Hello my friend and welcome back! Today we are going to look at Part 2 in our series on Preparing Your Survival Compound for SHTF; “Food Storage”. There is an old saying that an Army travels on its stomach and there is a certain amount of truth to that.
The same also applies to those who are doing pretty much any type of military function. Many activities such as patrolling to look for food and check your perimeter as well as chopping wood and numerous other items will burn a lot of calories and will need to be replaced.
Now I don’t know about you, but I have never had a military MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) that tasted good. You only eat them if you have no choice and the same will be true when SHTF comes. This is something you need to seriously consider and prepare now, for when the time comes.
I know that a lot of people have canned quite a bit of food, but you can’t exactly throw a jar of beans or even canned meat in a back pack and carry them around with you. Their weight alone makes it prohibitive.
Not all meals will be eaten with the luxury of being heated or setting at a table to enjoy them. This is an important fact that many people fail to consider, instead they load up their basements with canned food and dehydrated vegetables. Just for the record, having to eat a dehydrated pea without being able to rehydrate it first sucks.
So how do you get around this issue? You make some of your own MREs. You need to make different kinds as well as different menus. Make some that don’t need to be heated and some which can be heated by using the chemical heaters that you can get for the Military MRE. You could also make some that can be cooked by simply boiling water over a small fire.
I purchased a hundred resealable Mylar bags on Amazon.com. These have the zip lock type closures on them as well as being able to heat seal them. You can also get the oxygen absorbers for them as well. Throw in some crackers and maybe a small can of ready to eat meat and a disposable knife and fork. Throw in the absorber and suck the excess air out then seal it. You now have an MRE that you (or anyone else) can eat and enjoy.
You will also want to consider making them for breakfast or dinner meals as well. I don’t know about you, but crackers and tuna does not sound like something I would want for breakfast. You may also want to consider throwing in a power bar or something like it that can be saved for an energy boost later on in the day. Tea bag, or instant coffee single would be nice too. Making your own MREs is very cost-effective and can be tailored to your own taste.
Enough on that, let’s move on to storing fresh vegetables that you have harvested. If you live where the ground will allow you to dig a root cellar, then you could do just that. Root cellars are great for keeping produce fresh and by keeping them in the dark, they will last even longer. Just remember that the key to extending the usable life of harvested produce is to keep fresh air flowing around them and keep them dry and away from the light.
Now if you live in an area where you have high humidity and a lot of rain, this can be a challenge. I know that here in the deep south, we get a ton of rain and digging a hole in the ground for a root cellar, would quickly turn into a mud pit.
So what do you do in these cases? For the answer to this, I look back to how my Father and Grandfather handled it. The would find a high piece of ground and place a wooden tent like structure with a dirt floor on the spot. Next they would cover the floor with old dried corn husk and stalks. By putting them on top of the husk, air was allowed to flow around them and things like potatoes would last for weeks or months. The trick was to allow air to flow through it to help keep them dry.
Home canned food is best kept stored in a closet or a room with no natural light. This helps preserve both the color and the flavor of the food stored in clear Mason jars. Light is something to be avoided when storing food as is temperature.
Canned food as well as all food should be kept from extreme temperature changes. Freezing or being subjected to high temperatures can cause food to spoil prematurely and should be avoided at all cost. Granted, in a post SHTF world, this will be a challenge.
Preserving meat is another area where you need to pay special attention. The last thing you will need is to get food poisoning while fighting for your life. Smoking and drying meat is an art and something that you need to learn in advance of SHTF.
Drying and smoking of meats should be done in a building especially designed for the task. No windows to let light or insects in. the food should be cold smoked by cooling the air that carries the smoke into the building as much as possible.
Meat should be hung from the ceilings to dry after being seasoned and salted. This helps in the preservation process as well as enhance the flavor of the meat. This is one of those skills that need to be learned by each member of your group with one or two becoming masters at it.
When planning your compound, all of these things should be considered and not left to chance. You will need to be experienced at preserving food beforehand and not wait until you actually need to do it to learn how. The ability to preserve food for the winter and throughout the year will be critical to your survival.
There is a lot of information on the subject of preserving food available on the internet and in books. Take advantage of it now and learn all you can, because like purifying water and hunting, it will be essential to your survival.
Well, I guess that is it for today and I hope you have enjoyed today’s post. Join us again tomorrow for Part 3 in this series. Until then, stay safe, stay strong and stay prepared. God Save America!