Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How Much Food To Store

The government and most everyone else recommends having 72 hours of food and water on hand in case of an emergency. That is a laughably short amount of time, that is supposed to be how long it takes for rescue services to get through to most places.

In Oct 1997 we had a huge blizzard here in Colorado, it snowed for 2 days, then it took another 2 days for everyone to work together to dig a path out of the neighborhood. That was 4 days. Even when you could get out all the stores were sold out of just about anything useful. Watching the news we saw a report of a lady buying a big crown roast for her and her three kids because it was the last bit of meat left. Even if you could get to the store, it was another 3 days before they got fully stocked again because all the trucks were stuck on the Interstates. So it was an entire week before thing returned to normal.
I was in one store, the bread & milk were gone, the fresh produce was gone, the cereal and Pop Tarts were gone, the sodas were gone, the canned goods were gone except sauerkraut and beets, when they announced that a shipment of produce had arrived so everyone ran over to the produce section to wait for whatever would come. It was lettuce and bell peppers and the like so we had a really nice salad that night.

I would really recommend having at least a 2 week supply for dealing with any sudden emergency say a pandemic quarantine. This can be regular frozen and canned foods, nothing special here. But if you were stuck at home having some other staples on hand like flour and powdered milk would make it much better. This way you can having milk and bread.
Actually, if you pour a can of evaporated milk in a quart of prepared powdered milk it tastes like regular milk. The evaporated milk adds back the fat content most people like in their milk.

There is also a big fear of layouts out there right now and this is another very good reason for storing food. You are in essence pre-paying your grocery bills and can use it later. It also makes a sensible inflation hedge, too. You have greater control over your bills this way too if you have to cut back later.

You can easily store 3 months of food in most homes and even apartments, we have quite a bit behind a bookcase. Though how much you store depends on your circumstances. As a rule of thumb it takes about 1 month per $10,000/year in salary/wages to find an equivalent paying job. Once you get near the 1 year mark it becomes cheaper to look at storing long term storage staples like: wheat, white rice (brown has too much oil in it), beans & peas and pasta.

Water is also very important but is very heavy. A 55 gallon drum will do for a family of 3 but will weigh about 800 pounds. Even if you put it on the floor in the basement it is a good idea to put something under it like a small pallet to protect the barrel. I think it is better to have several smaller more portable containers and a good water purifier, a pitcher filter isn't the same thing. A camping/hunting store is a good place to get those.