Ever gone to the grocery store just before a hurricane/ice storm/heavy snowfall, or after a serious thunderstorm? If so, you may recall how little milk, bread, and other basic items were left on the shelves.
Planning for extreme weather or natural disasters, or even an invasion of zombies, are all great reasons to build up a supply of long-term food storage (as well as water). However, you never know when a sudden illness, unemployment, or an unexpected car repair or vet bill may devastate your monthly budget and leave you short of funds. So even if you’re not expecting the zombie apocalypse any time soon, it’s always good to be prepared and have food at home “just in case”.
And one element of these preparations should be a supply of shelf-stable dry goods. While it’s not as appealing to some people as a frozen dinner or fast food, in a pinch you can do a lot with staples in your pantry such as beans, rice, flour, sugar and milk powder.
Dry goods canning is an easy and affordable process that involves purchasing rice, wheat, oats, beans, or other dry products in bulk and sealing the food into #10 cans (not unlike coffee cans) using special equipment that provides a factory seal. Being in a can (along with an oxygen absorber) protects the food from insects, air, light and moisture, dramatically extending its shelf-life, and by following this process, you can preserve these dry goods for up to 30 years, depending on the product and how the cans are eventually stored.
The Church of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) encourages all of their members to have long term food storage for their families. As part of the Church’s services, they produce many different kinds of dry goods in bulk for their members and offer tips on food storage and emergency preparation. However, they also offer non-members the opportunity to purchase these same dry goods and supplies, and many will also either open their on-site canning facilities to non-members by appointment, or will loan equipment to individuals to use at home.
Last night seven of us got together and rented a home canning machine as well as purchased several hundred pounds of wheat, beans, dry milk and other products for canning, most of it from the LDS. Between us, we were able to fill dozens of cans and seal and label the cans all in the space of a couple hours.
As anyone who’s involved in long-term food storage will tell you – there’s something immensely comforting to know that you have a couple of months’ worth of food in your home, just in case you might need it.
And if nothing else, it’s always good to have heavy cans to throw at attacking zombies.
Learn more about setting up a long-term food-storage pantry.
Encourage your friends and coworkers to get prepared for disasters:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is giving away free zombie posters.