A reader left a comment on my Buy Long-Term Survival Food post asking about homemade survival food options. Dehydrating and canning are your two most feasible choices. Here is what you need to know about DIY survival food prep.
Home dehydrated fruits and vegetables have a shelf life of approximately 6 to 12 months. This timeframe may be slightly more or less depending upon the environment in which the food stored. The cooler and drier the environment the better. For every 10 degrees about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you may be cutting your dehydrated rations’ shelf life in half.
The equipment necessary for this type of food storage is a food dehydrator and storage containers. Some preppers opt for vacuum-sealing, but there is some debate as to how much plastic bags “breathe” and how much plastic “taints” food over time. Many therefore choose mason jars for storage instead.
Your best bets for dehydrating are fruits, vegetables and some grains. You can dehydrate meat, but it does not come with a long shelf life. Fats spoil quickly even with dehydrating.
Home canning is another option to consider for DIY doomsday prepping. Again, your projected shelf life is still around one year depending on the storage conditions. Some home canners state they can squeak up to three years out of canned fruit, but this is often with cellar storage.
The equipment needed for home canning; a Pressure Cooker and mason jars.
You can home-can fruits, vegetables and meat.
You will need to keep a detailed calendar of food supplies to ensure the necessary turnover is being done in a timely manner. You will not only need to get your soon-to-be outdated food supplies used – you don’t want to throw your time and money down the toilet if they are not consumed by the due date – you will also need to keep those shelves stocked with fresh supplies.
Why the Vast Difference in Shelf Life?
The majority of manufactured emergency food supply kits come with a shelf life of up to 25 years. There are a number of reasons for the major difference in projected shelf life between homemade survival food and commercially manufactured kits.
For starters, the kits available for purchasing often combine dehydrating and freeze-drying. This is not something easily attainable at home. Other factors include food grade storage containers which will not taint stored food over time, nitrogen packing which is often done to replace oxygen and oxygen-absorbing packets which are often added to food supply kits.
Which Is Best: Purchasing or DIY Emergency Food Supplies?
As you can see, DIY survival food prepping requires a great deal of planning. This is one of the main reasons that many preppers that have not devoted their lives full time to prepping opt for commercially available products. It can be hard to keep up on the turnover and preparation that comes with doing it yourself.