Why Storing a Year’s Supply of Food May be a Good Idea
The current political situation in the United States has shaken some people to the core. Hillary Clinton supporters who were certain she would win the election are doing everything they can to disrupt the Trump administration and cause chaos. The media is engulfed in fear-mongering and desperate to sell the story that America is falling apart. This has lead many people to wonder what the future might hold for those who are already struggling to get by. But it doesn’t have to be this way though. With careful planning, Americans can regain some control over their lives. And the best place to start is with their food storage.
If you have a roof over your head a closet full of food storage, your family’s basic needs are one less thing to stress about. Besides, if you listen to Hollywood, the zombie apocalypse should happen any day now. It will never hurt to have some extra food and supplies on hand, just in case.
Why Everyone Needs Food Storage
Years ago, families always had a stocked-up pantry. They joined together to grow the food that was in it themselves before spending many hours in the kitchen preserving the fruits of their labor. They had to. There was no way that they could survive the long winters if they didn’t. But since stores have all the food and supplies that everyone needs now, modern folks have quickly fallen into a pattern of keeping very low supplies of food on hand.
Just like car insurance, life insurance, and homeowners insurance, consider food storage as food insurance.
This poses several problems though. First of all, there might not always be enough money available to buy food with. A person could lose their job unexpectedly or suffer a catastrophe that causes them to lose all their savings. And what if there aren’t any friends or family members to ask for help with food? If a natural disaster were to strike, this could also cause a shortage in food that nearby stores would normally be stocked with.
And lastly, a food reserve is also needed in case the main breadwinner of the family gets sick because it will prevent the family from having to go hungry during the lean times. Experts recommend having a full year’s worth of food stored in a cool, dry place in your home. If this is cost prohibitive or space is an issue, consider investing in a three month supply of food and at the very minimum, maintain an emergency 72 hour food and medical kit.
If unemployment or illness strikes unexpectedly, a good part of your emergency preparedness plan should include three to six months worth of living expenses stored in a liquid savings account. Food storage will cover your meal expenses, freeing up money for utilities and medical care bills.
What Should You Keep in Your One Year Food Supply
At least a one-year supply of food should be kept on hand. That might sound like a lot, but this amount will increase a family’s security considerably. There are two types of foods that are needed. The first type is food that will last for many years without spoiling. This type of food is important to have because it can be left on the shelf for a long time without having to be replaced. Many of these foods have a ten to twenty year shelf life if properly sealed.
Here are some of the basic long-term food supplies you need to store:
- Whole Red Wheat
- Steel Cut Oats
- White and Wheat Flour
- Granulated Sugar
- Iodized Salt
- Dried apple slices
- Dried potato flakes
- Dried white rice
- Dried pasta
- Dried carrots
- Dried pinto beans and other dried legumes
- Water – with water purification in 50 gallon drums
- MREs – Meals Ready to Eat
But for a family to be able to have a well-rounded diet, other more flavorful foods must be stored too. They won’t last as long as the foods that were mentioned though, so they are called short-term foods. This list is longer than the other one because most of these preserved foods will only last a few years at best.
Remember to rotate the following foods in your one year supply:
- Canned milk
- Powdered milk
- Powdered Eggs
- Cooking oil
- Spices and seasonings
- Canned soup / stews
- Canned meats / chili
- Canned vegetables
- Raisins / dried cranberries
- Coffee beans
- Hot Cocoa mix
- Instant breakfast mix
- Mac and Cheese boxes
- Chocolate chips and baking chocolate
- Powdered juice / lemonade mix
- Condensed milk
- Powdered butter
- Powdered cheese
- Canned cheese / soup cans
- Canned salsa
- Shelf-stable juice
- Bottled water
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Dried fruits and vegetables
How to Stock Your Food Storage
Not everyone can afford to purchase a year’s supply of food at once. It takes time to accumulate it all. However, here are a few tips that can help make the process easier though.
- Purchase some large containers with air-tight lids to them. Use these to store the dried goods that are usually sold in paper or plastic bags. The containers will help prevent insects from getting in the food. They will also help ensure that the food doesn’t spoil.
- Go through all the food supplies that you already have. List them all out on a food inventory sheet. That way, you will know how much of each item is already in the pantry.
- When you buy more food, list it on the sheet. It will be easier to buy extras if you watch sales at the local grocery stores. It doesn’t matter what order that you stock up on each item, but it helps to work your way down the list of supplies that you will need.
- Buy bottled water when you are shopping. If you are having trouble finding certain items in large enough quantities, consider checking online or purchasing them in bulk at Costco or Sam’s Club.
- If you choose to purchase a full year supply food storage kit, some companies offer monthly plans that allow you to purchase a small amount each month until you have a full year’s worth of food stored. This may be an affordable option for those looking to budget in food storage.
- Set a monthly amount within your grocery budget to apply to growing your storage. If you set aside $20-$50 per month, you can purchase a lot of bulk food that will expedite creating your food safety net.
- If you enjoy canning, store extra prepared food in mason jars for long term storage.
- If you have a deep freezer and there are local ranchers, see about purchasing meat in bulk. A half or quarter grass fed cow may be worth the investment.
Where Can I Buy One Year Food Storage?
Emergency preparedness has been a growing trend for a few years now. As a result of growing interest in family food security, there are a number of companies that sell dried food in bulk. Here are a couple of online stores / catalogs that offer excellent food storage supplies:
You can also get many of the 25 lb dried food buckets and other bulk food items from wholesale shopping clubs and grocery stores that have case lot sales.
What Emergency Supplies Should I Store?
Food and water are critical for survival. While these are the most important things to store in your pantry or basement, consider adding other important supplies. If there is an emergency or natural disaster, having medical supplies is important. If you need to extend your food supply longer than a year consider hunting gear and storing seeds to grow food in a garden. If hunting is an option, safely store a rife and ammunition in a gun safe. Here are more emergency storage items to think about keeping on hand:
- Cash – Save money to purchase emergency supplies. You will need fuel for your car and a way to pay bills in case of a family financial crisis like unemployment.
- Medicine & Medical Supplies – If you can store necessary prescription medications and supplies needed for treating existing conditions, it may be wise to do so. Finding medical supplies for diabetes needs or other conditions may be hard during an emergency or natural disaster.
- Emergency Power – Keep a small generator and gas on hand in case of extended power outages. If there is a storm, make sure you have a way to keep the refrigerator powered and people warm when the lights go out. Store batteries and flashlights to help with dark powerless nights. External battery packs for cell phones will help you keep in touch with family if networks are still active.
- Handheld Radios – If you need to go out, and stay in touch, consider buying some long range handheld radios. Portable AM/FM radios are also useful for getting weather updates and staying informed in an emergency.
- Snacks and Entertainment – Staying calm during a natural disaster is important. Keep treats and games on hand so your family can find some enjoyment when the power goes out.
- Bug Out Bag – A bug out bag can hold everything you need to survive for up to 72 hours or more.
- Security – Handguns, rifles like an AR-15, and shotguns all have various self defense advantages. If firearms are part of your emergency preparedness plan, keep them in a secure place that is still safely accessible in an emergency. Remember to store plenty of ammunition and gun cleaning supplies.
And remember, the lists of foods and supplies that are mentioned do not include everything that is important for a pantry. They are just a few examples to help get you started. Pantries should be tailored to what foods that a family likes and what their nutritional needs are. Don’t forget to include a stock of multi-vitamins and essential dietary supplements in the pantry. They will help ensure that no one gets vitamin deficient from eating a minimalistic diet.
To learn more about emergency preparedness check out CDC and Ready.gov information:
Do you have ideas for building your own food storage? Share them in the comments below.