Two days ago I watched a video produced by the China Insights YouTube channel. The video shows what life is like in Shanghai as of May 5, 2022. After enduring weeks of forced lockdowns due to rising COVID cases, residents have been permitted to leave their homes once every five days to shop for food. They are restricted to just a few hours out, and it’s said that they are not allowed to use motorized vehicles.
The screenshot above shows a 2.5-hour line to enter a store. Those waiting complain that by the time they reach the store by bicycle or foot and wait almost three hours to enter, their allotted time outside their homes has expired. Some of the individuals shown in the video say that they have almost reached the level of starvation during the ongoing lockdown.
It’s difficult to imagine this ever happening in the West. And yet, a few years ago who could have imagined that western governments would force individuals to wear masks, to close their businesses, and to receive vaccines. And just months ago few believed that Russia would actually invade Ukraine. I suppose the lesson is that one cannot know what to expect.
While watching this video I wondered how many people in China took the opportunity to prepare in advance for these lockdowns. How many set aside a reasonable amount of near-non-perishable food while it was readily available at somewhat affordable prices? It’s clear that those who did so would not be at the point of starvation now, and would likely not need to venture out to wait in these lines. It’s very unlikely that any government-enforced lockdown, no matter where it takes place in the world, would last more than six weeks. Otherwise few individuals would survive.
One of the wisest things we can do is to learn from the mistakes of others. Being prepared for food or water shortages lasting a month or two is a wise choice at this point no matter where one lives. Setting aside a three-month food supply for one’s family and purchasing a means to filter water for drinking is not as difficult or expensive as it may seem. Visiting the Panoplia.org Latest Posts page and searching for the key word “water” will return a number of articles that will help you understand water filtration options.
With regard to a food supply there are several options. Searching for the phrase Storing Food in Mylar Bags on YouTube will return dozens of How-to videos. Placing foods like rice, beans, pasta, etc. in mylar bags, sealing them, and storing them in food-grade buckets can be surprisingly affordable and is quite easy.
Trying to live on rice or beans alone for three months would be very difficult. It might even drive you or your family crazy. There was a period in our lives while living overseas in the early 1990s when my wife and I lived primarily on rice and a limited variety of protein sources for about nine months. This was actually not that difficult. Eating rice three times a day was not bad as long as a small amount of various meats and sauces were available to add variety to the meals. In fact, millions of people in Asia have thrived on nothing other than a diet like this their entire lives.
Having rice, beans, and pasta set aside as staple food sources that will last for many years if stored properly is not difficult or prohibitively expensive for many families. The problem is, how can one set aside a variety of near-non-perishable protein sources that will make these staple foods more nutritious and enjoyable? The answer is freeze-drying. For many years we have trusted, used, and enjoyed freeze-dried foods produced by a company called Mountain House (MH). They’ve been around for more than 50 years, and many of their foods last 25 years or more.
We find MH free-dried foods to be delicious. One would not want to live on them due to the expense and the fact that sodium levels of freeze-dried foods tend to be quite high, yet I have to admit that when my wife travels I often pull out a pouch of MH Beef Stroganoff, add boiling water, and enjoy an excellent meal.
Freeze-dried foods stored in pouches are fine for hiking, wife-travels, and even emergencies, but for very long-term storage we prefer the #10 cans. These offer more protection for the contents and generally contain at least 10 servings. The problem is that as of the writing of this article every product MH offers in a #10 can is out of stock. They have been for a while, and were for long periods during 2020 as well.
Since MH foods in #10 cans are not available right now, We started looking for alternatives. We found a company called Nutristore that offers a variety of freeze-dried meat, vegetables, and fruits in #10 cans. Most are rated to last 25 years. We decided to order one of their Sausage Crumble cans as pictured at the top of this page. It cost $64.99 and offers 20 ½ cup servings of sausage. We’ve pasted the nutrition label from the can below. This differs slightly from the one on the website. Having this available and ready to use anytime over the next 25 years if unopened is amazing.
Adding a 1/4 or 1/2 cup portion of sausage crumbles to a serving of rice, beans, or eggs will make a delicious meal. In fact, we did just that this morning. My wife made an omelette using the Nutristore sausage crumbles that was outstanding. She prefers adding cheese and peppers as well. I prefer just the egg and sausage. We chronicle the experience in the images below.
Looking down at the #10 can after removing the lid with a manual can-opener.
1/2 cup of sausage crumbles next to almost 1/2 cup of boiling water.
We added the boiling water, let sit for five minutes, stirred, and then let sit for ten more minutes.
The sausage crumbles added to an omelette while cooking on the stovetop.
Ready to eat – This was delicious!
This is our first experience using a Nutristore product. We don’t have enough experience using the company’s products to say that they are on par with Mountain House, yet we were impressed by our first try. We will likely be ordering a few of their #10 cans of Freeze-dried Green Beans at $27.99 per can to add to our long-term food supply.
The bottom line is that these products are available now, are made in the USA, are rated to last 25 years if unopened and stored correctly, and will help make meals made with long-term staples such as rice, beans, and pasta more delicious and nutritious than they would otherwise be. If you have experience with Nutristore or similar products, please let us know in the Comment section below.
As always, remember that Panoplia.org has no affiliate relationships with manufacturers or retail suppliers, nor do we participate in third-party advertising. We simply share our views about gear and supplies that work well for us under hard use.