Physical prep: food
The object of this page is to get you started on how to keep you and your family fed during the months ahead. It covers budget-conscious suggestions and expensive ones. Those who have cooking skills will fare better and can fill a pantry for less money than a family that needs to buy everything as pre-packaged meals.
Determine how much food is needed each week or each month for your family.
Do not forget special needs, pets, and staples like oil, salt, spices, etc
Then set out to buy one week's or one month's worth of food at a time. Keep track of how many weeks/months ahead you have food stored.
Best before Dates
What shortens the life of packaged foods are heat [temperature], moisture and sunlight.
The second thing to keep in mind...”best before dates” [except for refrigerated items like dairy] are the dates a manufacturer is willing to stand by his product and guarantee it can be safely eaten. It assumes the product is kept in a pantry at 74F or higher. By placing pantry goods in a 45-55F [8-12 C] room temperature with no direct sunlight and little moisture will extend the best before date by a significant percentage.
Bread is a staple that has been around for thousands of years for obvious reasons. Bread is good on its own, can be used for sandwiches, can be served with meals to extend the amount of the food available. It can be made in different shapes, and made to taste different by adding nuts, honey or using different types of flour. At its most basic, a loaf of sandwich bread needs flour, salt, water and yeast. Additional ingredients can add flavor but those are the needed basics.
To estimate your quantities:
flour: It takes 3 1/4 cups [roughly one lb] of flour to make a loaf of bread so a 20 lbs bag will make about 18 to 21 loaves with each loaf having about 16 slices each.
yeast: A lb of yeast should make about 45 loaves....if you make quick breads with yeast...its twice as much yeast...so it gets you half as far. If you buy those small glass jars at your grocer...one jar is enough yeast to bake 14 loaves. Bottled yeast is the one item that does not last much beyond its stated expiry date and it needs refrigeration to make it to its best-before date.
To make a loaf of bread every day for a year using a basic recipe calling for 3 ¼ cups of flour, you will need: 375lbs of flour, 5.5 lbs of yeast and 5.5 lbs of salt.
Find a few bread recipes so you can vary what is served. Also, there are plenty of recipes out there for making bread without using yeast. For example, use baking powder. Have at least one non-yeast recipe for when yeast is no longer available.
Storage of flour. One concern with storing flour is the possibility of insects in the flour. Not that they find their way in there but the flour may have had insect eggs in it when it was bagged.
There are a couple options to ensure useable flour:
1. Buy flour now and put it in food grade pails with oxygen absorbers. 1500 to 2000cc of oxygen absorbers for a 5 gallon pail of flour will remove the oxygen and prevent any organisms from developing. Food grade pails are made of plastic that can safely store food. They can be purchased new from retailers online or you may be able to purchase them used from mom and pop restaurants, food trucks, etc Where insects are not a concern, keep the flour in bags in some container where moisture will not ruin the flour. As a side note, the chronicler has baked with flour that was four or five years old. The end result wouldn't win any bakers’ prize but it made pastry and bread just fine. Same as with everything else food-related...keep cool, out of sunlight and dry.
2. Buy wheat and a manual grain mill. Wheat can be purchased in 20 lb pails and it will last 25 years or more. Milling the wheat into flour can become a chore if it’s done daily. In a larger family or group settings, milling is an activity that can be delegated to different persons on different days of the week.
Pasta is also a very good value for your money in cost per portion and calories per dollar. The only additional ingredient needed to make pasta is water. 3.5 ounces of dry pasta [85 grams] is a portion. To keep it simple, when buying pasta, divide the package weight by 4ounces [100 grams] to know how many servings... For sauce...budget 2 to 4 ounces of sauce per serving. 4 ounces of sauce will give additional calories but 2 ounces per serving will be enough to give flavor and prevent the pasta from drying out.
Beans & rice
Beans and rice...you can budget 8oz rice and 8oz dry beans per person per day if that is the sole food available. If another meal is available in the day, trim that quantity in half. If you figure you will be receiving guests for extending stay...this combination gets you the most food for the least money. For long-term meals, get more than one variety of beans. Mix it up….[navy, great northern, italian cannellini, kidney, garbanzo, etc] Beans and rice are a complete nutritious meal when served as complement to each other...compensating for when balanced meals are not available but be careful...as with any food served on a daily rotation, appetite fatigue can set in. Appetite fatigue is when your body is repulsed and rejects food intake due to the frequency of the menu item’s consistency and taste.
Peanut butter is a good staple to stock up on. It contains proteins and has a significant amount of calories for the money and portion size. Each 1-lb [500gram] peanut butter jar will make about 14 sandwiches. That’s 2 tablespoons of peanut butter per sandwich and works out to about 180 calories of peanut butter in a sandwich. Another positive of peanut butter is it can be consumed on its own with a spoon without any bread. Don’t fret about the short expiry dates. As with all foods, keep it out of the sun and keep cool and a sealed unopened jar will exceed any expiry date though peanut butter may only extend about 6 to 9 months beyond expiry date shown on container.
Oils: cooking oil, butter, margarine, shortening
A lot of cooking and baking requires an oil or fat of some kind to assist in the preparation of the mix or simply for cooking the ingredient(s). Without refrigeration, the options become limited. Oil, [cooking, olive, etc] will last the longest in a non-refrigerated environment. Unopened cans of shortening/lard are the second choice for longevity without refrigeration; once opened, strive to use within weeks. Freeze-dried butter and margarine is the last option due to price and can be purchased from vendors like Thrive Foods. The freeze-dried items are reconstituted with water.
While sweeteners may not be essential for survival living, they do complement a variety of recipes. Sweeteners are not only white and brown sugar. Other options include molasses, maple syrup, fruit juice concentrate and grow like stevia and sugar beets. Consider your family’s use of sugar and the recipes you use that call for sugar and estimate the quantity needed. If sweeteners are primarily for the sweet tooth of the family, like flavoring coffee; consider halving the amount of sugar consumed to extend the available quantity.
Honey has many wonderful qualities. No expiry dates, natural product, can be used by itself, can be used as a substitute for sugar, can be used in a bread recipe. The best honey is local honey that is unpasteurized. That means all the medicinal value of the honey is intact and if it is local, it has health properties that can apply to you. Honey is better than no honey! If unpasteurized is not available, purchase pasteurized honey. All that means is that the honey has been heated and it has lost some of its anti-bodies but it is still great for baking and eating.
Herbs & Spices
If meal choices become fewer and fewer, herbs and spices can be used to modify the taste and help avoid appetite fatigue. While fresh herbs are wonderful, dried herbs and spices are great when fresh is not available. Have a variety of dried herbs and spices. They do not weigh much and take very little room. If one resorts to non-traditional food choices like wild flowers, herbs and spices can help smooth the unfamiliar tastes of wild greens or wild game.
Oats can be an ingredient for breads and it can be used as a breakfast option. Oats only require water to become oatmeal. Optional toppings like brown sugar, nuts or fruits [fresh or dehydrated] can be added to change the flavor to avoid appetite fatigue. When purchased in quantity, oats is a cheap and nutritional menu choice.
Each lb [450g] of meat will give you about 12 ounces [325 g] of cooked product. When times get difficult, meat may be a luxury for most. Some plan-ahead options include pressure canning or making jerky. Estimate 3 ounces of cooked meat per person and when times get more difficult...shrink that portion size to 2 ounces.
Fruits are good to have for long-term health. They contain natural sugars, and nutrients. Depending on where you live, fruit selection will be abundant or seasonally restricted. Some considerations: can you grow your own fruit(s)? Even if you can only grow one or two fruits types, it will help extend any food storage. For planning ahead, it is fairly simple to dehydrate fruits, can fruits in syrup or make jams.
Vegetables give you flavor and nutrients. One can go many meals without vegetables but for long-term health, plan to have vegetables with a few meals each week. For those in seasonally-restricted climates, there are different make ahead options like pickling vegetables, making relishes, canning sauces, dehydrating vegetables, pressure canning vegetables or purchasing freeze-dried vegetables ahead of time.
There is a whole variety of ready-to-eat foods in cans that are available on your grocer’s shelf. Check expiry dates and get the ones that are longest out. Canned foods can exceed the stated expiry dates, yet help yourself by picking the longest dated cans on the store shelf. Some suggestions are ready-to-eat soups, soups where you add water, beans, fish, ham, chicken. Tins are a good standby for days when one or more factors make it impossible to prepare a meal such as in time of illness or other disruption.
Canned fish like tuna or salmon, preferably deboned and in water. Canned fish is an essential because of the good brain food fish has with its omega-3 content which is not found in other staples. Canned fish has the longest expiry dates of any canned food...any tinned fish bought today will be good until 2019-20. Budget 1.5 to 2 ounces of fish per sandwich. so a 6 ounce can will make about 4 thin sandwiches or 3 fuller ones. With condiments and bread, a tin of fish could be lunch for 1.5 or 2 persons. You can make a tin of fish go further by mixing it with things like hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, relish, tartar sauce, salad dressing if you have.
Menu ideas: Tuna sandwich ideas
There are companies that specialize in freeze-dried foods. There are two approaches: meals ready-to-eat or individual ingredients. The cost is more than buying raw ingredients and packaging them yourself but if time is of the essence, this may be a solution for you. These items are reconstituted with hot water. Each unopened can will last for 25 years or more. For MREs [meals ready-to-eat], the menu choices are typically sold in sealed coffee cans with 10 or more meal servings in a can. Menu choices include breakfast, lunch and dinners. One of the best-known and most reputable is Mountain House. For individual ingredients, Thrive Foods focuses on a large array of choices covering most food groups like grains, dairy, legumes, fruits, vegetables and meats. Their approach is that you create your own meals by choosing the individual ingredients you want to put together for a meal.
The only caution about these foods, particularly with MREs is to ensure you actually like the meal choices. If this is the solution for you, consider buying sample packs to try before purchasing large quantities.
Dehydrating your own foods is easy enough to do and will provide you with additional meal-time ingredients. Typically, one lb of vegetables or fruit will dehydrate down to 2 ounces taking up less space and less weight. Dehydrated fruits are an additional option for including natural sugars in your diet. Toss a teaspoon of fruit in your cereal, bread recipes, use as snacks, etc. Similarly, dehydrated vegetables can be added to meals as a side, in a casserole or in soups. This is a great option for those who cannot grow vegetables and fruits year-round.
Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers
Any dry food can be "mylared". flour, pasta, dehydrated fruits, dehydrated veggies, spices, herbs...you get the idea. One can purchase mylar bags...typically 4 millimeters thick... and purchase some oxygen absorbers....in package deals...Check out Amazon or Walmart online. Mylar bags come in various sizes...as big as able to put 5 gallons to as small as one cup...My recommendation is use 1 gallon sized bags for foods and quart-sized bags for herbs and spices...because once a Mylar bag is open...the shelf life clock starts to tick...Opening a 5 gallon bag of anything could mean it goes bad before it gets used up... The key with Mylar bags is the oxygen absorbers...Place 500cc mininimum for a 1 gallon bag [more for loose pasta] and 300cc in a quart sized bag. This ensures there is no oxygen left so nothing can grow or spoil... Any food sealed in mylar with appropriate amount of oxygen absorbers will easily last 10 years or more.
Biblical verse(s): Revelation 6: 7When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
Book of Truth prophecy:Your access to food and other necessities will only be possible through “the mark”, the identification I spoke about. Please, please do not accept this mark because you will be lost to Me. This mark will kill you, not just physically, but spiritually. Remain outside of this jurisdiction. Start planning your food stockpiles, blankets, candles and water now if you want to avoid receiving the mark, the mark of the beast. 2
- April 17, 2011
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