Dehydrated Food: What to Store and How Much to Store

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This article is a continuation of the last two in which I discussed The Advantages Of Storing Dehydrated Foods and How To Store Bulk Foods.

The basic food items recommended for storage and the quantities to store are listed below. These are only suggestions. Every individual and family is unique in what they like and will eat. If you don’t drink milk or eat meat, wheat, sugar or any other food item listed, then you will need to adjust the amount of these items that you store.

Grains: (300 lbs. per person per year or 75 lbs. for three months.) I recommend that you have a wide variety of whole grains. Make sure your family will eat wheat. Some people are allergic to wheat and find it out when they have to eat it on a daily basis.

Some other grains to choose from are rice, oats, corn, six-grain and nine-grain cereals, farina, germade, barley, buckwheat, rye and super grains like: quinoa, amaranth, triticale, Kamut®, spelt and millet. Included in the grain category are all pastas such as: macaroni, spaghetti and linguini.

White rice verses brown rice: Brown rice doesn’t store very long. It will go rancid if it is not kept in the freezer. The shelf life is six months in room temperature. If it is kept in the freezer it will last a couple of years.

White rice is the best choice for long-term food storage. White rice stores years longer than brown.

Legumes: (75 lbs. per person per year or about 19 lbs. for three months.) Store a variety of beans. This includes black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, great northern beans, small red beans, lima, dry peas, soy beans and lentils.

Beans are a great source of protein and, when combined with rice, become a complete protein. Beans can be used whole, sprouted or ground into flour to make thickeners or refried beans. When combined with rice in a meal, it makes a great meat substitute.

Milk and dairy products: (60 lbs. per person per year or 15 lbs. for three months) This includes non-fat powdered milk, dried eggs, dried cheddar cheese powder, buttermilk powder and dried butter powder.

Sweeteners: (60 lbs. per person per year or 15 lbs. for three months) Sweeteners include honey, sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, agave and stevia.

Fruits: 30 lbs. dehydrated fruits per person per year or 8 lbs. for three months) This includes dried items such as apple slices, apple bits, applesauce, raisins and fruit mix and all wet-pack canned fruits, as well as fresh fruits in season.

Vegetables: (40 lbs. of dehydrated vegetables per person per year or 10 lbs. for three months) This includes dried items such as bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, sweet corn, onions, peas, potato slices, potato dices, potato flakes, potato pearls, tomatoes and tomato powder and all wet-pack canned vegetables as well as fresh garden veggies.

Fats and oils: (Two gallons of oil and two large Crisco®-type cans of shortening per person per year or one-half gallon of oil and one-half can of shortening for three months) Other alternatives include dried butter and shortening powder, cooking oil, such as vegetable, olive and coconut oil and peanut butter. Good quality extra virgin olive oil, first run cold pressed, or coconut oil will store for up to five years.

Meats and meat substitutes: (35 pounds or more of canned meats per person per year or 8 ½ lbs. of canned meats for three months). (Beans and rice can be included as meat substitutes.)  If you are vegetarian, you will need to plan meat alternatives and other non-animal protein type foods. My personal opinion is that you need to have a wide variety of canned meats such as: tuna, salmon, chicken, beef chunks, ham and freeze-dried meats.

Sprouting seeds and beans: (20 pounds per person per year or five pounds for three months.) Some of the different sprouting seeds include; alfalfa, broccoli, radish, mung, red clover, adzuki, sunflower, garbanzo, lentils, sprouting peas, salad blends, etc. These must be specifically for sprouting. Sprouting beans, seeds, legumes and wheat is the best way to have salad greens year round. Sprouting increases the nutritional value by 300 times. A seed, grain, bean or legume turns into a vegetable when sprouted. Sprouting can save your life.

Gardening seeds: (Preferably non-hybrid) Store all varieties of garden seeds that you like. Keep your packets safe and sealed in a plastic bucket away from mice, insects and moisture. Hybrid seeds are genetically altered and will germinate for one season only. If you want to save seeds to plant for the next year, store heirloom of non-hybrid seeds. They are much harder to find, but you can look them up on the Internet and find companies that specialize in these seeds.

Flavorings and adjunct foods: All baking items such as baking powder, baking soda, yeast, salt, flavoring, spices, bouillon, soup bases and sauces.

Condiments and fun Foods: These foods include things such as; jams, jellies, drink mixes, gelatin, sauces, ketchup, pickles, relishes, olives, salad dressings, mayonnaise, candy, puddings, dessert filling, box mixes, popcorn and canned juices, etc.

Baby Food: If you have a baby or little children, they are the top priority in a crisis. Store everything you need for them including food and non-food items such as formula, diapers, wipes, extra clothing, warm blankets etc. Don’t forget baby bottles and nipples and spoons for baby food.

Store some bottles of commercial baby foods. However, once the infant can tolerate solid foods, he or she should be able to eat the foods the rest of the family is eating as long the foods are mashed or thinned with milk.  Store some evaporated whole milk which could be added to the nonfat dry milk and reconstituted.

If allergies to cow’s milk are common to the family, then rice cereal may be used in the development of a formula. Sometimes nonfat milk is tolerated whereas whole milk would not be. In my book, Cookin’ With Home Storage there is a chapter on emergency baby food and pet food.

Pet food: Take into consideration what you would feed your pet in the event of a crisis. Store enough commercial dog or cat food for a three-month supply. However, animals can eat some of the same foods that we have stored for ourselves.

Cats are carnivores and eat mostly meat and vegetables. Cats have a hard time digesting grains. Dogs, on the other hand, do well on meat and vegetables mixed with rice.

Birds need the seeds and grains. They can eat some vegetables. Chickens can eat the same grains that we store for ourselves. They will eat table scraps from fruits and vegetables.

Any other animal that needs special food will have to be considered in planning your food storage.

Nonfood Items: Consider all necessary non-food items you may need. I suggest you go through your house and get all like items together in one tote or container.

Label what is in the container and keep it handy if you need it. Use containers that stack on top of each other to save space. If your paper products, medical supplies, vitamin and mineral supplements or personal items are scattered all over the house and you can’t find them, then you don’t have them. Being organized is the key to being prepared.

Be sure to include all paper products like paper plates, napkins, paper cups, plastic utensils, paper towels, toilet paper, tissue, baby wipes, garbage bags, zip lock baggies, waxed paper, plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

Store antibacterial cleansers, laundry and body soap. Store extra personal hygiene items such as combs, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and cream rinse, lotions, makeup, razor blades and shaving equipment.

Store personal hygiene items such as feminine napkins, baby diapers, baby wipes, salves and creams for diaper rash and infections. Don’t forget medical supplies. These items might include; aspirin, ibuprofen, adhesive bandages, gauze, tape ointments, petroleum jelly, cold remedies, cotton balls, cotton-tipped swabs, scissors and all types of first aid items.

You need a supply of personal vitamin and mineral supplements such as vitamin C, calcium and any other product that you take on a regular basis. This also includes personal medications. If you are taking medications that are mandatory to life, you must store enough for at least three months. This is where the home pharmacy comes in. I know it is difficult to stockpile any type of prescription medications. Talk to your doctor and ask if you could get some extra meds on hand.

Special Diets: If you are on a special diet of any type, you definitely need to take this into consideration when planning out your food storage program. Again, store what you eat and eat what you store.

I personally store a lot of canned meats like tuna, salmon, chicken, beef and dried eggs because I need protein in my diet. If you are hypoglycemic or diabetic, you will need extra protein. Without protein you could become very sick.  Most all food storage items are either simple or complex carbohydrates.


Water: Storing water is one of the most important things you can do. You can live for days without food but you must have water to survive. All dehydrated food needs water to be rehydrated. You will need to store a minimum of 30 gallons per month per person. A three-month emergency supply would be 90 gallons. You can read my previous article on How And Where TO Store Water for more information.

 I recommend a product called ION for water purification. It is a water treatment that will kill giardia and dysentery on contact. It takes eight drops per gallon, and one bottle will treat 110 gallons. I keep this product handy because it will also kill bacteria on wounds. If you begin to feel as if you are about to come down with the flu you can use it medicinally by putting 20 drops in a  cup of water and drinking it.

On my website I sell a 250 gallon water tank that is 86 inches tall and 26 inches in diameter. It fits in a corner of a room or garage. I recommend it very much because it takes up a lot less space than 55-gallon drums. You would need five of them to equal one 250-gallon tank. It has a spigot to pour water with a drain at the bottom and a hole with a lid on top to fill the tank. The quality of the heavy gauge plastic is food grade and will not break. It is an excellent way to store water.

This information was taken from my books, Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook and Food Storage 101. Where Do I Begin?

All dehydrated food storage items, water treatment and storage containers mentioned in this article, as well as all seven books I have written, can be purchased at www.peggylayton.com.

Personal Liberty

Peggy Layton

a home economist and licensed nutritionist, holds a B.S. in Home Economics Education with a minor in Food Science and Nutrition from Brigham Young University. Peggy lives in Manti, Utah with her husband Scott. Together they have raised seven children. Peggy owns and operates two businesses: One called "The Therapy Center", where she is a licensed massage therapist and hypnotherapist, and the other an online cookbook and preparedness products business. She is nationally known for publishing a series of seven books on the subject of food storage and also lectures and teaches seminars about preparedness and using food storage products. Peggy practices what she preaches, has no debt, grows a huge garden, lives off the land, raises chickens, bottles and dehydrates food and has time left over to operate her businesses. To check out Peggy's cookbooks and self sufficiency products go to her website www.peggylayton.com. To get a free sample of three different storable meals that have a 15-year shelf life go here.

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