50 Ways to Eat from Your Pantry When You Have No Money for Groceries

by | Apr 5, 2016 | Headline News | 78 comments

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    This guide was originally published by Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper

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    When things go wrong and we have more month than money, it can be difficult to keep the family fed, the bills paid, and a roof over your heads. However, if you have built a well-stocked prepper’s pantry, you have one less thing to worry about when you have no money for groceries.

    Some Practical Reasons Why You Might Need a Food Supply

    The best investments in these questionable times are those which are tangible. Having a food supply, purchased at a good price during good times, can be invaluable if things become more difficult. And by “more difficult” I’m not necessarily talking about a massive, national economic collapse or an epic natural disaster.

    Anyone can have a difficult week (or month or year).  Maybe an unexpected expense arose, like a trip to the emergency room or a car repair. Perhaps a job was lost or hours were cut at work. It’s possible that something happened that made the primary breadwinner for the family unable to work for a time.  Whatever the case, having some supplies put back can really help you through a rough spot. While some folks have room in their budgets for these shortfalls or added expenses, a growing number of Americans are one paycheck away from disaster.

    The key is this: when times are good, you should focus on loading up your pantry for when times are not so good. It’s not a new idea. It’s how our ancestors did it because they never knew when a fluke cold snap would kill their crops, when a predator might get the animal they were depending on for food or when a drought would occur.

    What You Should Have in Your Pantry

    Much has been written about the specific items to stock in your pantry, so this is just a general list.

    (If you’re new to prepping and stockpiling you can learn more about building a pantry in this book or in this article.)

    The best case scenario is to store what you already eat. If you generally eat meals with a lot of meat and little plant protein, you’re going to feel deprived if you suddenly switch from steak to beans. If you tend to eat lots of protein and vegetables, you’re not going to feel your best if you suddenly switch to a diet loaded with starches and high in carbohydrates.

    One really good way to see what you’re already eating is to write down everything your family consumes for a couple of weeks. You can probably remember most of what you had the past week to give yourself a guideline.

    Now, while everything is normal, take a long hard look at your consumption. Are these foods that you can stock up on or do you focus on things that require a couple of trips to the store per week for freshness. If the latter is the case, you might want to make some simple adjustments so that it will be easier to maintain your diet in difficult times.

    How to Eat from the Pantry When There’s No Money for Groceries

    When people hear the question, “How long could you survive on the food you have on hand?” they tend to think of the math. “I have 472 servings of grain divided by 4 people and…”

    Stop.

    You need to think in terms of meals. Those who think in individual components like this are the ones who will end up near the end of the pantry stretch eating canned peaches, stale saltines, and pureed pumpkin for dinner. Not the most enticing combo, right?

    One really great way to stock up and have familiar food on hand is to think about 7 meals that your family enjoys. Then, purchase for your pantry the ingredients for 4 of each of those meals. Here are a few quick tips.

    • Look for non-perishable options, like freeze dried mushrooms and bell peppers for your spaghetti sauce.
    • Repackage meat carefully for your freezer in meal-sized servings.
    • Learn how to make baked goods from scratch and stock up on the ingredients you need for them.
    • Keep fruit and veggies on hand in frozen, dehydrated, and canned form.
    • Have some quick meals on hand so that you don’t end up breaking the budget on takeout food on a super busy day. (I can entire meals for this very reason.Click here for some of my recipes, or check out my book, The Organic Canner.)
    • Use emergency food to extend a small amount of leftovers to feed the whole family.

    Pantry Friendly Adaptations

    Lots of folks say things like “I only buy fresh XXX at the store – everything else came from the pantry.” That’s awesome – truly – but if you were in a situation in which you couldn’t buy fresh XXX, you probably wouldn’t want to go without it right?  Here are some things to stockpile so that you can make adaptations to fresh XXX

    • Milk: Powdered milk (I use this hormone-free milk powder – it’s delicious and creamy and much better quality than the other dry milk on the market.  Organic dry milk is also available, but it’s a bit of out my personal budget. )
    • Bread: Stock up on the ingredients to make it yourself. Store-bought bread is usually loaded with additives so learning to bake your own is a worthy skill regardless of whether you intend to survive from your pantry. It couldn’t be easier – check out this 5-minute recipe for artisan bread.
    • Fresh fruit: Frozen fruit is pretty yummy. In fact, my (slightly odd) kids enjoy gnawing on it right out of the freezer. You can also use it in smoothies, thaw and top yogurt or pancakes with it, or bake with it. We are huge applesauce fans, so I can a few dozen jars of this each fall. I also can peach and pear slices in honey for a sweet treat, and loads of homemade jam which can be used in a multitude of ways that do not include toast.
    • Salad: If you have a sunny windowsill you can grow salad greens all year longto sate your craving for fresh greens. There are lots of delicious microgreen kits on the market, and even some kits that are soil-free. Other alternatives are home-canned coleslaw or lightly cooked veggie salads made from freezer vegetables.
    • Vegetables: You really don’t have to have fresh asparagus in February, contrary to what the grocery stores portray. While I do can some vegetables, canned veggies are really NOT my favorite. I prefer fresh cooked al dente. The closest I can get to that with my food storage is frozen veggies, lightly steamed. I also keep dehydrated veggies on hand for cooking with: mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, etc.  If you have a root cellar, lots of good veggies can be stored there.

    Sample Menus from Our Food Storage Pantry

    After a big move, lots of fencing, shelters for animals, etc., etc, etc., I’m deliberately sticking to a month of food from the pantry in order to catch up. A normal grocery bill can be anywhere between 75-200 per week around here, depending on what’s on sale, whether I’m stocking up on a bargain, or if it’s garden season.  Here are some of the meals I’m creating from my pantry and freezer.

    Breakfasts

    We have an unlimited supply of eggs with 10 hens laying enthusiastically, so most breakfasts center around them.

    • Omelettes with leftover veggies from the night before and a bit of cheese sauce to make our cheese go further
    • Eggs with sausage or bacon (we recently bought half a hog, so we have plenty of that)
    • Homemade pancakes topped with fruit syrup made from home-canned jam
    • Homemade granola or granola cookies
    • Eggs and roasted veggies (One of our weird favorite breakfasts)
    • Oatmeal topped with warmed jam
    • Homemade bread (or cornbread) and jam
    • Smoothies

    Lunches

    In our house, lunch is often leftovers from the night before. I usually try to cook enough for this very purpose.  We do have some other standbys, though.

    • Homemade chicken strips from the freezer with oven fries
    • Beef patty with oven-baked carrot “fries”
    • Roasted veggies topped with parmesan cheese
    • Soup (all kinds: chicken, beef and vegetable, creamy cauliflower)
    • Refried beans and rice topped with home-canned salsa
    • Top a frozen gluten-free pizza crust with home-canned pizza sauce, toppings that are leftovers, and cheese from the freezer
    • Yogurt topped with fruit from the freezer and homemade granola

    Dinners

    The crock pot gets a whole lot of use in my house. I love the fact that the meal is almost completely hands off while I’m busy doing other things. Of course, not all of our recipes are crock pot ones! Here are some of the dinners we have had over the past couple of weeks.

    • Roast beef and vegetables (crock pot)
    • Carnitas (pork roast slow cooked with green tomato salsa, lime juice, and cilantro)
    • Spaghetti and meatballs
    • NuManna Pasta Primavera with some broccoli from the freezer
    • Stir fries from the freezer
    • Pork chops and roasted vegetables sprinkled with parmesan
    • Beef BBQ (slow cooker) and home-canned sweet and sour cole slaw
    • NuManna rice pilaf and brown rice (from the Defender’s Bucket) cooked, then stir-fried with a small amount of leftover meat and egg to make a tasty bowl of fried rice
    • Roasted chicken and vegetables
    • Baked beans with gluten free mac and cheese
    • Beef and vegetable stew
    • Pot Pie made with leftover roast duck and NuManna potato casserole
    • Homemade chili (crock pot)
    • Split pea soup made with home canned ham broth
    • Roast duck (raised here) with potatoes, onions, and carrots
    • Potato soup (it’s a family favorite and super-thrifty!)
    • And of course, no list of frugal meals would be complete without breakfast for dinner

    Looking for more inspiration for pantry-based recipes? Check out The Prepper’s Cookbook by Tess Pennington.  It’s absolutely loaded with ideas for delicious and nutritious meals from your preps. For even more ideas, check out my Instagram page to see exactly what we’re eating.

    What Are Your Favorite Pantry Meals?

    Now, this list is just one of ideas from my own kitchen. How can you adapt your own family favorites to be pantry-friendly? Do you have some pantry standbys for rough times? How would you fare if there was no money for extra groceries for a month or longer? Share your ideas and inspiration in the comments below.


    The Pantry Primer

    Please feel free to share any information from this article in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to The Organic Prepper and the following bio.

    Daisy Luther is the author of The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide To Whole Food on a Half Price Budget.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]


    Also From Daisy Luther:

    The Prepper’s Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Guide To Prepare For Any Disaster

    Here’s How You’ll Die When the SHTF (and How to Prevent Your Untimely Demise)

    How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack: ‘These Systems Could Be Completely Inoperable or Breached’

    San Andreas for Preppers: 12 Essential Survival Lessons from the Movie

    12 Bad Strategies That Will Get Preppers Killed

    Lock and Load: Are You Prepared for Civil Unrest?

    You’ve Been Warned: Why You Need to Be Ready for Total Grid Failure

    URGENT ON GOLD… as in URGENT

    It Took 22 Years to Get to This Point

    Gold has been the right asset with which to save your funds in this millennium that began 23 years ago.

    Free Exclusive Report
    The inevitable Breakout – The two w’s

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      78 Comments

      1. anon

        Words that are Tasty and Refreshing.

        • apache54

          great article Daisy !! she always seems to write great articles!

          • Wilson

            @Apache 54, she does indeed.
            I just finished a supper made entirely from our prepper storage. We are full and satisfied.

            • WhoWTFKnows...

              I’ve been living off my Food Preps for more than a year now, and just the normal cycle out of expiration dates with at least 6 months lead time before they expire. I could not believe I finally ran out of Rice.. Love it and could eat it for every meal. Picked up another 10 Lbs of rice the other day, just to start adding again to the stack mix. I also have a lot of canned meats. Tuna, salmon, DAKs Hams, chicken, beef, etc. Meat, rice and a steamed veggies are good for a meal. I still have about 70 Lbs of black beans, in Sealed mylar bags with 02 absorbents in 5 gallon sealed buckets. Beans are a great protein item and I also vacuum packed them in Mason jars. Pasta also packs nicely in Mason jars for long term storage. Same with salt for some use one day.

              About to make another run to Sams Club again to stock up on the 2 year out new expiration dates for canned foods.

              Stay away from BS Wise food. Unless you enjoy eating creamy mush with no vegetables and a 300% daily salt intake contained within the Mush.

              ~WWTI…

              • Redgypsy

                4 years ago got hurt on job and party responsible had no insurance.
                Left me crippled, broke and unemployed.
                I can usually roust up 3-4 days of paying work now if I’m lucky.
                If I would have had huge debt I would have been screwed.
                Now
                We grow about 85% of our food.
                Barter for about 10% and buy the odd thing like coffee we can’t produce.
                We stopped canning and only dehydrate or ferment foods.
                Do not freeze and have a bar sized fridge.
                Usually spend less than $40 a month on food for 2 people.
                Sometimes you don’t have things in season and no junk food but I’m so much healthier for it.

                R
                Also built a food dehydrater from an old space heater and hardware cloth and wood.
                Also dry some stuff in the green house using sun & wood stove.
                Never been healthier or more fit.

                • Philosopher

                  RG: wow you are living the life. Real world report, thanks much!

                  • Acid Etch

                    I just want to save enough money to get the supplies and PMs I need. Then I want to fucking disappear. I want to do it with a like minded female who isn’t a fucking land whale. But they are very hard to find.

                • Wilson

                  Way to hang in there, and improvise, adapt and overcome!!!!!!!

                • Leonard

                  Care to share your plans for building the dehydrator? I, and probably a number of others here would be grateful…

          • javelin

            Agreed–good tips. I would add the warning of not to put tooo much reliance on the Freezer as in many scenarios it can become useless. It is heartbreaking when you lose power for a week in the summer and bags of hard-earned frozen veggies from the garden are all thawing at once. It is a HUGE cookout when this happened to me ( although I did take the more expensive meats in an ice chest to a co-workers house who still had power and room to save a lot of it.
            A TIP of my own–I am currently building a root cellar in a dried out culvert/gorge that a long-ago extinct creek cut out for me, but in the meantime I use a room I framed out in my basement.
            My basement is mostly finished with a spare bedroom for my mom or daughters when they visit, and the rec room is set up as a second family room with a wood burning stove down there.
            In the back corner that is 90% below ground however, I made a 10×10 room which has no heat vents, a small crawl window near the ceiling/wall meet. In the winter it is in the 40’s and 50’s constantly if I keep the door closed tight-the shelves of potatoes, gourds, squashes, apples, onions, carrots etc are against the cool block wall; the inner walls stay cool also and are perfect for the sauces, jams, pickles and other home-canned veggies and fruits.
            Also, mushrooms and peppers both freeze very wellin simple ziplocks–the peppers just de-seed them and throw them in the bags, the mushrooms are better if lightly sautéed first and they won’t get freezer burnt.

        • Acid Etch

          THE “DEVELOPING COUNTRIES” MONIKER IS BULLSHIT

          THE RANGE OF RACIAL IQs HAS BEEN CONSTANT FOR AT LEAST TENS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS

          YOU CANT HAVE A FIRST WORLD COUNTRY THAT DOESNT HAVE AN AVERAGE IQ OF AT LEAST 90

          THE THIRD WORLD IS GOING TO REMAIN THE THIRD WORLD INDEFINITELY

        • Acid Etch

          Greece has an average IQ of 92 after being raped by Muslims for centuries.

          Is that what you want, Germany?

          You could send all the Germans to the moon for 10 years and give their country to the Koreans…everything would be fine.

          If you give Germany to the Muslims, it will look like Somalia.

          The fucking debate is over.

          Do you want to live in a shithole country?

          BETTER SING IT LOUD AND PROUD…I AM A RACIST!!!!

        • Acid Etch

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkA-iSlfQfs

          Marco Polo traveled in Asia for 20 years circa 1300.

          He got a lot of Chinese pussy and he loved it.

          He commented on how advanced the Chinese civilization was.

          He made a fortune.

          Then 75% of his fortune was stolen on the return trip by who?????

          That’s right, fucking Muslims as always.

        • Acid Etch

          Brondolini’s Law:

          “The energy expenditure required to refute bullshit is always orders of magnitude more than that needed to utter it.”

          Alberto Brandolini, Italian programmer

          The dago is on to something here.

          • Ketchupondemand

            Acid, thanks but that’s a sad f’n statement about college kids.
            Love the one about Brondolini’s law. Classic.

          • Leonard

            We knew you weren’t one of THOSE “millennials”. God help us all…

      2. Babycatcher55

        Daisy, you always inspire me! Thx!

        • john stiner

          There was a lady named Joey Feek that died recently. Apparently she was famous, but i did not know who she was. In her last remaining days her husband took a picture of her holding an egg carton where the egg shells were used to germinate the new plants. It inspired me to try it, an so far they are working.

          Here is the photo.
          http://tasteofcountry.com/files/2016/02/Joeys-Garden.jpg?w=630&h=420&zc=1&s=0&a=t&q=89

          • Archy

            Joey Feek was a real prepper as well as a country music star … she and hubby had a farm, raised all their own food, massive garden, canned, raised their own meat … which surprised me she didn’t try to cure the cancer with proven natural methods, instead opting for surgery/radiation/chemo which killed her. RIP Joey!

            • Leonard

              On that subject, Merle Haggard died today…RIP.

      3. B from CA

        Restaurants want to fill you up, spend as little money as possible, and make a profit. Water is free. But for a few pennies, they use a little ground beans and voila CoFFEE $2.50. If the price of the beans, milk and sugar amount to $ fifty cents, there is a two dollar profit.

        The restaurant usually includes rice, mashed potatoes, bread, and sometimes pasta. Why? Because they are inexpensive and fill you up.

        Stocking flour is boring. What are you going to do with that? Well, pizza, bread, pies, cookies; mostly just flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, water, and voila add a little of this and that and the food choices are endless and inexpensive. What is more important. There are no unhealthy additives. Just good wholesome food.

        Add pasta to soup to make it go further.

        Use rice as a filler. Cut up a small piece of meat, a few assorted or left over veggies, and voila; enough food to feed a family, or for you alone for several days.

        A prepper is not prepared just for calamity. A prepper is prepared to feed a family with ease in a more practical, more economical, and just plain smarter way.

        • B from CA

          Thanks for all your terrific articles Daisy Luther.

      4. Archivist

        Our local Save-A-Lot had Banquet frozen dinners for just 79 cents each last week. We bought the limit and will try them out this week. We’ve been eating 59-cent pot pies when we want a small meal that’s quick.

        We’re still eating canned corn we bought over 2 years ago for 25 cents a can. Every time Bush baked beans are on sale we buy more in various flavors for a little variety.

        The freezers are filled to capacity, and the pantry is pretty full, so we are next concentrating on cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc.

        Here’s a little tip. Most people don’t think of canned evaporated milk when they run out of milk. All you have to do is open a can and dilute it with an equal amount of water. You can drink it, use it on cereal, or cook with it. If you don’t dilute it, it will make recipes taste richer. We always keep some in the pantry.

        • Philosopher

          A: I agree about evaporated milk. I always keep some on hand. There are regular can sizes and mini-cans and I like this for when I run out of half-and-half for my coffee. Better than powdered coffee creamer or the fake liquid stuff.

          This is my grandmothers recipe for corn chowder. She said it was from the Depression but I think it is a recipe from WWII when they had rations and couldn’t get fresh milk or produce or meat I n Northern Maine but they always had potatoes and onions. I love this soup! It is quick and easy and is even better reheated on the second or third day. Enjoy! 🙂

          1 large white / sweet onion, diced
          fat: bacon grease, lard, oil, butter: whatever you have on hand (I like to mix butter and bacon grease)
          2 or 3 large Russet / Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
          1 can of evaporated milk
          1 can of Delmonte creamed corn
          salt and pepper

          * Sauté the diced onion in the fat until lightly browned.

          * Add the chunks of potato and cover with water or stock of your choice. (Water should just cover the taters).

          * Cook at a low simmer (no need for super high heat) until the potatoes are fork-tender.

          * Add the milk and creamed corn and stir until warm, heat should be on low.

          * Season to taste with salt and pepper.

        • passinwiththewind

          Thumbs up on the Sav-a-lot stores…and evaporated milk.

          Our local Sav-a-lot has some real bargains. The store has been here for nearly thirty years, but I never shopped their because the mouth-n-law bought her meat there and even the whole tenderloins tasted bad/strong. I think they were from Mexico.

          Anyways, I stopped by, about a year ago, to get some cheap bologna, 99 cents for a lb., to feed our old, old dog, that hardly has any teeth; and found some name brand orange juice for a buck cheaper per 53 ounce jug.
          Later, it was unavailable, so i bought their store brand, but it was too bitter and different tasting, so i went on their web site and saw many of their products, and that they have their own brands, from across much of USA.

          The OJ, come to find out, has imported juice from South America added, or just 100% probably. It claims it is 100% real squeezed, but does not come close to Florida squeezed.

          Anyways, they have some really good products at good prices.
          We buy their brand of frozen Supreme pizza for $2.50 each, and with a few shrooms/peppers/onions/black olives/extra cheese added, it is almost as good as the $15.00 pizza at the restaurant. Hard to tell the difference from Dejourno.

          I like their Bubba cola drinks for $2.50 a twelve pack. It has way less sodium than Coke or Pepsi. The chicken is really cheap, and when grilling with barbecue sauce, you can’t tell it is cheaper.

          Sometimes, when the money gets funny, by the end of the month, it helps to have a bargain store like that…especially with kids in the home.

          Evaporated milk tip: When out of half and half, and I’m making cream sausage gravy to pour over the homemade biscuits, i have perfected; I use evap/condensed canned milk, with a little distilled water. it changes the flavor a little, but only in a good way.

          The wife gets mad some times and says she thinks about leaving, but when she thinks about not being able to get her weekly fix of my biscuits and gravy, she quickly bites her lip.
          Did I say that she loves me, but doesn’t like me too much?
          Well it’s true, I am very particular about things, and she is a slacker in everything except personal hygiene. priority one!
          We make it work.
          I have no problem with her going off for the weekends to her daughters or girlfriend’s, and she has no problem with me going off fishing without her. I just have to make sure i get home with some fresh fishes, especially if i am smelling a little like one.(just joking)

        • anon

          Sure, banquet frozen dinners are great if you don’t mind eating reheated frozen shit. I don’t care how cheap they are, shit always tastes like shit.

          • Leonard

            Never tasted shit before, thanks for the warning…

            • poorman

              lol

      5. aljamo

        That’s a lot of different foods listed there. For dinner I just rotate 3 meals, bean burritos, grilled cheese with fresh tomatoes and more beans, spaghetti with beans and plum tomatoes. No meat at all. Bland for sure but I’m use to eating this diet. Add in peanut butter and jelly on store bought whole grain breads for earlier in the day meals, that’s all I eat. I did enjoy the article.

        • PO'd Patriot

          Shooo-wee If I ate all those beans I would need an X-ring painted on my shitter seat.

        • Philosopher

          A: OMG you eat that way NOW? Jeez if that was all I ate I would say shoot me. No wonder you are grumpy.

          • Leonard

            If you eat roughly equal quantities of beans and rice at the same meal, you’ll find they digest better, and you won’t need so many matches…

      6. KY Mom

        Great article Daisy!
        Many practical and useful suggestions!

      7. rellik

        As a general question to my fellow SHTFer’s. I’ve never had a freeze dried meal that was worth a damn. I’ve tried a few( eg. Mountain house and Wise) my dogs won’t eat them, they prefer cat shit, if given the choice.
        As it is I’ll stick to Lipton soups and homemade jerky for short term stuff and lose a few pound per day.
        Anybody out there have a recommendation for freeze dried food
        (besides the guys selling it)?

        • Philosopher

          R: I was just researching a home freeze-drying device I found on another site. Read reviews on Amazon and for $3,000 plus dollars it sounds like a waste of money and time.

          I have not found any ready-made meals that I like. I do have MREs. Do I eat that crap on a daily basis? Oh hell no! I keep it around as survival when everything else fails and so that I don’t have to go to a FEMA camp to get a handout of MREs.

          I remember having to eat B-rations during Reforger in Germany. They were horrible. The cooks made everything from dehydrated stuff: dehydrated eggs, porkchops and the rest was from cans, too. It was better than C-rations because the stuff was hot but terrible because it wasn’t fresh.

          I have looked into buying non-GMO and organic stuff and it is a huge ripoff and really expensive. I am thinking about storing stuff like organic parboiled rice, organic dehydrated potato slices and potato flakes. I am a picky eater and I hate stuff with chemicals and salt in it. I am thinking about dehydrating some stuff that I can buy in bulk from local farms.

          Food preservation techniques vary. Smoked meats and dry-cured hams have been around long enough for them to become gourmet. I am thinking that a couple of dry-cured hams, other cured meats are the way to go. Check out your local farmers market or Italian deli.

          Salt. Salt has been the way to cure meat and fish. Along with drying in the air and adding various types of smoke. The Scandinavians became masters at air-drying and salting codfish.

          I rarely see any modern preppers advise that people stock up on salt. There were times when salt was equal to gold.

          Unleavened bread saved the Israelites when they had to flee Egypt. There is a similar item called Irish Soda Bread. Many places have learned to make bread using only flour, salt, and oil. Yeast is nice if you have it but not necessary.

          I am thinking that a few gallons of various types of oil in cans is a good prep.

          I can’t stand most prepared foods because they have too much salt and sugar and fat.

          I am thinking the best way is to maybe buy one or two buckets of the prepared stuff (I am single so the huge portion sizes versus single / two-person meal sizes are another problem) and then I am considering making buckets to my own taste and cooking style.

          Spices are another thing that is neglected by preppers. There is no way I could make the meals I make without a mix of spices and fresh herbs.

          Growing fresh greens and herbs isn’t hard and doesn’t take a lot of space.

          Dehydrated nuts and fruits are easy to find and not that expensive and you can repack with a basic vacuum sealer. The mistake I made with my big bag of rice was not sealing it. A regular home vacuum sealer can be used to portion items for your family size.

          I don’t like some of the pre-made granola / nut bars because they have corn syrup and excessive salt and excessive other chemicals.

          I like the idea of basic ingredients resealed into meal-sized packages. Again, a basic vacuum sealer is enough. Maybe not for 25 years but certainly for a few years. That is good enough. It gives me a headache to think about saving food for the next 25 years.

          • passinwiththewind

            Jerky is the way to go with long term storage of meats.
            I only have venison jerky stored now, but as we cycle out the canned chicken and beef, I will replace with beef jerky for long term storage. I got a smoker last year, and will buy whole briskets and big cuts when on sale, to smoke and dry.

            If dried properly, and with the right amount of salt, jerky stored in a canning jar will last for a decade or more.
            I have some that is seven years old, and is still as good as the day i dried it up. We keep it on the counter and grab a piece once in a while for a snack on the go.

            When the step daughter comes home about once every three months, I notice the jar is always about empty before she leaves. That’s OK, we have many stored up. If she keeps smoking and partying like she has been, she ain’t gonna be around for too many more years. At 27, she sounds like a ninety year old woman with a two-pack a day habit, on non filter Camels. Sad!

          • Silent Eyes

            Hey philo, for spices and herbs you might want to try online at penzeys.com. you can get super fresh product fresh at reasonable prices. We buy in bulk and the product is way better and cheaper than a grocery store.

            • Philosopher

              SE: thanks for tip!

          • GardenNut

            If you make up a round of sourdough every once in a while, you can keep the sourdough starter going indefinitely. Same with yogurt. I always start each batch of yogurt off a bit of the old.

            I agree with you on the salt. Salt and sugar are two of my favorite things to stock because they are so versatile from a preserving standpoint. A mix of plain old salt, brown sugar, and water is my main brine for smoking fish and summer sausage. I also make jam with 2 cups fruit to 1 cup sugar, and the jars come out with 6-8 grams of sugar per tablespoon. Just fruit and sugar, no pectin, no water, no nothing. The end result tastes way better than any store-bought stuff and is better for you.

            • Philosopher

              GN: I am a big fan of brining meat. I have been brining my thanksgiving turkey for years, almost the same recipe as you use except I mix equal parts of salt and sugar with water. Turkeys I brine for 48 hours and a game hen for 24 hours. I have seen cooking shows and brining is a great way to make the meat moist after the cooking process. It is also a way to make game meat or less desirable cuts of meat / offal taste better.

              I make my own simple syrup for use to make ginger soda or sweet tea: 1 cup of cane sugar (I don’t like beet sugar) and 1 cup of water. Simmer until the sugar has melted. For ginger soda I grate frozen ginger and put it into a tea strainer and add some grated lemon and mint to the simple syrup. This will keep in the fridge just fine and add it to plain selzer water to make your own soda. This is the best way to add sugar to iced tea because you can stir it in and the syrup actually mixes in and doesn’t end up as sugar on the bottom of the glass.

              My grandmother used to starch her doilies with the same simple syrup. She would crochet baskets and then soak them in the syrup to get them to stiffen up into the shape she wanted.

        • PWYPreach

          Rellik: The site called heavenlyhomemakers has a lot of totally from-scratch recipes. The gal’s from-scratch dried onion soup mix is excellent, and no MSG. She also makes it without bouillion, as that tends to have MSG (and she uses no autolyzed yeast extract).

          So maybe an option might be for you to put together your own freeze-dried (F-D) meals using individual F-D components (like F-D onions or F-D chicken/other meats) and herbs/spices that you may already have at home? Anyway, “food for thought.”

        • Nubmaeme

          rellik – Mountain House is one of the oldest and best brands available with lots of choices. I would suggest Emergency Essentials (beprepared.com) but they are usually components like individual fruits and vegetables and not full meals like MH has. I agree with you on Wise. I’d rather eat my dog’s food because it looks and smells better than Wise. I speak from experience on Wise. You might look into that NuManna in the article. If you click on “(from the Defender’s bucket)” under Dinners in the article, it’ll take you to the website. Never heard of it before so I don’t know anything about it. If you google/bing “freeze dried meals”, you’ll get quite a few site that carry freeze dried foods. Maybe you can find something that way. Hope this helps a little.

        • B from CA

          Relic:
          I can’t afford prepackaged and don’t trust that there aren’t unhealthy additives. I buy in bulk from “Bob’s Red Mill” they carry products that go beyond flour. Also “Honeyville”. I try to get organic. I won’t eat GMO food. I rely heavily on spices. Fennel seeds help digestion. Turmeric reduces inflammation and is associated with brain health. Parsley is one of the most nutritious things you can eat. I have some dried and dehydrated fruits and will add them to my oatmeal. I use fresh when available and back it up with dried. Plant fruit and nut trees. It’s the single most cost effective way to always have something. Figs don’t travel well and most people don’t know what they are. When they are available, they are expensive. So consider a fig tree. Olive trees can live 1,000 years and don’t need much water in hot, dry places. Make your own MRE’s by putting some ingredients together in bags so all you have to do is add boiling water. Or leave them as is and just use them to cook with as needed. Which is basically all I do. I’m not a true prepper. But I have more than a few things that can tied me over when push comes to shove. Be well.

          • Philosopher

            BfC: I am the same way. I refuse to eat GMO. I prefer organic grains and I love Bob’s Red Mill. I have changed over to the organic AP flour and love it.

            One of my favorite things is fennel! I have also grown it and it is similar to mustard. It is easy to grow and you can collect the seeds and it isn’t hard. I had some at an old apartment off the porch and got a good amount of seeds in the fall.

            This is an Italian Chicken recipe that started out using packaged Italian Seasoning dressing mix (the little package that you add oil and water and shake in a jar) but I changed it to use my own seasoning mix:

            * chicken, cut up into pieces and patted dry (don’t skip this step or the skin won’t crisp in the oven)

            * Cut potatoes into cubes and dice onion, mix in a glass baking dish, for 2 people 8X8 dish

            * Oven @ 375 to 385 degrees

            * pour olive oil (or canola or whatever you have) over the taters and onions, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and fennel seeds 🙂

            * add the chicken pieces and repeat above steps for the chicken (olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and fennel seeds sprinkled on top of the chicken)

            * cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour

            This seriously makes your house smell like heaven, too!

            Add bread and a salad and you have dinner!

      8. Asshat

        im not attached to my taste buds. Food is fuel for me though it is nice to have a nice meal from time to time. Keeps you appreciating good cooking. Protein bars are good. They don’t taste all that good but sustain you. I’m really a nibbler don’t like to be gorged with a big meal.

      9. Jay

        Chicken congee, squirrel congee, raccoon congee, badger congee, rabbit congee, pigeon congee, etc., etc., etc..

        Chicken adobo, squirrel adobo, raccoon adobo, badger adobo, rabbit adobo, pigeon adobo, so on and so forth.

        • Philosopher

          As long as those recipes include onions, garlic and some type of chile and herbs, I am happy!

      10. PWYPreach

        Thank you, Daisy, for the tips on where to purchase the gluten-free MREs and hormone-free milk. Some of the ingredients in the run-of-the-mill MREs have been a real “show stopper” for those of us with chronic illnesses.

      11. southside

        Thanks Daisy. Your articles make coming back to this site worthwhile

      12. nlightened2

        I am in my second month of eating from my food storage. I’m not completely broke but that ballon payment pretty well wiped me out last month. And this month the $300+ registration on my truck hurts every time. Just spending what is left on gas, fresh veggies at the auction and milk at the store. I am getting out of debt rather quickly now.
        Thank you Daisy for the dry milk link. I’ll try and get some next month. And me and my stomach has certainly been inspired by your article. Haha!

      13. weasal

        My mind is turning to mush.

      14. Sgt. Dale

        Eat the oldest stuff first.
        Change up your meals around. Eat breakfast food for lunch, Lunch food for Breakfast, Ect. Ect,.
        This will get you use to eating what ever you have when push comes to shove.
        Sgt.

        • PO'd Patriot

          Make sure you’ve got plenty of “Old Bay” seafood spice to sprinkle on your bland food. Also I use a lot of J.O. Seafood spice. Has a little more heat and salt than the Old Bay.

        • passinwiththewind

          Oldest stuff first. That is what i preach to the wifey.
          Although she doesn’t cook, she has taken it upon herself to do the rotating of Food stocks.

          She is not diligent enough, and i found a quart of store bought canned peaches from 2013 this week. They had gone to mush and smelled strong, so in the compost they went. I also found a can of 2014 beefy soup, and it was OK, I think, cause I ate the whole can yesterday for supper.

          If i no longer post here again, the soup was probably too far gone. Yea, I know a few would like that…like wwti.

          • Sgt. Dale

            “P”
            My brother you will be OK.

            If it is bad it will “PASS”. If you know what I mean!!!! LOL.

            Dab don’t Wipe.
            Sorry I couldn’t resist.

            Sgt.

            • passinwiththewind

              Dab is not a chore i ever look forward to, but if a person’s digestive system is operating consistently and correctly, you are so correct. The system will turn everything to a fluid consistency to flush it out, if it is bad. so far today i’m still logging.
              If you know what I mean. lol.

          • Leonard

            I’ve recently eaten several cans of Dinty-Moore Beef Stew left over from my Y2K stash. Flavor was a little flat, so I added some canned beef gravy, and it was even tastier than when the stew was new…

            • Philosopher

              Leo: I can’t believe that some of you eat that shit. Jeez. Thanks for the information. When SHTF and I stumble into a cabin or find some old cans I will remember what you guys taught. Holy fricken moly.

              I love quality food, not quantity. It is going to be painful when I have to eat crap and wonder if I am going to live for the next 3 days.

      15. swinging richard

        PO, found a spice blend in Longview TX. called Howie’s Cajun Dust. It is hard to find unless you order on line but it is killer.

        • passinwiththewind

          I bought a quart of dry spice blend by Emeril Lagasse last year at Sam’s. Thinking it would be good for venison in SHTF days.

          I made the mistake of coating a couple steaks with it before cooking. It was the most awful taste, and pungent aftertaste, that ajax would not clean the taste off the buds.

          It may be ok if mixed sparingly, with other spices, or used in stews by the quarter teaspoon fulls.

          At that rate, it will last into the next century.

          I’ll stick to Allegro’s Original liquid marinade and homemade apple wine vinegar for my steaks, and for the cutlets, good ole Lowry’s original seasoned salt is hard to beat.

          Chicken gets my homemade barbecue sauce and marinade which is a cross between a Texas style, and eastern/western Carolina. style.

      16. Ben Raines

        Another great article!

        I understand all the shade thrown WISE foods way.
        Yup, lots of salt. But I have some stashed away, AND I enjoy most of it. I prefer MT. HOUSE, but I like it all.

        And I eat it regularly.
        MREs, too.

        I am not that picky when I eat. I eat plenty rice and potatoes, and garden goodies in season.

        SALT! I stash plenty salt for if my freezers and friges stop forever (EMP). I stash away whole wheatberries, and grind flour when needed.

        Practice what you stash!
        I eat what’s in my preps, and rotate.

        The Dead Nettles are flowering, and spinach seeds need sowed. Tomatoes, and basil are germinating indoors, and I am building more potato towers.

        I need to learn chicken keeping for eggs and meat this summer, and solar power backup stuff.

        Last Summmer I spent living in my backyard practicing solar oven baking, wood stove cooking, KellyKettle and Hobo Stove cooking, tent up and down fast sleeping, hammock sleeping, etc.

        This last winter I hunted a lot. I only ate MRE’s with the heaters, using only LifeStraw and Katadyn water filters to clean water from the Ohio River, and various ponds while away from home.

        Many times on return trips from hunting with others, I would eat MRE in truck while my hunting buddies ate at McDonalds.

        It won’t be long before I find some morels to go with the bluegill I have harvested already this year. I will add the last of frozen venison back straps, and some fried green tomatoes for a spring feast.

        I am sending my wife back to Hawai’i so she misses the excitement I anticipate, here in Ohio, when the GOP convention kicks off a shit storm of trouble in Cleveland.

        I am 120 miles from there, but I anticipate being able to see the smoke from here. lol.

        Have fun while you prepare, and it is much easier to cope with the unknown event you are prepping for.

        And…

        Always Be Armed.

        • passinwiththewind

          If you are in Toledo, say hello to Klinger on MASH for the wife.

          She loves MASH, and has watched every episode, many times.

          Hey, good to hear you practice what you preach, Ben. You seem to have a good handle on the situation as it is and what it will become. Thumbs up!

          • Ketchupondemand

            Passin’ if you’re smoking meats and using salt to preserve them and putting them in canning jars for long term storage (I presume) could that be done with smoked fish?
            I smoke fish regularly with a sea salt/brown sugar dry brine, but have had pieces go bad in the fridge after a few weeks. Would love to preserve it like you do jerky.
            Maybe coat it with salt after smoking, then put in jars?
            Only problem is moisture content…

            • Ketchupondemand

              never mind, don’t think I’d eat fish jerky.

          • Ben Raines

            Thanks, Passin.

            I am south of both those wannabe bonfires.

            This SHTF website has helped me get my gear squared away, and my mind right for whatever straw breaks the camel’s back.

            BUT… if I keep waking up and all is well in Mayberry, I will continue to enjoy consuming food bought in bulk or grown by me, and using neat tools and gadgets to make mundane chores entertaining.

        • Philosopher

          BR: how do you grind your wheat berries? Some folks have said use a Vitamix. Is that what you use?

          What is a Kelly Kettle and hobo stove? If you have links can you post them? Or information about them and which ones work and which don’t? Thanks!

          • Leonard

            Here’s a link to Kelly products:
            https://www.google.com/#safe=off&q=kelly+kettle+amazon

            I’ve used them and like them. You can heat water (for coffee, tea, cocoa or???) at the same time as you heat food. The Hobo Stove is a related product, which I also enjoy. The fire in both is maintained by feeding finger-diameter sticks into the cup below the kettle or stove. Don’t overfill the kettle, though, or it will boil over into the fire cup and put out your fire.

            • Philosopher

              Leo: okay I watched a video on this item. Hmmmm.

              I have a great stainless steel percolator coffee pot that can be hung from a chain over a fire to boil water. Great for camping.

              I hate cooking over cheap grates or in really thin SS pans so I would NOT buy the entire kit. The little base part and the small kettle look good for hiking or an emergency.

              Other than that I keep a small-size propane camper fuel and a screw on burner to boil water in my SS percolator. I can boil water, make coffee, make soup.

              Interesting idea but I am not going to spend $169 for the entire SS Kit. Maybe would buy the little kit. Not sure.

          • Ben Raines

            Phil,
            I have a newer manual grinder, still in the box. It is an emergency back up to an antique, cast iron, Enterprise grinder purchased at estate auction. If I needed to buy another, I would check to see which one Daisy recommends.

            The Kelly Kettle is a commercially sold water boiler. I use it for boiling water fast in the field. It fits nicely attached to my 3 day pack. It is stainless steel model. It’s kinda bulky, but worth it’s weight to me.

            Hobo stove is a small, light, cooking stove alternative.

            Fuel for both is… small sticks/tinder.

            No links but easy to google.

            Google GRILLIPUT, while you are at it. It is a great compliment to a light weight cooking system that does not require propane, coleman fuel, etc.

            These are items that would be great for a survival scenario, and they are fun to practice with while you enjoy cooking that fish you caught, that limb rat you shot, or those morels you just picked.

            Being prepared to make fire fast, and sanitize water fast has come in handy for me in the past. My Fire Kit is just as important to me as my 1st aid kit.

            I do not anticipate being 3 days away from my home when the balloon goes up, but could imagine having to stalk my own home, or stay hidden in the woods during a WROL scenario.

            If I am every so SOL that I MUST boogie out the door, if all I did was grab my 3 day bag, it would give me three days to figure out where I screwed up, and how to remedy the situation.

            • Philosopher

              BR: okay. I will look into those items. I grew up using a dual-fuel Coleman camp stove but those only work when you have fuel. So I am open to options. Easy to find little sticks in my area.

              The only time I have drunk unfiltered water was up in the Bitterroot Mountains in Montana at 7,000 feet in July when there was still snow. The little cricks up on top were fed from melting snow and that water was like drinking a soda. Better. Sweet and cold and clear.

              I have to qualify that comment. I grew up on well water that was incredible. Fresh and clean and clear. Used to drink the local stream water but that was 45 years ago. I don’t advise drinking water downstream, unfiltered and uncoiled, unless you know what is upstream. I love drinking fresh, clean water from a mountain top. Nothing better.

              • Philosopher

                typo: unboiled NOT uncoiled. Auto-correct strikes again, dammit.

              • Ben Raines

                Yup, Philosopher…

                I still have the colemans. Camp fuel type, and propane type. Both type lanterns, too. I love them for a base camp, or when electricity is out.

                They are heavy and bulky for stealth humping around in the woods. The Kelly is light, and can hold my mess kit and utensils, hobo stove, Grilliput, and small fire kit. It is quiet tucked into it’s pouch, stuffed with hand towels, and extra socks to guard the rattles, and strapped to the side of my pack.

                I have nesbit, rocket stove, hobo types, etc. I chose to utilize the Kelly in my 3 day bag because it can boil a LOT of water, very fast. Fuel is easy. Twigs and such.

                For my 3day WTF bag, I am aiming for lowest weight items. No canned goods or liquids in this pack. Making HOT water for Wise/Mt’n.House, coffee/tea, and hygiene will create some smoke, so the MREs are for stealth nutrition. I break the MREs down, and pack the entrees and desserts, and water activated heaters only. Mainstay HI calorie bars round out the calories to about 12,000 total.

                Katadyn water filter, and Sawyer for back up. LifeStraw for emergency backup. Small 1st aid kit, Fire Kit, fishing/snare kit = 3 altoid tins.

                I use just a 8X10 tarp (brn/grn), mosquito netting, and carry a Byer hammock for sleeping system. 100+ feet of 550 paracord, and 8 thick, black contractor bags.

                A Ruger 10-22 Take Down fits in the pack with five 10 round rotary mags, and two B25 25 rd. mags (CCI mini mags), and 100 loose rounds of Remington Sub Sonics. Five Glock 17 mags, and G26 (loaded). Inside I keep an extra Kabar, and heavy Ken Richardson bowie knife. A neat tool called the Satchet. I pack five 30 round 5.56 mags in a dump pouch for my AR (LMT, gas). I rarely walk around without a Cold Steel Voyager folding knife and 150 lumens pen light (AAA bateries)that clip in my front pockets, and Glock 19 in my waistband.

                This bag is stashed near my AR, with a plate carrier vest, with a G17 mounted horizontally, and more magpuls of those evil green tipped 5.56, that slides down around my pack when idle.

                My wife has much lighter, similar, setup with KelTec Sub 2000 and more Glock 17 mags that work great in that little 9mm carbine, and a Sig Mosquito (4 mags) with more .22lr CCI mini mags, and 20 degrees rated, 4 piece, goretex sleeping bag system. She has had lots of practice being woken up at 0330, and going to her WTF gear to await instructions.

                I know what you mean about well water. I live in a small farm town, and pay 60 bucks a month for sewer and city water, but regularly haul home 7 gallon aquatainers of pure artesian water from a spring about 6 miles from my home base. During any kind of SHTF, that well will not be safe to visit, but have alternative fresh water closer to home that would need sanitized. I always have at least 56+ gallons at home that I rotate using ten 7 gallon jugs, and eight 6 gallon jugs. Lugging around 48 and 56 pound jugs make that heavy pack seem like nothing, equally distributed on my back. In the summer, I hand water my LARGE garden plots, and it is not uncommon for me to go to the well 2-3 times a week. 118 gallons X 8 pounds per gallon = good workout. My gardens don’t like chlorine.

                I hope the rest of my life is just a dress rehearsal for some kind of SHTF that never occurs.

                But I have learned in life that shit does happen.

                So I prepare and practice.

                Watch your 6 my friend.

      17. Infidel-2

        The time fast approaches when you don’t already have it you are not going to get it and that is for everything. Prepare for your family now!!!

      18. anon

        Beef and chicken bullion cubes should fit in someplace.

      19. WIprepped

        Everyone always talks about the tons of food stored in their basements. Remember all those preps stocked up only last until they’re gone. By natural disaster or someone taking them. If you don’t do any planting you’ll be screwed in the long run.

        Plant sunchokes, If you don’t have any dirt of your own, plant them in the park, woods, ditch, anywhere. No-one will know what they are and they don’t need any baby sitting. They grow like crazy and pigs and chickens love them if you have too many.

        I know some of you don’t have a lot of water, but watch for cattails. The whole plant can be used. Another that no-one will think about when they’re desperate.

        Do a little research now to learn what wild and hidden plants are in your area. It might keep you from starving.
        molon labe

      20. MiVidaLoca

        I like to get hermetically sealed milk at the Dollar Tree store. It’s a dollar per carton and I think it is 32 ounces (don’t quote me on that though). I live way out in the country so I often find that my kids have drunk the last of the milk when I come home from work with a specific meal planned – going back in town is just not going to happen. I just open up one of these cartons and use the milk. It’s real milk – not powdered milk that water has been added to it. It tastes good and comes in full-fat, 2% and 1%.

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