Survival Food Preparation: 7 Best Methods

Remember Hurricane Irma? Thousands of people were in a survival food crisis as a result of that nasty storm, which hit several locations, including Florida in September 2017.

Irma was a Category 5 hurricane, and the largest storm the Atlantic had seen since Wilma in 2005. Then came Hurricane Maria, right behind Irma, and she was also a Category 5.

These storms caused mass destruction in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and in the Florida Keys. People were suffering without food, water, and shelter in these areas. Relief efforts have been trying to pick up the pieces and rehabilitate the devastation put on these areas.

However, there was a public outcry wondering this: “Why weren’t we prepared?

The truth is, being responsible for your safety should be placed on you! You are the person who is in a dangerous situation. The people who prepared a storm shelter filled with non-perishables and generators are currently in the best shape.

Too often, in a disaster situation, people rely on the government to ensure their protection. The country has an obligation to protect its citizens, but the citizens also have the ability to be prepared in case the country falters.

This means learning about sustainability, gardening, homesteading, storm proof shelters, canning, dehydrating, and harvesting food. This work takes time, which means it’s best to be ready and educated in advance of any unforeseeable danger.

In any survival situation, the three things to seek out are shelter, food, and water. On television, people are shown eating raw, rotting, and unsafe food to survive. All of that is completely unnecessary.

Here are some survival food techniques for a full stomach with decent menu options:

Survival Food Tip 1: Hunting and Fishing

First steps for hunting: Are they safe to eat? How to kill them humanely? How should I prepare the meat to avoid getting sick?

For a lot of reasons, hunting is actually not the most efficient way to sustain yourself as it requires a lot of time and energy that may not be available in a survival situation. The easiest survival food method is fishing, as it only requires descaling the fish and putting it over the fire. Here is a quick and easy step-by-step for filleting a fish (VIDEO BELOW).


  1. Cut down along the head until you touch bone
  1. Now cut along the body cavity belly side
  1. Skim along the fin rays where the bone is attached and cut from the back
  1. Press knife down, bending the blade, to get all the meat from the bone
  1. Run the knife along the bone to pull the rest of the meat on that side off the fish
  1. Watch the video to learn how to cut the skin off, although that is optional

Quick Tip: Fish Recipe

In a survival situation, there may not be time to go overboard on the gourmet meals. That being said, dried seasoning is lightweight and a great addition to any meal. This video is a fish recipe from Cabela’s, one of the best outdoor retailer options available.

1. Put the fillet on the tin foil

2. Add seasoning of choice

3. Add citrus of choice

4. Oil of choice

5. Wrap it all up

6. Place over the fire

7. Take out of the fire when cooked to taste

Survival Food Tip 2: Canned Products

Canned products are a great solution for survival food in an emergency situation. They last long and cook easy over the fire. Open the can to ventilate and put on the edge of the fire. Wait about five minutes and the food should be good to go. Paired with a re-usable utility utensil, this is a simple way to stay full!

For sustained energy, consider grabbing bulk amounts of canned fish, chicken, and beans. The canned vegetables you stock might not reflect the vegetables you are used to eating. Canned vegetables last long, are easy to cook, and are packed with nutrients essential for survival.

In a survival situation, limiting waste is extremely useful. Canned products are a savior for survival food because cans can be reused for tea, broths, to cook meat in, etc. Just about anything can be cooked in a can, making this one of the better methods for survival food. Just make sure a hand cloth is nearby and a good stick to pull the can out. It will be extremely hot!

Smart survivalists will not only pack a pantry full of goods. They will learn to grow a garden and can the produce to preserve it for the winter. The trick is to be sure the canning has been done correctly, or else bacteria could start to rot the produce and, if eaten, could cause serious health problems. The idea is to place the produce in an acidic environment, and prevent any air from being in the can by boiling. An example of this are pickles!

Watch this video from Linda’s Pantry to see how she canned apple pie filling. Aside from a clear benefit of survival food, this also has the benefit of being a great Christmas gift!

One downside to cans: In a survival situation that requires traveling on foot, cans are a heavy option.

Survival Food Tip 3: Dehydrated Survival Food

There are three methods for dehydrating food. Using a dehydrator, the oven, or the sun. Let’s assume the electricity turned off or is completely unavailable. Here is how to build a solar dehydrator.

To prepare in advance with the use of electricity, here is a tutorial for dehydrating survival food using an oven. Don’t let those garden vegetables go to waste!

Dehydrating food is an easy way to prepare survival food that is both delicious and nutritious! This is one of the best ways to keep backpacks light with easy to prepare meals.

Quick Tip: Dehydrated Rice Bowl

A lot of food is already dehydrated and can be easily found at any grocery store (i.e rice, quinoa, pasta, ramen, etc). In a pot, boil a carb of choice with the dried seasoning. After a couple minutes add dehydrated vegetables to the mix. When the water is near absorbed, pull the pot off the fire and fluff with a fork until cool. This can serve as a main course or as a side to whatever meat is on hand. The key to survival food is energy rich ingredients!

Dehydrated fruit and mixed nuts are a great energy boosting snack! Bulk up on these pantry products to prepare for any survival situation.

Survival Food Tip 4: Freeze Dried Foods

This time it’s not just for astronauts! Freeze drying is another method that is just as lightweight as dehydrated foods.

In comparison, freeze dried foods do take up a bit more space but are more flavorful, take less time to rehydrate, and have more nutritional content. The process of freeze drying is rapidly freezing food and then vacuum sealing it. It is possible to freeze dry food at home but the equipment is expensive, which is why most survivalists and backpackers will purchase freeze dried foods.

Still interested in purchasing freeze drying equipment? Watch this video to learn more about the process.

Survival Food Tip 5: Prepping Lists

Grocery stores only have about three days’ worth of food for a community. A full pantry can last years for a family. If everyone were prepared, disasters would cost less lives.

For everything you may need in a natural disaster, The Red Cross recommends:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
  • Flashlight
  • Hand Crank Radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit [Available on the Red Cross Store]
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket [Available on the Red Cross Store]
  • Map(s) of the area

Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit.

Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener

Additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

People who have at least two weeks of survival food stored in a pantry are already ahead of 95% of the population. Use ingredients that would already be purchased and used so nothing goes to waste. As discussed, canned and dried ingredients are best for survival food.

Here is a quick and easy list of things to stock the pantry with. List supplied by “City Prepping”.

  • Pasta
  • Oats
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Nuts
  • Canned jams and fruit
  • Canned soup
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned meat
  • Powdered milk
  • Cereal
  • Peanut butter
  • Pancake mix
  • Honey and syrup
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • Coffee and tea
  • Salsa
  • Hot sauce
  • Seasoning
  • Packaged meals
  • Water storage

Survival Food Tip 6: Growing a Garden

They also recommend starting a garden! This is a clear advantage of sustainability. Having a garden going provides fresh produce to eat now or can for later.

Overall, the idea is to follow these basic steps for a successful garden:

  1. Get rich soil and fertilizers for the garden bed
  2. Choose plants that will survive well in the climate
  3. Research best methods for caring for each plant
  4. Have the right tools needed for the job
  5. Maintain the garden and keep away pests
  6. Prep the garden for the following year!

Every plant grows differently, so be sure to research the following conditions for each plant:

  • Sunlight exposure
  • Amount of water needed
  • Signs of decay
  • Space needed
  • Average time to maturity

Gardens can be temperamental and depend on the location, sunlight, soil, water conditions, and much more. Easy plants to start with are tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, salad greens, carrots, green beans, and zucchini.  They live in most conditions and require the least maintenance. Test these out and then start to experiment with more types of plants, garden bed styles, soil types, etc.

Survival Food Tip 7: Stay Informed

The best thing that can be done to ensure survival is stay informed. Spend time reading and trying out new methods for survival.

Figure out what risks are largest in every location. For example, blizzards in the northeast, hurricanes in the southeast, tornados in the Midwest, and forest fires in the west coast. Knowing that risks to prepare for is an important part of the survival plan.

Read up and subscribe to blogs that are applicable and serve as a trustworthy source of information. When purchasing products online, read the consumer reviews to get the best product for the lowest price. Don’t be left behind in a blizzard with a sleeping bag that has poor insulation!

The way to keep on this regimen of prepping survival food is prepare food that the family likes. Don’t waste time canning and purchasing foods that won’t be enjoyable. There are plenty of great recipes out there for everyone from homesteading and Amish cookbooks.

Try out these methods to prepare survival food and learn how to keep preparing food without electricity. In addition, do some of your own research. You’d be surprised by what you can find and what recipes you can prepare in advance. Not only is prepping a fun hobby, but it could save your life!


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