Prepper-Lite Part Two: Food
You're in the mood to store some food rations and you've already found a spot in your home for storing water because our first Prepper-Lite post was so handy, right?
Well, get ready because unlike water, food is more complicated and more expensive. But seeing as though this is a Prepper-Lite series and not some crazy, super-detailed SHTF kind of site, we are going to try and make it as easy and fun and affordable as possible.
Remember, we at Opinyuns don't necessarily prep for apocalyptic scenarios. One, we don't think it's likely to happen, and two, if it does, our prep advice (and to be honest, pretty much any prep advice) isn't going to do you much good. In a true end-of-world scenario, even some of the best prepping will extend your life a year at most. Unless you are a true mountain man, most people depend way too much on others to survive, and when the S really does HTF, those that know how to survive will be caring about them and their families only. There won't be time or energy or resources to care for those that offer very little in return.
So if you're a graphic designer like me, or hold some other useless title when poopy hits the roofy, you're pretty much poofy.
Instead, this advice is aimed at preparing you for when a major storm hits or like this scamdemic has shown, for when the populace gets scared that supplies will disappear, so they hoard up and leave the shelves barren. Toilet paper, seriously?
Well, now that you have your water taken care of, and you've realized you have room still, the next most important thing to stock up on is food!
Consider your priorities
Now, you can take this step in so many directions. You can prioritize price over everything else. Or taste. Or space. Or longevity aka shelf life. For instance, you can get a bunch of these, but they aren't high on the tastes great meter, and they aren't necessarily cheap. But they provide necessary calories and are great on saving space and have a relatively long shelf life (5-years). You could stock up on good ol' Ramen noodles. Super cheap, tasty, filling, will last forever like Twinkies, but not the best on space and not the healthiest either.
For us Prepper-Lites, the main thing is trying to find a good balance. We aren't super concerned with shelf life because like I said, we aren't stocking up for the end of the world. But it is important. Obviously, you can't store perishables. But there are things you think might last a while that actually don't. In fact, everything that comes packaged is susceptible to bugs. Yep! Factories are filled with pests, especially food factories. I know it's not where you imagine your food coming from, but the harsh reality is, pretty much ALL food comes from the factory. You know, those metal buildings with fluorescent lights, forklifts, and workers walking around in latex gloves and hair nets and goggles, pulling levers on huge machinery. Machinery that blends and mixes and sorts and cooks your food. You think they pay people to make sure no bugs fall into your salsa or canned tomatoes or into the flour that eventually turns into grandma's special spaghetti noodles? The FDA has a special allowance for bugs in food. Don't believe me? Shame!
The point I'm trying to make is that after a certain period of time, things like a bag of rice could spawn some uninvited guests. Now, rice is an excellent food to store. It's pretty cheap, it's filling, and if you're Asian (serious, not trying to be–as Mark Dice puts it–rrrrrrrrracist), it tastes great right out the cooker. But, in order to keep those pests at bay, there's a somewhat high level of maintenance that goes into storing rice. You have to transfer it from the bag it came in, to preferably, a 5-gallon plastic bucket and add a few of those packets filled with desiccant. Even then, there's no guarantees. So you have to check it periodically. If you store it in a really cold place, it can last 30 years! If you store it at room temperature, it will last 10 years. So, every year or so, you should open up them buckets and make sure the inanimate grains haven't been replaced with animate maggots.
My food storage
My rice storage consists of a 50-pound bag from Costco (prices fluctuate constantly because of the plandemic), in two 5-gallon plastic buckets with about six oxygen absorber (desiccant) packs spread out within each bucket. For my wife, toddler, and I, that should last quite a while. We could have a nice portion of rice with each meal for about 2-3 weeks.
Of course, being the capitalists we are, my family would rather die than have rice for every meal...and I'm Asian! So, we have plenty of other things in our prepper cabinet that will help our insatiable dietary needs in a disaster-type event. The aforementioned ramen noodles take a big chunk of real estate. Boxes of macaroni and cheese of course. Canned meat like tuna and chicken breast. Dried grains other than rice, like lentils, beans, quinoa (the wife insists). Those are stored in smaller amounts and we don't plan to keep them as long. Most of these items we will cycle out after about a year. That is to say, if nothing disastrous happens in a year, we will start to use these in our everyday cooking while also replacing them with newer versions of the same. Baked beans is a good one for me, just because they are some of the tastiest of the bunch. Hey, once in a while you have to spoil yourself right?
The best seasonings and oils
You also have to consider things like cooking oil and spices. Spices and herbs usually can last 3-5 years. Using dried herbs and spices is obviously the better choice since they have a longer shelf life. Avoid things like saffron and to be honest, if you are thinking about storing saffron, you probably aren't even going to last this Prepper Lite time-frame for disasters. Salt is the best seasoning. It is the simplest, usually cheapest, tastiest, and can last forever pretty much. Pepper is also great. I'm pretty sure it's why they are on just about every table in the world. But cooking oil is tricky. It usually doesn't last long, which is sort of a letdown. You would think oil is good for millions of years. Kind of makes you wonder how old things really are. Anyway, most cooking oils can last a year after being opened. So for the Prepper Lite, that is more than enough. But coconut oil seems to be the in vogue choice of the more serious prepper. Supposedly it has a longer shelf life. Olive oil is supposed to have a pretty long shelf life too, but once it goes bad, it's probably the worst tasting oil to have. We decided to go the coconut oil route, just because it has more uses than just cooking. This article is pretty cool, although some of the uses seem like filler.
Price and frequency
So I've tried to compile a list that is as affordable as possible. Ramen and mac and cheese are not going to break the bank. Neither is salt and pepper. Nor rice or beans. Meat is where price comes into factor but if you're a red-blooded American, you gotta have it. Chicken and tuna are great canned meats that can last a real long time. When it comes to red meat, the only thing I can suggest is cured or dried meat. Even then, the shelf life is weak. The only other thing is to freeze it and have enough backup energy sources to keep the freezer going. I'll be writing about generators and whatnot in a future Prepper Lite post, so BOLO that. But my suggestion is to stick to chicken and tuna. And every time you go to the grocery store or Costco or Sam's Club, buy a little extra at a time. It's a method that won't be a burden on your wallet while at the same time serve as peace of mind that grows over time. Even a little prep is better than no prep at all. Just be sure to get that big bag of rice and some buckets. That as a first step, is huge in securing your preparedness for a coming disaster.
You can also consider packages of freeze-dried food. There are a ton of new companies that have marketed themselves for the doomsday prepper. They sell buckets that can feed a family of four for a month, with a 25-year shelf life. I bought into it. We went with My Patriot Supply (no affiliation at all) and their Four-Week Emergency Food Supply Kit. It was prime CCP virus hysteria and BLM were rioting for every little thing, burning down their own communities, setting off fireworks and shooting guns into the sky not just every night, but ALL NIGHT, every night. Tim Pool and many of the other bloggers were starting to feed into the paranoia. I fell for it.
Now, again, am I glad I have this extra food? Of course. But it is a good example of buying into the idea that shiznik be tappin tha bidniz. I try not to let my mind wander that far. It makes me vulnerable and also can give a false sense of hope...as if I had a chance at survival if the world went completely dark. I can't even fix a flat or a toilet. I wouldn't be able to skin a squirrel or stand my stench after a week or so. I need contacts to see. What happens when I run out of those. I shudder to think.
So, instead I try to stay positive in that this world will remain somewhat functional. A hurricane here doesn't mean a hurricane everywhere. An earthquake there doesn't mean an earthquake everywhere. A power outage doesn't mean anarchy (not your average, storm caused or blackout outage). A pandemic shouldn't mean we stay closed forever...does it?
Join me for Part 3 of this ongoing Prepper Lite series of articles when I discuss supplies!
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