Emergency Food: A Buying & Storing Guide

by | Feb 8, 2020 | Emergency Preparedness, Headline News | 12 comments

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    New preppers can often feel overwhelmed when it comes to which foods to buy and the storage of those foods.  Hopefully, this guide will help you take the first steps to preparedness when it comes to food.

    The first step when storing food is actually to store water.  Make sure you’ve got some water bricks or large storage containers (preferably BPA-free) to keep enough water for at least a month for your entire family.  Often, cooking food is difficult and all but impossible without at least some water.  You’ll also need something to drink, wash with, and clean your cooking and eating utensils.  If you don’t have a well and some kind of system in place to retrieve water without electricity, you’ll want to start with your water storage first.  Once that’s taken care of, you can move onto storing food for a long term emergency.


    When you begin to think about which foods to store, you will want to consider longevity. You’ll stock up on freeze-dried foods, dehydrated foods (which is why water is a must), MREs, and food ration bars and more. I personally like the Augason Farms brand of emergency food. These buckets are stackable and come in enough options it kind of takes the guesswork out of food storage. These are obviously not your only options, but having bulk food you can store for a long time is necessary.

    Next, you will need things like cooking oil and vinegar. Cooking oil won’t last forever, so make sure you have plans to use it as fuel if it goes rancid. Grab some pickling vinegar if you plan to can anything after the SHTF.  But you can use apple cider vinegar for things like dressings and sauces to add some acidic flavor to your food. Stock up on salt and pepper and even some Lowry’s seasoning salt or garlic salt.  It’ll keep you from eating food that’s really boring and flavorless.

    Ready to eat meals, and canned goods can be bought in bulk too.  Just don’t store anything you don’t like or you won’t want to eat it.  DOn’t store it because someone else said to.  A little personal responsibility will go a long way here.  If you hate tuna, don’t buy $600 worth of it to store. It’s just a waste unless you plan to barter it.  Even then, just store foods you like to eat.

    Remember, this is just the beginning.  When you first start, shoot for enough food and water to get you through 72 hours of an emergency. Think short term: like a blizzard causes a blackout and you are unable to get to the grocery store. Once you’ve gotten that done, bump your food supply up to a month’s worth. Once you have that, work up to 6 months or a year. As you go and continue to prepare, you’ll eventually be able to realize what else could be needed.

    Oh! And don’t forget a can opener!



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      1. Those well-stocked shelves look nice, but don’t appear very FIFO (first in, first out) friendly. Any suggestions for a better arrangement that would facilitate stock rotation better?

        • Anything you would normally eat will facilitate stock rotation better.
          Like corned beef hash twice a month? Buy full compliment of needed hash at least figuring how many that would be against the recommended best by date. Lots of calories on shelf, little space..
          I use an arrow on each shelf designating above the shelf arrow first and then move “that way” —-}

      2. It seems, based on observations of comments of the online prepping community is that the thing that preppers are probable least prepared for is what happens to human nature in a panic, and in worst case scenarios, cannibalism has actually occured.

        Some people may end up regretting alliances formed, and find out that any pre-negotiated cooperation quickly dissolves in a state of panic, and a Lord of the Flies situation is the end result.

        I do not understand why many are looking forward to such a state of emergency. I can only conclude that they are insane, and suffer from tremendous hubris in their abilities.

        • AI said, “preppers are probably least prepared for what happens to human nature in a panic.”

          Actually, I believe that most formal social institutions are an outlet for criminal energies, on a good day. You are basically watching a panicked feeding frenzy occur, in slow motion, under controlled conditions.

        • Good advice Andrea. Better to only form alliances with people you’ve know and trusted for years, even then, if at all. The less people know about you and what you have, the better.

      3. Good advice. Starting out I’d recommend thinking in terms of calories. A simple rule of thumb is 2,000 calories per person per day. Track how many ‘1-person-days’ you can feed.

        I’d avoid pricey freeze dried foods costing $15-$25 per 2,000 calories. Using Azure Market (Costco and Sam’s good too) for example, any combination of black beans and rice cost about $2.15 per 2,000 calories. Quick oats are less than $1.00 per 2,000 calories. OK this stuff is bland but sugar, salt and spices are cheap. Stock them.

        Folks laugh about Spam but wait until they are hungry. Fry it and see how many turn it down. It’s just $6.00 per 2,000 calories and since it is canned it will keep for decades.

        Lastly plan how you will provide the water and fuel required for cooking.

        • I agree
          I myself prefer 3,000 Cal/day (million calories a year approx) as a minimum only because of stress factors that will boost calorie needs of those that especially will need to move more. More security movement, more tending of whatever.
          I do like freeze dried, especially just meats for easy versatility and calories. A can of freeze dried celery is worthless calorically but takes up lots of space and costs a LOT per calorie.
          Some good flavored oils like sesame helps make bland pop and get rid of food flavor fatigue. A good soy sauce for flavor and needed salt good too.
          Better to meet the end with a tasty , satisfying meal behind you than, “beans, rice and spam again?”
          $1 dried spices “spice supreme” that can be found off the beaten path are good too.
          Calorically may heaven help all that have a teen boy or two in their midst.

          May the Lord bless you and your family and all here.

        • Thinking of Murphy’s Law, where things usually run over-time and over-budget, the rda should cover one tall laborer for one meal.

          Some of these teeny mouse people must have an advantage, when it comes to rationing.

          Large people need to use their strength advantages, when it comes to hunting and gathering.

      4. I think that history was built upon infectious piles of rubbish, society is a pecking order, and you have been living through an emergency, for your whole life, already.

        Your emergency food supply and emergency water supply should just be called your food and water supply.

      5. Augason Farms brand of emergency food is crap. I’ve tried several of their items and know you can’t eat them even in an emergency! Buy food that you can make meals out of (consistently) from Honeyville Farms! TVP, Soups, Veggies, Fruits etc.! Get powdered tomato paste, butter, eggs etc. and don’t forget the comfort food items like pudding, popcorn and jello!

      6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2000_problem

        So, the joke, in thrift and farm stores, was to call everything non-digital, “y2k compliant”.

        One way to start prepping is to make just one thing — anything, at all — from scratch.

        Master the use of any one thing, off grid.

        You will become a well rounded person, before you get it right, learning PE, science, and politics, like no school could teach!

      7. Keep in mind heat is the enemy of canned goods. Also, if you have not started prepping by now, you are way behind the curve. The Kung-Flu Corona virus fiesta is a portent for a very unpleasant 2020 here in the FSSA. All of the tax-supported NGO-type “groups” will be bringing in “refugees” for treatment. When the streets of Amerika’s Blue Hives start resembling the streets of Wuhan and other Chinese major cities, you better have a viable fall back plan. Stay safe and vigilant. Bleib ubrig.

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