In this post, Expanding Our Prepper Pantry Beyond Two Weeks, we’ll move beyond the two-week prepper pantry and get into some serious prepping – say, three months? How’s that sound?
After this article, we’ll expand from the basic food preps into other prepper areas. This is where things start getting really exciting. And I get to test my blogging/teaching skills because each serious prepping category will need its own articles and videos. Challenge accepted. That means I need to help YOU become a serious prepper.
Now, where were we?
Let’s catch up…
While I go, find my magic prepping pen.
I’m looking at this in steps. After all, you are on Next Step Survival. In the prepping category, we looked at;
- Step 1 – Becoming A Prepper – Take On A Preparedness Mindset
- Step 2 – Why You Should Become A Prepper
- Step 3 – How To Start A Prepper Pantry
Step 4 (HERE & NOW) – Expanding Our Prepper Pantry Beyond Two Weeks. Now we’re moving into the Serious Prepper phase. Yep, this is going to be fun!
So, let’s get to it.
Expanding Our Prepper Pantry Beyond Two Weeks
So we have at least two solid weeks of food and supplies in our prepper pantry. How’s that going? Got the hang of food rotation? You’ve made any adjustments as your pantry grew? Fantastic, now let’s expand on that and get down to some serious prepping.
What Three Months Of Food Storage Looks Like
In my article, Prepper Pantry Inventory – Plain Sight Inventory System, I went over how we inventory and update a six-month food supply and keep it rotated. That involved 26 servings per person of 7 different meals. So three months is half that – 13 servings per person of 7 different meals.
So we still need the seven proteins, the seven side dishes, and the seven carbs, along with the seven breakfasts and lunches. We only need 13 servings per person for each “day.” See how that works?
For example, let’s say you are a family of four, two adults and two children. You’ll need 52 servings (13 weeks X 4 people) each of seven different proteins, vegetables, and carbs (Side dish).
This gives you a different meal for each day of the week.
Now add 52 servings of breakfast and the same for lunches.
Now you have three months (13 weeks) of food stored for a family of four. And you can eat a different meal every day of the week. You’ll have a variety for both morale and nutritional balance.
As an example (See the infographic above), I broke it down like this, but you do what is best for your family:
Adding More Meat And Protein To Our Prepper Pantry
Adding shelf-stable meat to our prepper pantry is one of the more expensive preps.
52 servings (13 weeks X 4 people) of proteins:
- Canned Chicken
- Canned Pork
- Canned Beef
- Canned Tuna
- Canned Ham
- Canned Roast Beef
- Canned Spam
Plus, 52 servings of…
- 7 Vegetables/Fruit
- 7 Carbs/Side dishes
- 7 Lunches
- 7 Breakfasts
Plus Water & Drinks
- Don’t forget coffee, tea, and drink mix if you already drink these things.
👉 I also recommend you add the appropriate vitamins and supplements.
More Protein/Meat Options For Our Prepper Pantry
My example has seven different “canned” types of meat. If that doesn’t work for you, consider freeze-dried or dehydrated. Or maybe you’re in a position to grow your own protein in the form of livestock. Don’t eat meat? Then store the proteins you already eat.
You can see, as we’ve built up our prepping pantry, we’ve tried and tested alternative sources of proteins. Some we like more than others, but all are options to consider. And there are many other options – I mean MANY more.
If you’re really feeling adventurous…
We’ve also been doing the same with carbs, side dishes, and breakfasts – trying different foods before we fill our prepper pantry with costly foods we don’t care for.
Store What You Eat, Eat What You Store Mistake
Listen up, prepper people – Don’t repeat my mistake and buy cases of food before you’re absolutely positive that you and your family will like it. That’s exactly what I did by buying up three cases of canned corned beef. I liked it when I was growing up. I love corned beef and cabbage. I like corned beef hash. But this stuff… Nope.
We’ve since replaced those cans of corned beef with roast beef stew, but we still have those cans of corned beef. Truthfully, we couldn’t find a family willing to commit to eating it. I may see if the food bank in Detroit wants it, but they generally get large donations, not what little I have to offer. That’s okay; I’m confident we can find a way to prepare it that at least makes it a “so-so” option.
I Call BS On This:
If you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat it? – This seems like the perfect time to address a common thought shared by many of my prepping colleagues. That thought is, “If you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat it.”
Can I call BS on that? Please? I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, but that’s just nonsense – at least when it comes to prepping. That’s EXACTLY why we’re prepping, so we don’t have to get so hungry that we’d eat anything we can find. So please, stop repeating that senseless statement.
Expanding Our Spices And Condiments
As in the introduction to prepping, you should continue to add to your spices, sauces, and condiments. I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but I will say trying is everything.
I’ve mentioned it before, at least twice a week. We eat a meal, maybe lunch or dinner, that’s completely from our prepper pantry.
I might grab a couple of cups of rice, some dehydrated veggies (Especially my home-grown dehydrated jalapeno peppers), canned or dehydrated mushrooms, and set off into the kitchen.
From there, I’ll make true culinary magic happen (Yes, I do most of the cooking around here – and I do the dishes, thank you very much) thanks to my spices and sauce supplies. It can be Mexican, Cajon, BBQ, Sweeet & Sour, etc.
Same foods, different dishes, and tastes. Yes, Spices are important.
More And More H2O – Yes, Please
In Prepping For Beginners – How To Start A Prepper Pantry, we covered some basics to building and storing an emergency water supply for our prepper pantry. Other than mention to keep storing safe water, I don’t want to overwhelm you with larger water storage solutions. I have a huge article coming very soon on just that.
We still want to continue building our safe and drinkable emergency water supply by cleaning, sanitizing, and refilling food-grade liquid containers such as soda/pop or juice bottles. (I like tea bottles better – they clean out better than some juice containers.)
We still want a way to filter our emergency drinking and cooking water beyond just boiling it, although that’s a great option in most cases.
Since we’re expanding our prepper pantry here, perhaps buying larger pre-filled water containers is in order? Admittedly, this can become an expensive water method, and it’s also more difficult to handle and store.
Here’s what I did:
I found clean five-gallon water bottles on FB Marketplace. Some were free, and some were very inexpensive. I took them home, cleaned them with soap and water. Then I cleaned them again, rinsing until nothing but clear water came from them.
Next, I added a ½ teaspoon of bleach (See: CDC – Making Water Safe in an Emergency) before refilling fifteen 5-gallon bottles at Walmart’s Primo 4-stage purification self-service refill water station.
Don’t forget the vitamins and supplements.
I’m not a medical anything, so I’m not about to recommend any drug, vitamin, or supplement. I will say that we keep several months supply of any medications we take – including vitamins and supplements.
In fact, we have at least a one-year supply of multivitamins, vitamin C, calcium, zinc, and iron for each of us on hand in our prepper pantry.
Why’s this important? In the case of a bad SHTF event, we may not eat fresh meat and vegetables like we do today. Here in Michigan, our garden only provides fresh veggies for part of the year.
Stored meat and vegetables in our prepper pantries are generally a little reduced in vitamins and minerals. A little supplementation seems prudent here. You don’t want to experience something like a Vitamin C Deficiency/scurvy in the best of times, much less in the middle of a SHTF event.
We may not have access to refrigeration or even electricity. Is that likely? It doesn’t matter. We’re not going to risk it for such a low-cost investment – one that we’re using daily anyway. It’s really a no-brainer.
In a way, the non-food preps we need to store in our pantry can be a little harder to gauge. To make things easier for me to track, I jot down items on a calendar whenever I break out something like a can of Lysol, paper plates, or TP.
If I know a roll of toilet paper lasts us a day and a half, it’s simple math to figure how many we need for any number of months we wish to stock up on.
Long-Term Food Storage
Long-Term food storage will eventually need its own article, but we’ll hit a few of the basics since it is an essential part of our prepper pantry.
As I mentioned in the last step, there are basically two parts of our prepper pantry. Those include our working (or living) pantry as well as our long-term food storage.
Some preppers say there are three or four parts of a pantry, but I include the food in our kitchen cabinets, freezers, and refrigerators as part of our working pantry.
The really long-term stuff, say 5 or 10+ year foods, is our long-term food storage. This might include our beans and rice, any commercially stored emergency foods (More on that in a minute), and what we consider “Forever Foods” like Hardtack, Pemmican, ghee, honey, maple syrup, instant potatoes, salt, sugar, vinegar, whole wheat grains, and even powdered milk.
Guess what? All those canned vegetables and meats you see in our prepper pantry are considered long-term food storage as well. Why? Here’s what the USDA says,
Even alcohol is a forever prep. You know, for medicinal purposes. 😉
Real Talk About “Prepper” or Emergency Food Kits
As you can see, I do store a small amount of commercial emergency food in our prepper pantry.
These commercially packaged emergency foods were a topic in a round-table discussion of a small panel of preppers about food storage we recently had with Todd Sepulveda and Mic Roland. You can see the video here if you like.
Makes Good Bug-out Food? I’m not crazy about the taste of most pre-packages hiking or emergency foods (freeze-dried or dehydrated), but the lightweight and small volume make it a decent bug-out food. At least temporarily.
Beyond Our Prepper Pantry
There’s SO MUCH more to prepping than our prepper pantry.
Later we’ll get into more ways of preserving our food (e.g., canning, dehydrating, fermenting, root-cellars, and even a little fermentation and pickling.)
Preppers should have various skills like self-defense, fire-starting, shelter building, hunting & fishing, first aid, outdoor survival, etc.
I want to help you garden, grow livestock, and live a more prepared lifestyle. I’m a beekeeper 🐝 , and once I stop killing my bees, I want to share what I’ve learned, including jarring our own honey. 🍯
I could go on and on, but I want to respect your time. I get so excited about prepping and how much we have to learn it is hard to stop. I won’t even mention tapping maple trees, bugging out, getting home, etc. Okay, okay, I’ll stop. 😊
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Stay safe. Stay prepared.