Short-Term vs. Long-Term Food Supplies

I imagine there’s a number of you that have been stockpiling food, water and other supplies for many years. I bet even if you’re a novice at this activity, you have some amount of non-perishable food in your stash.

You understand that having a food supply on-hand can be a lifesaver if a disaster occurs for both you and your family.

So I have a question for you…

Do you have a short-term and long-term food stockpile? Do you know the difference?

Knowing the difference between short-term and long-term food supplies can save you in the long run and keep your food from spoiling. Which no one wants to discover when an emergency hits.

Many people use ready-made survival food kits with 25-year shelf lives for their long-term storage and put together their own short-term supplies with shorter shelf lives.

And that brings up an interesting point. It’s a very good idea to keep your short-term and long-term food stockpiles separate.

Short-term food supplies

Short-term emergency foods can be as simple as increasing the quantities of some staple or nonperishable foods you and your family already have on-hand. It should include foods that require no refrigeration, minimal or no preparation or cooking, and little or no water.

If you are storing food for a short-term scenario, such as a brief power outage, focus on food items and meals that can be stored for a month or more.

Among the short-term food items you can stockpile are:

  • Honey. Great for flavoring toast, oatmeal or a variety of other foods, honey can last a long time.
  • Juices. There’s a great variety of juices you can keep on hand, including apple, orange, cranberry, grape, etc. Some prefer organic juices due to the high sugar content of most juices.
  • Oil-content foods. These would include peanut butter, nuts, cooking oil, salad dressings and other condiments.
  • Canned foods. Whether you can these foods yourself or buy them in cans, there is a huge amount of variety you can take advantage of. Meat, fish, soups, spaghetti, ravioli, fruits, vegetables… people can just about everything.

Something to remember is that with canned food and other short-term food supplies, it’s important to watch expiration dates regularly and rotate them. And sometimes, even if a canned food has not expired, its taste and smell could become somewhat compromised over time.

Long-term food supplies

There are many scenarios that could make getting to the grocery store next to impossible: everything from natural disasters to a biological attack. But long-term food supplies, if stored properly, can last you and your family an indefinite amount of time.

One of the great things about long-term food supplies is that you can freeze-dry or dehydrate just about anything to have longer lasting food. Among the many foods you can have on-hand for a crisis are:

  • Meat and fish
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Soups and pastas
  • Powdered milk

But storing that food for the long-term is a little trickier. First of all, they need to be kept in Mylar bags inside airtight containers. Next, the containers should be kept in a dry and cool location. No moisture, no sunlight. Finally, label your containers with their contents and the date they were freeze-dried or dehydrated.

Food supply levels of “defense”

Some folks further differentiate their short-term and long-term food supplies by having three different levels of “defense.”

The first level might consist of frozen foods, cereal boxes, crackers, cheese, etc., which a person could grab and eat for a meal if they were unable to get to a supermarket for at least a week.

The second level, which we can define as “short-term” food storage, includes other items with a somewhat longer shelf life. This would include a wide variety of canned goods, including soup, fruit, vegetables, etc. These items would be good to consume if times were tough due to a temporary loss of income.

The third level is long-term food storage. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods would be in this stash. Using Mylar bags for pasta, beans, rice, etc., as well as freeze-dried fruits, vegetables and meat, this would be the supply you’d need to access once the stuff hits the fan.

Regardless how you do it, stockpiling food for an emergency is probably the single most important thing you can do to prepare for an uncertain future.

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