Sometimes thinking about storage for your survival food may seem a bit overwhelming, but I get it. Let’s make this simple, we can do it together. It may be the cost to purchase it, or maybe we’re not sure where to start when choosing the right survival food, and then there’s the issue of where to store what you buy. First of all, you don’t need to go out and buy 100 #10 cans and stash them in a dark closet.
Depending on how many people are in your family, you can make a plan to fit your needs. This plan is quite simple and I will tell you how to get started. The first thing is to gather your family around and decide what survival foods everyone will eat, not only today but after an unforeseen emergency. Hopefully, they will be the same foods.
Food You Can Tolerate
We don’t want surprises and sick family members eating foods they can’t physically tolerate or don’t want to eat. I know, I can hear my dad saying, “if you’re starving, you will eat anything,” when you need to prepare emergency meals. Of necessity, we do have to consider family members that need gluten-free foods or have ingredients like nuts that cause some serious allergy issues. The downside to some of these “specialty foods” is the additional cost.
When I started my survival food stash as part of my emergency preparedness plan, I had to make a plan to match my budget and my food choices, and I had to know the right foods for Mark and me. Mark doesn’t care for sweet potatoes, but I bought a case of six #10 cans because they were cheaper by the case. I’ll eat those and love every bite! My plan was to buy one case of #10 cans every month that included the foods we both like.
In case you’re new to this, a #10 can is 6.25 inches in diameter and 7 inches high. I appreciate the fact that Thrive Life came out with a Pantry can that is 4 inches in diameter by 5.5 Inches high. For the last two years, I’ve been purchasing pantry-sized cans because they are smaller, cheaper, and easier to store for just the two of us.
I mainly purchased things like fruits and vegetables. When I started buying food storage items there weren’t any organic or non-GMO choices for any emergency food storage items. It’s great now because several companies offer Non-GMO food items, as well as certified Organic food in #10 cans.
I purchased freeze-dried cheeses, freeze-dried meats like chicken, beef, and tuna, freeze-dried fruits like blueberries and strawberries, and freeze-dried vegetables like corn, beans, and tomatoes. They aren’t organic and may be GMO. What can you do when certain companies own the seeds of so many plants? I’ll still eat the food in those cans, I can’t afford to replace them. That would be wasteful.
Emergency Survival Food Storage
Freeze-Dried vs Dehydrated
Freeze-dried foods are more expensive, but they use less fuel and water to prepare meals at home. Dehydrated foods typically need water to cook them and are a lot cheaper. But dehydrated foods will use more fuel to heat the meals to be able to eat them. This is where you have to weigh your options.
The more dehydrated food you buy the more fuel you will need to make the hot water for rehydration. If you have the sunshine, I highly suggest a Sun Oven. This gem uses zero fuel, yay! But if you rarely have the sunshine needed to make them work, don’t buy one.
I’ve tried just about every emergency survival food storage item on the market. I’ve been blessed by many companies giving me boxes to try and then writing a review about them. Whatever you decide to buy, please look at the ounces in each can and the cost of shipping. Not all #10 cans are equal in price, quantity, and high quality. Look at the ingredients to compare them. Here are just a few of my favorite companies.
Honeyville, Thrive Life, Mountain House, and Valley Food Storage, to name just a few. Now, emergency food storage is awesome, but we need water to go with it.
Water Is Critical
By now you know that the American Red Cross recommends one gallon per person per day. I highly recommend four gallons per person per day. We need water to hydrate ourselves, cook meals, maintain personal hygiene, and possibly at least wash our underwear.
Emergency Survival Food
Please keep in mind, this is a very short list, as in basic essentials, but we need to start somewhere, right? Many of these items are considered perishable food, so we need to plan our storage containers and shelf-life accordingly. Keeping an active inventory with a scheduled inspection and rotation as necessary is very important. Being able to keep the food free of moisture, pests, and bacteria can’t be overemphasized.
Living here in the Salt Lake City, UT, area means we don’t have to deal with humidity as you would in states like Florida, but we still need to have things stored in air-tight containers whenever possible.
1. Instant milk:
This is perfect for your morning cereal or to use when baking. Even in an emergency situation, we like to keep our routines as normal as possible, so being able to serve milk as part of our emergency food supplies, means a lot.
2. Baking powder:
We need this for making cakes, muffins, and so many other baked items. Check the dates and rotate as needed. I NEVER buy large containers, please remember that fresh is best for taste, texture, and overall consistency.
3. Baking Soda:
Here again, we need this for so many recipes, stock it, and rotate it. I always try to think about the shelf-life of what I am purchasing so I can get the best long-term food storage possible.
4. Bread or White Flour:
Please learn to make loaves of bread, dinner rolls, and cinnamon rolls. It’s a skill everyone needs. I bet you love the smell of warm bread coming out of the oven!! I consider flour to be more of a short-term food supply item. I use bread flour most of the time rather than all-purpose flour in my food supply. I get very good results, no matter what I’m baking.
Salt is used for seasoning, baking, and so much more. Keep it dry, DO NOT USE Oxygen absorbers or you will have a brick of salt. If properly stored in an air-tight bucket or another suitable BPA-free sealable and durable container, it can be considered a long-term storage item you can count on.
Real honey is one of those foods that can last forever. Please store your honey in glass jars with a quality lids, plastic containers will crack. Yes, I’ve had plastic containers crack and leak in the pantry. I must suggest, if you do buy honey in 5-gallon containers, please transfer the honey into quart-size wide-mouth (preferably) jars because the honey will crystallize and it’s easier to deal with when in smaller quantities.
Here’s the deal, you don’t want to have to chisel that honey out of a 5-gallon container. You can “soften” your honey a lot easier in quart-size jars in a pot of warm water or set the jars outside in the sun.
We all use sugar for baking, cooking, and everything in between. I also stock Stevia in the Raw for treats with fewer calories. Even in disasters, we all like sweet comfort foods. A natural disaster can come in forms, like a hurricane, flood, wildfire, snowstorm, earthquake, and more. It’s nice to know we can make something everyone will like, as long as it’s safe to do so.
8. Spices we love to use:
I wrote this post that may help you get started, 33 Essential Spices I Recommend Stocking Up On Spices come in handy when you make a family favorite snack, so have a variety you can put to use when needed.
Oh, vanilla is one of the best things to stock. I use it for baking, cooking, and so much more!
10. Unsweetened cocoa:
Oh my gosh, I stock quite a bit of this because I love my homemade hot chocolate, cookies, and cakes.
11. Oils-coconut, olive oil, etc.:
Everyone has their own favorite oils, I buy oil in small containers (about 1 quart) because I still believe that fresh is best. I have read where people freeze or refrigerate their oil. As with so many food items, try to store your oils in a cool and dark place like a basement to help maintain a longer shelf life.
12. Chocolate (this is my very important treat):
This one needs no explanation, I love dark chocolate, then milk chocolate. Life is good with your favorite chocolate!
13. Pancake Mix:
You know, when my girls were little I made pancake mix from scratch. Then I discovered Krusteaz from Costco, which was a game changer for me. I store the bag in the freezer to keep it fresh.
14. Pancake Syrup:
I truly believe I’m a Pancake Syrup snob. I wish I wasn’t but I grew up on Log Cabin maple syrup and it’s still my favorite. Oh, and we heat it up a bit, it’s so good.
These are the items to store to fill the belly, so to speak, and yet be healthy at the same time. This is why it’s critical to cook from scratch.
16. SAF Yeast:
This is the only yeast I buy, I freeze several pouches in the freezer. If I open one pouch, I place the yeast in a glass jar and place it in the refrigerator. Yes, you can make sourdough bread without yeast, but it’s nice to have options.
17. Hard White Wheat:
If you can afford a wheat grinder and want to make whole wheat bread you will save so much money. Of course, if you have gluten issues this won’t work for you.
Dried AND canned beans such as pinto, refried beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, chili beans, etc.
Ready To Eat Food
Here’s the deal, you can buy ready-to-eat cans of food that you don’t need to heat on your stove in a pinch, like a chili, beef stew, green beans, canned corn, fruit cocktail, canned peaches, canned pears, and so much more. Peanut butter and jam are great for this section too.
Extras For The Pantry
And don’t forget spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, or tomato paste. I love Rotel tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and green chilies. Every time you pick up a can, think about this, will I eat this? Can I prepare a meal with this? Mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, and pickles are great to add as well.
Please stock the garden seeds you can grow. Where I buy my garden seeds: SeedsNow
If you have a garden and learn to produce enough to preserve the harvest by water canning or pressure canning, you rock! There is nothing more exhilarating than seeing quart jars lined up on shelves that you canned yourself.
Please be aware, I’ve seen some blogs that are teaching you how to can butter, eggs, and bacon. They are not safe to eat. Others will question this comment, but when I took the classes to get my Master Canning Certificate that is exactly what the professional canning instructor told us.
I remember one ICU nurse saying, “If they can those foods I hope they make it out of the ICU alive when they can and then eat those foods.” Here is the best USDA Canning Book I recommend you use. The spiral-bound one is awesome!
Another excellent canning book I recommend is The Ball Canning Guide.
There is something about having a garden to add items to your survival food kit and emergency food kit as part of your storage plan. But we also need to have the skills to cook from scratch. If you can learn to make bread, tortillas, or crackers you can survive with the foods I have listed above. Of course, this is a very short list, but it gives you an idea of where to start with a few cans here and there. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda