Following a disaster there may be power outages that could last for several days. Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation. Be sure to include a manual can opener and eating utensils.
Alternative cooking sources can be used in times of emergency including candle warmers, chafing dishes, fondue pots or a fireplace. Charcoal grills and camp stoves are for outdoor use only. Commercially canned food may be eaten out of the can without warming.
No matter how many times I write about food, there is always something new to consider or a new and different way to present the same old information in a more useful manner. With that in mind, today I would like to share a method for getting started with your long-term food storage program in an easy, step by step, and cost-effective manner.
With that goal in mind, let me say this: this is not a list of items intended for deep storage. Nor is it a list of items packaged so that they have a 25-year shelf life. (And in reality, do you really need your stored food to last that long?) I am also not going to list items that might be foreign to your palate, difficult to find, or too costly to absorb into your weekly shopping budget. This list is for those that want to get started with long term food storage without spending a fortune.
1. 20 pounds of Rice. As boring as it may sound, rice is one of the backbones of every food storage plan. It is filling, nutritious, and with the use of varied seasonings and condiments, highly adaptable in a variety of tasty meals. The choice of white, brown, or a combination of the two is up to you. White rice has a longer shelf life but brown rice has more nutritional benefits. In my own household, I like to combine the two along with some Jasmine, Basmati and Calrose sticky rice. NOTE: Be sure to check out our recent guide on how to remove arsenic from rice.
2. 20 pounds of Pinto Beans. Like rice, beans are the backbone to every food storage plan. You may substitute white, kidney or other types of dried beans but honestly, pintos are one of the least expensive dried beans and in my opinion, one of the tastiest. Need help cooking beans? when you are done here be sure to read Survival Woman Learns to Cook Dried Beans and you should too and Respect for the Lowly Pinto Bean.
7. 2 large jars of Peanut Butter. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, with plenty of calories for energy and sustenance. Besides, who can resist the taste of a gooey spoonful of luscious peanut butter? While the long term shelf life of peanut butter is not as great as some would like, it is excellent for emergency food storage on a one-year timeline. So if you buy peanut butter, just make sure to use your oldest first and rotate it out and you will be good to go.
10. 5 pounds of Salt. It goes without saying that salt is essential for survival plus it has a lot of uses other than as an enhancement for food. That said, our bodies need salt to survive. Read more about salt in the article Reasons You Need Salt in the Prepper Pantry.
13. 10 pounds of Pasta. Pasta is familiar and easy to fix. Pasta is a dense form of wheat but so much easier to deal with when you are first starting out. Besides, it is a fabulous comfort food.
17. Spices and Condiments. Adding some spices and condiments to your food storage pantry will allow you to vary the taste of your storage foods, thus mitigating some of the boredom that is likely to occur over time. The exact mix of spices and condiments is up to you but some suggestions include garlic, chili, Tabasco (hot sauce), salsa, oregano, thyme and black pepper. For a full list of the best prepper herbs and spices, check out the BDS guide here.
20. Mini LED Flashlight and Extra Batteries. Okay, this is a cheater item. It is not food but it is all important and so it will not hurt to stash a miniature flashlight or two along with the edibles in your food storage pantry. My top pick of the moment is the Blocklite. This thing just goes and goes and goes plus, it does not take up any storage space.
There are no wheat berries or other whole grains (other than oats/oatmeal) on this list and there is also no flour. While there is a place for these items in a long term storage plan, I consider them part of the second phase of food storage.
Finding space to store your emergency food supply can be a challenge, especially if you live in a small home or apartment. Get creative, starting with a walk around tour of your living spaces. Locations often overlooked are under beds, way up high in closets where you can add another shelf, and under dressers, desks and sofas.
If you are truly serious about finding the space for your emergency food supply, you will toss those miscellaneous odd-ball items that are only used once every three years. This alone will free up space for some additional canned or dried food items.
Continue the adventure by learning to cook with traditional storage items such as the bulk food items mentioned above (beans, rice, oatmeal and powdered milk). Adding condiments of various types will result in delicious meals not only now, but after an emergency when good tasting food will be a comfort.
Notwithstanding finding space for your emergency food supply, consider the storage conditions in your home. The enemies of food storage are temperature, moisture, oxygen, light, pests and time. Then there is the two legged variety (such as teenagers!) who eat everything in sight, including your emergency food.
While not all household conditions are perfect, be aware of the six enemies of food storage and do your best to mitigate their effect on your precious food supply. This means you should avoid storing food in garages that are 90 degrees in summer and 30 degrees in winter. I am repeating what I said before but it is important: empty your cupboards and closets of excess stuff and stow these items in the basement, attic, or garage. This will make room for you to store your food inside your main living area where the ambient room temperature is stable.
Everyone makes mistakes when it comes to food storage and trust me, I have made my share of them. One mistake I have made is to not take my own advice and stock up on something I truly dislike. Another is to stock up on sugary drinks in #10 tins from a well-known food storage company. What was I thinking?
If there has been a major shift in my food storage thinking over the years, this is it. I used to believe that nothing lasts forever and recommended periodically going through your emergency food supply to rotate out the oldest items.
These days, I still recommend rotating but not to the point where you make it your career. I have read enough studies and have eaten enough ten year old food to know that if the packaging is in good shape, meaning well sealed, no dents, rust or leak in cans, the food is most likely okay to eat.
Of course food that is packaged for long term storage, either by the manufacturer or yourself, is going to be fresher in look and taste. Presumably, there will also be less leaching of nutritional value.
Food storage containers include mylar bags, vacuum seal bags, and buckets. Oxygen and moisture absorbers can help extend the life of your food. When deciding what storage containers to use, consider how long you intend to keep the food sealed. Some people like to think on a 10 year time line while others want some food items to be shelf stable for 25 years if possible. An oxygen absorber are a must for mylar but not for vacuum sealing.
Resources abound. With a modest amount of computer knowledge, you can Google around the internet to find all sorts of emergency food and food storage advice. Be an informed consumer. Learn about the foods that store well and also about pre-packaged meals that only require a bit of hot water to create a good-tasting and satisfying food experience.
Learn about bulk foods and cooking methods that your can use when there is no power to your home. Many of the websites selling food will have blogs as well as links to helpful information. Why not use them to increase your overall knowledge and become familiar with additional tactics and strategies for storing food for the long term in a hassle free manner?
Is this a complete list of everything you will need to be fully prepared food-wise? Heck no. Are the quantities adequate to feed a family for a month, three months or longer? Perhaps a month but not much longer. Truthfully, for long term storage you need more food and more variety (read about the top survival food brands here) as well as some packaging methods (Mylar bags or buckets plus oxygen absorbers) to insure that your will food stay viable and pest free for years to come.
When deciding what foods to stock, use common sense. Consider what you could use and how you could prepare it. Storing foods that are difficult to prepare and are unlikely to be eaten could be a costly mistake.
Special attention would need to be paid to stocking supplies of foods for infants. Powdered formula would be the least expensive form of infant formula to stock. Commercially canned liquid formula concentrate and ready-to-feed formula may also be stored. Amounts needed would vary, depending on the age of the infant. Infant formula has expiration dates on the packages and should not be used past the expiration date. Parents should also plan to have a variety of infant cereals and baby foods on hand. Amounts needed will vary depending on the age of the infant.
You can supplement bulk staples which offer a limited menu with commercially packed air-dried or freeze-dried foods, packaged mixes and other supermarket goods. Canned meats are a good selection. Rice and varieties of beans are nutritious and long-lasting. Ready-to-eat cereals, pasta mixes, rice mixes, dried fruits, etc. can also be included to add variety to your menus. Packaged convenience mixes that only need water and require short cooking times are good options because they are easy to prepare. The more of these products you include, the more expensive your stockpile will be. 781b155fdc