I cover a lot of general food considerations in this video. Watch the video for yourself, and then read on at the bottom. I’ve added a few details and thoughts to expand on the video. If I did it all on YouTube it would be half an hour long!
Salt is a healthy part of our diet, whether you know it or not. Sure, there are several risks of sodium intake if you aren’t of average health, but your average healthy human being is recommended a minimum of 500mg a day. That equates to 3/4 of a teaspoon per day. Your average human consumes around 3,500 mg per day between what is in their food already, in their drinks, and of course put on food to season for individual taste. If your kidneys are healthy, even excess sodium derived from salt isn’t an issue. Some people range between 250 mg per day up to 30,000 mg per day.
From a survival standpoint, salt is a requirement – not just for food. It’s primary purpose is that it helps the body retain water. Expectant mothers are advised by their doctors to be sure to get enough salt daily. Experienced hikers know the dangers of dehydration and always carry it with them to help them rehydrate and combat hypothermia.
You already know how to go to the store and pickup table salt in packets, small boxes, 2 lb round containers, or even in shakers, but if you’d like to take my advice from the video and save a LOT of money and a LOT of room in your pantry, check out a salt block. You can get them from your local feed store, such as Tractor Supply.
Food Storage Considerations
Once again, each of your storage goals will be different than mine and different than each other’s. That’s ok, but let’s spend a minute and figure out how much storage you’re going to need.
There’s a LOT of science behind it and you can get lost in the science if you’re not careful. Let’s just try to use some common sense so you can get started. You can always research the topic in detail later, but meantime you’ll have some food stocked away for a rainy day.
I quickly learned there were two factors above all others that influence my family’s food preparation plans; cost and storage space.
Cost is an obvious one. I’m going to assume you don’t have a disposable income. I certainly don’t! All those nice “buy 1 year of food storage” ads you see wholesale food websites is a joke. If I had $8,000 to spend, I certainly wouldn’t drop it on one order of food!
There are three main ways my wife and I have shopped for food prep, and you’ll probably find yourself rotating through this same cycle from time to time without even knowing it.
- The Tortoise Method – Slow and steady wins the race. This is how most people start out, and how I recommend starting out. If you can’t afford a line-item in your budget of $100 a month to set aside for extra food, then start with simply a few set items on your list. I’d suggest starting with things with a long shelf life, such as rice, beans, boullion, canned soup, canned vegetables. Start with things you can afford and do some bargain shopping. If you simply pick up two individual items each time you visit the grocery store, you’d have a decent amount in a year and you won’t have felt the financial impact on your budget.
- The Hare Method – Get it all as fast as you can! If you can afford to get $500 worth of food at the drop of a hat, that’s awesome, but ask yourself this: Can you eat that much that fast? Remember, the food you buy WILL have a shelf life. Having 300 pounds of rice all bought at the same time means it’s all going to expire right about the same time. Buying it slower and in smaller amounts lets you rotate through it. Let’s say I want to have 50 pounds of rice on hand. When I get 55 pounds, I rotate the oldest rice out of the pantry and into the kitchen pantry, so it can be used before going bad. Could you imagine being forced to make the decision to either eat 50 cans of spam or throw it all out because you couldn’t use it fast enough in normal life and it’s about to go bad?
- The Lazy Susan – This is what preppers are bad for; they get on tangents, wild hares, and get working on one aspect of preparation at the expense of another. You’ll notice you didn’t buy a single piece of food in the last three months, but you’ve got a new EDC bag, new firearm, couple tents, and now you’re into camping and playing with your gear. That’s great… but KEEP A SCHEDULE and stick to a budget.
Scheduling Expenses Matters!
Here’s how I keep myself from getting in trouble with my wife when it comes to money. Pay attention fellas.
She does the food. We agree on the things we want to keep on-hand and she remembers to pick that up a little at a time when she’s at the store. Perfect. One more thing off my personal to-do list.
I budget for the other stuff.
- Guns- these are expensive, so I set aside a few dollars a month in a savings account.
- Gear – some items like bug out bags CAN be expensive, others not so much. I consider a cheap one to be about $65 used from a military surplus store. My Titan pack is about $200. I might could pick up the rifleman’s pack on a saturday at a flea market, but I had to save for the Titan pack for quite awhile.
- I put all my stuff on an Amazon list, whether I can buy it on Amazon or not. This just puts it all in once place. If I have $50 saved at the end of a month or so, I can either wait to save more to buy that nice bag, or I can go ahead and purchase a flashlight and a few packs of rechargeable batteries now. Whichever is more important to me, based on the quantities I already have wins and that’s what I get that particular time.
I cover MRE’s and Coast Guard rations in detail in a later video post, but they’re breifly mentioned here in the introduction.
What ARE MRE’s? It’s a military acronym that stands for “Meals Ready to Eat.” If you’re interested n getting some for your food pantry, you can find them on Amazon here.