I’m sharing some food storage secrets you need to know before you go crazy buying food for your pantry. 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 updated this post today, for several reasons. First of all, right now I struggle recommending any long-term food storage. The prices are way too high for my budget. If the prices at the grocery store are too expensive then the #10 cans are as well.
Then we have to factor in the shortages of the cans and lack of employees, the prices skyrocket. We have to ask ourselves, do I really need ONE #10 can of chicken or beef that currently costs $93.00? I think not.
I’m not sure I will ever buy #10 cans again unless things change. The prices are way too expensive right now. I want you to think about why you may want to buy #10 cans for your storage. I used to buy them to put on my pantry shelves to use in case of emergency.
I know some people use the cans every day and try to go to the grocery store as seldom as possible. Mark and I can’t afford to do that. Those cans are not always full to the top, and some companies’ products weigh more or less compared to other brands. Just because it’s a #10 can it doesn’t mean that the can is filled to the brim, in most cases, it is not.
If there was ever time you needed to start a garden it is this year. If you live near a Farmer’s Market, you are so lucky, as long as you buy their products! Not everyone has land to grow food, I get it.
Please make a plan to try and purchase more locally grown and produced food products. If you live in more of a rural area, it’s critical we know who our local Farmers are, what they grow for sale, and then let’s buy local when we can. If you can have chickens or animals on your property, or know people who do who might share, it is possible the time will come that you’ll need them to supplement your own food storage to survive.
I Don’t Buy Meals
Here’s the deal, I do not buy those “meals” you see stacked on pallets at the store. Nope, I will not. I cook from scratch and I don’t like some of the stuff listed on the packaged “meals” sold for long-term storage purposes.
I may have told you before, I don’t eat out very often. It’s not just the cost to do so, but also because the food at restaurants is often cooked with lots of salt and butter. I love the flavor that butter gives to recipes, but it’s called fat calories and they are expensive calories.
That’s why people think it tastes so yummy. But when you’re used to cooking from scratch, you are prone to get sick from all the butter and salt when you eat out. I’m not talking about just fast food places, I’m talking about your typical sit-down restaurants and even some 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. I understand it may be easier for you to just pick up a bucket, take it home, and set it on your pantry shelf for use later, and it makes you feel comfortable that you’ve done your part to be “prepared.”
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
Recently, I looked at a bucket of food storage products at a local grocery store so I could 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 of the food bucket’s contents are drink mixtures. The serving sizes are very small, especially for an adult. Please look at all the meals, calories, and serving sizes before you buy to make sure they will suit your family’s needs.
Cook From Scratch For Breakfast
I would much rather make my own pancakes from scratch or oatmeal for breakfast, with or without syrup or jam. My point is this, some of those pre-packaged meals have ingredients you can’t pronounce, so you really don’t know all that you’re eating.
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 compelled to buy some of their offerings.
I used to buy a few #10 cans every month or so. Right now, my budget can’t afford a large volume of food to be delivered to my home. When you have time, sign up for available newsletters from companies you like to use for your food storage goals. You will then receive emails when they have items on sale and you can make the best decisions of how much would be a good fit for your needs.
Please check the price per ounce because all those #10 cans are the same size, BUT again, 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 the contents may not be so pleasing to see or eat. Please look at the serving sizes, it may be a toddler serving not an adult serving size.
Buy One And Try It
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 remember it’s not the thick-sliced bacon most of us like with breakfast. But hey, I’ll take bacon any day after a disaster. Note that I found out that Yoder’s Bacon is no longer available.
Mark and I have yet to try any butter from any of the companies that offer it as a storage product. I just wouldn’t eat what I’ve seen if I was going to put it on a slice of bread. I will use powdered butter for cooking, but not for anything else. To me, most brands appear 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 from the cans above 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 where 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 post from my archive: Canned Foods I Recommend You Store
And the bonus is their products 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 you are 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 at 75-80 degrees will definitely cut the 25-year shelf-life down considerably. The challenge 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
I’ve listed below the normal average shelf-life for a number of foods we are likely to store for later consumption:
- 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: note thatit may (crystalize or harden-you can soften it outside in the sun)
- Baking Powder: Often listed as Indefinitely, but I like mine to be as fresh as possible, (typically one year-we need our baking goods to rise, and fresh does it best)
- 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. 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, for a mini bath, and wash our dishes. Hopefully, we will have enough water to wash our underwear from time to time.
When it comes to purchasing your food storage, please read the cans, buckets, and packages and get a good understanding of what you are really buying for your family’s use. Thanks for taking the time to read this post about food storage secrets you need to know. Hopefully, it will give you some worthwhile guidelines 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