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How do I create a year’s supply of food?

A reader has decided to start a food storage pantry for her family and is not sure where to start. Tess provides suggested foods, lists the most common mistakes in food storage, how to store food and much more information to help this reader get started.

Hello, I would like to create a year’s worth of food storage for my family. We have two adults and three young kids (age 5,3 and 9 months).  How do I go about doing this? I thought I would store grains, sugars, and whatever else in mylar bags/5 gallon buckets with oxygen absorbers.  But I am not sure what I need? Can you help?



First of all, I want to applaud you for making the decision to invest in food for long term emergencies. The greatest aspect of creating a food storage pantry is that you can buy these products now – at lower prices and use them when others are buying them at inflated prices. I started my food pantry in 2007 and am still living off of the foods I stored. With regards to planning a food pantry, sometimes the hardest part is starting. Of course, once you get your pantry established, it’s pretty easy from then on. You seem to have already done some research on the types of food you plan to store. Personally speaking, I made every mistake in the book when I started out. You can read about them here.

The first thing I would suggest you do is to look at your budget and allot money each month for your pantry. With as little as $10-20 extra, you can start accruing an ample food source. Next, make a list of the foods that you normally eat. If you use canned goods, pay attention to the types of canned and boxed foods that you normally purchase. When you are at the grocery store, buy twice the amount of canned and boxed foods you normally purchase. That way, you can set some aside for your pantry. Also pay attention to grocery store deals. Some stores will give away 10 canned goods for $10 – these are great ways to stock up and save at the same time! When you are purchasing your food pay attention to the following:

  • To store emergency foods that will not require refrigeration, and should require little electricity or fuel to prepare.
  • The food should have a long shelf life. Try and find goods that have the latest dates possible. For example, in canned goods if the expiration date is 2014, look for 2015 or longer.
  • Foods that provide ample nutrition and contain little salt.

I would also pay close attention to stocking up on shelf stable pantry stables like flour, corn meal, honey, baking soda, etc. These are very versatile foods that can be used in conjunction with one another.  Here is a list of 25 must have pantry goods for you to start.

Being that you have a baby, I would also stock up on baby needs such as formula, diapers, baby medicine, etc. In an emergency, baby items will disappear quickly on the store shelves and having these items will give you an advantage.

As for how much food for your family, I would like to direct you to a food calculator on my website, www.ReadyNutrition.com. This calculator will be able to calculate how much food your family will need and you can customize the food amount for how long you plan to prepare for.

Lastly, I would also suggest you to look into alternative cooking tools like a dehydrator, dutch oven, sun oven, etc., to help you with food preparation in case you are in an off grid situation.

To store the foods you purchase, I use a multi-layered approach using Mylar bags and plastic 5 gallon containers. This method has given me the most success and is pretty straight forward. In some of the plastic containers, I have loaded sealed food in smaller Mylar bags. This would give me the option of opening smaller packages and not exposing 5 gallons of food to the natural elements.

I hope this helps you and your family get started.






This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on January 9th, 2013

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