Having a supply of different foods for long term storage is a great way to be prepared for an emergency.
And after what the year 2020 has thrown at us, I’d say it’s a definite need!
This article is geared towards helping those beginning their food storage journey, and will focus mainly on survival foods that have a 30 plus year shelf life.
Long term food storage can be overwhelming. But starting with these basic life giving foods will give you peace of mind. And it’s easier than you think!
It’s not necessary to build a long term food storage over night. Take it a month at a time and gradually build up until you have a 3 month supply. Then work up to a 1 year supply for each member of your family.
Slowly stocking up on foods with a longer shelf life will eventually lead to an emergency supply you’ll be proud of. The peace of mind that comes from emergency preparedness is priceless!
Foods For Long Term Storage
Beans – Dried beans are a great food to add to your emergency food stash. There are a variety of dried beans including, black beans, pinto beans, red beans, adzuki beans and more. Beans are high in protein and fiber and are easy to add to a variety of meals. Different people have different preferences when it comes to beans. Don’t store anything you don’t like the taste of. Dried beans will last 30+ years when packaged and stored correctly.
White Rice – Rice is a grain that’s easy to prepare and incredibly delicious. Rice is the perfect blank canvas for creating many different flavors and meals. It’s important to note that not all rice stores for 30 plus years. For long term rice storage, you’ll want to focus on white rice varieties like, basmati rice, and jasmine rice. Brown rice will only last about 5 years. So avoid storing brown rice if your main focus is food with basically an indefinite shelf life. White rice is high in calories which in an emergency situation, is a good thing. White rice will last 30+ years when packaged and stored correctly.
Oats – The perfect item to add to your food storage plan. Oats are a grain that are naturally gluten free. It can however get cross contaminated. If you are gluten free, be sure to stockpile gluten free oats. Oats can be cooked whole or ground into oat flour. There’s different cuts of oats, such as steel cut oats, rolled oats, and quick cooking oats. All these types of oats have a long shelf life. Oats are high in protein, fiber, and calories. Just what you want in case of an emergency! Oats will last 30+ years when packaged and stored correctly.
Wheat – Wheat is a great item to have in your long term food storage supply. It’s not something I personally stockpile due to my gluten allergy, but if you tolerate gluten, I highly recommend adding it to your food storage. It lasts forever and is perfect for grinding into flour to make homemade bread. Flour itself does not store long. About 1-5 years. So having whole grains on hand, and grinding them into flour is the way to go.
Pasta – One of my favorite things to have in my food storage. It’s easy and quick to cook up. And it’s also a great blank canvas. You can easily switch up flavor profile by adding different sauces, veggies, herbs and seasonings. I stockpile gluten free pasta, but normal wheat pasta stores just the same.
Potato Flakes – Dehydrated potato flakes are a great addition to your long term storage. Just add water and salt and you’ve got delicious mashed potatoes. You can also use them to thicken soups and stews. When stored properly, potato flakes will last 30+ years.
Honey – Raw honey is good indefinitely. It’s an incredible source of vitamins and nutrients and can add natural sweetness to your meals and baked good. It’s a natural immune booster and is great for sore throats, cuts, and burns.
Salt – Salt is often overlooked when it comes to food storage. But it’s majorly important! Not only do our bodies need salt, the food we’re storing needs it to. Without salt, our food would be boring and bland. Don’t forget to stock up on this important item! Avoid traditional table salt if possible. Table salt is processed with formaldehyde and other chemicals. Fillers are adding into it before packaging to avoid caking. Our bodies need and prefer natural sea salt. My favorite place to order salt is SaltWorks. If stored properly, salt will last indefinitely.
Foods For Long Term Storage – Where To Buy
There’s many options for buying long term food storage.
Azure Standard – If buying organic and non GMO is important to you like it is to me, Azure Standard is by far the best option. They carry hundreds of different items all for a great price. You do have to pay shipping depending on what area you’re in. Shipping may be free, or you may have to pay 8.5 percent in shipping costs.
This is where I get all of my long term food storage, and I highly recommend you check them out! Azure has drop off locations all across the country. To see how Azure works and if it’s right for you, head to their website.
Costco – Another great option for buying long term food storage in bulk. All Costco’s vary on items they offer in their stores, but you can find great deals on rice, oats, beans, and more.
Your Local Grocery Store – Check with your local grocery store to see if they will place a bulk order from you. My local Natural Grocers allows customers to place orders for 25 – 50 pound bags of shelf stable items like rice, beans and oats. Just contact them to see what the process is. Prices will vary by region.
Foods For Long Term Storage – Supplies
The basic supplies you’ll need for long term food storage are:
- Dry food
- Mylar bags (recommended), or #10 cans
- Heat sealer for mylar bags (or just use an iron or a flat iron), or a canning machine for #10 cans
- Oxygen absorbers
- A large tote bin to store the sealed bags or cans
Foods For Long Term Storage – How To Store
How to store food is a common question when beginning your food storage journey. It’s important to store your long term food storage properly so it lasts a long time and isn’t prone to getting bugs.
There’s 3 main options for storing food long term:
Let’s go through the pros and cons of each one:
Pros – Mylar bags are the most affordable long term option. They are great at protecting food from air and light. They’re reusable. Once you’ve consumed all the food inside your mylar bag, you can clean it, add new food, and reseal it! My favorite place to buy mylar bags is Azure Standard or USA Emergency Supply.
Cons – It’s possible they could rip and tear, exposing your food to light and air. Not to mention make a big mess.
Pros – The cans are sturdy, durable, and easily stackable. They’re great to put in your pantry once opened and easy to scoop from.
Cons – This option is pretty pricey. And you’d need access to a #10 can sealer. Which are also pricey. Some local churches may have one available to use. If not, you will have to purchase your own.
5 Gallon Buckets
Pros – 5 gallon buckets are a great way to store food that will be used up within a year. They’re easy to get in and out of with use of a gamma lid. Gamma lids help keep air and moisture out and give your bucket a nice tight seal. 5 gallon buckets can store a lot of food!
Cons – They are rather large, and if you don’t have the space to store them, you may find yourself feeling like you’re surrounded by buckets! They will only store food properly for about 1 year – 18 months. So it’s not the best option for long term food storage.
Oxygen absorbers are the key to keeping your food fresh for years. Put them inside your mylar bag or can, seal the bag or can properly, and let the oxygen absorber go to work. The absorbers will soak up all the oxygen, keeping your food fresh, and making it an unfriendly environment for bugs and eggs.
There are different sizes of oxygen absorbers. Which size you need will vary on the size of your mylar bag, and the type of dry food you’re storing. Refer to this helpful chart to figure out how many oxygen aborbers you’ll need and what size.
Step 1 – Make a food storage plan by making a list of foods your family eats. Or that would be handy to have on hand during an emergency. If you’re not big into the foods listed above, I still recommend having some on hand for emergencies. Trust me, if there’s a food shortage in your area – you’ll be into these foods!
Step 2 – Purchase the food from a food supplier like Azure Standard, Costco, or your local grocery store.
Step 3 – Package the food properly using mylar bags, or #10 cans. 5 gallon food safe buckets are also great for storage, but will only keep the food safe for about a year. Use oxygen absorbers in your mylar bags and #10 cans. The lack of oxygen, combined with a tight seal, is what will keep your food safe and edible for 30+ years.
Step 4 – Store the sealed food bags (or cans) in a safe place. Large plastic totes are bins, or 5 gallon buckets are best.
Food Storage Tips
Keep out of heat (the garage is not a good place for long term food storage)
Don’t store your food storage in an area that could potentially get wet
Keep away from areas that are a magnet for rodents and mice.
Use mylar bags or #10 cans for long term storage. 5 gallon buckets can only be used for short term storage – about a year.
Freeze the food item for 3 days before storing away. This will help kill any bug eggs that may be present in your food.
Add bay leaves to your 5 gallon buckets to deter bugs.
Once you’ve got a good supply of foods with the longest shelf life, you can move on to other items for your short term food storage. These include foods like powdered milk, freeze dried food, dried fruits, peanut butter, canned foods, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, popcorn, and pantry staples you use on a daily basis. Adding these to your food storage will allow you to live normally in case of an emergency or food shortage.
In conclusion, the peace of mind that having a supply of life sustaining foods will give you is well worth the effort. Keep it simple and start small, and you’ll be well on your way to having your very own supply of long term food storage!
Hungry for more? Check out some of my favorite recipes!
Almond Flour Banana Muffins
Peanut Butter Snack Balls
Instant Pot Baked Potatoes
Almond Butter Cups
Paleo/GF Banana Bread Cookies
Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks
Chocolate Pomegranate Almond Clusters
Paleo Whoopie Pies
Fudgy Paleo Brownies
Paleo Crinkle Cookies
Paleo Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Low Carb Keto Chicken Salad
Slow Cooker Elderberry Syrup
Healthy Lemon Popsicles
Blueberry Muffin recipe (GF, Paleo)
Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
Chocolate Walnut Cookies with Chocolate Chips