We’ve all been there. Struggling to get enough in our larders and homes to make us feel like we can survive a month, a year, or 5 years in an emergency situation, but we forget the simple things. Like a room full of canned meat and vegetables, but don’t have a manual can opener. Or we buy 5 years’ worth of grain but have no way to grind it to make it useable. Or buy gas for our cars, but forget to store it properly and it goes bad.
Top 10 Most Common Emergency Food Fails
So… let’s talk about these.
#1 – Wheat but not grinder: what’s the point of all that grain if you can’t actually use it? You should have a backup method or 2 for grinding.
#2 – Storing Flour: not only flour, but most open food does not store well when not in airtight containers. Whether you opt for mylar or other ways of doing it, food must be kept from the elements – including air and light, to last a long time.
#3 – Garden: This is so right. Planting now not only helps you build your food storage, it also gives you practice before it’s completely necessary. It also lets you build healthier plants that are perennial. You also get a chance to learn before you need it.
#4 – Storing Cans: ideally, you want to store your cans in controlled environments. Not in the garage where there is no temperature control. Your garage heats up much more than your house, and those hot temps can ruin food. Also, humidity in an uncontrolled environment can lead to rust.
#5 – Low-Quality Food: any low-quality food will not be as nutritious or as good as quality food. This graphic is by a company selling high-quality freeze-dried food 🙂
#6 – Heavy Food: Again, this is a food company trying to sell you freeze-dried foods 🙂 But it’s true – stocking only food that you can’t really bug out with is not a great thing. So make sure you’re layering for all needs, not just one.
#7 – Storage plan: well, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with loading the underneath of your bed with food 🙂 However, not having a plan on where and how you’ll store can lead to food waste if you’re not able to track and rotate your food properly.
#8 – Hybrid vs Heirloom: In most cases, hybrid seeds are made to give you pretty crops, and make you have to buy the package again the next year. They are asexual plants that can’t always produce seeds that will be useful the next year.
Plus, they can be genetically modified as well as contain growth hormones you may not want in your produce. Using heirloom seeds from organic suppliers (or collecting your own each year) gives you a greater variety of products that you can produce year after year.
Water Storage for Emergency Mistakes
#9/#10 – Water Storage: while I disagree that water can’t last forever (because water can last a long time. It might lose ‘flavor’ so to speak, but can be reoxygenated by simply shaking it up in an open container, pouring between two containers over and over again for a minute or two, and anything else that you can do to put oxygen back into – it’s what the stale taste is in water that’s been stored a long time.
But be smart about WHAT you store your water in. Clean containers that are meant to be stored. Doing it in milk jugs is a HUGE disadvantage for you. Not only do you have to worry about the milk sugars and proteins that may not have cleaned out properly which will cause bacterial buildup, but the plastic milk jugs are also in is purposefully made to degrade quickly!
You’ll end up with more water on the floor due to leaks than you will in your jugs to drink.
What other food mistakes can you think of?
Emily as an MFA in creative writing and a strong passion for cooking! She started trying out her mother’s recipes from a very young age, turning the time she spent in the kitchen into a career. She will soon publish her very first cookbook, and in her free time, Emily contributes to our blog with resources for all our readers, whether beginners or advanced chefs.