5 Coconut Oil
Even if you don’t live near the tropics, consider socking away a good supply of coconut oil. Among cooking oils, it has one of the longest shelf lives—as long as two years—and can be used to add a little zing to a potentially boring survival diet. Don’t forget to keep a frying pan and Dutch oven with your emergency kit. Along with the oil, these can be used for a little culinary variety, like fried food or baked goods. Popcorn anyone?
4 Mood Foods
As necessary as food may be to survive, it also offers a sense of pleasure and well-being. Adding a little extra spice or sweetness to your day-to-day survival fare can go a long way in improving your outlook. Packaged chocolate, in candy form or as an energy bar component, can make a huge difference in a day. Salt away a variety of dried peppers, spices and raw honey, all of which can last a long time in storage. Salt away some salt, as well. Coffee may lose some of its flavor over time, but year-old coffee could certainly hit the spot in a pinch. Finally, alcohols like whiskey and vodka can be stored for extended periods and may be used for purposes other than forgetting your troubles, like as a disinfectant.
Commonly referred to as “soft grains,” foods such as oats, barley and quinoa—a favorite of doomsday preppers and personal trainers—can be stored for as long as 10 years. Such grains pack a lot of nutritional value and may be used in easy-to-prepare meals such as cereals and soups, as well as components in baked goods and other foods. On the other hand, you can store hard grains like wheat, millet and corn, for as long as 12 years. Grind these grains into flour for breads, tortillas or other starchy foods. These are good sources of carbohydrates to keep up your energy levels, no matter what’s happening around you.
Stock up on “superfoods” like beans, which are good for the long haul. Black, soy, pinto and kidney beans are all-in-one sources of protein, calcium, iron and carbohydrates. In addition to their nutritional versatility, beans can be stored for several months, or even longer with proper packaging, in a dried or canned state. If you choose to stock up on canned beans, keep a manual can opener with your emergency supplies. It can be challenging to gnaw through a tin of beans.
In a survival scenario, like when you can’t make it to Starbucks before work, you will need water. If the zombies have knocked out the power and only the moaning of pipes emits from your faucet, you’d better have a backup water supply. Many disaster scenarios present a risk of contaminated water. Avoid waterborne disease by laying in your own supply of properly stored water. FEMA recommends one gallon per person, per day to drink and for sanitation. Store several days worth of water for your family, and keep a water-purification system with your emergency kit. You can use it when you find natural water sources—that haven’t been contaminated with chemicals or radiation—and save your stored water for more desperate situations.
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