Food Storage Tips You Need

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Today I’m sharing my food storage tips you need to make your stash exactly what YOU want. We all have different budgets and space to store food for our family. Yes, we have to be creative sometimes. I’ve heard people say “my house is too small” to store anything. Unless you have a tiny house like 200 square feet, you may have room and you don’t really know it. I store #10 cans of wheat in my Master Bedroom closet. You may not want to do that. I decluttered my home so I could store the things I need.

My guest bedroom has fifteen 6-gallon buckets of hard white wheat lining one of the walls. I have 56-gallons of water stored under the bed in WaterBricks. My grandkids guest room has Costco racks with #10 cans, it’s too hot here to put anything in the garage, except my preps. As I write this I’m thinking or actually giggling, would my girls have wanted wheat in their bedrooms growing up? If I had a tiny home, I would have a shed with heat and air conditioning.

Let me be clear here, I like a clean, orderly home, it’s very important to me. My guests understand my passion for food storage and emergency preparedness. They just roll with the “stuff” in the guest rooms.

Brands I Recommend

I can only recommend brands I have tried, so here we go. Please compare shipping costs, and per ounce cost before ordering. Just because it’s a #10 can doesn’t mean it’s filled to the top. Volume can vary greatly between companies. Just get your calculator to find the best deal. Some of these companies only sell “meals,” I realize some of you may prefer just to add water to the packaged meal.

Can I Purchase Food Monthly?

Yes, you can. I stop and start deliveries according to my budget. I go through Jodi Weiss at Thrive Life. I try to buy $100.00 a month because then I get FREE shipping. This works for me and I keep my food stash building to what I need to prepare meals. This may or may not work for you. Thrive Life Website

Food Storage Tips

A few days ago I talked about canned food which I believe we need. Let’s talk about freeze-dried food and dehydrated today. Please keep in mind, if you dehydrate your own food it will have a shorter shelf life than commercially processed cans. When Mark and took classes to get our Master Canning and Preserving Certificates we were taught that home canned and home dehydrated food have a shelf-life of 12, maybe 18 months.

Yes, I grew up eating peaches that were four years old, I’m sure. My point is that the quality and vitamins are reduced each year the item is stored. Enough said. Let’s get started with Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated food.

Pantry Size versus #10 Cans

The only company that I’m aware of that sells smaller freeze-dried and dehydrated food in Pantry size cans AND #10 cans are ThriveLife. Here’s the deal they are smaller and therefore you don’t have to open a HUGE #10 can. They work very well for smaller families. In fact, I just ordered jalapenos in the Pantry size cans because I like certain foods in the smaller containers. I can empty the Pantry size can right into my quart mason jars.

Remove The Oxygen Absorbers

After you open the Pantry size cans or #10 cans, discard the oxygen absorbers.

How Do I Store The Food After Opening?

You remove the oxygen absorbers and discard them. Store the food in the container it comes in or put it in an airtight container. I use mason jars after opening my freeze-dried and dehydrated food.

Freeze-Dried Food

Let me explain in a nutshell what freeze-dried food is. The first step to freeze-dried food begins with freezing. The second step is the frozen food is placed in a vacuum chamber under low heat. Then the third step starts when the frozen water crystals evaporate directly from ice to vapor which is a process called sublimation.

What’s really nice about freeze-dried food is the fact that it lasts longer, depending on the manufacturer. Please always look at the cans and see the shelf-life. You can eat the food directly out of the can and therefore it uses a whole lot less fuel, if any, when it comes to meal preparation.

Freeze-dried foods usually have an open shelf-life of 1-2 years. Here again, please look at the #10 can or on the website of said company.

Pros:

Lasts 20-25 years, depending on the company where you purchase the food. You can also eat the food directly out of the can. You don’t need to slice, chop, or cut the food into bite-size pieces. It uses less fuel to prepare, if any.

Cons:

It is more expensive, but remember you use less fuel.

Dehydrated Food

Okay, most of us buy dehydrated food every day. We purchase cereal, spices, pasta, beans, baking mixes, etc. Dehydrated is the way the water has been removed from the products. The water is slowly cooked out of the food without actually cooking it.

It’s one of the most affordable, light-weight and compact ways to purchase food for our storage or everyday cooking. We need to be aware of the dehydrated term, it generally takes longer to cook. You can’t “snack” on it right out of the can. It’s too hard. This is fine for soups, stews, etc.

We need to remember that typically dehydrated food doesn’t last as long as freeze-dried. It usually has a shelf life of 5-8 years. They usually have an OPEN shelf life of 6 months to 1 year.

Pros:

Dehydrated food is a lot cheaper. It’s ready to stir into a pot of soup or chili. No need to chop, slice or cut into pieces.

Cons:

Shorter shelf-life and you can’t eat the food right out of the can. It must be cooked, and therefore uses more fuel to prepare a meal.

Food Storage For Long-Term

I personally don’t buy ready-made meals because I can cook from scratch with all my freeze-dried and dehydrated foods I buy. You don’t need a special cookbook with food storage. ANY cookbook will work, I promise. Please don’t be afraid of those #10 cans. They are food in a preserved state. Just rehydrate them and they are close to fresh. Not exactly, but very close, let’s be real here.

If you have a casserole that needs green beans, you use your #10 can with green beans. Easy peasy. If your recipe calls for grated cheese, grab a #10 can of grated cheese and add tepid or cool water to rehydrate it. Warm water will cook it, I know because I did that ONCE. It was a learning curve.

Dairy

  • Instant Milk
  • Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Cream Cheese
  • Butter
  • Eggs

Vegetables

Everything comes washed, chopped, or sliced and ready to use. Look at all these options!!!

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots (dehydrated)
  • Celery
  • Green beans
  • Red bell pepper
  • Green bell peppers
  • Green onions
  • Onions
  • Potatoes (dehydrated)
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash (just a note, I do not care for zucchini that is freeze-dried)
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Chili Peppers
  • Butternut squash
  • Peas
  • Spinach

Fruits

You may want to try some of this fruit with my Peach Glaze Recipe. All you do is make a glaze with the fruit you love to eat and scoop it over ice cream, or cake. Life is so good when it’s homemade! If you love strawberries all you do is trade out the peaches for some strawberries, etc. Check out all the fruit choices!!

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Apricots
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Mango
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries

Meat

Please be aware freeze-dried or dehydrated meat store differently. You would think meat would have the same shelf-life, it does not. Another thing is the fact that some meat must be consumed within 2 weeks after you open the can. Yikes! If you buy a #10 can you need to be able to eat it within those two weeks, I wouldn’t be able to do that. This is fine if we have a freezer to store the excess, but what if we lose power for extended days, weeks or longer? Remember to check all meat for shelf-life unopened AND open.

  • Hamburger/Ground Beef
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Ham
  • Sausage
  • Pork
  • Turkey
  • TVP, Textured Vegetable Protein (dehydrated) Chicken, Beef, Ham, and Bacon

Final Word

Thanks for stopping by today, I hope my food storage tips help you gather the food you need for your family. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda

Pantry Size Cans

12 thoughts on “Food Storage Tips You Need

  • July 19, 2019 at 7:32 am
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    Linda, we’ll agree to disagree on Wise Foods as most of their stuff wasn’t palatable for me. My favorites are Mountain House, Augason Farms, Thrive and Honeyville Grains, though to be fair I haven’t tried all of the others. You might want to check out Backpackers Pantry also as their products are excellent.

    Oh, and as for not being able to snack on Freeze-dried or dehydrated foods, I love snacking on Augason Farms freeze-dried corn right out of the #10 can.

    Reply
    • July 19, 2019 at 11:43 am
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      Hi Ray, let me explain, I do not buy meals. I have tried Wise meals but I do not buy them. Thanks for the heads up, I love hearing other opinions. I really appreciate it actually. The corn right out of the can is the best!!! Linda

      Reply
    • July 19, 2019 at 11:47 am
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      Hi Christine, thank you for letting us know. I only buy ThriveLife and Honeyville Grain. After years of trying so many, we all know which ones we like and do not like. Thank you, Linda

      Reply
  • July 19, 2019 at 8:43 am
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    After opening my #10 cans, i put them in a 1 gal. plastic container, that has PETE on the bottom from Walmart. I wash them first, let them sit over night making sure all moisture is gone, add dry food to the container, use a 500 cc oxygen absorber, them store it in a nice dark cool spot. I use to use the mason jars but took too much space. I use them only when pressure canning and storing small amounts of food.

    Reply
    • July 19, 2019 at 11:49 am
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      Hi Judy, great comment. I use one-gallon containers for mine as well. I use the mason jars for the Pantry size containers. Love your tip! Linda

      Reply
  • July 19, 2019 at 9:18 am
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    One thing that I did before purchasing my freeze dried foods was to search for companies that offered a sample pack. I would try their samples to determine if I liked the taste, texture and appearance of the foods. If I found the FD foods unpalatable, that was a company that I was not interested in spending my hard earned dollars from.

    My preference became Thrive for two reasons: 1) the FD foods that I sampled at an Emergency Preparedness event was wonderful straight from the can and 2) the Pantry Cans were JUST RIGHT for a single person! They also had a program where one could purchase a monthly package of FD foods to fit within one’s food budget. This was very important to me because I could not afford to purchase a lot at one go. They even have/had pantry cans of white and whole wheat flour that once mixed with yeast, etc., made one loaf of bread – also important to a single person!!

    Thanks for going over this so well, Linda.

    Reply
    • July 19, 2019 at 11:52 am
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      Hi Leanne, thanks for the reminder on the monthly purchase. I do that and forgot to tell people about it. You were smart to try the different companies first. Great comment, Linda

      Reply
  • July 23, 2019 at 4:10 pm
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    We started using Walton Feeds in the early or mid 1990’s and love their foods, especially their refried beans. They use 1/2 cup serving size, not the 1/4 cup size many other places use. In 25+ years we’ve never had anything from them we didn’t like.
    Walton changed the name of their food storage to Rainy Day Foods – https://rainydayfoods.com/ They are still as great.

    My other favorite place is Food Assets – https://foodassets.com/ They carry Rainy Day & other brands and in the 8 months we’ve used them, we are quite pleased with them.

    On emergency cooking, you do not need to spend a mint on weird and exotic ‘stoves & cookers’ For indoor cooking we have 4 backpacking alcohol stoves, $5 to $14 each, but our main cook stove is a GasOne (both US & Canada approved) 9,000 btu single burner butane stove Amazon $23, used with cross ventilation and a battery co2 monitor. It’s served us well for at least 10 years and 2-15 uses a month for tabletop cooking and in power outages. Butane cans are available least expensively in almost every Asian food store, 4 packs are around $6 to $9. If you cook about 1/2 to 3/4 open, not full high, a can lasts several meals using it 5-15 min. We have 4 Freezer Bag Cooking pouches & about 24 ‘Add boiling water meals in the pantry, so we mostly boil water for FBC meals (look it up, handy & tasty) & hot beverages. If you do ANY cooking inside, or use a gas furnace, get 1 or 2 battery, not wired in, carbon monoxide detectors, they can save your life.

    Outdoors we have a 20 brick Rocket Stove, $20, fantastic with a wok, cooks with just a handfull or two of twigs. We also have a large propane grill, a 9 cinder block 24x24x24″ table with red pavers on top, about $25, to put coals on for the Cast Iron Dutch Ovens or skillets OR the Lodge Sportsman grill to sit on. The LSG has 2 grill heights, just flip it over, you can grill or put pots & coffeepot on it like a stove. We are adding another 24″ table to it so we can use the coals + LSG at the same time. We are also planning to DIY a 1700’s style adobe bread oven, a counter, and the big plastic sink & sprayer, $5 at a barn sale.
    *Warning* Please Never use non stick cookware on a hot outdoor (or indoor) heat source, especially fire (like gas, propane, rocket stove…). I have seen too many instances, and Fire Dept training videos, showing the coating actually on fire and burning. Cast Iron is your safest for all outdoor cooking. I can use my cast iron on my glass top stove by using a ‘flame tamer’ on the stove burner, some are made specifically with one side for glass top stoves (Amazon $10 – $21.
    Also, please do not use candles, they are very dangerous. Especially in a power outage kids and pets seem drawn to the light & flames. You do not need a house fire too. Energizer’s large D cell battery lanterns $20, and using reflected light like a good flashlight aimed at a white ceiling (whole room dim light) work good.

    Hope this helps

    Reply
    • July 23, 2019 at 5:08 pm
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      Hi Dusty, great comment today!!! You think as I do, many many many ways to cook. You can never have too many stoves or outside cooking devices. I’m glad you mentioned do not cook outside with your non-stick pans. Yikes, you take for granted people know only to use cast iron pans. I quit using or storing candles years ago, another great reminder. I really hope people get smoke alarms and carbon monoxide units, they will indeed save lives. Thank you, Linda

      Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 9:42 pm
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    Actually the non-stick pan fires were almost all in homes, on stoves. The tests were all outside. The video was a girl just starting to make something on the stove when the inside of the pot started burning. You could see the stove was not on high, med high at the most. The flames hit the ceiling, the guy grabbed the pot and threw it out the window, through the glass and screen, into the yard. I just never liked non stick, I bought a skillet when it came out and after using it twice, I tossed it and never owned non stick again. The training videos were years later.

    When we first moved here, way back of beyond on pretty high ground, there was a big propane tank in the yard. I told my husband ‘there are a lot of things in this world I need, a 500 lb bomb in the front yard is Not one of them.’ We have an all electric house, gas lines stop 3 counties away, and the propane tank is gone. We knew power was very iffy here, so we planned for it. All our outages usually total about 2-3 months a year. It’s more dependable now, but not too long ago we had flooding and hit our “personal best” of 24 days straight with no power . I grew up with no electric till I was about 13-14, and was used to a house with plenty of good oil lamps. We have 4 of the chamber lamps with a finger loop to carry, with 5/8″ wicks, and all our other 9 hanging, wall and table oil lamps have #2 burners with 7/8″ wicks. The #3 burners are nice, wider wicks and brighter, but cost a lot more. Also we use the ultra pure oil as I can’t stand the smell of cheaper oils, and many people can get sick from cheap oil or kerosene smells and fumes. We also have an Aladdin Kerosene lamp in the barn we need to find and try out. We use oil lamps except in high winds, then only battery lights in case something comes thru a window. We also have 2 large and 3 small ABC fire extinguishers in the house, one in every vehicle, and 2 by the barn doors. As far as fire is concerned, paranoia is your friend.

    Our outdoor kitchen just grew from a tiny electric $7 grill to a largish propane grill, Then I wanted a wok stove & found a Big Kahuna outdoor one 5 years later. “I wonder if a rocket stoves really work?” We now we have 2, and finally finding the key thing that will make it possible to build the earthen oven I want – vermiculite to keep the weight down so we can use a 6×6″ frame for it. We also have a couple cinder block tables, and 3 cinder blocks, one under each leg of the Big Kahuna raising it to a comfortable height (short legs). Better Homes & Gardens may shudder, but it works, cost very little to make, is comfortable and ‘rustic’ and can be adjusted as needed. We may replace the Wonder Oven’s cheap plastic tub with a 1/4″ wood tub, super sanded smooth and with handles. Also, Stir Frying (with everything cut a bit smaller than usual in an outage to cook faster, this works for other cooking types too) means I can cook a good size meal of very thin sliced meat, thawed or fresh matchstick carrots, chopped broccoli, corn kernels, and whatever else is available, plus a sauce, in about 3-7 min total. A friend bought a 14″ carbon steel flat bottom wok like one of mine and uses it regularly as well as all outages. It has never been used to make any Asian dish, but I’m sure I heard it sizzling in Italian and Mexican…

    It all comes down to planning, practicing your plans, maybe make it an adventure, especially with kids, accepting when something does happen, putting plans into action, and relaxing. I shut down my computer and UPS batteries, call the power company, flip the main house breaker off (that has saved us hundreds in fried electronics and appliances), boil up water for tea on the GasOne 9,000 btu butane stove, make tea, grab my backlit tablet with Kindle, and relax. Life is good.

    Reply
    • September 5, 2019 at 7:30 am
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      Hi Dusty, great comment, very informative. I had to laugh at the 500-pound bomb in the yard. I have never had to live where propane tanks are used. I have seen a few explosions on the news and they scare me. But then I have gas lines coming into my house that I don’t even think about. You have planned out so many things, I tip my hat to you. You rock, keep up the good work. Linda

      Reply

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