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Emergency Food Kits: How to Stock a Pantry

Emergency Food Kits: How to Stock a Pantry

If An Emergency Happens, You Want To Be Sure That You’re Prepared

One of the most important aspects of emergency preparedness is making sure your home is stocked with reliable sources of food that you can count on in a crisis. Your emergency food supply should be able to give you peace of mind, freeing you from the anxiety of wondering how you will handle a crisis that cuts off your access to the grocery store or the refrigerator. 

The best items to stock in your emergency food supply are going to be non-perishable food sources. This means anything that will not go bad or require refrigeration even when left untouched for years. These foods still have an expiration date but will stay fresh for much, much longer than most items you would keep in your pantry or refrigerator. 

What Makes Food Non-Perishable?

While fruits, vegetables, meat, and other foods would normally need refrigeration to stay fresh, methods like drying and canning have made it possible to keep otherwise perishable foods good for long periods of time. Canned goods like beans, fruit, veggies, and meats can all stay fresh for long periods of time thanks to the airtight environment within the can. Before a can of food is sealed, it is boiled to kill any bacteria that might cause the food to spoil. 

Once a can has been opened, the sterile environment inside of it is threatened by temperature changes and outside germs. This is why many cans of food have instructions on their labels to “refrigerate after opening.” After food has been boiled and sealed in a can, it can keep fresh for years as long as it is left sealed and stored properly. 

Because of the sterile environment in a sealed can, canned goods can stay fresh for long periods of time, sometimes even past the five-year mark. This makes canned food a perfect option for stocking up your pantry in case of an emergency. Canned goods are the prime example of emergency-ready food. You can keep them stocked in large quantities in your pantry for years without needing to worry about replacing or restocking them due to expiration.

The Rules of Canned Food

Although canned goods can stay fresh for years in many cases, it is still important to put your food safety common sense into practice. If a can of food is stored in a less-than-ideal environment, the food in the can may start to degrade and even spoil. If a can of food has visible dents, bulges, or rust, there is a possibility that the contents have been exposed to potentially harmful bacteria. Any time you open an old can of food, make sure to inspect it carefully. If it appears to be damaged, or if the contents smell or look wrong, it’s wise to play it safe and throw it away.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends using canned goods stored in your home within a year of purchasing them to guarantee freshness. During this initial year period, the food will typically taste the best and retain the most nutritional value. However, in many cases, canned food will stay fresh for long periods of time, even after the one-year mark. 

If you are in an emergency and have lost your access to refrigerated food, the grocery store, or anything other than your backup supply of cans and other non-perishables, you can still safely eat a can of food that has been stored for longer than a year in almost every case. The canned food might not taste quite as good after that point, but it is still edible.

One drawback of canned food, in general, is how the necessary boiling of canned goods before they are sealed often affects their taste. You’ve probably noticed that canned foods often do not taste as fresh or have as pleasant of texture as their fresh-cooked counterparts. This difference in texture and taste is often the result of the boiling of the food before a can is sealed. 

The sterility and shelf stability of canned goods would not be possible without the step in the process when the food is boiled. However, it is worth noting that you may not get the best flavor and texture out of canned food, especially when compared to fresh or even frozen foods. When you are in a crisis and need food to survive, though, cans are often your best and most reliable option.

Other Non-Perishable Foods: Bars And Beyond

You don’t have to solely rely on canned goods as your emergency source of food. In fact, JUDY’s emergency kits come stocked with an entirely different form of non-perishable nutrition that is equally reliable: meal replacement bars. Packed with nutrients and high in calories, these bars are designed to keep you and your family full for as long as possible when dealing with an emergency food shortage. Plus, they taste great!

Bars make perfect sources of non-perishable nutrition because of their ability to pack a major nutritional punch while taking up minimum space. This is why JUDY selected them as our crisis-ready food of choice for our emergency kits. Each meal replacement bar is small and lightweight, much easier to transport, open, and eat than a can. For times when you are stuck at home without power, canned goods are ideal, but the versatility and portability of meal replacement bars make them a must-have component in any emergency food kit.

In addition to meal replacement bars, we at JUDY firmly believe that it is important to stock a non-perishable source of water in your emergency food supplies. You never know when you will lose your access to clean running water, and it is best not to rely on plastic water bottles, which can expire and begin to leak chemicals into their contents. 

Instead of using plastic water bottles, JUDY recommends stocking your emergency supply kit with non-perishable water pouches. More compact and longer-lasting than water bottles, no well-stocked emergency preparedness kit is complete without them! 

Canned goods and a reliable source of portable, non-perishable food and water are great starting points for your emergency kit. However, you don’t have to stop your preparation there! Other excellent non-perishable food sources include beef jerky, nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, nut butter, and more. There are plenty of ways to keep your pantry full of dependable food for emergencies, and you can never be too prepared.

Make sure to periodically check on the expiration dates on your emergency food supplies to see if anything needs to be replaced. As you’ve learned, canned goods and other non-perishable foods can stay fresh for years, but it is always wise to keep an eye on how close your supplies are to expiring. That way, you can be ready for whatever comes your way.

Sources:

https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-can-you-keep-canned-goods

https://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/food-preservation2.htm

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/non-perishable-food#1.-Dried-and-canned-beans

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