In this guide, I will be going over food storage prepping for beginners and what foods you should be buying on your next trip to the grocery store.
A tornado or a natural disaster has just hit your hometown, and the food supply is now gone. Your neighbors panic while you are able to stay calm because you remember you have an emergency food supply that is easily accessible by you and your family. You lay back and watch the sunset as you watch others panicking and scrambling to buy food.
Before you begin purchasing food, you should remember where you would store it. This will have a significant impact on how much you can store. You’ll have to get creative if you live in a tiny apartment with little storage space.
Let’s dig in.
Food Storage Prepping for Beginners
Over a long amount of time, you can store foods that you purchase at the grocery store in your garage, an extra storage room, or just your everyday closet in case of an emergency. There are meals that you can just add water and eat, and you can also store dehydrated and freeze dried foods.
Then there’s the “pantry building” method, which entails simply purchasing two or three more of something you already purchase at the supermarket. If you usually buy a box of spaghetti noodles and a jar of Ragu, buy several of both and store them in the pantry.
You can have a month’s worth of food in a week by purchasing 5 of everything you usually purchase (except perishables like lettuce).
When you buy something that you already have, put the new item in the back and use the older item first. Like a piggy bank, keep adding a little bit at a time.
Where to Store Your Food
Usually, the first stage of food storage is to map out where you are going to store your food.
When storing your food, you need to make sure that the areas that you store it have perfect conditions. If they don’t have perfect conditions, your food can rot faster than usual.
Here are some good features you should look for when you are storing your food:
- No direct sunlight
- Below 70 degrees F
- Good ventilation
- Pest free
If you don’t have any ideas on where you can store food in your house, here are some good places to store your food:
- Garage (If there is room)
- Under the stairs
- Under the bed
Check out Otto Shelf Storage here.
Freeze Dried Foods
So, what distinguishes freeze-dried foods from other dried foods? They are, in essence, flash-frozen. This method preserves more nutritional value in the food than canning or drying.
It also retains the food’s original appearance and taste until reconstituted with a little water. Freeze-dried foods are considered one of the most common food storage methods.
In reality, it takes less water to restore freeze-dried food to its original appearance than it does to restore dehydrated food. When water is scarce in a post-disaster situation, this is a huge deal.
If you do purchase freeze-dried food, bear in mind that the servings per can are calculated based on a calorie-specific diet. The portions would most likely be much smaller than the average meal today.
If you know you have any picky eaters, prepare ahead of time and don’t believe a can that says 40 servings would actually contain that many.
The process removes moisture from the food, preventing bacteria from developing. Dehydrating has been practiced for decades, but with the advent of electric dehydrators, it has become much simpler and safer for us.
Fruits, vegetables, meats, and spices can all be dried and securely preserved for years on the shelf. Dehydrated foods are one of the most common food storage methods.
To dehydrate your food, thoroughly wash and dry it before slicing it into very thin strips. Thin slices of fruit and meat will dry easily, and you won’t have to worry about them being chewy and difficult to eat. However, if you use a thin strip, the food can become crunchy and fall apart when treated.
When food is dehydrated, it sacrifices some of its flavor as well as some of its nutritional content. Fruits also taste better when sprayed with lemon juice or citric acid before drying to help them preserve their natural color.
One Month Storage
Buying a few extra products every week is a fairly simple and comfortable way to create a small emergency food storage supply.
Since no one knows your appetite better than you, and you are aware of how much food you and your family consume on a typical week, you can begin by purchasing an additional 25% on your weekly trip to the grocery store.
In around a month, you’ll have an extra month’s worth of food. Remember not to spoil these goods by simply storing them in the storeroom and waiting for an emergency; instead, keep them rotating and consuming on a regular basis.
At this stage, you don’t need to be worrying too much about purchasing the right foods, but rather, focus on getting an initial stockpile.
Three Months of Storage
At this point, you can continue with your daily food storage routine and make the most of your cupboards, freezer, and refrigerator.
However, you should add some life-saving foods, such as grains, fats, milk, cheese, crackers, and leavening, to ensure your ‘survival’ would be perfect.
This will help you organize your daily meal preparation and give you full control over your pantry, taste buds, and appetite.
Six Months of Storage
Once you’ve gathered the essential survival products, consider adding food combos and even year supplies to massively increase your food storage supplies in one fell swoop, saving you money.
Add and double-check the strong cooking ingredients such as grain, rice, sugar, salt, and so on. Don’t squander your money by stockpiling frozen food cans and packaged meals. Maintain a balanced diet as well.
One Year of Storage
Now one year of storage will definitely take you a lot longer (a couple of months typically) and will require a lot more discipline to do so you should definitely start planning right now.
You want to make sure that you are purchasing the right foods at this stage, especially since this is when you will be building a large food stockpile
Don’t be afraid to start tiny and gradually; you’ll find it’s not that difficult. Just bear in mind that the shelf life of your food is very important.
Some foods aren’t as ‘live’ as you would think, while others have a much longer shelf life.
Hiding Your Food
You don’t want your food stockpile out in the open for everyone to see. People will remember all those boxes of food you had stacked in your living room or kitchen if a catastrophe destroys the grocery stores and federal assistance cannot reach your city.
If many people find out about your food, you’ll either have to share it (which means it won’t last long) or drive people away (which means they could become a lethal threat to you and your family members).
Your food stockpile should be kept hidden and shared only with your immediate family. Your coworker or next-door neighbor doesn’t need to know about all the food you’re stockpiling.
Remember, if nothing can stop you from caring for your family, nothing can stop them from doing the same. Don’t expose yourself to the lure.
Keeping the food out of sight should suffice. However, there is a chance that looters or even government agents could ransack your home in search of food. If this occurs, you should consider storing any extra emergency food in odd places.
What To Buy
White rice is the most common long term food storage commodity. It is at the top of the list of shelf-stable foods. You can find a large variety of rice at your nearby general store because it is inexpensive and simple to obtain.
A rice meal is useful because it is filling and can help you overcome stomach upset. It can last for more than 25 years or even more with proper packaging and a not-so-considerate temperature.
Brown rice, on the other hand, is better but has a shorter shelf life than white rice. With rice, you can easily see how much food you will have stored in your house.
White and brown rice is one of the really healthy food storage items to definitely have.
You’ll need an airtight storage container for your rice and pretty all the other foods on this list.
Grains like cereal are amazing to have in your food storage because they can last a really long time as long as you don’t open the bag. Once the bag is opened, it will go bad quickly.
Water is the most essential and vital part of any survival kit. If a water storage source is held in optimal conditions, it can theoretically store water indefinitely.
Other drinks, such as milk, coffee, or tea, are excellent choices for your survival food storage because they will improve your energy and allow you to consume fewer solid foods.
When processed properly, instant milk has a 20-year shelf life. Coffee is another excellent choice; store whole roasted coffee beans and grind them.
Meals and snacks offer you life, so they deserve to be rich and delicious. Herbs and spices enhance the flavor of food while also serving as a catalyst in the production of nutritious food.
If you keep spices and seasonings, such as salt and pepper, in their original packaging in your cupboard, they can last for around a year to two years.
Nuts are a convenient, tasty, and really healthy food to add to your food storage. Nuts are filled with nutrients like fiber, proteins, magnesium, and vitamin E.
Studies show that nuts can even lead to weight loss. Although this is the case, you need to keep a close eye on the expiration dates for them, since they usually need to be swapped out every half year or year.
Chicken, tuna, shrimp, salmon, Vienna sausages, beef stew, and, yes, even the ubiquitous Spam. Did you know that canned roast beef is available? Again, let your preferences and budget direct you – there are many canned meat options to choose from.
These aren’t the best for long-term storage. With some 1800s meat storage methods, it is possible to store meat for 1-3 months, but no longer. This makes them a great for meal prep. Meal prepping is planning the next few days or weeks of your diet.
Beans, like rice, are the foundation of every food storage strategy. You may use white, kidney, or other forms of dried beans instead of pintos, but pintos are one of the least expensive dried beans and, in my opinion, one of the best.
The benefit of canned soups and broth is that they are inexpensive. Soups are a one-dish meal solution. All you need is a can opener and a spoon to prepare a meal. Use a can of soup as part of the cooking water for your rice for a more filling meal.
Normal white sugar and brown sugar are both amazing foods to store. You can sprinkle some on your nuts and also in some of your grains and oats if they start to taste bland.
If you want to learn about some extra survival foods, like canned goods, click here.
Why not MRE’S?
If you go to your local survival stores, you will definitely find MRE meal packets. Although they may last for a long time, here is why you should stay away from them or only buy a few of them:
- They are high in sodium, carbs, and preservatives
- They taste awful
- They are very expensive ($10-$15 usually for just one meal)
Now that you have learned how to store your food in case of an emergency, you have just improved yourself, and you are now more improved. You now know exactly how much food you will have in your home. Don’t wait for “the right time to come” and start building your food storage, and start right now. You will never be able to predict when an emergency will come, and when you find out that one will come, it will already be too late to start planning.
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