cannedtomatoesThis last week I asked the question, “How long do you think you could survive after SHTF?”

And one of the responses I got reminded me of how many preppers may be lacking in their food and water supplies.

Running out of food and water is a very real and valid concern. Food and water are the first resources that are wiped out when a disaster strikes and if you aren’t prepared you’re at the will of others to feed you.

And if this is the case you could be left on the edge of starvation or doing desperate things to stay alive.

So what holds people back from stocking up more food for an emergency situation?

There are likely many reasons, but the two I hear the most are related to the cost of emergency food, and the space to store it.

How much food to store?

Well figuring it out is easier than you think, and I don’t think you need to get overly scientific about it.

All you have to do is over prepare. But if you want to keep records of servings on hand here’s a sample form for you to copy:

food list

From that you can calculate how long that almost 2500 servings could last. For instance, if each person in your family of 4 consumes 6 servings of food per day that could last you almost 100 days.

If you’re buying prepackaged emergency rations then the information for how many meals contained are already on the package.

But long-lasting emergency food can be fairly expensive. I think it’s a good idea to stock some, but if you’re budget conscious you can get all the food stocked up you need for a fraction of the cost.

Catch Bulk Food on Sale

One of my favorite ways to stock up survival and SHTF food is catching good sales on goods with a long expiration date. Most often canned and dried food items.

Beans are my favorite survival food. They can keep you alive and properly nourished for a very long time without a lot of variation in your diet.

Bulk discount stores such as Sam’s and Costco often have good deals on canned and large bags of dry beans.

Other foods that go on sale, even fresh foods can be prepared for long-term storage with canning. Even cooked chicken can last for years when properly canned.

Canned or Dry Goods

I prefer to stock more dried goods than canned goods. They weigh less, usually cost less, and they take up less space. I can store more servings of dried beans in a 5-gallon bucket than the same volume of canned beans.

I do like to keep canned goods on hand as well of course but when faced with the option I’ll usually go with dried.

Preserving Your Survival Food

I don’t enjoy canning food but it’s a time-tested method for preserving food that works better than most other at-home options. With canning your food can last for years if not a decade or longer.

Canning really isn’t difficult and can actually be fun sometimes. Perhaps I’ll try my hand at it again soon. Here’s some links to a few canning guides:

The best long-term storage method is freeze-drying but few can afford the machinery. I did find one that was more affordable than the 25 thousand dollar price tag on most commercial units. It was a florist’s freeze dryer for preserving flowers! And a used unit was only 2500 to 3000 dollars.

Freeze dried foods retain their shape and original flavor unlike some other methods of preserving food. I’ve even seen expiration dates of 20 plus years for freeze dried emergency food. Most emergency food is preserved with freeze-drying.

Another option is to use a dehydrator to preserve certain foods. Dehydrating is easy and affordable and you’re dehydrated food can be stored for a long time.

This website had a lot of good information on how to dehydrate foods:

I’ll get my dehydrator out soon and do some dehydrated food preparation for ya’ll.

Storing Your Food

I once met a guy who thought he was totally ready for Armageddon. He had bought a metal shipping container and used it to store his preps.

After the first summer had past he found his stored food and supplies in poor condition. That shipping container had been a giant solar oven all summer long!

Don’t make his mistake. Keep anything perishable, even freeze dried survival food in the most stable temperature-controlled environment you can. Here in Texas we don’t have basements so we just pack our cabinets, garages, shelves and spare rooms with our extra food supplies.

Extra pantries can be added easily to your home. And floor-to-ceiling cabinets as well as shelving can be bought at any home improvement store. Or you can always make your own shelving.

Keeping your food dry is also important. Find the lowest humidity area in your home that you can.

If you’re sealing food into mylar bags, vacuum sealer, 5 gallon buckets or any other container remember to use oxygen absorbers to remove as much oxygen as possible. This will keep your food fresh and increase it’s shelf life.

Just do it already!

The biggest tip I have to storing up food for when SHTF is to just do it! It’s not going to just show up at your house. You probably go to the store often and all you have to do is buy a little extra each time.

Grab an extra 12 cans of food and a few bags of dried beans each time and before you know it you’ll have enough food to last months or years.

By doing it that way you wont’ feel a bit of pain in the pocketbook. Food and Water are likely the most important preps you can do. What are you doing to store food and water?

Coming Up Soon:

Advanced Food Preps Series
Storing and Collecting Water