23 Basic Concepts: Long-term Food Storage for Beginners


This article focuses on creating a “Do It Yourself” stockpile of staple foods, and the principles necessary to store them for the long-term. I came up with this information when researching for my family’s long-term food storage. I hope this information helps as you build your emergency food supply.

Let’s do it.

If you would rather listen than read, check out the Ready Squirrel videocast.

The following are 32 principles to think about as you plan your long-term food storage. Use these principles as a spring-board for more extensive research and planning.

Plan Long Term Food Storage for The Number of People In Your Group

Family camping

Consider your most likely emergency scenario such as a natural catastrophe or life event and plan your emergency food storage for your specific situation.

Determine:

  • How many people you are storing food for
  • How long you want your food stores to last. Start small with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s suggested three-day food supply and build from there.
  • Plan for special diets or medical issues

Tip: To get an idea of the types of food you may want to store, think about the kinds of foods you or your family already eat. If your family loves food that can be packaged for a long-shelf-life like rice or pasta, it’s a food you should consider storing.

Consider Calorie Count and Nutrition for Long Term Storage

Planning daily calorie count and choosing foods that give you well rounded nutrition are the most challenging aspects of long-term food storage.

FDA Daily Calorie Count

  • 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for women
  • 2000 to 3,000 calories per day for men

Daily Nutritional Requirements

  • Carbohydrates: 50% to 60% of your daily calorie intake
  • Proteins: 12% to 20% of your daily diet
  • Fats: 30% of your daily diet

Information provided by KaiserPermanente.org

Malnutrition: 5 Side-effects to Avoid in Your Long-term Food Storage

  1. Loss of Energy
  2. Reduced Ability to Focus and perform normal tasks
  3. Reduced Physical Performance makes it less likely you will complete the tasks necessary in a survival situation
  4. Altered Moods such as depression which may lead to giving up or group instability
  5. Inability To Concentrate which may lead to making the wrong decisions or no decisions.

For an in-depth discussion of malnutrition, read The World Trade Organization Fact Sheet, click here.

Check out the comprehensive YouTube video: How Much Food to Store for Each Person to get more detailed information on the daily calorie count and nutritional requirements provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Stock Foods You Eat

A common mistake new preppers make is storing foods that they haven’t tried. You don’t want to find out on the back-end that you bought a 50 lb bag of an untested food that nobody in the family will eat.

  • Purchase Foods You Eat on Sale and In Bulk: It reduces your overall cost.
  • Stock Foods You Eat to Minimize Wasting Storage Space: I bought a massive bag of Quinoa, and nobody, including me, would eat it.
  • Stock Foods You Eat, or You’re Wasting Money
  • Purchase Small Quantities of Untested Food to see if it works in your pantry.

Staple Foods: The Cornerstone of Longterm Food-storage

Staple foods make up a significant portion of your standard prepper diet. They provide a majority of your calories and nutrition. When planning your long-term preps, store staples like:

  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Pasta
  • Dried Beans
  • Pulses

Think of staples as the bedrock of food prepping.

I started my long-term food storage with white rice and dry beans because they are readily available and cheap. You wouldn’t want to survive on just beans and rice, but you could do it for quite some time.

Interesting Fact:Rice is the staple food of more than half of the world’s population – more than 3.5 billion people depend on rice for more than 20% of their daily calories.” ricepedia.org 

31 Foods For Your Emergency Pantry

This list is not comprehensive, but it contains foods commonly found in long-term food pantries.

  1. Long-grain White Rice:
    White rice is king when it comes to long-term food storage. Brown rice is not suitable for long-term storage because it contains oils that lead to quick oxidation.
  2. Wheat: Whole wheat will last 30 years if properly stored. If you go with flour be careful and make sure it has less than 10% moisture before packaging.
  3. Corn-You can purchase freeze-dried corn in #10 cans with a 25-year shelf life, and you can store Dent Corn/Field Corn to make masa, the flour used to make tortillas.
  4. Sugar-White granulated sugar will last up to 30 years in a #10 can or adequately stored in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers
  5. Salt has an indefinite shelf life.
  6. Instant Potatoe Flakes will last longer than 30 years.
  7. Dehydrated Carrots: with a shelf life of 10 to 15 years in #10 cans
  8. Hard-grains like Durham wheat will store for 30 years in hermetically sealed bags or cans.
  9. Soft Grains: Properly processed and stored, most soft grains will last 8+ years
  10. Rolled Oats: Have a shelf life of 30 years
  11. Salt: Pure Salt will keep 30 years in a #10 can or hermetically sealed container.
  12. Sugar: Regular Granulated Sugar has no expiration date, but it will take up off-flavors if it isn’t hermetically sealed
  13. Baking Soda: no expiration date
  14. Baking Powder: no expiration date
  15. White Vinegar: no expiration date
  16. Dry Pasta: Elbow Macaroni in a #10 can store for 30 years
  17. Dried Beans: Pinto beans in an oxygen-free environment such as a mylar bag with O2 absorber or a #10 can store for 30 years
  18. Lentils: High protein, low cost, if packaged for long-term storage, lentils will store for 30 years
  19. Non-fat Dried Milk: Augason Farms Instant Non-fat dry milk has a 20-year shelf-life. Not so much for drinking, more for baking.
  20. Raw Honey: Stores Indefinitely. Honey has been found in Egyptian tombs that are edible. You can trade it, preserve food with it, or eat it.
  21. Soy Sauce: Stores Indefinitely
  22. Dried Herbs and Spices: Stores Indefinitely
  23. Freeze-dried Coffee: Augason Farms has a coffee/creamer mix that has a 30-year shelf life
  24. Non-perishable Canned Foods: if appropriately stored, canned foods are good past the best buy date. These dates vary depending on the type of food.
  25. Canned Meats are a good source of protein and fats.
  26. Canned Fruits: focus on low acidity fruits because they have a longer shelf life
  27. Canned Vegetables
  28. Protein Powder– add water, and you have a ready source of protein and nutrients.
  29. Peanut Butter
  30. Lard: Lard is just solidified oil. If you plan on frying food, it’s necessary.
  31. Leaven: Learn to make your yeast for baking.

*Shelf-life is based on hermetically sealed packaging such as #10 cans, Mylar Bags, Food-grade buckets, and the use of Oxygen Absorbers. Store-bought packaging will not give you maximum shelf-life.

Tip: Purchase large quantities of grains, dehydrated and freeze-dried foods professionally packaged in #10 cans or food-grade buckets. Or learn to use mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and 5-gallon Food-grade buckets to store your bulk food. Many preppers will shake it up and do some of both.

Rotate Emergency Foods With F.I.F.O.

F.I.F.O is defined as first in, first out. Eat the oldest food(s) first. Following this rule is more important for canned foods and foods with a shorter shelf-life. By rotating foods into your regular diet, you can reduce foods lost by time.

How to Implement F.I.F.O. For Food Storage

  1. Mark Your food with the date you stored it.
  2. Store similar foods in the same area of your pantry.
  3. Keep an inventory of what you use so you can replace it.
  4. Put heavy food (s) towards the bottom of your storage.
  5. New food (s) go in the back of your storage.
  6. Eat the oldest food first.
  7. Replace foods as you use them.
  8. Purchase what you eat, or you’ll take up space and won’t rotate.
  9. Keep your storage area clean.
  10. Don’t use damaged cans or cans that are bulging.
  11. Don’t eat any foods that have an off or foul odor.
  12. Don’t eat any foods that don’t look or smell right.

Store Survival Food In A Controlled Environment

Do the best you can to store food in an optimum environment. Avoid hot garages, sheds, or any space with uncontrolled temperature. The environment described below is ideal for food storage but may not be attainable.

Ideal Long-term Food Storage Environment

  1. The storage area is clean and dry, with adequate ventilation to prevent high humidity. A dry storage climate will keep mold and bacteria from growing.
  2. 50°F is the optimum temperature for dry food storage. 70 °F will work. Anything higher than this may reduce shelf life.
  3. Put a thermometer on the wall near your food storage so you can keep an eye on the temperature.
  4. Protect food from heat and light, which increases oxidation and decreases shelf-life. (Don’t store supplies next to hot appliances or the furnace.)
  5. Keep your food up off the floor and away from the wall, for good air circulation.
  6. Do not store food or water close to any chemicals to reduce the possibility of cross-contamination.
  7. Keep an eye out for pests and infestations and use control measures if necessary. (Keep pantry area clean to reduce the possibility of infestation.)

Where Should I Store My Emergency Food Supply?

You may not have an ideal location for food storage. Most of us don’t. Pick the best site (s) you have available. You may have to get creative, but it’s worth it.

11 Locations You Can Store Your Long-term or Emergency Food Supply

  1. In the basement on heavy-duty shelving. Build shelves from dimensional lumber or purchase prefab shelving.
  2. Closets-Consolidate what you have stored and get rid of stuff you don’t use like old clothing.
  3. Under beds, inside plastic totes
  4. Wall shelving anywhere you have extra wall space
  5. Cabinets and Pantries
  6. Root Cellar-For most of us this isn’t an option but it’s a pretty good one if you have the resources to build
  7. Bury Storage in the ground. Use a water-proof container like an old refrigerator or freezer and leave the door above ground. Hide it by covering with a board or burlap.
  8. Foot-stools and Couches with Storage Compartments
  9. Luggage or backpacks
  10. Nooks and crannies like under stairs, in crawl spaces, in an old camper or trailer, or an outbuilding
  11. Survival Tools and equipment don’t need to stay cool, dry, and dark, so they can be stored in a garage, shed, or detached storage units that aren’t climate-controlled

Oxygen is The Enemy of Food Storage

Oxidation is a term used to describe the reaction between oxygen and a food product. When oxygen is present in a food container, it supports the growth of microorganisms and causes changes in color, off-odors, and flavors in packaged foods. It is one type of spoilage or food degradation.

2 Main Goals When it Comes to Oxygen and Food Storage

  1. Remove Oxygen From the Storage Container: My preferred method of achieving this is by using the correct number of Oxygen Absorbers in a Food-grade container (s) like Mylar bags and food-grade buckets used together.
  2. Keep Oxygen Out of a Food Container: This is achieved by using a quality food-grade container that keeps a seal and isn’t easily damaged. Mylar bags by themselves are easily damaged but pair them with a lidded food-grade bucket, and you’ve got a solid oxygen barrier that isn’t easily damaged.

Oxygen Absorbers & Long-term Food Storage

Properly used, Oxygen absorbers absorb oxygen and effectively reduce the aerobic environment in a container to 0%. Packaging and the container seal are critical for oxygen absorbers to work.

5 Things Oxygen Absorber(s) Do in a Food Container

  • An O2 -free environment kills bugs, bug eggs, pupae, and full-grown bugs within two weeks.
  • Oxygen Absorber (s) protect the quality of dry-food and eliminate oxidation.
  • An oxygen-free storage environment drastically reduces the rate at which foods go bad. Think in terms of decades of added shelf-life.
  • Aerobic bacteria and fungi can’t grow.
  • Food is not crushed like it is with vacuum packing

Fact: A food package leak makes an oxygen absorber useless. The contents inside the package will have a reduced shelf-life and will be more susceptible to bugs like beetles and weevils.

Tip: A quality food storage container like Mylar bags, in conjunction with food-grade buckets or pails, is suggested to ensure food container is not physically damaged breached by oxygen.

How Many Oxygen Absorbers Do I Need For Food Storage?

The number and size of Oxygen absorbers you need in a food storage container are determined by the volume of air inside the container after it is filled with food. There are charts down below that tell you how many absorbers you need for the common food containers.

2 Things That Determine How Many Oxygen Absorbers You Need In a Food Storage Container

  1. The Volume of Oxygen In Your Container when it is full of dry-goods
  2. The size of the absorber, which determines how many Cubic Centimeters of Oxygen is removed from the container. Oxygen Absorbers are rated in CC for their capacity to remove Oxygen.

Tip: If your container has 300 ccs of Oxygen, you will need an absorber that has, at least, a 300 cc capacity to remove the Oxygen. Using too many absorbers will not hurt the food. I err on the side of safety and usually do overkill with absorbers.

Information Provided by Sorbent Systems: Impak Corporation

Recommended Number Of Oxygen Absorbers By Food Container Type

6 Gallon Storage BucketWheat/Flour/Grains/
Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber2025-30
500 cc O2 Absorber45-6
1000 cc O2 Absorber23
2000 cc O2 Absorber12
5 Gallon Storage BucketWheat/Flour/Grains/
Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber2025-30
500 cc O2 Absorber45-6
1000 cc O2 Absorber23
2000 cc O2 Absorber12
#10 Aluminum CanWheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber3-44-5
500 cc O2 Absorber11
Ball JarsWheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
1/2 Pint (237 mil)1-50 cc1-50 cc
Pint (473 mil)1-100cc1-100cc
Quart (946 mil)1-300cc1-300cc
Gallon (3.8 liter)1-500cc*1-500cc*
5 Gallons (18.9 Liter)1-2500cc*1-2500cc*
*Containers Must Be Full: Information Compliments of PackFreshUSA
Mylar Food Bag
20″x 30″
(4.25, 5 and 6 gallon)
Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber2025-30
500 cc O2 Absorber45-6
1000 cc O2 Absorber23
2000 cc O2 Absorber12
Mylar Food Bag
18″x 28″
(4.25, 5 and 6 gallon)
Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber2025-30
500 cc O2 Absorber45-6
1000 cc O2 Absorber23
2000 cc O2 Absorber12
Mylar Food Bag
14″x 20″
(2 gallon)
Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber1015-20
500 cc O2 Absorber23-4
1000 cc O2 Absorber12
2000 cc O2 Absorber11
Mylar Food Bag
14″x 18″
(2 gallon)
Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber1015-20
500 cc O2 Absorber23-4
1000 cc O2 Absorber12
2000 cc O2 Absorber11
Mylar Food Bag
12″x 18″
(1.5 gallon)
Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber5-810-12
500 cc O2 Absorber1-22-3
1000 cc O2 Absorber11-2
2000 cc O2 Absorber11
Mylar Food Bag
12″x 16 x 6″
(1.5 gallon)
Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber5-810-12
500 cc O2 Absorber1-22-3
1000 cc O2 Absorber11-2
2000 cc O2 Absorber11
Mylar Food Bag
10″x 14″
(1 gallon)
Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber3-44
500 cc O2 Absorber11
1000 cc O2 Absorber11
2000 cc O2 Absorber11
Mylar Food Bag
10″x 14 x 4″
(1 gallon)
Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber3-44
500 cc O2 Absorber11
1000 cc O2 Absorber11
2000 cc O2 Absorber11
Mylar Food Bag
8″x 12″
(1/2 gallon)
Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber1-22-4
500 cc O2 Absorber11
1000 cc O2 Absorber11
2000 cc O2 Absorber11
Mylar Food Bag
8″x 12 x 4″
(1/2 gallon)
Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber1-22-4
500 cc O2 Absorber11
1000 cc O2 Absorber11
2000 cc O2 Absorber11
Mylar Food Bag
6″x 10″
(1/4 gallon)
Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber11-2
500 cc O2 Absorber11
1000 cc O2 Absorber11
2000 cc O2 Absorber11
Mylar Food Bag
6″x 8″ x 2″
(1/4 gallon)
Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
# of O2 Absorber (s)
100 cc O2 Absorber11-2
500 cc O2 Absorber11
1000 cc O2 Absorber11
2000 cc O2 Absorber11
Information Compliments of USASupply.com

Information Compliments of USASupply.com

*Note, these are average amounts at sea level. You may need more or less depending on individual conditions and the remaining residual volume of air. There is no danger in adding too many oxygen absorbers, as this does not affect the food.

Oxygen represents 21% of the total volume of air, and the number in cc’s above represents the amount of oxygen that would be absorbed.

If you are into math, head over to PackFresh and learn how to calculate Oxygen Absorber requirements based on container volume. click here

Heat is the Enemy of Long-term Food Storage

Heat plays a significant role in degrading both food and food packaging. Avoid storing food in outdoor sheds, hot garages, or next to utilities or appliances that put off heat. Avoiding heat will add years to the shelf-life of your food.

Here is an interesting example of how heat can affect the storage life of food packaged for storage.

Armed Forces Pest Management Board Storage Temperature & Shelf Life of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs)

Storage Temperature60°F70°F80°F90°F110°F
Approx. MRE Storage-Life7 Years5 Years4 Years30 Months5 Months
To learn more about MREs click here

Light Causes the Oxidation of Food

If food is stored in sunlight or UV light, shelf-life is reduced. It also hastens the deterioration of some food packaging. Light oxidation is mainly an issue if you are storing food in clear packaging like ball jars or recycled PETE bottles.

If you are using clear packaging for food, store it in a dark location or cover it.

FACT: With sunlight usually comes heat so keep that in mind.

Moisture is the enemy of long-term Food Storage

2 Concerns When It Comes to Moisture and Food Storage

  1. Dry Goods should have a moisture content of less than 10% before they are packaged. Most long-term preppers store grain whole and grind it as they use it.
    1. Leaving grain whole isn’t just for shelf-life; it is also for food safety. Food’s like flour are susceptible to Botulism if they are stored with high moisture content.
  2. The storage environment itself should have no more than 55% humidity.

Warning: Dry goods packaged with a moisture content greater than 10% can lead to Botulism poisoning. Poisoning is rare but deadly.

Foods High in Oil and Lipids Have a Short Shelf-life

  • Foods that have a high oil content oxidize much quicker than those that
    • Consider this, Long-grain white rice will store 30 plus years in a #10 can because it has a low oil content.
    • Brown rice, on the other hand, has a high-oil content because the husk is still on the rice grain. It has a maximum shelf-life, even if stored in #10 cans, of 18 months.

8 Foods That Are Not Ideal for Long-term Storage

This list is just a primer. There are a lot of foods that aren’t the best choice for long-term storage.

  1. Barley
  2. Any grain that is pre-milled other than rolled oats
  3. Granola
  4. Beef Jerky
  5. Nuts
  6. Brown Rice (brown rice has a husk that contains oils, causing it to oxidize quickly)
  7. Brown Sugar
  8. Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables unless they are sufficiently dried to snap when bent. (Freeze-dried may be a better option)

Protect Your Food Against Bugs and Rodents

Kill Bugs In Food Storage

Most grains have bug eggs when purchased but this is a problem you can solve. Kill bugs by removing oxygen, kill them with heat or freeze them.

  • Oxygen absorbers create an oxygen-free environment that kills bugs at all stages of life. Make sure food containers are sealed and protected from physical damage.
  • Dry Ice: The solid form of Carbon Dioxide. Carbon dioxide is effective in killing weevils and beetles.
  • Freezing: freezing is suitable for small batches or if you have freezer space. Depending on what you read, freeze grains anywhere from three days to two weeks.
  • Baking Bake grain in the oven at 120° for one hour to kill weevil eggs and mature weevils.

5 Ways To Keep Rodents Out of Your Food Storage

Rodents are pretty nasty. The source of the Black Plague in the 14th century was rat droppings. Keep rodents from showing up or eliminate them.

  1. Keep your pantry clean
  2. Set traps
  3. Get barn cats on patrol
  4. Use #10 Cans to store food
  5. Use Mylar bags in conjunction with sealed food-grade buckets

Fact: A female mouse can have 5 to 10 litters per year, averaging 6 to 8 babies. That’s 30 to 80 new mice per year from one female.

I was on a camping trip in the Boundary Water Canoe Area, and I had a mouse chew through the bottom of my tent and through a military-grade canvas bag to get to my food. It did this in one night. Mice will chew through just about anything if they are hungry enough. Stay vigilant so you can control an infestation.

Protect Long-term Food Storage From Flooding

The last thing you want to happen is to have a flood or hurricane surge taking out your entire food-store. There is no perfect scenario here but do your best to get food up off the ground.

At a bare minimum, store emergency food and water on a pallet.

If you are in an area where you think you are safe from groundwater or storm surges, consider that something as simple as a leaking freezer-line or a leaking window can put down 6″ of water quickly.

Food Container Size For Long-term Food Storage

If you are storing food for the long-haul, avoid using grocery store packaging for things like pasta and rice because you won’t get a maximum shelf-life. Also, consider the size and weight of the container when it’s full. A 55-gallon drum of water weighs 458 pounds and a 5 gallon pail of rice weighs 36 lbs.

Long-term Food Storage Containers

  • Smaller containers are more convenient and light-weight, so they are easier to move around and store
  • Small containers reduce the amount of food exposed to the environment when opened.
  • Containers that fit together or stack will minimize the amount of space used for storage. I.e., square buckets instead of round buckets
  • Large containers like five or 6-gallon pails are going to expose a lot of food when opened.
    • To remedy this: Package large quantities of dry food in small 1/4 to 1 gallon Mylar bags and place them in a food-grade bucket. As you open one bag, the remaining packs will still be sealed and protected by the pail

Mylar Bags, Food-grade Buckets, And Oxygen Absorbers

Probably the best option for most preppers. The equipment is pretty inexpensive compared to #10 cans, and it is easy to do it yourself, and the materials necessary are readily available on-line.

6 Reasons to use Mylar Bags, a Bucket, And Oxygen Absorbers Together

  1. Removes all Oxygen from the container
  2. Kills bugs at all stages of life, including eggs and pupa
  3. Allows you flexibility in the size of Mylar bags you use
  4. Protect Mylar bags from physical damage.
  5. Protection from light
  6. Allows you to choose the shape of your bucket to maximize space

5 Reasons to Choose #10 Cans for Long-term Food Storage

  1. They are tough
  2. They take an excellent seal
  3. They create a quality oxygen barrier
  4. They keep out light
  5. They store a manageable amount of food
  6. They are mouse and rate proof

#10 cans are expensive, but they are excellent for food storage.

You can find cans from multiple survival food companies, and you can buy pre-packaged food (s) from LDS (Latter Day Saint canneries.) I am not LDS, but they are outstanding when it comes to long-term food storage.

Another #10 Can Option: Gering & Son out of Idaho offers a canning unit you can purchase to dry- pack your grains in #10 cans. Click Here (I am not affiliated with this company in any way. It is the only dry canning unit I could find)

Other Food Storage Options:

  • Ball Jars
  • PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) sterilized, reclaimed soda bottles
  • Vacuum Packing
  • Food grade buckets with lids
  • Mylar Bags

Don’t store food in containers that are not marked as food-grade. You may get chemical leaching, and certain plastics do not create a quality air barrier.

Check out Ready Squirrel’s Comprehensive Article, “Food Grade Plastic For Food Storage” click here

Plan to Prepare and Cook Food In A Power Out Scenario

In an SHTF scenario, you are probably going to be without power. Try to have a plan to prep and cook without the power-grid. The most challenging food preparation scenario is blizzard-like conditions, especially if you don’t have a way to heat your home because you won’t want to go outside and let cold air inside the house. Here are some no-power cooking options for inside and outside.

7 Outdoor Cooking Methods: Power Out

  1. Small Backpacker Style Stove
  2. Coleman Style Camp Stoves
  3. Wood Fire and Cast Iron
  4. Indoor fireplace
  5. Outdoor Propane Grill
  6. Outdoor Charcoal Grill
  7. Solar Oven

5 Indoor Cooking Methods: Power Out

  1. Alcohol Stove
  2. Sterno (jellied denatured alcohol)
  3. Portable Butane Stove
  4. Candles
  5. MRE Flameless Heater

Portable stoves create carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Please do not use them indoors or in an enclosed space. Please be aware that the use of open flame indoors is a fire hazard. Read the safety instructions on any stove you use.

Tools That Don’t Require Power

Consider collecting tools that will help you function when the power is out. You will need methods to process food, distribute water, and carry out daily tasks like sanitation.

Check out Ready Squirrel’s comprehensive article, 44 Tools And Gadgets That Don’t Require Power click here

Don’t Forget Water In Your Emergency Pantry

Ok, I’m going to say it. You can last two weeks without food but three maybe four days without water. Water should be your first consideration when it comes to survival.

8 Things to Consider: Emergency Water Storage

  1. Store water for post or pre-treatment in 55-gallon Blue Barrels or other large food-grade containers.
    1. You don’t want to depend on filtration or purification of water after it is contaminated because most methods of cleaning water will not remove chemicals.
    2. Groundwater, municipal water, and well water are often contaminated during flooding or groundwater surges from tropical storms and hurricanes.
  2. Water Catchment and Storage For Rainwater: Purify with chemicals, filter, or boil.
  3. Store-Bought Water or Bottled Water: Bottled water is suitable for hydration in a short-term emergency but not for long-term survival.
  4. Water Filtration: I’m a firm believer in having a method to filter water. Store as many backpack filters and bulk-water-gravity filters as you can afford. This way, you can filter water from natural sources if necessary.
  5. Boiling water kills biological and viral contamination if the water is boiled for 3 minutes.
    1. Boiling does not remove chemicals but increases the concentration of chemicals in the remaining volume of water.
  6. Iodine: Kills biological and viral contaminants but does not remove chemicals
  7. Ultraviolet radiation: will effectively remove biological agents and waterborne viruses but not chemicals
  8. Purify water with Bleach or Pool Shock: kills biological and viral agents but does not remove chemicals

*Fact: Most methods of cleaning water do not remove chemicals. If you are in a situation where you have contaminated municipal-water, groundwater, or well-water, bulk water storage is a life-saver.

Two ways to Remove Chemicals From Emergency Drinking Water

  1. Reverse Osmosis Systems: ROS doesn’t require electricity, but it does need water pressure, so if the municipal water system is down, you are out of luck. Not all ROS systems will remove all chemicals.
  2. Distillation: A method of boiling water and collecting the evaporated water for drinking. Boiling water doesn’t remove chemicals.

For everything, Emergency Water Storage, read Ready Squirrels Comprehensive Article: How Long Will Emergency Water Last click here

Commercially Packaged Survival Foods

  • You can supplement your emergency food store or create your entire pantry from commercial foods packaged for long-term food storage.
  • When purchasing survival food, please do some research, so you are familiar with what you are getting. Try to understand the portions and the calorie count you are purchasing.
    • Some package deals may sell a food supply for X amount of time or X amount of calories or days, but this may be deceiving. Do your research.
  • I suggest purchasing samples of any food you plan on incorporating into your pantry including commercial food purchased in bulk.

Types of Commercial Survival Food

Freeze-dried foods

  • Freeze-dried food is an excellent way to supplement for certain situations like bugging out on foot.
  • Freeze-dried food retains over 90% of its nutritional value, and it is super lightweight.
  • Professionally packaged freeze-dried meals from companies like Mountain House have a shelf-life of 30 years.
  • Freeze-dried meals require boiled water to reconstitute, so consider water and fuel supplies in your prepping.
  • The downside to freeze-dried food is the expense.
  • You can freeze-dry your food with units like Harvest Right. The units are expensive, but the prices are going down, so keep your eyes peeled.

If you are in this for the long haul, then a freeze-dry unit is worth looking into, especially if you use it regularly. The amount of meat and other foods you could buy in bulk and on sale would pay for the unit in a relatively short time frame.

To Learn More about Freeze-dried food, read Ready Squirrel’s article, “What is Freeze-dried Food?” click here

MREs Meals Ready to Eat

  • Originally designed as a military food ration, MREs are now made for civilians.
  • You may find a use for these in your pantry, especially for bugging out in a vehicle, as an emergency catch, or stored at an off-grid location.
  • MREs are bulky, so not the best option for a bug-out bag.

To learn more about MREs read Ready Squirrel’s comprehensive article, “What is an MRE,” click here

Dehydrated Food

List of Companies That Supply Bulk Survival Food

This list isn’t exhaustive, and I don’t claim any of these companies is better than the others. You can use the list to do a little research.

  • Readywise
  • Augason Farms
  • Mountain House
  • My Patriot Supply
  • Legacy
  • Numanna (organic)
  • Thrive Life
  • Backpacker’s Pantry
  • Valley Food Storage

Resources

An Excellent Resource for long-term food storage. LDS Preparedness Manual PDF click here

A Guide to Food Storage; Utah State University click here

Recent Posts

© 2021 Copyright Ready Squirrel