Long Term Survival Food Preps For SHTF

When someone says “survival food preps” or “stockpiling survival food”, what do you think of?  Do you think of tons of dried rice and beans stored in mylar bags?  How about a basement full of #10 cans, does that come to mind?  Or is it a combination of several things?

When I was thinking of writing an article about survival food preps, the first thing that popped into my head was – MREs, canned goods and garden seeds.  But where does perishable goods fit into that narrow picture?

For the first week or so people are going to be eating stuff out of their freezer.  For the sake of discussion, lets move past that first week post SHTF.  Something bad has happened, the food in the grocery stores has dried up, people have gone through their immediate perishable food items,,,, now what?

Comfort food after a disaster

A book about the Roman military I just finished reading contained a quote from an ancient historian – “nothing caused as much stress within the troops as the lack of supplies.”  Just like it says, when the supplies started to run low, the stress level went up.  2,000 years later, and nothing has changed.

When people worry about paying their house note, stress goes up.

When people worry about not having the money to pay the rent, stress goes up.

When people worry about having food to eat, stress is “really” going to go up.

People are visual animals – we like to see stuff.  There has been test that showed that just the sight of food can relieve stress.  When I open an empty cabinet, my stress level instantly goes up.  Thats why I think it would be a good idea to have food out where people can see it post SHTF.  Maybe not food that can spoil, but leave some cans of chili on the cabinet, leave a few MREs out, leave a bag of rice out,,,, stuff that bugs can not get into, but gives the members of your party something to look at.

Types of Survival Food Preps

MREs / Pre-Packaged Meals


One thing that I really like about the pre-packaged meals, they can be handed out members of the group, and eaten when their ready.  Communal cooking and eating is good, but not everyone is ready to eat at the same time.  Having their own meals allows people to snack or eat their meals when their ready – on top of the communal meals.

A case of MREs contains 12 packaged meals.  Because each package contains so much food it in, each MRE might contain 1.25 – 2 servings.  Depending on the activity level of the person, they might eat more or less of the MRE.  But for the sake of discussion lets say that the average person only eats 75% of everything in the MRE – leaving the desert, beans, cracker, snack bread or peanut butter for later.  This means that a case of MREs might feed 1 person for 5 – 7 days.

One of the big drawbacks to MREs, they are heat sensitive. When stored in hot locations, such as an outdoor shed, or in the trunk of a car in a get home bag, years can be shaved off the life expectancy.

To get the most out of your MRE stockpile, keep the meals in a cool location.

Food stored in Mylar Bags

This usually includes dried foods such as rice, beans, oats, salt, sugar and whatever else can be stored in a mylar bag.

Care must be given not to store food products with animal by-products, such as dried milk or butter. The animal fats can go rancid over the years and poison the food. When storing food items such as mashed potatoes, read the labels, and exclude any product that list animal fats.

For people starting out with mylar bags, I like to suggest that their first bags be 1/2 gallon and 1 gallon in size. Starting out with 5 gallon bags might prove to be frustrating. The second time I tried storing foo din mylar bags, I made some superpails, and I do not think the project turned out very well.

Some of the food I store in mylar bags:
Pinto Beans
Rolled Oats
Quick Oats
Pancake Mix
Mashed Potatoes

#10 cans

There are 2 types of #10 cans – freeze dried and dehydrated. Freeze dried foods have a shelf life of up to 25 years when stored in ideal conditions. Dehydrated has anywhere from a 5 – 10 year shelf life when stored in ideal conditions.

If you want to have survival food preps that will last 10+ years, freeze dried food in #10 cans is the way to go.

When I started my #10 stockpile, I started out with breakfast. The first meal of the day sets the pace for the rest of the day.

#10 can breakfast examples:
Scrambled eggs and ham
Scrambled eggs and bacon
Powered milk
Powdered orange drink

#10 can lunch and dinner examples:
Chili mac and cheese
Beef stew
Sliced strawberries
Spaghetti with meat and sauce
Noodles and chicken
Chicken and rice
Chicken ala king and noodles

One of the drawbacks to #10 cans, they are a little expensive. But then again, sometimes you get what you pay for. If you want food that will last 20 – 25 years, then you are going to have to pay the price.


Storing food will only support you for so long. Once that MRE or #10 can has been eaten, what are you going to do now?

If your long term survival plans go past a few month, you are going to have to raise your own food. The only food solution for long term survival, is growing your own.

My survival seed stockpile includes:

G-90 – Hybrid sweet corn
Truckers Favorite – Open pollinated field corn
Yellow Dent – Open pollinated field corn

Peas and Beans:
Roma II – snap bean
Texas purple hull pink eye
Mississippi purple hull pink eye
Purple hull pink eye BVR – the BVR stands for virus resistant. If you see some BVR peas, pick them up.
Contender bush bean
Blue lake bush bean
Pinto beans – One thing to take into consideration is pinto beans, which are high in protein. So if there is no meat, pinto beans can be eaten.

Straight neck Squash
Crook neck Squash
Acorn Squash
Couple of hybrids
Various types of winter Squash

One thing to keep in mind with Squash and Zucchini – they can cross pollinate. The harvested seeds will be a hybrid, and may or may not not be viable. Even if the harvested seeds are viable, the harvested seeds of the second generation may or may not be viable.

Giant noble spinach

Mustard greens
7 top turnips

Pressure cooker and mason jars

Long term food storage

Long after the #10 cans and mylar bags are empty, there is only a couple of solutions for storing food. One of the best ways to store food after SHTF, is by saving the food from your garden and then storing that food in mason jars. but to safely store food, you will need some kind of pressure cooker.

Lets say that someone brings a wildhog or a deer into camp.  What happens to the meat that is not eaten?  Doe sit go to waste, are you planning on making salted pork, or storing it in a jar?

With several cases of mason jars and a pressure cooker, its possible to store the extra food that is not eaten right away.

A pressure cooker can also be used for a barter item.  If your neighbors need a pressure cooker, agree to cook their jars for a certain percentage in payment.  If you cook 10 jars of peas for your neighbors, keep 1 jar for yourself.