For obvious reasons, food storage is one of the most important parts of prepping. Having an adequate amount of fuel in your home to keep you and your family going is absolutely essential.
Most households have less than a week of food in their homes at any given time. If you’re committed to living a more prepared life, this is something you’re going to avoid at all costs.
In this post, we’re going to cover the basics when it comes to food storage for preppers. You don’t want to be the desperate family fighting over bare shelves in a SHFT scenario. Fortunately, a good food storage plan is easier than you might think.
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Having All Locations Stocked
Depending on your situation, you might need to store food at more than one location. What we’re getting at here is if you’re committed to being truly prepared (and have the resources to do so) then you’ll likely have a bug out location to consider.
While the average person might think that throwing a few cans of beans in the basement of their home is enough to be ready for the apocalypse, you know better. Having a safe location to go to with a healthy amount of buffer space is a massive advantage when things get tough.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a spot like this, you’ll need to make sure your food storage plan takes that into account. There’s no point in stocking up your home but leaving your bug out location empty!
This means having an understanding of how long you can store food before it needs to be replaced. We also recommend checking on your bug out location food stock from time to time as well. This will help you avoid the nightmare scenario of arriving when SHTF and realizing you have nothing to eat.
We also advocate stocking up your home as well. There are plenty of scenarios where you might not need to leave your home but need enough food to last you a few days. You need to be prepared for all scenarios.
The Phases Of Food Storage
When it comes to prepping, food storage can be broken down into two main phases (short term and long term). This is something a lot of people don’t understand at first, so it’s worth explaining a bit before we get to the details.
All foods are better suited for one scenario compared to another. You’ll need to rely on different methods and sources of food depending on what the situation is.
Here’s an example:
If a SHTF scenario occurs during winter and you live in a cold state, your awesome outdoor garden won’t be an option. This means you’ll need to rely on things like canned foods, MREs, dehydrated foods, and more.
However, if you have a great place to escape the chaos and it’s nice and warm then farming might be a viable option to supplement your storage.
This is why all the best preppers break down their food storage plans into two buckets: short term, and long term. It not only makes things easier to organize, but it helps you cover your bases.
Short term food storage is the kind of thing you hear people talk about all the time. This is stuff like canned foods, sealed foods, MREs, and meal bars. Accumulating these is fairly simple so there’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t do this.
Some common short term foods are canned fruits, meat, veggies, fish, and poultry. You can get a lot of mileage out of these and it will allow you to stay fueled up during those crucial first few days.
Quick Tip: A lot of new preppers think that it’s ideal to try and ration yourself early on in a SHTF situation for the sake of saving resources. The opposite will likely be true.
You’ll be burning a lot of energy in the first few days and it’s important to keep yourself nourished so you can ensure the safety of you and your family. Once you’re safe and things are more stable, then you can start tapering your intake a bit.
Depending on your setup, this will also include perishable foods. Once the power goes out the clock is ticking until these foods can’t be eaten. Being aware of this will allow you to eat what you can so things don’t go to waste.
Avoiding waste and getting the most out of your resources will have a big impact on your survival chances.
When we talk about the long term phase of prepper food storage, it’s a bit different. This is a blend of beginning to eat different foods that you’ve stored in advance as well as beginning to put sustainable food options in motion.
At this point, you’ll be starting to eat any dehydrated or freeze-dried foods you’ve tucked away. These require water which is why it’s something you don’t want to rely on early.
Once you have water though, these foods are incredibly effective. Not only are they great sources of fuel and nutrition, but they can last for a very long time in the right conditions (10-20 years depending on what it is).
The great thing is these kinds of foods are very easy to acquire and buy in bulk. You can order a large quantity and keep them in your home or bug out location without much hassle.
Depending on the packaging, we recommend seeing if you can find a more space-efficient way to store them instead of cramming a box of them in the basement. Every extra bit of space you can save is room for more food or supplies (like a prepper first aid kit).
If you plan properly, this food will help you get to more sustainable options to help you survive for the long haul.
At some point, you won’t be able to rely on the food you’ve stored since it will run out. This means it’s going to be on you to acquire and store food on your own.
This sustainable phase of your prepping food storage plan will involve some element of growing and farming. While we won’t cover that in this article (there’s a lot to talk about), we will cover a few of the methods for storing what you make.
Using things like food dehydrators and savers you can plan your food storage strategy accordingly. Things like grain, cheese, and meat are all things you can cultivate yourself and store for catastrophic conditions (if things do get worse) or the cold months.
There are also creative ways you can preserve your garden harvest. Some foods will last longer than others by nature, but you’ll want to do what you can to keep them around as long as you can. Fruits and vegetables are a necessary source of vitamins and nutrients that you’ll need if you want to stay healthy and maintain energy to keep you and your family safe.
Freezing is a solid option if you have some sort of power setup. Another method is to dry, pickle, and bottle them. We personally recommend a bit of both if you have the tools and skillset for it. This will ensure that all your eggs aren’t in one basket in the event of an accident or power loss.
How To Store Food Efficiently: Basic Principles
There are some basic principles that you should know when it comes to prepping for food storage. These should be your guidelines when thinking about preserving and storing food, no matter what setup you have available to you.
First, you’ll want to reduce moisture as much as possible. Think of it as enemy number one.
Not only will moisture cause food to go bad quickly, but it can also deteriorate the materials you’re using to store your food. Metal will rust and wood will weaken.
Next up, you want to try and keep things as cool as possible. The warmer the food, the less time it will last. Think about this when putting together your food storage location and its location. For example, you wouldn’t want to store food in the same area where you’re growing crops indoors since it will be warmer (and there will be humidity).
You should also try to remove oxygen from the equation when you start to store your food. A well-sealed container or bag can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your food. Don’t get lazy with this piece of the puzzle because it can undo a lot of smart prep work you’ve done.
Lastly, make sure your prepping food storage location is nice and dark. Light can have a negative impact on the food you’re trying to preserve. This isn’t something that should sneak up on you, because in a SHTF situation you’ll probably be monitoring power and resources anyway.
You should now have a solid understanding of how to put together a general prepping food storage plan. Getting this right is an absolute must, but many people are underprepared when it comes to their set up or skill set.
Living a prepared life is something that requires commitment and discipline. While doing the steps above might not seem like the most fun when everything is working, you’ll definitely be glad you took care of it when things take a turn for the worse.
In the future we’ll be exploring some of the more detailed pieces of prepping and food storage, so stay tuned. There’s a lot to cover.