Having a large stockpile of food is one of the primary goals of every prepper. Unfortunately, many people that are new to the lifestyle think that all they have to do is head to the nearest store and fill a cart with canned foods. However, this is a huge and costly mistake.
The truth is that you need to take a little bit of time to figure out what foods to stockpile and learn how to store them.
Not sure where to start? You’re in luck! By the end of this guide, you’ll know the basics of food storage so you can start stockpiling the foods in the proper places to ensure you and your family have something to eat in the case of an emergency or disaster situation.
Let’s dive in!
Where To Store Your Food
Before you actually start buying food, you need to consider where you are going to put it. This will have a pretty big effect on how much you are able to store. If you happen to live in a small apartment with only a little room for storage, you are going to have to get a bit creative.
Here are some top features to look for in a food storage space:
- No direct sunlight
- Airy, good ventilation
- Dry—that means absolutely no moisture, no standing or dripping water
- Pest free
- Temperature controlled—needs to be below 80-degrees F (70 degrees or lower is better, however, because it will help to make your food last a lot longer)
You probably already have some spots in mind. If not, here is a list of places that could potentially make for suitable food storage areas:
- Spare bedroom
- Linen closets
- Under beds
Now, you don’t want your stockpile of food just sitting out in the open for everyone to see. If a disaster wipes out the local market and federal aid can’t get to your area, people are going to remember all those tasty boxes of food you had stacked in your kitchen or living room.
If too many individuals know about your food, chances are you’ll either have to share it—which means it won’t last very long—or you’ll have to turn people away (which means they could become a potentially lethal threat to you and your family).
Your stockpile of food should be kept out of sight and only discussed with your immediate family. Your coworker or neighbor doesn’t need to hear about all the food that you have been storing. Remember, if nothing will stop you from providing for your loved ones—nothing will stop them either. Be smart and don’t put the temptation out there.
What To Store
Now it’s time to get a little more specific!
What foods should you be storing exactly? The short answer is: whatever your family likes to eat. There is an old saying: “Store what you eat and eat what you store.” That might seem a little vague, but it’s the one rule you need to keep in mind when you start purchasing extra food.
Never store food that your family absolutely can’t stand, no matter how great of a deal it is. You might be thinking, “If we are hungry, we will eat anything, so who really cares?” While this is sometimes true, you still want to focus on foods that everyone will enjoy. During a long-term disaster, it’s crucial to do everything you possibly can to keep up morale, and disgusting foods that no one enjoys will only make that more difficult—trust us on this one.
Here is a list of foods with a long shelf life of at least a year or longer:
- Dried beans
- White rice
- Steel-cut oats (oatmeal)
- Canned veggies
- Canned fruit
- Canned meat—spam, tuna, chicken, etc.
- Powdered milk
- Baking ingredients—baking soda, sugar, shortening, etc. (note: baking powder and yeast only last a few months.)
- White flour
- Salt and pepper
- Variety of seasonings and spices
- Dried meat—chicken meat bites, beef jerky, etc.
- Pasta—macaroni noodles, spaghetti noodles, etc.
- Tomato sauce
- Peanut butter
- Jams and jellies
- Instant potatoes
- Bouillon cubes
- Coffee and tea
- Condiments—Ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, etc.
There are many other long-lasting food items, but this is a good list to help get the gears in your head-turning. If your family has a particular staple that they just can’t live without, be sure to add plenty of it to your emergency food storage. Better yet, learn to make it from scratch and stock up on the necessary ingredients.
Food Storage Tips
There are a handful of tricks and tips that will help to make your food storage a success. We’ve talked about where and what to store, so not let’s get into all the miscellaneous tips.
- If you are going to store four, put it in the freezer for a couple of days before you seal it up and add it to your stockpile. The ice-cold temps will kill weevil eggs, so you won’t have to worry about them hatching and hanging out in your dry goods while it sits on the shelf.
- Add bay leaves to buckets of rice, beans, and flour. The bay leaves stink far too much for rodents, ants, and other pests, helping to keep them away and out of your food.
- Be sure to label everything with a big black marker. You want to put the date on all food items, so you will know when you added them to your storage. This is extremely helpful and will prevent you from breaking the seal to see what’s inside.
- Keep a running inventory on a piece of paper. An inventory will make your life so much easier—trust us. If you’re storing months’ worth of food, you are going to forget what you have. But with an inventory, you will be able to head to the local market and know exactly what to get.
- Organize your stockpile of food and keep like-foods together. Canned veggies goes in one section and canned fruits in another. This will make it much easier for you to find exactly what you want without having to shuffle things around, which can mess up your rotation.
- When you can, avoid plastic containers and opt for glass. Plastic is semi-permeable, meaning air can seep into the food and speed up the breakdown of ingredients. If you can, either buy items in glass jars or simply remove the item from the original packaging and put it into a clean, glass jar that you can seal.
A Final Word
It goes without saying that food is an important aspect if you want to make it out alive following a disastrous situation. If you are preparing for the worst, be sure to follow our guide to help you in terms of long-term food storage.
If you don’t know where to start, check out Stealth Angel to get everything you need to properly prepare for an emergency. From personal water filters to keep your drinking water safe to survival kits fully equipped with non-perishables and toiletries- Stealth Angel’s got your back.