Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
The idea of buying and storing extra food and other basic supplies to be used in case of an emergency has grown in popularity in recent years. Massive job losses and increasingly severe weather have shown people that having enough of life’s necessities on hand is a wise policy. But it can be hard to find the money to buy all food, equipment and other materials a family needs.
Maybe that’s why the idea of food storage and other emergency preparedness gifts has become more and more welcome for Christmas, weddings, and other special occasions. And there’s something for everyone.
There are options for people just starting their own food storage as well as for those well on their way to a supply that could carry their family through months or longer. To get you started, here are ten emergency food storage gift ideas and emergency preparedness suggestions.
10. Emergency preparedness reference books
Knowing what to buy and store, and how to store it safely is the most critical step in creating a usable food storage program. Well-written emergency storage and emergency preparedness books are a wonderful choice for anyone who’s just getting started. Look for materials from trusted sources, with up-to-date content that deals with current packaging, food types and lifestyles.
9. Food designed for long-term storage
Food that’s already prepared and packaged for long-term storage is a good choice for an food storage gift. If the recipient is just getting started with emergency preparedness, go with a multipack of add-water-and-heat meals to get them going on their stash. For someone who has already started building their emergency supplies, you might want to find out what’s next on their to-buy list and shop for that.
8. Water storage containers
Water is one of the most important…and the most challenging things to store. Commercial water bottles often deteriorate over time, leading to leaks and contamination. And individual water bottles can be bulky and hard to store. But a water storage barrel is a great solution (and a great gift) for safely storing the water a family needs.
7. Bulk seasonings
Storing the basics is important, but if the food doesn’t taste good it can be hard to get people to eat in an emergency or natural disaster. That’s why seasonings and spices are an important part of a good food storage plan. Give someone the gift of flavor with a selection of dried herbs and spices in bulk quantities.
6. Portable cook stove
In an emergency, home appliances might not be working. That’s why a portable cook stove is a thoughtful gift for anyone’s emergency preparedness plan. Choose a small one for easy transportation, or a slightly larger model with legs for ease of use for long term needs.
5. Label maker
Two of the most important things someone needs to know about their food storage and emergency supplies are 1)What exactly is in the can, box, tub or other storage container, and 2) When it was packed. Commercially packed emergency food usually includes both of those facts, but containers packed at home probably don’t. That’s where a good label maker comes in. Look for one that can use a variety of tape sizes so it can work on small packets and large bins alike.
4. Food storage tracking software
Keeping track of what’s in your fridge or pantry is hard enough when it’s just about this week’s menu. But when you’re talking about storing enough food and supplies to last months or even a year, it’s almost impossible to remember what you have and what you need. A gift of food storage software will make that task much easier. Look for a package that allows scanning of bar codes for quick entry, and includes a system for altering the user to food shelf life issues before things spoil or become dangerous.
3. Wheat grinder/food mill
When it comes to grains, whole grains like wheat berries stores longer than ground flour. And whole, dried beans store longer than canned cooked ones. But the problem is in converting the stored foods into flour. A gift of a food mill will allow a family to store whole grains and beans and create usable, fresh flour as they need it. Look for a solidly built grinder that can be operated without access to power, or one that works both with and without an electrical connection.
2. Home canning supplies
Processing and canning favorite foods at home is an excellent way to build up food storage. Things like spaghetti sauce, fruits, soups and other family favorites can be cooked in bulk and then stored for later if someone has the right tools. A gift of canning jars or a pressure cooker can allow a family to store the foods made the way they like.
No matter how much food is stored, at some point some or all of it will run out. That’s why seeds are a valuable choice as an emergency food storage gift. Not only will herb and food seeds allow someone to replenish stored foods, they will provide access to fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs for the table — a big plus for situations that last more than a few days or weeks.
Preparing for emergencies is a wise way to provide for a family in uncertain times. And a gift that makes that easier is a gift that will be appreciated for years to come.