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Storing Food for Emergencies


pantry food storage

After water, food ranks next on the list of items to store in your home in case of an emergency. Food is a lot easier to store than water, and you have a lot of options as to what type of food to store.


Every family is different, and the type of food stored will vary. The most important part of storing food is to store what you eat, and then rotate it so it won't go bad.




There is one basic rule for smart food mini prepper storage.  STORE WHAT YOU EAT, AND EAT WHAT YOU STORE.  To do less is to waste food and money.


There are 3 basic levels of food storage.


  • You can't get to the store, and you need backup food of your normal menu.
  • You want to continue your present diet if the power goes out.
  • You want to have enough extra food in your home in case of a natural disaster or other emergency that may last several months or longer.


All you have to do to be prepared on the first level is to buy a little extra of the foods you are already eating when you go shopping.  Besides the money, your biggest challenge will be to find space to store it.  While you can put food under the bed, it is much easier to use and rotate if you have a closet to use, as above, or shelves in the basement.


At a bare minimum, keep a backup items of everything that you normally eat. For example, with spices you may only want to have one extra bottle. However, for items like corn or green beans, have one or two extra cases.  Be sure and store spices, as that is what makes our food palatable.

For level two, be sure you can cook your food when the power goes out.  If you want to eat bread and other grains, be prepared to cook with propane or to make items on the skillet on a wood stove or in a Dutch oven.


Be sure that you know how to cook and use your stored food. It doesn't help to have 100 pounds of wheat, if you don't have a wheat grinder, and know how to bake bread, or have a way to bake it. Too many people put a few bags of wheat in their home, and think they will be fine if there is an emergency.  They do not know how to use it, nor have the rest of the ingredients they need to make bread. They can boil it and eat it like rice, but they are not going to be very happy.


bread machine and hand wheat grinderI store wheat, but I use it all the time.  I have a portable and an electric wheat grinder.  It is not hard to make bread with a bread machine. Bread machines are wonderful.  It only takes 5 minutes to put together the ingredients to make a fresh loaf of bread.  Bread machines make it easy to rotate and use your food storage.  Use a hand grinder to add small amounts of groats (oat grain) and grains like barley and rye.


Whole wheat is nutritious, and when it is being rotated and eaten it is a wonderful storage food.  Keep it cool and dry, and it will last for years.


Another thing about wheat- if you are going to use it be sure you gradually get your system use to it or you will have severe digestive problems. Most people add white flour to whole wheat recipes.


The last level of storage is long term storage.  This is where you want to store a few buckets of things that store for a long time and that fill you up.  Rice is a good example.  It lasts for years, and it is easy to divide it up and share it with others.


slice homemade wheat bread

Dehydrated foods would also fall into this category.  They last many years, and are easily shared and cooked by all.  Stores like Costco are now selling dehydrated foods.  The food in the picture to the left was just purchased at Costco. The freeze dried food may last a little longer than dehydrated food. 


Have a variety of foods, use them, rotate them, and you will not waste your money.


Emergencies and the Need for Food Storage


- Food becomes scarce in almost every natural disaster.


- Strikes can limit access to food. The transportation system required to distribute food is fragile, and any disruption can clear the retail store shelves of food.


- Illness can keep you from being able to get out and buy food.


- Job and income loss can make it difficult to afford food.  Many a family has gotten through tough times by using their food storage.


- Hysteria can lead to food shortages. Many of us are old enough to remember when Johnny Carson made a joke about the stores being short on toilet paper. As a result of that joke, the stores did empty out of toilet paper.




Canned Goods


Canned food is great for storage because it also contains water. You can store it in closets, or under the bed. As a general rule, it will last at least 5 years.


Dehydrated Food

dehydrated food storage in kitchen


Dehydrated food will last over a decade. It is good for long term storage. Just be sure and have a few recipes to make with it, so that you will use it and it won't go bad. 


When I buy it I always buy 2 cans.  I open one of them so I can cook with it and store it in my kitchen.  I put the other can in my food storage closet. 


You can also see my electric wheat grinder in the picture to the left which I use for grinding wheat under normal circumstances.


If you store dehydrated food you will need to store extra water to use it. You don't need to buy expensive dehydrated or freeze dried food. Many of the foods you buy in the grocery store are already dehydrated, such as spaghetti and macaroni. Also, there are a lot of dehydrated quick meal packages available.


You can survive a month without food, but it will not be pleasant. Everyone should have at least a 2 week supply of food in their homes for their families.


Freezer Food


Freezer food is fragile. If the power goes out for more than a few days, you will lose all of it. That is almost a certainty with any natural disaster. However, freezer food helps during times of unemployment or when the food supply is interrupted.


Often ice is delivered to areas hit by natural disasters. Be sure and have a large ice cooler for that purpose. When disaster hits, know how to get to the nearest Walmart.  With their extensive warehouses, they are usually the first store to open.







Emergency Preparation and  Prepping Articles

More tips and perspectives on how to prepare and cope with natural  disasters and other emergency situations.



Recipes Using Dehydrated and Freeze Dried Foods

Recipes using long term food storage -  freeze dried and dehydrated food


Easy Recipes Using  Canned Food

Recipes that are easy to make and use items that you can purchase in the supermarket and store in your pantry.





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