Monday, October 6, 2008

Your food stash

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Now that I have a bit more time, I’d like to finish the post I meant to write yesterday about food.

Food being at the top of your needs SHTF or not, I’ve always advised to keep 6-12 months for emergencies.

What I don’t remember ever doing is actually showing what kind of food I do store.

Nothing out of the ordinary, it’s not space age food that will last 100 yrs in a volcano, but its normal food anyone can buy the next time they visit the supermarket.

This is just a small selection of what I store lots of, there’s some obvious things missing, like cheese (which we eat a lot of) , salt, sugar, tea , oil, coffee, frozen and canned vegetables, chocolate and milk, just to mention a few.
Still, all of these items, except for the frozen meat, will easily last 2 years as long as it’s kept in a dark, dry place away from insects and pests.

This is easy, cheap, and you can do it in a small apartment.

For guys that store loads of buckets and choose to keep their food that way, that’s just great, more power to you.

Money difference isn’t that much if you consider all the expenses and I’d rather have the food supply distributed in smaller serving packets, in at least three locations around the house. That way if something bad happens I don’t loose all of it. If a pack of rice has bugs, it’s just that one pack and not an entire bucket full of it.

I suppose it makes sense if you store much larger quantities. Even if more food is always better, for me 6 to 12 months is a nice amount.
If something that bad happens, it’s more than enough time to move, plan what you are going to do with your life.

If something that serious occurs, you should really be somewhere else.

Again if you are already into food storage and have it all figured out, don’t even bother reading.
I’m writing this for the average guy that barely has a month worth of food in the house, if lucky.

OK, lets go from left to right, top to bottom.


Lots of vitamins, and at least it gives water some taste when having dinner. You can store it for a couple years, though I doubt vitamins will be there. Just the sugar and orange flavor I guess. Try to rotate this according to it’s expiration date to make sure the vitamins are there when you need them.

Tuna. canned and in tin foil

Love this stuff. Specially the tinfoil which is also light!
Get the one in oil. (more calories) Tuna has lots of proteins, Omega 3, tastes good, and you can mix it up with rice or lentils for a nice nutritious meal. Canned tuna will easily last 3 years without loosing it’s flavor.


This thing keeps the Chinese nation fed, along with many other nations. A rice stew is something common, using any leftovers you may have in hand, you can combine it with a million other things.
Kept dry and out of the reach of bugs, it will store for years.

Dehydrated smashed potatoes.

I like this stuff a lot. It stores almost indefinitely as long as it’s kept dry. Incas used to make something similar. Look:

“The Incas had an interesting way of dehydrating potatoes. Small potatoes were placed outside on the ground at high elevations to freeze during the night. The next morning the potatoes would be gathered into piles. The men and women would stomp on them which would cause the water to squirt out. When they wanted to use the dehydrated potatoes they would just add water. “

Potatoes are ones of the basic food staples around the world. Small light pack that stores indefinitely and just needs water? Priceless.

Pizza mix

It stores well, it’s cheap, you just need to add water, tomato sauce and some cheese. Not as easy as frozen pizza but easy enough for me, the pizza tastes better than anything you buy from the store, and I don’t need a freezer to keep it.
At least this particular brand I buy, tastes better than the one I do myself with flour. ( Pizza Hut not included, we don’t have Pizza hut here any more, they went broke after the crisis :( )


If you can only eat two or three staples, make sure Lentils is one of your top choices. It’s one of the most nutritious foods in the planet, has lots of health benefits.
Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods.

Protein, iron, calories, fiber, dietary fiber, Folate, vitamin B1, and minerals, lentils has it all, or at least most of it covered. :)

Dried Pasta

I suppose many poor countries are basically fed on one kind of dried pasta or another. A plate of dried pasta with tomato sauce will keep your belly full and your body going for another day.
Many children here have been living for years on dried pasta and little else. Cheap too, easy to find and store for long periods of time.

Tomato Sauce

This is one of those things you need mostly to give taste to most of the other staples you have. I use sauce a lot, on my pasta, pizza, lentil stew, tuna and veggie pie mix.
It stores pretty well too due to the acid content. If it tastes too acid, ½ a spoon of sugar will fix it ( 85 yr old grandma tip ;) )

Frozen meat

I keep canned meat and a lot of tuna, but fresh meat, ( or almost fresh meat) is important for your diet and you either have to freeze it or have your own critters in your back yard for when you need them.

Someone asked at Minion forum the other day, what to store in a deep freeze chest. I told him to keep at least 2/3 of it full of meat.

I keep it in ziplock bags, three portions of meat in each (3 family members) . Makes thigns a lot easier.

Dulce de Leche

This is probably something you never ate before but it can be considered a basic food item around here. People mostly eat it with bread or crackers for breakfast. It’s simply boiled condensate milk with sugar, brown with a thicker texture. Most Americans that tried it find it to be a bit too sweet, but it’s a terrific source of fat and sugar to boost your body.
The one pictured is canned and lasts for a long time if stored properly.


Nothing you don’t already know about flour can be added. Just have enough around. I used to buy a pack every time I went to the supermarket until I built up a nice supply, and then rotated it.

Mate, and mate implements.

Don’t think many drink mate outside of South America, except for maybe Vigo Mortensen that lived here most of his childhood and doesn’t go anywhere without his mate. According to what he said in an interview, he usually tries to find another Argentine to drink mate with on stage during his films, some of the prop or stage workers.

Some say mate has all the minerals your body needs to live. I don’t know if that’s true o not, but poor people drink mate a lot, that’s for sure.
It’s also kind of therapeutic, calm down a moment and sip some mate, alone or with friends, in which case you always share mate. Not sharing mate with your friends is pretty much an insult, and don’t even think about mentioning spit and germs, you might as well say you are getting a sex change next week. :)

Well, that’s it for now guys. Lots of things I didn’t mention but this is a beginners guide to know what to pic a bit extra next time you go to the supermarket, so you can start building up your food stash.



Hannah said...

That's a really good list of food storage items - I hadn't considered some of those things before.

Hannah @

Sand said...

Mate is in my stash as well and I am from the U.S. I always have a few bags on hand.

My high school Spanish teacher got be hooked and the summer I spent in Uruguay set the hook.

But seriously, I think mate would be very valuable. It is comforting, gives you energy, and has a lot of nutrients.

I just found your blog today and will be catching up on back-posts. I may be coming down to Uruguay for a while. I have a friend who owns a business there.

Ami said...

Thanks for the list! :) I have a few questions about shopping while/after SHTF. I know right now, I can stock up very cheaply using coupons and store sales. After the collapse, were coupons still available/useful? How about store sales? Also, are there any particular items you stay away from buying out in the open of a store for fear of it "marking" you as having money?

Also, and this has been bothering me for a while, but how do you unload groceries safely? I know you said to always have your guard up, but if you shop weekly with extras, it's quite a bit of stuff. Plus handling a little one and well, it makes me an easy target. How do you/your wife do it and stay safe?


FerFAL said...

Sand if you are ever around these parts take the Buquebus boat and come visit. It’s a quick trip.
I don’t think many people will like mate though :)


Canis Lupus said...


Just an add-on :
- white rice stores much longer than brown rive, whereas brown rice is healthier than white rice. You choose.
- lentils are best eaten with brown rice to equilibrate the amino-acids (and thus not wasting nutrients).
- spirulin is a good diet complement, as it has all the amino-acids and keep you in good health.

Thanks for the blog FerFAL !

Bill in NC said...

For those in the U.S. also consider canned sweet potatoes (more nutrients & tastier than plain potatoes)

Bukko_in_Australia said...

One more thing for the list, FerFAL -- polenta. The 500-gm bricks vacuum-sealed in plastic. As long as you can keep rodents away from them, they'll last for years, only need water and heat to perpare, and you can add whatever seasoning/vegetable/cheese/meat that you have at the moment to make something that tastes good, not just something that keeps you from starving. With all the Italians in Argentina (we have plenty who immigrated to Australia) you should have tonnes of it there too.

Stacy said...

Where can I get Mate in the US? I've never tried it. Is it pronounced "mah-tay" or "may-t"? Just wondering.

Canned sweet potatoes are a good idea.

I already had Tang in my stash before I saw your blog - a a good recommendation.

FerFAL said...

Hi Bukko!
Yes, polenta is terrific and I have some stored.
It's very popular food becuase it's very cheap and keeps you fed, so most people eat plenty of polenta.
I cook it with tomato sauce and cheese.

Didn't know it was popular in other places too. :)
Thanks for mentioning it.


FerFAL said...

"Where can I get Mate in the US? I've never tried it. Is it pronounced "mah-tay" or "may-t"? Just wondering."

Hi Stacy, no idea where you could find it. Maybe a herbal or diet food store ( it's supposed to help loose weight too)
I must warn you, it's nothing like tea. Most people dont find it that pleasant, it's pretty strong. But who knws ? Maybe you like it.

Those that do like mate dotn go anywhere without it. :)

"mah-te" would be more like it, but not "te" as in t beverage, but e as in "e"lephnat. Hope that made some sense.:)


Dave said...

You can get Mate on It is pretty cheap and they have all the implements as well. It is the shipping that they nail you on, so I usually get at least a kilo at a time or more. I got introduced at work and have been drinking it for years. There are a couple of brands you can find at health food stores usually in the tea section but getting it imported from SA gives you the real deal. I don't know if you have the equivalent of MREs down there, but they are handy to have on hand in case you need to be on the move in a hurry.

Jada said...

Regarding the frozen meat. I don't know how it is in Argentina, but here in the US (Texas) it is much cheaper to purchase frozen beef and pork from an independant butcher than the grocery store, provided you can buy it in bulk. Our neighbor across the street is a butcher, and we buy half a beef from him for $2.60 USD a pound. That's less than decent ground beef costs at Walmart, and you're getting tons of ground meat, roasts, ribs, steaks, etc. I can't remember what the pork runs, but a 250 pound hog at the sale barn costs us about $40, and the processing another $180. Plus, the butcher can cut it however you like it, and seal it in vacume sealed freezer bags, which keep the meat good a lot longer than sticking it in a ziplock and sucking out the air. :)
Seriously, for all of your readers in the US who don't go this route, they're just losing a ton of money. Plus, at least with my butcher, the steers and hogs brought in are typically 4H kids' show animals that didn't win, or animals that have been pasture raised and are way better than what you get at the store anyway.