Beginning food storage doesn’t have to be overwhelming. But it does need to start; and now is the right time! You and your family need to have the protection of a stored food supply for natural disaster, emergencies or economic upset. Don’t let the tasks make you intimidated – these tips should have you beginning food storage today!
Beginning Food Storage
This is the 3rd week in the series, Prepping for Non-Preppers. It started with getting our game plan mapped out, last week we talked Water Storage and we continue today with Food Storage. Be sure to come back next week for medical supplies!
I am starting you with the basics. This doesn’t need to be a complicated process that trips you up and you never start. Starting your preps is probably the biggest step you’ll take in the whole process. And you must start! You don’t have to have a doomsday mindset to see that being unprepared only makes a bad situation worse. You don’t have be preparing for WWIII – but what about a layoff? What about a weather disaster?
Anything that might make getting food for you and your family difficult. This is what food storage is all about!
Beginning Food Storage
How much is enough? I think the best place to start is a 3 day supply for you and your immediate family. The math on this isn’t complicated, you already do this shopping. The easiest way to start is to make a simple menu with breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks. That 3 day plan might look something like this. Admittedly this might not be the most exciting menu you’ve made. Try to make the foods ones you already eat; this is not the time to be thinking freeze-dried foods. Now take a look at that menu and decide how much of that food you’ll need to put away on your shelves and in your freezer to make it happen.
After your 3 day plan is set move on to storing 3 weeks, then 3 months and eventually a year long storage.
How can I afford this? I think cost is a big deterrent for a lot of people. But you can do this a little at a time, and barely notice a change in your food bill. You aren’t storing away lobster bisque or filet mignon (if you are, can I get an invite?). I am a big believer in quality food but buy what you can afford.
- Use coupons! I highly recommend getting a subscription to The Grocery Game for easy coupon shopping
- Set a budget for food storage
- Instead of eating out, store
What to store? Again start with a menu of foods you eat and just tweak them a bit for things you can put in storage. I think it is a good idea to have meat in your freezer. But you need to have food that can be stored without electricity so plan meals that can come out of a can or box.
- When you’re thinking more long term you want to get “staples”. I consider flour, rice, beans, spices, baking powder, baking soda and the like to be in that category.
- Canned meats are also going to be very important, especially as your freezer and refrigerator supplies run out.
- I hope you’re gardening so you can have a supply of fresh veggies. But have canned and freeze-dried options on your shelves too.
- Shelf stable foods are your friend.
- Remember to pull from the back so you are getting the freshest foods on the shelves!
- You may want to consider some pre-made food for longer term storage.
Where and how to store it. You want to keep your food storage from temp highs and lows and clear out some shelves for a start.
- Storage should be dry, cool and in as dark as possible. We love our under stair closet for this.
- Under beds can add a lot of storage by simply adding lifters.
- Make sure everything is new and sealed.
- Check your dates and rotate food out regularly.
- Consider making a pantry list with supplies, dates and where you have them stored.
- Get rid of any food that shows signs of spoilage. Swelled or corroded cans, dry supplies with pantry moths or weevils.
Special considerations. There are a few special considerations you might want to consider.
- If you’re storing a pregnant or nursing mom you want to increase their food/calories in storage. You also need to consider storing formula for babies, even if you’re nursing. Emergencies happen and you don’t want to worry about your milk supply running dry and not having food for the baby!
- Remember allergies – don’t store food that you can’t eat because of food allergies.
- Having kitchen tools that don’t require electricity. Check out my post on hand powered kitchen tools.
Storing for animals. You want to make sure that you keep the same food storage around for your pets and livestock. Bags of feed and canned food as needed. You may want to consider putting feed bags in metal garbage bags to keep pests out.
BONUS – Knowing how to cook from scratch can really help make your storage plans easier. If you’ve never baked your own bread, an emergency situation might not be the best time to start. Practice cooking and baking from scratch! It couldn’t hurt to have a good cookbook on hand. I recommend one that is a big old-school with lots of kitchen tips, like an older edition Betty Crocker Cookbook.
You don’t need to be a doomsday prepper to want to have emergency supplies on hand. You don’t need to be an expert to get started either! Just start small with your 3 day, shelf-stable, food menu and build upon it a little at a time.
Here are some great links to help you plan your storage and avoid some beginner mistakes!
Start Prepping Today – 5 week series.
Week 1 – Make A Game Plan
Week 2 – Water Storage
Week 3 – Food Storage (you’re here)
Week 4 – First Aid & Medical Supplies
Week 5 – Off Grid Considerations