Choosing the right food for your food storage can be a daunting task. There are many options out there, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. But by knowing how each type of food can be used in your overall food storage plan, making this decision can be made relatively simple. Below are four major categories of food that are most often found in food storage plans.
Store-bought foods are products such as cereals, boxed meals, and canned products like soups, fruits and vegetables. Most likely, these are foods your family already eats on a regular basis. They are the "tried-and-proven" products that you know your family will eat; therefore, they are the best foods to start out your food storage. By buying a little extra each time you go shopping, you can quickly build a food reserve of a month to three months without a significant amount of expense. Some of these products may have a short shelf-life of one to two years so you will want to continually rotate through these products. This type of food storage is excellent for small emergency crises, such as times when an unexpected doctor's visit or car repair may put a strain on that month's finances.
Dehydrated foods are often meal basics, like rice, beans, flour, sugar, salt and other items that are used for baking and making meals from scratch. They can be considered store-bought foods since they are great to purchase in smaller quantities and add to your rotated month to three month supply. But they can also be used for long-term food storage. Many dehydrated foods can last seven to thirty years if stored properly, making them excellent items to store in bulk. Local health food stores and large food warehouses are great places to purchase large 25-50 lb bags of grains, beans and other items that can then be stored in 6 gallon buckets with mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. Or, we also offer these products in #10 cans, making storing and using these products much easier. Dehydrated foods are great for lowering the cost of your food storage reserve while securing your necessary daily calorie level. Their downside is that they do require more preparation. Making meals from scratch requires water and fuel, so limiting your food storage to strictly dehydrated foods may not be the best way to go. Using dehydrated food as an add on to your food reserve, along with finding instant dehydrated products like potato flakes or quick rolled oats, will help get more food for your money.
Freeze-dried foods may answer many of the issues presented by dehydrated foods. They have a great shelf-life of 25 years in the #10 cans and they only require a comparatively small amount of water to reconstitute. They are also great for providing nutrition to your food reserve as the freeze-drying process retains nutrients much better than dehdyrated foods. They also come in pre-prepared meals that only require water, so you won't need to worry about purchasing individual components. Their only downside is their expense. Freeze-dried foods are more expensive per can and often offer lower calorie levels. Therefore, we suggest using freeze-dried foods as a part of your food storage plan as opposed to to the whole thing. Many of our pre-planned food reserve units offer a combination of freeze-dried foods and instant dehydrated foods, with the main meals being freeze-dried and side dishes being dehydrated. This combination utilizes both the ease of preparation and an economical price. It is also a great way to secure a six month to a year food supply that doesn't need to be rotated as often.
MREs stand for Meals Ready to Eat. As their name suggests, these meals require no water or preparation to eat. If you prefer the meals warm, then a little water may be necessary to heat up the foods, but other than that, they are good to go. They are more expensive per meal and they do have a shorter shelf-life of 5 years, so they may not be the best option for your entire food storage. However, these meals are great for a 2 week supply that is ready to stand as a backup in case water or fuel is in short-supply.
Each category has its own unique place in a food storage program. If possible, it is best to utilize the benefits of each one. Just remember, that the best approach to securing your food reserve is through consistent, moderate purchases. This will help to not only make obtaining your food reserve more financially possible, but it will also help you stay in the right frame of mind of purchasing the items you want instead of panic-buying whatever is available.
Have questions? Please feel free to call our toll free number and we'll be glad to help you figure out your own food storage program!