Milleniumfly writes: What would you suggest as a viable long-term option for fats and oils considering their normally short lifespan of a few months to a year?
Fats and oils are often overlooked in long-term storage plans. Despite what the media would have you believe, fats are an essential part of our diet. Look at it like this — fats contain more calories than just about any other part of our diet. Our bodies burn calories as fuel, that’s what keeps us moving. While we might not need as much fuel to do what we need to do in our daily lives today, during a long-term crisis we’ll need all we can get.
Plus, if there’s only one thing I learned in my 90 minute cooking class in New Orleans about 15 years ago, it is that fat = flavor. Seriously, the instructor in that class used so much butter you’d have thought he owned a dairy farm in Wisconsin.
Ok, so we need fats and oils, can we agree on that? But the problem, as milleniumfly mentions, is long-term storage for most of those things just isn’t viable. Rancid oil can kill you, or at least make you wish you were dead. Opened containers of oil typically last six months, at best, if kept on the shelf. You can extend that a bit with refrigeration. Unopened, you’re looking at about a year.
Now, you could freeze your oil, such as olive oil, and it will last a few years. But, of course that’s dependent upon you having the ability to keep it frozen. Power goes out, it will thaw. Then you’re back to square one.
You can’t rely upon hunting and fishing to supply you with necessary fats and oils. Most wild game is very lean. If you had a reliable source for bear and/or beaver, you could probably pull it off. Otherwise, not so much.
The ideal would be to raise your own livestock, of course. Pigs and cows could supply you with all you’d need. But that’s just not a real option for many people.
Nuts, particularly peanuts, can be grown in most parts of the US and could provide a decent source. Of course, to produce oil from the nuts, you’ll need a press and such.
My suggestion would be that if raising your own livestock isn’t an option, look towards freezing butter and oils and rotating your supply on a regular basis. But recognize that this isn’t an extreme long-term solution. At some point, if push comes to shove, you’ll need to entertain other options, such as either bartering or securing your own livestock.