I have mixed emotions on long-term staple food, I really do. First, you absolutely must have it. Second, it is very cost-effective to buy. Third, you really don’t need to rotate it, it will last 20 – 30 years in good storage conditions (i.e. not in your garage). Fourth, it will provide the basic nutritional requirements to keep you and your family alive. Fifth, you will suffer from “food fatigue” very quickly. Food fatigue sucks.
Here’s the deal, I don’t see “staples” as what you are going to eat for any length of time. At least not by itself. What I am getting at is this, it will be used in conjunction with other foods. Here is what I mean…
If you’ve been reading the previous articles in this series you know I suggest that you have a wide variety of foods. But let’s just talk about “soup” for a minute. Let’s say you have a can of soup in storage, chicken noodle or beef vegetable. It is nutritious by itself but not real filling and offers little protein, which your body will need during tough times. So you supplement it with your “staples.”
You cook a ½ cup of rice, a ¼ cup of pinto beans, and ¼ cup of wheat “berries.” Then you mix those ingredients together with your can of soup and BINGO! You have a great tasting meal with far more nutrition, plenty of protein and it far more filling. You can even share it with someone else to make a single can of soup even more effective and efficient as a food.
This combining of staples with more palatable food will greatly improve the nutritional value of your meals and give it some acceptable flavor as well. Test the idea, cook up the beans, rice, and wheat berries; mix them together in a bowl and eat. Yeah, how does that flavor work for you? Yes, it is nutritious to be sure but the lack of taste will quickly burn you out; hence, the term “food fatigue.”
Another way to leverage your long-term staples is to combine it with food you’ve hunted. In this example take a rabbit that you have snared, by itself it does provide protein and bulk. But now take the same rabbit, and then cook up the same mix of rice, beans, and wheat. It is now far more nutritious, with way more protein and a whole lot more bulk. If you cooked the rabbit over a fire then it adds some flavor to the mix as well.
Throw in an onion, a leak, a carrot, beat, beans, peas, potato or anything else from the garden or from the wild and you have a very tasty meal. The key is the extra bulk, nutrition and protein coming from your stored staples.
This was one of the very first areas of food storage that I focused on when I started buying my food storage. Why? It’s cheap. I was able to buy large amounts of the basic staples for a much smaller amount of money. I could have gone with the fancy freeze dried foods but they are far more expensive than the staples I was buying.
So I bought the following in priority order:
- Pinto Beans
For my source I used The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When I purchased the majority of mine it was all through their warehouse system. Now they have an on-line store now where you can purchase a wide variety of long-term staples at prices that simply can’t be beat anywhere else. Why so cheap? They want people, all people, to have food storage for when the tough times come.
The food is canned in #10 cans and packed for 20 – 30 year shelf life. There is also a Starter Kit the is designed to provide variety of basics already in a single case of six #10 cans. A Starter Kit contains a #10 can of each of the following:
• Red Winter Wheat
• White Wheat
• Quick Oats
• Pinto Beans
• White Flour
Look over the portions for each and it is roughly a month’s worth of food for one person. Yes, it is the boring “food fatigue” stuff but it is food and can sustain a person for a month.There are recipes in the box as well on how to use the those basic six foods. It is a really good deal at only $22.00 per case.
If you do as I suggested above, you could eat fairly decently with just cans of soup, your staples and then thrown in a little spice here and there and you have it made. Then add a can of tuna or chicken and you are really living. Now here is a little secret to share with you, they also have things like onions and carrots on-line to purchase as well. Buy a case here and there of each and now you are really living…it’s called stew!
Seriously, look at how much food you could purchase quickly by going through the LDS church and their website. It can be an instance shot in the arm to your existing food storage, or a great way to jump start your food storage from scratch.
So here is what I would buy from the LDS website in order:
- 1 Starter Kit for each member of your family
- 1 case of onions
- 1 case of dehydrated apple slices.
- 1 case of carrots
- 2 Starter Kits for each member of your family
- 1 case of onions
- 1 case of dehydrated apple slices.
- 1 case of carrots
At this point you now have a minimum of three months worth of long-term staples food storage for your entire family.
Now, go look in your food pantry and freezer, see what you have there and imagine how you would use it to combine with the three months outlined above. You probably just instantly grew it to four or more months worth of food storage. Consider that the Starter Kits are only $22.00 per case and you get an idea of how economical food storage can be.
So there you go, adding long-term staples can drastically improve your food storage situation. You can take your food storage from a month or two to well over 6 months to a year or more.
I often get asked the question, “How much food should I have stored?”
That’s a tough answer for most people. However for me it was easy to get that answer, I just kept buying food storage until I felt inspired that I had enough. I know people who have years worth of food storage; I am talking 4 – 8 years worth of food storage! Now, granted, a lot of it is long-term staples but that is OK! Food is food and when you are hungry it will taste like a feast.
Why do they have as much food storage as I do? Well, again, the answers vary quite a bit for each prepper. A couple have told me that they have large families, including extended families, and they want to make sure that they can feed them all. I know a family or two that have purchased that much just because they felt inspired to do so. They feel they will be called upon to feed lots of folks; and that is OK too. And then there is a family or two that want to use their food storage as a bargaining/bartering chip. For me, I think I will be called upon to feed other people, so I bought food until I felt inspired I had enough.
Think about it – food becomes in short supply and people are getting hungry. You’ve stored a considerable amount of food, far more than your family needs. A family in the neighborhood who your family enjoys having a BBQ with. You and your spouse have enjoyed a double-date or two with them over the years, and your kids go to the same school. The dad is a retired Army Ranger and his wife is a nurse. So, you think you might want to try and work out a little deal where you band together with them?
How about the guy around the corner who is a Emergency Room Doctor?
The options and possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Yes, operations security is important, you don’t want them knowing that you are sitting on a pile of food. But being able to feed them can buy a lot of assistance and maybe even loyalty.
In “grid-down” situations I look at food as even more valuable than precious metals. Food can be used just like precious metals to “bribe & buy” in exactly the same way. The only difference…food will get more and more valuable as times goes on.
There are a lot of reasons to have food storage, but it like any number of prepper topics, you are either sold on it or not. You either believe in it or not. But food storage in the most practical and realistic terms is a “no-branier” in virtually every way possible.
- In emergencies and disasters your food storage can feed your family and a few others till the food distribution chain is back up and running.
- If you ever become unemployed your food storage is just like a savings account and will help you get through financially.
- If you never eat it for any reason you will still retire at some point. Look at your food storage as part of your retirement account.
- Food storage makes a great investment. Have you ever heard the price of food going down?
- And finally, “grid-down.” You can be the hero and save your family from starving to death. And if you have stored enough food you can be…well, you can be pretty much whoever you want to be.
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