Preparations are those things you should be doing now to prepare for any of the reasons mentioned under Why Prepare? I've divided them into several broad categories.
Click on each bulleted item to read more about it.Food
The prepared pantry should consist of various types of food, as well as variety within those types. Bulk foods, canned foods, dried foods, and emergency foods are all the various types. Bulk foods are items such as bags or buckets of beans, wheat, rice, and honey. Canned foods are those “wet” foods that are either commercially prepared or home preserved. They are called “wet” foods because they contain their own water. Dried food includes basics, such as powdered milk, and will almost always require water to prepare. Emergency foods include Meal-Ready-to-Eat (MRE) types of food, as well as such things as emergency concentrated rations and energy bars. Each of these types of food has their strengths and their drawbacks.
Bulk foods are important because they are (generally, depending on packaging) less expensive than other types, and because they can be combined with other foods and will stretch a long way. Dry beans are very important for your long range survival plans because of their high protein, complex carbohydrate, and fiber content. They give you energy and help keep you regular, as well as providing a full feeling at a time when actual calorie consumption may be diminished. The problem with dry beans is they take a lot of water and energy to prepare, and if not cooked correctly (soaking water thrown out, fresh water to cook), could provide an unpleasant environment in an enclosed shelter.
Wheat is the basis of our civilization. However, unless you have some way to crack it or grind it to flour, it does little good. Otherwise, it takes too long to cook and too much to digest. If you are going to store wheat or other whole grains (which do store a long time, and provide bulk to help you feel full), store a hand-driven grain mill. Also, make sure you store your grains vacuum-sealed, or placed into buckets with oxygen and moisture absorbers.
Dry food includes everyday items such as cereal and pasta, to dried milk, baking mix, and instant coffee, to instant soups and noodles, to dried fruit and freeze-dried camping or storage foods. Aside from cereal and dried fruit, most dry food requires some amount of water to re-constitute it. While these items have a definite place in your pantry, they cannot be to the exclusion of other types of food. What would happen if all you had stored was dry food, and you were caught short of water. You will be in for a dry, dusty time ahead.
Where these types of foods excel is in a bug-out kit. You don't want to be hauling around pounds of dry beans or wheat. Nor would you want to carry all the extra weight of cans. You'll want to pack plenty of light-weight instant foods in your bug-out kit, along with plenty of water and water filtering or purification devices/methods. Camping stores carry a wide variety of foods with good balanced nutrition and light weight.
Canned foods are going to be your most likely storage item, whether they are commercially packaged fruits, vegetables, and meats, or home-canned foods(often in glass jars). The reason these are going to be your main storage items is because these are your main everyday items. Sure, we all have fresh items such as milk, eggs, fruits, and vegetables, and frozen foods as well. However, if the lights go out, so do the refrigerator/freezers. Here's where canned items hit their stride. They require no refrigeration. Often they require no preparation except opening the can (make sure you have extra, non-electric, can openers). Often heating is not even required, except for taste. If you just need something in your belly, most canned foods will do that with no trouble.
Besides just providing nutrients, canned foods can be combined to create more variety. A can of tomatoes, a couple cans of beans, and some spices gives you chili.