Food storage, like learning and mastering various prepping skills, takes time and effort. To ensure that your survival stockpile has enough food to last your family for a long time when SHTF, follow the food storage tips enumerated below. (h/t to TheSurvivalMom.com)
- Stay within your budget. Stockpile different kinds of canned food that are shelf-stable, but don’t spend money you can’t spare on supplies.
- Learn how to preserve food. If you don’t have the money for a freeze dryer, try home canning to preserve fruits like apples, berries, figs, grapes, or peaches. You can also home-can vegetables like beans, carrots, garlic, and greens so your family has access to nutritious food even after SHTF.
- Always repackage food. In general, food that comes in a cardboard box or flimsy plastic bag like flour or cornmeal must be repackaged. (Related: How to easily repackage your survival food for long term storage.)
- Choose a food storage area that is free from pests. If you’re looking for a non-toxic method of controlling pests, sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the floorboards of your pantry. Alternatively, you can set out small containers of cornmeal mixed with borax for a non-toxic way to kill any bugs. Rodents can chew through plastic five-gallon buckets, so keep an eye out for rodent droppings in your pantry.
- Protect stored food from the “enemies of food storage.” Things like heat, humidity, light, oxygen, pests, and time can make food deteriorate more quickly. Heat is the worst, so store your food in cool areas.
- Don’t buy food that no one in the family will eat. This only wastes your money and space in your pantry that should be used for items that everyone can enjoy, like pasta or home-canned fruits.
- Make sure the bulk of the food in your pantry can be used in multiple recipes. Instant meals are convenient, especially for short-term emergencies, but fresh and healthy ingredients are more of a long-term solution.
- Collect at least a dozen recipes that use only shelf-stable ingredients that your whole family can eat. This way, no one will suffer from food fatigue even if you have to keep eating the same thing for a long time.
- Rotate the food in your survival stockpile. Rotating food means using the oldest food on the shelf and replacing it with new food to prevent spoilage. Be careful about food storage conditions, especially heat, so the items in your pantry will stay fresher for longer. However, if you have food that is more than five years old, start using and replacing it.
- Stock up on comfort foods. Even if SHTF, the whole family’s mood can be improved if you cook comforting food like macaroni and cheese or baked desserts. Stock up on the ingredients for their favorite meals so you can cheer them up during a particularly long power outage.
- Always buy something for your survival stockpile when you’re doing the groceries. You don’t have to spend a fortune on extra cans of canned vegetables – a single can after each trip will add up after a week.
When SHTF, you’ll need more than food in your survival stockpile. Use coupons to save money on other essential items like cleaning supplies (e.g. baking soda and bleach) and toiletries.
Stocking up on survival food means you’re buying them at cheaper prices and planning ahead for a time when those prices will increase. Food price inflation is tricky since it isn’t always about the price of the item but the size of the package and the number of ounces the package contains.
Follow these tips to gradually build up your survival food stockpile before SHTF.