Updated: Jun 26, 2021
Personal disasters such as job losses, illnesses, car accidents, or death can affect your family. Therefore, having emergency food can really ease the financial pressure.
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Feeding a family of 4 is a big responsibility, so it’s good to be thinking about it. There are a number of things that could happen to disrupt the food supply of grocery stores and distributors that service your area– floods, fires, earthquakes, economic crises or even a Pandemic...
But there are also “personal disasters” that can affect you and your family, whether or not anybody else ever even knows about them. These are things like job losses, illnesses, injuries, car accidents, or death in the family. During these times, having the best emergency food possible is a wonderful blessing. Even 1-2 weeks worth of food can really ease the financial pressure of the moment. So having several months or year’s worth of food on hand is even better!
How To Feed a family of 4 for 1 year, for less than $300
This plan is the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to start a food storage program. It has become semi “internet famous”, and is appropriately referred to as “survival soup.”
Think about this:
You are done in a weekend.
There are no hassles with rotating. Pack it and forget it.
It’s space efficient – everything is consolidated into a few 5-gallon buckets.
With the exception of dairy and Vitamin B12, this bean soup recipe will fulfill your basic nutritional needs. It won’t fill all of your wants, but using this as your starting point, you can add the stuff that you want.
I purchased rice, bouillon and salt from Sam’s Club. You can buy small bags of barley at the grocery store, but if you don’t mind waiting a few days, special ordering a bulk bag from Whole Foods was cheaper.
All of the beans I purchased from Kroger in 1-lb bags. Supplies can be purchased online, although it is usually possible to find more opportunistic deals “on the ground.”
Supplies you need for Survival Soup:
8 – 5-gallon food grade buckets with lids, opener and a rubber mallet for securely closing (90 mil is the industry standard for quality heavy duty High-density polyethylene buckets.)
8 – large Mylar bags with 2,000 cc oxygen absorbers
90 lbs. of white rice
22 lbs. of kidney beans
22 lbs. of pearl barley
22 lbs. of yellow lentils
5.5 lbs. of split green peas
5.5 lbs. of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
1 lb. of salt
Large container of bay leaves
Big box of beef bullion
Big box of chicken bouillon
A measuring cup
Preparing The Buckets
Thoroughly wash and dry all buckets and tops with warm soapy water prior to use. Ensure your hands/arms and all work surfaces/tools are clean and dry prior to beginning the food storage process. Place a strip of duck tape on the exterior of the bucket and use a permanent marker to label it with the content. Then insert a mylar bag into the bucket, place 2 or 3 bay leaves in the bottom of the bag and fill the bucket, adding more bay leaves after each 1/3 to full. Be sure not to overfill the mylar bag by leaving about 2 inches of space below the rim of the bucket.
Suggestion: Oxygen absorbers begin working as soon as they hit the air. Therefore, I recommend filling all the buckets with food prior to opening/adding the oxygen absorbers. Also while you are sealing up one bucket place the remaining oxygen absorbers in a small airtight container like a mason jar.
Place an oxygen absorber on top. Then remove as much air from the bag as possible in preparation of the heat sealing process. Place a broom handle or 2x4 across the top of the bucket and wrap the ends of the mylar bag over it for support. Then, slowly and smoothly, run a hot iron over the mylar bag to seal it from side to side. Exception: If you own a vacuum seal the entire bag except the last inch, insert your hose attachment, allow it to remove as much air as possible then use the remove the hose attachment and seal the remaining inch. Make sure your mylar bag is completely sealed from end to end.
Then both users, those with a vacuum sealer and those without, complete a second heat seal at least 1 inch higher than the prior seal. Note: A double seal is better than one thick seal. Again,make sure your mylar bag is completely sealed from end to end. Then carefully fold down the excess bag into the bucket and place the lid on top. Secure it with the rubber mallet. Store your buckets in a cool, dry, temperature regulated, dark place and your food should be protected for roughly 25 years. You’ll have excess mylar bag at the top. Don’t cut it off, that way if you have to cut it open to get into it, you have enough bag remaining to reseal.
Fill The Buckets:
3 buckets with rice (shake it down good. Get it all in there!)
1 bucket of kidney beans
1 bucket of barley
1 yellow lentils
1 bucket, store the following:
Split green peas
(I removed the bouillon from the box and vacuum sealed it as bouillon contains a small amount of oil.)
Yep, that’s a total of 7 buckets, so far.
Where To Store Your Soup Supplies
It’s pretty easy to find a place for 7 to 8, 5-gallon buckets, even in the smallest of apartments. You could:
Discard a set of box springs and lay a kid’s mattress on top of the buckets
Line the back of a large closet with the buckets
Make a couch table by stacking buckets two high between the couch and the wall. The buckets are about 6” taller than the back of the couch. Add a shelf and drape and it looks fine; a convenient place for a lamp and books.
Cooking Your Survival Bean Soup
8 oz of rice
2 oz of red kidney beans
2 oz of pearl barley
2 oz of lintels
1 oz of split green peas
1 oz of chickpeas/garbanzos
Add the following:
6-7 quarts of water
Bouillon or salt to taste
Then add any other meats, vegetables, potatoes or seasonings you have on hand
Bring to a boil and then let simmer for two hours. You should have enough to feed 4 people for two days. This is thick and hearty. You will be warm on the inside and full with one large bowl. Kids usually eat half a bowl.
After The Emergency Is Over
This system allows you to open the Mylar bags, retrieve as much of the ingredients as is needed and then reseal everything after the emergency has passed. Just be sure to replace the ingredients used so that you always have a one-year supply.
The 8th Bucket
Other Survival Food Items to consider keeping in the 8th bucket...
This list isn’t included in the $300. This falls into the “what I want” category. As money and resources became available, I’d just go crazy adding all of my indulgences, starting with premixed tea, lemonade, koolaid, hot chocolate, popcorn, etc.! You can add what you want, but I’d fill it with:
Dry onion. Let’s face it, what’s bean soup without onion! Sprinkle on the onions just before serving.
“Just add water” cornbread mix packets. I just can’t eat bean soup without cornbread and they frequently go on sale for less than $1.
Beef jerky and Vienna sausages. Add protein and zest to the bean soup
Instant oatmeal. Do you really want bean soup for breakfast? Freeze the oatmeal for 3 days before packing to kill any bugs.
10 lbs of jellybeans. Now, don’t laugh – it’s a bean:-) Jellybeans, jolly ranchers and peppermints are all fair game and they don’t melt like chocolate might. The high sugar content is quick energy, and a morale booster – with just enough of a high to help you over the really bad days.
Before Filling Your Final Bucket
Fix a big pot of bean soup for dinner. Eat the leftovers the second night, and 3rd night, until it’s all gone. Find out now – rather than later – what your family might like to add to it. Anything tastes great the first meal, but quickly becomes boring after the 3rd or 4th repeat.
Don’t wait until the emergency happens to discover what you SHOULD have stored in your 8th bucket. … Maybe some Beano!