If you go and search “food storage,” chances are you’ll get several sites trying to sell you food already packaged for the zombie apocalypse, and any other dastardly event you could think of.
However, while it is easy to just buy a bunch of these meals, it’s not always the most practical or cost effective approach. Storing food that you could rotate into your everyday meal planning will help ensure rotation of the long term items.
Why you should consider traditional long term food storage methods:
- The dehydrated meals do not taste like “normal” food (I have tried several “meaty” meals which were somewhat strange). Eating bread, rice, beans, and corn would be more appetizing.
- The amount of water needed for all of those dehydrated or freeze dried meals is enormous.
- When the dehydrated food goes bad, it may not be easy to rotate into your regular food consumption. Whereas, if you have rice on hand, you could always crack that open.
- The complete meals cost more than the dried and separated goods.
- The shelf life of the emergency freeze dried meals are only 25 years.
Why you may consider the freeze dried ready made meals:
- You can buy individual meals that only require opening and mixing. No recipes. No additional ingredients
- These meals are already packaged correctly. This means the changes of them causing illness is low
- There are a variety of flavors that help change up what you are constantly eating
Let’s take a look at the prices:
A meal plan of freeze dried food for one person, for one year, is approximately $1,000-1,500. I won’t list out all the food because there is such a large diversity. This would not include oil, sugar, salt, vitamins, or other things you would want in a long term supply.
In comparison let’s look at traditional items, for one person, for one year, already sealed for 30+ years. I won’t include oils and sugars here either because it’s not included above. The prices and prepackaged food listed below are from this website:
|Grains (wheat, pasta, rice, oats) – 250 lbs||$258|
|Lentils – 62 lbs||$88.60|
|Dried Milk (15 year shelf life) – 50 lbs||$93|
|Dried Apple Slices or Fruit – 6 lbs||$67.50|
|Potato Flakes – 22 lbs||$72.50|
|Dried Carrots, Onions, or Other Veggies – 10 lbs||$61.25|
Both systems would require some amount of water storage, and can openers stored with the food. Traditional food storage would have to include salt, yeast, oil, and seasoning. With the traditional method, you have the potential of saving a few hundred dollars.
If you are planning on doing freeze dried meals for your entire storage, home freeze driers are becoming fairly affordable and give you the freedom to store tons of different food. This, of course, would require a lot more work than just buying pre-packaged food. However, I know a woman who freezes dries lemon bars, lasagna, hamburger, you name it! As long as it is under 10% moisture, it can be stored for at least 10 years. She then packages them in mylar bags. (Check out our article “how to store food long term” if mylar bags are unfamiliar to you.)
Another food storage method just uses shelf stable products that your family eats. Then you rotate the items through the year and maintain a constant amount. I would not recommend this for your entire long term storage because of the amount of tracking involved. I only have shelf stable items for a few months worth of food. Then if I forget about an item, or choose to eat out a lot one month, I only have a few items that have the potential of going bad.
In order to be prepared, food is essential. While traditional food storage may be more practical in your everyday life, the best method would probably be a combination of everything. There are only more protections to have lots of options, lots of food choices, and the ability to feed your family in a variety of ways.