I’m sharing some food storage secrets you need to know before you go crazy buying food for your pantry. Today I’m talking about long-term food storage. Let me say one thing, I don’t look at the calories in the #10 cans I purchase because I don’t count calories in the food I’m eating today.
I probably should, but I don’t. This is how I see food storage for Mark and me, the food I purchase we must both like eating. Sure, I can hear some of you say, you will eat whatever if you are starving. Yes, I’m sure that may be true.
I Do Not Buy Meals
Here’s the deal, I do not buy meals, nope, I will not. I cook from scratch and I don’t like some of the stuff listed on the packaged “meals” for long-term storage.
I may have told you before, I don’t eat out, except occasionally, because the food at restaurants is cooked with lots of salt and butter. It’s called fat calories and they are expensive calories.
That’s why people think it tastes so yummy, but when you cook from scratch you get sick from all the butter and salt when you eat out. Here’s the deal, I’m not talking about just fast food places, I’m talking about simple restaurants, and even fancy eating places too!
Buckets With Meals
I have been at Costco, or similar large box stores, and they have these buckets with small packages of food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that are designed for emergency meals. Now, I understand this may be easier for you to just pick up a bucket, take it home, and set it on your pantry shelf.
Yes, that is very easy and it’s better than not having any food storage. You can see the calories listed, the serving sizes, etc. Good grief, Mark would be starving if he had the breakfasts shown on a bucket I saw.
No-Name Bucket Contents-Price $90.00 with 52 Servings
I looked at a bucket of food storage at a local grocery store to give you an idea of what may be in the container. This is not 52 meals, it is 52 servings, there’s a big difference. One of these servings may be fine for a toddler or a child, but may not be sufficient for an adult.
- 4 Servings: Creamy Pasta Dish
- 4 Servings: Creamy Stroganoff
- 4 Servings: Tomato Basil Soup w/Pasta
- 4 servings: Beans and Rice
- 4 Servings: Maple Brown Sugar Cereal
- 4 Servings: Apple Cinnamon Cereal
- 16 Servings: Orange Drink Mix
- 12 Servings: Whey Milk Alternative drink
You can see that more than half the food bucket is a drink mixture. The serving sizes are very small, especially for an adult. Please look at all the meals, the calories, and serving sizes.
Cook From Scratch For Breakfast
I would much rather make my own pancakes from scratch or oatmeal for breakfast with or without syrup. My point is this, some of those pre-packaged meals have ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Certain companies make you set an appointment to have a salesman come to your home to purchase their food storage. Well, I’m not sure if they still do this, but I would feel trapped.
I like to buy a few #10 cans every month or so. My budget can’t afford a pallet of food to be delivered to my home with ingredients I can’t pronounce. When you have time, sign up for their newsletters with companies you like to use. You will then receive emails when they have items on sale.
Please check the price per ounce because all those #10 cans are the same size BUT they may differ greatly in weight and shipping costs. Believe me, there is a big difference in the amount of food in the cans. Just giving you the heads up here.
Food Storage Secrets You Need To Know
I totally get it when people say to me, “where do I start” when buying food storage. It goes back to this printout I use at every class where I teach about food storage: Where Do I Start by Food Storage Moms?
So before you buy, look at the sodium levels, look at all the ingredients to see what’s really in the can or package. I know the pictures look fabulous on the bucket or those small packages, but wait. Please look at the serving sizes, it may be a toddler serving not an adult serving size.
Buy One And Try
Before you buy several buckets, buy one ready-to-eat bucket and do a taste test with them at home. Go back and buy more if you or your family would enjoy eating them. Remember, if you won’t eat that stuff today, will you eat it next year?
Buy a few packages of those ready to eat bags where you only add hot water and see if you will like eating them for days or weeks. Please test them before you buy a LOT of them.
Simple Food Storage
I only buy #10 cans of fruits, vegetables, meats, milk, cheese, and I have a few cans of bacon. This bacon is really tasty, but now remember it is not thick sliced bacon, but hey, I will take bacon any day after a disaster. Yoder’s Bacon
Mark and I have yet to try any butter from any company that we would eat on bread, except I will use powdered butter for cooking, but not for anything else. To me it is inedible, BUT I do like this brand: Red Feather Butter
Watch for sales, it goes on sale a few times a year.
Thrive Life Can On The Left
I’m typing the statements where the black arrows are: the can on the left is from Thrive Life and it says the ingredients are, “red peppers,” nothing else.
Honeyville Grain Can On The Right
The can on the right is from Honeyville Grain and it says the ingredients in the can are a vegetable blend, (freeze dried corn, carrots, peas, red peppers, and tomatoes), nothing else. Great! SOLD!
This is what I buy freeze dried fruits, freeze dried vegetables, some dehydrated vegetables, and freeze dried meats. I can make soups, casseroles, and stews with a combination of any of these.
Please remember, I also buy canned goods. If you missed the ones I stock up on, read this: Canned Foods I Recommend You Store
And the bonus is they store for 25 years, under optimal temperature conditions. Please don’t store your food storage in your garage if the temperatures go over 70 degrees.
What Temperature Is Best To Store My Food Storage?
This is where it gets interesting. You may think you can bring those #10 cans home and place them ever so neatly on your shelves, and your good to go. But wait, what is the best temperature to store my food?
Well, the lower the temperature, such as 50-60 degrees, the longer your food will last. So, for instance keeping our food say at 75-80 degrees will definitely cut the 25 year shelf-life down considerably. The challange is, most of us don’t have the option of storing at those low temps anywhere in our home or apartment. Some lucky families have a basement storage area, like under a porch without daylight, where the temperatures stay fairly cool pretty much the same all year long.
Food Storage Shelf-Life
- Whole Wheat Berries: Last Indefinitely
- White flour: 12- 18 months (#10 cans I have seen will store for 5 years unopened)
- Instant Milk: (Thrive Live) Unopened 25 years, 2 years open
- Salt: Lasts indefinitely (keep away from moisture)
- Sugar: Lasts indefinitely (keep away from moisture)
- Honey: Stores indefinitely, store in smaller containers (it may (crystalize or harden-you can soften it outside in the sun)
- Baking Powder: Indefinitely, kind of (typically one year-we need our baking goods to rise)
- Baking Soda: Two years unopened, 6 months opened
- Cornstarch: Lasts indefinitely
- Olive Oil: one to two years depending on the temperature where stored and the brand
- Coconut Oil: One year, maybe two years depending on the brand
- Vanilla Extract: 3 years
- Vinegar: Indefinitely
Don’t Forget Your Water Storage
The American Red Cross recommends one-gallon per day per person, and I recommend four-gallons of water per day per person. I get thirsty just thinking about the one-gallon of water.
Please remember we need water to drink, cook with, to take a mini bath, and wash our dishes. Hopefully, we will have enough water to wash our underwear.
Please read the cans, buckets, and packages for food storage secrets you need to know before you order them for long term food storage. Read the labels, and buy what works for your family. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda