When we think of food storage for emergency preparedness, we usually think of prepackaged foods that will last for weeks, months or even 30 years in storage.
Think pop-tarts, ramen noodles and other similar things. Definitely not real food.
Those things have their place in your food storage plans. After all, you can’t put fresh fruit in your 72 hour kit and switch it out every few days. That’s just not realistic.
In this post, I talk about 3 types of food storage and how to make a food storage plan. Long shelf life food is part of that plan.
But the further I get on my real food journey, the more I concerned I am about how all of that prepackaged food would affect my body in an emergency.
Will my body tolerate all of this prepackaged food when I have been eating real food for so long?
Will I get sick, constipated or otherwise not feel well if I had to eat this?
So today, I wanted to talk about adding real food to your food storage so that if the time comes and you need to eat your food storage your body won’t totally freak out and go on strike!
5 Ways to Add Real Food to Your Food Storage
1. Cold storage
An old fashioned (and still effective) way to keep fresh produce edible after a week or two is to keep it in your basement or root cellar. This works well with many root vegetables, beans, apples and pears.
After you harvest this produce from your garden, put it in containers that allow it to breath. Then place it in a cool, humid place in your house. It will stay for several weeks or months and still be good to eat.
This method takes the least amount of preparation to keep food fresh for longer, but doesn’t work with all fruits and vegetables.
To find out more about cold storage, read this blog post —> How to Preserve Fruits and Vegetables with Cold Storage This Winter.
2. Home canned foods
One way to lock in the freshness of real food harvested from your garden (or bought at the farmers market) is to preserve it thru home canning.
Home canning is so much healthier than buying canned food at the store. You can preserve it the same day as the harvest and it will last on your shelf for several years, depending on what you are preserving.
Also, it doesn’t have any chemicals or preservatives like store bought canned food, so you can know exactly what your family is eating.
Home canning can be alot of work in the moment, but when you see all of that fresh from the garden food on your shelves you will be glad you made the effort.
Our family loves homemade applesauce, apple pie filling, salsa, canned peaches and so much more!
To find out more about home canning, read this blog post —> Food Preservation Series #2: Canning Your Food.
3. Dehydrated food
Another way to preserve your garden harvest or farmers market finds is with a dehydrator.
Dehydrating food takes the water out of fruits, vegetables and meat so that they will last longer.
Once your food is dehydrated, you need to keep it in an airtight container and it will last much longer than its fresh counterpart.
To find out more about dehydrating your food, read this blog post —> Food Preservation Series #1: Dehydrating Your Food.
4. Freeze dried food
A fairly new way to preserve your food at home is to freeze dry it. You can buy a home freeze dryer and keep your fresh foods for 20-30 years. That’s amazing.
A home freeze dryer is not cheap, but if you want to store massive amounts of real food, this is the way to go.
You can also buy fruits, vegetables and meat that has been freeze dried at the store. These products are usually real food compatible because they only have 1 ingredient per package. The food is freeze dried right after harvest, so the quality is excellent.
To find out more about home freeze drying, read this blog post —> Food Preservation Series #4: Freeze Drying.
5. Freezing foods
The last way to keep real food in your food storage is to fill your deep freezer with fruits, vegetables and meat your family loves.
Of course, in the event of an emergency, this is probably the food you want to eat first. Especially if you are without power.
You can get a generator to back up your freezer if you are worried about losing power for several days. If you keep the freezer closed, a full freezer should keep its contents frozen for several hours (or even days) before it goes bad.
To find out more about freezing your food, read this blog post —> Food Preservation Series #3: Freezing Your Food.
All of these preservation methods insure that you can have real food in your food storage. Food that was preserved at its freshest, either from your garden or the local farmers market.
This food, along with the prepackaged foods and kitchen staples, should allow you to make meals your family will enjoy and won’t make them sick.
In an emergency, you want to be strong to help your family and others in need. You don’t want to get sick because your body isn’t used to eating only processed food.
So make sure you have real food in your emergency food storage and rotate it out when possible. You will be so glad you did when emergency strikes!
How do you incorporate real food into your food storage? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!