- General Thoughts
- Getting Started
- Meals Ready To Eat (MRE)
- Canned Food
- Long Term Bulk Storage
- Super Pail Resupply Caches
- Pressure Canning
- Hygiene & Food Safety
If a disaster strikes, the most dangerous place to be will be at Stuff-Mart, gas stations, and grocery stores (if they are even open). You need to have your emergency supplies stocked up prior to the emergency.
Military (or civilian equivalent) MREs are fine for your recommended 72 hours worth of supplies (as discussed in Savannah Arsenal’s Bunker Down or Bug Out? page and Gear page). Plan on two per person per day. They are very filling and are high in calories. Canned food as well as freeze-dried food will work great too.
If you live in a geographical area where you could expect an emergency situation in which it might take more than three days for rescue/relief to arrive then you will need to stockpile easy to store and easy to cook foods (canned, dry, freeze-dried). Be sure to store food for your pets.
Mark the expiration date on the front of food packaging with a fat Sharpie marker. It makes it easy to see upcoming expiration dates so that you can rotate your stored food back into your main pantry prior to expiration. If you have stockpiled food items that you do not plan on rotating back into your pantry, donate them to your local charitable food bank when they are within six months of expiration and replace ASAP.
Assuming the power is out, plan on eating whatever you can from the freezer and refrigerator first, followed by what is in the pantry, then your stockpiled canned/dry/freeze-dried items. Save your MRE’s until you really need them. Their convenient size will come in handy should you decide to become mobile and bug out.
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- Learn basic cooking skills.
- Buy what you eat, eat what you store.
- Start stockpiling food.
- Rotate your stocked food supply.
- Know the different types of expiration dates.
- Consider storing MREs.
- Store dehydrated and freeze-dried food.
- Decide how much food to store.
- Buy staples in bulk and learn how to store them for the long-term.
- Overcome the enemies of food storage.
- Learn to sprout seeds and beans.
- Learn to cook lentils and beans.
- Learn basic canning methods.
- Learn to make bread from scratch.
- Start an inexpensive container garden.
- Start your own seeds.
- Start a garden in a small space.
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Meals Ready To Eat (MRE):
- Camping-Survival’s FAQ’s about MREs
- MREinfo.com’s Guide to Military MREs
- MREinfo.com’s Guide to Civilian MREs
- MREinfo.com’s Guide to Buying MREs
- MREinfo.com’s Guide to MRE Shelf Life
- MRE dairy shake recall information
The MEAL, READY-TO-EAT (MRE) is a self-contained ration efficiently packaged for United States military serve members. MREs are typically consumed in field conditions when organized food facilities are not available.
MREs are shipped in 12-pack cardboard cases and have a choice of 24 entrees with 150 additional supplements. Plan on leaving your MREs in their shipping cases until you need them. Important packaging and freshness information is stamped on the case.
MREs are perfect for your 72 Hour Box. Plan on at least two per person per day. They are very filling and are high in calories.
Contents of Typical US Military MREs:
- Entree – the main course, such as Spaghetti or Beef Stew
- Side dish – rice, corn, fruit, or mashed potatoes, etc.
- Cracker or Bread
- Spread – peanut butter, jelly, or cheese spread
- Dessert – cookies or pound cakes
- Candy – M&Ms, Skittles, or Tootsie Rolls
- Beverages – Gatorade-like drink mixes, cocoa, dairy shakes, coffee, tea
- Hot sauce or seasoning – in some MREs
- Flameless Ration Heater – to heat up the entree
- Accessories – spoon, matches, creamer, sugar, salt, chewing gum, toilet paper, etc.
MRE Packaging & Manufacture Date Markings:
The packaging date of a military case MREs is stamped on the shipping packaging. To the right of the packaging date is a four digit number. The first digit is the year of manufacture. The next three digits are the number day of the year on the Gregorian calendar. Looking at the photo to the right you can see that in addition to packing date of 10/03/07 there is a four digit manufacturing code of 7276. These were made on the 276th day of 2007.
To find out the manufacture date and whether or not your MREs are still guaranteed fresh, go to MREinfo.com and look for the MRE Date Checker Calculator at the bottom left-hand side of the web page. You will need the four digit manufacturing date code and the approximate average temperature that the MREs have been stored.
MRE Shelf Life:
Officially, how long MREs last depends on how long and at what temperatures they are stored. At a minimum, they should last 1 month when stored at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius). Or they could last 5 years at 50 °F (10 °C). Shown right is the most current time and temperature chart as of 2010 (thanks to www.readymeal.com ).
MRE Time and Temperature Indicator:
MRE cases have also included something called a TTI (time and temperature indicator) on the outside of the box to assist inspectors in determining if MREs are still good. There are two parts to the TTI – an outer dark circle and an inner light circle. As long as the inner circle is still lighter than the outside circle, the MREs are supposed to be good.
Slang Names For MREs:
- Happy Meal” (as in from McDonald’s)
- Mr. E or “mystery”
- Meals Rejected by Everyone
- Meals Rarely Edible
- Meals Rejected by the Enemy
- Meal Ready to Expel
- Materials Resembling Edibles
- Meals Rejected by Ethiopians.
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Long Term Bulk Storage:
- Off Grid Survival’s Five Common Food Storage Mistakes
- Off Grid Survival’s Fifty-Six Food Supplies From The Store
- SurvivalistBoards.com’s Five Survival Foods Prep
- SurvivalistsBoards.com’s Storing Bisquick
- SurvivalistsBoards.com’s Do It Yourself Food Storage Basics
- SurvivalistsBoards.com’s Food Storage
- Survivalistboards.com’s Top 12 Items For Long-Term Food Storage
- Survivieonstorage.com’s Long Term Food Storage
- Momprepares.com’s Bulk Food Storage in Five Gallon Buckets
- Emergency Food Supplies: Store What You Eat, Eat What You Store
How Much Will This Hold?
Here is a handy list of food storage container sizes and quantities if you are trying to determine how much of a given product will fit.
- 1 gallon container = 7 lbs. wheat, rice or sugar
- 1 gallon container = 5 lbs. flour or powdered milk
- 1 gallon container = 4 lbs. dry macaroni
- 1 gallon container = 3 lbs. potato flakes, oatmeal or instant milk
- 5 gallon bucket = 35 lbs. wheat, beans, rice or sugar
- 5 gallon bucket = 25 lbs. powdered milk or flour
- 5 gallon bucket = 20 lbs. dry macaroni
- 5 gallon bucket = 15 lbs. potato flakes, oatmeal, or instant milk
- 55 gallon drum = 400 lbs. wheat, beans, rice, or sugar
- 55 gallon drum = 275 lbs. powdered milk or flour
- 55 gallon drum = 225 lbs. dry macaroni
- 55 gallon drum = 160 lbs. potato flakes, oatmeal, or instant milk
Food Storage in Mylar Bags and Five Gallon Buckets:
Submitted by hummer556: Are you interested in saving money on long term food storage? We all can do it. Sure you can buy rice from Augason Farms or a similar company. They are charging $39.85 for a 28lb bucket of rice. What if I told you how to get 35lb bucket for about $15? That’s 70lb’s of rice for $10 less than the 28lbs from Augason Farms. This is how you do it.
Online 5 gallon buckets go for about $5 + shipping. Don’t buy them online! The bakery at Wal-Mart gets cake icing in 5 gallon buckets. After the icing is gone, they just throw the buckets away. I just picked up five, 5-gallon buckets from WalMart for free, and I have another five on order to pick up. That is a savings of at least $50.
Online I found Amazon has 10 Mylar bags and 10 oxygen absorbers for $22.99. An order of $25 has free shipping, so I picked up a pack water treatment tablets I needed for the free shipping. Sam’s Club has a 50lb bag of rice for $17.16.
I’ve seen online that you should put 35 pounds of rice in a 5-gallon bucket.
5-gallon bucket plus 5- Gallon Mylar bag plus 2,000 cc oxygen absorber plus 35 pounds of rice from Sam’s Club equals a total of $15.03.
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Super Pail Resupply Caches:
Super Pails are intended as resupply caches. They are simply the same type of five gallon plastic buckets used for your long-term food storage and are filled with food and survival items. They are can be used for your own resupply, to trade or barter for other needed supplies and gear, or stashed in remote locations just in case. They are easily portable and will carry enough food to provide several meals for two or three people. When the buckets are emptied they can be used as a stool or to transport water.
After filling the five gallon bucket with the cache contents, attach the lid, turn the bucket upside down, and use bathroom caulk to seal around the lid.
On each perishable item use a Sharpie marker to label its expiration date so that it is easy to read and you will not have to go looking for it.
Tape an itemized list of the contents, including their expiration dates, on the outside of the food cache.
Suggested Super Pail Contents:
- canned food
- Pop Tarts
- granola bars
- can opener
- plastic wear
- bottled water
- instant coffee
- condiment packs
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From Hummer556:It’s nice to know what’s in your food and where it came from. That’s the great thing about growing your food. If you are like me, I can only have a small garden at my home. This limits the volume and variety of things that I can grow. This is where the local farmers market comes in. Buying in bulk at the market can save over time. Since I can’t eat what I buy in bulk all at once, I started canning.
I went to the market and picked up a 32 pound box of asparagus for $50. Including the cost of the jars that’s a savings of $66. Looking at the numbers, after the first year of canning my savings covered the cost of my canning equipment. From here on out I’m in the green. By doing this I save money and have good food on hand.