One of the first purchases my husband and I ever made toward storing food was 3 cases of freeze-dried meat and chicken. I remember going to a gun show with him, looking at the products, practically fainting at the prices, and then going outside together for a long talk about spending so much money.
We ended up paying around $800 for those 3 cases, a hefty price tag, to be sure.
Now that I’ve purchased all kinds of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods, I think it’s important to include meat and chicken, in spite of their prices, for these reasons:
I know you can get protein from legumes and most veggies, but let’s face it, for maximum protein, it’s hard to beat meat and chicken. Proteins are the body’s building blocks, and in a true worst case scenario, our bodies are going to be stressed far more than they are today, making nutrients more important than ever.
When the S hits the fan, we might be lucky if we have access to canned goods, much less fresh meat and chicken. Freeze-dried versions have long shelf lives
A lot of protein without having to hunt or scavenge
Few of us have the space, resources, or experience to raise our own beef, pork, and chicken. Backyard chickens are great, but can you imagine how many you would have to raise in order to have just 2 or 3 chicken meals per week? Even experienced hunters may, eventually, find it difficult to locate game, especially if that’s every other hunter’s plan for survival!
A little goes a long way
A little goes a long way. This brings up an ongoing “discussion” between my husband and me. He is a true carnivore and likes a large serving of animal flesh on his dinner plate every night. I could easily go vegetarian. As a compromise, we sometimes do have steak or pork chops, but more likely, dinner will be a dish with meat as just one ingredient among many, like a soup or lasagna. If you buy freeze-dried meat/chicken, you aren’t going to be serving large piles of stuff on a plate! You’ll be utilizing it as an ingredient, making one #10 can go a long way.
Price per serving
Price out the meat by serving or recipe if the prices scare you. For example, if I’m making lasagna, I might only need 2 cups of freeze-dried ground beef. Or even better, 1 cup of the ground beef and 1 cup of sausage crumbles. On a pizza, I’d just use maybe 1/2 c. of sausage crumbles. (HIGHLY recommend those, by the way!) If you can get 10 meals from a single #10 can of meat or chicken, that makes the purchase very budget-friendly.
DO check the ingredients on these products. Some, as in this cooked chicken, contain only the meat or chicken and nothing else. This roast beef contains only beef and salt. Others will contain flavorings and perhaps preservatives you might not want.
On the other hand, in a true worst case scenario where food, any food, is hard to come by, sodium nitrate or maltodextrin will be the least of your problems, but it’s your call.
In addition to stocking up on freeze-dried meat and chicken, I also recommend compiling recipes that use ingredients that can all be stored long-term and, when they include meat or chicken, call for smaller amounts. This will give you a bank of reliable, family-tested recipes that will also help your supply of meat and chicken last longer.
If you have my book, Survival Mom, I go into greater detail on the subject of which recipes are best for food storage on pp. 51-57.
A well-prepared food storage pantry is also a well-balanced food storage pantry. Be sure to include at least a few cans of freeze-dried meat and chicken when fresh, or even canned, isn’t available.
*I’ve included links to products from Thrive Life because I own all of these meat/chicken products and am a consultant with them. Other brands I recommend are Mountain House and Honeyville.