This is kinda like an “update” to the article Last Minute Food Shopping List. Then again it is really more like a response to Ron’s great information that he posted in a comment to the article. His information needed more exposure for everyone to benefit from. I hope this article is found worthy of your time 😉
I am glad your list is blank! Shows you are on top of it. I wish everyone could be in your shoes, even us.
I defined my ‘last minute shopping list’ as “What if we knew that everything was going to fall apart (i.e. grid-down) and we had only one last trip to town to buy food supplies with our pick-up truck. What would we buy?”
That meant that we would have the luxury of actually doing one more trip to buy food, etc. Would we have to make the trip? No. But, if we could, this is what we would be looking for to buy and why.
Take pet food. We go through a 44# bag about once a month. My wife doesn’t want, nor do I, 5 – 12 bags of dog food stacked up in the house or my shop. But, if we knew this was the trip where it would be the last time we could buy dog food…then we would buy the right practical/realistic amount.
You made some great comments to the list, let’s go over it in an open discussion format to see what falls out. I will answer it in a very personal way to make it real for others to read…and then folks might be prompted to rethink/revisit where they are in their own personal situation.
To cover a very broad/general statement…some folks may not have the money to purchase a full regular supply of food, some folks may not have the space to store it, some folks may not have a spouse who supports a large pantry of food, some folks may live in an area where it is illegal to store a large supply of food, and there may be other factors involved as well.
I hope folks find the following discussion helpful and thought provoking. My thanks again to Ron for sharing his thoughts and giving everyone some great information.
And another thought before I get going…this was a “grid-down” scenario. Meaning we would have no idea when, or even if, the food supply chain would get back up and running. That being the case…a year’s supply would simply not be enough. That changes the dynamic considerably. For instance…if I had $10,000 in the back account, why not convert at least some of that into added food storage covered by the items below. The money in the bank could well turn into nothing while the food would feed my family, and other families, for a long time to come. So it is not only about food storage…it is about preparedness.
Ron’s comments are in red, I continue the conversation in black.
- Salt Salt will keep almost forever, and is plentiful currently. Why not stock/store as much as you think you will need, before hand, and save the last minute rush for items that doesn’t store long term?
We don’t have the luxury of storing “as much as we think we might need”, we simply don’t have that much space…nor the desire to turn what space we do have into a Walmart warehouse. And our normal usage is already covered for at least a year. However, if it was the last trip I would buy probably 25 – 50 pounds, maybe more if guilt didn’t set in, to allow us to preserve meat, canning for years to come, etc. And I would probably go for the Kosher salt first. I just seem to like it better.
- Sugar/Honey Again an item that will keep forever. My mother once bought a 5 gallon can of honey, at a yard sale, that the people had for over 20 years. She paid $5 for the can and when she got it home she opened the can and started spooning the sugared honey into smaller jars. These she slowly heated until the honey re-liquefied. Granted it was very dark honey, but it was usable and tasted just like new honey. Sugar is the same way. It will keep forever. Store it up now and save the last minute rush for items that don’t store long term.
Awesome mother!!!! One smart lady 😉
Again, I am thinking not a year or even two year’s supply of any particular food. I am thinking about canning, preserving, and having food items available for years to come. And as you said, this item lasts forever.
- Fruit. Fresh fruit will be in short supply within a few short days. Canned fruit will keep for years if stored properly. The same goes for fresh vegetables and canned vegetables. My personal feeling is that we will be needing these items very soon, so a one or two year storage life of canned fruit/vegetables is something that can be stockpiled now, when it is still available, and save the last minute rush for items that don’t store long term.
I doubt I would want to buy any fresh fruit on the last minute trip…seems as if it would be too much of a hassle. Canned fruit would be the best bet to buy and use first…then get into the freeze dried stock. But, I might think about fresh and then dehydrate it into fruit leather. I would let my wife make the call on that one.
Now, that being said…I might have to get a quart or two of fresh strawberries along with a couple cans of heavy ReadiWhip! I dearly love that combo.
- Cooking Oil. Cooking oil doesn’t store very well for long periods, but it will store for a year or two. Even rancid cooking oil can be used in an oil lamp. This is what the 10 virgins on Bible fame were using. Stock up now and save the last minute rush for items that don’t store long term. If you rotate your supply you’ll have an idea how long it can be stored, and if needed you can get some more during your last minute rush.
Yeah, I hesitated on this one a bit. All vegetable shortening will only store about 8 – 12 months depending on the brand and storage conditions. Olive oil can last 18 – 24 months depending on the brand, amount of processing, the ingredients, and storage conditions. Olive trees can grow in our area…hummmmm?
- Flour. Flour, properly packaged and stored, will keep for a lot longer time than most believe. The Bishop’s storehouse sells flour in gallon cans that they claim will last 5 years. In addition to flour, wheat berries will store for many years, and can be ground into flour using a hand grinder. Stock up now and save the last minute rush for items that don’t store long term.
Amen! It is pretty obvious when flour goes bad…it stinks, or there are these cute little bugs crawling around inside of it.
Now, I wouldn’t think about a hand grinder for wheat…although we have one. I would use our electric one. Or, if our solar system and generators went out I would try diligently to engineer a way to power the hand grinder…maybe hook it up to the tractor!
Wheat can be stored for 30+ years if done correctly, and isn’t that difficult to grow. Harvesting…well, that may be a bit more difficult. And wheat can be used so many different ways. It is one of the top “must have” items for food storage. Probably #2 behind chocolate chip cookies!
- Milk. Powdered milk had been around for many years. My mother made us kids drink powdered milk back in the 50’s. Powdered milk doesn’t keep forever, but it does keep for years. It even tastes better than the old version we suffered through in the 50’s. Stock up now and save the last minute rush for items that don’t store long term.
- Peanut Butter (nuts). Peanut butter doesn’t store much longer than a year, but neither do nuts that you might try and make into nut butter. This item might be something that you would want to have on your ‘last minute purchase’ list, but at least store and rotate a years supply.
Homemade peanut butter is good for about 2 – 4 weeks, a little longer if kept refrigerator. Store bought peanut butter is not so straight forward based on ingredients/preservatives. But generally 2 – 4 months, another month or two longer if kept refrigerator. Shelf life of peanut butter (unopened) is not straight forward either based on ingredients/preservatives.High-end peanut butter maybe 9 months, Jif is probably closer to 2 years. Again, kept in the refrigerator will extend unopened peanut butter as well.
Best way to tell if it has gone bad is a rancid smell…or fuzzy stuff growing on it 🙂
Dry roasted peanuts are just about the same for the most part. Our freeze dried peanut powder will last a long time, depending on the brand, 2 – 20 years. We keep our stock rotated because my wife loves smoothies.
- Jelly/jam. Jelly and jam are mostly ‘fruit flavored’ sugar, and as such will store for a long time. If you are going to try and use your own fruit to make them, make sure you have the extra sugar stored before hand. Stock up now and save the last minute rush for items that don’t store long term.
We started our strawberry patch this year. It’s going well, looks as if it will triple or quadruple in size for next year. Yeah…freezer jam rocks!
- Protein bars/ Granola Bars/ Trail mix. These can be per-stored for about a year, so these are another item to pickup in your last minute rush.
I like the portability of these…hard to beat. And if you get the Quaker Dipps they come chocolate covered. Sure helps to get past food fatigue.
- Cocoa Powder. This one I don’t know anything about, so I am going to give this one to you to pick up at the last minute. I at least would have some on hand and supplement that with the last minute purchase. I do know that chocolate candy bars won’t store for long. If they were kept frozen, they might last longer, but I tried vacuum packing a few and the heat made them go bad. One way around the heat problem would be to store Butterfingers and Baby Ruth candy bars. They are made with imitation chocolate, and you can’t even get them to melt in a microwave. They might be a partial solution to long term storage for the sweet tooth. I vacuum pack sugar based candy, in glass jars and that will last a long time. I’ve got cinnamon bears that are going on 5 years and they are still eatable. I like to buy the 75% off candy after a holiday and vacuum pack it.
Oh yeah! And please folks…don’t underestimate food fatigue. Chocolate has some amazing benefits to it. And candy in general could go a long way towards helping people deal with the stress of TEOTWAWKI. And let’s face it…chocolate is the primary/main food group!
- Multi-Vitamins. These will also keep for a few years. Stock up before the rush, but supplement during your last minute rush, if you can find them.
- Canned Beef Stew. I like it too. However it will store for a long time and should already be in your pantry. Stock up now and save the last minute rush for items that don’t store long term.
- Maple Syrup. Syrup and Maple Syrup are another heavy on the sugar item and will keep for a long time. Stock up now and save the last minute rush for items that don’t store long term.
- Pet Food. I have a cat, so I do store a supply of both dry and canned cat food. If push comes to shove, the cat will get some of my beef stew, and will outlive me as I am not going to eat him. That being said, if he out lives me, he might be eating me. He’s welcome to all he can chew down.
Now that had me snickering…then laughing…and still smiling! Our neighbors and us talked about it one evening. We decided that we would “swap” pets prior to any last ditch dining. But we really didn’t want to starve either…hunger is not an easy way to go.
Aside from the few things that don’t store for a very long term, most food items can be per-purchased and stored right now. I would go so far as to say that if you don’t already have these things on hand, it is time to do your ‘last minute food shopping’, and save your rapidly inflating money for the things you don’t already have stored, like gasoline and fresh batteries and ammunition, and maybe some lumber to build an outhouse…….
Ahhhhhhh…”gasoline and fresh batteries and ammunition, and maybe some lumber” you read my mind. Those items are coming in future articles. Good, really good, to hear you are thinking ahead!!
Let me clarify just to make sure folks aren’t mis-reading the intention of my original article. My last minute shopping list (LMSL) wasn’t in-place of our food storage plan (FSP). Our FSP is in good order…as yours should be…I pray it is. But, I also understand that there can be many potential limiting factors to having a solid FSP or any plan at all. The LMSL was intended to get you thinking that if you could never ever never go to a real store again…what would you want to buy to fill-out, round-out, and supplement your FSP.
There are also some other factors as well…mainly physiological, and some others. The stress post-collapse will be enormous to the point most people are not able to comprehend. The workload will go up exponentially…to the point you could easily be burning 4000 – 6000 calories a day. And that requires a lot of food to make up for that kind of calorie usage. And honestly…kids will suffer more. They are used to cookies, candy, and whatnot. And they will stress even more because they are generally lacking in the logic and ability to comprehend what is actually happening. A candy bar or a couple of cookies can go a long way to helping them cope.
Now, Ron has hit my guilt button! Shame on him for being so thought provoking. So there are a couple of other items that I would definitely look at buying last minute. And here they are…again, in priority order:
- Pepsi – Yes, my name is AH and I am an addict. I am a Pepsiholic and I am still not sober. When we had a larger house before moving to the glamstead I had 10 cases of 36 count Pepsi on hand, and rotated it. I figured that would be sufficient to meet my immediate addictions needs and allow me time to get sober. Not cold turkey mind you…but tapper off my daily intake until I could function without it. So yes, canned Pepsi would be on my list…and I would shove kids and little old ladies out of the way to get to it.
- Bacon – Yeah, that would go in the cart as well. Then straight to our freezer. It is hard to beat bacon with anything…other than maybe Pepsi and chocolate chip cookies.
- Mexican or Fiesta blend cheese – this is a freezer food that I love on eggs, and well, just about anything bland or spicy. Yup, the big 150# bags of it. OK, OK, maybe they are more like 5# bags, but I might have to get 30 or so of them 🙂
- Jimmy Dean hot sausage – This isn’t quite a “must have” but it sure is good. Yes, it would go into the freezer as well. Makes great casserole fillers putting some badly needed protein and fats into the diet. And no, the grease from cooking it would not be thrown out…it would be used to cook something else. Or maybe, just maybe, go on the dogs food one evening…maybe.
- Now I am going to be embarrassed…Chicken patties and chicken nuggets. Yeah I like em…so please try to be understanding. They are great for protein and…oh, the heck with it…they taste awesome! Throw down a little buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing for dipping and you have a feast! Put them in the freezer and get over it.
- So one more humiliating item…tatter tots. Oh come on…you know you love em too! And yes, with my chicken nuggets. Put tatter tots in an air fryer and they are hard to beat.
So let’s talk one more item that isn’t food but could be truly useful for food buying frenzy…a freezer. No, not one you already have at the house…one you buy during your last minute trip. There are a number of different compact freezers, we bought a 7 cu ft model, some 3.5 & 5 cu ft. They hold way more than you think. So if your trip is to Walmart and you are buying some freezer food items consider also buying a compact freezer right then as well. Maybe you can, maybe you can’t…but it is worth considering.
These compact freezers are pretty slick now and dang energy efficient as well. They can burn less than a single Kw per day. So that is doable even on a small emergency solar system. I ran one during a test with car batteries and 400w of PVs (solar panels). Just think about.
Well, that just about does it. I hope the original article got you thinking and Ron’s solid information added to the thought process. Maybe this article even helped as well…especially for you Pepsi addicts. I can’t imagine anyone drinking Coke let alone be addicted to it, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Coke…just plain wrong on so many levels.
Now go forth and think it through…then make a plan…and be ready to carry it out. Just one last reminder…THIS IS NOT A FOOD STORAGE PLAN…it is a last trip to the store plan.
Let’s hear more from you guys…we can all benefit from sharing information!
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