When it comes to a disaster of any sort, food and water are our 2 main needs. While there are quite a few other areas of preparedness that are important, none of them matter if we don’t have food and water. There are a number of different long term food and water storage ideas for preppers, and it all depends on your situation.
The average person only has a couple of days’ worth of food in their pantry, and very little water storage…if any. With food readily available at the grocery store, and water freely coming from the faucet, people feel that long(er) term food and water storage is unnecessary.
This is why people tend to rush the stores when a disaster strikes. We’ve all seen the pictures of empty grocery store shelves, and the first things to go are bottled water, and staple foods. Whenever I see this, I can’t help but wonder how these people plan on cooking when the power goes out? And why rush to buy bottled water, when you have water at home waiting to be stored.
SPP221 Long Term Food & Water Storage Ideas
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In this week’s show Lisa and I went over some different long term food and water storage ideas and how to decide on what works best for you. There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to food and water storage, and making informed choices now can save you time and money down the line.
Store What You Eat
You may have heard this a hundred time, but unless you don’t mind wasting money, it is very important. If your family eats spaghetti once a week, go ahead and store plenty of spaghetti sauce jars and spaghetti noodles.
A problem a lot of people have is canned food. Canned food is great for long term storage, but if it’s not used, it just takes up useful space. Take green beans for example. We prefer fresh over frozen, and frozen over canned. However, canned is the only long term option.
Even though we tend to use frozen vegetables when fresh isn’t available, we try to use our canned veggies a few times a month to minimize the chance for spoilage. This doesn’t mean you need to use them daily. Canned corn lasts for about 2 years, so if you eat a can of corn once a week, you can store 100 cans without worrying about expiration.
Set a Goal
What you store Depends on your storage space, family size and income. If you are just starting your food storage plan I would say, start small and get into a routine. Once you figure out what works, start to build on that.
Take a look at your monthly budget and figure out what you can comfortably afford to spend on food storage per month. By spending as little as $50 extra a month on food, you will build up your food storage in no time at all.
Water storage is a little easier than food storage. When it comes to water storage your main cost will be the containers themselves. This can even be done free by using containers like 2ltr bottles or Iced tea Jugs. Keep in mind, this is a short term/low volume option.
Types of Long Term Food Storage
In the show we talked about a few different types of long tern food storage. Some of these are really simple, and some take some time and work, but can save you money.
Shelf Stable Foods: This is the easiest way to bulk up your food storage with food you and your family eat on a regular basis. Canned foods, pasta, beans and boxed meals all have a long shelf life. But keep in mind, if you don’t eat it, don’t store it.
Prepackaged Long Term Food: We sell Legacy Food Storage products at the SHTFShop.com and it is a great way to quickly add to your food storage. The benefit of prepackaged long term food is that it’s convenient, easy to store and has a super long shelf life.
DIY Food Buckets: Putting together your own long term food buckets can be a great way to save money on food storage, but it does take a little work. If you have more time than money, this is a good method. Here are a couple videos I did on packing 5 gallon food buckets…
Canning Food: Learning how to can your own food is a great way of preserving your harvest, or even an option for preserving food you buy in bulk. Home canning is not brain surgery, but does require some learning and equipment to get started.
I recently purchased the electric Carey Pressure Canner, and here are my thoughts on using it for pressure canning…
Gardening: Gardening is a great way to feed your family fresh and nutritious food. This does require some time, space and a little trial and error, but I think it’s a skill we should all know. Eventually our food storage will run out, and gardening gives us a sustainable option.
Dehydrating: A great way of getting more protein into your diet in a disaster scenario is dehydrating or even smoking meat. While this is tough to do on a large scale, who doesn’t love some beef jerky. You can also dehydrate fruits and vegetables.
Some of the home dehydrating devices can get a little pricey, but are worth it if you use it enough. A while back I made this DIY food dehydrator for under $100…
Freezing: Freezing food is a great option right now, but we might not have refrigeration in an SHTF scenario. This is why knowing other food preservation methods are necessary. If the power goes out, and you know how to can food, you won’t have to waste all the food in your refrigerator.
Water Boxes: At the SHTFShop we have 5 gallon water boxes made by Legacy Foods. These boxes are great because you can store them easily in the closet and maximize your storage space.
Water Bricks: A more durable and just as convenient option are the plastic water bricks. These are a little more expensive than Legacy water boxes, but they are made to withstand just about anything thrown at them.
DIY Options: You may already have milk jugs, 2ltr bottles or Jugs like the Arizona iced tea Jugs sitting around the house. Why not use them to store a little extra water. Keep in mind, milk jugs are not recommended for drinking water, but can be used for grey water (cleaning).
The Water Bob: While just filing up your bathtub is a good idea, who knows how clean your bathtub is. A Water Bob is basically an insert you put in your bathtub to protect the water from the “who knows what” in the bathtub.
Rain Catchment: There are quite a few options when it comes to collecting rain water, and your imagination is your only limit. If the water ever stopped running, this would be a great way to add a little to what you already have.
Water Filters: Regardless of how much water we have stored, it’s probably not enough. At a minimum 1 person would need about 500 gallons to last 1 year. At some point you may need to filter water you find (like rain water) and having the right filter is key. Some filters like the Sawyer will filter rain water just fine, but the Berkey is a better (more expensive) option for large quantities.
Learn Water Cleaning Techniques: Clean drinking water is something almost everyone takes for granted. In the event that sanitation becomes an issue, people drinking dirty water will become an issue. Learn some of the different techniques for cleaning water like using bleach, boiling, iodine, ect. and what you can, and will do.
Finding Water: In the event that your water runs out, or if you just don’t have the space to store a lot of it, you will need to know how to get it. This article “Finding Water in the City” Will give you an idea about where you might be able to find water that no one else is thinking about.
Other Things to Consider…
Don’t Forget the Pets: If you have cat’s or dogs, you will need to take them into account also. The great thing about pets is that their food has quite a long shelf life. We try to always have 2 bags of extra dog food, and rotate it to keep it fresh.
Organization & Rotation: If you don’t make organization and rotation a priority you could find yourself throwing out food, which is basically throwing away money. It could also mean that the 6 months of food storage you thought you have is only 3.
Good organization will help you keep your head above water. If we stay on top of things before they get out of hand, it will be easier to maintain our food and water storage.
Keith Hutchison says
You were talking about long term food and you talked about expensive dehydrator. But it was a freeze dryer from Harvest Right, Not a dehydrator
Bruce MacKintosh says
Why can I not find any info on an in-line water storage tank? All I want is a tank that I can hard-plumb in-line in front of my conventional water heater. That way the water is always fresh right up until the supply stops, and won’t need to be treated prior to cooking use. An 80 gallon tank would doubly my capacity of potable water; bathing and commode water would come from elsewhere. All the tanks I see are designed just to hold water for long periods of time but would probably leak if under 24/7 water pressure like a hot water heater. Obviously, I can use a water heater without power; there should be a cheaper alternative smaller than one you would use with a well.