Guest post by The Paranoid Dad
In this crazy world of ours, I can’t help but wonder, what if our home was ever raided for food and the pantry emptied? What would we do? How long could we live without food?
This thought led me to a pretty creative idea. What if I squirreled away ingredients to make umpteen batches of soup and hid them in a secret compartment? I’m not thinking of doing this with tons of food, just enough to keep me and my family going for a few weeks.
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First, what would I need? My preference is #10 cans and we have the extra room to store them, but if you live in a smaller space, store as many smaller #2.5 cans as you will need. By the way, we buy most of our food for storage from Shelf Reliance*, Freeze Dry Guy*, and Honeyville. My wife loves the chicken bouillon from Shirley J.
Here’s the list that I came up with for making several dozen batches of soup:
- #10 can chicken bouillon
- #10 can tomato powder (for tomato based soups)
- #10 can beef bouillon
- #2.5 can salt
- smaller packets/bottles of seasonings
Those three #10 cans will give me enough soup base to make an awful lot of soup. Even plain hot chicken broth is nutritious and comforting. A can of sour cream powder and/or instant milk will make creamier soups, if we get tired of the same-old, same-old.
Next on my list are the vegetables to give my soups plenty of nutrients. Note: these are all either freeze-dried or dehydrated.
- #10 can carrots
- #10 can celery (freeze-dried is better)
- #10 can corn
- #10 can onions
- #10 can diced potatoes
- Other veggies we like: green beans, peas, mixed vegetables, mushrooms.
Protein is next, and I prefer freeze-dried meats over TVP for their flavor, but TVP is much less expensive. There are quite a few options in this category:
- Multi-bean soup mix
- #10 cans of individual bean varieties (instant beans are a fairly new option on the market)
- #10 can freeze-dried chicken
- #10 can freeze-dried ground beef
- #10 cans of other proteins: freeze-dried turkey, various flavors of TVP
Finally, to make the soups even heartier, I want to include a few grains and pasta:
- #10 can barley (My wife likes this more than I do.)
- #10 can rice
- #10 can elbow macaroni
- #10 cans of other grains and pasta, such as quinoa (again, the wife) or egg noodles
- #10 can of ABC soup mix (has both pasta and legumes)
I haven’t forgotten water! Without water, there’s no soup, right? I don’t think that “hoarding” water will ever be an issue, but we do keep a number of water bottles in various places around the house and a couple of large water barrels are outside.
In all, I would have about 14-15 #10 cans to make up my secret stash of soup. The next step is storing these containers in an area that will not be easily found. In most homes, hiding several #10 cans is pretty easy. I’m pretty handy with construction and carpentry, so I’ve been looking around for places to build false walls.
Since these ingredients will be stored in locations that won’t often be checked on, #10 cans will be a better barrier against pests but it’s important that they are not stored anywhere damp. Heavy duty 1-gallon PETE containers would be acceptable and even clean, dry 2-liter soda bottles are acceptable for storing food.
Usually, a big bowl of soup is enough to keep me going for several hours, but also hiding ingredients to make 40-50 loaves of bread would help your meals be even more filling and nutritious. This is easy, since a single 5-gallon bucket of wheat will generally make about that many loaves of bread. If you don’t have room to hide a large bucket, wheat can also be purchased in #10 cans. Add 1 large packet of yeast (do check on this for expiration dates, since yeast doesn’t last forever), a #2.5 can of salt, and small containers of instant milk, sugar, honey, or other ingredients for your preferred bread recipe.
Finally, what to do about breakfast? Either leftovers or hot cereals with a mix-in or two is the way to go. Rolled oats and germade/farina provide warm, filling breakfasts. These grains can be purchased in large 50 pound bags or #10 cans. If you buy the bags, make sure to re-package the food in smaller containers, such as the PETE or soda bottles mentioned above. A couple of #2.5 or larger cans of apple or banana chips are good mix-ins that my kids like. Again, I only want to hide enough food to last for a maybe a month or so as a fall-back.
Is it paranoid to think that marauders, desperate neighbors or even government agents with orders to confiscate food from “hoarders” might show up at your door? Well, it’s happened before. Hiding a percentage of your food may not be paranoid. It may be the smartest thing you’ll ever do.
*My wife has an affiliate relationship with these two companies.
The Paranoid Dad is married to The Survival Mom. Together, they have a pretty balanced approach to survival and preparedness, in spite of what their kids might think.
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