Corona, Pandemics & Having Food Security

Now when the big second wave of the Corona virus have hit, and I’m pretty sure we will just get more and more of these pandemics in the future so it could be a good advice to stock up on food for you and your family.

Food Storage

There are a few different things to keep in mind if you want to be prepare with a food storage. If you really want to be prepared for the worst, the most important thing is that the food lasts a long time, but if you are more worried about shorter crises (eg an ice storm), it is more important that the food is nutritious. A varied combination of different types of food with a long shelf life is probably the best option for most people. You should definitely be able to manage for a couple of weeks, but preferably several months or years!

Find out how long different items last and keep a calendar (a paper calendar!) and note when they are purchased, as well as when they are to be eaten. Eat what is about to go out and refill with new items continuously. If you have bought a huge amount of survival food, it may be boring to eat it all when the date is about to expire, but that’s what you have to live with to be prepared. It is important to think about what amino acids, vitamins and minerals you get. Without vitamin C, for example, you get scurvy sooner or later.

The enemies of long lasting goods are moisture, light and heat, so make sure your food supply is as cool, dark and dry as possible. It should also not be too cold, as goods that are frozen and then thawed again can be bad. Also keep in mind that some products lose their color and taste long before they become bad, so they can be eaten even if they are gray and dull. A food cellar or earth cellar is a good alternative for long-term storage.

Durable Food

You may have heard that a combination of rice and beans contains all the necessary amino acids, which is true (many varieties of beans are low in methionine and high in lysine, while rice is low in lysine and high in methionine), plus they contain a lot of fiber, calories and micronutrients. It’s not a perfect meal, but in a survival situation it’s like manna from heaven – especially since it’s two of the most long-lasting foods in its dried form.

Other sustainable and nutritious alternatives are whole grains of, for example, oats, wheat, rye, barley or rye wheat. They can be eaten as they are or ground into flour and last a very long time under the right storage conditions. The same goes for nuts and seeds. Hemp seeds have an incredibly good nutritional composition of both amino acids and fatty acids, but all seeds and nuts are nutritious.

Dried or freeze-dried fruits, beans, vegetables and meats also last a long time – from a couple of months up to over a year, depending on what it is and how it is packaged. Pickled goods can have a very long shelf life if they are manufactured in the traditional way. Pickling was originally a preservation method, but many modern varieties are made for taste and not durability. It can be an idea to make your own pickled goods (in the old-fashioned way) – which is also very good!

Honey can in principle last as long as it wants and during prehistoric times honey was also used to preserve other foods. The honey can change color and lose flavor if stored poorly, but is guaranteed to last a couple of years, up to an incredibly long time. Archaeologists have found honey in ancient Egyptian tombs that is still edible. In addition, honey is energetic, tasty and can be used as a primitive cleanser of wounds. Honey is a must in the food supply.

Most can be bought in a regular store, such as dry and canned goods, but there are also specialist shops that sell freeze-dried food and other survival equipment.

Processed Food

Food that is treated does not have to be worse than prepper food. Crispbread, peanut butter, pasta, preserves, noodles, cereals, oil, coconut fat, flour, sugar, and powdered food. Milk and eggs can be bought in powder form, which does not taste as good as the fresh produce, but is good enough in an emergency.

Pasta is an excellent product to have in the food store, as it is dried and basically fat-free, which means that the shelf life is very long. It can be eaten raw, boiled or soaked. Whole grain pasta has a slightly higher nutrient content, but can also take a little longer to cook, which can potentially consume more of other resources.

Olive oil is a good alternative due to its good taste and composition of fatty acids, but olive oil hardens faster than, for example, coconut oil – which can last for several years. Oil is also filling, high in calories and good for cooking.

Canned Food

Many preserves last a very long time, especially if they are in a dark and cool place – for example in the basement. Most have expiration dates that range from one to three years, but are usually safe to eat long after they have expired – even if they do not taste as good. There is also a very large selection of preserves – and can be used in everyday life if they are about to go out. If they are stored in a dark, cool and dry place, the service life can be extended by several years.

Cans With Long Shelf Time

How long do preserves last? Cans last between 1-10 + years, mainly depending on what they contain, but also how they are stored. Remember that the service life can be extended by several years under the right conditions. Here is a table with approximate shelf life for different preserves.

Canned beans, lentils and peas7 Years
Canned Corn10 Years
Canned Tuna3-5 Years
Canned Meat3-5 Years
Fruits / vegetables (high acidity *)1-2 Years
Fruits / vegetables (low acidity)3-5 Years
* Examples of preserves with relatively high acidity include tomatoes, citrus fruits, pineapple and sauerkraut.

* Examples of preserves with relatively high acidity include tomatoes, citrus fruits, pineapple and sauerkraut.

How do you know if the preserves have gone bad? It is usually quite obvious once you have opened the can. It can smell bad, while the colors, flavors and textures have gone out of content. If the jar swells up and starts to bulge out, it is best to get rid of it, as it may contain harmful bacteria (botulism).

Dried And Freeze-Dried Food

Dried food may not be the tastiest, most exciting food to eat, but it is the most sustainable if done correctly. If you either learn to package dried food yourself, or buy it from a company that does it right from the start, you can be happy that dried food lasts for up to 30+ years. Large plastic buckets with lids that close tightly are a good alternative, as they are also airtight and waterproof. Here are some examples of foods with extremely long shelf life that can be stored for decades dried or freeze-dried:

Oats30 Years
Pasta30 Years
Dried beans, lentils and peas30 Years
Nuts and seeds30 Years
Potato flakes / Powdered mash30 Years
Dried Fruit5-30 Years
Dried vegetables15-30 Years
Dried corn, chili30 Years
Dried mushrooms1-30 Years

How long does dried fruit last?

It depends on the fruit and the storage method, but in general you can count on about 5 years. An air and light-tight packaging in a dark, cool environment extends its life by several years.
How long does uncooked pasta last?

Uncooked pasta in an unopened package lasts for at least 2 years, but can last for up to 30+ years under the right conditions.

Food with the longest shelf life

It is thus (freeze) dried food that has the longest shelf life. This is because the microbes that usually break down the contents need water to do so. By drying out the food properly, and packing it light and airtight, it becomes an inhospitable environment for bacteria and fungi.

Other Survival Food

The most important thing in a crisis situation is of course to survive, but there are many goods that can increase the quality of life, be used in barter, taste the otherwise perhaps boring diet and so on.

Salt: Salt is essential for survival, and lasts (in principle) forever and can be used for many other things. Be sure to have plenty of salt.

Sugar: Sugar is also extremely durable if it does not get moist. Rich in calories and yummy to eat.

Cheese: Cheese covered in wax can last for up to 25 years in a dark, cool storage place. Learn to wax cheese yourself!

Coffee and tea: In addition to a potential boost from the caffeine content, they can be used to keep morale up, warm from within and as currency in barter. Caffeine / tea is diuretic, so it is not recommended to consume too much in an emergency, but there are also teas without tea, which are hydrating.

Yeast and baking powder: Yeast can be used to bake bread, make alcohol, and is a source of vitamin B-12, which is very difficult to get without meat. Baking soda can also be used for fermentation, but also as a toothpaste, fire extinguisher, deodorant, antacid, detergent, etc.

Spices: spices usually have a very long shelf life and make the food supply taste better. Many spices are also good for us in that they contain antioxidants, trace elements and other useful things.

Eggs: usually eggs do not last excessively long, even if stored in the refrigerator. However, it is possible to extend the life of the eggs considerably with the help of an old sailor trick – lubricate or put them in Vaseline or house flares so they can last for 6-12 months.

Soy: because soy sauce is fermented, it lasts a very long time. It also contains salt and flavor to the survival diet.

Vinegar: Vinegar has many uses such as household products, preservatives, detergents and ingredients in cooking.

Cocoa: Cocoa lasts a very long time and is extremely rich in antioxidants, plus a lot of calories and some trace elements.

Drinking powder: everything from O’boy to fluid replacement can be good to store. Most have a long lifespan that can be improved under the right conditions and can provide extra nutrition, energy, and flavor to the fluid supply with its electrolytes, vitamins and salts.

Vodka: in addition to drinking, vodka can be used for cooking, disinfection, preservation, cleaning and barter.

Snacks, biscuits and cakes: the biggest advantages are that they are high in calories, long lasting and taste good. If you are short of space, it is more important to store other dry goods, but something yummy can increase morale and still hunger sometimes.

Chocolate: Chocolate lasts a very long time, and is rich in both nutrition and calories.

Article translated from the Swedish site