Those of you who aren’t too caught up in the trivialities of life or Hollywood, and are actually paying attention to what is going on in our economy are hopefully coming to the realization that things just aren’t right in our country. There is a feeling of impending turbulence, whatever form that may come in.
More and more people are beginning to wake up and realize how fragile our system really is, and how dependent and they are upon it for their most basic needs. Many are starting to think about what they can do now to get prepared for an unexpected disaster.
I have found myself answering a lot of questions and lending a lot of advice to those considering food storage, and I am encouraged to know that so many others are getting their houses in order. The more people who can feed themselves without outside assistance, the better off we’ll all be.
Since it seems I’ve been giving out a lot of the same advice and information to those who are asking (and maybe even loved ones who aren’t asking), I thought it would just be best if I wrote an entire series on the subject for everyone to read, and you can ask me any other questions you may have as we go.
I’ll have to write in several parts, as there is a lot to cover, and I will probably miss some stuff but will do my best to be thorough.
Today, we’ll talk about Food Storage.
How Do I Begin Storing Food?
If you are new to food storage and don’t really have anything set aside as of right now, I understand how overwhelming this can feel.
Especially if you feel a sense of urgency, like you need to have it all right now! Try to take a deep breath and build your home store a little at a time, as your budget allows. Here are some baby steps to help you decide what to buy first.
Baby Step One: 2 week’s worth of food. This is bare minimum of what you should have in your emergency food storage. If you don’t have enough food to get your family through at least 14 days without going to a grocery store, this needs to be a priority.
Put together a menu for two weeks worth of meals, and buy shelf stable ingredients to make them. Think of stuff you and your family would normally eat. This is especially true if you have children, as it’s extremely important that they maintain nourishment during a crisis. Now is not the time to be introducing strange new foods to kids.
Here are some simple meal ideas for 2 week’s worth of shelf stable foods:
The following suggested meals are designed around items you can grab at your local grocery store. You can find organic or natural versions of each of these foods. Be creative to supplement for food allergies.
- Day 1: Oatmeal (packets), freeze dried fruit*; canned tomato soup; canned chicken salad on crackers
- Day 2: Granola bars, applesauce; mac ‘n cheese and beenie weenies; chili
- Day 3: Pancakes (just-add-water mix), syrup, fruit cocktail; beef jerky, instant rice; canned beef stew
- Day 4: Instant grits, trail mix; canned chicken noodle soup; spaghetti (noodles and a jar of sauce)
- Day 5: Breakfast bars; canned tuna salad and crackers; Ramen noodles
- Day 6: Granola and milk (dried or canned), canned mandarin oranges; beef and noodles (just-add-water); black beans (canned), instant rice, seasonings
- Day 7: Powdered smoothie mix; peanut butter or cheese crackers, freeze dried veggies; just-add-water meal
Don’t forget to include drinks: powdered drink mix, tea bags, coffee, etc.
*Freeze dried foods last MUCH longer than dehydrated foods. We’re talking years vs months.
Baby Step Two: A month’s worth of food. You can follow the same basic idea as above and buy shelf stable foods from the grocery store, or you can buy raw ingredients in freeze dried form and create your meals from scratch.
Buying raw ingredients (onions, potatoes, carrots, corn, diced chicken, apple slices, etc.) is the most cost effective way to store food, and gives you the greatest flexibility in the meals you prepare. Plus, you can avoid preservatives, additives, and unnatural ingredients this way.
Freeze dried foods are very simple to cook with. Look at your favorite recipe, make an ingredients list, then buy what you need in freeze dried form. When it’s time to make the meal, soak the dried ingredients for a few minutes, then cook just as you would if it was fresh. No other special treatment or preparation needed!
Baby Step Three: 3 month’s worth of food. At this stage I would recommend that you move beyond the basic staples and start adding some comfort foods. If the emergency has lasted long enough that you’re into 3 months of food storage, you’ll be grateful to have some special treats mixed in with your regular meals.
Some comfort food ideas:
- Dessert mixes: cookies, brownies, etc (shelf stable for long term storage)
- Yogurt Bites
- Bread mixes
- Hard candy
- Scrambled eggs
- Mashed potatoes and gravy (buy a packet of gravy mix, or this gravy with a 10 yr. shelf life)
- Freeze dried meats
Baby Step Four: 6 month’s worth of food. Now you’re getting serious. A membership to a buying club, such as Sam’s or Costco… or taking advantage of their ‘open to the public’ days… will help you buy in bulk at premium savings. Start thinking about buckets of shelf stable foods you can store.
Some items that you can buy in bulk and store well in buckets are:
- instant milk
- TVP (soy based) meat
- whole grains (wheat, quinoa, millet, spelt, amaranth, pearled barley)
Do some price comparisons before buying in bulk. Some food co-ops can get these items for less than buying clubs. When buying in bulk like this, you’ll need to store these foods in food safe plastic buckets with oxygen absorbers to prevent weevils from hatching.
(You can read more about storing food in buckets here.) Mylar bags are optional, but ensure safer storage. I’ve started using mylar bags after several of my buckets got cracked in storage.
Thrive Life also carries all of the above mentioned foods in buckets with gamma seal lids (easy on/off), mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers for 10-20 years of storage. You should definitely learn how to seal mylar bags as you can use this process to preserve a variety of survival foods, including staples such as:
- spices and herbs
- unroasted coffee beans
Baby Step Five: A year’s worth of food. This should be everyone’s goal- to have enough shelf stable food stored up to sustain every member of your family for an entire year. This might sound crazy in our day and age when convenience reigns supreme and all of our needs are just a grocery store away.
Our modern mindset hinges on a dangerous illusion that it will always be this way. It was only two generations ago when the average household had cellars packed full of home grown foods- plenty to get by during the “lean times”.
You would have been thought a fool if you didn’t have provisions stocked away in those times. That wisdom was lost with the Industrial Revolution, as more and more housewives traded their skills for convenience. We need to get back to that survival mindset so that we don’t have to depend on somebody else’s (or the government’s) generosity when times get hard.
Recommended Foods To Store
Keep in mind, these are suggestions to get you thinking about foods you’ll want to have on hand. Please adjust according to your personal dietary needs or food allergies.
Wheat (Wheat Berries)– Flour will go rancid after a few months; wheat berries store for decades. You will need a wheat grinder to turn these whole grains into flour. I’d recommend a hand grinder in case you are without electricity. (We have a Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Mill, you can check out my review of it HERE.)
I’d also recommend storing Soft White Wheat (or pastry wheat) for making pancakes, quick breads, and other breads that don’t need yeast. (You could use hard wheat for these, but pastry wheat is cheaper.)
You’ll also need Hard Red Wheat and Hard White Wheat for making loaves of bread and other recipes which do call for yeast. Hard Red Wheat has a bolder flavor, and makes a denser loaf.
Some people prefer using Hard White Wheat, as it gives a milder flavor and softer loaf. And yet others recommend mixing the two for a good balance, which is what I am doing. If I could only choose one wheat to store I would choose Hard White Wheat because it’s the most versatile (you can make anything you want with it).
Rice Flour– A gluten free alternative to storing wheat.
Rice– Although Brown Rice is better for you, it will go rancid quickly. White Rice will store for 30+ years, and makes a great filler in many recipes.
Rolled Oats and Oat Groats– Not only for oatmeal, but also for cookies, breads, meatloaf, etc. Store Quick Oats and/or Old Fashioned Oats, depending on which recipes you plan on using.
Cornmeal– Great for making cornbread, breading fish and chicken, hasty pudding, fried cornmeal mush, etc. Cornbread has become one of my favorite quick-and-easy breads to make with meals. It doesn’t require leaven, rising time, nor nearly the time it takes to make wheat bread.
Pasta– Another cheap and filling staple. Store Macaroni, Spaghetti, Lasagna, ABC shapes for the kids, etc. Don’t forget to print out this recipe for homemade noodles as well, just in case you run out.
Cheese is expensive, but if you can store up some cheese powder and/or freeze dried cheeses, that would be nice in pasta dishes.
Don’t forget spaghetti sauce! You can make your own from canned tomatoes and spices. Find a good recipe to plan on using. Ingredients to make Stroganoff and Alfredo sauce would also be a nice way to mix it up.
Popcorn Kernels– These make a fantastic quick and healthy snack item. Change the flavor up by tossing with butter powder, cheese powder, or make a sweet and salty kettle corn.
- Pearled Barley
Beans and Lentils– Cheap and very nutritious! An important source of fiber, protein, carbs, iron, and vitamin B. Store a variety: Pintos, Black Beans, White Beans, Navy Beans, etc. These go great in soups, chili, with rice, refried for burritos, etc.
Canned and Freeze Dried Meats- Although we plan on having our own chickens and other small animals to butcher, along with hunting for wild game, we know we won’t be able to depend on these options always being available.
Buy chicken, beef (you can even can ground beef!), and other meats you eat a lot of and can them yourself, or buy already canned meats. Tuna is another good thing to store, if your family likes it.
Freeze dried meats are surprisingly delicious, and super easy to toss into your favorite dishes just as you would fresh meat. All you do is soak it in water for a couple of minutes, and prepare as you normally would.
TVP (textured vegetable protein) is also a cheap, high protein (soy based) meat alternative which is also surprisingly tasty. The only downside to TVP products is that you can pretty much guarantee they’re genetically modified, unless organic or otherwise specified.
Powdered Eggs– although these can’t be used to fry or scramble, they work perfectly when used for baking. You can also purchase freeze dried scrambled eggs which are excellent reconstituted and make delicious casseroles as well. We do have laying hens, but you can’t always rely on them to keep you supplied with fresh eggs. It’s good to have a backup in a shelf-stable form.
Nut Butters– peanut butter, almond butter, non-GMO soy butter, etc. are all great proteins to have stored away. Thrive also now carries Peanut Flour, which has a 5 year shelf life and can be used to make peanut butter, cookies, etc.
*Dairy Allergy Alternatives: One of my children has a dairy allergy, so we give her almond milk instead. Storing almonds in bulk to make homemade almond milk is a great alternative to powdered milk. You’ll just have to keep rotating it out to avoid spoilage.
Powdered Milk– For drinking, and for using in recipes. THRIVE Instank Milk is the absolute BEST for drinking and for cooking with.
You won’t find any other powdered milk that tastes as good as this does. If you just plan on cooking with the milk, and won’t be drinking it straight, any powdered milk will do. You can actually make paneer cheese with powdered milk as well! Thrive’s milk will last for 25 years unopened, and 2 years once it has been opened.
Canned Milk– This is another option for shelf stable milk, though it isn’t my first choice. When we first got into food storage, we stocked up on a bunch of evaporated milk. Unfortunately, most of it went bad before we could use it up. If you go this route, be sure to rotate through it within a year or two so that you don’t waste your money throwing it away like we ended up doing. Another downside- flavor… bleh!
Cheese– Freeze dried cheddar cheese was actually one of the first things we ever tried in freeze dried form, and pretty much sold us on Thrive foods. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of having dried cheese. It’s actually amazingly good. We couldn’t tell a difference between the freeze dried and freshly grated cheese.
I like to store different types of cheese for various reasons. Cheddar is mainly used to top dishes, such as chili or casseroles. We store mozzarella to make pizzas. Monterey Jack is also good on chili and Mexican dishes. Parmesan for Italian dishes. Colby for various dishes. And powdered cheese is great for macaroni and cheese.
Sour Cream– Great to top Mexican dishes, as a veggie dip base, in dressings, for gravy… we also enjoy sour cream whipped into mashed potatoes.
Yogurt– My kids LOVE yogurt. They eat it almost every day. Freeze dried yogurt provides a way to have a yummy snack without the need for refrigeration. Yogurt bites can be eaten straight out of the can, or you can add water and whip it up to make it like the yogurt you’re used to. Snack foods are so important in your food storage. We can’t store enough yogurt.
Butter– Great over veggies, spread on bread, poured over popcorn, in baked goods… the only thing you can’t do with freeze dried butter is fry stuff in it, due to the low oil content. If you mix powdered butter up with some coconut or olive oil that will help achieve the oily consistency. Definitely a nice comfort food to have in your pantry.
Canned and Freeze Dried Fruits– Even if you plan on having a garden, you can’t depend on it giving you enough food to last an entire year. Store up foods your family normally eats: applesauce, mandarin oranges, peach slices, pineapple bits, fruit cocktail, freeze dried blueberries, freeze dried bananas, dried apple chips, etc. Don’t forget the jams, jellies, and pie fillings!
The awesome thing about most freeze dried fruits is that they last 25 years. Home canned or even store bought fruits should be eaten within a couple of years for best taste and nutritional value, so keep these types of foods rotated.
I’ve found this to be true, and I’ve heard many others say it as well: You can never have enough fruits stored up. You just don’t realize how much you eat them (I’m especially talking if you have kids) until you’re depending on your food storage.
Canned and Freeze Dried Vegetables– The same idea applies here as with the fruits. Store what you eat, and include some freeze dried foods along with canned goods for longer storage. We eat a lot of green beans, carrots, corn, onions, peppers, potatoes (lots of potatoes!), and peas, so that’s mostly what we’ve got stored.
We also use a ton of tomatoes and tomato products. I can our home grown tomatoes for stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce, tomato juice, ketchup, etc. But I also store diced freeze dried tomatoes and tomato powder, just in case I have a bad garden year.
Since I do a lot of canning from our garden, I try to focus primarily on storing freeze dried veggies that are hard for me to grow enough of (like corn), or foods that can’t be canned (or aren’t good canned), such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach (I don’t like canned spinach), and celery.
Dehydrated fruits and veggies are also a good alternative, though they will only last for about a year before needing to be rotated through your storage.
Chicken and Beef Bouillon– Bouillon is actually one of the main things I focus on storing up. It can be used to add flavoring to so many dishes. And, worst case scenario, if all you have to eat is what you can hunt or forage and some bouillon, you’ll always be able to make a flavorful meal.
Sugar– Even if you’re trying to limit your sugar intake, it’s still a valuable food item to have stored up. Use it to make jellies, jams and preserves, syrups, and sauces; sweeten your drinks, bake comforting desserts, or simply use it as a bartering item.
Sugar is one of those things that you can’t have enough of. It’ll last forever when stored in an airtight, waterproof container.
Honey– Use to sweeten home baked goods and drinks, spread on toast, etc. Also good for sore throats and coughs, and for mixing up herbal honey when they kids are sick.
Olive Oil– For baking breads, homemade salad dressing, frying foods, etc. If you prefer a different type of cooking oil, then substitute that instead.
Coconut Oil– Another great oil to always have on hand. Not only is it great for frying and baking, it’s also very useful for homemade skin care products.
Salt– Lots of it. It’s important to store Iodized salt, along with any other type of salt your family uses (ie: Kosher, Sea Salt, Canning salt). Iodized salt contains Iodine, which is an essential trace mineral our bodies need to stay in good health. It can also be used for preserving meat.
Yeast– Don’t forget to store this for baking breads.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda– for home baked goods. Baking Soda is also a useful cleaning product. (Here’s one of my most popular uses for baking soda.)
Spices and Condiments– Look through the recipes you plan on cooking from your food storage to see what spices you’ll need. Learn how to make your own Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Salad Dressings, etc from these spices and other ingredients, or stock up on your favorite condiments.
(Read my post on Food Storage, Bulk Spices, and My Must Haves for a list of all of the spices I recommend storing.)
Vinegar– White and Apple Cider; for cooking, medicinal remedies, and disinfecting/cleaning.
Chocolate or Cocoa Powder– for sanity.
Molasses– for baking, making brown sugar, etc.
Lemon Juice– for cooking, dehydrating and canning.
Vanilla– for baking
Cornstarch or Arrowroot– as a thickening agent.
Pectin– If you plan on canning jellies, you’ll want to store packs of pectin.
Powdered Sugar– Okay, so it’s not an essential. But I’ll tell why I store a few #10 cans of powdered sugar. I figure if there ever comes a point when we’re living on our food storage, what a special treat it would be to be able to make a real birthday cake for my children, complete with buttercream frosting.
Powdered Drink Mix– You can order different flavors of powdered drink mix in bulk, or get them from a restaurant supply store. Thrive has a full line of 100% juice drink mixes that are much healthier than most brands you’ll find at the grocery store. These also make a great addition to fruit smoothies.
Coffee Beans– If you are a coffee drinker, and even if you’re not, this would be good to have on hand. You might need that extra boost of caffeine. I’d suggest storing coffee beans instead of already ground coffee. Again, a good hand cranked wheat mill will do a great job of grinding coffee beans. Plus, they make a great bartering item.
Tea– Whether you enjoy your tea hot or cold, tea bags or loose leaf tea are a great way to flavor drinking water. Many of the herbs you’d find in teas also have medicinal benefits as well.
Once you have enough of these basic staples stocked up, you can think about other treats for your food storage. Some people like having dessert mixes, hot chocolate, pancake mix (like Bisquick), and other convenience foods on hand. I’d say definitely spend your money on more substantial foods before splurging on these things.
How much of all of this food do I need?
Check out this Food Storage Calculator for suggested amounts of each food item you should be storing up for each person in your family for one year. Each family is different and will have different tastes and needs. Use this as a general guideline.
How do I store all of these foods?
It is extremely important that you store your foods properly. Nothing would be worse than to open a bucket of grains to find it crawling with Weevils (ask me how I know), or to find that a mouse has been enjoying your stockpiles before you could!
Take a few extra steps to ensure that your food will still be good when you are ready for it. Many of these things can store practically indefinitely if well protected.
Buckets– When looking for a bucket to store your grains in, you need to make sure that you use a food grade plastic bucket. You can’t just run to the hardware store and buy buckets.
On the bottom of a food grade bucket will be an HDPE, with a number two within a triangle of arrows. I’ve read that the colored buckets, even if they have the #2 on them, are not safe. If you wanna be safe, get white buckets.
You can find these for free, or sometimes for a small price, at your local bakery. Just ask for icing buckets with a lid. Size doesn’t really matter. Gratefully take any and all they offer you! You can also order them online, but they are pricey. Gamma Seal lids are awesome, and are worth having at least a few.
#10 cans– You can buy some food items already packed in #10 cans, which are about 3/4 gallon; these will already be prepared for long term storage. If you have a cannery in your area you can buy bulk foods and can them yourself using their equipment. Packing #10 cans yourself is definitely the cheaper of the two options.
Mylar Bags– Some people seal their food in mylar bags before putting them in a bucket. Although it isn’t necessary, it is an added protective measure. After having several lids on our buckets crack, I’m now a firm believer in the importance of having your food sealed in mylar bags. You can buy these online and at survival stores.
Oxygen Absorbers– You’ll need to put these absorbers in your buckets, and #10 cans if you are filling them yourself, along with the food you’ll be storing. They will absorb all of the oxygen in your container, killing any bug eggs that might be ready to hatch out in your foods. Make sure that the container you will be putting these in is airtight.
As soon as you open the sealed bag of absorbers, they will begin working. You have about 10 minutes to get them into a bucket and sealed before they start losing their potency.
If you will not be using them all, store the extra oxygen absorbers in a small glass jar tightly sealed until ready to use again. They will lose a little bit of strength since they will have absorbed the oxygen in the jar, but not much.
Oxygen absorbers come in different sizes; 100 CC, 300 CC, 500 CC and 2000 CC. It is recommended to use one 500 CC absorber per #10 can. A 5-6 gallon buckets needs two-three 500 CC absorbers. You can get these online, at survival stores, and cheapest at LDS canneries.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)– A naturally occurring substance, safe for consumption as long as it is “food grade” DE, and not what you will find in swimming pool supplies. Mix one cup of DE into every 40 lbs of grains and legumes; approx. 1 cup per 5 gallon bucket. Do this in small batches to ensure that every kernel is covered in the powder.
Use a mask when mixing to avoid inhaling this product. You might wanna protect your eyes as well. You can order this online, some garden centers and feed stores also carry DE. Read the ingredients on the bag before buying to make sure that other chemical insecticides have not been added.
Iodized Salt– Add 1 cup of salt to a container of pasta to keep weevils out. You won’t be wasting the salt, ’cause it will still be usable when the pasta is gone.
Where do I store all of this food?
Consider converting a large closet into a storage pantry. Our master bedroom has two decent sized closets. We converted one into a food closet by adding shelves from floor to ceiling all the way around the room.
Build more shelves in existing closets, as high as they will go. Clean out unnecessary accessories, gadgets, and kitchen tools you never use from your cabinets, and use that space for food storage. Take advantage of any unused vertical space.
Raise every bed in your home to accommodate boxes of food or 5 gallon buckets.
Store large buckets in every corner of every closet. If you have a spare closet, build shelves in it to store buckets without stacking them directly on top of each other. If you have a garage, basement, or root cellar, you are very fortunate!! Use this space to the best of its capacity!
Make sure you take preventative measures in protecting your food from water damage in flood prone areas. Just keep in mind that the food needs to stay relatively cool. Hot, humid places should be avoided.
Make sure that you are using the more perishable items in rotation, paying attention to expiration dates. Some things will only last for a year no matter how well they are stored. Use these foods in your every day cooking, and replace them as you go.
Phew! Well, I think that covers that. Did I miss anything? Obviously, water needs to be stored, but that will have to be an entirely different post.
Hopefully that will help you get started, or motivate you to finish storing up your year’s supply. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them for you.
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.
69 thoughts on “Food Storage for Emergency Preparedness: How to Get Started”
What would you suggest for someone in a unique situation such as myself? I have been having huge health problems over the past years and part of the reason I am able to live a reasonably normal life now is that I strictly adhere to the ketogenic diet. That means no grains and nothing with sugar in it and a large amount of healthy fats. How do I even begin?
So do you rotate and eat all the freeze dried food you have invested in or do you just do that with the dried and canned goods that expire within a year? I just wonder about the quality/taste of the freeze dried stuff if you had to cycle it into you regular meal routine. Would it be like a one-time investment that could keep for a really long time in case of an emergency?
My food storage consists of freeze dried foods, and other canned items. Since my Freeze Dried foods typically are: meat, eggs, butter, and cheese powder, I don’t rotate them since they last 30years. But my other foods such as: canned green beans, sauces, wheat, flour, powdered milk, sugar and such I do rotate. I’ve personally made a few meals with the freeze dried meat and don’t care for the taste (although my brothers family cooks with ALL Thrive products and LOVEs it). I do use half powdered eggs, half real eggs for other items. My husband tried to make eggs with the powdered eggs and he said they weren’t very appetizing at all. I make bread, pancakes, waffles, and muffins all with wheat and powdered milk (and sometimes powdered eggs) and have found no difference in taste. Their fruits and veggies make great snacks for kids though!
Do you ever worry about the bpa in the plastic buckets and the canned foods? I rarely buy canned stuff, and when possible, I like to store things in glass, though that isn’t always possible.
Just wondering what your thought is on that. Thanks
Yes. We’re working on eating up all of the foods in tin cans, and won’t be purchasing any more. I’m not worried about the freeze dried foods in cans, ’cause the food is dry and I guess I don’t feel like it will absorb chemicals from the cans like liquids would. If you use mylar bags, the food won’t be touching the plastic buckets. Glass is definitely the best way to go, when possible. 🙂
I’ve been building, using and maintaining a well-stocked pantry for many years … there is just no better insurance policy that you can have in my opinion.
I don’t know how i got here tonight but it is good to see others paying attention.
I just wanted to add a few ideas. I feel the best storage is glass as plastic leaches into our foods and the vacuum packaging in canning jars is great! I would like more elaboration on how to freeze dry.
I tried freezing my precious peaches this summer to take them out and they were mushy soft gross and brown. I don’t know what i did wrong. Maybe they were to ripe to preserve to begin with. But, I froze them on a cookie sheet individually prior to placing them in a (Dreaded plastic) Zip lock freezer bag. Anybody have advice I’d appreciate it..
I am against using any chemical preservatives.
I want to mention and have not heard enough of is our pets and preparing for there safety as well.Please Don’t abandon Your Pets! They are part of your family too and depend on you for a lifetime of love and support. When the time comes they will be scared to death and need your comfort and security. We can not forget our job as human beings placed here on earth as stewards of all that is in his creation. It is our duty to protect the defenseless so they don’t become someone’s dinner or suffer a cruel death, as well as protecting Mother Earth! Thank You! Keep up the good work!
I always can my peaches, but when I do freeze some, they need to be socked in lemon juice or ascorbic acid first so they do not turn brown.
If you are looking for a way to calculate what food storage you need and set a goal, check out: stockupfood [dot] com.
I’m just getting started on parts of my ‘savings’ plan. How long will can foods last? Are they good only through the date of expiration? One last question: pasta and rice, are they safe to eat after a year in a plastic airtight container if no bugs are present? I have lots of plastic containers I purchased at Dollar Tree and thought I’d stock up on pasta and store them in these. Thoughts??
Thanks so much!
I come from a big family, and from what my mom did (we had to live off our year supply twice growing up), if there’s no bugs, it’s edible. For canned goods, Personally (this is my opinion) they are good if the can isn’t bulging or dented. BUT if you are stocking up on food storage, make sure it’s food you eat every 1-3 months so you can rotate it and it doesn’t go too far past the expiration date. I do notice that Oats tend to taste funny if they are old and not stored properly. Rice I haven’t noticed a difference. Pasta after 10years or so it has a funny taste, but if only eating it plain. Put it with sauce and veggies and my family doesn’t notice.
@ Rebecca – I also put a few large cans up for a neighborhood potluck. I would not like to see folks starve too badly. My great grandfather helped others during depression when they got too skinny. Just a meal. No more. The 5 lb cans of tomatoes, chili, fruit cocktail, beans, etc… can be quickly made up for a WEEKLY get together. They’re usually cheaper to buy in that size too. Hopefully you have neighbors who are friendly.
Kendra, in one of your responses to another comment to this post, you mentioned not having much meat in your food storage. It is definitely worth it to pressure can meat. You can can it with no additives and it is very convenient to use, basically heat and eat. I can venison stew meat chunks, venison chili, chicken breasts, chicken and turkey broth. If you have no power, you may lose the meat in your freezer. Canning meat is your insurance policy.
Thank you Nancy B 🙂 I’ve actually been pressure canning lots of meat since last posting here. You’re right, you definitely want meat on your shelves 🙂
Sorry, I forgot to add that I am attempting to get 2 homes ready for emergency. We have a cabin, not too far from our home, that if we would have to bug out would be our choice. It is actually a lot better prepared for loss of power etc, but extremely small and has no storage space. Any suggestions there for an inexpensive storage solution? I would hope that if we would have to bug out to there, that we could manage to take much of our supplies with us, but know that might not be feasible. Thanks again.
I’m jealous of your bug out cabin, lol!! I wish so badly we had somewhere to go, in case of an evacuation. Definitely make use of underneath the beds, build tall shelves where there’s wall space, and use furniture with storage space if possible (coffee table that opens, storage ottoman, etc).
I just found your blog today and am thoroughly enjoying it. I too am trying to stockpile, on an extremely tight budget, and will be trying my hand at canning for the first time this year. I probably have a couple month stockpile on hand in store bought items. For now, I am working on some foods, but more to the side of paper essentials, hygiene supplies, and laundry supplies. The laundry supplies are easy, as I know that if the desperate times come, laundry will not be priority, but I want to have enough detergent and liquid fab softener on hand to get by for an extended time, which actually won’t take that much. I want low sudsing for easier rinsing, so the “cheap” brands are it for me. I feel a little fabric softener will make the line drying a little more “comfortable”. Bleach, bleach and more bleach is high on my list of essentials, i.e. cleaning, laundry, purifying water. I buy one extra multi bar package of ivory soap every month to stockpile, even though we don’t use it now. Many uses. I also purchase suave kids 3 in 1 bath gel, shampoo and conditioner in place of seperate items, both for convenience and to maximize storage. I keep it on hand for my grandkids anyway, and feel it could be very useful. Extra TP every shopping trip, even if I can only afford a single roll. Alcohol, peroxide, benedryl caplets, any first aid or medicinal supplies in the .88 bin from Walmart also find their way in to my supplies. I don’t purchase anything with an expiration date that I know won’t or can’t be used before that happens. Rotation is my key right now. I search out BYGO free at the store, and get as many as I can, and stockpile the “free” one of whatever it is. I could save money and just get the half price item, but look at it that if I use the free item, got it cheap, if not, not out anything more than I would have been at regular price. Make sense? I have read everything of yours, though might have missed some things. As you see how I am attempting to go about this, do you have any advice for me? Sure would appreciate it. Keep up the good work! And thanks!
I applaud your efforts, though I am a bit concerned that you are focusing too much on cleaning products, and less on essentials such as food and water. Clean clothes and hair are nice, but what good is it when you haven’t eaten in days? I’d say make FOOD and a source of clean water your TOP PRIORITY. Toiletries won’t mean a thing to you if you’re too weak to use them. Be careful not to “nickle and dime” yourself to death on the small things, and neglect to make meaningful investments in what will truly matter in a life-and-death survival situation. Food, food, food, lol 😉
You have a wonderful site and so informative, thank goodness for people like you who are willing to share and teach.
The picture of the closet filled with food…because it is just store bought food, I assume that would be for short term supply and use as regular house stock? As a rule, how long does that kind of food have a shelf life for? Having a sale on 10 for 10$ items seems like a way to start nice and slow and an easy way to get started…have to start somewhere! Watch the grocery ads for specials and stock up little by little. So much to think about and different ways to do it for your family.
Thank you for your assistance..msjenny
When we bought the cans of food, we were in the very beginning stages of storing up food. I need to update this post, really. We were very naive, and had never heard of freeze dried foods, really. Canned goods are definitely much shorter term than freeze dried foods. We still have a bit of these cans of food left, but once they’re gone I will NOT be stocking back up on canned goods. Canned foods expire much sooner than freeze dried foods. They do last longer than their expiration date, generally, but the longer they sit the less quality and nutrients they maintain. Freeze dried foods do not degrade in nutrition or taste for up to 25 years. Freeze dried is definitely a better buy, in my opinion!
I LOVE TO SHOP THE DOLLAR STORE. IS THIS A GOOD WAY TO STOCK UP ON STAPLES AND THINGS THE FAMILY LIKES..HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO BUYING FROM THRIVE AND STORING YOURSELF?
Dollar Store food is actually rarely a good deal. I’ve seen cans of food there 2/$1, when the grocery store has the same cans of food for $.33 each, lol! I definitely don’t recommend shopping for food at the dollar store. Or toiletries either, for that matter. Stick with the grocery store sales.
I have not stocked anything yet. Been thinking out it for months. I’ ve brought this up to my husband. He does not take this serious. How and what is a great way to start stocking with two little boys.
Well, it’s been two years since you wrote this amazing post. It might be fun to ask your viewers:
1. Do they remember this post? How many readers were following your blog back in Nov. of 2010 when this was posted?
2. How much progress have they made over the past two years? Did they faithfully “stock their ark” and are they now amazed with the results? OR, did they have some crisis and need to eat up the food? Or, did they grow weary in well doing and abandon the call? It would be interesting to hear the comments as readers self evaluate as they look back over the past two years.
I had another warning dream this week. The short of it is that the population could not acquire the meat that they wanted/needed and were STUNNED and in DISBELIEF this was occurring. It happened SUDDENLY and without warning. No one saw it coming. The effect on me when I woke up was URGENCY!
Wow. That’s a startling dream! It made me consider all of the possible reasons we could no longer obtain meat. Makes me wanna stock up more on that! Meat is one thing I really don’t have any of, other than in my freezer.
Mellisa-I’ve put up over 21 people in my house over 20 years. Everyone of them caused me pain and anguish. I finally realized I was not accompaning Joeseph and Mary (with child Christ). Maybe you’ll find a small child along the way but DONT open the door otherwise!!!
Just wanted to pop in and say that I have finally started storing food.The last few weeks I have spent a little extra on our groceries each week and now we have several additional weeks of food already. It feels SO good to know that we are preparing just in case something happens and we need it. Thanks for the encouragement.
That’s WONDERFUL April!! Keep up the great work 🙂
Thanks Kendra! I’ll try that! Keep up the amazing work. You are so needed.
I am new, very new to all this. I have a question, when I open your spreadsheet, I am unable to use it. I get a message saying this is in “Read Only”.
I have SO many questions about food storage!
Love your blog!
So, when you click on the link to the spreadsheet, you should get a window that pops up giving you the option to open it with Excel. Did it do that? The link came from Food Storage Made Easy; you may wanna click directly from their site. They have several other useful links as well. Hope that helps!
Discussing protection for your stored food supply – if no one knows you have it, chances are they won’t come looking for it. Do not advertise that you are stockpiling to co-workers, neighbors, even family. When, not if, the event occurs requiring use of the stockpiled goods, you can share if you want with whomever you want, but not be in as much risk of looters because no one had a heads-up that you had the supply.
I have been storing grains for years and have rarely ever had a problem. Last year I lost alot of wheat because the buckets I got at the bakery did not have a rubber seal, it was plastic on plastic. Make sure you get buckets with a rubber seal. Diana
Regarding the question of feeding fellow believers who may not have planned ahead…
I totally understand your response. If you’ve got a large family, storing enough just for you and yours is expensive – both money and space-wise.
For me, I’m a single Mom, with one daughter. I would like to begin storing for a year for my daughter and myself. That said, it’s just us two, I’m going to plan on saving for enough for 3 people, so that there is extra for someone in need. I would never take the food from my child’s mouth, but I would absolutely ask her to split it if someone else was about to starve to death in front of us. I suppose that would ultimately depend on how desperate of a situation we found our ownselves in. I’m just praying that should the worst occur and we really end up needing the stock-piled food, that some level of Christian charity and trust in God would override any fear of sharing.
I wonder if any other families doing this would consider increasing the number they stock-pile for by 1 or 2? If everyone did it, we could all help at least someone – even if it’s only ONE – beyond ourselves.
Just a thought.
Hi! Great blog, I will be saving this in my favorites to come back to~ we are just now starting to prepare for things if we start to see more effects of hyperinflation, etc. It’s scary out there, and I agree that we need to protect our families as much as possible in these scary times! Keep up the good posts~
I really like the white whole wheat berries. I seem to digest them much better than the red wheat and the flour raises much better than than the red. Thanks for the list.
What amazes me, though, Kendra is that many of my family that seem to think I’m paranoid or whatever…. well, they seem to forget that just a couple of generations ago (especially in our area; which used ot be very rural and agricultural based) it was standard practice to can, store food all year and especially for the winter, live off the land, etc. They always give me the excuse that we don’t have to worry about that anymore (i.e. like Walmart is around the corner). But I can’t seem to get them to see that it’s just an illusion of security. It wouldn’t take a huge event at all to severly disrupt and perhaps criple our food system and such. And these are the same people who live with me in hurricane country and have gone through Betsy, Camille, Andrew, Katrina, Rita, Gustave, etc. Hello!!!! Just with a hurricane (for which we get warning) we see gas shortages and food/water flying off the shelves practically over night. Can you imagine if it was an unexpected, more wide-spread event? I am just baffled that they can’t understand all this. It’s frustrating but I am very confident in what I’m doing for my family. I’d rather spent the little extra money we have on more food storage rather than eating out all the time or getting my nails done. And Kendra, “seeing” you go through your family’s transition to being more self-sufficient, etc. has been a great inspiration to me. Many of the things you are doing I can’t really do yet (need our own place but working on that) but I am doing what I can in our situation and have built up so much knowledge that I just can’t wait to hit the ground running as soon as we do get our modest piece of property. Keep up the great work and thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! Your willingness to share, especially in the trial and error way that you do (hehe), helps so many of us. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: I wish we were closer in distance because I’d love to come “play” at your house. LOL. I find so few my/our age who are interested in these things and it sometimes makes me feel very alienated and lonely. Thank God for the internet though!
Comments like yours are what keep me motivated to write. Sometimes I feel like it’s just too much for me to try to keep up with the blog and writing about everything I’m attempting. But then I get blessed with encouragement from those who are actually reading what I say and learning from our experiences, and it makes it so worth it!! Thank you 🙂
I got into food storage a couple of years ago and have really focused on this “topic” this past year. Even with DH being out of work about 8 months this year I’ve managed to stock up a good bit. I can’t say exactly how much we have, but I know that we would be good for at least 6 months or more if we stretch it big time. With a family of 4 in a small 2 bedroom trailer, we’ve managed to store more than I ever thought possible but now we are kind of out of room. But… anyways… I’ve been feeling a very strong urge to stock pile just about everything this past year and the urge is great now than it has ever been. I wish that more people would get their head out of the sand. I try to talk to family members and help them “see the light” but they just kind of look at me dumbfounded.
I am so happy to hear that even on an extremely tight budget, you have found a way to set a little aside for food storage. No excuses… that’s great! I think my family thinks we are in some cult or something because of changes we’ve been making over the past year or two, especially food storage. But some of them are beginning to see the wisdom in being prepared, and are thankfully starting to consider doing so themselves. I just hope they are prepared before it’s too late.
I also wanted to add that it is important to note that at some time you may have to flee your own home in order to get away from some kind of disaster. Flood, fire, etc. It is important to think of a ready to run bag for you and your family. To have a plan and a meeting place in the event that you aren’t together when disaster strikes. Our area recently lost power for over 5 days. Praise God we did not, but we were prepared with a wood stove, candles, plenty of food, water etc. Many had to pay to stay in hotels and had no water if they did have a heat source. It is important to plan for all emergencies. Ones that occur on the road, at home, away from home. You must plan ahead. A quote I recently read was, ” It is better to be 5 years early than 1 minute late.”
Just starting out canning/stockpiling/etc, but I wanted to pass along this tip I came across – instead of the oxygen absorbers with the mylar bags (don’t use ’em, haven’t tried this), use the “hothands” warmers instead. It’s the same stuff, but lots cheaper. And the lady whose blog I read about this at said she’d been having issues getting a seal/vacuum, but once she started using the hand warmers, she was getting a seal very quickly.
Just before bed last night, I flipped on the TV as I was trying to wind down to go to sleep. I had just started surfing the channels and came across Hal Lindsey. I paused to see what current events
issue he was discussing. I had only been listening for about 3 minutes when he started stressing that viewers should prepare for economic collapse. He encouraged stocking of food and water in order to at least get through 4 weeks and to gather with other believers during that time and network together. He felt there would be at least 4 weeks of confusion and chaos post collapse. I thought WOW!
At 4 a.m. I could not sleep. I fought the bed until 5:40 or so. I went to the living room and started channel surfing and came across Sid Roth who was interviewing John Kilpatrick in front of a
large audience in Alabama. This was unusual as most of Sid’s shows are taped in his studio. I had been watching less than 5 minutes when John Kilpatrick instructed the people to stock food and water and to have cash at home on hand.
How can ANYONE in this country still be asleep to the need to prepare? We are being bombarded with this information at every turn, from both the religious community and the secular world (just think of
Glenn Beck drawing attention to this at least twice last week).
God may have started out whispering this info to us…then speaking this info…but now He has moved on to SHOUTING these instructions. How long until He SHAKES us while He shouts? He already has my full
Save The Canning Jars,
Wow. That’s fascinating. I have to say I’m really glad to hear that this urging is coming from so many different levels. I truly hope people are listening!! I still know so many people who are completely oblivious to our political and economic situation. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Great post! Here is my 2 cents:
1. When hunting season is 365 days/year, soon there is nothing to hunt. This is beautifully illustrated in the book “One Second After” by William Fortschen. Need a good kick in the pants to get you motivated to stock? Read this.
2. Rita Bingham wrote a powerful book called “Passport to Survival”. You will know how to prepare after you read this book.
3. Identify what you don’t want to be without and GET IT NOW! For me, SOS pads. I wanted one/day (especially if I’ll be cooking on my wood stove). I negotiated a better price than what the superstore sells them for. The small chain grocer ordered me 4 cases.
4. If you’ve identified you need a wood stove and a hand well pump, get’er done! No vacations and no wasting money until those fundamental items are in place.
5. To Kendra: I see you’ve been shopping Aldi’s. Me too…on my non-negotiated items.
6. Store buckets OFF of the cement/concrete. There can be moisture transfer over time. I elevate mine on wooden pallets.
7. You grind your own wheat…roll your own oats! Rolled oats start to break down nutritionally once you crack the grain. Store them whole and roll them yourself…when you actually need them.
8. Consider vacuuming dry foods in 1/2 gallon or quart canning jars. We use the Food Saver Vacuum Sealer system (our’s has a port).
Hook up the tube/regular mouth or wide mouth attachment and vacuum the air out of a canning jar. (attachments available at places like Bass Pro). I saw this on the instruction video that came with my model. Don’t buy the expensive white lids, instead vacuum using a Kerr or Ball canning lid (you know…15 cents). To keep sugar or a spice from getting sucked out of the jar through the tube into the machine, cut a piece of paper towel as a buffer and lay it on top of the sugar at the head space area. Then seal away. No bugs or mice in your dry goods. I vacuum sugar, all purpose flour, spices, dry cat food, dehydrated apples, breakfast cereal, etc.
9. Thursday, Glenn Beck talked about canning/stocking, urging people to return to the skills of their grandparents and put up one year of food. Want to watch?
10. Monday, Glenn Beck talked about hyperinflation NEXT YEAR and held up groceries and their projected new prices…like one ear of corn $12, Folgers coffee $77. Want to watch? It is near the end of the segment. You can slide the button under the picture to fast forward to that part if you’re impatient:
Thanks everyone for your great posts!
Save The Canning Jars,
I just finished reading “One Second After” a couple of weeks ago. Now hubby is reading it. Very good book. Thanks for all of the great suggestions! And thanks for the Glenn Beck links. You know we don’t have tv. I’m surprised to hear he’s talking about this stuff! I’ll have to watch the videos and see what he says.
Thanks for the post. We’ve got a small stock in our cellar, but don’t have the funds right now to fund a full-fledged food stock. Once things improve financially, however, this will be one of our first expenditures.
I agree with having sprouting seeds. If fact, I think that will be my priority right now. They are very easy to store, take very little space, and very nutritious, especially in the winter when there is little other green stuff available.
I am pretty new to this prepping life. I am constantly trying to find ways to improve our situation and have been also following your indepth changes in your own spiritual life to be refreshing and inspiring. I appreciate the way you put yourself “out there” because it is subject to backlash and yet you keep trying to help us. I am one who will look forward to each installment. Thank you
Thank you, Cat 🙂
Homemade oxygen absorbers: steel wool (fine..not sos pad), salt, papertowels and stables….take a bit of steel wool and work in the salt put in a single paper towel and staple shut…
We’ve included a couple pounds of sprouting seeds in our food storage. It takes just a couple days and a smidge of warm water to have fresh sprouts. You can use them in salads, on sandwiches, in stir-frys or soups.
I’ve never tried it before, but from what I read, you can sprout the wheat, dry it, then grind it into flour for bread and it’s chock-full of phytonutrients that you don’t get from the wheat alone.
I can’t wait to read your post on living without electricity. 2 years ago, the remnants of Hurricane Ike ripped through the Ohio Valley (yeah, a hurricane in Ohio) and we were without power for nearly a week. That was a huge learning curve for me and has really influenced the way I prep.
Keep up the great work!
Perhaps you can help offer advice on “off grid” living as well, if you see that I’ve missed anything! I’m excited to get to that post too. I feel like I am bursting with information to share, and don’t have enough time to sit and write it all out at once.
Excellent post, Kendra! We’ve been working on our food storage for nearly 3 years. A couple things I would add to the list is instant hot cocoa mix, sprouting seeds and garden seeds. I don’t see the cocoa mix as a luxury- I see it as a shelf-stable source of calcium that everyone in the house will drink, no questions asked. Sprouting seeds are a great way to provide fresh veg, even in the dead of winter. And garden seeds, well, I don’t think I need to elaborate on those.
As far as armed mobs, all you can do is shoot them- they’ll break in whether you have food storage or not.
I’ve asked God to position angels at the 4 corners of my property to protect us…don’t know if that works, but it can’t hurt. I’ve taken a concealed carry class. I’m comfortable with a high powered rifle. I’m ready to do anything I have to do to protect my home and my children.
Thanks Andrea! Yeah, I didn’t add Cocoa Mix ’cause I have a recipe for homemade mix you can easily make from the other ingredients on the list. Maybe I should have added that recipe. I will be doing a whole separate post on the importance of storing Non-Hybrid, Heirloom Garden Seeds… but you are right, that is vitally essential! I’ve never done sprouts, but I’ve heard how good they are for you and that you can sprout wheat and beans? I need to learn more about doing that.
I’ve been working on my own stockpile, again. Despite a few bouts of unemployment and pathetic garden this year and blah blah blah. I also don’t post photos of my security blanket so to speak anymore (only a few online friends I know really, really well), and keep my location somewhat vague.
I will add that I don’t do the oxygen absorbers and such because, well, if things happen, I won’t be able to easily find/get those. I figure better to learn how to do that myself, now, with what I’ve already got. :
I was wondering about the flour. I buy the large 25# bags from Costco and immediately put them in food grade buckets. I’ve never had a problem with it going rancid. Last time however, I bought 2 more bags for my supply. Would it be better to store my flour buckets in a freezer? Just asking because I was recently offered a freezer from a family friend for $35. I already have 1 upright and 1 chest which are filled to the max. However, if I should be freezing my massive amount of flour supply, I should jump on the freezer offer. Thanks.
YES, store the extra in the freezer! Especially if you don’t think you’ll get to it within a few months. I’d hate for all of that to go to waste!
I think I just drooled over your closet 😉
I totally believe in stockpiling…you are WAY ahead of us 🙂 If I had to guess, I would say we have about a three month supply…not a lot, but I had this terrible urge to stockpile about a year ago and it has since slackened off. Like Tancy, we are now working on debt. I feel as though God wanted us to have that amount stockpiled for now and now the thing for our family is to pay off debt. Of course every situation is different which means we all have to listen to what God is trying to tell us. 🙂 And we are also always prepared to defend our family. Even before stockpiling!
I also am aware that things could very well collapse in our economy but I also wonder if stockpiling is the best answer. I think it is wise to be prepared as much as possible but we are working hard on our debt and don’t have much leftover for stocking up. And like Rebecca asked, what happens when you are faced with having to protect your stash? We have felt that if we can have the know-how skills to hunt and trap food, find it in the wild, fish for it, etc. we are better off. Be mentally prepared, and spiritually. Have books on how to make things yourself. Again, I am not bashing being prepared and certainly do not advocate sticking your head in the sand.
While paying off debt is absolutely a number one goal to have, I would ask you, what if disaster strikes in the middle of the winter, grocery store shelves are bare and you have about a week’s worth of food in your cabinets? There wouldn’t be many animals to hunt, nor wild food to forage. How would you survive? I would strongly urge you to consider at least building up four months of food. Yes, being debt free would be AMAZING… but what good would it do you to starve to death in your paid-for home? If it were my family, and this is totally my own conviction, I would stop paying extra towards my debt for just a few months in order to get some food stashed in case of an emergency. It wouldn’t take much to get the essentials necessary for survival. Find out if you have a cannery in your area, it would be worth checking out. You can get a 25 lb. bag of wheat for $6, a 25 lb. bag of beans for $14, and a 25 lb. bag of rice for $8. A few of these and you’ll at least have enough food to live through the “barren” time. Something maybe to consider?
“Kendra, We are well able and equipped to defend our family. And we have plenty to sustain us for a few months. My point was that there is much more to prepare for than stockpiling. Life as we know it will END when things hit the fan. We will no longer enjoy the comforts we have now. Food will need to be rationed (regardless how much you have), it will be important to know how to take care of ourselves and live with much less that we are now accustomed to. We live a very simple life because it is our goal to be debt free in a few months and even our lives will change dramatically. This takes a preparation of mind and heart. And basic skills.
And by the way, there is no way to outdo an armed force at your door demanding your stash. Weird things will happen.
I do not disagree with being prepared and defending your family.
I completely agree with you. It is extremely important that we know how to survive without a stockpile of food if we are ever in that situation. And I have always said that getting out of debt is breaking the shackles of slavery. I’m glad to hear that you do have enough food to sustain your family for a few months, if need be. I worry about those who like to empty the cabinets in the name of saving grocery money for a month. And I am very glad to hear that you are equipped to defend your family, God forbid you ever have to. I understand your point, and I will be getting to other areas of “survival” in posts to come, such as what you would need to function without electricity, wild foraging, the importance of knowing medicinal herbal remedies, etc. But you are right, life would NOT be the same, even if we did have a nice food storage built up. It would still be survival mode 24-7. I totally get that. Food Storage is by no means everything there is to it, but I do believe it is an important starting point.
the thing is, Im guessing those are pictures of your stuff, do you regularly eat from it and just constantly restock as you go? otherwise, I guess stuff would eventually go bad while being saved.
Tsk, tsk, you must have skipped over that paragraph in my post 😉 Just teasing. Yes, we rotate our food and restock as it is used up.
One of the most disturbing parts of food storage for me is the knowledge that if you have that much food, you will have to be prepared to defend it.
Are you and/or your husband willing to physically maim or kill someone (or a gang) that enters your home looking for food and other valuables in the event of an economic collapse? How do you plan to handle that situation? (This happened as recently as Hurricane Katrina in America, and is a standing problem in any collapsed economy worldwide)
What about believers that have chosen to stick their head in the sand and come to you for aid as a fellow believer? Your food storage will quickly dissipate with only a single other family dependent on you.
All that to say that we too are building our pantry and medical supplies. I have a goal of a 3 month supply by 2011. I’m interested, though, in how (or if) you plan to defend that supply when massive need and barbarism is all around you.
I have always been prepared to defend my home with lethal force if necessary, even before we ever had a food storage. I will absolutely shoot anyone who breaks into my home threatening the lives of my precious children, you better believe it, no matter what they are looking for! My father is a police officer and taught me to use a gun as a teenager. He always told me that if anyone was breaking in, to shoot them before they got one foot in the door. So, yes, we are preparing for that inevitability as well. As for others hoping to live off of our supplies… as cold as it sounds, I cannot take food from my children’s mouths to feed another. We are storing extra grains, and would happily offer a loaf of bread to a starving family, but we will not take anybody in. No way. We just don’t have enough food. That is why I think it is so incredibly important that we get this word out now, that we tell our friends and loved ones, so they have no excuse to not be prepared.
I just wrote a post about finding very cheap baking soda in large quantities. You can also make your own washing soda (for homemade laundry detergent, etc.) from baking soda. Check it out if you’re interested. http://www.mysuburbanhomestead.com/find-cheapest-source-baking-soda/