LONG TERM FOOD STORAGE

At this crazy time in the World from a pandemic, election chaos, riots, lock downs and more, this has been a time that if you scripted this as a movie, Hollywood would have laughed at you. But let me take you back for a moment. Remember when Discovery Channel had a show on called “Doomsday Preppers”? People used to laugh and call them crazy or conspiracy folks. Those preparing for an EMP, Global Pandemic, Massive earthquakes were ridiculed, but fast forward to today and who’s laughing now?

I believe one of the big eye openers for folks was the run on toilet paper and still today we ask the question, why toilet paper? I am yet to get a straight answer. Fortunately in this house we have always had a minimum of six months of food, water and products and the reason is simple. Growing up in Los Angeles, we lived through the Northridge earthquake, fires and floods. I remember my parents saying you had to always be ready because the stores could be destroyed and the power out at a moments notice.

Here at Epic Tactical we have received a few messages asking about food storage and then a close friend asked what “normal” foods have long shelf life as his wife would never eat an MRE. Trust me when your hungry enough you would be surprised what you’ll eat.

So that got me thinking and as such, I thought I would put together a list of foods worthy of long term survival. When we think of survival foods, it’s common for us to go direct to dehydrated foods such as Mountain House, but let’s step back a second and take a look at what options are out there for us.

Can Goods:
One of the biggest misconceptions is that can goods are not long term storage and when we see a date on the can “Best used by”, we often throw them away thinking it will soon go bad. Well the good news is that your favorite vegetable soup can be stored for many years. In fact this is what the Canned Food Alliance has to say:

“According to the alliance, canned food (when kept at a relatively stable temperature) will remain at peak quality for at least two years after it’s been processed. The guidelines note that while food in cans “retains its safety and nutritional value well beyond two years,” its color and texture may change after that time. Many factors affect how long a food will stay edible in the can, but food kept at “moderate temperatures (75 degrees or below)” may last indefinitely”

Who knew right, so if the can is not rusted, damaged, has a hole or the top isn’t swollen, trust the process and leave it on the shelf in a cool environment and your good to go.

Sugar – Honey – Syrup
Another good long term storage is Granulated White Sugar or Sugar Cubes, Processed Honey and Maple Syrup which all have an indefinite shelf life. Brown sugar has molasis and raw honey from a hive will have only about a two years shelf life. I love syrup and honey on a variety of foods, when food taste good, it is a mood enhancer at bad times. We keep a large quantity in our pantry.

Spices
When we talk spices, who doesn’t love a good seasoning on their steak or fish? The good news is that all seasonings have indefinite shelf life, so stock up. Let me add, if you haven’t tried the spices and seasonings from “Operation Barbecue Relief” we found them at Lowe’s hardware and wow were they fantastic and proceeds from the sale go to aid disaster relief.

Flavor Extracts
Extracts, think the common Vanilla extract, but remember all extracts have a long term shelf life.

Corn starch, baking power, baking soda
A variety of uses here and the good note is that they as well have long shelf life’s.

Vinegars
With a variety of uses and unlimited shelf life, this is a must have.
Vinegars, raw apple cider, white vinegar have several uses and one of the best uses in a survival situation is diluted vinegar in water should your pets have a rash, itchy or scaly situations. Its great for cleaning windows to clothing too.

Water
I get tired of the “survival”experts telling us that we must have one gallon of water a day to survive. I know when I crossed the Mojave Desert alone I didn’t have that for all of 33 days, but that is the recommendation and I am not here to fault that. What I am here to say is that water is essential and stored in proper containers has an indefinite lifespan.

However, let me add by saying, yes you can go to Walmart and stock up on your cases of water, but you need to know the water sources in your area. Get a water purifier such as a “Life Straw” or similar, so that if you need to get water from a stream to fill a container, you’ll know it’s been filtered. Next, have a plan on how you will fill your bathtub and plug the drain.(plastic) and don’t rule out the water in the toilet bowl.

There is no doubt that water is the key to life and I would finally add on this note to consider some water flavoring such as “Pure Boost” or similar to add to a cup.

Comfort items – or are they?
Popcorn – Popcorn hits the pleasure center of the brain and who doesn’t love that sound and smell? When we look at popcorn as a survival item, the good news here is that raw popcorn has an indefinite shelf life. Note were talking straight popcorn here and not Pop Secret Theater enhanced Buttered popcorn. Once you add the processed crap into the box it takes it to a short life.

Alcohol – When the SHTF and your stuck at home, there is nothing better then that glass of bourbon or wine to calm the nerves and help the day. Also, booze is a great barter tool when items are needed.

Instant Coffee – Again, when we look at the physiological aspects of prepping or survival, its a mind game. This pandemic and everything associated with 2020 has caused wide spread mental and health issues. States demanding people wear a mask, folks afraid to leave their homes, they are judged or confronted if they are not wearing a mask and the list goes on. Having sustainable coffee and smelling it brew in the morning is a great reset for a lot of folks. Unlike standard coffee, instant has an indefinite shelf life as well.

Finally, let’s look at the Dehydrated food world.

Dehydrated Foods:
Lord knows we have several options on the market. My time in the Marine Corps we had the dining pleasure of MRE’s, “Meals Ready to Eat” or were they? Unlike MRE’s of today, my generation in the 80’s we had can MRE’s and opened them with what we called a John Wayne or a miniature can opener. You ate them because you had to, but the good news is todays generation has a whole new experience of MRE’s that I will admit were not bad and hell you even get food warmers and tabasco with them.

I would advise anyone looking at long term prepping or survival to have at least three cases of MRE’s in the stock room.

Moving past MRE’s, we all know about your standard dehydrated foods, add some hot water and enjoy meals. Every company offers something different and it seems every few months some magazine is coming out with their meals review. Whether it is Backpackers Pantry, Mountain House, Alpine Aire or Readywise Foods, honestly I believe it lies within your palate. Buy a variety and try, then buy in bulk.

Let me add, most dehydrated food companies have been out of stock for months and the US Government has had massive orders in, therefore they are getting first rights. Don’t get me started on why I think this is or well be going down the rabbit hole. But, recently I received an email from Readywise that they were fulfilling consumer orders, so if your considering dehydrated foods, I would get it while it’s available.

Civil War cookies
On a last and final note, I recommend you all bake some “Civil War Cookies” and if you’re not familiar with them, go to Epic Tactical’s Youtube page and watch the video where I show you how to make them. They last forever, hard as a rock, but once you delete them in coffee or a drink, they nicely soften up and make a great little snack.

With farmers and people not working for months processing food, meats, etc, we could be looking at a severe food shortage by the middle of 2021. I highly recommend you add all the above together and you have a recipe for survival success in the coming dark days!

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