Ok, the grid is down and you have turned off the utilities and taken care of your water, what do you do next? Check on your food situation. Take a look at the refrigerator and see what needs to be used right away, don’t mess with the freezer yet. Use up the foods that require refrigeration first. Many of the foods that we normally refrigerate will keep for several days without refrigeration, such as produce and condiments.
Now the freezer, most freezers depending on the ambient temperature will stay cold for about three days if you leave them alone and don’t open the door a lot. If you have a generator and fuel, you can run the freezer for three or four hours a day and buy yourself time to preserve the contents.
So what is your long-term plan for the food in the freezer? You have basically three ways to preserve it, canning, drying or dehydrating, or salting. All of these methods take some time and study. I would recommend that you spend some time learning these skills beforehand.
Here is a short course in dehydrating and salting. If you don’t already know how to can and have supplies on hand, this method will not work for you. To dehydrate your food, cut it into thin slices and spread it out in the sun allowing air circulation. You can improvise racks with window screens. If you are drying meat, be sure and cut the fat off. Dry the food until it is completely dry and it should last for a while.
To salt the meat, take food grade containers like five-gallon buckets or large pots and mix up salt brine. There is enough salt in the mixture when it will float an egg. Submerge the meat in the mixture and put some weight on top to keep it under the brine. If you don’t have a tight fitting lid, you may have to add more water occasionally.
Then inventory the other foods that you have on hand. Determine which foods should be consumed first to minimize waste. If it appears that you will not be able to replenish your supplies, consider whether or not you need to ration your food.
The best plan is to have a deep larder of long-term storage foods and the knowledge you need to use them and preserve foods.