Prepare for Emergencies with Dehydrated Foods

Dehydrated foods used to be those foods reserved mostly for camping and other outdoor activities. Today they’re becoming essential for survival. In an unsettling world of skyrocketing food prices, impending natural disasters and global unrest, it’s more important than ever to be prepared. Having food on hand is a top priority in emergencies, so it’s understandable why many people are turning to dehydrated food.


What Are Dehydrated Foods?


Dehydrated foods are foods in which moisture has been removed to preserve shelf life. Foods that can be dried include meats, vegetables and fruits.


When properly stored, dehydrated foods can last longer than any other type of food. According to The Healing Journal website, they can have a shelf life of up to 20 years. And, once the seal of a food container is broken, dehydrated food is still good , with some foods still safe to eat for as long as up to three years.


These foods are also lightweight, taking up much less space than fresh foods.Just as fresh foods, dried fruits can be rich in vitamins and minerals. Some dehydrated foods, such as dried fruits and beef jerky, make convenient, portable snacks. You can also use them in cooking. Although heating food causes some nutritional loss, it’s small, as roughly 90 percent of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals are retained if the food is dehydrated properly.


Factors Affecting Drying Time


Most foods take only four to twelve hours to dehydrate. Factors affecting drying time include food types, required temperatures and the capabilities of your dehydrator.

Temperatures for drying should be neither too low nor too high. While too low temperatures cause bacterial growth, excessive heat can cook rather than dry food. For most foods the recommended temperature for drying is between 120 and 130 degrees F. Food is considered dried when it feels leathery and does not have any water pockets. Store dehydrated food in a somewhat dry, cool area, although refrigeration isn’t necessary. Some ideal storage places can be in basements, closets or under beds.

Although dehydrated food is a hot topic, this method of preserving food is not a new phenomenon. Early American explorers and colonists dried their foods, using the natural forces of the sun and wind. Thanks to modern food dehydrators, fruits, vegetables and meats, can all be dried, year-round, at home. With all these advantages, besides the security of having plenty of available food in emergencies, it’s more important than ever to consider dehydrated foods.

Why Food is a Top Priority in Emergency Preparedness: Facts and Guidelines

Without question, everyone should engage in “emergency preparedness.” Many possible disasters are just around the corner—everything from another major terrorist attack (this time perhaps involving an atomic device), a fast-moving epidemic, a large chemical fire/spill, or even something as simple as a local electricity company shutting down for a while.

Any of these disasters may result in no electricity, contaminated public water (or none at all), restricted mobility (because of closed roads), and total dependence on the food stored in your kitchen (assuming that you have access to your home and that the food therein is edible).

While you can survive without shelter, transportation, clean clothes, electricity, etc., for a while, you won’t last very long without food and water. Actually, they’re inseparable, since you need water to cook food, swallow it, and properly digest it. Furthermore, you can go for days without food but water deprivation brings life-threatening dehydration.

In preparing for such disasters, take a number of precautions, including acquiring and storing away emergency supplies and equipment. At the top of that “emergency supplies” list should be a well-thought-out, practical and properly packaged “emergency food supply.”

What should you include in that emergency food supply? You should first decide how many people you expect in your group, how many days you want to provide for, and what you intend to do during the disaster. Be ready to provide, for example, 1 gallon of water per person per day (for consumption and hygiene), sufficient-calories-for-adults (or children) food packages, hand cleaning supplies (in case water is in short supply and to make sure that dirty hands don’t unnecessarily make people sick), paper products (for good hygiene), and means by which to heat/cook food. You also want to have disposable paper plates, utensils, plastic bags (also for hygiene purposes) and, most important of all, a manual can opener.

As for the types of food to store: foods that don’t require cooking, refrigeration or heating are best. Noting that foods taste better and are safer to eat when heated, however, store away a camping stove, candle or kerosene warmers, or use a fireplace or charcoal grill.

Some of the foods (in addition to bottled water) to have in your cool, dry, away-from-the-sun emergency food supply should include:

1. Canned fruit, vegetables and meats

2. Army-style MREs and freeze-dried, no-refrigeration-needed meals

3. Pasta

4. Rice, grits, cream-of-wheat

5. Nuts (sealed, packaged and in shells)

6. Peanut butter

7. Dry beans (high in protein)

8. Powdered milk, potatoes

9. Breakfast cereals

10. Crackers, cookies and snack bars


Ordering Emergency Food Supplies Online

Emergency preparedness is of the utmost importance. You may have batteries and flashlights stashed aside for when the power goes out, but what about food? There have been a lot of power outages across Canada due to the storms. Just recently over 1 million people along the east coast were without power.

You need an emergency food supply to be able to make sure that you and your family are getting a balanced meal each day. When it comes time to buying emergency food, you need to make sure that you buy food that has a very long shelf life. The reason for this is because you never know when you will actually need it.

The power companies work hard to make sure you don’t lose service. However, they can be just as surprised as you are when the power goes out. Often times, they will try to get the power restored within 72 hours. However, if there is a blizzard or storm, it can be difficult to get the repair trucks out to fix power lines that are down.

When you stock up on food, you should have a minimum of 72 hours’ worth of food for you and every member of your family. If you have the room and you live in a more remote area of Canada, such as up in the Yukon, you may want to consider getting as much as 7 days’ worth of food to have on hand. This way you never have to go into a panic when the power goes out.

You have choices when it comes to buying food supplies. You can go to the grocery store and pick up canned food. The problem is, you’re limited on variety here. Plus, if the weather station has been telling everyone to stock up, you may not have the ability to get the flavors you want because the shelves may be very picked over.

Your other option is to order your supplies online. This has a number of benefits. First, you get a wide variety of flavors and styles. You can buy bulk emergency foods to have on hand or you can pick and choose freeze-dried foods to stock your pantry. Second, you will have all the foods shipped to your door. This means you don’t have to fight the crowds at the store when there is bad weather brewing.

Having foods on hand for an emergency is important. Instead of waiting until the last minute, it’s best to order some online and have them in place at all times.


Food is an Essential Part of Emergency Preparedness

The key to being prepared in case of an extreme emergency is stocking up with food and water. While this may seem like an obvious facet of any emergency preparedness plan, there are many people that do not actually follow through and obtain the food stuffs for the plan. The real key in setting up an emergency food plan is getting it all written down. By simply stating that a household must obtain food stuffs in case of an emergency is not enough. The fact is that most people do not purchase food items that last long and that will not perish within a few weeks or months.

A household should create a list of items to purchase and then find a place to store everything. Every member of the household should know where their stock is and understand how to ration it should the time ever come. It may seem like an expensive and daunting task to stock these items, but it is absolutely necessary for every household to do so. Along with an escape and cover plan, food is the most important aspect of any emergency plan – it’s the only way to truly survive.

Some of the items that a household should consider purchasing include canned foods that are meant to last at least a couple of years. Among the available canned foods are freeze dried meats, tomato powder, granola, wheat, vegetables, and more. But there are also “luxury” foods that come in cans such as imitation vanilla powder, freeze-dried ice cream chips, fruits, candy, and more. Additionally, every household should also consider storing plenty of water and other liquids, since the body cannot go more than a couple of days without water. Instant dry milk is also available for stocking and can be a great way to get necessary nutrients.

Some sites sell a year’s supply of food for one person, or a six month supply for two people. Purchasing a couple of these for a large household can be a quick and easy way to get enough stocked food that includes all the necessary nutrients as well as water and “luxury” items.