Posts Tagged ‘Shelf life’


So you’ve decided to stock up a bit on your next grocery store run? Great! Welcome to the world of prepping. Joking aside, most people don’t even realize that there’s a little ‘prepper’ in all of us. Every time someone feels the need to take advantage of a 10-for-$10 sale or a buy one get one free deal, they’re actually stocking up for the “just in case” scenario. But what a lot of people do for the bargains, preppers do on purpose. While there is some logic to stockpiling grocery items, we do need to address a few concerns:

First, while most grocery-store-grade canned goods have added preservatives, to help with shelf life, most of them are just sodium-based (i.e., salt). This method of food preservation dates back to biblical times when salting was the preferred method for preserving fish for long water voyages. Now, while sealing up the cans helps extend the life of the food way further, it really only lasts about a year from the time that the cans were sealed at the factory before the food begins to break down its raw chemical structure. At this point the food is no longer edible. Unless you’re very diligent about rotating these items, there’s a good chance that they’ll expire long before you can eat them all. And nobody should want to take a chance with tainted food during an emergency.

Second, most canned goods are in a “ready to eat” status which means all you have to do it heat it up and enjoy. With the exception of concentrated soups, most canned food does not require the addition of water to prepare it. This means that you are storing the water with the food. While some might argue that this is a good thing, it could also be the difference between having a couple weeks of food on your shelves and having several months of food. Water takes up A LOT of space. It also weighs a lot. One (US) gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds (8.35 lbs. = 3.79 kg.). Adding that much bulk and weight to your prepper pantry can really take up a lot of space. And when you think about it, isn’t the goal to have as much food on-hand as you can possibly store the bottom line?

Third, while most people who stock up on food, they also plan to have it at their fingertips should the need arise. We can’t ever rule out the need to abandon our fortress of solitude. Bugging out requires a lot of planning. It also can require a lot of food. Grocery store items don’t exactly scream “lightweight and portable”. If you consider a typical bug out scenario you need to assume that most people will have to move their food (along with everything else that they’re taking with them) either up or down stairs and probably into a vehicle of some kind. It makes sense to limit items that already contain moisture to a very, very small amount.

So, what’s the alternative? I doubt most are ready to go out and eat sticks and bugs that they find in their back yard. That’s why my motto, “Always have a plan C” comes into play. Three plans that cover many solutions. Plan A: Have enough ready-to-eat (grocery store sourced, if desired) food on hand for every member of the family for 3 to 5 days. Plan B: If the crisis still exists, you should plan a few days of MRE’s (meals ready to eat) and cook-in-the-pouch meals. While they may not be as tasty as plan A, they are just as nutritious and they require virtually no prep time and very little water. And plan C: If you’ve exhausted the first two, you should have many days’ worth (some would argue years’ worth) of long-term freeze-dried food storage and water on hand.

What, exactly, you should stock for plan C is another story (and another article that we’ll address later). But you should think about how handy you are in the kitchen. And keeping the water stored as a separate item gives you far more versatility than the grocery items. Stabilizing the water in dedicated, sealed containers ensures up to 5 years of freshness before rotation is required.

As you build your stockpile of edible gold, keep preparing for “Plan C”. But make sure that logic follows every step. Consider the worst case scenario and use the logic and reasoning skills that God gave all of us.