Food storage: why, what and how.
Stocking up on food is a subject that often provokes a lot misunderstanding. One of these misunderstandings is the idea that the practice of storage will come from a deep fear leading us to believe that a shortage is inevitable. That the practice of storage is only the expression of a certain paranoia.
Pushed by our growing need to feed millions ... we have abandoned the hunter / gatherer that we were to favor an unconscious agriculture. We have abandoned a "permacultural" approach for monoculture of the agrobusiness.
We live in a world where everything we consume travels a considerable distance… many products travel more than 4000 kilometers to land in our supermarkets.
We buy products from the other side of the world… and most of the once net food-exporting countries are now importing more than ever.
The world population will soon reach 7 billion.
We have a situation where food production, for various reasons, is stagnating. We have companies like Monsanto who now hold hundreds of patents on the seeds itself… making biodiversity difficult for the world's farmers. Those who rule the food rule the world.
The system is fragile at the distribution level too. An increase in gasoline prices, a fall in the stock market, a lack of oil on the world market ... and the distribution chain of food and consumer products becomes unstable.
Supermarkets, like hospitals for drugs and products related to the functioning of the hospital system, impose a 3 to 5 day inventory that we call a "just in time" inventory.
Of course, in the event of a local or regional emergency, this inventory becomes a priority that the system is able to feed… but in the event of a national or global emergency such as a pandemic for example, this system collapses.
If this situation persists for say 3 weeks, how long before the food is on the shelves of our supermarkets? For 3 weeks there would be nothing. The food would rot in the ports… and it would take more than a month for a return "to normal". Science fiction? Paranoia? There are no shortage of examples… and our history precedes us.
A month without food within the reach of our relative purchasing power will signify a collapse of our relative security, of our relative morality. From riot to theft, our needs now govern our behavior. This is a small part of the why. From a global rupture to a local situation of the distribution system to the loss of a job, food storage makes sense.
If we went back 100 years, everything I just said would be childishly obvious. Our grandparents were storing. They practiced different conservation methods. Were they waiting for the apocalypse? No… they were getting ready for winter.
They still went to the store, but spent a lot less, and weren't at the mercy of just-in-time inventory, rough end of the month, or whatever. This is not really survivalism, but survival, pragmatism and common sense.
What? But then… what makes a product a good candidate to start a food supply?
Many buy and store products that they don't eat regularly. Remember that survivalism is first and foremost to improve our lives, even if nothing catastrophic ever happens. Having 50 kilos of rice is not sustainable if I never eat rice. Buy what you eat, and eat what you buy.
Most people will have 5-20 days of a varied diet in their cupboards… and during this period of about 2 weeks you don't need to eat anything other than what you eat regularly. If you like pasta… buy pasta.
If you were in an abnormal situation, wouldn't you prefer to give your children what they are used to eating? Make a monthly list of what your family is consuming. If you eat a product 10 times in a month, and it's a product that keeps well, it's a good candidate for storage.
Another candidate is a product that can be kept for more than 6 months without the need for refrigeration.
Cans, flour, sugar, powdered milk and honey are therefore excellent candidates.
Products that are versatile, such as pasta, rice and beans, make ideal candidates for ensuring diversity in taste and nutrient supply.
It doesn't matter where your food comes from… there are hundreds of ways to get food today. The problem is storage in quantity. Using a vacuum sealing machine for meat and all dry products is helping a lot not only for the space but also for a longer conservation of the product.
Freezing is a great way to preserve food, but it does have its limitations such as power cuts. In the event of a power outage, refrigerated products should be consumed first. Frozen products come next ... which means that these products are under laws related to support systems.
Canning food is probably the best to stock your food. If you don't have a big freezer or not have a lot of energy, canning is definitely a good choice. An example : a jar of Bolognaise sauce can stay for years.
Dehydration and drying works very well with fruits and vegetables. Where the dehydrator shines is in its minimal energy consumption. A dehydrator can be powered by a solar panel or other alternative energy much longer and more efficiently than a freezer. You can also easily make and use a solar dehydrator and dehydrate fish.
Smoking is also one of the most effective methods of preserving meat.
At Meat & Meet Market you find all our meat products in vaccum bags and sealed and then these products are frozen. You can tell us in advance the quantity of products you wish to be vacuum seal and freeze. You can also find several canning products at Meat & Meet Market, by example: bolognaise sauce, napolitan sauce, chili cor carne, lobster bisque, lambi chowder, beef bourguignon.
If this story of survivalism isn't your thing… should you stock up on food?Storing food is one of the most rational things an individual can do. Some store and collect things that cannot be eaten, that cannot be transported or bartered, that are not ultimately a need.
We must eat… for the duration of our existence on this planet. Storing something we need is not the germination of paranoia… it is preparation that makes sense since this nourishing, just like breathing and hydrating is a necessity.
We live in a world where food scarcity comes and will happen again… and the ability to nourish it is critical. When a disaster like Katrina, or an earthquake in Haiti, or a tidal wave in Indonesia hits the population, the demand for help is always the same: Food, drinking water, medicine.
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