Simply defined, emergency food is food that is kept on hand in case of an emergency. In a world where tragedies can strike without warning, you and your family may find yourself cut off from your food supply. With this in mind, food must be stored in a pantry that does not require cooking or refrigeration (for emergencies). Your everyday food, such as oats, beef, or canned beans, can be called emergency food; but, depending on their shelf life, these foods may need to be consumed at different times during an emergency. Food cultivated in your own backyard can also be used as emergency food. Crops grown by your own hands can not only feed you and your family but also give an excellent source of income in times of financial need.
What Should I Do to Begin Preparing an Emergency Food Supply?
The first step in preparing an emergency food supply is to examine your home and neighbourhood’s topography. If your home is located in a tornado alley, it is preferable to keep your best foods for emergency storage in a secure basement room, but this is not the case for individuals who live in flood-prone locations. Those who live in flood-prone areas should store their emergency supplies as high as possible so that if the family is trapped on the roof due to flooding, their food is still accessible.
The demands of your family are the next factor to consider. Are there any babies who require special meals or medications? Are there any members of your family that are allergic to certain foods? A family’s emergency survival foods must meet the demands of all family members. Are there any members of your family who have a strong predilection for certain foods? Aside from food security, it’s critical that your family remains cool and collected during disasters, and when they’re stressed, they usually prefer comfort food to anything else.
Recommended Best Foods for Emergency Storage:
- Water – one gallon/ person each day for drinking, and other purposes.
- Ready-to-make canned foods – vegetables, beans, meat, fruit, fish, poultry, canned meat.
- Soups – dried or canned.
- Smoked, dried, or canned meats.
- High-energy foods – nuts, peanut butter, trail mix, granola bars.
- Dried fruits and vegetables – raisins, etc.
- Juices (vegetable and fruit) – canned, bottled, or powdered.
- Milk – powdered, or canned.
- Cookies, chocolate bars, soft drinks, and other handy snacks.
Tips for Handling Food Safely:
- Hands should be washed before handling food.
- Foods in tampered containers should not be consumed.
- Keep your meals as clean as possible.
- Cold meals should be kept cold, and hot foods should be kept hot.
- Before tasting, remember to boil home-canned, vegetables and meats for 10 minutes.
- Cooked or opened cans of food should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Remember to Check Expiration Dates Annually
When putting together an emergency kit, keep in mind that certain grocery items, such as crackers, jerky, and shelf-stable liquids, often have an 18-month shelf life (at best). That’s why checking expiration dates at least once a year is critical. Food that is approaching its expiration date should be consumed, composted, or discarded.