A pilgrimage to resource efficiency 

The Advantages and Pitfalls of Emergency Food

What type of emergency are you preparing for?

A flood that could fill your house to the roof? A fire that might leave your house a pile of ash? An earthquake that possibly transforms your home to a heap of rubble? These are emergencies, or rather, disasters that will take your food with them. Survival food that requires NO preparation and can be stored for five years in an emergency pack is the intelligent choice if this is what you are anticipating.

Are you planning for a tornado that causes you to remain in a storm shelter for 24 hours? A snow/ice storm that has you trapped in your house or office for an extended period? In these situations emergency food is ideal because you will probably have the water and means of cooking it.

What about unemployment that prevents you from going to the grocery store more than once a month? OR are you preparing in case one of the “Stuff Hit The Fan” scenarios out there, actually happens? Well, here’s where you need to consider the difference between emergency food and long term food storage.

Emergency food is pre-made meals that have been freeze-dried and packaged for long term storage. These meals are packaged in one to four serving amounts and all that is required to prepare them is boiling water, much like a cup of noodles. They have been popular for decades with folks who like to backpack into camp. They are lightweight, easy to prepare and make a delicious ‘one dish’ meal. There is a wide variety and price range in the emergency food market and you need to be careful when making your purchase if you intend to use this exclusively for an extended period. Calories and nutrients are critical components to consider when making your choice.

Items in a long term food storage package are either dehydrated or freeze-dried ingredients for preparing meals “from scratch”. These items need to be rehydrated or ground and combined with other ingredients to prepare the meal or snack. Even if you are a seasoned chef, emergency food is nice to have on hand for times when you are tired or pressed for time.

Having used all three types of long term food, I equate survival food to a super-duper submarine sandwich in a sack lunch and emergency food to   Marie Callender’s or Stouffers frozen meals.


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