Best Food Storage for a Long Term Emergency

image of grains in a pantry

If you are wondering on how you can prepare for a long term emergency situation, proper food storage is vital to survival. Preparation and building a stockpile is certainly wise to become self-sufficient. It reduces fear and anxiety and also can give you confidence. Food storage can even be fun!

There are proven methods for proper food storage. As you are starting out building your reserve, we can help by showing you what foods to store and how to properly keep your food.

Food Storage – What to Have

When choosing what kinds of food to store for an emergency situation, you want to think about a balance in nutrition and calories and water content. You want diverse types of foods that offer protein, vitamins, and minerals, and liquid-based items that will provide you and your family enough calories. Normally, adults need 2000-2600 calories per day, and more if very active. Children need 1500-1600 calories per day or more.

In addition, it is smart to think about what you and your family typically eat and enjoy eating. Treats are ok to include as long as you have plenty of nutritious and filling food to eat. Last, when choosing what food to store, you’ll want to think about what types of foods store well, such as:

  • Seltzer Water and Bottled Water
  • Juice
  • Broth and Stock
  • Dehydrated Milk and Eggs
  • Protein Powder and Bars
  • Canned and Dehydrated Meats
  • Drink Mixes & Coffee
  • Oils
  • Flour (wheat and potato)
  • Cereals, Crackers, Cookies
  • Corn
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Beans
  • Dried and Canned Fruits
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Honey
  • Ready to Eat Meals


What Not To Store

Likewise, there are items that you do not want to try and store for an emergency. These include items that:

  • spoil easily
  • go stale
  • have a short expiration 
  • junk food and sugary items that offer little nutritional content

Food Storage Location

Where you store your food is the most important consideration when establishing your food supply. After all, you want your food items to stay fresh and clean. Here are the things that will destroy your food supply:

  • Air – Invest is some airtight containers and bags.
  • Light – Choose a space out of sunlight.
  • Temperature – Your area should have a consistent temperature, not too hot and not too cold.
  • Humidity – You should have a dry area that has a relative humidity level of 15% or less.
  • Pests (bugs and rodents) – Avoid spaces that tend to be attractive to pests.
  • Chemicals – Your food should be away from household cleaners and other chemicals.
  • Bacteria – Make certain the location of your food is hygienic and if you prepare food to be placed into storage you use clean practices.
  • People – Only tell your immediate family about your food storage. When times get rough, you don’t want the outside world to come knocking on your door.

There are places in and around your home that you might consider for food storage including:

  • Pantry
  • Closet (linen or even bedroom closets)
  • Under beds
  • Furniture dedicated to food storage
  • Basement
  • Root cellar
  • Spare bedroom

Note that outside sheds, attics, laundry rooms, and bathrooms are not good options as they can have pests and high humidity.

Best Ways to Store Food

#1  Buy Non-Perishable Food

Purchase ready-made food like canned vegetables and fruits, pastas, peanut butter, crackers, cereals, and more.

#2 Extend Shelf Life with oxygen absorbers.

They protect dry foods from insect damage and help preserve food quality.

#3 Use Air Tight Containers and mylar bags. 


Using clear glass or plastic containers and mylar bags with labeling, you’ll be able to keep food longer. And, this will also make it easy to see what you have.

#4 Freeze dry items.

Flash-frozen food is great because it has a long shelf life while retaining more nutritional value. Invest in a few staples including milk, eggs, butter, and cheese.

#5 Can and preserve soups, fruits, and vegetables.

Learn how to can and make preserves. It can be fun and save you money.

#6 Dehydrate meats, spices, fruits and vegetables.

Purchase dehydrated foods or dehydrate yourself! Dehydrated foods have a long shelf-life.

#7 Build a root cellar to keep a variety of produce.

Root cellars can store a lot of produce and keep them fresh for 3-6 months. 

#8 Freeze items and meals

Freeze plant milk, herbs in olive oil, butter, meats, cheeses and bread. Make ready-made meals and label with dates to add to your freezer. 


How to Get Started

When you are building your food stockpile, start small and build from there. Perhaps you first have a few days supply, and then work to a week, to a month, and so on. 

  1. Establish and Clean Space.
  2. Purchase any supplies that will support your food supply like shelving, labels, clear storage containers, and bags.
  3. Create a menu plan and consider recipes.
  4. Make a list of supplies.
  5. Search for sales and purchase for supplies at various stores.
  6. Organize your food shelves by food types.
  7. Do a weekly inventory.

Remember to Rotate

Once you have food stored, it does have a finite shelf life. Rotating food means you replenish your food supply constantly, eating the oldest first. By consistently rotating your food, your food supply will remain fresh. It is optimal to use shelving so you can easily see the food you have and rotate it. As you shop and replenish items, put the new items in the back, and use items in the front.

Final Word

When the unexpected happens, you’ll now be ready for anything with your food storage. Having a well-stocked pantry is crucial for survival and well-being. Have fun and get started today by cleaning out an area and stocking up! You’ll be prepared and more at ease in an emergency.