As you look through the list there are some of the things that you can make yourself with some of the basic storage. I have made a notation behind some of the things you can make yourself. And most important don’t forget” store what you eat and eat what you store” in a time of crisis you don’t want to be introducing new food to your family that they are not used to or trying to feed them something they don’t like.
So what do I need in my Deep Pantry / Food Storage to survive?
Start with a three month supply then gradually work your way to a year. Whatever you do though do not go into debt to do this just start with a week then two weeks and so on. Or whatever you can do you can go here to see how to do a deep pantry/ food storage on a tight budget.
Try to work up to a year’s Supply of Food or more. This means enough shelf-stable food to sustain every member of your family for an entire year. And it can’t be just rice and beans. You’ll need, and appreciate a nice variety!
Here are some things you’ll want to stockpile:
Wheat (Wheat Berries)- Flour, depending on where you live and how you store flour will determine how long it will last. I have flour stored, I rotate it and when I store it I put spearmint gum in the buckets with it and store it in the shed where it freezes. In the winter months, the freezing helps prolong the shelf life, by killing all the little critters that might want to hatch in your flour. You can store in airtight buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. I would recommend freezing it for at least 48 hours before you put into your preferred storage if it isn’t going to be stored in freezing temperatures (freezing winters). You can also add some spearmint gum to your flour before you store to help keep bugs away. I use 3 sticks per 5-gallon bucket.
Wheat berries, they store for decades. My Dad has wheat that has been stored for 40 + years. He checked it a while back and it is still good. He stored it in 55-gallon drums added dry ice and closed it up, keep it stored outside where it stayed frozen all winter. Store wheat the same as with the flour. We buy our wheat straight from the mill it is a little cheaper that way. You can buy wheat from the store, even most Wal-Marts have wheat in 5-gallon buckets. You can also order it online there are several companies that sell it.
You will need a wheat grinder to turn the wheat into flour; I’d recommend a hand grinder in case you are without electricity. (Start using wheat flour now so the family can get use to it. I started a little at a time in all my recipes and have gradually added more ( I made brownies the other day and used all white flour the family wanted to know what was wrong with them, they didn’t taste right so they do get use to the wheat flour ). I do have an electric grinder with a manual back up.
Beans and Lentils- Cheap and very nutritious! An important source of fiber, protein, carbs, iron, and vitamin B. Store a variety: Pintos, Black Beans, White Beans, Navy Beans, etc.. Get what your family will eat. I store our beans in 5-gallon buckets and the pinto’s I just keep in the gunny sack that they came in.
Rice– Although Brown Rice is better for you, it will go rancid quickly. White Rice will store for 30+ years and makes a great filler in many recipes. Store as you do the flour, only instead of spearmint gum add a couple of bay leaves. You can also dehydrate cooked rice to make instant rice for when you are in a hurry. I use the homemade instant rice in soups that I have canned that need rice in them since you are not supposed to can rice. You can also grind the rice into rice flour.
Rolled Oats– Not only for oatmeal but also for cookies, breads, meatloaf, etc. Store Quick Oats and/or Old Fashioned Oats, depending on which recipes you plan on using. Again store as you would the flour and wheat. You can also grind the oats into flour
Dried Corn– For grinding into cornmeal. I will buy the feed corn (make sure it doesn’t have any additives), I get whole corn to use to make masa for tortillas, and I get cracked corn to use for cornmeal. You will need a grinder, make sure it will grind corn. My electric grinder and my manual what grinder will not grind corn so I have a separate grinder for that. They grow both yellow corn and blue corn here so I store both. Don’t forget you can roast the corn or cornmeal in the oven for a really good roasted flavor.
If storing cornmeal you will want to either buy the cornmeal in # 10 cans ready for long term storage or store in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.
Sugar– A major staple!! Especially if you want to be canning jellies, jams and preserves, and stuff like that when they come into season. Also, you should store some sort of drink mix or tea bags, just to break up the monotony, and you’ll definitely want a sweetener for those. (Plus, you do not want to live with me when I’ve been without sweets for too long.). Store in 5-gallon buckets if you live in a high humidity area you will want to add some silica jell packs to help keep out moisture. I do have some stored in the bags but it does get a little clumpy sometimes.
Pasta– Another cheap and filling staple. Store Macaroni, Spaghetti, Lasagna, ABC shapes for the kids, etc. Cheese is expensive, but if you can store up some cheese powder and/or dehydrated cheeses, that would be nice in pasta dishes. Don’t forget spaghetti sauce! You can make your own from canned tomato sauce and spices recipe here. Find a good recipe to plan on using. Ingredients to make Stroganoff and Alfredo sauce would also be a nice way to mix it up. ( Learn how to make you own pasta invest in a pasta maker, fresh is so much better and you’re not having to make room to store the pasta as far as sauce learn to make your own ). You can catch pasta on sale for 50 cents to 1.00 when you do grab a bunch then store as you do the flour. I leave them in the plastic bags they come in and put in 5-gallon buckets to store. If they are in cardboard you can dump them into the buckets or Mylar bags to store.
Powdered Milk– For drinking and for using in recipes. ( If you have the room consider a milk goat or cow then you can have butter, milk, Ice cream, and cheese and the extras milk can be used to feed the chickens and the pigs ). Store both nonfat and full-fat dry milk. With the full fat ( Nido ) you can make butter from it. The nonfat if stored in a dry cool place you can leave in the original box if in a high humidity area you will want to put in Mylar bags. The full fat usually comes in sealed cans and can be stored the way. Store in a cool place also.
Honey– For recipes. Also good for sore throats and coughs. ( If you are in an area that you could have bees I recommend bees for the honey then you don’t need as much sugar stored and the wax can be used for candles, soap making, lotion, and herbal salves). You can buy honey powder but it isn’t real honey just more of a honey-flavored sugar. Honey will store indefinitely if it sugars up just put in a pan of water and warm it on the stove.
Shortening, Vegetable, and Olive Oil– For baking breads, homemade salad dressing, frying foods, etc. Shortening has a way longer shelf life than oils. Oils will go rancid pretty quick. If you store oils keep in a cool dark place and be sure to rotate. Shortening and lard will last a little longer but also need to be stored in a cool dark place and rotate. If you have access to beef fat or pig fat you can render your own lard or tallow and store in mason jars they will keep for a very long time. They can also be frozen. Another option is to buy an oil expeller to press your own oils from seeds and nuts. (I don’t have one but it is on my wish list. They range from 150 dollars on up)
Salt– Not only for flavoring foods. It is important to store Iodized salt, along with any other types of salt your family uses (ie: Kosher, Sea Salt, Canning salt). Iodized salt contains Iodine, which is an essential trace mineral our bodies need to stay in good health. It can also be used for preserving meat. I buy sea salt for table use and then get 50 pounds of cleaned stock salt from the feed store for cooking, curing meat and canning. I also store and use iodine pills to get our needed iodine.
Yeast– Don’t forget to store this for baking breads. This needs to be stored in the freezer (I will post a recipe for everlasting yeast in a later post). Don’t forget the sourdough starter also. Start learning how to make bread from yeast and sourdough now then if you have no access to store-bought bread you will know how to make your own. I use my kitchen aid to make my bread in, but I also have a bread bucket to use to mix the bread in if I can’t use my kitchen aid. (Lemans carries bread buckets)
Baking Powder You can make your own with baking soda and cream of tartar. Baking powder doesn’t have a very long self-life so if you store the stuff to make your own you will have it.
Baking Soda– not only for cooking, but for cleaning, and you can make toothpaste, deodorant, and washing soda (I buy my sodium bicarbonate in 25 lb bags at the feed store the same thing but much cheaper ) Store in 5-gallon buckets with a silica jell pack ( for moisture).
Spices and Condiments– Look through the recipes you plan on cooking from your food storage to see what spices you’ll need. Learn how to make your own Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Salad Dressings, etc from these spices and other ingredients, or stock up on your favorite condiments. It is a lot easier to store the ingredients then all the various things. If you do store them keep them in a cool dark place and rotate. Start making them now then you will know what recipes you like best and if you need to tweak them any.
Canned fruits and vegetables– Even if you plan on having a garden, you can’t depend on it giving you enough food to last an entire year. Store up foods your family normally eats. We eat a lot of green beans. Corn and potatoes so that’s mostly what we’ve got stored. I’ve also got tomato sauce, paste, whole and diced tomatoes for using in recipes. The same goes for fruits; applesauce, mandarin oranges, peach slices, pineapple bits, and fruit cocktail are among our cans. Don’t forget the jams and jellies, and pie fillings!
You can also get fruits and vegetables freeze-dried or dehydrated. Learn to can your own then even if you don’t have a garden you can can them while they are in season and cheaper.
Canned Meats- Although we have our own chickens and other animals to butcher, along with hunting for wild game, we know we won’t be able to depend on these options always being available. Buy chicken, beef (you can even can ground beef!), and other meats you eat a lot of and can them yourself, or buy already canned meats. Tuna is another good thing to store if your family likes it. (Again if you have the room raise your own meat and know how to process it.). Rabbits are a great meat option if you don’t have a lot of room. Chickens are also a good option plus they can give you some eggs.
Dried Potatoes– Could come in the form of instant potatoes, freeze-dried, potato flakes, etc.
or dry your own. We go once a year to a local area and buy up to 800 pounds of potatoes (they are super cheap) to last the year, I can, dehydrate,and freeze these in addition to canning soups and stews from them. You can also dehydrate your own mashed potatoes for instant potatoes
Dried or canned Onions- Dehydrated slices, diced, minced, whatever. Again you can dry or can your own. Just a tip if you dehydrate your own make sure your dehydrator is in a separate closed-off room or an outbuilding. If you don’t your whole house will smell like onions for weeks (don’t ask how I know haha.)
Vinegar– White and Apple Cider; for cooking, medicinal remedies, and disinfecting/cleaning. Learn to make your own especially if you have access to a lot of apples, you can also make vinegar from your kombucha. Be sure to use store-bought for canning though, so you have the correct amount of acidity
Chocolate Chips- for sanity because chocolate makes everything better. To store put in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers or in mason jars and dry pack them. If you store cocoa powder you can make your own.
Molasses– For baking, making brown sugar, etc. I store in the original jars and keep in a cool dark place. Molasses is also high in iron.
Lemon Juice– for cooking, dehydrating and canning. I can my own, when lemons are on sale or when I buy them from the FFA fruit sale I will juice and can my own. Store in a cool dark place and be sure to rotate. Sometimes the juice will turn a brownish color the juice is still good, just not as pretty.
Peanut Butter- We eat a LOT of peanut butter around here. If you have someone in your family allergic to peanuts ( like I am) you might want to store a different type of nut butter. You can also store the nuts and make your own butters. Nut butters are very high in protein.
Vanilla Store-bought or make your own. I do store a lot of imitation just because it is so much cheaper.
Cocoa Powder with this you can make chocolate milk, hot cocoa, chocolate chips, brownies etc. I store mine in the original packaging and the bulk I store in 5-gallon buckets. If in a high humidity area store in Mylar bags or mason jars dry-packed.
Cream Soups– Cream of Chicken, Cream of Celery, Cream of Mushroom; for recipes. (Learn to make your own)
Evaporated Milk This is something you need to also rotate. You can also can your own if you have a good supply of milk or catch it on sale.
Cheese Powder– or dehydrated cheeses; for recipes ( Be sure to try some before you buy a large amount some cheese powders are nasty ). You can also can cheeses.
Powdered Eggs– Even if you have laying hens, it wouldn’t hurt to have some of this stored up. You’ll need eggs in a lot of recipes. (You can freeze or dry your own eggs). Fresh eggs can also be stored on the shelf in a cool place for 6 months to a year ( they do need to be coated with mineral oil and the carton flipped over once a month).
Popcorn Kernels– Popcorn makes a great snack. And popcorn can be ground on to cornmeal. Learn how to make popcorn on top of the stove as our Parents and Grandparents did, it tastes so much better that way.
Powdered Drink Mix – You can order different flavors of powdered drink mix in bulk, or catch them on sale. You can also make flavored muffins from the sweetened lemon and orange-flavored drink mixes. And there are several things you can use te unsweetened flavors for (Kool-Aid). The sweetened and the unsweetened are good sources of Vit.C
Tea and Teabags My family drinks a lot of sweet tea, so we have teabags stored up. ( I drink herb tea from herbs that I grow ).
Coffee– If you are a coffee drinker, and even if you’re not, this would be good to have on hand. You might need that extra boost of caffeine. I’d suggest storing coffee beans instead of already ground coffee. Again, a good hand-cranked wheat mill will do a great job of grinding coffee beans. I do store several cans of already ground coffee. Just keep in a cool place.
Pectin– For canning, you can make your own with crab apples.
Multi Vitamins, Be sure to get some good multivitamins, chances are you will not be getting all the vitamins that you need in a crisis situation.
Once you have enough of these basic staples stocked up, you can think about other treats for your food storage. Some people like having dessert mixes, hot chocolate, pancake mix (like Bisquick), and other convenience foods on hand. I’d say definitely spend your money on more substantial foods before splurging on these things.
How much of all of this food do I need?
You can go to Foodguys.com for a food storage calculator to know how much you need to store. They have it broke down as to how much of each item. Or you can go here to calculate how much of each category.
How do I store all of these foods?
It is extremely important that you store your foods properly. Nothing would be worse than to open a bucket of grains to find it crawling with Weevils, or to find that a mouse has been enjoying your stockpiles before you could! Take a few extra steps to ensure that your food will still be good when you are ready for it. Many of these things can store practically indefinitely if well protected.
Buckets- When looking for a bucket to store your grains in, you need to make sure that you use a food-grade plastic bucket. You can’t just run to the hardware store and buy buckets. On the bottom of a food-grade bucket will be an HDPE, with a number two within a triangle of arrows. I’ve read that the colored buckets, even if they have the #2 on them, are not safe. If you wanna be safe, get white buckets.
You can find these for free, or sometimes for a small price, at your local bakery. Just ask for icing buckets with a lid. Size doesn’t really matter. Gratefully take any and all they offer you! You can also order them online, but they are pricey. Gamma Seal lids are awesome, but again, they are pretty expensive. Wal-Mart has started carrying food grade buckets in the hardware aisle.
#10 cans– You can buy some food items already packed in #10 cans, which are about 3/4 gallon; these will already be prepared for long term storage. If you have a cannery in your area you can buy bulk foods and can them yourself using their equipment. Packing #10 cans yourself is definitely the cheaper of the two options.
Mylar Bags– You can seal your food in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers then put these in your buckets. Especially if you live in a high humidity area. I haven’t had to use Mylar bags. I do have a few that I am wanting to fill a weeks’ worth of food to seal then put in buckets. You can find these online or in preparedness stores.
Oxygen Absorbers – You’ll need to put these absorbers in your buckets, and #10 cans if you are filling them yourself, along with the food you’ll be storing. They will absorb all of the oxygen in your container, killing any bug eggs that might be ready to hatch out in your foods. Make sure that the container you will be putting these in is airtight.
As soon as you open the sealed bag of absorbers, they will begin working. You have about 10 minutes to get them into a bucket and sealed before they start losing their potency. If you will not be using them all, store the extra oxygen absorbers in a small glass jar tightly sealed until ready to use again. They will lose a little bit of strength since they will have absorbed the oxygen in the jar, but not much.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)- A naturally occurring substance, safe for consumption as long as it is “food grade” DE, and not what you will find in swimming pool supplies. Mix one cup of DE into every 40 lbs of grains and legumes; approx. 1 cup per 5-gallon bucket. Do this in small batches to ensure that every kernel is covered in the powder. Use a mask when mixing to avoid inhaling this product. You might want to protect your eyes as well. You can order this online, some garden centers and feed stores also carry DE. Read the ingredients on the bag before buying to make sure that other chemical insecticides have not been added.
Iodized Salt- Add 1 cup of salt to a container of pasta to keep weevils out. You won’t be wasting the salt, ’cause it will still be usable when the pasta is gone.
Silica Jell packs, You can buy these online or make your own. You can buy silica jell in the floral dept of some stores. Then just make your own little pouches to put it in.
It all looks overwhelming to start, but start a little at a time as much as you can. Do get the main basics first ( wheat, sugar, Baking soda, Baking powder, Powder milk, Salt, Beans Meat, Oils or shortening, Vinegar, fruits and vegetables.) then add the other things.
I live in an area that is cold so I store my flour, grain, sugar, etc. in a shed outside the winter months keep it froze so the bugs don’t grow and they keep through the couple hot months of summer after having been frozen all winter.
You do want to make sure that the canned goods do not freeze.