Emergency Supplies to Consider for Providing Nourishment
A homemade rotisserie, smoker and grill might come in handy during an emergency.
So, we’re sheltered and clothed, we have plenty to drink, our medications are at hand, and we’re in a reasonably comfortable environment, now what? I think #6 on our list of essential activities is to provide nourishment. Oh boy, it’s time to eat. Now you have my attention.
Oddly enough, stockpiling food is often the first thing we think about when we set about being better prepared for emergencies.
Food is certainly important, and that’s why I place it near the top of the list, but in my world, I recognize shelter and water as a higher priority. Be that as it may, we’ve arrived at nourishment, so let’s address it.
I’m choosing to address this in three parts: food, cooking, and incidentals. Let’s dive in.
Under the heading of food, I’d suggest we consider items such as the following to be part of our emergency supplies. Of course, all of this depends on your tastes and the diet you’re trying to follow. I’ll try to make this list rather broad so it doesn’t necessarily reflect my preferences, but what might be the general preferences of others.
- corn meal
- fruits and vegetables in cellar storage
- commercial canned goods (meats, vegetables and entire meals)
- homemade canned goods (including entire meals)
- homemade dried foods like meats and vegetables
- commercial freeze-dried meals
- frozen food such as meats and vegetables (and entire meals)
- domesticated on-the-hoof meats like chicken, rabbit, goat
- fish from a nearby body of water
- fruits and vegetables in the orchard and garden
- wild plants
- wild animals
For long-term shelf life, one might avoid considering frozen foods simply because they need to remain frozen and that requires electric power or a supply of propane. I consider frozen food to be a viable preparedness option because I foresee short interruptions of my electric power supply, and I have my own means of powering my refrigeration units in the event of an extended outage. Clearly that won’t be the case for everyone, nor will it be ideal for every emergency scenario, but for me it makes sense.
I know the idea of wild plants and animals might not seem like one of the traditional emergency supplies, but they can be cultivated and encouraged such that they’re easily maintained in the wild, on their own, yet ready to provide you with food in an emergency.
One might break out food preparation as a separate activity, but I included it in this list of emergency supplies because it seems to make sense. Some items we might consider on our list of emergency supplies and resources will be dedicated to nothing but cooking, so I’m sweeping them in with nourishment as that’s where they seem to belong in my planning. So, here’s what we might consider when it comes to cooking.
- camping cook stove designed to be powered by propane, white gas/gasoline
- campfire and wood for outdoor cooking
- gas barbecue grill with side burner and propane tank
- charcoal barbecue grill with charcoal briquettes
- charcoal or wood smoker
- wood stove
- kitchen gas burner (for use during electric outages)
- solar oven
- turkey fryer with propane tank
You can see as we start to consider cooking that in many cases it involves not only a means to cook, but fuel as well. And, in many cases we’ll need a means of starting a fire, no matter what fuel we intend to use. It would be wise to consider the cost, convenience and ability to store fuel as we conduct our planning in this area.
Fueling the homemade rotisserie requires oak pallet wood that is plentiful as part of my home firewood supply.
On a personal note, I built a homemade rotisserie out of a 55-gallon drum, and it can double as a grill and smoker. My first chicken prepared on the rotisserie is shown in the picture in the upper left of this article. The unit is fueled by scrap wood, so there isn’t any need for me to be concerned about powering it up. I simply rob from my pile of firewood to get oak suitable for grilling and smoking. Charcoal briquettes provide an even heat for much longer, but I find them to be very expensive for what you get, so I use scrap wood as one of my emergency fuel sources.
We might have a healthy list of food and a means to cook it, but there are other incidentals that we need to keep in mind. Depending on what kind of food you might have stored, consider the following as part of your emergency supplies and resources.
- bowls, pots and pans
- cooking and eating utensils
- dishes and glasses
- water for boiling, reconstituting food and cleaning up
- salt, pepper, herbs and spices
- cooking oil or other suitable fat, grease or butter
- tomato and cheese and cream sauces
- baking soda and baking powder
If you take a good look at this list, you might see overlaps with other areas. The one that comes to mind first is water. We need water to stay hydrated, but we’ll also need it to prepare food and clean up. As you’ll see later on, it will also be essential for hygiene. Another area of overlap will be heating and cooking. The wood stove we might use to stay warm can also cook for us.
Another idea that surfaces in this discussion is meals ready-to-eat. Commercial canned goods and MREs come to mind. My approach will be home canned entire meals in a glass canning jar. I’m thinking along the lines of chili, soups, stews, and casseroles that can be processed with boiled water or pressure cooker canning techniques. Doing so obviates preparation and many of the incidentals associated with cooking. These become easy heat and serve meals.
Although there are many issues to consider when it comes to an emergency food supply, let me toss in one last point about variety and options. With my emergency food storage, I’d like to have sufficient variety so that I have the option of preparing a meal from scratch that suits my tastes for the day. To do so will require a variety of components and a means of putting them together. For me, sheltering in place is my preference, so I don’t anticipate that many of the incidentals listed above will be anything other than normally available to me. I like this idea because I don’t have to settle for beans out of a can, I can prepare my own meal, just as I might do normally.
Clair Schwan is a regular contributor here at Self Reliance Works, and he has a decided focus on being prepared. And, sometimes he makes wood-fired rotisseries. If you’d like one, just mail $6, three proof of purchase seals, and a very large self-addressed stamped envelope….