Whether you are looking to be better prepared for a general short-term emergency like an extreme weather event or something more long-term such as an economic collapse or civil unrest it’s important to have a sufficient food stockpile so that you can fulfill your nutritional needs until the threat has passed or until you can start producing your own food by gardening and foraging for example.
But what is the best long term survival food? And the answer is foods that will store for well for two or more years and that you normally eat. For example most store bought canned foods have a shelf-life of several years (or even decades), as long as the cans aren’t rusted through or dented and leaking and the contents smell and look fresh then it’s still good to eat. However, if you want to prepare your long term survival foods from basic foods that also have a very long and stable storage life then consider foods such as wheat (or other grains, for those who have trouble digesting gluten), rice, beans, oats, corn, salt, honey, cooking oil and powdered milk.
Storing enough food to survive, unassisted and on your own for three to six months or even a full year or maybe even longer is a daunting prospect and the thought is enough to cause most people to get overwhelmed and some give up altogether.
And while I agree that storing and rotating such a large amount of food on a continuing basis can be a lot of work and takes dedication, it is by no means impossible, and if done right can even be enjoyable – just follow the food storage list below but remembers that this list isn’t set in stone, and neither is anything else in this article. This information is meant to help guide you and to give you some ideas but in the end the best long term food storage needs to be tailored to your personal needs and what you like to eat.
Hard Red Winter Wheat
This is the backbone of your survival diet.
Wheat is nature’s longest storing seed, with an indefinite shelf life given proper storage conditions. The wheat (and other grains) can also be sprouted, adding fresh greens to the diet even in winter.
White and Brown Rice
Rice is my favorite storage foods and I actually prefer rice over wheat for storage, but that’s a personal decision, and well I like rice and rice dishes. White rice stores better and has a longer shelf-life than brown rice; however brown rice has more nutritional value.
Despite the trade off in storage duration, I still prefer brown rice for storage because of the added nutritional value.
Beans, corn, and rice combined make a complete food, providing just about everything you need to survive. Add some fresh green sprouts or garden produce and extra vitamin C just to be sure you’re getting enough to avoid scurvy, and you’ll be well fed and healthy.
I like to store a combination of pinto beans, black beans, and mung beans. How much you store of each will depend on your personal preferences to taste.
Don’t go overboard when storing oats, about 20 pounds per adult per year is plenty. Oats have a storage life of approximately four to six years, depending on storage conditions and whether or not they have been opened after being packaged for long-term storage.
Corn equals cornmeal, cornbread, cornmeal mush, corn cakes, and a huge list of other foods that you can prepare using the seed. I store whole corn because it stores much better and with at least double the shelf-like of cracked corn.
While not a food but a mineral, salt, is none the less essential to the diet and individual health. Salt is also used in the preservation of food and animal products. Salt, like wheat, has an indefinite shelf life. Store at least 10 pounds of iodized salt per person, per year.
It’s also a good idea to stock up on salt blocks to attract game animals for future harvesting. You can find these in the sporting goods stores and other outlets that sell to hunters. You can also get these through your local farmer’s co-op, where they sell them for domestic livestock supplementation.
Honey or Sugar
As a sweetener honey makes an unequaled contribution to the diet. Honey, like wheat and salt, has an indefinite shelf-life. Store at least 10 pounds per person. If the honey hardens and crystallizes, heat it slowly in a double boiler to reconstitute.
There is some controversy as to which is best for storage in the preppers pantry, vegetable oil or olive oil, while both will work fine and you should stock up on the one that you like best. I recommend putting away, 10 quarts, per person, per year.
Most people turn their nose at the thought of powdered milk, preferring whole milk from the supermarket shelf. Granted it does have a slightly different taste, but it’s not unpleasant to drink, and after a week or two it seems to “grow” on you. Studies have shown that nonfat powdered milk, when packaged (nitrogen-packed) and stored properly has a storage life of 20 years or more.
Freeze Dried Foods
I prefer to buy those hard-to-store long-term items like powdered milk, dry margarine, butter powder, buttermilk powder, cheese powder, shortening, and powdered eggs pre-packaged for long-term storage in #10 metal cans, from Augason Farms or other reputable survival food vendors.
Supermarket Canned Foods
Canned foods from the supermarket have many advantages when it comes to food storage, they have a decent shelf-life on average of 2-5 years for most products, (note: shelf-life means that the foods retain 100% of their listed original nutritional value up until that point – store bought canned foods remain edible, far past the listed expiration dates in most cases).
As long as the cans aren’t bulging, rusted through or punctured and the foods smell fresh, upon opening then I would not hesitate to eat canned goods that are far past their listed expiration date. But that is a personal choice and one you’ll have to make yourself when the decision is needed.
Store bought canned foods have several advantages over freeze-dried or dehydrated foods, including cost and calories contained per serving. Another advantage is that canned foods already have their own water supply for preparation, so there is no need to use any potable water from your storage.
Despite the advantages of canned foods over freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, canned goods do have some disadvantages in comparison, like, weight, space needed for storage, and shelf-life.
I like to include a combination of the basic foods like wheat, rice, and beans, store-bought canned foods and certain “packaged for long-term storage” foods that are hard to store like powdered milk from one of the reputable survival food vendors…
All canned foods should be dated using a permanent marker and rotated on a FIFO (first-in-first-out) basis. I suggest that you build a rotating canned food shelf that will automatically rotate your canned foods when added and pulled off the shelf.
Always keep a notepad beside the shelf or in your kitchen, and write down every item that you take from the shelf and then take the note with you on your next trip to the supermarket, and then buy and restock the items that you’ve taken from the shelf, that way you always have a fully stocked shelf and a fresh supply.
Please read this article to see how long canned foods can last in storage before going bad…
Don’t Forget the Can Opener
Sure you could use a knife, but a manual can opener is easier and safer – so whatever else you do, don’t forget the can opener. Buy several or the strongest made ones that you can find.
Other Foods to Add to Your Food List
After you get the basic foods listed above in the needed proportions (see below), it is a simple matter to add other foods as you get the extra money.
Canned meats: We all know that SPAM is the preppers go to for a cheap “meat” source that has a longer than average shelf-life, and fat content. Canned hams, tuna, salmon, chicken, and turkey are all welcome additions in my pantry shelf – stock-up on the meats that your family normally eat and date and rotate just as you would any other canned food.
White flour: White flour from the store has a much longer shelf-life than does whole wheat flour because it has been “processed” which removes the oily germ, but unfortunately this “processing also removes the nutrition.
Processed white flour has a shelf-life of over five years if kept dry and safe from pests (like the meal moth). Mill moths get into the flour, lay eggs and those eggs turn into flour weevils, which ruin the flour. Look for tiny dark specks in the flour, as this is the first sign that the flour has been infested.
If it clumps together because of settling, just break it apart and run it through a sifter before use.
Store flour for long-term storage in airtight containers, with oxygen absorbers, added – see details below. You can also freeze flour that has been put into five-gallon buckets. Freezing will also kill any meal moths that happen to have been trapped inside before they can do any damage to your flour.
Most of my “flour” is in the form of whole wheat berries, that I have to mill (grind) before use, but I do have some processed flour in my pantry, for lazy days when I don’t feel like grinding whole wheat into usable flour.
Peanut butter: Peanut butter is a good source of fat and calories and has a decent shelf-life. Peanut butter is also an energy food and one that I always take on hunting and camping trips. Unopened peanut butter will last for years.
Spices: Be sure to include a good selection of spices in your food storage. Spices can make even the most awkward foods palatable, and help to alleviate food boredom. Cinnamon, Turmeric, Paprika, Ginger, Oregano, and Garlic are my favorites and make up the bulk of the spices in my pantry.
Baking powder, baking soda, and yeast: Baking powder, baking soda, and yeast (keep yeast frozen to extend shelf-life) are also essential since you’re storing and baking using unprocessed grains.
Dried pasta: Dried pasta will keep indefinitely if kept dry in bug and rodent proof containers.
Storing a sufficient amount of “comfort foods” is very important, to your psychological well-being as well as to alleviate “food-boredom” that is sure to set in after eating only storage foods for several months. Comfort foods are even more important if you have children or need to care for the elderly.
Consider comfort foods such as – Jell-O, instant pudding mix, cake mix, hard candies, chewing gum, Spaghettios, mac and cheese, brownie mix, canned spaghetti and meatballs, mashed potatoes, popcorn, cocoa, tea, coffee, powdered juice mixes, sunflower seeds etc. And remember to date and rotate on a FIFO basis.
We crave variety and having a supply of familiar comfort foods can go a long way toward retaining our sanity and self-worth during a long-term disaster. You can only deny yourself for so long before desperation and depression start to set in. Life will be difficult enough – give yourself a treat. You deserve it.
It is a proven fact that if we are forced to eat foods we don’t want or the same foods for extended periods – just to stay alive – dissociation begins to set in. We begin to float away as an escape – we still eat to stay alive, but suffer a lack of focus and become disoriented in relation to our surroundings.
This is dangerous in a survival setting. Don’t think it can happen? Try eating nothing but beans and rice for three months and you’ll see what I mean. Having a supply of comfort foods can help by providing at least some form of normalcy to your life.
Older folks and children will have the hardest time adjusting to new or unfamiliar foods, with many refusing to eat altogether, especially if the food is unnecessarily bland or unappetizing. Comfort foods will help them cope.
Food Storage Shelf Life (printable chart)
Vitamins and Supplements
To ensure that you’re getting a sufficient amount of needed daily vitamins and minerals for optimum health, you need to stockpile a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. Also, consider extra vitamin C and D. Vitamin D is of extra importance if you’re forced to stay inside (bugging in) for a longer than normal period of time and thus are unable to receive the needed vitamin D producing sunlight that is required for optimal health.
Don’t Forget About Your Pets
Don’t forget to include a sufficient amount of food in your stockpile to feed your pets. A decent dog will increase your chances of survival because they can hunt and alert you to trespassers and other trouble. I prefer smaller dual-purpose breeds, with my choice for a working dog being the Jack Russell terrier.
Three Month Food Storage List for One Adult
- Wheat 75 Pounds
- Grains, rice, oats etc. 25 Pounds
- Canned meats 5 Pounds
- Canned margarine, powdered eggs etc. 2 Pounds
- Dried beans, peas, lentils, etc., 6 Pounds
- Dried fruit juice and concentrates 6 Pounds
- Dried fruits or canned 25 Pound (if dried, then equal to this fresh weight
- Comfort foods 3 Pounds
- Non-fat dried milk 25 pounds
- Peanut butter or substitute protein/fat source 3 pounds
- Dried potatoes 12 pounds (equal to this fresh weight)
- Salt 2 pounds
- Shortening oils 3 quarts
- Sugar or honey 12 pounds
- Canned or dried vegetables 9 pounds (if dried, then equal to this fresh weight)
Please bear in mind that the above list is only a sample to help you get started, the most useful food storage list is the one that you put together yourself. After all who knows better than you, what you and your family, like to eat and in what amounts.
Where to Put All this Food?
After reading the above recommendations, you’re probably asking yourself where in the heck, you’re going to store all of this food. Well, that’s a good question and one that you alone can answer for your situation better than anyone else, but I’ll make a few suggestions that I hope will point you in the right direction.
The absolute best place in an underground bunker, root cellar or basement, unfortunately, most people don’t have any of those and have to make due with other less ideal storage options… Consider a spare bedroom, attached garage, detached storage building on your property, or as a last-resort a nearby storage unit rental.
If at all possible put in an underground storage area of some sort to keep you storage foods safe (and you) safe from weather extremes, as well as the main enemy of your food-storage shelf-life; heat. An excellent option, and inexpensive when compared to other suitable alternatives are the buried shipping container.
Long-Term Storage with Oxygen Absorber and Mylar Bags
I store all my grains, beans and other dry foods (besides sugar, salt or sprouting seeds) inside food-grade five-gallon plastic buckets. There is some controversy over what is and isn’t food grade. Most buckets with #2 inside a small triangle on the bottom are food grade, but not all – the only way to be reasonably certain is to contact the manufacturer and ask.
I buy mine from the local hardware store in the paint department. They also have them at my Wal-Mart, but, I prefer to buy from local business owners if possible. Sometimes they can even be gotten free from bakeries and restaurants, just be sure they only held food products – not paint, chemicals or other things that can make you sick or dead.
Foods packed in oxygen don’t store as well as those in an oxygen-free atmosphere. Oxygen absorbers work by removing the air from the enclosed container, leaving an atmosphere of 99% pure nitrogen in a partial vacuum inside the buckets.
Don’t open the bag of oxygen absorbers until ready to use because they will absorb oxygen from the surrounding air and become useless. Have everything ready to go before you open the package. Any unused oxygen absorbers can be stored in a small canning jar until needed.
Be sure to have everything ready to go before you start. Line the inside of the bucket with an appropriately sized Mylar bag these will help to keep light and moisture out extending the storage life of the foods inside.
The Mylar bag also offers a layer of protection between the food and the plastic bucket, if for some reason the bucket that you’re using isn’t considered food-grade.
Pour the food into the buckets a little at a time, shaking each bucket as it is being filled to settle and distribute the contents. Fill each bucket to about ½ inch from the top and throw in one 2000 cc oxygen absorber in each five-gallon bucket of food.
Now to seal the Mylar bag – first roll the top of the bag closed on one end leaving an opening at the other and press out any air that has been trapped inside, next place a 2×4 across the top of the bucket and pull the Mylar bag over the 2×4 and seal with a clothing iron set at the highest setting in a typical ironing fashion across the board.
Quickly put the lids on each bucket and pound shut by laying the board on the top and striking with a hammer or rubber mallet. After a few hours, the absorbers will create a vacuum that will cause the lids on the buckets to “pop down” indicating a good seal and a proper atmosphere for long-term storage. Be sure to label each with date, content, and weight, written on the front with a permanent marker.
Section Two: Tools For Cooking and Processing Your Long Term Food Storage
Most homes will already have most of what you will need to process and cook the foods from your survival pantry, items such as pots, pans, and other common household kitchen utensils. So we will not get into that. What we will cover are tools that most typical kitchens do not have on hand but that are necessary for the prepper’s kitchen. So let us get started.
Choosing a Grain Mill
You need a grain mill now. Don’t put it off another day. Even one of the least expensive models would be better than not having one at all. I know many of you want the best, and that is great. Get the best if you can afford it. Just do not put it off any longer. Get a mill now. If you cannot afford one of the better models, get a cheaper one; buy two or three of the cheaper models – that way if one breaks and cannot be repaired, you will still have spares to fall back on.
This goes along with my philosophy of the rule of three. Always have at least three independent sources of any survival necessity. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Too many things can happen which will leave you with nothing, which is what we are trying to avoid by prepping in the first place.
While I cannot give recommendations on all the models currently available today (because I have not owned or used them all), I can tell you what I have and my thoughts on these which should, at least, get you started in the right direction.
I currently own four different grain mills, The Wonder Junior Deluxe Grain Mill, a Corona Landers, a Back to Basics, and a Grizzly H7775.
Wonder Junior Deluxe Grain Mill
If you read my book “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat”, then you already know that I use the Corona hand grain mill for all of my day-to-day milling. It is a strong and well-built grain mill, and for less than $75 it is hard to beat. The Mill to Table Clamping System is a very strong feature included with the Wonder Mill. However, I have never liked having to run the meal through the Corona several times to produce usable fine-enough flour for baking. That is one reason I made my homemade sifter – to speed up the process. However, it was still always necessary to run the bulk of the flour through the mill two or more times.
Since I mill grain several times per week, I needed a more efficient mill. I considered the Country Living Grain Mill but never could find enough extra change for the purchase. Therefore, I started looking for an alternative. I eventually decided to order the Wonder Mill Deluxe from www.thewondermill.com.
I have used the Wonder Mill for the past three weeks, and so far I have been extremely pleased with my new mill. In fact, I think I’ll retire the Corona and use the Wonder Mill Deluxe exclusively. Yeah, it is that good.
The Wonder Mill comes with both stone and steel grinding heads as shown in the photo above.
I love the one-piece construction of the mill and hopper. There is no separate hopper that can fall off during operation or any pins or clamps that could be lost. This is one thing I never liked about the Corona, as there were several times that the hopper fell off during aggressive cranking of the handle.
Another big improvement over most hand-operated grain mills is the double clamping system used on the Wonder Mill, which is the strongest I have ever seen on any mill. When properly clamped to the table, I had no problems with the mill moving out-of-place or coming off during grinding.
However, since all of my grinding is done in the same place, I will likely remove the clamp altogether and bolt the Wonder Mill directly to the table. This will provide the strongest possible mill to table mounting system.
Another thing I loved about the Wonder Mill is the quick change head system that allows you to easily switch from grinding dry grains, beans, and legumes to oily grains, nuts, and even coffee in just a couple of minutes. The Wonder Mill Deluxe comes with both steel and stone grinding heads, which can be changed out in less than one minute.
Here are the product specifications:
- Weight: 10 pounds
- Height: 12 ¾ inches (without the clamp)
- Hopper capacity: one quart
- Crank handle: 10 inches
Best of all, the Wonder Mill produces excellent, fine flour (with no sifting or re-grinding required). This saves a lot of time and effort. Moreover, the consistency is easily adjusted using a simple knob to adjust from pastry flour to cracked grains.
In fact, 90% of flour files through the sifter screen after the first pass through the mill. Again, this is a huge improvement over the Corona. In addition, because of the excellent bearing system (that never needs lubricating) cranking the handle is much smoother, but still requires effort.
The flour guide directs the falling flour into the catch pan or onto the screen without any mess around the milling heads or thrown flour on the table and floor. This is always been a problem with the Corona when grinding pieces of grain and flour would be thrown all over the place. One solution was to secure a plastic bag over the grinding head of the Corona to catch the flour and grain particles.
I wish that I had a Country Living Mill to compare against the Wonder Mill. I am sure there would have been some interesting findings with the comparison. The folks at WonderMill.com did perform a speed comparison between the two and according to their website: In a test performed at the Wonder Mill test kitchen, the Wonder Junior was able to grind 1 ¼ cups of flour in a single minute *80 turns* (see our video speed test). This is 65% (about 1/2 cup) more than we were able to produce with the Country Living grain mill with the same flour setting and the same amount of turns *80 turns*, and for half the price.
I know what you are thinking, it sounds great but “can it be motorized?” Yes, it can. There is a motoring pulley available that will allow you to do just that; however doing so will void the warranty. They also make a special adapter which can be used with a power drill to make grinding any grains or beans a quick and easy process.
I only grind a small amount of flour at a time (why grind more than I need?). I will not be adding a motor, but it is an option to keep in mind.
Your next question is probably going to be “what will it grind?” I have used it to grind wheat, corn, and beans. It can also grind spices, herbs, oily grains, nuts, and seeds. See WillItGrind.com for more info on what the Wonder Mill will grind.
Based on my tests, comparisons, price, and use, I give the Wonder Junior Hand Grain Mill my highest recommendation for a grain mill. If you are looking for a hand grain mill this is the one you should get.
Corona Landers Mill
It is strong, robust, well made and my second favorite grain mill. The Corona is a hand-cranked unit that uses rotating steel burrs to crack and grind corn, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.
It is manufactured using cast-iron parts with an electro-tinned finish to guarantee a rustproof and easy to clean tool. I give it my second highest recommendation following the wonder junior hand grain mill.
Back To Basics Mill
This mill works well and is actually very easy to use. My main complaint is the small hopper that needs to be refilled after a few cranks of the handle. It is lightweight when compared to the Corona and I do not think it would stand up as well to continued usage.
Grizzly H7775 Mill
The Grizzly H7775 mill it is not my first choice but it sure beats having nothing at all. It sits low on the table, low enough that getting a large enough bowl under the head to catch the flour is difficult. I have the same problem when using the Corona. This is the main reason I use a homemade sifter to catch the grindings.
My other complaint is the small hopper, refilling it every few cranks can be an annoyance, at least for me. On the plus side, the grinder is efficient and the grinding plates are easily adjusted to the desired consistency.
While this is a good mill, it is not of the quality of the Corona; but note that it is half the price, so buying two or more is an option.
Country Living Mill
While I do not own this mill, it is given the highest recommendations by those that do. A recent advertisement proclaims: The Country Living Grain Mill is one of the highest quality grain mills ever made. Living Grain Mill is one of those high-quality items that could be passed on to the next generation.
How to Grind Grains and Beans
When grinding, it is often necessary to regrind the grain several times before reaching the desired consistency. Some of the meal will come out perfectly fine the first time through, while other parts remain coarse and need to be reground several times.
One way to make grinding easier is to use a screen to sift out the finer flour while leaving the larger pieces of grain behind. The sifter is simply a four-sided box with sides but no top, and a bottom made of nylon window screen from the hardware store. Mine is 15″ X 12″ with sides made of a ¾ inch by 3-1/2 wood.
Cut the wood to length, and nail or screw the pieces together. Lay the screen out on a hard surface, sit the box down flat on top of the screen, and cut to fit with a utility knife. Turn the box over and tack the screen to the box with several thumbtacks or small nails to hold the screen in place.
Take all-purpose cement from the plumbing department of the hardware store, and spread generously around the rim of the over the edge of the screen, forming a permanent seal between the wood and the screen.
When grinding, place a section of newspaper under the grinder head and set the box on top. Grind as normal but after each pass through the grinder, shake the finer meal onto the newspaper and transfer into a bowl.
Pour the coarser meal back into the grinder and regrind, repeating until reaching the desired constancy. This saves running the finer meal back through the mill, making grinding easier and quicker.
How to Clean Field Run Wheat
First off, never buy “seed” grain for human consumption. Seed grain is often treated with insecticides and fungicides. Seed grain is to be planted and grown not eaten. Buy untreated whole grain sold as “feed” that is meant to be eaten.
Look for “field run grain.” It is cheaper and because of fewer processing steps, it is less likely to be infected with mold or contaminated. Field run wheat will have dirt and detritus that will need to be removed before use, but cleaning wheat is not a big deal.
First, sort the grain by laying it out on a clean surface and pick out any chunks of dirt, rocks or darker grain. After sorting, you need to wash the grain. Place the grain on a sifter or screen and pour clean water over it until the water coming out the bottom is as clean as that poured in from the top.
After cleaning the grain, you will need to dry it before grinding. Pour the grain into a strainer and set it aside for about ten minutes. After it stops dripping, spread it out on a cookie sheet about ¼ inch deep, heat in oven at 180° degrees occasionally stirring until dry. Drying usually takes about an hour. If it takes longer that’s fine; just make sure it does not burn.
Alternatively, if you prefer you can dry it outside under the sun. This is better and cheaper but is dependent on the weather and time of day and the season. Just spread the grain out in a thin layer on newspaper or other suitable material in direct sunlight. A solar oven could also be used; however, I have never tried this method myself.
Sprout Seeds for Fresh Greens All Year
Fresh sprouts are full of vitamins and minerals that aren’t readily available in the unsprouted seed. Sprouting allows you to have fresh greens even in winter and will expand the bulk of your food storage many times over without any extra expense to you.
To start sprouting, you’ll need at least one wide-mouth quart canning jar (a quart mayonnaise jar will also work) and a 6×6 inch square piece of nylon window screen or cheesecloth. Both the screen and cheesecloth are easy to cut with scissors or a sharp knife.
Next, put approximately 3 to 4 ounces of wheat, alfalfa, chickpeas, lentils, mung beans, pumpkin seeds, rye, sunflower seeds, or other sprouting seed in each jar and cover the mouth with the nylon window screen. You can use a large rubber band, string, or a canning jar ring to hold the screen in place over the mouth of the jar.
Fill each jar with water to within 2 inches of the top and let stand overnight. When you get up the next morning, pour out the soak water and tilt the bottom of the jar over the sink and leave for an hour or two so the rest of the water can drain off the seeds.
After this initial soaking and draining, you’ll want to flood the jars about every four hours and then drain any excess water by tilting the jar bottom up into a bowl or sink. Repeat two to three times per day.
At this point, you want to keep the seeds moist but not covered with water. In a few days, the seeds will begin to sprout. When the sprouts reach 1 to 2 inches in length (for most seeds), they are ready to eat. Sprouts can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried. If dried, they can be ground into flour and used for bread or other baked items.
to keep a steady supply of fresh sprouts, simply start a new jar 24 to 48 hours after the last sprout jar has finished sprouting. Repeat cycle. This is a great routine that will keep you in fresh greens year round.
And that is all there is to it. If you want to learn more about sprouting, including in-depth but simple recipes using sprouts, order a copy of The Sprouting Book by Ann Wigmore. This excellent resource is a must-have for any serious survival seed sprouter.
Warning: Even though the risk is low because sprouts can contain bacterial contamination, people with compromised immune systems (e.g., individuals with AIDS, organ transplants, undergoing chemotherapy) are advised to avoid eating them.
Cooking Tools and Related Items
Listed below are some of the best cooking stoves and related tools for preppers. I have all of these and they are all well-made and useful; however, it should be noted that you do not need to go out and buy one of each type of cooking stove. Get what is best for you in your location. For example, if you’re located far north and don’t get all that much sunshine, then you’re probably better off skipping the solar oven and purchasing an EcoZoom rocket stove.
Zoom Versa Stove
The EcoZoom rocket stove is designed to burn wood, dried biomass (plant materials and animal waste used as fuel) or charcoal, making it a truly versatile means of cooking, especially after the lights go out and other more conventional sources of fuel (like propane) are no longer available or are in short supply
My EcoZoom rocket stove has proven to be very heat efficient. It will bring a pan of water to a rolling boil in less than two minutes and fry an egg like nobody’s business. Having a means of cooking when the power goes out should be self-explanatory. Having a cooking source that uses easy to find, renewable fuel is an extra bonus.
Having a standard camping type stove on hand for emergencies is one of those common sense things to do, and most folks in the country already have one or two of these for camping purposes.
If you do not have one, go out and buy one now. A top-of-the-line model will put you back around $100 at current prices, but the cost is well worth it. In addition, do not forget to pick up some extra fuel canisters. Put back at least 24 one-pound canisters, or better yet get a hook-up that will allow the use of the larger 20-pound tanks.
If you are in an area that receives a sufficient amount of sunlight, then a solar oven is must have. With a solar oven there is no need to store or scrounge for fuel, and as long as the sun is hot in the sky you will have an unlimited “fuel” source to prepare food.
The best brand and the one that I recommend is The All American Sun Oven. It is best to get the package with the accessories included in your order to avoid having to buy these later.
Folding Camp Grill
A folding camp grill is another item like the camping stove that most folks in the country already have on hand. But it is still worth mentioning. Every prepared prepper should have one of these. So if for some strange reason you do not have one, go get one as soon as possible. I bought mine at Wal-Mart in the sporting goods department for under twenty-five dollars. They also have them at Amazon.com.
Volcano Collapsible Stove
Where the Volcano Stove is most useful is as an emergency cooking source at home or bug out location. With the ability to use several different fuel sources (wood, charcoal, or propane), it is versatile and well suited for the needs of preppers. Another great thing about this stove is that it is not one of those products that you buy and then put away for the when the poop hits the fan; it can be used for everyday cooking or on weekends while grilling at the park with family.
Outdoor Grill / Smoker
This is another one of those items that will make like much easier at least when it comes to preparing food after a disaster or a long-term grid-down situation. I bought mine at Wal-Mart in the lawn and garden department for less than one hundred dollars. They also have them at Amazon.com.
Extra Large Stew Pot
Even if you don’t anticipate having a large group to cook for you should still have at least one large stew pot because you never know who or how many family members or close friends will show up at your door, and most of us don’t want to shoot them, so we will have to feed them. I have a Bayou Classic 7406, 6-Qt. Cast Iron Soup Pot with Cast Iron Lid, but I am afraid that even this will not be sufficient for my needs.
Food Saver Vacuum Sealer
The Food Saver Series vacuum sealer is a great little machine that can greatly increase the shelf life of products. This is a highly recommended item for preppers – check Amazon.com for the current price!
Because most preppers are “knife collectors” of sorts, we often overlook the need for a good home butchering kit. Get the very best kit that you can afford. The Outdoor Edge Game Processor PR-1 12-Piece Portable Butcher Kit with the Hard Side Carry Case is a good product – Click here to check availability and the current price on Amazon.com.
Other On-Site Resources:
RECOMMENDED BOOKS THAT DEAL WITH FOOD STORAGE
- Layton, Peggy. Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe in a Crisis. New York: Clarkson Potter/Crown Publishing, 2002.
- Layton, Peggy, and Vicki Tate. Cookin’ with Home Storage. Self-published, 1991.
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Hello, I’m M.D. Creekmore. I’ve been interested in self-reliance topics for over 25 years. I’m the author of four books that you can find at Amazon.com as well as Barnes and Noble. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about prepping, homesteading, and self-reliance topics through first-hand experience and now I want to share what I’ve learned with you. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel here.