Even with the best intentions, many of my fellow food storage keepers give themselves a false sense of security in their current foods storage plans. So many people I’ve talked to find ease of anxiety with a bucket of wheat in their basement.
The truth is, the majority of our population is not prepared for a disaster and the majority of the preparing community is under-prepared. I would even venture to say that a significant percentage of the food storage community will have only a minimal advantage over those with nothing (maybe a few weeks – nothing long term).
1 – Buying Things You Don’t Eat
Sinners of this degree are in abundance in the food storage community. I can’t tell you how deeply I cringe when I hear someone say “Oh we save the good stuff for everyday use and keep the nasty brands for food storage.” or how about “My family doesn’t like wheat products so the wheat just stays in the basement for emergencies”. Oh my poor aching heart.
In rebuttal to both of these excuses: First, on a psychological note, imagine how completely traumatized you would be if you have reached a scenario in which it is necessary to eat your food storage full time. The economy has collapsed, there has been a natural disaster, or any other number of situations.
Do you think the best thing for your psyche will be the nasty food you dreaded eating in the good times? Secondly, if you are unfamiliar with the food you will be eating, you are taking a serious risk for allergies or digestive complications. This is particularly true with wheat.
Many Americans don’t realize that switching overnight to 100% wheat could quite literally kill them. Most people cannot make the switch that quickly and need to ease into wheat products. Which should start with your current eating habits.
2 – Limiting Your Variety
Do you eat wheat, milk, honey and eggs for every meal every day? If not, do not be like most amateur food storage keepers by making those 5 staples the entirety of your food storage inventory. Include foods you eat today like vegetables, meat and fruit.
Also remember common spices and condiments your family enjoys eating. Remembering something like canned butter and jam can make homemade bread into breakfast toast instead of a prisoner’s meal. What about adding some garlic powder and chives to dehydrated potatoes? Think of how you prepare your food today and include it all, down to the salt and pepper.
3 – Forgetting Nutrition
Unfortunately even in times of peace the general public refuses to see the benefit of nutrition in health. It doesn’t take scientific literature for you to understand that if you put good food in, you’ll get good health out. In the case of an emergency your health will be more valuable than ever. Medication might be hard to come by.
You may be forced to do more physical labor. Disease could be rampant from contaminated water or poor hygiene in your community. Whatever the case may be, you need to make sure your food is of a nutrient rich variety.
Have TONS of vegetables and fruits in your storage along with vitamin supplements to fill in the gaps. Also be sure to rotate your food according to its shelf life to keep the most nutrient rich food available on the shelves.
4 – Lack of Water
I wish I knew how so many people have forgotten that they need water to live. I suppose it just must be second nature now that it comes straight to our pipes in our homes. In virtually any emergency situation, water will become a high ticket commodity. And if you don’t have any, you will surely die.
Above needing water for a regular diet, if your food storage includes dehydrated or freeze dried foods, you will need an additional amount of water stored with it. If you eat dehydrated or freeze dried food without extra water you will literally dehydrate from the inside out. Dried food can only be digested with water and if you don’t put more into your body, it will suck it right out of your insides.
5 – Packaging / Container Preference
Properly storing your food in durable, waterproof, lightproof containers is essential. Light can depreciate the shelf life of your food. Water getting into your food will spoil it. And if it’s not in a durable container (like a 5 gallon bucket or #10 aluminum can) it can be susceptible to insects, rodents, damage, spilling, etc. You need to think of your food as one of your most prized possessions and do everything you can to keep it in a safe place.
6 – No Planning
I will admit it is very time consuming to make a comprehensive food storage meal plan for a year, but it’s possible and beneficial for many reasons. At least take the time to get a general idea of what you plan to eat on a daily basis. If you don’t know what you’re going to eat, how do you know what you should buy? It is very, very difficult to plan a balanced and practical inventory of food if you have no roadmap to base it off of.
7 – Missing Tools
I will never forget one of The Far Side comic blocks where a man and a women are sitting in their bomb shelter with mushroom clouds surrounding them above ground. They are surrounded by hundreds of canned items and the wife looks at the husband and says “How many times did I say it, Harold? How many times? Make sure that bomb shelter’s got a can opener — ain’t much good without a can opener, I said!”.
The lesson here is, do you have the tools and means to prepare the food you have stored. How are you planning on cooking/heating it? Do you have a grinder for your wheat? How about fuel for a butane stove? There are so many tools (especially electric ones) we take for granted on a daily basis and we need to be sure to include alternatives to those tools in our food storage plan.
So there you have it. It’s time to make your confessions and reform! Drop all seven of these deadly sins and you’ll be sure to have the food storage plan that will prepare you and your family for any disaster.
The editor of Resounding Earth, and pursuer of relatively interesting information, Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.