Tonight at a Relief Society Meeting, we talked about 72 hour kits. The teacher stressed putting in things that your family likes to eat and do. A bit of something reliable, when really a 72 hour kit is all about planning for the uncertain. And while there were lots of ideas and suggestions for packaged and processed food that many people are happy with, I can’t say that those would be my first choices.
The thing is, you do get to eat what you put in. Most likely, you may never be stranded on your roof with your bucket or backpack waiting out a flash flood, you probably won’t see a tornado take down your neighborhood like a house of cards, or be displaced from your home for fear of horse fever with nothing but what you can carry on your back. Yes, you have your 72 hour kit for if and when any of those happen, but there is no guarantee you will need those 5000 calorie lemon pudding flavored energy bars for those desperate moments.
Chances are, you will remember every now and again to check those things, to see that they are there and haven’t become the life sustenance for a rodent colony in your garage. Then when you check, realizing that everything is still in fact just the way you left it, you realize it is time to rotate it all out. You need to eat the food, or throw it out. Few things last forever, and the last thing you want when horse fever comes trotting into town, is to discover all of the food is bad and you are left to forage in the suburbs. (No, hatred to foraging, you know I love it.)
The point is, pack the bag, pack it with things you actually do want to eat, since you do need to change it out regularly, and no one wants to waste it.
So, I thought we could talk about a few ideas of things to put in aside from those expensive, yet calorie packed lemon pudding bars, handi-snacks, and dehydrated margarine.
foil packets of tuna or other fish- these are even better tasting than the canned variety, and easy to open, and you can even get wild caught tuna packets for about a $1 each.
oatmeal- oatmeal can be easily eaten soaked or steamed or even raw. Package your own, or buy ready serve packets.
dried fruit- perfect with the oatmeal, easy to eat, and everyone likes it. You can do it your self or buy good quality unsweetened fruit to add to your bag.
nut butters- I toss a jar into the backpack, and call it good, but I know you can buy individual serving packets as well.
dried lentils- they cook up much faster than beans, have great fiber and protein cook easily over low heat, perfect for the dinky little stove I’ve got in the backpack. Plus, I can put some dried onion, carrots and salt into a bag with them.
fully cooked packets of grains- I know you can buy then for about a dollar or two at Trader Joe’s and a few other places, but these are ready to eat, fully cooked grains, which are easy to use and taste good, without any additives. They are way, way cheaper than the same stuff you would buy from Mountain Home brand at REI or any other outdoor supply store. Yes, they are more expensive than dried, but I need some 72 hour items that need no preparation.
freeze-dried vegetables and fruit- these are more expensive, but they are excellent for little kids. A bit of liquid and you can let them soak it up and smash it to make baby food almost instantly. Plus, some vegetables taste great and are nice and crunchy freeze dried. I remember my daughter loving the peas and corn when she was tiny. And I loved that the dissolved in her mouth easily, and were easy for her to mash up, something she couldn’t do with regular dried fruit and vegetables, and not a choking hazard.
What are your ideas? What do you put in your 72 hour kit that you don’t mind eating?