We have a lot of long term food, and can easily meet the dietary needs of the folks who have all kinds of allergies like wheat and gluten, as well as specialty diets such as Kosher and Halal. One question I run into quite a lot is, “If we eat based upon the paleolithic diet, what can we do to prep for long term food emergencies?” This is a very personal matter for my family, because we also strive to eat as close to the Paleo/ Primal diet as possible. While many other families prepare by storing away large amounts of wheat, rice, beans, etc… our diet does not allow for these foods. This is not to say that we would not eat them in a time of great need, but with a little planning we can prepare our family in-line with our diet.
Paleo Prepping is really only a little different than prepping for anyone else. We still need to ensure we have covered the basics: Water, Shelter, Food, Medical, Sanitation. Really the only thing that differs for us is the food factor.
Most folks who live on a specialty diet are already used to preparing most meals at home. Though many gluten free options are now available out of a box, for paleo folks our food is much more centered around hunter-gather theologies.
Living Life out of the freezer:
For us a generator (solar or gas operated) is far more critical than for most. Many of us have large freezers full of locally sourced meats. We are used to purchasing a whole or a half an animal at a time. After an emergency we could just have a large barbeque and invite the neighborhood so that it does not spoil but our family would be better served by being able to keep the freezer going as long as possible.
If a generator is not a option, as would be the case in an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event or a massive solar flare that has disabled electronics, you will have to look at some other alternatives to preserve your meats.
Having a variety of canned meats is ideal. If you are a sportsman or have a small or urban farm it’s a great way to take advantage of in-season kills and fishing opportunities all year ’round! Of course, it’s a lot of work, but when it comes to preserving meats, it is well worth the trouble. “Keep Calm, Can on”.. Keeping them safe is easy now with a great invention called the JarBOX, a plastic box originally designed for stacking and transporting glass quart jars (pint sie in 2013), that also makes excellent earthquake protection for your home canned goods.
If you have never canned meats before, it’s really not much more difficult than applesauce. In fact, some may consider it easier since all you do is put your meat and optional spices in the jars. Judith Knight has written a wonderful book Easy Home Canning that covers everything from canning meat to cake.
When I first started talking about Paleo Prepping, it was my wife who brought to my attention Pemmican, which has been around basically for hundreds if not thousands of years. Most recently it was a staple of the old U.S. Calvary and mountain men during the exploration of the west.
“Pemmican is a concentrated mixture of fat and protein used as a nutritious food. The word comes from the Cree word pimîhkân, which itself is derived from the word pimî, “fat, grease”. It was invented by the native peoples of North America.It was widely adopted as a high-energy food by Europeans involved in the fur trade and later by Arctic and Antarctic explorers, such as Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen.
The specific ingredients used were usually whatever was available; the meat was often bison, moose, elk, or deer. Fruits such as cranberries and saskatoon berries were sometimes added. Cherries, currants, chokeberries and blueberries were also used, but almost exclusively in ceremonial and wedding pemmican.
The highest quality pemmican is made from lean meat and bone marrow fat; the pemmican buyers of the fur trade era had strict specifications.” – wiki
There are a LOT of great articles out on the internet about making pemmican. As with most forms of preservation you need more to make it than you will yield in edible food: About five pounds of meat are required to make one pound of dried meat suitable for pemmican, so that is something to keep in mind. However, this also makes it a great skill to have after an emergency, if you realize the power is not coming back on for a while, and you can start to prepare your meat preps from the freezer.
Here are some great articles about Pemmican:
Smoking & Jerky :
Probably the most common modern method of preserving meats is via smoking. Many of us have smokers, but what do you do when that electric smoker is out of electricity. As part of your homestead, you could build yourself a standalone smokehouse. If you are so blessed to have a outdoor kitchen already as part of your home, adding a smokehouse is very easy!
Some great articles on smoking meats and building a smoke house can be found here:
Oils, Fats & Lard:
Many people already save their bacon fat, but the pig don’t stop there… Lard! It’s a great cooking grease and has many ideal uses, and can be used as emergency lamp oil in addition to it’s cooking purposes.
But something else to consider is making your own lard, which has been a stable of daily cooking and baking for generations. Lard is lower in saturated fat than butter. Technically lard isn’t even a saturated fat; it’s a monounsaturated fat. It is one of the best dietary sources of vitamin D, and contains no trans-fats. If there’s fat to be avoided, trans-fats are the ones.
You will want to store your lard in the fridge or root cellar.. and of course, you can can it!
For a great information on making lard check these:
Paleo Prepping through lifestyle change
I know I have been really focused on meats for most of this article, but really… we eat a lot of meat.. There is another aspect of Paleo Prepping that needs to be kept in mind and that is being your own source. Many of us are passionate about how we source our food, usually as locally as possible, and what the animal eats is of course very important. Zombie Livestock are bad!
So, one of the best ways you can prepare… is to become your own source. Urban farming (and if you’re lucky enough rural farming) is now bigger than ever given the push from many localvores to get out of the city and back into the fields.
I think rural farm animals are somewhat self evident so I am going to skip that part.
Urban Farm Animals (the back yard meat market):
NOTICE: DO NOT FORGET TO CHECK YOUR LOCAL LAWS BEFORE PURCHASING ANIMALS. If you are new to home butchering, I reccomend not naming your livestock, as a named animal is much more difficult to disbatch then bunny 1, 2, etc.
We are fortunate to live in the City of Portland, Oregon which allows the following animals but with restrictions.
Chickens: Perhaps the most obvious of all urban farm animals are chickens. They produce lots of eggs are are good eatin! Keep in mind that during the winter egg production goes down as the temperatures fall.
Rabbits: Rabbits are great! They provide fiber and food! The reproduce rapidly and mature to butchering size very quickly. They also create a great fertilizer that can be spread on the garden beds in fall, but be aware that it often has seeds in it, and may cause more weeds and grasses to grow in your garden then you want.
Goats: YES GOATS! Produce great milk which allows for cheese. And in a REAL pinch you could butcher one for meat.. but I think as a survival livestock they are far more valuable for their milk.
Fish: Wouldn’t it be nice to get fresh fish every day, and not have to HOPE you’re going to catch something?
Aquaponics made sense to leave for last on the meats, because next were going to touch on the garden.
If you have even a small urban garden, you can take advantage of Aquaponics .
Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In aquaculture, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. This water is led to a hydroponic system where the by-products from the aquaculture are filtered out by the plants as vital nutrients, after which the cleansed water is recirculated back to the animals.
Aquaponic systems vary in size from small indoor or outdoor units to large commercial units, using the same technology. The systems usually contain fresh water, but salt water systems are plausible depending on the type of aquatic animal and which plants.
BASICALLY, YOU’RE A LITTLE FISH FARM..
I could go on for days about the HOW-TO of Aquaponics, but instead I am going to give you some links and move on with the article.
A healthy and multi-season garden is probably going to be the best asset for any Paleo family. While a garden that produces enough foods to sustain your family is ideal, even to supplement it helpful.
If you can, have a variety of food producing trees and bushes, and really spend some time learning about the winter garden.
What works is going to be different for everyone, but effort is good for us all..
“So, you have a retail store, and you’re telling me to make my own things rather than buy your things?”
Well, yes and no… Remember when I started this article I said that we still have to cover the basics and that the only thing that truly differs is our food. That still remains true, so you are still going to need to purchase or gather supplies to cover water purification and storage, shelter, medical supplies and sanitation.
However there are some food staples I would recommend everyone have. Rice, beans, and quinoa are things I think even the Paleo household should have stocked. Imagine a long term survival situation that may require you to compromise your diet, or an environmental disaster that takes your livestock or gardens.
There is also the reality that after an emergency, your family and friends may come asking for help. Rice, beans, and quinoa can help what you have prepped for your paleo diet go even further in situations like these.
Also most people who are preparing are encouraged to store large amounts of sugar, which of crouse, are a BIG paleo “no-no”. However I did discover that there are a few different brands of Maple Syrup Granules (dehydrated pure maple syrup), and are a great alternative sweetener. I would also recommend having a large amount of honey stored up. Honey lasts forever and has medicinal uses as well as use as a sweetener.
That about does it for this article… PLEASE leave your Paleo Prepping Comments below.. I would LOVE to know what everyone else is doing for their paleo preps.