Emergency Preparedness: How to Stock a Real Food Pantry

. 3 min read

Have you stocked your pantry in case of an emergency?  In this guest post, Kim Knoch of The Nourishing Cook discusses emergency preparedness as it relates to traditional food.

What Would We Do for Food in an Emergency?

My 8th grade daughter had to read the book, Life As We Knew It for school. It looked interesting so I decided to also read it.  What a great read for teens and parents alike!

It got me thinking, what would we do if we had no electricity, fuel, and limited food supplies for an extended period of time, say over 6 months? How would we help our families stay healthy for that long without access to fresh food?

The family in the book were “survivors”… they acted before others panicked and planned ahead. I would like to think that I would do similar things, except I wouldn’t rely 100% on canned food the way they did. Here are some things that I would do for my family’s nutrition in an long-term emergency.

What would you do in a long-term emergency? Please add your suggestions to the comments!

Soaking & Sprouting Nuts, Grains and Seeds

Like many other real foodies, I have large stores of actual real, raw ingredients on hand. I buy nuts, grains, and seeds in large bags, not small packages. So one way for me to get fresh food into my family would be to sprout beans and seeds and serve them to my family in other foods. This alone would prevent anyone from getting scurvy, I believe. I think I have a pretty big bag of adzuki beans that would be great for this!

Also, I would soak oats and make crispy nuts and make lots of granola. These would keep for months and are satisfying, tasty and nutritious.

Have a Fermentation Marathon

I would lacto-ferment everything that I could get my hands on. I would then have my husband build me a root cellar somewhere on the property (or even dig a hole) so that we would have some place to keep these precious commodities at a constant temperature. In the book they weren’t able to garden too much due to the sun being blocked out. This is why a marathon session of fermenting would have been necessary because eventually you wouldn’t have any fresh food to ferment. I would also make any available milk into cheese since this could be kept in the root cellar and is a concentrated form of calcium, fat and protein. However, I would probably need to make whey from yogurt to have some inoculant for my fermented veggies.

Try Some Traditional Preserved Meats

As much as we don’t rely on these types of foods today, I would turn of our meat supply that we couldn’t eat into pemmican, which is a dried beef mixed with tallow, dried cranberries and maple syrup. Sounds weird, but pemmican is extremely preservable and could sustain someone almost exclusively. Since I buy a half a cow at a time, I could probably make quite a bit of this stuff!

Also, salmon jerky or beef jerky would be great things to make for protein sources. Since we live out in the country and electricity can be questionable in the winter, we have a generator. So if you were wondering how I was going to run the dehydrator, that is how — haha!

Now hopefully we won’t need to exclusively use these techniques, and not have the convenience of electricity and heat. But it doesn’t hurt to learn how to do some of these things, no matter what happens in the world. And all of these things are much more nutritious than canned foods.

Please let us all learn from your knowledge — what would you do for ‘real food’ if you didn’t have access to electricity long-term?