These days the idea that a disaster could hit at any moment is not so unrealistic. Whether it be natural or created by man, disasters leave devastation especially for those who are unprepared.
The first few hours and days following a disaster are the most critical. That is why when I read Amy’s Emergency Meal Kit Challenge over at Homestead Revival I knew I had be a part of spreading the word.
I highly recommend you take the time to read Amy’s post. It is so informative and makes a really strong case for preparing a three-day emergency meal plan. You see, my family and I have a pretty substantial amount of food stored. So when I was first reading her post I thought it would be irrelevant for us. But the more I read the more I decided it made a lot of sense.
If the grid were to go down for an extended period of time, initially we would need to eat those perishable items stored in the refrigerator and freezer (this is partly why I am really interested in learning how to can meat). Even if it was a temporary disturbance the 3 day meal plan would give us peace-of-mind. Knowing that we wouldn’t have to be out in the middle of the chaos as people rush the grocery store, it’s worth it all.
And most importantly, it provides us another way to share and help our neighbors who may be in need during such a time.
This meal plan contains items that require little to no water in order to reconstitute. It also contains a few of my Meal-In-Jars recipes. It is important to store the necessary water and fuel needed to cook the meals along with the food.
Note: We are avid campers/backpackers so we do have a camping stove along with a backpacking stove in the garage. We also have utensils appropriate for use with these cookers. Along with our monthly food storage purchase, we purchase a few cans of fuel.
Breakfast: Meals-In-Jars Apple Oatmeal
Lunch: Crackers with Canned Salmon
Dinner: Fully Cooked Brown Rice with Tuna in Green Curry Sauce*
Breakfast: Fresh pastured eggs, from our backyard hens, and Meals-In-Jars Apple Oatmeal
Lunch: Dehydrated Split Pea and Vegetable Soup*
Dinner: Spaghetti with lentils (Tip: substitute lentils for ground beef and use angel hair pasta instead of spaghetti ’cause it cooks in 4 minutes with less water)
Breakfast: Meals-In-Jars Apple Oatmeal
Lunch: Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup*
Dinner: Polenta and Dehydrated Black Bean and Vegetable Mix*
*Denotes Gluten-Free Meals
Snacks: Fruit & Nut Trail Mix, Apple Sauce, Peanut Butter, Energy Bars, Seaweed/Kelp Snacks (good source of iodine)
Water: 3 1.5 liter bottles of water are all that is needed for cooking; and, a 2.5 gallon container of water is for consumption.
This is something anyone can do no matter where you live! It requires minimal storage and is very inexpensive (especially if you make your own).
So…what does your emergency meal plan look like?
I don't have one – I really should!
For long-term storage, we have a very large stash of canned food, focusing on proteins (fish, meat, beans) and fats (canned butter, canned cheddar cheese, coconut milk & coconut oil, olives & olive oil). We also have a lot of canned vegetables and fruits, as well as some freeze-dried vegetables and fruits. And there are dried beans, rice, quinoa in the mix. We don't eat much gluten, and I'm allergic to corn, so that limits some things. I do have several tins of steel-cut oats in the mix, and some brown rice pasta.
There are also currently 26 jars of organic peanut butter in our basement, as I go through a jar every week or two (and there's a peanut shortage). We keep 10 cases (35 0.5L bottles/case) of bottled spring water on hand, rotating them appropriately. We have charcoal and charcoal grills, and also a propane burner with 2 small tanks.
In addition, as long as we have electricity, we always have large amounts of frozen meat on hand. I buy meat directly from a local rancher in half-animal increments. In the spring I get a side of beef and a lamb; in the fall, a side of beef and a side of pork. Poultry is picked up ever month or so from the ranch. I contract with the rancher to set the price of our food a year in advance; this is one of our major hedges against food price increases. We joked as hurricane Irene approached that if we lost power, we would end up hosting the neighborhood's biggest cookout ever in order to use up our meat instead of wasting it…
…I don't have one. We always talk about "what would we do?" But, never seem to prepare !
Start! You don’t have go big, just do like I do. Add an extra item to your groceries each week. Even if it’s just a 1lb bag of rice or beans for $1
Thank you for the reminder to get off my duff and do something about this – we have about ten quarts of canned beans, and a couple pints of apple butter that aren't easily accessible and are for the "just in case" moments… but I really need some better preparation than that!
Amy @ Homestead Revival says
Andrea, you have a beautiful blog here! Thanks for linking up on the meal challenge… I see you like the same Trader Joe's soup – one of our favorite "quick" meals! I could eat at your house easily!!
Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable says
@Amy Thank you and you're welcome anytime:)
Now this is a very valuable thing to have. I am going to copy this one out if you do not mind. Most of this I already have on hand but nice to have the list.B
Jill @RealFoodForager.com says
Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!
Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!
If you have grain-free recipes please visit my Grain-Free Linky Carnival in support of my 28 day grain-free challenge! It will be open until November 2.
Amy Bowman says
You are featured at New Nostalgia's Anti-Procrastination Tuesday! Thanks for linking up!!
Andrea, I love the post. Our family has been going through our very outdated 72 hour kits and looking for the best foods to store /plan for. I love your tips like using lentils and angel hair pasta for spaghetti dinner. Thanks for all the suggestions I never would have thought of!
I am SO glad you brought this up! We actually experienced this in my area. Our electricity, telephones (both land and cellular) as well as water were all cut off by a massive ice storm. In the city we were without power for three full days and in the county some were out for nearly three weeks. My family pulled together and fed and watered 12 of us from elderly to infancy thanks to food storage. As unstable as our economy is I know we are only biding our time until our modernly convenient lives are disturbed.
It’s never a bad thing to be prepared:)
Your post mentions not storing jars on a shelf. Is there a reason why? And if not on a shelf, where do you store your meals in a jar? Thanks for all of this great information. Since my job was cut to part-time I’ve spent my now open times prepping for food storage and other disasters. I love your site 🙂
I assume the jars cant be stored on shelves as they will smash if there is any movement of the house. In the last 18 months my city has experienced 10 000 earthquakes, incl 3x 6+ and 1x 7+ on the richter scale so we’re pretty well versed on emergency survival. My best 2 tips are add hand sanitizer to the kit, and if an emergency occurs that takes out the phone lines and jams the cellular network change the message on your cell phone to one that says exactly where you and your kids are (if you know!) and the state of play where you are, that way even if the network is down or your battery dies people ringing in will get the message.
I keep a well-stocked pantry room filled with assorted fruit, vegetable, fish and meat canned goods, beans, rice, pasta, steel-cut oats, coconut oil, olive oil and canola. Also have 30 gallon jugs filled with Artesian well water. My freezer is filled with many healthy foods including fruits and vegetables I grew and/or bought from local farmer markets, cleaned, carefully packaged and then frozen. Personal care items such as toilet paper and soap. Full-stocked medical kit. Two kinds of grills (propane and charcoal), candles, flashlights, batteries (up to date) and a hand wound radio to have access to the rest of the world/information. Hoping to get a ham-radio in the near future. Also, am planning to get a solar operated cooking kit soon along with a good water filtration system. I live in a rural area so we tend to prepare for everything anyway so this is just taking it a step further. My biggest worry is ‘heat’ for the winter months in Northern Michigan. Trying to figure that one out. Kerosene is an option but is extremely unhealthy. Hoping to find other sources that are relatively inexpensive but will keep an area warm. A fireplace would be great but isn’t an option. That’s it!
Melissa Toye says
I had an emergency meal plan in place for a few years, but continued to forget about rotating the food and bottled water to avoid spoilage. So, I came across a great solution! foodinsurance.com It was a bit of an initial investment, but it came with all the things we would need in an emergency. Enough food for one adult for two weeks, first aid kit, radio, flashlight, multipurpose tool, water filter (that can filter a mud puddle 1500 times!) and it all fits into a great hiking back pack that we keep in our tornado shelter. The packs have enough room for a change of clothes and copies of important papers. Living in Tornado alley, this pack has everything we need to hunker down for a storm or evacuate in a hurry!
Melissa Toye says
oh! And the packs have a shelf life of up to 25 years!
Canning meat is easy. We cut raw meat into small cubes, pack them into pint jars, then pressure can them for 90 minutes at 15lbs, for our elevation. We have canned venison, beef, elk, tuna, pork, salmon. We love using our canned beans for refried beans, beef, elk, venison, or pork, for the shredded meat in tacos. We also use the same method for canning pinto beans.
Kim Barnes says
Hello Tricia, I do not have a pressure cooker yet, so have a question. When you put the raw meat in the jars and then pressure cook them, does the meat get fully cooked? How can you tell when you open the can if the meat is still good? Thanks for the ideas.
CJ Hale says
Yes the meat will be fully cooked, the USDA has information on how to can meat you can print it out its about 20 some pages if I remenber right, and get a ball canning book, also when you get a pressure cooker there will be instructions in their book.
Sarah Stogryn says
You can stretch your camping fuel when cooking pasta, rice, grains, by cooking them in a thermos instead of in continuously boiling water. Pasta cooks up in about the same amount of time; grains etc need a few hours of sitting.
Jen Bur says
I have been though three hurricanes and I am unemployed right now. The nice thing about hurricanes is that I usually have time to prepare. I start to eat exclusively from the freezer when I hear one is coming and will continue after the electricity goes out. I have yet to use the can and dry goods I store in those emergencies. I cooked the food on the bar b que. I have a large iron Dutch oven that could be used to cook in outside over coals it the need arises. Wood that falls off the trees can be used for cooking once the briquettes are used up. I find that beans and rice are a very cheap way to eat during my lack of employment. Many different kinds of beans and legumes and many different recipes. Mashed beans or lentils seasoned nicely then a light sprinkle of cheese on top on a tortilla makes for a nice change. Bean or spinach tamales are good also. Sometimes looking to different ethnic cuisine will help in making the same old thing a little tastier. The French, the Mexican and the Indians each have wonderful ways with legumes.