This topic was not
originally included in my plans for this
I have read so much poor advice about food storage in books and
other publications by so-called experts, I decided to
offer what I consider better advice.
You see, some experts in crisis preparedness or
survival are knowledgeable in one or several
areas of the topic, but food is often one that they know little
about. And that is understandable, given that food education in
this country is manipulated by food producers. If you want real
food education read The China Study, a book by T.
Colin Campbell, and also read Diet for a New America
by John Robbins.
Most 'experts' writing about storing food usually
list canned food as one of the major items.
Canned meat, vegetables, fruits... garbage! Canned food is
low-quality nutrition, even when it has just been canned. No
vitamins, no enzymes, dead, dead food, and no fiber. Expensive,
heavy, takes up lots of space. A poor choice at best. But hey,
the empty cans are nice! So if you want a bunch of empty number
10 cans with lids buy some, and leave the canned food for those
ignorant souls who got their food education from TV and
advertisements. Why do most survival books and disaster
preparedness books say to stock up on canned food? Answer:
Good nutrition? I suggest that you buy instead a
variety of seeds that you can sprout: Mung,
alfalfa, lentils, fenugreek, aduki and others and store them in
carbon dioxide or nitrogen as you would grains.
Why sprouts? Well, they are the most nutritious food
on this planet, period. They are alive, full of
amino acids, carbohydrates, oils, fats, enzymes and vitamins,
fiber and they are all you need. That's right, they are such
good nutrition that you can live well on sprouts alone, nothing
else. Try that on canned food (ugh!). No, don't try that, you
will develop malnutrition and suffer horribly, perhaps die
slowly. Sprouts take up little space and provide nutrition
unsurpassed by anything cooked and canned.
In addition to seeds commonly sprouted, I suggest
adding other seeds that are less common as
sprouts but which are loaded with nutrition: Sesame, sunflower,
almonds. Soak them overnight before eating. This simple step
transforms a dry dormant seed into a living being, makes it
easier to digest, improves already excellent nutrition and even
improves its taste.
Seeds are the most concentrated foods we
have, so it is obvious that sprouted (or even soaked)
seeds have no equal in nutrition. Instead of adding more canned
foods to your diet (as Mr. Rawles and others suggest) if you do
get used to them, I say eliminate all canned foods from your
diet and never looked back. Instead, begin to experiment with
sprouts, adding more of them to your diet each week. You'll
soon realize that they deserve a central place in your diet and
in your food storage. By the way, one use for empty number 10
cans: to store seeds for sprouting.
How to store seeds in CO2. You may
already know how to use dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) to store
your grains. You chip off a piece of dry ice the size of your
thumb, place it in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket, pour in
your grains, cover but don't snap or screw closed. Let the dry
ice turn to gas (a few minutes) driving off most of the lighter
air, then seal the bucket. Watch it for a few minutes, if it
bulges, let out the pressure and re-seal.
If you live without refrigeration or are far from a
dry ice source, I'll describe how I use carbon dioxide
to store food. By a small bicycle tire pump that uses carbon
dioxide cartridges and has a trigger or valve so you can
dispense carbon dioxide in spurts, not all at once. Connect a
12 inch piece of 1/4" plastic hose like polyethylene to the
nozzle. Fill a 5 gallon bucket with grains or seeds. Now, push
the hose into the grain to the bottom of the bucket and, as you
release the gas, move the hose around in a spiral and gradually
bring it up through the grain releasing carbon dioxide as you
go. Put the lid on and add a final squirt under it before you
Gamma Seal and others make a gasket type cover and
ring to convert ordinary 5 gallon buckets into
hermetically-sealed food storage containers. But at $8 each, it
gets expensive quickly. A poor man's alternative is to get
5-gallon buckets from a farm supply or Wal Mart; the best are
rated at 90 Mil thickness (thin ones are 70) and have a HDPE
recycle logo on the bottom with a 2 inside. The farm store I
found has lids with rubber-ring gasketed lids - perfect for
Exceptions to the no canned food
rule: when I say that canned food is garbage, I
mean cooked foods like meat, vegetables, beans and fruit. Some
foods are canedn without first being cooked, the canning is
simply a container or storage technology. Things like honey,
grains and seeds, powdered milk, etc. can be stored well in
cans, but they are not canned in a common use of the word,
which means 'cooked and sealed in cans'. Other foods you may
like that only come in cans can be safely added to a rational
food storage plan: olives, tomato paste, tomato sauce and other
special foods, but these are not necessarily good nutrition,
By the way, peanut butter, often considered
solely on its theoretical (on paper) nutritional content, is
often made from the grades of peanuts not considered nice
enough for mixed nuts or roasted peanuts, because, well, the
peanuts are infested with insects or they are moldy. Grind them
up and nobody knows! Just like hot dogs - you would never eat
one if you knew the ingredients. The BBC did an investigative
story years ago on peanut butter and found that even major
brands contain as much as 25% 'insect matter'. And you thought
eating bugs was, well, icky. Hey, millions of Americans eat
bugs on bread every day, probably the same people who eat parts
of cows they considere icky in their hot dogs. Which parts?
Well, think of all the parts of a cow you don't see at the meat
counter. That's right, those parts! The ones nobody would even
think of buying and eating. Grind them all up and... Hot
Anyway, back to peanut butter, not a great choice
for survival food storage. Aside from the
questionable contents, peanut butter goes rancid like butter
and all fats and oils. Whole peanuts, however, will store much
longer, are better nutritionally and can be stored in carbon
MREs - Meals Reluctantly Eaten. Save your money for
real food. This category of food is for people
either too lazy to prepare something better or who don't care
what they put in their mouths. Make your own snacks from
wholesome foods. If you are in a survival situation, you
probably depend on your food to keep you fed and healthy, so
you can perform well under stress. You need energy, vitamins,
amino acids - the whole enchilada (okay, poor choice of words).
MREs are not good food, period. Make your own from real foods:
dates, sunflower seeds, nuts, raisins and other dried fruit,
carob and if you don't know how, learn.
Second only to water, your stored food may save your
life, or it may deprive you of the nutrition you need
to perform well under stress. Choose wisely here. A ton of MREs
does not equal the nutrition of a 50 pound bag of sunflower
seeds. I could survive for 200 days on the seeds, but I
wouldn't feed an MRE to a hungry dog. Okay, maybe a hungry dog.
You get the point. MREs are crap, something to eat when you
have nothing else. Plan, so you have something else.
One last jab at MREs. People think they are so smart
and clever that they can make food better for you
than nature. Nonesense. They can't. If you need food, don't
look to clever, profit motivated people for it, look to nature,
the ultimate and always the best provider. There, I'm done with
MREs. I hope you are too.
Sunflower Seeds - why I think they are good
food and a milk shake recipe here.
An article on Survival Food here. It repeats some of the
ideas above, but I think you'll like it.