These days, most of us live on tight budgets, and wonder how we can start our emergency food supply. The key is not to throw up your hands and give up; the key is to take a deep breath and to tackle it head on, as if you would any other responsibility, such as doing the laundry, or writing checks for the bills. Trust me, as with any other job well done, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and relief.
Did you know that most people throw away as much as 25% of what they purchase? This is due to not using leftovers, items that get moved to the back of the fridge or freezer and forgotten, as well as things we drain such as canned vegetables or fruit which literally goes down the drain! Let’s not forget fresh fruit and vegetables that rot and get thrown away.
Freeze dried and dehydrated foods have been around for many years and are readily available these days. Many of us are already using freeze dried and dehydrated foods and do not realize it. Some examples are spices, cocoa, Tang, Ovaltine, freeze dried coffee, and many others.
Currently, there are several companies popping up that offer anything from dried meats to ice cream! Freeze dried and dehydrated foods that are sealed in cans can last up to 25 years or more. Some companies have Mylar bags, which is a smaller size, and convenient for those who want to taste a particular product. It is important to note that Mylar bagged items generally have a shelf life of up to 5 years. Most freeze dried and dehydrated foods do not have any salt or preservatives, making them a more healthy choice.
Mountain House brand specializes in prepared entrees that are available in camping sections of big box stores and in sporting goods stores. Mountain House can be expensive, but has been very popular with backpackers and campers due to the light weight and convenience. Mountain House items often contain salt or other flavorings, so it is important to read the label for your particular dietary concerns.
Shelf Reliance which has single food products as well as entrees has an on-line food storage calculator which will help you determine your needs for your size of family. Shelf Reliance has a convenient auto ship program that you control, so you can build your storage without getting into debt. Shelf Reliance also has kits of various sizes that you can purchase at once, from six #10 cans of meats, veggies, fruits or pantry staples to 3 or 6 month kits. Shelf Reliance also has TVP (textured vegetable protein) meats which is a great alternative for vegetarians
It is important to remember with food storage is not to view it as an additional drain on your budget, but to incorporate it into your current purchases. Start by purchasing one or two cans of vegetables and you may find that many items are comparable or even cheaper in cost per serving. You fix only what you need, so there is no waste.
We have noticed recently that many freeze dried/dehydrated companies are posting longer wait times, as recently, demand has drastically increased. It is important to start your food storage now, rather than later. Food storage is an investment in your family’s future, as well as your own. Food storage is also a tremendous gift for a hard to buy for person, or for the person that already has everything. In starting your food storage now, you are purchasing items locked in at today’s prices. And in the long run, not only will you be saving money, you may also be saving your life, or the life of someone you love.