When I first began to prepare an emergency stockpile, I was dismayed at the cost of emergency food.
Freeze-dried food and ready-to-eat meals (MREs) can be expensive for those on a budget – myself included. So how can you quickly build up a stockpile with at least three months of food for you and your family on the cheap?
I have done much research into this matter and have been pleasantly surprised at the results. Below, I share several economical options for creating a life-sustaining stockpile. These are the methods I am currently using so that my family can survive an emergency.
Grown and Can: The first option is to become efficient at producing your own food and the preservation of said sustenance. Growing fruits and vegetables, as well as raising meat, is the most healthy and sustainable option. Keep in mind that what I mean by sustainable is not the eco-green sustainable. What I mean is you can sustain your life and your family’s in a healthy way by consistently growing and raising your own food, from carrots to chickens. Learning to can (canning jars) vegetables, fruits and some meats can provide your family with steady and healthy food.
Canned Foods (metal cans): Not the healthiest, but canned foods from grocery stores have an incredibly long shelf life. If the contents are stored correctly and in undamaged cans, the meat, pasta, vegetables and fruit can last for decades.
In fact, the Canned Food Alliance reports that “canned food as old as 100 years has been found in sunken ships and it is still microbiologically safe.” The vegetables had a slight loss of color and had lost around 20 percent of their nutrition. But there was no decay to the food. Purchasing canned food is relatively inexpensive and can sustain your family if need be for several months.
Dry Goods: This type of food should be stockpiled in addition to canned and homegrown food. Rice, beans, pasta and other such food can last for over 20 years when stored correctly. Using five gallon buckets and Mylar bags are excellent and proven methods to store such food. A combination of rice and beans can sustain life for a short time by themselves. It might not be the healthiest way to live or the best tasting, but the point is surviving. Dry seasonings, salt, sugar, some flours, grains and cereals can be stored for a long time as well.
Drying, Smoking and Curing Meats: Making your own hams, preserving chicken through canning, making beef jerky and biltong and drying fish and meats can provide a long-term solution for preserving meat protein for your family. Learning how to do so properly is vital, as doing it wrong can cause sickness and/or death in a survival situation. When done right, you and your family will have delicious meat protein when everyone else is eating whatever they can get their hands on.
Other: Other food items you may want to consider to supplement your stockpile include honey, vinegar and alcohol. I don’t drink myself, but I keep hard liquor for medicinal purposes, and for trading if need be. Vinegar is also great to stockpile and, like honey, will never expire.
What are your suggestions for building an inexpensive food stockpile? Share your tips in the section below: