June 28, 2017

Ten Foods to Include in Your Emergency Food Storage Supply

This article was guest written by Lee Flynn.


Keeping your body fueled in an emergency isn’t the same thing as eating a typical daily diet. In an emergency type situation, you’ll probably be using a great deal more energy than normal, which is why you’ll need more high-protein, high-energy type foods. Furthermore, because your food storage supply is limited, you need to eat better quality foods overall. In an emergency or disaster, those extra calories will come in handy. Eat foods high in nutrients as well as fiber to keep your system running smoothly.


  1. Whole-Wheat Crackers

Crackers are not only a comfort food, but make a great replacement for bread as well as good substitute for making a quick sandwich. Because whole-grain/wheat crackers have more fat content, their shelf life isn’t particularly long. But, the extra dose of fiber is appreciated if you’re really hungry. Store any opened crackers in an airtight, food-safe container after opening the box.


  1. Bulk Nuts

On your next visit to your local grocery store, look for bulk nuts/seeds, especially for the un-shelled, un-salted varieties. It’s best to pick emergency foods low in sodium since salt will only make you thirstier. Sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, and many other seeds and nuts generally sold in grocery stores are very high in vitamins, minerals, protein, and essential fatty acids.


  1. Dried Beans

Pinto beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, and other beans have a high calorie content, contain a good amount of protein, and also have many essential vitamins overall. Dried beans are available in packages that are bigger than canned beans but weigh a great deal less for the amount you actually get.


  1. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is known for packing essential fatty acids and proteins as well as several key vital minerals including iron and copper. For ideal health, choose ‘natural’ peanut butter. Just a few tablespoons a day of natural peanut butter can help someone adequately survive a relatively long period without any ‘normal’ food.


  1. Trail Mix

A classic favorite among hikers, tasty trail mix has various ingredients, including peanuts, raisins, and other nutritious nuts along with dried fruit and sometimes chocolate. The simple sugars the dried fruits, chocolate, and raisins provide are a short-term energy and mood booster that tend to satisfy in a crisis situation.


  1. Power Bars

Filling and nutritious, portable power bars and granola bars usually retain their freshness for six months or more. They’re a superb source of energy-boosting carbohydrates. Foods high in carbohydrates provide more energy than eating foods with none.


  1. Instant Coffee

Instant coffee may not seem like a survival food, but try telling that to someone who’s been drinking it for years throughout the day. Not only is coffee good for your morale, but helps boost your energy level as well. In an emergency situation, it could be considered a “godsend” to some people.


  1. Powdered Super Greens/ Sea Vegetables

Some of the most popular items found in health stores today are the pill or powdered form of sea vegetables. In times of disaster, it’s likely that fresh produce will be nowhere to be found. Sea vegetables are considered a ‘superfood’, chock-full of nutrients, vitamins, and offer incredible health benefits that boost your immune system, provide wound healing and tissue repair, and even have key anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.


  1. Beef Jerky

Natural varieties of beef and turkey jerky no longer contain any or at least as much of the harmful ingredients they add while processing it. Basically, jerky is a kind of dried meat. And, dried meat has long been a survival food used by American pioneers and Native Americans alike.


  1. Canned Tuna, Turkey, Salmon, or Chicken

Various canned meats have vital protein and can last as long as two years on the shelf, although the vacuum-packed pouches only last about six months. They’re the ideal food in an emergency situation since they pack a lot of punch in terms of nutrition for such a small, inexpensive, convenient food.

Overall, when choosing which foods to incorporate into your emergency food storage supply, think about the ease of preparation, calorie count, shelf life, and of course the taste of the food before you buy it. Consider these 10 best survival foods to get you started building your emergency food stockpile.


  1. How about beeing able to make your own crackers,bread,pies, cakes, rm – I use Pleasant Hill Grains and get their organic because it doesn’t cost that much more than non-organic grains. You can also get beans here, canned butter, lots of nice things. You’ll need a grinder but you don’t have to take out a second mortgage for a serviceable grinder. I have several, but I find the larger Victoria Deluxe Grain Mill is sufficient for a couple loaves of bread at a time; the smaller one is good for about one before it wears me out. The Lehman’s is hardy to crank, IMO, but works. I also have a vintage 70’s stone grinder I bought off ebay a few years back, but prices have skyrocketed since. Motor went out on it, but DH was able to repair it. He can do “anything”!

    You can get pre-ground bleached flour from the LDS Store very cheap; it is never going to be healthy food, but it would keep you from starving.

    Peanut butter contains a lot of oil and will go rancid after a few months; however, I’ve found that vacuum packing the entire jar approximately doubles the shelf life. After opening, keep refrigerated to make it last even longer (as long as you have the ability, that is). You can build a type of non-electric refrigerator using a zeer pot. It’s better than nothing. Look it up by doing a search (I use only http://www.ixquick.com but http://www.duckduckgo.com is okay, too, I believe).

    You can also store DRY ROASTED peanuts long-term in mylars with 500CC OAs (Oxygen Absorbers). They must be dry roasted, as the oils will go rancid even with mylars and OAs. They will store a couple of years like this. Mash them up, add a bit of oil, and walla! Peanut butter!

    You can buy powdered peanut butter for long-term storage in lots of places; I get mine from Emergency Essentials, but, always check walmart.com first, as they sell many such products and generally much cheaper, though it’s the same product. Walmart.com sells a lot of Auguson Farms and Linder (?) Farms, but they restrict order quantities on some items.

    Why we would you consume powdered super greens when you can make your own any time you want? You will have to allow 2-3 days, because that’s how long it will take to sprout, but keep a variety of beans and lentils on hand; sprout them generously when you’re ready. Talk about superfoods that will keep indefinitely! All you need is beans or lentils, a quart canning jar, a little cheesecloth, and a rubber band. Do your internet search to see how it’s done, but, it’s so simple, even a caveman (or cavewoman) can do it!

    Instant coffee? Well, it would be better than nothing, wouldn’t it? Store several months’ worth of your favorite ground coffee; it may lost a little strength, depending on how you store it, but it will still be coffee. In addition, you could keep some instant for convenience. But you could also buy green coffee beans in bulk (while you still can, that is) and long-term store them in mylar bags with 500 cc OAs (Oxygen Absorbers). You’ll need a coffee grinder; expect to spend about $30-$50 on an “adequate” model, vintage being your best price very to often. Then you’ll be able to enjoy your coffee post-IHTF. Don’t neglect a coffee pot that will allow you to brew over an open flame – more than one is best. These will be great “barter items” post-IHTF (It Hit The Fan), as well.

    To make any food last longer (including power bars, etc.) vacuum seal them, and store in a cool, dry place. You can easily double storage time like this.

    Hope this helps someone.

  2. I have only a couple or three comments about the above list:
    Dried beans are a good thing to have in your emergency food supply but consider the time it takes to cook them and the fuel consumed in the process. Therefore, I’m not sure they are the best short term emergency food choice. That said, If you have plenty of fuel and time on your hands, they are a good choice as the nutritional value is quite high.
    Instant coffee only has one thing going for it: Caffeine. I’m not sure that’s not of any real value in an emergency situation except for being a morale booster. I love coffee and would love to have a good, hot cup anytime, especially during a crisis. But, for the real value, tea would be a better choice.
    All the other items on the list are certainly good choices. The critical consideration in making any list is to define the conditions that create an emergency, such as the type of disaster: natural or man-made. Those factors should be weighed in creating a list of emergency food items. Will electricity be available? Will your shelter accommodate cooking? Will you be in a “defensive” mode? Will heat or cold be a factor? It’s all called a “threat assessment”. It’s not a campout!
    Consider the worst case scenario and go from there.
    I think all articles such as this are of great value because they cause us to think!

  3. Jim Moore says:

    Good list. Watch your expire or best if sold by dates though. I recently grabbed a can of Bush’s Baked Beans off the shelf that expired 3 years ago. Ooops, missed that one. Of course curiosity made me open them, they tasted like the can. The racoons probably enjoyed them that night though.

    • Expired can goods would make great decoy items for the golden hoards that are sure to come post-IHTF. Make them easy to find and maybe they’ll go away, who knows?!

  4. Carl Rooker says:

    Good list.

    I make my own jerky, and it has only one problem for a Prep food. I like it so much that it does not last very long.

  5. Dr. Allen says:

    Of major health importance in your choice from the above list (great list) is to be hyperaware of any food or food additive allergy and the mixtures of such with other foods by the processor. Peanuts in any form are notoriously insidious.
    Some people are extremely sensitive even to having anaphylaxis. Some are even allergic to the penicillin utilized in beef production – even after cooking.
    Be very careful to obtain a detailed history of any such allergies – or be very ready to become a rescuer with the proper supplies.

  6. GatorGeek21 says:

    Good list with some good ideas. I know others have made other suggestions, but I think what Chris is saying that these are just some things to consider. If you have the option to swap some things then do so to suit your needs. Take what you like & discard the rest.

    As far as some of the things I am doing. I have been experimenting a bit with a small food kit for our vehicles. Essentially it is a sealable plastic container (we use the snap-click Betty Crocker ones from Dollarama…Dollar Store in Canada…& only around $3), but inside I have jerky, a couple of granola bars (although trying Clif Bars to see what the hype is about), some packages of tea & apple cider as well as some sesame snaps, packaged oatmeal (Quaker) & possibly a couple other things I am forgetting. I am likely going to add a small jar of peanut butter also but it is to big to fit in the container. The idea is that if you are traveling to have 1-3 days of food. We also keep a case of 1/2 liter (500 ml) bottles of water in the vehicles as well, for pets, traveling, emergencies or whatever might come up, including offering roadside assistance if needed. If I haven’t already i will likely be including some basic condiments (ketchup, salt, pepper, etc.) & some plastic utensils.

    We haven’t got a huge amour of food stored at home, mostly because I am still trying to get my wife more onboard with general preparedness. I think she realizes now that I am not actually going to bury a cargo container in the backyard. :-)

    But we do have a Food Saver, simple dehydrator, blender, handheld processor & lots of canning jars. We just need to find the best way to use them. I personally would like to (and have on a small scale) to have an alternative “off-grid” (non-powered) kitchen setup as well…but all in due time. We are hopefully starting our raised garden beds this year along with some container gardening & the hope is to grow some herbs as well. I would like to try & put up more of a diverse blend of foods as well, but you can only do what you can do.

  7. I would eliminate the whole wheat crackers. It has been my experience that any grain that has been processed will go rancid in pretty short order. Power Bars are ok but you could easily replace them and the crackers with the high calorie Mayday or Millennium bars that last 10 years.
    There are different levels or situations that call for different types of food. I wouldn’t want to have to carry a weeks worth of canned food in a bug out bag. And I wouldn’t want to eat nothing but beans for a month if the grocery store was empty. Dry beans can be softened/cooked in a thermos or wonder oven.
    I agree with your coffee, it’s a psychological necessity for many folks, having your wits about you is most important in a crisis.

  8. All beans should be soaked prior to cooking, some longer than others.

    All beans contain a chemical called phytohemagglutinin. Red kidney beans have the highest content of this chemical of all of the types of beans. This toxin is a type of lectin, or a protein that has an affinity for binding to certain types of sugars. Symptoms of its toxicity include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can occur within an hour or two after consumption, and the effects last for several hours.

    Red kidney beans should be soaked not less than 5 hours (overnight is better) then thoroughly rinsed, until the water is clear, before cooking. All beans should be soaked, but most of them will be fine in 2-3 hours of soaking. Just rinse before cooking and start with clean water.

    Once beans are soaked, they do not take nearly as long to cook. You can even “solar cook” them in a jar on a hot day, or in your car if you keep the windows up on a moderately warm day. Of course, you can cook a lot of things like this.

    But, again, sprouting is the way to go; the beans store for years if properly packed, and you can always make nutritious “greens”, just be sure to allow 2 or 3 days for them to sprout. And do keep a variety, because food fatigue happens even in the worst of situations.

  9. For what it’s worth department, I copied this question regarding bean soaking: http://extension.psu.edu/food/preservation/faq/soaking-beans-before-cooking

    Is there a food safety concern about soaking dry beans overnight before cooking? Is the fast soak safer than the long soak?

    Answer – It is possible that vegetative pathogenic microorganisms if present could grow to harmful levels. However, the high temperatures required to cook the beans would be sufficient to kill them. Spore forming bacteria or toxins produced by bacteria might survive the cooking process.

    To be on the safe side, it would be advisable to use the quick soak method: Bring water and beans to a boil, cover and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Drain and further cook.

    Or simply soak the beans in the refrigerator overnight.

    • Jerry: I believe this is exactly the reason we are warned not to use slow cookers for the cooking of beans; it simply doesn’t get hot enough long enough, as I understand, anyway.

  10. good article. thanks. I dehydrate lots of veggies and have started dehydrating kale then blending it into a powder to put in smoothies or soups. I have also started cooking beans then dehydrating them. I vacuum seal the beans in canning jars and just boil them in a bit of water for about 15-20 minutes and they are rehydrated and ready to eat.

  11. As a coffee junkie, I did some research on options for keeping coffee long term. The best I found was the green (unroasted beans), there are a few options our there for prepping.

    One option I found was San Marco Coffee green beans in a 25lb. pail.
    (Not a bad deal considering it’s made for long-term storage.)

    Another prepper option is the Future Essentials green beans in #10 cans.
    Available on Amazon and here: http://www.campingsurvival.com/futureessentialscannedcoffeebeans.html
    (19 oz. can works out to about 1lb after roasting, so at about $13 a pound, that’s a little steep.)

    Keep in mind that green beans will need to be roasted, which without power could be a little tricky. Roasting can be done on a stove-top in a skillet, or whirly-pop popcorn kettle, but it will really stink up your house. I have a friend who has roasted on a big tray in his oven. I would imagine with some practice you could roast on an outdoor grille. Roasting like this is an art that requires practice, you can easily over-roast or under-roast and ruin your coffee. I wonder in a SHTF situation are people really going to have time for it?

    Green beans also loose weight when roasted. Usually around 20% weight loss. So a 25lb pail of beans will give you about 20lbs of roasted coffee. At $175 for the pail, that’s about $6.25 a pound.

    We have to be frugal with prepping, so one option I’m taking a gamble on is the vacuum-packed bricks. The ones by Cafe Bustelo are a pretty good deal on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009LHWL0U/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1=UTF8&qid=1429287463&sr=8-1&keywords=Cafe+Bustelo
    Works out to 12lbs for $60. ($5 a pound)
    It’s a gamble because it’s already roasted and ground. But the vacuum-packing seems like a viable option to me. We also sealed these in a mylar bag with O2 absorbers. Granted, when you add the cost of the bags and O2 absorbers you probably don’t save much over the 25lb. pail. But we were able to buy a can of Cafe Bustelo at the store and try it, so we knew it tasted ok. We actually liked the dark roast flavor of it. You can also get bricks of other brands at the store. I have heard that freeze-dried coffee will last indefinitely, but I haven’t found one yet that didn’t make me gag. Eventually, I would like to also stock some of the San MArco pails. Then the Cafe Bustelo bricks could be barter items.

    The other issue for me is I need creamer. For that, I settled on Augason Farms instant milk. Wal-Mart has about the best deal I found: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Augason-Farms-Emergency-Food-Country-Fresh-100-Instant-Nonfat-Dry-Milk-29-oz/21777157
    It;s a far-cry from real half-and-half, but will do in a SHTF situation, and if you have kids who drink milk, reviews say it’s about the best-tasting instant milk you can get.

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