Start Your Basic Food Storage in Your Home

There are many different takes on how to prepare for disasters. If you catch fire: stop, drop, and roll. If there’s an earthquake: protect yourself by getting under cover. If caught in a riptide: swim parallel to shore until you’ve escaped its current. But what about access to food when you can’t get to the store or can’t trouble the neighbors to lend something?

Food storage costs can get very expensive very quickly, and often that food just ends up wasted, but if you have a plan in place, including a basic set of foods and ingredients that are easy to store and replace, that doesn’t have to be the case.

The amount of storage you have should be based on the number of people in your family. Some families try to store enough for 3 months or more, but you can start out with enough to take care of each person for 3-7 days. In addition to food, you’ll want to have some basic survival necessities ready, such as an extra set of clothes, survival blankets, hand sanitizer, and a pocket knife.

There are people out there who will also say it’s great to buy everything at once, but if you’re on a budget, that can be difficult. Instead, take an approach where you add to your stores a little at a time. When deciding what to purchase, take into account preservable foods that your family already enjoys eating. Some standard items to have are:

- Our bodies can go quite a while without food but no more than three days without water. You can get distilled water or store quantities in old juice and soda bottles.

Dried & Dehydrated Foods
- Have something on hand that you can eat right away if needed, like nuts, dried fruits, and peanut butter. Balance this with easy baking items like flour, sugar, pasta, and powdered milk and eggs. You can purchase whole grains and invest in a wheat grinder to extend the life of your wheat storage, too. Have a few kitchen basics ready as well, like a pot and pan to use over a fire.

Canned Foods
- The shelf life of most canned items can be from 1-4 years, so even if you love fresh foods, you need these in your food storage. Things like soups, vegetables, and fruits will also be quick to prepare while still getting you the nutrition you need. This includes things like jams and preserves as well.

Fresh foods
- If you can, stock up on some fresh foods that have a longer shelf life without any processing. Potatoes will be great in a storage room that’s dark and dry, and legumes like lentils and peas will cook quickly because of their small size.

Now that you have all this food, keep track of how much there is and when items will expire. As the oldest items near their expiration date, rotate them out of storage and onto the dinner table, then replace them in your storage with your next purchase.

Because you don’t want food storage to be wasted, remember to pick items that your family won’t have a problem eating so they can easily be incorporated into your daily meals even when there is no emergency.

As your experience with food storage grows (and perhaps the size of your family as well), you can increase the number of items or types of items you store.