If you're a newbie prepper, you can start your own food supply by learning how to make DIY meals, ready-to-eat (MREs) or pemmican. (h/t to PreppersWill.com)
The point of prepping is not to panic or become a hermit. As a prepper, you are preparing for common survival scenarios like a long-term power outage in your neighborhood.
Survival preparedness teaches you how to be self-sufficient so you can survive after SHTF without having to rely on others. When stocking up on food, it's best to purchase non-perishable foods in bulk and items that you can use to make various food kits.
MREs have a long shelf life, making them a popular choice among preppers. However, store-bought MREs can be expensive, which might discourage preppers on a tight budget. Some MRE kits can cost about $160 for only 12 meals.
To save money, make your own MREs and invest in a vacuum sealer.
When making DIY MREs, maintain a calorie count of about one thousand calories per meal. Avoid using ingredients like dairy products, fatty foods or fruits as they tend to go bad quickly.
Your MREs need to have the right blend of carbohydrates, proteins and minerals because these components are essential for a complete meal. Make different MRE combinations so you and your family don't get tired of eating the same meals when you're dealing with a long-term survival scenario.
If you think making MREs is a cost-efficient way of adding food to your stockpile, invest in items like a dehydrator, Mylar bags, a quality vacuum sealer and desiccants like silica gel or oxygen absorbers.
Here are some items you can include in your DIY MREs:
Try these DIY MRE food combinations:
Steak and mashed potatoes MRE:
Tomato and chicken soup MRE:
Pemmican is a form of dried meat similar to beef jerky. It's traditionally made from bison, but you can make pemmican with deer or elk meat dried in a food dehydrator and stored in a vacuum-sealed bag.
You don't need to break the bank to make pemmican. The food dehydrator and vacuum sealer you'll need for DIY MREs can also be used to make pemmican.
Pemmican is a great survival food because it's calorie-dense and easy to make.
You can buy tallow or make it at home using a slow cooker. Put the fat into the slow cooker, put it on the Low temperature setting and let it render for several hours. The tallow is done when the fat is liquid with crispy chunks floating on top.
Dry the meat using a food dehydrator before proceeding to the steps below.
When you're done making MREs or pemmican, create a shelf life list of every item in your food stockpile. Doing this ensures that you stay organized.
A shelf life list also helps prevent food waste since not everything in your food stockpile will last indefinitely. (Related: Food storage tips: How to store canned foods safely.)
List the items by time categories of six months, one year and indefinite to keep your list organized:
When storing food products with an indefinite shelf life, you must use the right containers and store them in the right conditions. Protect your supplies from air, critters, bugs and moisture.
Rotating your food and water supply ensures that even if you don't need to use them in a survival scenario, they won't go to waste.
Regularly check and rotate the food and water in your stockpile and replace all the items that you use up. Check and refresh water when necessary.
Whether you choose to try making MREs or pemmican, prepping means taking one step closer to self-sufficiency. Prepping costs time and money, but these small sacrifices help ensure that you're ready for whatever comes your way, whether it's a week-long power outage or a natural disaster that leaves you holed up at home.
No one can predict the future, but being a prepper means you can at least control what you'll be eating and drinking when SHTF.
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