Your first step should be deciding how much food you want to aim for. That can be determined by how many people you intend to feed and how long you want to be able to survive on your stored food.
Three days is often used as a minimum amount, and that is what most government agencies will suggest. That is a fine place to start, but many potential emergencies can last longer than that. A better goal would be 2 weeks to a month. If you have the space, 3 to 6 months worth of food would make you very secure no matter what type of disaster takes place. Of course, you can start out with 3 days and continue to add to your larder as space and budget allows for it.
Between the members of your family (and any "extra guests" who may be at your home in the event of an emergency), calculate how many meals you need to provide. Several online sources can provide detailed calculators to help with this, especially if you are storing a lot of raw ingredients (dry beans, flour, oil, peanut better etc). Here is a very simple list for a 3 month period for one adult:
|Flour, pasta, rice, oats||75 lbs|
|Dry beans of any type||15 lbs|
|Cooking oil, shortening, peanut butter||3 lbs|
|Honey, sugar, corn syrup, molasses||15 lbs|
|Milk (dry or evaporated)||18 lbs|
|Baking powder and soda||1/4 lb each|
These are usually listed in typical calculators because they store the best and will make up a good food storage foundation. These types of base ingredients is just a place to start.
And speaking of ingredients, you also need to remember that when you are eating solely out of your own storage, you have to have a nutritionally balanced selection of food. Having 3 months-worth of rice is better than nothing, but it is far from ideal. Plan to have meats, starches, fruits, vegetables, condiments and more. The final section in this book outlines all the various types of food you could store.
Having water on hand is vital, for both cooking and drinking. Trying to store potable (drinkable) water can be difficult due to the quantities required. A later chapter in this ebook will cover the necessities when it comes to managing your stored water supply.
Having a mix of foods is important for nutrition but it is also necessary for your mental health as well. In tough situations, humans will actually start to resist eating if they are forced to eat the same foods for too long a duration. It can be serious enough that you will simply refuse to eat because you cannot stand to eat the same things again. Having a long-term food storage that focuses too closely on the basic necessities is not the best approach so you must plan on variety as well as on things that happen to store well.
A number of fruits and vegetables along with a good supply of herbs, spices and condiments will go a long way in providing a good mix of tastes to keep everyone nourished as well as happy with their food. Adding some chocolate and candy is another good choice, or whatever "comfort food" your and your family would prefer. When times are hard, we can get great pleasure from our favorite foods. You should not take this too lightly when you plan your food inventory.
Paying for it All
At this point, you might be getting concerned about how to pay for all of this. Just remember that you do not need to have a 6-month supply of food immediately. As mentioned above, start off with a few days of supplies and go from there. Even just adding 1 or 2 cans a week will soon add up to several weeks worth of inventory.
Buy canned goods when they are on sale, but stay away from any deals due to dents or near-expiry dates. These are not great for storage, obviously. Buy fresh foods when they are also on sale, and also when they are at a lower price because they are in season. Use the techniques outlined in this book to prepare fresh produce for storage, and you can create some very inexpensive supplies.
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