How To Store Your Food Storage

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As I write this post on how to store your food storage, I realize we have newbies and established families who stock up for their families. I want to make storing food as easy as possible. Please be aware I live in Utah, I have lived where it is cold, and now I live in the desert.

I haven’t changed my ways much in 50 years because it works the way I store my food storage. But I have modified a few things because you learn what really works.

Mark and I used to store 100 pounds of powdered milk, not anymore. We used to store more than 100 pounds of wheat in these big green cans, not anymore. I use to buy 50 pounds of chocolate chips, not anymore.

As your family shrinks, so do your food storage amount needs. Mark and I raised our girls to be self-sufficient so they store their own food.

Life is good when we are self-reliant. Your family will follow your example, if you stock food storage, they will see how important it is to take care of themselves.

If and when we have a disaster, you must not expect the government or your church to deliver all the food you need. Nope, it’s not going to happen, my friends. In case you missed this post, Canned Foods I Highly Recommend You Store

I stock freeze-dried food as my long-term food storage option. I use it when I run out of fresh onions, green onions, and many other food products we like to use. Plus, the freeze-dried pineapple is the best snack ever! Today, I’m talking about short-term food storage.

Kitchen Items You May Want

FoodSaver

Ball White Lids

Pint Regular Mason Jars

Pint Wide-Mouth Mason Jars

Quart Regular Mason Jars

Quart Wide-Mouth Jars

FoodSaver Regular Jar Sealer

How To Store Your Food Storage

I put things in alphabetical order to hopefully make things a little easier for everyone to see at a glance. This is how I store my food storage and have done it this way for over 50 years. After all these years, I have learned the good, the bad, and what works best for me.

Baking Powder

How To Store Your Food Storage

I store my baking powder in the original small containers to keep it fresh. A container of baking powder will keep unopened for about 18 months (or the “best by” date on the box). If the container is open it’s fresh for 6 months to 1-year max. It does not last forever.

If you want to make your own baking powder, start with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter, it will equal 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

I quote Wikipedia “Baking powder is used to increase the volume and lighten the texture of baked goods. It works by releasing carbon dioxide gas into a batter or dough through an acid-base reaction, causing bubbles in the wet mixture to expand and thus leavening the mixture.”

Please store baking powder in a cool dry, and preferably dark, location.

Baking Soda

How To Store Your Food Storage

Baking soda lasts about 3 years unopened (or the “best by” date on the box), and if opened about 6 months. It’s easier to store it in the original boxes.

I quote Wikipedia “Leavening: In cooking, baking soda is primarily used in baking as a leavening agent. When it reacts with the acid, carbon dioxide is released, which causes expansion of the batter and forms the characteristic texture and grain in cakes, quick bread, soda bread, and other baked and fried foods.”

Please store baking soda in a cool dry, preferably dark, location.

Bacon

How To Store Your Food Storage

In case you didn’t know, you can freeze bacon. I buy the Kirkland brand center cuts of bacon from Costco and freeze at least 10 packages so I never run out. You can store bacon in the freezer in an airtight package (I keep it in the original package) and freeze it safely for about 8 months.

Thaw the bacon in the refrigerator and use it within 1 week if the package is open. If the package is unopened the bacon is generally good for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. When in doubt, throw it out.

Beans

I have some pinto and black beans in #10 cans that have a shelf-life of 30 years (I buy Thrive Life) if kept in a cool dark place. Now, those are for long-term food storage. Mark and I picked up 80 pounds of organic black beans and 80 pounds of pinto beans.

We filled 5-gallon buckets with those. We will use these within 2-3 years for optimum flavor and cooking ease.

You probably know the older the beans, the longer they take to cook. If you have a pressure cooker, those cook the old beans very well. Pressure canners are a blessing for those old beans as well. This is the book I received when I finished my Master Canner Preserver class, USDA Canning Guide

Butter

How To Store Your Food Storage

Mark and I have powdered butter, and it’s just plain nasty. I saw a review once on Thrive Life that stated it tasted like “Land of Lakes.” Sorry, my friends, it doesn’t. I can only use it for baking. I can still remember the smell, oh my gosh.

Anyway, I pick up real butter when it’s stocked and on sale. It’s perfect for the freezer just as it comes from the store. You can store frozen butter in the freezer right from the grocery store. It will last about one year and have the consistency and flavor we all want.

Candy

Who doesn’t love candy, whether with sugar or sugar-free, right? If you have a FoodSaver, you can store leftover Halloween candy, or any holiday candy for that matter, in mason jars. Please be careful with any candy that has nuts because it will go rancid very quickly.

Freeze the candy with nuts to be safe. How long does the candy stores safely is certainly a great question? We never have it last for over 2 years because we eat it! LOL!

Cheese/Shredded

Mark and I like to buy shredded cheese and blocks of cheese. Have you tried the Tillamook brand? It’s my all-time favorite cheese. I don’t freeze the blocks of cheese because they crumble after you freeze them.

But, we do freeze the shredded cheese bags in the freezer. If I have time, I will fill pint mason jars and use the Ball White Lids without using my FoodSaver to store the cheese in the freezer.

The reason for that is we eat a lot of cheese, you know for tacos, enchiladas, and many other of our favorite Mexican meals. Frozen shredded cheese will stay fine for about 8 months before the ice starts showing up in the bags. It’s still good, use it in casseroles. Be sure and thaw the frozen cheese in the refrigerator.

If the bag of shredded cheese is opened, the cheese will last about 5-7 days before it starts to go moldy. If you see or smell mold, throw out the cheese. You can use your FoodSaver to seal the jars to store in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life. Reseal the jars after use. This is why I store it in pint mason jars so I waste very little.

Unsweetened Cocoa

How To Store Your Food Storage

I used to buy 50 pounds of cocoa when I was raising my family. I don’t do that anymore. I buy the small 8-ounce size cans. I do not repackage it. Unsweetened cocoa if unopened is good for 3 years or the “best used by” date on the box. If the container is open it’s good for 1 year if stored in a cool dry place.

Corn Meal

I don’t repackage my cornmeal. I place it in the freezer and keep it there until I need it. This includes my Maseca (Mexican Flour). Cornmeal will stay good in the freezer for years. If you have quart mason jars, store it in those in the freezer to keep moisture out of it.

I like to make my life as simple as I can. If the corn meal comes in a cardboard round container, I place that in the freezer.

Flour

How To Store Your Food Storage

When I say flour today, I’m talking about white all-purpose flour, white bread flour, and self-rising white flour. I don’t have enough room in my freezer to put a 25 or 50-pound bag in it to kill the bugs, if there are bugs.

I bring the bags home from Costco and immediately place the flour in 5-gallon buckets with Red Gamma Lids. The bucket above is a 2-gallon bucket (easier for me to lift) and has a Gamma Lid, this one is in my kitchen pantry. The 5-gallon buckets have red gamma lids and are stored in another location.

I do everything color-coded. White flour has a shelf-life of 12-18 months. I know grandma used flour that was 10 years old. I’m sorry, but I don’t. I make white bread, dinner rolls, breadsticks, and cinnamon rolls. I can’t use old flour.

Yeast

How To Store Your Food Storage

This may sound really snobby, but I only buy SAF Instant Yeast, it’s how I roll, no pun intended. If you have fresh ingredients, YOU can make bread, you really can. I store my SAF Yeast in the original containers in the freezer.

When I open a bag, it’s like a brick until you open it. After I open a package I fill the OXO container you see on the right-hand side of the picture above, and place it in the freezer. I fill the small jar with yeast for my refrigerator so my yeast is always fresh.

I place the yeast in an airtight container and store it in the freezer. I fill a jar of yeast to keep in my refrigerator to keep it fresh. Please don’t put your yeast, wheat gluten, or dough enhancer on your pantry shelves, it will go bad very quickly.

How long does SAF Yeast last in the freezer? I have some that are at least 3-4 years old. They will still be good.

Honey

How To Store Your Food Storage

When you purchase honey, please look for raw, unfiltered honey. Some “honey” is not 100% honey when you see it in the stores. Wow, I’m going to sound snobby again, I only buy honey from Cox’s Honey located in Shelley, Idaho. It’s the best honey in the world, at least for me.

I store my honey in quart mason jars for one reason, it may crystallize and if it does, you can take the jar outside and let the sunshine soften or melt the honey naturally. The small creamed honey they make can be stored in the freezer or the refrigerator.

I can still remember a sweet neighbor proudly telling me he bought two 5-gallon buckets of honey. Oh my, I hope he repackaged it because if it becomes crystalized it will be very hard to get it out to use. Honey will last indefinitely. It’s a great sweetener.

Lentils-Pasta-Quinoa

How To Store Your Food Storage

I buy organic lentils, organic quinoa, organic pasta, and store them in their original packages before placing them in Rubbermaid 8-quart containers. I had mice once, so everything in my house is in airtight containers. Any airtight container will work. I like the clear containers so I can see instantly what I have.

The cheapest place to buy the 8-quart Rubbermaid Commercial Containers and the lids is Walmart online. They are sold separately. They have some 6-quart Rubbermaid Containers with a Lid on Amazon.

If you have some #10 cans of lentil, quinoa, or pasta the shelf-life will be much longer than stated below depending on the quality and brand you purchased.

Shelf-life of lentils in bags or boxes: 2-3 years (depending on the quality and brand you purchased), be sure and check the “best by” date.

Shelf-life of quinoa in bags or boxes: 2-3 years (depending on the quality and brand you purchased), be sure and check the “best by” date.

Shelf-life of pasta in bags or boxes: 2-3 years (depending on the quality and brand you purchased), be sure and check the “best by” date.

Nuts

Whenever I buy walnuts, pecans, almonds, and sliced almonds I put them in pint size FoodSaver bags, seal them and place them in the freezer. I have kept them for 2-3 years in the freezer. That may be a bit too long, but I use them anyway.

It’s critical we store nuts properly because of their high fat/oil content. When in doubt, freeze them. You can keep them in your refrigerator for 2-3 months. Fresher is always better with nuts, in my opinion. That’s why I freeze mine.

Oil

Oil is a different duck, so to speak. I don’t store a lot of oil, whether it’s olive or vegetable oil. It goes rancid very quickly. It seems coconut lasts a little longer. Once you open a bottle it is good for 2-3 months.

Now, you may use it after that time period if it’s unopened. Use the “best by” date. Here’s the deal with oil, we don’t know how long that oil has been sitting under bright lights at the grocery store. Light is so bad for oil, just my 2 cents.

I remember having a salad made with olive oil at a neighbor’s house. The olive oil was rancid, I think they were so used to using it they didn’t taste it. I couldn’t eat it. Here again, fresh is best.

Be careful when you buy your oil, please read this article, Food Fraud in the Vegetable and Avocado Oils

White Rice

White Rice

I store my bags of white Jazmine rice in the same Rubbermaid containers as shown above. But, I also store 50 pounds of rice stored in two 5-gallon buckets. White rice will last forever if kept in an air-tight container in a cool dark area.

The older it gets the less fluffy the rice will be, but it will be edible. Please remember, brown rice has a high-fat content and therefore has a very short shelf.

I quote “Because of the oil in its bran layer, uncooked brown rice has a shorter shelf life than white rice and maintains its quality for about 6 months. For longer storage, refrigerate or freeze uncooked brown rice. Refrigerated brown rice will maintain quality for 6 to 12 months.” Univ. of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Salt

Salt

My favorite salt is made right here in Utah called Redmond Salt. I also love Himalayan pink salt. Salt will last indefinitely if it stays dry. Please remember, never place oxygen absorbers in salt, it will become a brick, literally.

I have chosen not to buy salt in bulk, it works better for me to buy smaller containers that are easier to handle. In case you missed this post, Salt: Everything You Need to Know

Sugar/Brown Sugar/Powdered Sugar

Sugar

White Sugar is another wonderful staple that will last forever if stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place. Water or moisture is sugar’s enemy. Please don’t use oxygen absorbers with sugar, it’s like salt it will become a brick, literally.

Powdered sugar lasts about 2 years, brown sugar will last about 18 months. Watch for mold on brown sugar. Keep in mind you can make your own brown sugar at the last minute if you store molasses. Here are the measurements to make your own brown sugar:

1 cup white granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon molasses equals light brown sugar.

1 cup white granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons molasses equals dark brown sugar.

Wheat

Wheat

I live in Utah so I’m very lucky to be able to buy Lehi Mill hard white whole wheat berries. Costco sells it in 6-gallon buckets and I replace some of the lids with Red Gamma Lids.

The wheat is cleaner than anywhere else because they wash/clean it 6 times. I can’t risk my wheat grinders with inferior wheat.

I know hard white wheat lasts for a very long time, but I can’t find any place that says it lasts forever. Yes, people found it in pyramids, but how was the quality, it’s just me wanting to know the truth. I have wheat that’s at least 10 years old and it’s fine.

Whole Wheat Flour

Once you grind your own wheat, use it immediately or put it in Heavy-Duty Baggies and place them in the freezer. I have stored my freshly ground wheat for 2-3 months in the freezer. I like to grind wheat one day and make bread a few days later, so it makes sense for me to freeze it.

Final Word

Here’s the deal, we can sleep at night when we know we have a pantry or freezer full of food to feed our family. You have heard me say this before, the government or churches will not deliver food or water after a disaster, it’s not going to happen.

We must be self-sufficient that’s all there is to it. We can’t expect others to feed our family, period. I hope you enjoyed hearing how to store your food storage. Stay safe, stay well. May God Bless this world, Linda

30 thoughts on “How To Store Your Food Storage

  • November 1, 2020 at 7:41 am
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    I keep all my food stores in a closet or the under counter cabinets. And keep the doors closed. I don’t have a pantry. I do store some things in 5 gallon buckets, with tight seals. I repackage all my boxed items into jars. Or plastic airtight containers. I need to order a few more of them. My white rice is stored in jars in a cool dark place as well as my dried beans. I do love my pressure cookers. I have an Instant Pot, but also a stove top one. I can still cook without electricity. This is important as we have lost power for up to two weeks. We have propane heat, Cook stove and water heater. I also have a Coleman stove. I don’t have a tent, but so have sleeping bags. We have a van and I dreamed about making it into a camper last night. LOL

    Reply
    • November 1, 2020 at 8:13 am
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      Hi Deborah, oh, making the van into a camper sounds awesome! Isn’t it wonderful that we have food storage and do not have to worry about running to the store? Stay safe, stay home, and stay well! Linda

      Reply
      • November 1, 2020 at 8:17 am
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        I have to meet my so d and daughter-in-law at Walmart parking lot today. Not going in though. She’s having gallbladder surgery tomorrow.

        Reply
  • November 1, 2020 at 7:48 am
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    Our local Mayer Brother’s Cider Mill makes a to-die for Apple cider donut covered with powdered cinnamon sugar. I will never be a great donut maker, but I would have SO many uses for the powdered cinnamon sugar if I could find it. I can’t even get them to sell me some. Can anyone help me???

    Reply
    • November 1, 2020 at 8:18 am
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      Hi Chris, now our mouths are watering over those donuts!!! I wish we had one of those stores here, I can usually always copy any recipe. I will mix and mix until it’s just right. Now, I have always made cinnamon sugar with white sugar and cinnamon. Now, I need to try making it with powdered sugar and cinnamon. These sound so good! Let’s see if someone knows the “secret” recipe! Linda

      Reply
  • November 1, 2020 at 8:19 am
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    Chris, Have you tried to make your own in a blender or food processor? It might be worth a try. I’d start out very small.

    Reply
    • November 1, 2020 at 8:21 am
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      Oh, I’d try with powdered sugar. Equal amounts of each.

      Reply
        • November 1, 2020 at 9:19 am
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          You can always make cinnamon toast with it. LOL =^)

          Reply
  • November 1, 2020 at 9:11 am
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    Linda:

    I would be careful with anything, canned or packaged before buying look in the ingredients and see if there are the words, sulfate, sulfite, or sulfonamides in them. These are related to Sulfa. I know they say they aren’t but I did research 20 years ago when I had a doctor who was oriental. She was a fantastic Dr. but went into research on Chronic Pain. So she sent me to a friend of hers and she is a wonderful Dr. also. But when I was seeing Dr, Yee she asked me what I was allergic to first thing and I told her Sulfa drugs. She told me anyone who has arthritis or chronic pain to check out these items in anything I buy. She said that the Medical community says that they are not related to Sulfa but she said the research she did countered that. Now the Sulfates, Sulfites and the Sulfonamides do not react the same way in the body as most allergens. Breaking out, Breathing problems, Itching. What they do is affect the joints, bones and muscles of the body. So you end up with Chronic pain and /or Arthritis. The damage is irreversible. You are stuck with it for life. She told me that even people who are not allergic to sulfa can get damage to their body structure even if they are not allergic to Sulfa. So it is best to stay away from it. I know that I have to look at everything every time I buy it because they change their formula so often to include these additives and they are not natural.
    I just found out Campbell’s chicken noodle soup now has these in them. It’s horrible. I don’t buy dried foods for that simple reason.

    Reply
    • November 1, 2020 at 9:24 am
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      Jackie, WOW! I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for these things. I have arthritis, and have had it since I was 28. I’m now 69, and have it in more places. Getting old isn’t fun, but it’s a privilege not everyone gets.

      Reply
    • November 1, 2020 at 9:26 am
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      Hi Jackie, thanks for this wonderful information. Let me ask you this, the freeze-dried food I buy only has the food in them, nothing else. I wonder if this is for dehydrated food? Guess what? I just looked at some dehydrated hashbrowns and they have Sodium Bisulfite! Oh my gosh! All of my freeze-dried does not. My freeze-dried pineapple shows this: Ingredients Pineapple. Nothing else BUT they do use oxygen absorbers to remove the air. WOW WOW WOW, I need to research more on this. 90% of my food storage is freeze-dried because it lasts longer but it has nothing else in the can. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!! LOVE IT! Linda

      Reply
      • November 1, 2020 at 9:28 am
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        Hi Jackie, I quote “What Are Oxygen Absorbers Made Of? Are They Dangerous to Come in Contact with Food?
        Oxygen absorbers are small packets that contain an iron powder. The packets are made of a material that allows oxygen and moisture to enter but does not allow the iron powder to leak out. The Oxygen Absorbers are safe to place on top of the food. They will not harm the food they are in contact with as they come in a sealed pouch.” Per USA Emergency Supply. Just FYI. Linda

        Reply
  • November 1, 2020 at 9:37 am
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    On the beans think cowboy camps and mountain men. Always had a pot of beans going.
    Gotta cook them things down. Hours n hours. Put’em on that morning, work all day then be ready that night.

    Reply
  • November 1, 2020 at 9:50 am
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    Hi Linda,

    I thought you’d be interested in a BYU study that shows baking powder, unopened and stored properly, are good for many years. About the same goes for baking soda.

    Keep in mind that the baking powder substitute you included in the article is for single-acting baking powder. Once you mix it up, it has to go into the oven immediately. Double-acting is much more forgiving.

    Baking Essentials–Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Cream of Tartar and Yeast
    https://prepschooldaily.blogspot.com/2019/05/baking-essentials-baking-powder-baking.html

    Have a great day!

    Reply
  • November 1, 2020 at 11:07 am
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    I know that storing oils for long term is not good. But, even short term is iffy! I just read an article on the vegetable oil industry! It focused on olive oil and avocado oil not corn or rapeseed (aka canola) oils. Basically it said that most of the olive and avocado oils are rancid or nearly rancid when we purchase them from the grocery store. It also said that because most of us don’t know what good/fresh olive/avocado oils taste like, we don’t even know that we are eating rancid oils. That all being said, the concern about rancidity is that the oil is not beneficial to our bodies and that we could use any oil if that is the case. It also said that the biggest share of olive oil coming from oversees (Italy, Greece, etc.) is cut with other oils. Think a little olive oil and a lot of canola or corn oil. The article gave a list of Good Brands and Brands to avoid – and of course, I had just purchased a small bottle of EVOO and it was on the list Brands to avoid!!! Well, I cannot afford to toss it and it does taste OK but from now on, I will only purchase olive oils from the Good Brands list!!

    I know I cannot put the website in this message so just google Food Fraud in the Vegetable Industry –

    Also I know that purchasing food for storage in bulk is very cost effective. I am single so I tend toward smaller packages of everything! With that in mind, I love to purchase honey in bulk and repackage it into pint jars! I do buy honey locally and noticed that the guy has 1/2 gallon jars. I have purchased that size before and repackaged the honey, returning the 1/2 gallon jar to the him. When I did that, he was amazed that I went through that much honey so quickly until I told him that I now have it all in pint jars. He told me I could just buy pints and I asked it I could buy 1/2 gallon of honey in pint jars for the same price as the 1/2 gallon – NO!

    And this in response to Jackie and Sulfa information. Thank you! This is probably why I suffer from arthritis so badly! I will start watching out for those ingredients! I also dehydrate my own fruits and veggies – that way I know exactly what they are.

    I have always said that if you want to know how your food is grown and processed – YOU MUST GROW and PROCESS it yourself!

    Reply
    • November 1, 2020 at 11:33 am
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      Hi Leanne, if the link starts with https and not http you can add it. The “s” means it’s a secure site. I love the honey story! We both learned something today about arthritis Sulfa. We must grow and process our own food, yes indeed! Linda

      Reply
          • November 1, 2020 at 6:53 pm
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            Linda – that is why I suggested anyone wanting to read the same article that they google it.

          • November 3, 2020 at 6:35 am
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            Hi Carol, oh my gosh!! WOW WOW WOW! Thank you for sharing this link, I’m going to put it in my post. Thank you so much! I’m shocked but I’m not shocked!! People need to read this article! Thank you so much! Linda

  • November 1, 2020 at 6:38 pm
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    You mentioned butter. I use Blue Bonnet and I keep it in the freezer. My local store had 45oz tub of Blue Bonnet for 2.99 with a dollar off coupon. Limit 2. i ran up to my store and got my 2 tubs and going to
    put them in the freezer till needed. This is the best price I have seen on this size in a long time.

    Reply
  • November 2, 2020 at 6:58 am
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    Brown sugar goes bad???

    Reply
    • November 2, 2020 at 8:03 am
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      Hi Beth, not often but the molasses can go bad that’s in the brown sugar. Watch for mold, Linda

      Reply

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