There are many reasons for stockpiling a three-month, six-month or one-year supply of food. For one thing, it’s a good investment.
The value of food commodities generally increases at the same rate as inflation. Money in the bank doesn’t do that. Investing in $500 worth of canned goods, tuna, canned chicken or dehydrated food that will last five to 15 years is a better bet than putting $500 in the bank.
But the most important reason to store food is that it comes in very handy in a crisis of any kind, whether it is a large-scale emergency such as an earthquake, flood, volcanic eruption, war, strike or economic crash or something as personal as being laid off work, moving or helping other family members that are down and out. When cash is short, it is comforting to know that you can use your home grocery store to help buffer lean money times. If there ever comes a time when you have to live on what you have in your food storage for an extended period of time, you will wish you had a well-rounded supply of food.
How Much Food Do You Have On Hand?
In general, most households do not have more than a one-week supply of food. Let’s face it, as a Nation, we rely almost totally on the supermarket and fast food restaurants.
If you ask any supermarket chain manager to tell you how long it would take to empty the shelves in any store in the event of a crises, the answer would be approximately three days. They just don’t keep that much in their warehouses. And if there were a trucking problem, it would be less than three days. People would storm the grocery stores and buy anything they could get. Water would be the first thing to go.
I strongly suggest that you find a place in your home, either in a basement, spare bedroom, closet, junk room, pantry, under the stairway or heated garage, and go to work turning it into your own home grocery store and pharmacy. Somehow, get shelves in there, build them, have them built or buy them pre-built. Whatever works best for your family, just do it.
This “home grocery store” will be to you and your family as the ark was to Noah and his family. It will contain all the necessary food, water, bedding and medical supplies to sustain life for a minimum of three months and up to one year.
Foods That Store Well
- Canned foods such as vegetables, fruits and juices.
- Whole grains and rice.
- Dried beans and legumes.
- Pastas and cereals.
- Dried dairy such as powdered milk, dried eggs, dried butter and dried cheese.
- Dried fruits and vegetables.
- Herbs, spices and seasonings.
- Honey and other sweeteners.
- Baking items like baking powder, soda, yeast and salt.
- Olive oil.
- Condiments such as salad dressing, pickles, ketchup, jams and syrups.
- Water (one gallon per person per day).
Non-Food Items To Store
- Wheat grinder.
- Water filter.
- ION (stabilized oxygen) water treatment.
- Cookbooks with dried-food recipes.
- Vitamins, minerals, protein powder and other supplements.
- Toilet paper, paper goods, soaps and toiletries.
- Cooking supplies.
- Propane or outdoor cooking stove.
- Pharmaceutical, medicines and medical supplies.
Rotate And Replenish
If you store what you eat and eat what you store, the rotation will automatically take care of itself. Rotating your food so your family gets accustomed to eating it is very important. Always replace each item as it is used up so you can maintain your stockpile.
Case Lot Sales
Purchase cases of items when they come on sale. Our hometown grocery store has case lot sales about four times a year. The best prices are when items are in season. I save a lot of money by purchasing in bulk.
How Much Food To Store
As you calculate what you need for your favorite recipes, keep in mind that these items must be storable. Nothing perishable will work so choose recipes that use canned or dehydrated food items in them. A sample formula for knowing how much food to store is to keep track of what you eat for a two-week period of time. Surprisingly, most families repeat meals every few days. Multiply the basic ingredients by six to calculate a three-month supply and by 13 for a six-month supply of those items. Separate menus can be calculated for summer and winter, taking into consideration gardening and seasonal foods available. Build your own stockpile slowly, over a six-month period of time. Then you will quickly have your own supply of the essentials and receive the peace of mind of knowing that you are not dependent on the government, church or anyone else.
Purchase Extra Food Items Each Week
Every time I go to the grocery store, I get two of each item that I normally buy, such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, pickles, olives, cream soups, mayonnaise, salad dressing, spaghetti sauces, mixes, etc. I put one away and use the other. It’s a good idea to keep adding more and more of a variety of items to your home grocery store, so your diet won’t be bland.
Make A Plan
Planned menus can eliminate the panic feeling you get when you know you should store food and you don’t know where to begin. This will assist you in avoiding impulse or panic buying, which will save you a lot of time, money and grief.
I have included a chart in my book Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook to plan menus for two weeks. It asks you to list every ingredient to make sure you have each item on hand.
Anticipate your needs for a three-month period of time. Buy bulk food in larger quantities and store them in plastic food grade buckets that have airtight lids. (We will be discussing the different methods of storing bulk food in an upcoming article.)
Store your food in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and in a place that stays a constant temperature of about 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot or cold fluctuations in temperatures can destroy the nutritive value of the food and shorten its shelf life. A basement or cold storage area is ideal. I realize that some people don’t have a basement; that’s why it is so important to plan a space that can stay cooler than the rest of the house.
Always label every can, bottle or bucket with what is in each container, the date of purchase, shelf life, and the date to be used by.
Ready-To-Eat Meals (Just Add Water)
An emergency could last from three days, three months or six months. I believe we need at least two weeks’ worth of quick, easy meals that don’t require much effort to make. There are several companies selling premade meals. Meals that have all the ingredients in them and you just add water and cook them for 15 minutes. I especially like the ones called GoFoods. The name stands for On The Go Foods for families. The things I like the most about these meals are that they are healthy and quick to fix (15 minutes), and the shelf life is 15 to 25 years. There are no chemicals, additives, preservatives, dyes, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, GMO foods or MSG in their meals or food items.
Most of the information in this article came from my book Emergency Food Storage and Survival Guide.