FOOD PREPPING TIPS

Start getting a little extra.

When you do a shop, you get what you need for the week or so ahead. Get into the habit of getting a few extra items, it’s like saving a few pennies for a rainy day.

In this case, some extra shelf staple/non-perishable foods, or toiletries, batteries etc. Before you know it, you won’t notice. It would be like having a shop in your own home. But only with the items you or your family like. You would have stocked up on the essentials, with little effort and it won’t break the bank.

An important tip: When you shop, don’t think ‘I’ve already got plenty of those’ Those extra items are the basis of your self-reliance. Always get that little extra. You will have started to be more prepared that most people out there.

Rotate your food. FIFO method (First in, first out).

We all check the expire dates on the food we buy in our normal weekly shop, we use the nearest best before dates first. Do the same with any extra supplies that you get. Don’t get and forget! When you will need it, you may not be able to use it.

Remember, get what you like, so you will enjoy it.

Foods from your supermarket

What to look for when you are shopping. I use my own acronym C.L.E.A.N.E.D.

Calorie density.

Some foods can be high in calories, depending on how it is made. Example being MRE’s or protein bars.

Aim for at least 2000cal for a woman, 2500cal for a man and 1600cal for a child (6-12 yrs.) 

Long shelf life.

Try to avoid anything that doesn’t last at least a year. Most cans will have a shelf life of a couple of years. Pasta, rice and other non-perishables a few more years, depending on the packaging.

Easy to store. Durable packaging, like a can, sealed box or glass, it is a lot better than packaging you’d find with crisps. Chilled or frozen foods are not automatically disqualified, just be mindful, what if the power goes out? You would waste a lot.

Assortment.

Variety is also a key thing to remember. Don’t just go for the basic rice, pasta and beans, you’ll get fed up with it quickly. Choose wisely. You want to be comfortable with your foods and of course enjoy them. Get yourself some extra herbs and spices, this will make a great difference to the quality and the taste of your foods.

Nutritional.

Healthy food should be a good part of your supplies, some comfort food for your needs is important and are valuable in a crisis, you don’t want to over do it by living off snacks, chocolate and junk foods. 

Easy to prepare.

Make it easy on yourself, in an emergency you would need to have foods that is easy to prepare, or easy to add to other foods or ingredients.

Dietary restrictions.

Use the foods that you would regularly eat, depending on your dietary needs. Be mindful of any restrictions you may have. (example. lactose or gluten.)

 

Shelf-stable or non-perishable foods

Foods that can be safely stored at room temperature, or “on the shelf,” are called “shelf stable.” These can be found in most supermarkets and stores. These do include, canned and bottled foods, rice (cooked or pre-cooked), pasta, flour, sugar, spices, (open and reseal in mylar bags, so it lasts longer) oils, and foods processed in aseptic, (ensures that food & packaging materials are free from bacteria). or food grade packages. There is also other products that do not require refrigeration until after opening.

Some foods will need to be refrigerated, these will say so on the packaging.

The main six enemies of storing food

Temperature. Oxygen. Moisture. Light. Pests. Time.

Your foods will last a lot longer if you can limit the above.

Anything that you unopen in your home and store may not last as long as if it was in your shed or garage.

Some dry goods will need to be opened and repackaged, I find that using mylar bags is the best, (I will add a section on this later on). Some goods will need some oxygen absorbers added. Keep your stored food off the floor, if you are storing then not in your home. Some of the items that you will buy will have a long shelf life, these would probably last longer with the correct storage method and they do not get damaged or tins getting rusty.

 It is always a best practice to check your products on a regular basis. 

Botulism is a life threating danger, it can happen in canned goods, home canning and even some vegetables. 

If any of your goods are leaking or bulging, cans that are badly damaged, cracked jars or jars with loose lids, or the button has popped on store brought food. DO NOT USE Also canned food with a bad odour, or any container that when opening it squirts its contents or liquid at you.

As long as the can or jar/bottle is in good shape, the contents should be safe to eat, please note that the texture, taste and nutritional value of the food can decline over time that you keep it, so keep to the method F.I.F.O.

So, in short. If it’s damaged in any way, BIN IT.