FAQ: Optimizing food storage needs for Preppers

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The idea that there is a single “Best Prepper Food” is a somewhat myopic view of preparation and food storage generally. There are plenty of foods that could compete for such a title. 

Here are some quick concepts about how to pick the best prepper food:

Calorie density is super important but it’s not the only thing

If you were deciding on the best survival food- that may be a better characteristic for comparing food options. In a survival situation calorie density is FAR more important than just about anything, EXCEPT actual access to the food/source.

Shelf long, longevity or ability to be stored is a characteristic that probably outweighs calorie density in choosing prepper food

That is: If you had to rely on a single most important aspect it’s having food when you need it, but in abundance, and with nutrition intact. Shelf stable, or otherwise storable or renewable food options are a key factor when evaluating food as a choice for a prepper specific food.

Food that you will be able to carry, eat easily, and get a maximum amount of nutrition out of

If you need extra water to reconstitute your food, it’s less interesting as a bulk food source – unless you have renewable access to safe and abundant water supplies. Additionally, if a food loses significant nutrition over time, it doesn’t make sense to have it on the shelf. Some foods go rancid quickly (think oils and fats that are not otherwise stabilized). Similarly, you may not have the same nutrition density from food stored in a 10 year old can of vegetables, compared to a frozen vegetable or a garden grown fresh vegetable in a prepper situation. Plan accordingly.

Furthermore, if your “bug-in” situation turns into a “bug out” situation, you will need to be able to move that food supply easily, or have enough available to take and go. Do you have a trailer to carry it? Is it in stackable buckets? Have you done a test run with your food to see how many days/weeks/months of food you could bug out with? Sometimes picking the best prepper food is about variables other than the food. 

MRE’s are popular because they have great shelf life and they are easy to pack, with good calorie density for the size. The problem is that they are a single meal for a lot of space compared to some other options, and they are pricey. They are a good middle ground, but sometimes you need to layer your planning.

Cost is another factor – But will you be comfortable with just beans and rice?

Having enough water to be able to rely on dried food with shelf stability like dried legumes and rice is an interesting concept. It allows you a lot of caloric density and good shelf space optimization for those calories. But the lack of variety is going to have you wishing you planned better. These types of bulk foods offer excellent stop gaps, while you prepare seasonal gardens or work on husbandry with domesticating meat, milk, or egg animals. 

So while you can save some money, and get some better shelf space optimization for bulk calories, having something you will want to eat and which provides enough nutrient diversification is important too. 

Canned foods offer premium optimization for diversity, but may not have the same flavors you are used to

Variety is helped with today’s modern canning and bottling options – you can find canned fish, caviar, and specialty foods including things like whole chickens or duck confit on the shelf. You can even find canned dairy or cheese and butter that is extremely shelf stable over at least several years. 

Canned foods have come a long way and definitely have a place in your optimal food storage program.

Optimizing your selection and Planning for the best Prepper Foods – for you and your use case

And that’s kind of the point when finding the best prepper foods

A combination of foods, and a layered approach upon the backdrop of strategic planning around your personal preferences is important for fully realizing the best prepper foods. 

You’ll want a mix of the following:

  • Dried foods, freeze-dried foods and the water storage or sources to match for complete ability to reconstitute them – without abundant water they are generally useless (with a few exceptions)
  • Canned foods that offer variety – with the ability to help with water content to improve overall storage optimization and make your life easier
  • Having seeds, garden space, experience in gardening and ability to produce based on your location is important for freshness, variety and bulk calorie needs. Do you have to plan for water on this front as well?
  • Are you also prioritizing water storage?
  • Do you have fruit trees that are stable and mature?
  • Do you have egg-laying or milk producing animals available to you?
  • Grains are easier to store than to grow and produce – plan accordingly – they are also the best calorie delivery system for the storage space in most cases, and usually the cheapest storage option. 
  • Are you planning for actual needs? The average human needs more than 1500 calories to maintain basic functionality, and under heavier work loads it’s well in excess of 2000 calories on a daily basis

Additionally remember the following:

  • Can you move, use and do you enjoy the food you have stored?
  • Are you prioritizing for the actual need? Like is it about long-term safety storage? Or are you wanting to implement a program that helps you to save money? Or are you planning for survival only? Do you need to plan for specific needs, like dietary restrictions like gluten allergies, or other things?
  • Do you like the food you are storing?
  • Is it cost effective and can you implement your storage to avoid wastage over time?
  • Is your storage safe? From people? Animals? Bugs? Earthquakes? Flooding? Other concerns?

And be sure to check out the more complete article about Best Prepper Foods HERE.

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