is a vegetarian source of fatty acids. These essential acids, such as Omega 3, help the body absorb other vitamins that are fat soluble. Other sources of omegas are often fish or meat, which can contain artery-clogging cholesterol.
Chia seeds have a high content of protein (up to 23%). These proteins are easily digested, which results in rapid transportation to tissues and fast utilization by the cells. This fast and efficient assimilation makes chia seeds very effective when rapid development of tissue needs to take place, for example, during growth periods in children or during tissue repairs after a good workout.
Just a handful of mixed seeds and nuts per day is all you need to reap the benefits of these convenient and delicious foods.
Making Survival Food
Imagine a time without refrigeration and the local supermarkets.
That was not too long ago.
Think cowboys and Indians.
What was their survival food? They had to eat something, right?
Go back in time before them for thousands of years. There was no refrigerators and freezes, much less electricity.
What was histories survival food?
In this day in age, I do not really expect anyone to consider the following recipes, however, I find it very interesting that the human race did very well without the relative new inventions such as electricity, local supermarkets, and freeze-dried foods.
And for that reason, and for the reason of ‘you never know’, I present you with some survival food tactics for your curiosity and maybe even your survival.
How To Make Long Term Survival Food
I always wondered what this stuff was having read about it in the Civil War novels I have become quite interested in.
The soldiers always seemed to be munching on this food for their survival food needs.
What is that stuff?
Flour and water. That’s it!
You will need:
5-6 cups of flour and 1 cup of water.
Mix that together with a spoon and then your hands and place on a floured surface to roll out to about a half an inch thick. Cut/ slice that ‘pizza’ like shape into an about 2×3 inch rectangles.
Place the squares on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Poke holes into each piece with a skewer to help the cooking process and cook in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and flip. Cook another 30 minutes.
Let cool. That’s it. They will last a lifetime. And they do not get tastier over time. We did not make wine here.
This stuff is weird. It has been found stored for over 50 years with no refrigeration and was still edible!
Its 3 main ingredients are:
It is a little bit of an ordeal to make and so I am going to let the video below do all the explaining. This would be an excellent school project to do with the kids.
And the leftovers will be there to show the grandkids.
You can go to the supermarket right now and stock up on this stuff to include in your survival food arsenal. Or you may make your own better version which will be not only tastier but healthier due to the fact you will not be using any chemicals.
What you will need:
- 2 pounds beef
- ½ cup of soy sauce
- 1/4 cup of Worchester sauce
- ½ teaspoon Morton Tender Quick Cure*
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon pepper
*find that on Amazon. Using the cure will help ‘keep’ the jerky for months in a sealed jar with no refrigeration. Otherwise, refrigerate and eat it within a couple of weeks.
Cut the beef into thin 1/4 inch strips after removing any fat. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and add the meat to the marinade. Place in a sealable plastic bag and let marinade overnight.
Drain the marinade and place the strips of meat on an oiled grill rack. Space them so they do not touch each other.
Set up your grill for smoking with a mild wood such as hickory and smoke for 5-7 hours on low heat.
If you do not have a grill or smoker you may use your oven set at 175 degrees for 5-6 hours, however, you would need to have the door open an inch or two so as to keep moisture from building up on the meat. It would definitely be a winter project.
You will know the jerky is done when you can bend a piece and it begins to splinter. If the jerky snaps when you bend it, it is late, although will still be delicious.
So there you have it…..three rather interesting survival foods you may make in your own own home for fun, for some education, for maybe even your survival.