Frankly, 2021 feels pretty apocalyptic.
If you had a global pandemic, stolen elections, catastrophic bushfires, trans-Atlantic dust storm, murder hornets, plagues of locusts, zombie cicadas, and monkeys stealing vials of COVID blood, forced restrictions, on your bingo card, then you win.
But before the world will really reach the end of days, is there anything we could do to stop the carnage? Can we really prepare for doomsday?
It’s a question we’ve been asking ourselves for a long time. In the 1950s, Bert the Turtle coached schoolchildren across the United States to Duck and Cover to avoid “the atomic bomb.” In more recent years, Bear Grylls taught ordinary suburbanites how to stay alive if they, too, should find themselves in the wild, by fossicking for edible bugs.
But with so many potential disasters facing us and so many ways to prepare for each one, where can the average person start? What choices can we make now that could really make a difference later?
For the better part of a century, the threat of a devastating pandemic has been the stuff of history books or Hollywood science fiction. Until 2020 rolled around.
Now, we’ve all had a crash course in pandemic survival — from washing our hands thoroughly and wearing a mask, to social distancing and putting up with long lines at supermarkets. Oh, and did I mention the mask?
The fact is, most of us haven’t had time to rush out and get an epidemiology degree since the coronavirus began sweeping around the world, so we have to put our trust in experts trained in pandemic response. And that turned out to be a huge mistake for the entire world but I am not into that in today’s article. We will talk about one of the most important items in our survival…food.
Emergency foods are something that families, church and relief organizations, schools, institutions, and food banks should be stocking up on nowadays, while it’s still possible, while there’s still food to be had.
Our nation is sitting on a ticking time bomb and we, unfortunately, cannot tell exactly when this bomb is going to finally detonate. But we can hear it ticking. Louder with every passing year.
Yet, no matter how frantically the government and the military work to ”defuse the bomb”, defusing this bomb continues to elude them. Of course, I’m using an analogy to describe some serious crap hitting the fan.
When it does, we are looking at a famine on a level that this world has never seen before.
Nationwide food shortage and then —
Famine. No more food coming in from anywhere.
What if the day comes where stores never re-open? At the point where your survival food stores become exhausted after several weeks following a collapse, you’re either going to have to turn to beg for food, or a very difficult and frustrating life trying to hunt, fish, trap or forage in the adjacent forests — called living off the land — but truly, only the adept, the knowledgeable, and the experienced are going to be able to “live off the land” and the ones who do won’t be found in any nearby woods or hills.
Because there won’t be anything to hunt or forage for in the nearby woods or hills following a major disaster.
Wildlife is very sensitive to the presence of people.
So a large number of people fleeing into wilderness regions is going to send much of the wildlife fleeing for remote regions. It’s these remote regions that the hunting can be good; but only the most adept are likely to make it that far where there are no roads, where there may be rugged mountains and canyons and rivers to cross; there may be dangerous weather conditions to deal with depending on the season. If you can make it to a remote region, I’m talking really remote, it will be possible to live off the land, but it won’t be easy.
Are you just fine right where you’re at?
In a worst-case scenario, we may see martial law, a government collapse, a civil war of sorts. Our nation weakened, its defenses obsolete, its critical infrastructure all but destroyed, a scene from Red Dawn (I’ve referred to this movie in another article) may play out in a number of communities.
Are those Russian jets in the skies? Are those parachuters dropping down onto the main street, Chinese or North Korean? The sky is full of them. The clouds were a perfect cover when radar defenses on the ground were no longer working, having been fried by the EMP that had first wrecked America’s power grid six months back.
Parachuters are landing in residential neighborhoods. Quickly gathering up parachutes. Quickly checking weapons and gear. Firing at people who had been watching it all unfold from front yards and porches.
Who’s cargo planes are landing at the local municipal airport with tanks and military vehicles streaming out? Chinese symbols. Russian symbols. What the hell is going on?
Hopefully, that’s not your community
But it may be more than one community at some point. It’s possible that your community will make it through the weeks and months following a collapse that we can feel in our blood and in our bones is heading America’s way some point soon.
We can see the signs in the heavens and the earth, I believe, that Jesus warned about when he was here and told us to be on the watch for. Impending judgment. We were told, and cautioned as Christians, to watch for it. When we see it, we will know. It’s almost like Yoda talking to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, telling Luke he will know the time when the time is the right time. What Yoda? That makes no sense. On reflection though, Luke finally one day figures out what Yoda was telling him.
What is the Lord telling us right now through the Spirit? For the unbelievers out there, who don’t yet know God, for a Christian this essentially means what is God leading us to do or prepare for without using words to tell us?
Some of us should be stockpiling food
Some communities, some neighborhoods, some small towns, and cities will likely make it through the first few months following a collapse relatively fine, all things considered. Other’s won’t do so well and will be very dangerous places to live.
You’ll need some friends, you’ll need some firepower, hopefully, God is on your side with all that firepower and he’s going to use you in some way to make a difference, for good. The violent hand of God is something we see repeated in Old Testament chapters of the Bible. I expect it’s something we’re likely to see again someday.
There are just too many examples of God going to war through his people, though not all of them of course, just a few at a time. Because if God used too many people, to give the enemies of Christ a beating, they might make the mistake of thinking that they did this by their own power. That’s not God’s style in the Bible though. That’s not the pattern we see in scripture.
Who remembers this phrase? “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”
When God favored the Israelites, the Israelites were successful at wiping out enemy nations, success after success after success.
But when God was angry with the Israelites, over rebellion, over disobedience, over wicked acts and atrocities, just the opposite happened. The Israelites were overrun, beaten down, many killed, many more ended up enslaved to other nations.
That first part sounds a lot like America. At one time we were a nation under God. Success after success. Innovation after innovation. Dreams and bigger dreams. America had God’s favor and was the gem of the world.
People from around the world dreamed of moving here and many did. But today America no longer has God’s favor. We have become God’s enemy. Not all of us. But a lot of us.
Jesus warned the wheat would be separated from the chaff. If you don’t know what he meant by this, you better figure that one out fast. It should be the first thing you do before you do anything else in life.
What did Jesus mean when he said he would separate the wheat from the chaff? There’s nothing difficult about that statement. So why do so many people have a hard time grasping those words?
They just don’t care.
What if I told you that NASA rediscovered a superfood that’s been lost to history for the past 482 years? It’s packed with more nutrients than any other food out there and lasts even longer than pemmican. In fact, it’s so easy to store and cheap to make, you might never need another emergency food.
How long will your emergency food last?
If disaster struck today, how long would your stockpile last? Careful, it’s a trick question. I’m not asking how long you would be able to live off your stockpile — I’m asking about the actual shelf life of the foods in your basement or pantry.
Though you may have beans and cereal that, in theory, can last 10 years or more, the way you store them can substantially decrease or increase that amount. In other words, you may have quite a bit of food in your pantry right now that has less than a year until it expires… and that’s a tough position to be in if a serious, earth-shaking disaster struck today.
The Scoop on Emergency Food Storage—Extending the shelf life of several foods
Food storage is done right, so you can double, triple or even quadruple the shelf life of your foods. Let’s talk about that for a moment. It all starts with the 5 food storage enemies: Oxygen, moisture, temperature, light, and pests.
The 6th one is time but there’s nothing we can do about that except rotating our stash. Now, if you’re looking to get 10, 20, or even 30 years of shelf life off your foods, you need to tackle all of these enemies. No exception.
Extending the Shelf Life of Grains, Beans, and Rice
Grains, beans, white rice… These are some of the foods with a long shelf life preppers like to stockpile that is also cheap. However, not all varieties are worthy to be in your stockpile.
For example, Cheerios and other breakfast cereals you typically buy at the supermarket have a shelf life of 6 to 8 months. Processed cereals have many refined and hydrogenated oils in them, oil goes rancid so, even if you were to use the preservation techniques we’re going to talk about in a minute, it still wouldn’t be worth it.
Thus, step one in storing your food for a really long time is to pick the right food. When we’re talking about real long-term emergency food storage, opt for storing white rice (not brown), dried beans, and whole wheat berries (not breakfast cereals); rice, beans, and wheatberries should be the staples of your survival stockpile.
Mylar bags with oxygen Absorbers for storing emergency food
The best way to store your emergency food is in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. This is a no-fail combination used by most preppers, provided your food is dry before you store it. Otherwise, you can wake up with condensation after you seal the package — not a good thing.
The process is simple. You fill the bag nearly all the way to the top, seal it using an iron or a hair straightener (but not before you add a pack of the oxygen absorber), depending on the size of the bag.
Oxygen absorbers are small packs of iron powder and create a nitrogen environment by removing any oxygen present through chemical reactions. So, even if the bag will look like it’s got air inside, you don’t need to panic because that’s just nitrogen.
It’s worth mentioning that neither the nitrogen nor the iron powder can affect your food (provided you keep the O2 absorbers inside the original packaging).
As you can see, you don’t need to vacuum-seal the bags; the absorbers will do the trick to prevent the growth of aerobic pathogens (such as mold) as well as preventing oxidation. These are the two ways oxygen can spoil your food. Besides, your cereals will crumble under the pressure of the bag.
Put mylar bags inside airtight BPA-free 5 gallon buckets
Next, you should put the Mylar bags inside airtight BPA-free 5-gallon buckets. This may seem unnecessary but it’s actually a good idea. First off, the bucket will shield the bags from light (another declared food storage enemy), thus improving shelf life. Second, it protects the bag from accidental puncturing (Mylars aren’t that strong, by the way).
We talked about aerobic bacteria but anaerobes need very little or no oxygen to develop. The most important one is called Clostridium botulinum and is responsible for a disease called botulism (not something you want to suffer from post-collapse). Fortunately, this doesn’t really occur when storing grains, beans, and rice as long as they’re not moist. It’s something that mostly shows up in canned food, which we’ll tackle in a moment.
The last thing you need to do after you’ve taken care of oxygen, light, and humidity is ensure the proper temperature. Anywhere between 50F and 70F will work, preferably closer to 50.
If you do everything right, how long can food last in storage?
What shelf life can you expect if you do everything right? This is pretty amazing:
– White rice can last at least 7-8 years with some sources going as high as 25.
– Hard grains such as wheat and corn can store for at least 10 years.
– Soft grains can last about 8 years (because the outer shell is not as strong as that of hard grains)
Emergency food storage for pasta
Storing pasta for the long term is just as easy as storing beans or grain. If you read the label, they tell you it lasts for 1-2 years but if you store it in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, that shelf life can increase up to ten times… that’s 20+ years in shelf life!
Place it in plastic buckets to protect it from light, from crumbling inside, and from accidental puncturing of the bag. Speaking of punctures, you may want to consider storing things like spaghetti in 5-mil bags instead of the more common 3.5 mils to avoid any sharp noodles accidentally poking holes in the mylar.
Some people like to freeze pasta before storage to prevent larva eggs from hatching. So, to kill these eggs, noodles should stay frozen for approximately 5 days but this method is not needed as long as you use oxygen absorbers. Ultimately freezing the noodles won’t hurt them but it won’t really help either. If you do decide to do it, you need to allow the frozen noodles to reach room temperature before you seal these noodles in Mylars. Otherwise, condensation will form and allow the growth of mold.
Canned food can last several years past expiration date
There are a lot of myths about canned foods and I want to bust the ones that have to do with shelf life, the ones related to the expiration date. Food experts on shelf life have looked closely at unopened cans of food from several decades back, sometimes recovered from shipwrecks, and the data they found was a real eye-opener: Canned food can last several years past its expiration date.
As long as the can has been properly stored and it looks good on the outside (it’s not leaking and the lid is not swollen or punctured), it’s probably safe to eat. You still have to check for suspicious smells but there have been reports of cans of food that were safe to eat even after 30 or 40 years.
Nevertheless, plenty of people have reported being absolutely fine after eating canned food past the expiration date.
Of course, you need to give your cans the same conditions you do to your beans and rice: Keep them in a cool, dry, dark place away from moisture.
Now, there are two types of canned food when it comes to how long they can last: High-acidic and low-acidic.
The USDA guidelines tell us that high-acid food (canned fruit and pickles) can last up to 18 months while low acid food (canned meat, beans, corn, potatoes, etc.) up to 5 years. The acid in these cans contributes to the deterioration of color, texture, and nutrients (over time, of course).
As mentioned earlier, if they can look, smells, and tastes ok, you can ignore the expiration and the “best by” dates (in a post-collapse you might not have a choice anyway).
Extending the shelf life of peanut butter
Peanut butter is jam-packed with calories and can last a long time if properly stored… but there’s a catch. It’s full of oils and, as previously said, oils go rancid over time. It depends on which type of PB you’re storing because natural peanut butter only lasts a few months while smooth and crunchy can last up to a year.
To improve its shelf life, you need to keep peanut butter tightly sealed and in a cool, dry, dark place. You should also store it in a glass rather than a plastic jar to increase longevity even more.
The alternative to PB is powdered peanut butter, which should store for at least 5 years, closer to 10 actually, and it’s good for another year after you open it. That’s considerably longer than traditional peanut butter.
Food items with an indefinite shelf life
You probably heard that honey has an indefinite shelf life. The only thing that can go “wrong” with it is crystallization, meaning the sugar molecules align themselves in a certain way. This is not a sign it went bad but still, there’s an easy fix:
Place the open jar in a pot full of hot water and stir it until the crystals dissolve. In order to slow down the crystallization process, simply store the honey at room temperature. Since most of your foods need to be in cool places, you can keep honey in your kitchen or pantry where you probably have more space.
The other items with an indefinite shelf life are salt, sugar, and molasses but the one thing you should do is keep them away from moisture. It’s common for basements to develop mold due to poor ventilation so the two options you have are to either install a fan (if your basement has windows), a dehumidifier (which, unfortunately, will incur electricity costs), or use some of the other recommended options depending on how bad things are.
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The shelf life of seeds
No long-term survival plan is complete without the seeds that will allow you to start a garden once the dust settles after a collapse. In a worst-case scenario, especially for those who live in heavily populated areas, that may mean a long and difficult evacuation from a disaster struck the region.
The good news about seeds is that they don’t take up a lot of space and you can transport them with relative ease; when the time is right, a plant that garden finally.
The most important thing to seed storage is to keep these seeds dry. Moisture is the biggest enemy but, fortunately, one you can easily defeat. Keeping your seeds in a cool, dry place should work, and don’t forget to add desiccants to the container and seal them afterward. Another thing you need to do is dry them before storage.
If you don’t want to use desiccants you have other options, such as putting them in paper envelopes. Other options include storing them inside the fridge or the freezer but if you’re left without power in the next disaster, you’re still going to use one of the aforementioned solutions.
The shelf life of various seeds varies. Some people say they can last up to a hundred years. They actually found seeds inside the belly of a frozen mammoth, meaning they lasted thousands of years! It’s hard to say but if you do it right, you can expect to get at least 5 years of storage life and a 70% germination rate. The ones that have the longest shelf life are:
- Bean (2-3 years)
- Radish, muskmelon, cress, collards, and cucumber (5 years)
- Tomato, squash, turnips, eggplant, sorrel, cauliflower Brussel sprouts, and watermelon (4 years each)
- …but, again, the life of seeds can increase if you do a good job storing them.
Emergency food storage for your pet—How to store dry and canned pet food
There are essentially two types of pet food you can stockpile and they’re the same ones you feed your pets every day: Dry and canned. Surprisingly, canned food lasts a lot longer than dry because dry food has a lot of fat in it, which causes it to go rancid quickly. Dry food usually lasts a year while canned food for 2+ years.
If you’re thinking of using oxygen absorbers with dry pet food, it might not work. You might wake up with mold rings around the absorbers which will, in turn, spoil the entire bag as several preppers have cautioned.
The good news about storing pet food, though, is that there’s no difference between survival food and what they regularly eat for your pet. The other good news is that pets can eat “human survival food” (for lack of a better term). For example, dogs can eat white rice, which we already know can last a lot longer if properly stored (being one of the most popular survival foods).
As long as you store your pet food in a cool, dry dark place (such as a ventilated basement), you’ll surely get a lot more than the 1-2 years it’s stated to last.
How temperature fluctuations affect emergency food
Before we wrap this up, I need to address an overlooked aspect: Fluctuations in temperature. We said earlier that some foods need to be stored at temperatures between 50F and 70F but that’s only half the story. The other half is that you need to keep temperature variations to a minimum because they too can (negatively) affect the shelf life. Even if you keep it within the interval at all times, fluctuations between 50F and 70F should be avoided.
Why store up emergency food? So you can survive during a famine!
In the modern age, with so many grocery stores and restaurants bustling with activity and low prices (sometimes high) on many common food items, it’s hard to imagine what life would be like if suddenly it all came to an end. Unfortunately, if someone were to pull the plug on interstate shipping and nationwide commercial food processing and commercial agriculture, literally overnight stores across several regions would slam shut their doors and before you knew it the greatest disaster in America’s history would unfold right before our eyes.
Famine. Food shortages. Long lines stretching possibly miles for a government handout (until the government closes its doors as well). Long lines seeking food at churches (that is until churches run out of food) and soup kitchens — soup kitchens once popular with the homeless but now attracting crowds of hungry and scared citizens and their families looking for food and also looking for a solution, but there won’t be one.
What about organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army? In some communities, in the first few hours and days, they may also be a source for food but expect incredibly long lines. When or if food finally gets into your hands, unfortunately, it may not be something you really find that palatable.
Isn’t storing up food at odds with living by faith?
For those of us who live as Christians, it would seem that way. Living by faith means we know that the Lord will provide. It takes great faith not to store up so that we can see how the Lord will provide and many times he can astonish us.
I think though that there’s another angle here to look at; it’s knowing that there are a lot of people who will be hungry during a massive food shortage and subsequent famine, who haven’t stored up food, and first and foremost that could end up being a neighbor or even family and friends who simply never believed that the Terrible Day of the Lord as warned in the Bible was one day headed our way.
A lot of people, and I’m sure a few readers here, may not believe today in these Biblical warnings I’ve shared at different times on the site. I’m going to predict though that a lot of you will start believing in the times ahead.
I get that assurance from the Bible — most people who end up believing in Jesus don’t believe until God is dropping the hammer. In other words: People are some hard eggs to crack!
Food storage happens now — not later
It’s a sad, unfortunate fact. There will be a day where tens of millions of people realize that so many signs about a coming catastrophe were all around them, but they were just too glued to their daily routines and complacency and stubbornness about life to notice. They felt life should be lived whatever way they wanted, even though for many the way they live their lives is in direct disobedience to God.
I know it. I’ve been there.
And it’s not just the banksters at the top of the food chain preying on the consumers or the super elites at the head of our corporations; no, it’s the rest of us also, the people that make up modern-day nations caught up in what the Bible describes as carnal, worldly lives — with a complete disregard for God and his warnings about the coming wrath on the world to deal with its many evils and atrocities. Atrocities are committed somewhere on our planet on a daily basis.
God sees all
The prophets, apostles, Jesus himself assured us that there is a terrible day coming for our planet.
If we don’t get our lives right with God, we are going to be caught up in the midst of it. It may start with a government collapse and famine and food shortages, but really that will only be the beginning. A serious storm is heading to our world and we see its waves starting to beat against our shores; consider ISIS (or another faction of Radical Islam) as one of those waves; if you look at the ocean during a storm you cannot count the number of waves that hit, but you can see how strong and violent the waves get as the storm approaches.
The storm is approaching
Matthew 21:25-26 – 25 “And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming in the world…”
Matthew 21:29-33 – And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
Matthew 21:34-36 -“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and care of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
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