NOTE: Shipping lead times on Mountain House #10 cans of freeze dried have come down to just 2 to 4 weeks from previous 3 -7 weeks.
orders with #10 canned foods or units are taking 2 to 4 weeks to ship.
No one preparedness strategy will support all your food needs in a disaster.
While there are huge advantages freeze dried food gives as the survival food of choice, it is not the best in all situations. It is good planning to have a short term strategy and a long term strategy to be best prepared.
Below is a look at food preparedness strategies, starting with the long term.
Long Term Survival Food Strategy
Long term here refers to having a food supply that will last from 2 weeks to 3 months or more. Freeze dried food is best for these situations as it can be easily prepared but still have good taste close to the original food. It is important to not add stress to an already stressful situation with a poor tasting food supply.
Freeze dried food avoids this problem as your family can continue eating a healthy diet that has good taste as close to fresh as possible among all the other food options.
You may still want to prepare a herb or sprout garden kit to add a live food source to your reserve. Astronauts who have eaten freeze dried foods for extended periods have commented on how they relished live fresh food upon their return.
It will be important after a disaster to have as much time as possible available each day for other important activities. You can maximize your available time by not spending a lot of it preparing and cooking food.
Mountain House freeze dried food in #10 cans (which can store up to 25 years) have 8 to 10 servings each and will last up to 2 weeks once opened. #10 cans are an ideal strategy for the long term.
You will need a large enough space to store the light weight #10 cans of freeze dried food and also water containers. A freeze dried food supply for 3 months for a family of four can store in a space 3′ by 3′, by 4′ high. You will easily be able to transport this if need be in a van or pickup truck from a storage location to a place you will reside during a disaster. But if you want to be able to be mobile with this type of food supply you will need some type of RV.
Daily calorie intake for different freeze dried food packages varies. Planning 1500 calories a day would be the bare minimum for an adult, even for someone less active. 2100 to 2400 calories is recommended. If you want to plan for support of very active adults you may want to add extra meals to bring the daily total to 2900 calories per day. Small children 5 -9 years old will require about 700 – 800 calories per day.
A water supply of 3 months for a family of four would require is about 440 gallons or eight 55 gallon drums. This will provide a gallon of water each per day for 110 days. You can get food grade storage drums that will safely store water for 5 years. You may have plans for alternative supply of water in a long term situation and not require all eight of the drums.
Freeze Dried Food Reserves
55 gallon water container, 4 per package
Short Term Survival Food Strategy
For initial disaster preparedness food supply, MRE (meals ready to eat) are a better choice. They do not require water to hydrate, they are truly ready. They can be heated in 10 minutes with “flameless ration heaters” a pouch that will heat up if you add a little water to it.
MRE’s are great if you want to spend as little time preparing and eating food as possible. This will especially be the case shortly after a disaster where you may need to travel or expend a lot of effort to recover get set up and be prepared for the long term.
One draw back of MREs is that many people are critical of the taste and some report difficulty digesting the food. You should try MRE with your family to make sure no one has a strong dislike for it. It will also be helpful for them to know what to expect in terms of food before a disaster.
The other drawback for MRE is that it is twice as expensive as freeze dried food per meal.
For these reasons I recommend planning MRE supply for a maximum of 3 weeks. After that you should be ready to use your long term freeze dried food supply regularly for you food needs. Since MRE lasts only 5-7 years you may want to safely plan to re-stock it ever 4 years when there is an election or when there is an Olympics to help you remember. You want to make sure at this time that the MRE agrees with everyone.
Keeping bottled water cases stocked up will help be prepared for the short term, however for longer than 2 weeks you really need to consider storage drums or some other alternative source to be prepared.
Finally it would be a good idea to keep a 72 hour kit with food bars or MRE in your car(s) so that you and your family will have supplies to support getting back together if you are separated when disaster strikes.
MRE (meals ready to eat) Food Reserves
72 hour survival kit