Letter: Thoughts for Frozen Food Storage for SHTF

Tonight I ate a rib eye steak that was a little over two years old. It was tender, juicy, and just as good as the day I bought it. It was vacuum packed and frozen at -14 to 0 degrees for the entire time. I see no reason to believe that the steak would not be just as palatable for at least another year. I believe this to be a viable consideration for food storage for, if not the long term, an intermediate period for SHTF situations.

If this is to be considered for a food source for a few years, what about EMP issues? Several years ago, I bought a top of the line 20 cubic foot upright freezer with all the bells and whistles. About a year ago, it began intermittently shutting off and the temperature inside got dangerously close to thawing out. A hurried call to an appliance repairman revealed that the entire electronic control unit can be unplugged from the front of the unit and replaced within seconds and that this cured the problem. After fixing the original problem, I ordered a second control unit, which is now wrapped in foil and has been placed in a metal can along with other valuable items.

About two years ago, I bought a second 20 cubic foot freezer. This time, I special ordered a basic, no frills model. It consumes exactly the same amount of power (140 watts after start up) and contains no electronic circuitry. The schematic diagram shows that the unit contains only switches, temperature sensors, a thermostat and, of course, the compressor. This freezer works just as well as the older freezer and should be as close to EMP proof as possible as all current information indicates that microprocessors are the items at risk during an EMP.

What about power interruptions? My long-term testing of both freezers shows that my Honda EU2000i inverter generator will keep both freezers adequately cold (as well as running several other items simultaneously including the refrigerator/freezer) with about 2½ hours per day of usage. With the Honda, this equates to about 1/3 gallon of fuel per day. Yes, fuel availability could be an issue, but if an EMP event renders most vehicles inoperable, fuel might be somewhat available from abandoned vehicles. Regardless, my RV contains 55 gallons of gas, the SUV 30 gallons, and I have 60 gallons in storage. The stored gas is stabilized with a commercial fuel stabilizer and is rotated through the vehicles as is convenient. At 1/3 gallon per day, I anticipate a minimum of one year of food available from the freezers. Natural gas tends to be more reliable then electricity during an emergency, and natural gas and propane conversions are available for under $200 for Honda and similar generators.

Some of you may have already considered this method of providing nutrition during a crisis, but for those of you who may have not “done the math”, you may find this of value and something that you can implement concurrently with your other long-term storage plans. If you are considering the purchase of a refrigerator or freezer, look closely at the “no frills” models and get the assistance, if needed, of a good service technician to determine what, if any, electronics the unit may contain.

As an aside, I do rotate our food, but I also keep back some food to let it age so I can determine the limits of my storage methods. The steak mentioned above was bought at Costco for $7.95 per pound and it is now $11.95 as I write this. Prepping does pay. I ate the steak with a can of corn that I bought in 2010 and with a “best by” date of September, 2011. Like the steak, it was as if I had bought it yesterday. I’ll keep you posted on the meat as time goes on, assuming we are still here.

Be safe and prep as if your life depended on it. – G.D.