Getting started with food storage basics

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by tacmotusn, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    The 12 Most Important Food Items To Stockpile

    September 24, 2012 by Peggy Layton

    Building a comprehensive food stockpile is a daunting task, to say the least. For that reason, I recommend you begin stocking your home grocery store with basic foods that will enable you to survive during a relatively short-term (two weeks to three months) emergency and then gradually expand your inventory to enable you to survive a long-term emergency (one year or longer) that includes a full array of food and non-food items necessary and tailored to your family’s needs and likes.

    When considering what to store, keep in mind young children, babies, elderly family members and your pets. Keep special needs items on hand also such as baby food, formula and pet food. Don’t forget the toilet paper.

    The following 12 categories of food items (stored somewhere in your home) could very well save your life and the lives of many others in an emergency situation.

    1) Garden Seeds
    I suggest you purchase non-hybrid garden seeds. The seed can be harvested from your own garden and saved from year to year. If we have a situation where garden seeds are not available, you will have your own. Garden seeds are a great barter Item. Garden seeds have a shelf life, so check the package for the expiration date.
    Basic garden seeds to have on hand that will grow in most climates are: asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beets, cabbage, cantaloupe, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, green onions, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, melons, mustard greens, okra, pole or bush beans, parsley, parsnips, peas, peppers, pumpkin, radish, rutabaga, spinach, squash, sweet corn, Swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips, and watermelon.

    2) Sprouting Seeds
    Many different whole grains, beans and legumes, as well as seeds, will sprout when soaked overnight. When you sprout these foods, they provide an excellent source of enzymes and nutrients that you would normally eat if you had fresh vegetables. After sprouting these seeds, grains and legumes, their vitamins and minerals increase by 75 percent. Sprouts can be used in place of salads and in stir-frying.

    The most common seeds and legumes for sprouting are alfalfa; broccoli; lentils; radish; red clover; salad blends; sprouting peas; sunflower; wheat; and legumes such as adzuki, garbanzo, kidney, mung, pinto, red, beans and soybeans.

    3) Grains
    Wheat is the most common grain and the main constituent of bread. In many cultures, whole grain bread is considered the staff of life.
    If you are allergic to wheat, there are other grains that you can use such as barley, buckwheat, amaranth, Kamut®, millet, quinoa, rye, spelt, triticale corn, farina, germade, oats and rice.

    White rice stores much longer, but brown rice is much more nutritious. Brown rice can be stored in the freezer to extend the shelf life.

    4) Beans And Legumes
    A wide variety of beans are available, such as black beans, great northern beans, lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, or dried split or whole peas. Beans are a great source of protein. When combined with rice, they become a complete protein. In my opinion, obtaining 250 pounds of rice, and 50 pounds of beans should be near the top of everyones atempt to put together an emergency supply of food. The 5 to 1 ratio of rice/beans is considered the magic ratio to support life with basic minimum nutritional needs. This quanity of rice and beans can be obtained and stored in 12 to 15 HD 5 gallon buckets with lids for less than $300 (circa 2012) They can be cooked whole in soups, stews or by themselves. They can also be sprouted. Beans can be ground into flour and used to make refried beans or thicken soups. Dried beans and legumes last at least 15 years if kept sealed and in a cool storage area.

    5) Spices And Bouillons
    With grains, rice, beans, pasta and other staples, you will need spices to make the bland food more palatable. Dried or granulated bouillons, gravy mixes and dried soup bases are very important and can be mixed with canned meat to flavor any rice or pasta dish.

    6) Canned And Dried Soups
    Canned soups that your family enjoys should be part of your emergency food. These soups are easy to fix and ready to eat. Canned soups can be great starters for a larger pot of soup or stew. Cream-based soups can be used as a gravy or sauce. Purchase soups you normally eat and rotate them.
    Dried soup mixes will last much longer than canned soup. They are very important to store. And let’s face it: In a stressful situation, anything that’s easy to fix will be great.

    7) Dried Eggs And Dairy Products
    Dehydrated eggs are considered a protein food. Dried eggs are great for long-term storage because you can add a small amount of water to the powder and it reconstitutes into the equivalent of fresh eggs. They can be used in scrambled eggs and omelets or in any recipe calling for fresh eggs.

    Dried dairy products are also great to store because they last a minimum of five years and can be reconstituted to the equivalent of fresh milk, chocolate milk, butter, buttermilk, sour cream and cheese similar to mac and cheese sauce. Dried dairy products last a minimum of five to 15 years if kept cool.

    8) Canned Or Dehydrated Fruits And Vegetables
    I suggest you store dehydrated, freeze-dried and commercially canned fruits and vegetables.
    Dehydrated food weighs less and is much easier to store than wet-pack food. It requires far less space than wet-pack canned food. Dehydrated food will yield at least double and triple its dry weight and is less expensive. Add water to restore it to its natural state. The taste is still great, and the food value is excellent. Dehydrated foods store from five to 20 years, depending on the product. Dried fruits and vegetables are great for snacks. These dehydrated or dried foods are available here.

    9) Protein Foods And Canned Meats
    Protein foods are one of the most important foods to stockpile. Canned meats are an excellent food to store. I suggest you store tuna, salmon, Spam, beef dices, beef stew, chicken dices, beef, ham and sausage. Canned meats with a canned cream soup for the sauce are great over any rice or pasta dish. I stockpile canned ham so I can add it to my beans along with some dehydrated vegetables. It makes a great ham and bean dish.

    Freeze-dried meats are available on the market and come in gallon-sized cans as well. They can be rehydrated and used in any dish calling for meat.

    10) Baking Ingredients
    Basic ingredients for baking include things like wheat for grinding into flour, powdered milk, whole dried eggs, baking powder, soda, salt and yeast. Sweeteners include sugar, honey, maple syrup and stevia. Fats and oils include butter powder, shortening, olive and vegetable oil.

    11) Fun Foods
    Fun Foods are foods such as canned juices, drink mixes, jams, jellies, condiments, olives, pickles, popcorn, pudding, salad dressings and anything else that would be considered extras. You might not consider putting these items in your storage, but they are a nice supplement to the food you already have. It makes a meal more interesting if you have some fun foods on hand. I keep several gallons of popcorn in my food storage.

    12) Pre-Made Meals (Just Add Water)
    I’ve been testing a line of nutritious fast-and-easy gourmet meals by GoFoods Global that will store for a minimum of 15 years. You just add water, cook for 15 minutes and eat. It reminds me of the pre-packaged food from the grocery store like soup mixes, Hamburger Helper® and Rice-A-Roni®.

    Some of the features of GoFoods pre-packaged meals are:

    The food is dehydrated from premium-grade, fresh raw fruits, vegetables, dairy products, grains, beans and legumes. All meals are complete with everything in them. All you do is add water. These meals can be used every day for fast, convenient and healthy food. There are no genetically modified organisms(GMOs) in GoFoods. There is no added monosodium glutamate (MSG). No ingredients are imported from countries using illegal fertilizers and insecticides. They contain no hydrogenated oils. They are packaged for long-term storage in Mylar® pouches.

    The company lets you try before you buy; simply go to

    Click on “sample” to receive three packages of sample meals that will feed two to four people per package. All you pay is $9.95 for shipping.

    I copied this from a survival email newsletter I receive. Obviously it has a blatant advertisement at the end. There are many sources and brands of pre-made meals for long term storage. Look around before you decide whose to buy, if any. Tom

    Meals include soups like cheddar broccoli, Italian chicken, vegetable beef, tortilla, corn chowder, minestrone, chicken noodle, chili and potato cheddar. Entrées and other baking items include chicken pasta Alfredo, cheesy chicken rice casserole, beef stroganoff, au gratin potatoes, instant seasoned potatoes, pancake mix, corn muffin mix, cornmeal dumplings, granola, powdered milk, wheat bread mix and buttermilk biscuit mix. Check it out at or email me at

    This information came from the book Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook. To purchase any of my seven books or other products including dehydrated food, water storage, water purification and preparedness products, go to

    Note to Mods: I have no connection to Peggy Layton or mygofoods. If you prefer, I can edit all that out. It is however an excerpt from one of her books as sent out broadly via email.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2015
  2. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    No baby starts running before crawling/walking. Same with us--we have to start slowly and build upon what we have. It has taken us many years to get where we are--just started eating our '93 MREs (they are still "great"). We still are building our larder/supplies mostly from bargain basement ops. We bought most of our dried grains from a bud's seed cleaning business at wholesale rates. There is a bean distributor in Greenville, S.C. that will sell you a train load or 5 lbs--lol.
    DUKE WAYNE likes this.
  3. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I still can't get my beans to cook properly. Does elevation affect them? I have soaked, boiled and still they crunch. Biggest note make sure you can cook the food you are storing.
  4. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++

    If you are at a higher altitude you may need to use a pressure cooker.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  5. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    I don't think elevation should matter. Can you get water to a hard rolling boil? How about a slow simmer, but still a boil? If the answers are yes. I would go to the store and get a fresh bag 16 to 20 ounces of kajun or ham flavored 9 or 15 bean mix. Start with a 5 quart pot or cast iron dutch oven, cold water and the beans (hold the flavor packet aside). Crank up the heat and bring them to a hard boil. Cut the heat off, cover the pot and let them rest for 1 to 2 hours. Drain them and replace the water, (cover them with water plus maybe 2 inches). Bring them back to a boil, reduce heat to hold a slow simmering boil. Cover them and leave them alone for at least 2 hours. Add the flavor packet and anything else that strike your fancy (garlic, chopped onion, celery, chopped cabbage, diced carrots, potatoes, diced tomatoes, minced jalapeno), or nothing else at all, increase heat to bring it back to a boil, reduce to the slow simmer point again. Cover and simmer 1.5 to 2 hours. Should be delicious and fully cooked (not crunchy).
    The only other things I have to say is; Old beans sometime take alot longer to cook properly, different types of beans take longer cooking times to finish, they say you should not add salt until the end of the cooking process, (others disagree?), and somehow, as crazy and ignorant as I am, I ain't ever cooked a bad batch of beans. Normally they are really simple ???
    kellory and Motomom34 like this.
  6. Georgia_Boy

    Georgia_Boy Monkey+++

    In 1988 we stocked our boat with dry stores for the long term as resupply was cheapest in FL, the DR and Venezuela. As far as beans and rice no storage problems, but things like oatmeal failed over time. We only knew to nuke our incoming supplies to kill lil critters before they hatched which did not work well. We only had a 2 cubic ft freezer and we weren't aware of freezing as a way of killing the future critters. Oatmeal and a few flours ended up as happy crab food. Due to a death in the family, we swallowed the hook in 2000. Beans and rice (except some brown rice) were still good to go. In today's world with oxygen absorbers, pails, and metallic bags life is much simpler. I do wish we had a dehydrator for fruits and veggies back then as storage space is always a premium.
    tacmotusn likes this.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Altitude very much affects any cooking that depends on water. As the altitude goes up, boiling temperature of water drops due to reduced atmospheric pressure. There are some compensations that can be used, longer times is one, pressure cookers is another. Better recipe books will give the needed scoop, sometimes. It is critical above around 3000 feet, but the effects are noticed as low as 2000 ASL.
    oldawg and Motomom34 like this.
  8. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    A good reason to check what you store is that some beans will grow that are just plain tough, they will reproduce year after year as the same old shoe leather, since it is a gene trait and nothing to do with climate or soil.

    As an example, years ago I had Pintos that would not soften, 30 years later and a like conversation, like this and my (now) wife and I found we had experienced the same thing in the same state but not since.
    tacmotusn likes this.
  9. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Thanks for all the advise on cooking beans. I am at 7400 and have very hard well water but very determined. I am going to go get one of those packets and see if that will work.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    OK, altitude is ripping you a new one. Pressure cooker is the way to fly, no matter how much pretreatment you subject the beans to. If your water is that hard, it's time to think hard about a softener, which will help across the board, and make solids build up less of a concern.

    I know this from a couple years at 6500 feet in Wyoming.
    Motomom34 and oldawg like this.
  11. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++

    Yep, pressure cooker. Couple years in the mile high learned me and that was only 5000 ft.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  12. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Yep, water boils @ 212F (100C) at Atmospheric Pressure at Sea-level. If you reduce the Pressure, Water boils at lower, and lower Temps. SO, The higher you go, the lower the temp at which water boils, and the less heat that water imparts to things boiling in it. Simple Laws of Physics...
    I am sure The Good DR. can tell us the exact Math Constant to apply, to this issue, that will result in the temp at which water boils at various elevations above Sea-level, and at what local Atmospheric Pressures.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  13. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Thanks for all the insight on my bean issue. I am happy to discover it may not be my cooking skills but due to other factors.

    Now this list that was posted is a wonderful list and I like the variety that is on it. My thoughts on the seeds:

    I had my first vegetable garden this year and learned so much. 1. most important- when buying seeds buy quality seeds. And buy from a variety of good sources. I purchased seeds from Wal-mart, local nursery and hardware store. I got hybrids and regulars. I learned that the cheaper seeds had less sprouting, thus I had to replant the bare spaces. The more expensive seeds produced hardier plants. I also looked at the dates on the packages.
    I also tried to introduce 'new' produce into our diet. The new produce that I introduced were wastes of space. The family likes normal lettuce, regular squash. Next year I will only be planting the basics vegies that we eat.
  14. Brian

    Brian It is as you say

    Excellent information! I always wondered why I had so much trouble cooking beans while camping in Montana. No kidding, I thought it was just my bad luck that the beans over the campfire in Montana wouldn't cook up as nice as the ones over the stove in Indiana.

    I also couldn't agree more that 100 lbs of rice and 50 lbs of beans should be the basic starter for nearly every food storage program. We started small and grew accordingly, but the basics are still the basics.

  15. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    This is exactly how we started about 30 years ago (if you just make the small addition of vitamin supplements)...though we actually were at twice that amount of each before starting to branch out to flavoring agents and additional foods for variety.

    We live in an area where water, meat, fish and fowl are plentiful, which helped us a lot in making early decisions.
  16. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Following is a link to a website that has a lot of useful information about nutritional benefits of beans and a large collection of bean recipes.

    Thanks for the opening post, Tac. Very informative.

    When my children were young, there was a Heinz television advertisement current at the time that featured the tag line, "Beanz means Heinz", which the boys took great glee in singing, ....."Beanz means fartz!.....whenever they saw the advert on TV.
  17. 45ACP

    45ACP Monkey

    Store what you eat, eat what you store.

    Sacks or pails of rice / beans are fine as long as you're actually eating out of one of them.

    Remember, rotate your preps !

    Not knocking the storage of freezedried stuff but there's a fair number of folks who seem the believe a closet full of MH No10 cans and a couple cases of MRE's is "being prepared". You should be eating those at least once in a while too.
    tulianr likes this.
  18. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Pressure and temperature are inversely proportional. Even though the difference in atmospheric pressure is not huge in regards to a change in elevation, the laws of water/gases do apply and does effect the boiling point of water/gases. Where you do see a significant difference in the relationship between temperature and pressure, is in a pressurized system.

    This will explain it better than I can:

    Temperature/Pressure calculator:
  19. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    OR if, like many, you don't mind making a donation to local food banks on a regular basis.

    We eat a portion of what we store, but see no good reason to not eat many of the foods we enjoy and in the manner we enjoy, merely because they are not well-suited to long term storage. We eat beans and rice (for example) but not in near the quantities our preps budget for the first few years after TEOSAWKI...not to mention that a goodly share of LTS food is intended for people who currently live some distance from that storage.

    I believe in enjoying those things that might not be available in the future rather than "practicing" doing without things that I really enjoy...especially as I get old enough that I start thinking that our society has a very good chance of outliving me. Guess I still like to "have my cake and eat it too"... :)

    Our local food banks enjoy the bulk food donations and I am sure they would be happy to use freeze dried if/when we reach an expiration on the little bit of it that we store...though, so far we have made it a point to use it in the motorhome before it reaches that point.

    My point is actually that different people have different situations and assuming that one knows what others "should" do seems a bit presumptuous.

    JMO/YMMV :)
  20. KAS

    KAS Monkey+++

    good points PAX
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