20 Items To Start Your Food Storage Plan
I am asked all the time, “How do I start a food storage plan?” Here’s the deal, you only have to start with a little rice, beans, some fruits, vegetables, and some canned meats. I have two recipes below for my homemade corn tortillas and flour tortillas. They are so easy to make, I promise.
Of course, we still need the basics to make bread, biscuits, and tortillas, I will list those items as well. I eat a bean burrito without cheese every day.
I take a flour tortilla and add a scoop of beans and roll it up and eat it. If I have leftover veggies I throw them into my burrito.
When I Started My Food Storage Plan
When I started my food storage plan years ago I had powdered milk, pinto beans, flour, and sugar. Well, things have changed in the last 20 years as far as food storage items that are available to purchase. Before I share my food storage plan with you, please think about the foods you eat most of the time.
If you will never eat oatmeal, you may not want to store as much oatmeal. Now, if you only make cookies with oatmeal, then you would store less than the family that eats oatmeal every day, or at least twice a week.
Think about the fruits and vegetables you like to eat that are fresh. If you can buy those in some cans then do it. If you don’t use all of them by the end of the year donate them to your local food bank.
I want you to think about how large your family is and buy according to how much you would actually eat. This list is based on feeding two people. You may eat more or you may eat less.
Case Lot Sales
One thing you may want to consider as far using small “case lot” size cans like those listed below over the #10 cans of items, is that you may not use up all the food in the #10 can in one year.
Once open, the contents in a #10 can, depending on what item it is, you have one to two years of usable life if you transfer the food out of the can into an airtight container.
Just putting those plastic lids on will not keep the food airtight. Please use mason jars or BPA-free plastic containers. After opening the packages or cans, please remove all oxygen absorbers and trash them.
Thrive life sells some pantry cans with the same shelf-life as some of the #10 cans. Butter in #10 cans and Pantry containers
The butter in #10 cans and the pantry cans at Thrive Life has a shelf life of 5 years unopened, and opened only 9 months. It’s good for baking, but I don’t care for the taste of it when mixed as directed. Just giving you the heads up here.
20 Item Food Storage Plan
- 30 pounds of pinto beans
- 96 cans of ready to eat beans
- 96 cans of vegetables
- 96 cans of fruit
- 96 cans of canned meat, like chicken (tuna goes mushy pretty fast)
- 20 pounds of white rice
- 20 pounds of sugar, brown sugar, and 4-quarts of honey
- 10 pounds of instant milk (it’s easier to mix and tastes better than powdered milk)
- 50 pounds of white flour and 50 pounds of hard white wheat (not ground). Two bags of Corn Maseca Flour (corn tortillas)
- 2 pounds of baking powder
- 5 pounds of baking soda
- 10 pounds of salt, your favorite spices, cinnamon, chili powder, unsweetened cocoa, garlic powder, onion powder, or the ones you use the most. Also, one-quart of vanilla extract. Some vinegar, mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, and mustard as needed based on your family’s normal usage.
- 20 pounds of pasta
- 20 jars of spaghetti sauce
- 6 jars of peanut butter and 12 jars of jam
- Olive oil, coconut oil, or canola oil
- 20 pounds of regular oatmeal
- 20 pounds of pancake mix and 4-1/2-gallons of syrup
- 10 pounds of SAF yeast
- 48 cans of cream of chicken soup
Just A Few Items You Can Make:
- Pancakes or Waffles
- Multiple casseroles
- Tuna Sandwiches
- Chicken sandwiches
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
- Creamed chip beef on toast
- Peanut butter and jam
- Bean burritos
- Rice and beans
- Rice dishes
Homemade Corn Tortillas
- 2-1/2 to 3 cups Maseca (Mexican Corn Flour)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 3 cups warm buttermilk
Combine the dry ingredients (start with 2-1/2 cups Maseca) then the warm buttermilk and add to mixture. Mix by hand until everything is wet. Cover and let sit 10-15 minutes. Knead lightly and add Maseca until a finger pressed into the ball of dough comes out mostly clean. Make the balls about two inches in diameter with the dough. Use some plastic wrap or parchment paper to roll out the 2 inch balls of dough. You need to roll them out according to how big you want them to be. Obviously the bigger the circle of dough the thinner the corn tortillas will be. This recipe makes about 12 tortillas. Cook each side of the tortillas 50-60 seconds. Press, heat, and serve!
- 2 cups white flour (plus a little extra for rolling out)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, soft butter, or lard
- 3/4 cup warm water
Combine the ingredients in a large bowl, slightly mix by kneading the dough. It will be a soft sticky dough. Knead for 4-5 minutes. Form a ball and place on a floured countertop. Cover with plastic wrap for 15-30 minutes. Divide the dough into eight sections. Form the sections into eight balls. Sprinkle with flour as needed. Roll out each ball into a 7-8 inch circle. Heat a skillet and cook each tortilla 40-50 seconds on each side. They will puff up as they cook. Store in a tortilla warmer.
Here’s the deal, this is a really good start for those experienced with food storage and for others just getting started. I can cook from scratch with all of the items listed above. Give me a can of cream of chicken soup and the world is wide open with possibilities. Please remember to have a can opener and store lots of water.
22 thoughts on “20 Items To Start Your Food Storage Plan”
I love seeing a diverse list for food storage! Having a variety of good things to eat is so critical to maintaining morale in a stressful situation.
1. If you mix dehydrated butter powder with an equal amount of coconut oil, you get the best of both worlds, and a result that actually has the taste and texture of butter.
2. If you learn to make and use Magic Mix (flour, butter or coconut oil, and powdered milk), you don’t have to store cans of cream of chicken. Magic Mix is so versatile and easy and can be used in so many ways. I had posted several recipes on my blog (PrepSchoolDaily dot blogspot dot com–put Magic Mix in the search box on the right to bring them up) and had a reader ask for more. So I created banana cream pie with homemade nilla wafers for her. Everything was from food storage except the bananas. But I store freeze-dried bananas, so it’s a totally from food storage dessert in a disaster. I had never made a banana cream pie in my life and didn’t particularly care for them. And I hadn’t eaten nilla wafers since kindergarten or earlier. They taste and feel like hockey pucks. But this pie was really, really good. The kids loved it. I’m still thinking fondly of it. Magic Mix is good stuff.
Thanks for all you do to help people prepare.
Hi Jennifer, thanks for the tip on making butter with coconut oil!! I love it. I would love to make a banana cream pie, I love this comment!!! Linda
In the years that I have been prepping, one thing I have been hung up on is trash. We get canned food to have for storage but what if something major happened and there was no trash pick up? What to do with all of those cans? What are your suggestions for that aspect of food storage?
Hi Des Moines Daisy, trash, in general, will be an issue after a disaster. The cans would be the least of my worries. I worry more about sanitation. We have clay here and digging holes will not be fun. We can flatten the cans with a hammer and stack them. My biggest concern is that people will be prepared with water, food, etc. I understand what you are asking, I’m not downplaying it, it’s just something we will have to deal with. Linda
When I empty a can now, I use it to store other things things. For example, I keep rags in one; small produce plastic bags in another; homemade fire starters in one; I keep one by my sewing table for small scraps of fabric, thread pieces, etc. for donating to a place that an recycle them; one in my car with small useful things for emergencies (not my main e-kit); one is my “junk drawer”. You get the idea. I know that in an emergency situation when there is no garbage pickup, I will find a use for any cans I empty. They can be reused for growing herbs as well. I am talking mostly about the #10 and pantry cans that have the plastic lids. The smaller cans that come from the grocery store can be used in many ways as well. We just have to use our imaginations and think about these things ahead of time.
When we are in an emergency situation, we have to be resourceful and utilize things in a way that we may not be able to perceive right now. Before I throw things like cans or bottles in the recycle bin, I subconsciously try to think of ways I can use them now. I try to purchase things in glass (hard to find a lot) when I can as jars are very useful! I make candles and have used small meat cans for some of those – I spray painted the cans before making them into candles.
You can creative with recycling and repurposing cans. They can become cups, utensil holders, store bacon grease, candle holders, I’ve seen them flattened and used for shingles on old roofs or to protect the wood from snow on the outside of walls. Maybe you can melt it down and create something else. You can make pretty decorative holes in them to create magical lanterns or wish makers. Get creative!
I only buy the solid white tuna and avoid the chunk tuna since the solid white tuna holds the texture for much longer. I’m using cans dated best by 2014 right now and they are still fine.
And in a worst case scenario I wouldn’t be throwing out anything, mylar pouches, cans, old aluminum foil, etc. There are lots of ways those items can be reused. Just do a few quick web searches now for ideas on how to turn cans into various kinds of stoves – rocket and alcohol burners are the easiest, but lots of good video tutorials out there. Mylar pouches can be reused to save items using chip clips or even just clothespins – just need to clean out the bag before the next item gets stored in it.
Definitely need to think about how to reuse stuff since post-event we can’t be a disposable society anymore….I’ll get down off my soapbox now. 😉
Hi dmwalsh, I love your soapbox! LOL! We will all be recycling what we have post-event that’s for sure. Great tips, thank you! Linda
You always show how things can be made without having to be a gourmet chef! I never made tortillas thinking it would be difficult. Again, you have shown it very doable. I love your idea for tortillas and bean wrap. One question, do you use oil in the pan? About how much? Also do you prefer a cast iron skillet or another type? Can’t wait to make this. Marcia
Hi Marcia, I can make them on a griddle, a cast iron pan or a tortilla maker. I use a can of vegetable spray when I make them. I think I will fix an old post and show you tomorrow how to make them with pictures. They are so easy to make. Linda
Thank you for this, Linda. I started food storage quite a while ago. I didn’t know anyone else did it. I didn’t know what to store. I eventually found out. If I would have had your list, things would have been much easier.
Hi Janet, you are so nice! I try really hard to get the word out! Glad you got started!! Linda
Hi all, I just started to store food and I have a question, does anyone know if I can store Corn Flour in Mylar bags , or how much oxygen absorbers I would need?
Hi Aganetha, I would not recommend storing cornmeal or corn flour anywhere but in the freezer. It will go rancid very quickly. Linda
Thank you Linda, I appreciate you getting back to me!
Hi Aganetha, you are so welcome, Linda
This is by far one of your best posts ever. I will use it to goad some folks to get their act together. These are folks who tell me that would like to prepare but don’t know where to start. And, I am going to use it to revamp our food storage which has become somewhat haphazard. If you have watched the weather lately, we have not had a lack of water here in the Texas Hill Country with thunderstorms on a regular basis.
Hi Harry, oh my gosh, my favorite!! How are you? You are so kind. It’s so basic but people need basic to get started. I actually wrote it about 5 years ago and fixed it up a bit. Life is good here in Southern Utah! Stay safe from all that crazy rain! Linda
Good Morning Linda, I wondered since they have changed most of the Mormon Canneries to just places where you can purchase storage foods, not can them on-site any more, if the canning is done by volunteers or how this is regulated, if it is. I would think that the health department would inspect there just like any commercial type kitchen, but do not know this. The reason I’m asking, is that I have traveled to the nearest location to my home (about 3 hours away) to purchase storage food. I have not used any of it yet, but felt confident that it would be good quality since the Church has been promoting food storage for it’s members as long as I can remember. I want to continue to purchase from them if it is good, but if there is no way of knowing, that concerns me greatly. I don’t have a lot of money and am trying to build a pantry. Can you advise or possibly let me know where I can get additional information? I love your website and news letters. Thank you for all of the great information!
Hi Leah, in my heart after the loss of $1200 dry packing food that was not edible because the oxygenators were the wrong size for the products I packed, I can’t buy anything there. Plus, they were warm and damaged. The volunteers handed out “opened” oxygenators. Please remember they were volunteers and had no training. You get what you pay for, pretty much. A year after I gave food storage to all four daughters we discovered they were rancid. Then, I took a class on how to correctly use oxygen absorbers. That’s when I decided I would only buy professionally packed food from Honeyville Grain or Thrive Life. I have wondered if the health department shut down the home dry packing at the canneries. We will never know. I do not know, I’m only speculating. To be honest with you, I cannot buy anything from the canneries. I’m assuming they are packed by church members, and this is why they are cheaper. I would rather buy from Honeyville and Thrive Life than take my chances on rancid food. It’s me, I wonder how I could find out if they are using the correct oxygenators? I’m thinking they are run by volunteers so I’m not sure they would know. Let me do some checking. Linda
On the subject of soups, I like the idea of the creamed chicken because you can eat the soup as is or as shown on television, it can be poured over rice or you can flavor ground beef, chicken or turkey with it. You get moisture and flavor and a nice sauce or gravy for rice, meat, vegetables or to dip breads and crackers. And of course bullion would allow us to make soups or just a nice hot drink.
I’m not pro commercial foods from places like Thrive Life, Emergency Essentials or Honeyville, etc., nor am I against them. For people on a budget or starting out, regular grocery store foods provide a lot of the basic essentials and a good way to start. What I realize as you’ve pointed out Linda, is those specially packed foods offer longer shelf life on foods that would simply not last past a year or two such as butter or eggs. So a prepper needs to consider all their options.
I love rice and beans, but I don’t want to live off of that forever. Variety makes for better nutrition thus better health and morale.
Hi, Frank, you are so right we need to make sure we have a variety of foods to stock up on. There is something about the cream of chicken soup for me. I can make so many meals with that soup. Life is so good with a variety of foods in our pantry. Morale is a big issue for all of us. I sure hope people learn to grow their own food, that gives us more options as well. It’s all about the money when we stockpile food. Store what you eat and eat what you store, or something like that! Great comment! Linda