Before the pandemic, many of us never thought of an emergency food supply. Now with store shelves barren at times it has us asking, “Is my pantry prepared for emergencies?”
Stocking emergency food and supplies is like buying insurance: Your household may never face a devastating natural disaster or pandemic, but if it does, and you are unable to get to a store, knowing what to stock up on for emergencies may prove priceless.
Let’s get to some pointers on how to start building an emergency stockpile storage for your home.
1. Set A Goal and Get Started…
How much do you want to store? Should you aim for three days’ worth of supplies? Or enough for three months?
At the very least, the federal government recommends you have a basic emergency supply kit that includes enough food and water for each of your household members for at least three days.
Other supplies on their list include a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, and basic first-aid supplies.
But you can be much more secure in a crisis if you go beyond the bare minimum of 72 hours. Once you hit that goal, move the goalposts to one or two weeks.
Keep it up until you’ve reached your ultimate goal.
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2. Prioritize Water and Store It Safely…
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends storing 1 gallon per day for each person, and recommends creating a two-week supply if possible.
“Unopened commercially bottled water is the safest and most reliable emergency water supply,” according to the CDC.
You can however store tap water in your own containers. Just make sure it has a tight seal.
The CDC is one of the best resources for understanding what to stock up on for emergencies. It recommends:
– If you use store-bought water, check expiration dates and replace accordingly.
– Replace water you’ve stored yourself every six months.
– Keep a bottle of unscented liquid chlorine bleach with your emergency supplies for cleaning and sanitizing and for disinfecting water.
– Don’t use bleach with color-safe or cleaning additives. Look for a label that says the product is safe for disinfecting water.
TIP: Don’t forget to store extra water if you have pets.
3. Buy In Bulk…
To stockpile affordably it is best to buy what you can in bulk.
If you don’t belong to a warehouse club, see what foods your local Walmart sells in economy sizes, such as a 4-pound jar of peanut butter for about $4!
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4. Food To Stock Up On For Emergency Use…
It is always best to try and stock items that need no cooking and are nutritionally dense but also are tasty.
Here’s a good list to start with:
– Peanut butter
– Whole wheat crackers (consider vacuum packing to prolong freshness)
– Nuts and trail mix
– Cereal (individually packaged to prolong freshness)
– Power bars and granola bars
– Dried fruits
– Canned meat such as tuna, salmon, chicken and turkey
– Canned vegetables such as beans, carrots and peas
– Canned soups and chili
– Sports drinks (avoid ones laden with sugar and artificial color)
– Sugar, salt and pepper
– Powdered milk
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5. Include Seeds For Sprouting…
Vegetable, nut and grain seeds for sprouting are a good addition to your stockpile.
You can grow most vegetable sprouts in a Mason jar!
6. Stock Up On Longer-Lasting Fresh Items When Possible…
If you see trouble coming and are able to buy fresh foods, there are some that can last for weeks or even months if stored properly, such as:
Winter squashes such as acorn squash
Potatoes and yams
7. Rotate Food Rations…
To make sure your stored food is safe, edible and nutritious when you need it, check the remaining shelf life of each item periodically.
Rotate foods near the end of their shelf life by using them in your kitchen. Then, add fresh supplies to the stockpile.
I’m not suggesting you go into survivalist mode, but making sure you have supplies to last more than a few days is important. We’ve learned that our world is all too fragile.
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