Emergency Foods - TF style! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Even without all these earthquakes happening everywhere around the world these days, DH and I have been trying to figure out how to put together emergency foods that are real foods. Since you're supposed to rotate your emergency foods, I want it to be something we'd actually eat on a semi-regular basis. Here are my thoughts so far. I'd love if you'd add yours. I'll even be politically correct and go by food groups:

Dairy: Meyenberg goat milk products - I'm specifically looking at the powdered milk. It's the only milk powder I've found that is whole milk, and it's hormone and antibiotic free even though there are vitamins added. We could use it for travel to rotate our stock, and if we have an infant around, I know it's not a suitable formula, but if something happened to me, it could make do for a few days since it's closer to breast milk. Does anybody know if it would work for milk kefir or continuously culturing yogurt?

Grains: many options for organic grain suppliers, and we've got a grain mill, so that shouldn't be a problem, and rotating our stock shouldn't be a problem either if we just buy more of what we use. Soaking shouldn't be a problem if we've got yogurt or kefir or if we want to buy some extra vinegar. The only problem is cooking if we don't have power. We're looking at solar ovens. Does anybody have one they like?

Fruits and vegetables: My best bet that I've found so far has been justtomatoes. They have a pretty good supply of dried and freeze dried fruits and vegetables. I'm concerned about vitamin C, though. A lot is lost through conventional drying, and since all their packages are clear plastic, I wonder how much nutrition is lost in light. I think their fruits are freeze dried, which loses less nutrition, and maybe I could take the bags of fruit powders and store them in a dark place. The vegetables could easily be eaten as snacks or in soups and sauces, and the fruits would be great to flavor yogurt from time to time. Does anybody have a good source for organic potatoes?

Meat/Beans/Nuts/Seeds: This is where I'm having the hardest time. Emergency Essentials sells freeze dried meat that is supposed to have all its nutrition, but it's conventional meat, I'm sure. The only organic freeze dried meat I can find is organic organ meats for dogs and cats... Would they be fit for human consumption too? Does anyone have a great jerky supplier or jerky recipe? I know that's TF, but how much nutrition is lost? Beans are great, but soaking them in an emergency would be a big waste of water. Same with nuts, and I'm not sure how well seeds would store before their oils go rancid.

TF Fats: ghee and coconut oil are both shelf stable for a long time. Anybody have any other favorites?
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#2 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 06:39 PM
 
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Oo, great topic! I've been wanting to ask about this for ages and always forget.

DH and I used to have a great pantry going, but the bulk of the calories were things like pasta. I am feeling very strongly about restocking it with more TF-type foods as soon as possible. That goat milk powder sounds pretty good, considering. Thanks for the idea!

As for fats, I have read numerous places about canning butter -- margarine and other butter substitutes were never an option for us. I haven't tried it and there's some dissent about whether it's actually safe or not. The USDA certainly doesn't seem to think so, but then, um, I do a lot of things they wouldn't like... raw eggs, anyone?

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#3 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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We have and have used Red Feather canned butter. It's pretty good.
And as for meats, we have gotten canned from the same place we got the butter and we also have some of the dehydrated. Both conventional. Both I wouldn't want to use regularly.
I have dehydrated organic mushrooms when Kroger marks them down. Really easy and works well.

How about making good quality jerky?
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#4 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 09:36 PM
 
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We don't have a lot of emergency supplies atm. (I mean, water, and we might get by for a few days with the food we have, but most of our food that can store is dried grains and beans.)

My take on it is that in an emergency, you'll have a lot more to worry about than TF. Eating the best you can is important. If it's a short emergency (power outage for a couple days) then eating as TF as you can would be great. If it is an emergency on the scale of devestation of the earthquake in haiti, quite frankly I'm not sure setting by TF emergency food is that important, most important would be insuring your and your families survival, which might mean relying on worse food for a while, kwim? (If you could set aside TF food, that's great, for sure, I'm just thinking that it's not nessicarily the highest emergency prep priority)

In terms of vit. c, how about dried mung beans? yes they take a lot of water, but supposing you have enough safe water (and it's a long term emergency that requires you to have emergency vit c), sprouting them is easy, and provides plenty of vit. c.

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#5 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
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My concern with canning is that I've heard that a lot of nutrition is lost. I'm also not adventerous enough to steam can non-acidic stuff. Does anybody have any information on how much nutrition is lost in steam canning? Maybe I should really look into getting a steam canner and canning my own fruits and pickled vegetables.

Does anybody have a good jerky recipe? Most of the nitrate-free stuff wants to be refrigerated. I did dry and encapsulate my placenta, though. Maybe if meat was dried that well, so that it could be ground up, meat powder could be sprinkled on stuff. Any ideas on the nutrient quality of that?
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#6 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Magelet, we crossposted. You're right that eating TF isn't that important in an emergency. I wouldn't expect relief food that would come to be TF. At the same time, I don't want to buy a whole lot of emergency foods that I'd never plan on eating. The only foods I keep around that store easily are grains and beans, and while we could live a while on that, we'd go nutrient deficient pretty quickly. We could always keep around supplements, but again, I don't want to buy stuff I'd (hopefully) never use. Sprouting beans is a good idea for extra vitamin C. We store a good deal of water, and here's a pretty easy way to pasteurize water in an emergency.
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#7 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 10:09 PM
 
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we buy sprouted nuts and trail mixes from here. They have a shelf life of six months (but it doesn't last that long around here), so you'd have to order pretty regularly for food storage...

oh and their trail mixes are delicious!

One thing that I would have in a long term emergency storage plan is dried kefir grains, dried sourdough starter and dried yogurt starter (or whatever else you use for fermenting dairy/grains). I think you can dehydrate a SCOBY too, but not sure how. These pack really easily and can last up to two years under good conditions (but I usually dry some fresh every six months or so). That way, if you are evacuated and can't manage to keep your stuff fermenting away (though it's fairly easy to travel with kefir grains, sourdough and yogurt aren't as friendly), then you have an immediate source for when you're settled again and don't have to wait for shipping (assuming the systems are back up after the emergency is past...).

I would also make sure to have plenty of crackers. I don't know about others, but crackers are a sort of comfort food for me and it's nice to know there is something easy to munch on (otherwise, I'd be munching on chips).

Anyway, my priority would be on stuff that is easily packable because in an emergency, we are definitely leaving the city and going to the country (DH has a lot of relatives in very rural areas). If we had our own land, then I'd think more in terms of permanent food storage.
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#8 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Having easily packable stuff would be good just in case we need to get out of town. That's part of why I'd consider dried stuff before canned. I've got a back-up yogurt starter, and I haven't gotten into kefir yet. Do you have any information on how to back up your sourdough starter? Yes, this would (maybe someday will) all be easier with some land where vegetables can be stored in the root cellar, and if we need some meat, we head out back to get whichever chicken has been causing problems recently.
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#9 of 20 Old 04-20-2010, 07:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by JMJ View Post
Having easily packable stuff would be good just in case we need to get out of town. That's part of why I'd consider dried stuff before canned. I've got a back-up yogurt starter, and I haven't gotten into kefir yet. Do you have any information on how to back up your sourdough starter? Yes, this would (maybe someday will) all be easier with some land where vegetables can be stored in the root cellar, and if we need some meat, we head out back to get whichever chicken has been causing problems recently.
Why not just make a new one? I don't see a backup necessary since a new one is so easy to make and you could have a new one in days.
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#10 of 20 Old 04-20-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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I wouldn't expect relief food that would come to be TF. At the same time, I don't want to buy a whole lot of emergency foods that I'd never plan on eating.
This.

We are realistic... our diet wouldn't be 100% in an emergency, especially if the "event" happened near our home and we had to leave or lost our livestock (as opposed to an "event" that just disrupts supplies and utilities, long or short term). We even have a certain amount of $ we spend on things we never plan to eat -- like crappy canned meals -- in the event that we are all very sick or injured and just need calories, and no time/energy to soak beans or whatever else. Realism is one of the most important prep items to have.

Still, I don't want to have a whole lot of (IMO) awful food lying around not ever getting eaten and simply going to waste.

One thing I'm thinking on is just extreme nutrient density + calories. A good supply of FCLO and acerola powder, for example, would go a long way toward filling in the gaps in a more typical emergency pantry diet. Still not ideal, but it might be a good approach. And if you have to evacuate to shelters, for instance, you can just pack up your supplements to go with any emergency relief food and squeak by, as well. Just a thought.

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#11 of 20 Old 04-21-2010, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
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bluebirdmamma, that's true, but ours has sentimental value too. It was our first "pet" that we started when we were engaged and crazy and knew nothing about sourdough. It even has a name.... OK, yes, we are crazy!

APBTlover, I'm working on my freezer soup supply in case of sickness. I probably don't have quite enough for a week for all of us, but I'm getting close. I figure that's the time we'd need the nutrients most. Thankfully, we're all pretty healthy. There's only been one day in the past year that I was sick enough that I couldn't really take care of things, and my DH and DD never got it! Yay for CLO!
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#12 of 20 Old 04-21-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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Why not just make a new one? I don't see a backup necessary since a new one is so easy to make and you could have a new one in days.
Sometimes it's easier than others. I love my sourdough starter (but it doesn't have a name, I never found one that "stuck"), it's mellow (we don't like sour sourdough), very vigorous, and revives great if I leave it in the fridge too long . There's no way I'd want to risk creating a new one in an unstable situation and finding the wild yeasties are just not friendly (I've started some sourdough before and didn't like the taste based on the location).

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One thing I'm thinking on is just extreme nutrient density + calories. A good supply of FCLO and acerola powder, for example, would go a long way toward filling in the gaps in a more typical emergency pantry diet. Still not ideal, but it might be a good approach. And if you have to evacuate to shelters, for instance, you can just pack up your supplements to go with any emergency relief food and squeak by, as well. Just a thought.
That's what I'm thinking too, supplements will only get you so far, but if I could only take one bag for example, it would definitely be filled with supplements rather than food. Although I've never been in a famine situation, my family has faced its share of political/social/natural instability and my mother always had vitamins and cod liver oil stocked up to carry us through. There were times when we didn't have butter for our bread and no idea when the store shelves would have food again but we never had major deficiencies in nutrients.

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APBTlover, I'm working on my freezer soup supply in case of sickness. I probably don't have quite enough for a week for all of us, but I'm getting close. I figure that's the time we'd need the nutrients most. Thankfully, we're all pretty healthy. There's only been one day in the past year that I was sick enough that I couldn't really take care of things, and my DH and DD never got it! Yay for CLO!
One of the things that worries me is power outages. Lately we seem to have power outages that last a week at a time and no deep freeze. I'm actually considering dehydrated meals kind of like what hikers use, anyone done this? My thinking is that even with a power outage it's easy enough to boil water with an alternative method (darn electric stove!), but defrosted and cold meals wouldn't be very tasty (and wouldn't last that long since we have only the one tiny freezer).

Thanks for starting this thread JMJ! This topic has been on my mind a great deal and it's good to finally start at least organizing my thoughts on it.
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#13 of 20 Old 04-21-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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I have a lot of water stored, mostly in empty 5 litre vinegar bottles, that I dump out on the garden and replace every 6 months, late spring and fall.

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We even have a certain amount of $ we spend on things we never plan to eat -- like crappy canned meals -- in the event that we are all very sick or injured and just need calories, and no time/energy to soak beans or whatever else. Realism is one of the most important prep items to have.
We store a bunch of canned goods, tetra paks of milk, shelf-stable lard etc. that my family could eat but really doesn't eat, but might use some of while camping.

I donate the balance of it to the local food bank before the expiry dates and replenish and consider it charity spending. I do a pantry clean in spring and fall when I do the water change over and sort out stuff for donations then.

I home-canned a hundred quarts of sugar-free applesauce from our trees last year, and a couple cases of peaches, too. We have used some for the kids, some in baking, some in smoothies, now that there is just nothing local in season anymore/yet. I have been thinking of it partly as an emergency stash, too, since it serves partly as a canned liquid and is tasty right out of the jar. I think I will plan to can enough to have several cases of home-canned fruit on hand at all times.

I also have some home-canned apple cider and rhubarb juice.

However, I am aware that any emergency that caused us to lose power for an extended period of time in cold weather, or anything like an earthquake (rare where we live) could cause breakage of glass containers.

Storing seeds for sprouting is an awesome idea. I remember reading up on food storage before y2k and coming across an emergency survival system that relied on sprouting stored wheat berries for vitamins etc. as well as grinding them for flour. Never tried it, but it seems like a good plan and the website insisted it was tasty, too! I make bean sprouts a few times every year in late winter. Really should branch out.

The next food appliance purchase will be a food dehydrator. I'm looking forward to playing with one of those. I think dried fruit, jerky, and pemmican-type-foods are pretty traditional and portable. Might make great snacks for outings, too.

ETA

I"d go with coconut oil as a food storage fat, though I usually prefer local butter.

Speaking of shelf-stable, we're almost out of honey! May pick up an extra bucket for storage next time we see the beekeeper.
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#14 of 20 Old 04-22-2010, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I donate the balance of it to the local food bank before the expiry dates and replenish and consider it charity spending. I do a pantry clean in spring and fall when I do the water change over and sort out stuff for donations then.
That's a really good idea. Canned stuff is exactly what the food banks are looking for. It's a win-win situation!
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#15 of 20 Old 04-23-2010, 04:15 AM
 
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I was just reading about this the other day on this blog:

http://nutrition-and-physical-regene...t-in-a-crisis/

Pemmican, Ghee, and Coconut milk were his three suggestions. Interesting!
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#16 of 20 Old 04-25-2010, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, thanks kristicakes! That was quite an interesting read. I had been thinking of jerky as a protein source, but it's really expensive and hard to find in bulk, without nitrates/nitrites, and shelf-stable long term. Pemmican really sounds like an important piece of the puzzle that I hadn't thought of. I'll need to get some and try it to see if I can convince myself to like it. It could be great also for traveling and even being out and about or as something quick to grab and snack on other than cookies! What a great find!
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#17 of 20 Old 05-06-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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awesome thread...i have been wondering exactly this. its good to know there are a couple of things i can order and stock up on

amanda... lovin' my dh since 2004 and mama to dd (3), ds (18 months) and expecting someone new Oct 2010.
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#18 of 20 Old 05-18-2010, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Just an update on checking out some of these ideas.

I tried the powdered goat milk, and it had a pretty bad aftertaste. I also read something about the powdering process doing something bad to the fats. Does anybody else know anything more on this. There's UHT organic milk out there. Which is worse? Can either be used to keep my milk cultures alive in an emergency? We're also looking at shelf-stable cheeses. Does anybody know of any good ones?

I tried the pemmican from US Wellness Meats. Any of the flavors (including the unflavored one) can be gotten used to. I'm actually starting to like them. Unfortunately, they don't take all the water out of the jerky, so it's not considered shelf-stable. I like the temperature at fridge temperature, but it's pretty mushy at room temperature. We're considering making our own, though it sounds pretty labor intensive. I guess most food processers don't do a very good job with the dried meat. I wonder, would our grain mill work for grinding the meat?

We're also looking into what freeze-drying equipment would entail since it could be used to retain pretty close to all the nutrients in most foods. If anybody has any experience with this, please comment.

Our weak point right now (or we could just go paleo in an emergency) is preparing grains without electricity. We're looking into getting a solar oven, but we're also wondering if it is safe to eat uncooked sourdough. Our recipe is just flour, water, starter, olive oil, honey, and salt.
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#19 of 20 Old 12-05-2011, 07:13 PM
 
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I know this is an old thread, but I'm so interested in this!  I got Kerry Ann's ebook at cookingtf.com on real food storage.  I wanted to suggest the powdered coconut milk that Wilderness Family Naturals has.  I too am trying to find the balance between ideal foods and what will work in a true emergency.

 

And I wanted to ask you ladies to stop over at my post here and share a little?

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1338195/food-storeage-emergency-prep-pros-or-non-pros-with-ideas#post_16776706

 

Also, when storing seeds for sprouting, do they need to be kept at a low temperature?  How long are they good for?


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#20 of 20 Old 12-06-2011, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been thinking about reviving this thread as my views on this have been evolving lately.  I woke up in the middle of the night the other night and realized that my cheese monger keeps certain cheeses (raw milk parmigiano reggiano and a couple other similar cheeses) out on the shelf rather than in the refrigerator.  We're now thinking of these cheeses as a better dairy.  We're trying to put together a 3 day portable food supply and a 30-day at home food supply.  This is what we're leaning towards.

 

3-day portable:

-crackers

-nuts

-shelf-stable cheese

-pemmican

-canned seafood

-sun-dried tomatoes

-dried mushrooms

-freeze dried fruits (aim for high Vit. C)

-freeze dried veggies

 

30-day at home: (add the following)

-grains/beans for sprouting

-kefir

-canned coconut milk

-ghee/coconut oil/olive oil

-herbs as natural supplements (especially nettles)

-herbs/spices/salts

-pickled veggies

-raw honey

-apple cider vinegar

-considering some of the ideas from this website such as miso powder

 

The idea would be that it would not need to be stored for a particularly long time (We don't have a cool place to store things in our tiny condo.) because these are all foods that we would eat regularly and just rotate through.

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