To those of us fortunate enough to be able to eat every day, a food crisis may seem like a faraway reality that does not concern us – but more of a problem for war torn countries, apocalypse survivors, and the Third World. However, if you really think about, there is a food crisis right under our doorsteps; the hungry wandering the roads in search of sustenance.
The truth is that a food crisis that affects you and me and everyone is a very real possibility, and most of us would not be prepared for it at all. Climate change and global warming are causing more and more natural disasters, such as flash floods and drought[sc:1] (isn’t that funny?); and these disasters lead to famine more easily than one would care to imagine. Even if food does not become scarce as a result, you can guarantee that there will be an immediate and noticeable spike in the price of all natural resources, including food.
Then there is the ever present threat of conflict, which lingers unnervingly close by. Whether it is smaller scale riots, civil unrest or full-blown war, political antics that incite violence almost never bode well for the cost and availability of food.
Although perhaps not a solution for global hunger and malnutrition, there do exist some foods that have a very long shelf life, and that you can stock up on in the event of any food shortages. The great news is that most of these foods are nutritious, and above all they are cheap.
Honey is truly the “forever food”. The oldest jar of honey found is said to be at least 5000 years old[sc:2], and you guessed it – it is still as consumable now as it was then. Honey is also an amazing health food, praised for its antibiotic properties. And it’s sweetly delicious too.
- Dried Beans
Beans are a fantastic source of protein, making them an excellent source of survival food. They are also cheap and readily available almost anywhere. Dried beans can be stored for over 30 years, and retain most of their nutritional properties.
Specifically, white rice. Brown rice cannot be kept for longer than 6 months on average, because of the natural oils it contains. White rice on the other hand can be kept for over 30 years if it is stored correctly, and makes a filling, low fat snack.
- Powdered Milk
Milk is frustratingly perishable, but there exists a solution! Powdered milk can be stored for a surprisingly long time – up to 20 years. The best part is that it is full of calcium, vitamins and protein.
- Sweet and Savoury – Sugar and Salt
Both of these consumables can be kept for ages depending on the storage and the composition. Iodized salt will not keep as long as non – iodized, for example. It makes sense that salt would not perish, as it has been used as preservative for centuries.
You cannot keep creamy alcoholic beverages for very long, but spirits cannot really grow microbes – and that is what makes them great disinfectants – meaning they can keep for many years. Tip: it is best that alcohol is not exposed to light.
This buttery South Asian creation can be kept for hundreds of years if jarred and sealed correctly, and is even an ingredient in some Eastern medicines!
We certainly can’t ever say what may be in store for us, and there are only so many measures we can put in place to prepare ourselves for famine or war, but with these items, your kitchen (or bunker) will definitely be stocked in your favour.