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Food Storage Plan
#1
My wife and I have been "talking" about getting more prepared for the future. We don't necessarily believe in a complete meltdown of our civilization, but with economic events in places like Venezuela and scares in Greece and with socialist thinking on the rise in America, it seems prudent to expect the best but plan for the worst. We also are thinking on the side of natural disasters and the social disasters that can follow like in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. 

I grew up on the east coast in SC, we were always ready for hurricanes as a kid. We stayed in our house that was roughly 20 miles from the coast during Hurricane Hugo back in 1989 and were just fine. Of course in the late 80s in Charleston our neighborhood worked together and helped each other out a lot. 

Anyway, to get to the point. We need to start saving/storing food and I don't really know where to start. I have read a few weekly/monthly shopping plans in the past that after a year of buying little bits at a time will net you around 2-3 years worth of non-perishables that you can survive on, but I can't seem to find any of those lists anymore. Can anyone point me to something like that? Or get us started on our way? 

Thanks!
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#2
MRE's. They're plentiful and last a long while.
History is not dead to the man who would learn how the present came to be what it is.

In The Age Of Information, Ignorance Is A Choice.
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#3
(08-15-2016, 06:42 PM)JRSC Wrote: MRE's. They're plentiful and last a long while.

Yummy, especially the veggie omelet...

Where do you buy yours at?
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#4
Im in the NG. I save them when I get them. In addition to them, I'm working on a system of things. I keep quite a lot of MRE's stashed. But I'm also learning about storing seeds and gardening during the fall and winter months. Due to certain situations I'm on hold right now with my chicken coop and project. I've been studying a lot. I'm amazed at the good info you can get off Pinterest.

The idea is to have food readily available but also to tide over and assist until things grow. I'm also going to hunt and trap a lot more than I have been. Getting accustomed to living off the land before the grocery store is a milestone in my plans for self reliance.
History is not dead to the man who would learn how the present came to be what it is.

In The Age Of Information, Ignorance Is A Choice.
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#5
A solid food storage plan is really the cornerstone of sensible prepping.  It isn't as sexy as talking about guns and gear, but in reality it's right at the top of the list along with clean water.  So where to you start?

As you mention in your OP, simply getting a bit extra when you go to the grocery store will quickly net you a surplus.  First, buy what you're going to enjoy eating that is also a staple that provides something of value.  For example, I like tuna so I buy tuna in the can.  Lasts a long time and it's easy to stack and rotate.  So when I was stocking up I'd simple hit a good sale and buy 5-10 cans.  After I began to feel comfortable with the amount that I had I would simply replace what I was eating plus add a few cans. The kept up my 'stockpile' and also added to it.  We do the same with things like beans, lentils, oatmeal, rice and pasta and sauces.  Some considerations:
  • In this section I have a thread on how to easily store food in 5 gallon buckets and mylar pouches.  It is actually VERY easy to do.  You can buy mylar bags and oxygen absorbers from Amazon/Ebay.  5 gallon buckets from Home Depot or Lowes.  Put in stuff like rice, beans, oatmeal or whatever in the bags inside the buckets and and some oxygen absorbers.  Use your vacuum to suck out as much air as you can and then seal the bag.  I have video in that thread.  
  • Develop an easy system to rotate your food stored.  Doesn't have to be elaborate or complicated.  I simply have cardboard lids that are upside down.  I section out my pantry and stack stuff like tuna.  I'll add new to the back and 'front' the older stuff to rotate.
  • Don't forget to stock up on spices. Go to the $ store or Big Lots or whatever is in your area and stock up on all the stuff you like (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder etc).  It's pretty inexpensive and stores a long while.
  • Staple foods are usually very inexpensive.  Rice and beans isn't 'sexy' but it provides protein, carbs and fat and can be spiced up to be enjoyable.  Stored in bulk in the 5 gallon buckets and your good for many years.  Some say around 20 years or so.  
You can buy 'food buckets' already made up.  Some are more inexpensive than others but they're a good way to get stuff like dehydrated fruits and vegetables.  Also powered eggs can be purchased on sale and are good protein and some makers actually taste pretty much like fresh when scrambled.  

We've got several 'layers' of food preps:
  • A full pantry of staple foods as described above.  Simple as grabbing some extra tuna, extra pasta, extra rice etc when you go shopping.  Adds up pretty quickly.  Think of camping to help guide you.  If the electricity were out for an extended time how would you cook, what would you cook and what would be easy yet healthy?  A lot of stuff is as simple as boiling water.
  • Add paper plates and plastic silverware.  In an emergency, water may be limited or compromised.  Best to save water for drinking rather than washing dishes.
  • After the pantry, stored food.  This could be food buckets you've made and/or purchased (made is FAR cheaper).  It could be food you've canned like preserves and/or meat (I've got recipes on the board of canned meat that does NOT need to be kept in the fridge).  
  • Other types of stored food for 'grab-n-go'.  As John mentioned above, MRE's.  MRE's are not the most cost effective food sources, but it's a viable option for many situations.  Buy from a trusted Ebay source and it will usually be cheaper than the Army/Navy store.  Those stores in our area charge around $12 for a meal.  I've gotten cases off Ebay (local guys) where a meal is less than $4.  
  • Walmart camping section has the orange life boat survival bars.  Not a long term solution but it has a days worth of calories for emergency situations.  I keep a bunch in each vehicle. 
  • A simple way to heat food up.  Could be a simple hot plate or a camping stove.
  • Longer term is garden.  We have fruit trees and earth beds for various types of vegetables.  Good knowledge of gardening and experience is always a huge plus.
  • I raise quail and rabbits for eggs and meat.  
This way I have emergency food, short term stored food, long term stored food and renewable food sources.  

Don't get overwhelmed.  Simply start with figuring out what you like to eat that is a staple food and start getting a few more than you'd normally get.  Rotate the pantry with an easy system.  Get everyone in the family on board.  Look at the various threads here and see what you're comfortable with doing.  Add a little here and a little there and soon you'll start feeling more comfortable if something happens.  Think in terms of:
  • Is the family okay if 'something' happens and lasts for 72 hours?  If so, then look at...
  • Are we okay for a week?  If so, then look at...
  • Are we okay for a month?  If so, then look at...
  • Are we okay for 6 months?  And so forth until you've reached the level of preparedness your comfortable with.  
And any question feel free to shout them out.   Smile
Governmental dependance makes for poor self reliance.

"What could possibly go wrong with a duct tape boat?"  Cody Lundin

The best defense against evil men are good men with violent skill sets.
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#6
No easy answers.  However, I will give a bit of guidance.

When shtf, short term or long term, you don't want to use fuel, spend preparation time, create odors that attract people.

Examples.  You have surgery and have to stay in bed and take care of yourself.  Been there a couple of times.

                    The hurricane, riot, tornado came through and you are on your own for a few days.

1.  Understand that there is a difference between nutrition and calories.
     A vitamin tablet, a can of spam/fish/stew, a can of fruit cocktail/a can of vegetables EACH DAY, PER PERSON for 30 days.  There will not be enough calories to sustain you.  However, the nutrition is there, requires no heat/prep time/does not attract attention.  Moreover, the stuff is already properly stored.  It also requires a lot of storage room.  However, you can get by.  Oh, you want calories?  Just have one pound packages of spaghetti per person per day.
2.   Understand that the "year's supply" is misleading and bogus.  It requires heat/cleanup/odors.  Look closely at the calories.  1500 calories a day is less than the starvation rations given to prisoners in the German concentration camps.GIs put on those rations towards the end of the war in Europe by the Germans lost at least 60 pounds in 6 months.  And, YOU have to work outside after shtf?
3.  Understand that if you total up the cost of fast foods for a day, you are going to spend that and more buying specially prepared survival foods. 
4.  People have rarely lived on only military rations for an extended period of time.  In WW2, a company commander from D Day came down with a condition that most doctors could not understand until they learned that he had lived solely on military canned rations since D Day.  No captured chickens, no local veggies.  No wine.  So, when you buy the Coast Guard rations/MREs (and you should have some), understand that no one lives on them indefinitely.
5.  I went into the field with home made jerky and hardtack.  Other guys were eating MREs.  I pointed out to the instructor (formerly an instructor in the Rhodesian Army), that the other people were wasting space and material eating packaged MREs. 
Jerky will not last.  Hardtack will.  You can make hardtack at home in the oven.  Best time is during the cold winter when you would be wanting to heat the house at low temperature (for hours).  If done right, it will last forever.  If for some reason, it gets mold, just scrap off the mold like done during the Civil War.  If it is not stored under the best conditions and gets weevils, they are edible.
6.  Understand that you don't have a plan now, you will be eating mice and rats after shtf.  All the big game in your area will be hunted out in a week.
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#7
All good points, thanks guys!
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#8
OP asked about lists.

Ok.  Just one person.  First 30 days anticipate scarce clean water for cooking/drinking/cleaning.  Anticipate that you do not want food smells attracting people, that you don't want to collect firewood, and that you or someone close to you is going to be ill or need attention.

1 can of spam/fish/stew; 1 can of vegetables, 1 can of fruit.  There are 590 calories in one pound of white rice.  There are over 1500 calories in one pound of wheat berries (which can also be boiled instead of being made into bread).

So, the total for just one person is 90 cans and either 90 pounds of white rice or 30 pounds of wheat berries.

# Calories in a 5-gallon bucket of RICE
White Rice (30 lbs)
50,000 calories
25 survival days
1655 calories per pound (uncooked)
590 calories per pound (cooked)
675 calories per cup (uncooked)
205 calories per cup (cooked)
Note: For long term food storage, do not use brown rice (use only white rice) because it will go rancid within a year from it’s oils. Calories may vary a bit based on exact variety of white rice.
 
# Calories in a 5-gallon bucket of BEANS
Beans (30 lbs)
47,000 calories
24 survival days
1574 calories per pound (uncooked)
650 calories per pound (cooked)
670 calories per cup (uncooked)
245 calories per cup (cooked)
Note: There is a slight variation of calories per pound for different bean varieties. Numbers listed above are an average. They are mostly similar…
 
# Calories in a 5-gallon bucket of WHEAT BERRIES
Hard Red Wheat (33 pounds)
47,000 calories
23 survival days
1424 calories per pound
25 loaves of bread
One cup of ‘hard-red’ wheat berries weighs 7 ounces.
33 pounds of wheat (in a 5 gallon bucket) is equivalent to 528 ounces, so there are 75 cups of wheat in a 5 gallon bucket (528 / 7) which result in enough to make about 25 loaves of bread (3 cups wheat berries prior to being milled – per loaf).
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#9
As above, I have reg caned food, freezed dried storage food and beans/grains in large and small containers

Some are 1L soda bottles for dry goods ... yes , not the best but easily gotten and filled via funnel with smaller items AND a usable amount. ( throw in o2 depletor )
I'd rate them as good for 5-10yrs in the list of things to store in

BUT... the real reason I'm mentioning this,... is my daughter wanted to start cheaply putting away some items ( but she's on a limited budget like many ).
So she asked for some O2 depletors.
Later in the week she happily showed me some 1L seltzer containers of black beans, split peas , lentils, and gold rice...
It was a start of some stock pilings.... told her to add more reg can foods a little at time.

Then I realized... Golden rice isn't a good long term store item... it is really a type of Brown rice which has more oils in the husk.
So watch what you pick... there are ways to do cheaply and still last a good amount of time overall.

Good thing she likes rice ( 10 lbs of it ) Brown/gold rice is good for 1-2 yrs max
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#10
We started with increasing just the amount of 'normal' day to day food we have on hand. We started going to SAMS and buying in bulk, instead one couple of cans of corn, we bought a case.

We then started looking at longer term storage items. We added rice for each family member, then beans. We added seasoning, honey, sugar, etc.

This was great until we realized we had no idea really how to cook most of this stuff. So, we bought some cookbooks and wife downloaded some recipes, then we started trying different ones to see what we liked and didn't like. We then adjusted our stores to include more food we like with seasonings we liked that could be stored long term.

Knowing that a lot of the long term food wasn't the highest in vitamins, we then started purchasing some of the bulk vitamin tablets and cycle them through our daily use.

As we were discussing what we like to eat, we realized drinking water was fine, but would get old after a while. So we added different mixes (Tang, Kool-aid, etc.) to our stores. Again all stuff we use, but we added a much greater quantity. We know cycle items through and when we move one up for use, we replace it the next trip to the store.

Finally, we wanted a variety to add to the meals, so we started buying some freeze dried food that would store long term and allow us to add variety to the meals.

We have hit the 90-day mark for having decent meals stored up and after that, the quality would start turning rather bland. We continue to add and improve our stores using the space we have and with he budget we have. Our next goal is to make it to the 180 day mark with having one decent meal a day for three and then two smaller meals.
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