Stockpiling is the act of preparing food and supplies, and storing in a cool, dry place to best equip oneself for winter, storm and emergency. Animals have been doing this for thousands of years, and it plays a major role in the survival of those species from season to season.
We can take a note from nature and learn more about how to best prepare our emergency food stores by simply observing animals. Squirrels are fun creatures to observe, but they are also highly effective at storing food to prepare for colder seasons. Here are three beneficial tips you can implement this year, learned from the squirrels:
1. Start your own ‘midden’
Several species of squirrels bury food underground for winter, digging up hidden stores when food supply is scarce. However, select species rely on community by keeping their food supplies in a central location known as a midden. This is located at a central place within their territory, and all squirrels in that territory have access to the food supply. By using this strategy, all squirrels have an ample supply of food, and rely on each other to gather what is needed. They use teamwork.
It’s an intricate survival technique, but one you can implement as well. Start your own “midden” within your family or neighborhood. Gather supplies in a central location like a storage shed or cellar. Make sure everyone has equal access to food and water supplies during time of need, and encourage each participating group to contribute proportionately to food stores.
2. Dry fruits and vegetables
Mushroom jerky may not sound very appetizing, but it is one way that squirrels store food for optimum nutrition. Some species of squirrel eat wild mushrooms but only after hanging the fungi in trees to let it dry. This allows for easier food storage in winter. Drying fruits, vegetables and even fungi during peak season will preserve the most nutrition (as opposed to cooking first, and then storing). Drying foods not only preserves your winter storm emergency food, but also lessens the chance of larvae and small bugs invading food stores.
3. Store for peak nutrition
Squirrels eat seasonally and bury the leftovers to preserve nutritional benefit. We can take a note from squirrels’ eating patterns, and eat seasonally, as well. Harvest fruits and vegetables during peak season, and dry or can them to preserve as much nutrition as possible. During winter, it can be increasingly difficult for us to get adequate supply of vitamin D because of the earth’s angle to the sun and because of short daylight hours. Vitamin D is important for healthy bone growth and formation. Try canning foods rich in vitamin D such as spinach and potatoes during their peak season and store them in a cool, dry place. Squirrels also store food underground to keep it safe from seasonal weather and other predators. Similarly, choose to store your goods in a pantry or underground cellar.
Use these three simple tips to ready your supplies this season. By observing nature and following a squirrel’s natural instinct, we can learn a great deal about beneficial, safe food storage.
What else could we learn from the squirrels? Share your tips in the section below: