Taking The Middle Road For Your Survival Pantry
For a lot of reasons, it would be good for all of us to have full pantries. Fewer MZB’s and starving children on your doorstep, easier for everyone if we store extra. More food, less need for ammo – think of all the money we’ll save. Imagine every one of your neighbors with a full pantry, the luxury to self-quarantine for swine flu, the cushion if someone goes unemployed. There’s some peace of mind in that.
So you read Jim’s post last Tuesday about the $7989 super deluxo food and survival package? Impressive, and when you take that high-cost road, you get 2440 calories per day for 4 people for 3 months. Plus the cool survival gear and water storage, of course.
And, at the other end of the spectrum, the low cost road, there’s Jim’s pantry, the Rubbermaid totes with wheat and rice, corn from the feed store, plus sacks of pinto beans in the pickup truck. Doesn’t get any cheaper than that, even if you grow your own. Sure, it deviates from the norm, but doomers and people with food storage are already aware of being “different”.
The $7989 package has its attraction – just charge the card, the cases show up, all you have to do is find storage space. Regrettably, my budget cannot even pretend to be upper class. Or even upper middle class, come to think of it. Oh well, maybe in my next life. On the other hand, I’m not comfortable doing the Jim Plan and wheelin’ on in to the parking lot at work with sacks of pinto beans in the passenger seat; I already give them enough to talk about. Some appearances must be maintained if I want to stay employed. Besides, it gets hot in that car in the summer, bad for shelf life.
So, I propose taking the middle road, the middle class road, which runs right through Costco and a few websites.
The following list is from Jack Spigarelli’s Crisis Preparedness Handbook, 7-Plus Basic Plan, to feed 4 people for 3 months. You’ll get 2600 calories and 100 grams of protein per person per day. Oh, and I don’t want to hear any shit about white sugar or Crisco, I don’t care how bad they are for you. They have excellent shelf lives. When it is time to eat dirt cookies, you’ll be glad to have these on hand. If you don’t use them and TSDNHTF, donate them to a food pantry. Yes, you’re going to do more food prep with this middle road than if you had the fancy freeze-dried just add boiling water food, but we’re saving the medium-big bucks here, it’ll be OK if you have to soak beans overnight, bake bread, and/or boil pasta.
Salt, 8 lbs.
Powdered milk, 60 lbs.
Oil, 2 gallons liquid
Shortening, 6 lbs
Sugar, 65 lbs
Grains, 375 lbs
Peas, Beans, 60 lbs
Vitamins, 1 per person per day
Leavening agents & spices
In keeping with the $7989 package, you want the luxury of just being able to buy the food. No pressure canners or food dehydrators required. You are still middle class, more or less, time is an issue, we want it all now. Most of these items you can get from a warehouse store like Costco, and your grocery store. Add in what your family likes to round out the menu – a case of spaghetti sauce, 3-4 cases of canned fruit, Jell-o, brownie mix, clam chowder, corn muffin mix, fancy Basmati rice, canned chicken or tuna, canned vegetables if anybody will eat them, mac n cheese, peanut butter, Pringles have a good long shelf life, better get some of those, brown sugar, vanilla, no sense suffering, god forbid you should run out of ketchup, you get the idea. You want to be storing meals. 2-3 mega shopping trips and you’re good. Or, make up a prioritized shopping list, and methodically add to your pantry every payday. If your family will eat it, don’t be afraid to buy a case of it. Keep the shelves full and the food rotated.
Specialty items to consider:
2 cases whey-based milk substitute, 60 lbs, $145 includes shipping from Honeyville Grains.
From survivalacres.com or beprepared.com (prices are from beprepared.com because the shipping costs are less location dependent, but do your shopping):
1 white rice, $47
4 wheat (2 red, 2 white), $148
Superpails are good for set it and forget it, don’t bother to think about rotating that food for 20 years. #10 cans will work too. Do whatever works for your budget, your family size, and your storage space.
Empty food grade buckets, plus Gamma lids
Use your buckets to store your sugar, pinto beans, rice, flour, and oats if you chose any of those. Don’t be a dope with your food. Do a little reading about how to protect the grains and legumes from pests, understand how to freeze it for a few days, use diatomaceous earth, how long your flour will last before going stale, etc.
Water storage, you can do that on the cheap, or buy some cases of bottled water.
Cooking gear, fuel, you guys camp and barbecue, you know what to get.
You can do this middle road for under $800. $1000 and your family is WELL fed for three months with a good variety of food. You can cut costs by making up your own super pails with mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, but that involves some extra work. If you go to your local LDS dry cannery, you can do three months of long shelf-life storage food for four, about 25 cases, for $650-ish, yes, some work there too. A few years back I was a Bad Person, took out a modest loan from my 401(k), divided it between survivalacres.com, the dry cannery, and Costco. Monthly payments were pretty affordable, and I got the satisfaction of having a large chunk of food storage DONE. As I paid the account back with interest, my portfolio performance was better than that of my peers. Mutual funds lost value, food inventory gained value. No regrets.
The results of taking the middle road:
A good variety of food, full shelves, enough to share with people who are having hard times. Knowing that when tough times arrive, you can keep your family fed? That’s a damn good feeling, and a worthwhile investment.