Here’s a list of just some of the many tips for the survival kitchen. What is a survival kitchen? Well, it’s a phrase I coined many years ago with reference to prepping and preparedness while encompassing anything and everything to do with a kitchen.
There are a ton of topics that fall under the category of survival kitchen. In fact, I have a menu category of articles dedicated to that topic if you would like to browse..
I’ve written quite a lot about it over the years. Here’s an article that I originally published back in 2016, listing 10 hints for the survival kitchen. Seems like a good time to republish, with a few added updates.
Prepping & Preparedness Tips For The Survival Kitchen
1. Quality Foods
When choosing foods that you won’t be consuming right away, it is important to use high quality foods. This will help assure the best results over the long term. And that will result in a more nutritious and tasty meal later on.
Beware of storing foods which may be nearing their end of shelf life, best by dates, or use by dates. Even though foods typically store much longer, still, the fresher the better.
[ Read: Use-by, Best-by, Sell-by | Food Expiration Dates ]
Sometimes fresh foods are put on sale at the grocery store because they’re seemingly just hours away from ‘going bad’. This might be a good deal to make an upcoming meal, but for food storage – not so good…
Here’s an example, something I’ve mistakenly done several times (I believe I’ve finally learned though..). I’ll see steaks on sale. They look pretty good in the package. Bought several family packs, and put them in the fridge to vacuum seal later. I forget about ‘later’ (or got busy with other things). A few days later I realize I’ve got to get these vacuum sealed! I start the process, open the first family pack of steaks, only to discover the ‘aroma’ of meat that’s not in it’s prime fresh condition anymore. Dang it! You don’t want to store foods that are not high quality..
Use your best judgement. Cheap foods are often cheap for a reason. And that might mean using discretion for what you use for longer term storage in your survival kitchen pantry.
2. Good Variety of Foods
Variety is the spice of life. And that includes the foods you eat. As you fill your deep pantry, be consciously aware to procure a variety of foods. Not only a variety of foods, but also a variety of storage – such as canned, dry goods, freeze-dried, dehydrated, etc..
[ Read: DIY Long Term Food Storage ]
Think about the various categories of foods that you consume throughout a day or week. And then think about the storability of each. Try to store ahead a good variety that will store well over time. There’s the famous phrase, “Store what you eat, and eat what you store”, which is a good guideline to follow.
3. Store Foods in the Coolest Place
Foods will store well for much longer when stored in a “cool, dry, place”. This can sometimes be difficult. That is finding the stereotypical ideal ‘cool and dark’ place to store your foods. You might have already filled your kitchen shelves and cupboards, and maybe even a small kitchen pantry. But what about all the rest?
Some are tempted to store some of their long-term food storage in a shed out in the backyard (for example). The big problem with that is summer heat! Higher temperatures will drastically reduce the food’s shelf life!
For example, I have a 40′ storage container. It sure would be nice to store a bunch of extra food out there. Except man-o-man does it get hot in there during the summer!
[ Read: Temperature Versus Food Storage Shelf Life ]
Others will store food in the basement. This is a good idea (it’s cooler and generally ‘dark’) however be very aware of potential rust problems because many basements are somewhat damp with a higher humidity level! Additionally, this excessive moisture will work its way into many types of packaging and eventually affect the food. Your cans may rust.
4. Rotate Your Foods
Don’t just set it and forget it… A good food rotation plan or method will keep that food in motion. Use the oldest first. While some foods are indeed “set and forget” (e.g. sealed buckets of dry grains), just be conscious of other foods that might not last as long.
[ Read: Food Storage: Date and Rotate ]
My guidelines and what I do in most every case for rotation:
Take From The Right
For example, if one of your shelves holds a variety of canned beans, when you remove a can, take the one all the way over on the right. When you restock, put the new can on the left while sliding the remaining cans to the right. This technique always ensures that the can on the right is the oldest (and the next one to consume).
Take From The Front
When your shelves are deep enough to store multiple rows of food items, place the newest items in the back while moving the older items to the front. This will assure that what you take from the front is the oldest – which should be consumed first.
5. Be Aware of Potential Issues if Storing Lots of Wheat
Most all serious preppers will have a storage of dry goods, likely including a quantity of wheat (wheat berries), sealed in Mylar and 5-gallon buckets.
However be very aware that not everyone can adapt to eating lots of wheat. It may take time for your system to adapt, while others may have issues no matter how long they try… Some people plain old can’t eat it without getting sick. Just be aware of what you choose to store in quantity and be sure you’re ‘system’ is okay with it.
[ Read: Benefits of Milling Your Own Flour From Wheat Berries ]
It’s a good idea to actually process and consume some of that wheat on a regular basis (e.g. make your own bread from scratch!). Boy-o-boy there’s nothing like fresh bread..
6. Beware of Appetite Fatigue
This ties in with having a wide variety of food storage. Can you imagine eating just rice and beans over and over and over again? While it is quite easy to quickly acquire a large quantity of dry goods such as rice and beans (for example), don’t just stop there…
[ Read: Appetite Fatigue From Inadequate Survival Food Storage ]
If the SHTF, and you and your household are now eating from your long-term food storage, it won’t take long for appetite fatigue to set in. This is a serious thing, so don’t ignore it… Be creative and really expand your pantry for variety.
7. Store What You Eat and Eat What You Store
I dare say that many or most preppers simply build up a big food storage, and then mostly ‘sit on it’. I suspect that too many people do not actually proactively consume (rotate) from their deep pantry stores.
The obvious problem with this is shelf life. While some of your storage may have a decade or longer shelf life, other foods may not. Additionally, why risk having ‘bad’ food if and when the time comes to use it?
[ Read: Food That Lasts Forever – Indefinite Shelf Life ]
I realize that food storage is an ‘insurance policy’, but the beauty is that unlike a typical insurance policy, you can actually use (consume) what you put into it.
A serious goal should be to really begin to eat as much as you can from the foods that you store. This will enable excellent food rotation and minimal waste. Plus, if you aren’t eating it, that might mean you’re acquiring some of the wrong foods…
8. The Importance of Oils – Cooking Oil
My primary survival kitchen oils are Avocado oil, Extra Virgin Olive oil, and Coconut oil. I find Avocado oil great for cooking due to it’s higher temperature smoke point.
Cooking oil is a very important item to have in your storage. It is hard to cook without, and it adds calories and flavor to your meals.
Be cautious of how your store cooking oil. Without proper storage, it may begin to go rancid in a year or two. So definitely keep in a cool and dark (dark is important) place (maybe in a box, sitting on the cool basement floor).
Tip: I store extra kitchen oils in a chest freezer.
[ Read: Some Cooking Essentials for the Survival Kitchen ]
9. Spice It Up
I cannot overemphasize how happy you will be if you’ve stored ahead lots of herbs and spices. Try eating rice and beans with no spice (for example). With a big variety of spices, you can tremendously expand you’re menu!
[ Read: Favorite Spices – Long Term Storage ‘Must Have’ Spices ]
10. Rice and Beans
The combination of ‘rice and beans’ makes a ‘complete protein’. It’s no wonder that this is a staple dish across the planet.
Rice is rich in starch, and an excellent source of energy. Beans are rich in protein, and contain other minerals. The consumption of the two together provides all the essential amino acids and it is no wonder that this combination is a staple of many diets throughout the world.
Rice and Beans with chicken or pork?
[ Read: Rice and Beans – A Survival Combination ]
Oh my goodness I could write a book on this subject alone. I did not intend for the aforementioned survival kitchen tips to be the most important (though some are pretty important). It was just a brainstorm at the time.. I could list hundreds! Anyway, feel free to add your comments below on the topic..
The Encyclopedia of Country Living – 50th Edition
(by Carla Emery on amzn)