Updated 19/05/2017, valid for the latest build. TL;DR: Liceloaf at the beginning, mass produce Frost bun then Pepper Bread later.
Calories. The fuel that makes your Duplicants work. Measured in kilo calories (kcal), each Duplicant stores 4000 kcal, burns 1000 kcal per Cycle and eats when his Fullness falls to 50% You can check this in Vitals tab. This resource aims to provide a list of where and how you can get some, the most accurate it can be at the time of an update.
The Agricultural Update introduced a lot of new foods items, Quality expectations and the Consumables tab.
Each food item has a set quality, presented both as a word and a number, ranging from Grisly (-3) to Great (+2). As the duplicants level up, their food expectation grows, similar to decor. Eating food of lower quality then expected rises stress.
Consumable tab allows you to set permissions as to who can eat what food and prohibit certain consummations entirely. Even allows to define default permission set for new duplicants.
The game will provide you 20 000 kcal in Field rations (Grisly (-3), enjoy the tasty chalk) at start. This means you have at least 6 cycles of food for your whole starting crew to find more. Hunting
Meat is the name of the game and there... is not much of it. Currently only a Hatch will drop 2 units upon a death. One unit weights 1 kg and is worth 1000 kcal with Terrible (-2) quality. Can be turned to BBQ in cooking station. Unused assets suggest a reproducing Pacu fish and automatic fishing station. Gathering
You can live of the land... ehm asteroid and it is a good boost at the beginning, but plants in natural soil grow much slower than their planted counterparts and are easily affected by the temperature of surrounding biomes. Wild growing plants can't be provided with fertilizer or irrigation. If a seed is left on a natural tile, it will plant itself after several cycles.
A single harvest plant you can find in your starting biome or as a buried object. It produces a single fruit worth of 1 000 kcal - Grisly (-3). Since Thermal Update a Hatch no longer drops Muckroot from eating Abyssalite.
Bring out the straw hat and a banjo, it's time to set up fields. Or pots to be precise. Farming pots should be one of your first research and are constructed from either Dirt or Clay. Farther down you can research Farming and Hydroponic tile, that serve as a floor and can provide the plant with fertilizer and irrigation. Careful about the temperature of the material, too hot and in can be while before it cools down and can stifle surrounding plants in between.
║ Building ║ Plant ║ Fertilizer ║ Irrigation ║
║ Planter Box ║ X ║ ║ ║
║ Farm Tile ║ X ║ X ║ ║
║ Hydroponic Farm ║ X ║ X ║ X ║
Speaking of heat, different plants thrive in different temperatures and going out of their comfort zone will stifle them. Their growth is stopped but otherwise they are fine. Going too much farther will outright kill them, revert to a seed and sometimes get your Duplicants into an infinite cycle where they will put a new seed in for it to be dropped out immediately and ask for new seed. If troubled by heat, you should thing about setting your farm in an insulated area and perhaps even a cooling system. Or heating in case of a Pincha Peppernut. Agricultural Update also introduced an autoharvest of plants so you don't have to constantly check your farm. Seeds to start your farm are found either as buried objects in soil, by digging up the whole plant in nature or by getting better yields. Seeds do remember the amount of remaining harvests, so cheesing by digging up a plant with 1 harvest left is pointless.
Farming mechanics and terms:
Growth progress: Ranges 0 to 100%, indicates how old the plant is. Upon reaching 100 with last harvest, the plant dies. Harvest rating: Ranges 0.0 to 100.0, consolidation of plant affecting effects, determines a tier of harvest. It is additive over the whole Lifecycle Effect: There are 4 effects affecting a plant growth - air pressure, temperature, fertilization and irrigation. Having a Standard pressure and temperature allows for growth. Having some of it Ideal raises harvest rating. Fertilization and irrigation with correct substance always does. Harvest tier: Based on Harvest rating can be Standard (0-39.9), Good (40-79.9) or Excellent (80+). Higher tiers provide more food items and/or seeds.
║ ║ ║ Harvest ║
║ Plant ║ Harvests ║ Lifecycle (1) ║ Temperature ║ Ideal Temp. ║ Irrigation (2) ║ Fertilization (3) ║ kcal / unit ║ Standard ║ Good ║ Excelent ║
║ Mealwood ║ 3 ║ 5 / 2.5 ║ 10-30°C ║ 18-22 °C ║ 40 kg PW ║ 2 kg F ║ 100 ║ 8 ║ 16 ║ 16+2 seeds ║
║ Bristle Blossom ║ 5 ║ 10 / 2 ║ -23-23°C ║ -3-3 °C ║ 20 kg W ║ 4 kg F ║ 1600 ║ 1+seed ║ 1+seed(6) ║1+2 seeds(6)║
║ Sleet Wheet ║ 1 ║ 20 ║ -55-5 °C ║ -40 - -35 °C ║ 20 kg W ║ 4 kg F ║ (4) ║ 25 ║ 50 ║ 75 ║
║ Pincha Pepperplant ║ 3 ║ 25 / 20 ║ 35-85 °C ║ 55-60 °C ║ 35 kg PW ║ 1 kg P ║ (5) ║ 4 ║ 4+2 seeds ║ 8+2 seeds ║
For all plants, Standard air pressure is 150+ grams and Ideal 750+ grams.
(1) First number indicates number of cycles to the first harvest, second regrowth time to subsequent harvest
(2) Irrigation per cycle, PW - Polluted Water, W - Water
(3) Fertilization per cycle, F - Fertilizer, P - Phosphorus
(4) Sleet Wheat produces only seeds. These can be made into a food in cooking station.
(5) Nuts from PP are not edible alone, rather used as a spice in several recipes
(6) BB provides seeds on last harvest only
A sturdy plant/animal that thrives in wide temperature range 10.0 °C - 30.0 °C. Produces Meal Lice, each providing 100 kcal and can be farther cooked. Worst case scenario 240 kcal/cycle and best 480 kcal/cycle, Grisly (-3) quality. It is a decent starting choice but rather than consuming it directly, I would advice further refining it in Microbe Musher. Requires 4.2 to 2.1 plants to feed a duplicant, depending on the harvest rating.
After some patches the, pardon the pun, "Brittle Blossom" went from a rather finicky fruit plant, that lived only in temperature range 12.5 °C - 22.5 °C and ridiculous fertilizer needs to a staple of a farm with a temperature range -23 °C - 23 °C and fulfilling fruit. Produces Bristle Berries worth of 1 600 kcal, Poor (-1) quality. Harvest rating affects only seed, so it provides a stable 444.5 kcal/cycle. 2.3 plants will feed a single duplicant.
A cold loving plant, that does not produces something edible directly, rather a lot of seeds that can be converted to food. In nature it grows in cold biomes, in a temperature range -55 °C - 5 °C. Provides a single harvest of 25/50/75 grain depending on your rating. Because the Grain is both edible and a Seed, it can be store in both compactors and food storage and it can rot. Be mindful where you keep it. Given the amount of seed available, it is, in my opinion, not necessary to plant them in better than basic planters, rather just substitute quality with quantity. It will grow and won't increase delivery jobs by fertilizing. In that scenario, and converting to Frost bun (3 grains per 1), you need 2.5 plants per duplicant. 1 leftover grain to replant included.
Pincha Pepperplant (aka PP) is a hanging, nut producing plant, that serve as a spice rather than food. It is used in various quantities in the best foods currently available. In nature, it is found in purple biomes and with it's long lifecycle it can be worth it to check, how long till next harvest, before digging it up. This is also a reason, why I recommend bot fertilization and irrigation, to maximize your yield. It has to be planted downwards (rotate planter by O) and it's the only plant fertilized by Phosphorus. One plant can produce 0.2 nut/cycle on Standard and Good harvest or 0.4 nut/cycle on Excellent.
Note: If you don't want to harvest plants manually, a grown up plant will drop the fruit and restart it's cycle itself after a time. It seems to vary during it's lifespan but worst case is 2 cycles before entering "old" stage and another 2 cycles to drop the fruit. This significantly rises the plant/Duplicant ratio. Fertilized plants continue to consume fertilizer and water in the old or stifled stage.
It's a barbie time! Run microbes or lice through a press, flip them on a grill and serve with a cold Bristle Blossom juice. Ah to live the life of a Duplicant.
Your basic tool for making food out of nothing. Or rather lots of something, water to be precise. Currently has 2 recipes:
Mush bar - 1000 kcal made out of 75 kg of Dirt and Water each, carries a risk of Diarrhea, Grisly (-3)
Liceloaf - 1000 kcal made out of 5 Meal lice (500 kcal) and 50 kg of Water, Terrible (-2)
With the addition of Geysers and fixes to water loss, cooking is a viable choice. Mush bar is a good fallback option should you take your time with farming or faced a catastrophe. Liceloaf effectively doubles a yield of a single Mealwood plant and increases the food quallity by 1. With enough water I encourage you to use this recipe. If any Lice is still moving, just hit it over the edge of the table or something. Oh? You were not provided with a mess table? Well use your imagination, you are sitting on something, right?
An advanced station with many recipes, this is where you produce food for you increasingly demanding duplicants.
║ Food ║ Kcal ║ Quality ║ Ingredients ║ Special ║
║ Pickled Meal ║ 100 ║ Grisly (-3) ║ 3x Meal Lice (300) ║ Rots very slowly ║
║ Mush Fry ║ 1000 ║ Terrible (-2) ║ 2x Mush Bar (2000) ║ Removes a risk of Diarrhea ║
║ Frost Bun ║ 1000 ║ Poor (-1) ║ 3x Sleet Wheet Grain ║ ║
║ Gristle Berry ║ 1000 ║ Standard (0) ║ 1x Bristle Berry (1600) ║ ║
║ Pepper Bread ║ 1000 ║ Good (+1) ║ 5x Sleet Wheet Grain ║ ║
║ ║ ║ ║ 1x Pincha Peppernut ║ ║
║ BBQ ║ 1000 ║ Good(+1) ║ 1x Meat (1000) ║ Soul Food ║
║ ║ ║ ║ 1x Pincha Peppernut ║ (-2 Athletics, -15% stress) ║
║ Stuffed Berry ║ 1000 ║ Great (+2) ║ 2x Bristle Berry (3200) ║ ║
║ ║ ║ ║ 2x Pincha Peppernut ║ ║
Of these, Frost bun can quickly become your go to food, thanks to a large number of grain available. Gristle berry lovers kcal of BB but upgrades the quality by 1, therefore you need 3.6 plant/duplicant. Pepper bread is a first recipe needing PP - you need between 2.5 to 5 plants of PP per duplicant, depending on your harvest rating. BBQ is available in small numbers only, because no meat source. Stuffed Berry is, in my opinion, not a viable food right now, thanks to it's huge resource need - 7.2 BB plants and 5 PP plants per duplicant in the best case scenario.
Storage, Spoilage and Surroundings
Following is included how it is in current situation but it is prone to change because of bugs, exploits and balancing.
Can't leave the food lying around, Dupe, that just invites germs. And not those juicy ones your mama puts into Mushbars.
Food tab provides two storage solutions for your food supply
Ration box - basic accessory taking 2x2 space with a capacity of 150 kg. A storage locker for edibles.
Fridge - requires unlocking by research. Capacity 100 kg, takes 1x2 space a requires 120W energy. Keeps food inside refrigerated when powered. Can still store food when not powered.
Note: Preferred methods of storage used to be build in Vacuum and access diagonally. That is no longer possible in the Agricultural update.
I told you not to leave the food around.
Under normal circumstances, an edible item will rot after 8 cycles. That will turn it into a rotted item, the conversion ration is 1:1 in kg. After another cycle Rot will turn into a Polluted dirt 1:1. But the real number is slightly lower, because the polluted dirt will immediately start emitting polluted oxygen and lose mass.
Rotting process can be stopped by:
Refrigeration - food kept under 4 °C is considered to be refrigerated
Sterility - keeping food in sterile atmosphere (hydrogen, CO2, chlorine)
Either of these stops the spoiling rate of food. Spoiling is accelerated by surrounding item in polluted atmosphere (polluted oxygen).
Note: If lacking other means of producing fertilizer, Meal lice is an effective item to rot, because you are losing only 100 kcal per kg.
Various food related items have an impact on decor so this is included here for the sake of completion.
║ Item ║ Decor ║ Radius ║
║ Ration Box ║ +5 ║ 1 ║
║ Refrigerator ║ +10 ║ 2 ║
║ Microbe Musher ║ -15 ║ 3 ║
║ Planter Box ║ -10 ║ 2 ║
║ Hydroponic Farm ║ -5 ║ 1 ║
║ Mealwood plant ║ -10 ║ 2 ║
║ B. Blossom plant ║ +15 ║ 2 ║
║ Sleet Wheat plant ║ +15 ║ 2 ║
║ P. Pepperplant ║ +15 ║ 2 ║
║ Hatch ║ +10 ║ 1 ║
Coming Soon TM.
Found some errors? Have questions? Let me know.