When it comes to a preppers food storage, one size does not fit all. We all have certain limitation whether that be financial or storage space. Our list of what we feel like we need to have, and our list of what we actually have can be to entirely different things.
Storage space is something we can overcome with a little critical thinking, but not having the funds for food storage can put a kink in our preparedness plans.
In this article we are going to go over a few of the different methods of storing food, and not wasting money on food because of improper storage or loss caused by expiration.
Saving Money on Your Food Storage
Store What you Eat: You probably hear this all the time, but if you don’t want to waste money on food storage it is good advice. If your family doesn’t like peas, just because canned peas are on sale doesn’t mean you should buy them. A good deal can turn into wasted money down the line.
Keep in mind that some sacrifices will have to be made, refrigerated foods and foods with short shelf lives will not be around for long in a disaster situation. There are some alternatives that we will go over below, but nothing beats the real thing.
Make a list of what foods you eat all the time, the foods you eat occasionally and the foods you rarely eat.
Proper Food Rotation: Everyone has their own method of doing this, but I can tell you from experience that the more food you store the harder it is to keep track of. This is especially true for canned goods because they tend to hide in the back corners of your cabinets.
I usually do inventory twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring, as well as trying my best to keep everything rotated the whole time. I use this worksheet that you can download that helps me keep track of what I have, what I need and what I need to use soon.
First in First Out: The way I recommend rotating your food storage is just like the grocery stores do it, first in, first out. This can be a little easier said than done because the more food you store the more complicated rotation becomes.
Canned goods are especially hard to keep rotated, but you can make it a little easier on yourself if you buy a couple of these can organizers. There are even quite a few DIY ideas that you can use.
Food Storage Shelf Lives: Food doesn’t have to have a shelf life of 25 years to make it good for storage, foods that have a shelf life of less than a year can be ok for food storage as long as it’s properly rotated.
For more information about the shelf life of your preparedness food storage, have a look at this article that goes over pantry food and canned food shelf life.
How you store your food is just as important as rotation, this article explains how to properly store foods for maximum shelf life, and this article explains the shelf life of some common foods.
Look for Bargains: Once you know which foods you want to store the most of, and you have your inventory system figured out you can start to look for sales or bargains on that food. Most people wouldn’t see the point of buying 15 cans of corn when they are on sale, but as preppers this fits perfectly into our plans.
Lisa and I recently did a podcast with Traci about prepping and couponing. We also talked about some other ways to save money prepping in that show like using Ebates when you make purchases online.
Different Food Storage Methods
When it comes to prepping and food storage, one size does not fit all, we all have different limitations and different reasons for prepping. Some people just don’t have the space to store 5 gallon buckets, and some people might not even want to.
There are quite a few food storage methods to choose from, and it doesn’t need to be one or the other. Lisa and I have a little of everything listed below.
Pantry foods are what you buy at the grocery store every week that don’t require refrigeration. Canned goods, Boxes meals, spaghetti, cereal and even cured meats are all shelf stable.
Canned goods are labeled with a “best by date”, not an “expiration date” and depending on who you ask, can last quite a bit longer than the date listed. I have eaten Spam and sloppy joe sauce that was well past its expiration.
Prepackaged Long Term Food
There are quite a few long term food storage companies to choose from and we sell Legacy foods at the SHTFshop.com. The main benefit I find from long term food is the “set it and forget it” factor. If properly stored you don’t need to worry about rotating these long term foods once or twice a year.
With Legacy foods you can also get a little more variety than you would making everything from scratch from 5 gallon buckets, and companies like Auguson Farms and Honeyville have products like powdered milk and eggs that would be hard to store otherwise.
Like I said earlier we don’t rely on one food storage method, we store a little of everything on this list. Having some prepackaged long term food is a good starting point as you work your way up to some of the DIY food storage techniques.
DIY 5 Gallon Buckets
You have no doubt heard or seen the 5 gallon bucket method, and it really isn’t as complicated as it looks. It only takes 4 things to store food in 5 gallon buckets, the buckets, Mylar bags, oxygen absorber’s and the correct food.
I say the correct foods because some foods last longer than others, and some need to be stored differently than others. This article from Prepared Housewives explains 5 gallon buckets in more detail.
Lisa and I are also in the process of adding a Prepping Crash Course at the Survivalist Prepper Academy and we will be going through food storage as well as first aid, water storage and threat assessment.
Other DIY Food Storage
There are also quite a few other DIY food storage ideas to choose from like Canning, meal Jars, Medium term storage and Dehydrated food. Some of these can be pretty involved, and some of these are pretty easy to learn.
Canning might take you a little longer to learn because of the techniques and supplies, but putting together freezer meals or meals in jars are a little easier. My suggestion is to pick something you might be interested in, give it a try and see how it goes, but don’t try everything all at once because it might be too much to handle.
Dianne Lipsey says
Should everything restored in glass? I worry about plastic with what is known about it. Heat will melt it and in some cases expand and contract it. What is your recommendations for proper/safe storage. Storing items like spaghetti, rice, dry beans, corn meal, flour, sugar etc. Thank you!