Last week, we told you about the power of coal as a survival fuel. We promised you a second survival essential, and today we’ll share it with you.
During a disaster, a prepared stockpile of coal can provide your family with heat through the cold of winter. But cold in the summer is equally important. We’re not talking about your air conditioning. We’re talking about the refrigeration and preservation of food. Electrical refrigerators are essential to that process—not just at your home, but in the grocery store, and on trucks and trains that carry food across the country. In the scenario we laid out last week, your electricity is gone, and generator fuel stores are consumed. What happens to this refrigerated food chain then?
In the days before the electric refrigerator, there were iceboxes. Many Americans still remember them fondly. But unless you’re prepared to harvest ice floes from lakes and rivers, and have a place to store them, an icebox is not an option.
You need a resource that you can call on at any time to preserve vital nutrition for your family. It can’t use electricity, and it should be able to last as long as your survival food storage. That’s 25 years or longer for most freeze-dried canned foods.
The essential survival item you need to protect your family through the summer is salt. Lots of it. Before refrigerators and even before iceboxes, salt was the king of food preservation. Salting meat is a superb way to preserve essential protein value for your family without using scarce fuel or electricity.
Salt, like coal, is a rock. It will last a long time in storage. In a dry place, it will last longer than you. You can buy bulk salt in many forms. If you live by the ocean, you can even boil seawater to extract it yourself. Sam’s Club sells 25 lb. bags of Morton’s table salt, but pure rock salt is pretty much the same thing. Another type of salt, sodium nitrate, is a particularly good ingredient for food preservation. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN provides a decent primer on salting and drying meats on its website. We suggest you print it out and keep it with your salt.
The other post-disaster use for salt is one it has served before—as currency. In this function, salt rivals gold, with a history of use as a currency going back at least as far as ancient Egypt. In a post-disaster environment, with food scarce, salt could become more valuable than gold once again. Small amounts of it could be used as barter for other resources.
After stocking your coal and salt, check out our Top 10 Disaster Currencies post for other items you may not have thought of yet.