An important first step in preparing for the unexpected is simply establishing an emergency food supply. From the perspective of being self sufficient, having extra supplies is fundamental.
I grew up with two working farms in the family and we always had a large walk-in closet that was well stocked with home canned goods, extra dry goods, and other basic supplies. This was a normal part of being self sufficient. I would strongly recommend that you do the same thing. This is something that is very easy and inexpensive to accomplish and it is similar to having an insurance policy.
There are several distinct advantages to establishing and emergency food supply. On a very practical level, if something were to happen and you either could not work or you were simply unemployed for a period of time, you would still be able feed yourself. If a major storm comes through your area and there is a significant interruption in the local infrastructure, you will never be one of those folks that rushes to the local market for supplies. If the apocalypse really does happen, you have plenty of food and water available. On a day-to-day basis, especially if you live rurally, having those extra supplies keeps you from making unnecessary trips to town.
Start by making a list of items you already have in your household and things that you consume on a regular basis. Write down everything that your family eats for one week and use that as a basic guideline. Make sure to have a variety of items on your list that will balance your diet. Take into account each member of your household and any particular medical or dietary needs.
Every time you go to the market simply spend a few extra dollars and purchase extra items. You will be surprised to find that in a very short period of time you will be well on your way to establishing an emergency food supply.
Keep in mind that every “prep” item you store should be something you use in your life on a regular basis.
Do not be tempted to buy “mystery” MREs that you have never tried. Do not be persuaded to buy “25 year shelf life” freeze dried items that you do not eat regularly. If it comes down to a situation where you depend on your emergency supplies, that is not the time to change your diet.
Many common items have a very long shelf life if stored properly. Here is a short list of some of those items.
-dried pasta and noodles
-dried herbs and spices
-apple cider vinegar
It is also important to keep a certain amount of food that requires little or no preparation. Good examples are canned, ready-to-eat meats, vegetables, and fruits. Protein and fruit bars are also good to have around. I would recommend keeping at least a one week supply of such foods. In the event you have to evacuate, these items can go into your emergency kit.
I have a variety of food stored in different conditions. I do a lot of home canning, most of which is stored in a cellar. Shorter term storage items are placed in a freezer. Dry goods are stored in air and water tight containers which are also rodent proof. I also have a small supply of commercially prepared foods that are for longer term storage.
Food is rotated regularly. I keep about 9 to 12 months of supplies on hand at any given time. All of this is done primarily because my place is rather isolated and the nearest supermarket is 25 miles away. So, it is not exactly convenient to go there in the middle of a snow storm.
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