Prepping for an SHTF scenario isn’t something you can do in a day. You almost certainly can’t do it in a day when society is collapsing around you and a mob of people is storming your local grocery store. That’s why it’s important to prepare far in advance of a crisis.
But what happens when the world starts falling apart before you get a chance to stock up? How do you endure when you’re low on food, water and other essentials? Here are a few simple food hacks to keep in mind when you’re in the red.
1. Store Cheese Without Refrigeration
Cheese might seem like something you have to give up in a survival situation and the electrical infrastructure — specifically the electricity that powers your refrigerator — goes down. However, with one simple hack, you can keep your cheese fresh without a fridge.
You can store grocery store-bought cheddar cheese in a cool, dark place like a basement or a wine cellar for up to a year. You don’t have to do anything special with the packages. Just keep your cheese in a cool place and don’t mess with it until you need it.
The nice thing about this process is if you like sharp cheddars, start with mild cheese. As it ages in your cellar or basement, it will begin to age naturally, becoming sharper. This can help stretch your supplies further by reducing waste.
2. Store Apples and Potatoes Together
Apples and potatoes are both staple parts of most survival food menus, but even if you store them properly, spuds can sprout and become inedible. You can take them outside and plant them during the next growing season, but that doesn’t help you if you’re hungry now.
Instead, when you’re storing your produce, keep your apples and potatoes together. Apples produce ethylene gas as they ripen. This prevents potatoes from sprouting, helping you stretch your food supplies a little further.
3. Don’t Cook for Leftovers
Under regular circumstances, cooking for leftovers can give you lunch or even dinner for the next day, but if you can’t store them, all you’re doing is wasting food.
Don’t cook for leftovers. Just make enough for you and your family to reduce waste and help stretch your food supplies once they run low.
4. Use Rosemary as a Skewer
Edible food isn’t the only thing you might run out of if you’re low on supplies. Skewers are a quick and easy way to cook up meat and vegetables over an open fire.
However, if you run out of bamboo skewers, they can get difficult to make. Instead of trying to carve your own, just use some rosemary. The woody stems of the herb make great makeshift skewers while infusing your food with a delightful flavor.
5. Ignore Sell-By Dates
Unless you’re buying meat or other perishable foods, feel free to ignore the sell-by dates on the packages. They’re designed to tell you when something might lose peak freshness or when the store has to sell it.
But unless you’re looking at infant formula, these dates aren’t a mark of whether or not the food is safe to eat.
Pay close attention to the food itself and whether it smells off or exhibits signs of being spoiled. If it doesn’t, think twice before throwing it out. In short, don’t base your food supplies on the sell-by date on the package.
6. Start With Tortillas
Tortillas are one of the easiest things to make. All you need is flour, water, salt and oil, and from there, you can turn them into nearly anything. Bake them by hanging them over a grill to turn them into taco shells.
Or, slice them into eighths, toss them with salt and olive oil, and bake or fry them for homemade tortilla chips.
You can always eat them on their own, too. If you’re bored of bread or you’re running low on flour, tortillas are a phenomenal way to stretch your resources a little further.
Bonus: Stock Up on MREs
If you’re worried about running out of food supplies, you can always stock up on MREs ahead of time. They’re designed to provide you with all the nutrients necessary to keep you alive, and you won’t have to remember any of the tips on this list.
(Not to say they aren’t important.)
These suggestions will make your food supplies stretch a little further if you can’t make a trip to the grocery store or stock up on MREs. It never hurts to be prepared, and by applying the advice above, you’ll have a lot less to worry about.
Do you have any food hacks to share that aren’t on this list? Let us know in the comments below!