Food storage is the 2nd most important step you can take as a beginning prepper, right after establishing water storage and the means to purify it.
Before spending money on dehydrated food and storage products, my first advice has always been to begin by buying extra of the food you already eat. In most cases, that means building a pantry of some sort. Each time you go grocery shopping, buy a few extra items. Put those on the shelf, and repeat until you have a decent stock of food. Ideally, you reach a point where you get dinner food from your pantry, and go grocery shopping to stock your pantry. This approach means you will always be buying food you actually eat, you won’t run out of something, and you’ll most likely have multiple weeks’ worth of food – which is more than most people have.
That advice assumes you’re a typical apartment-renting or home-owning prepper, as opposed to living on a farm. After establishing a pantry, you should move deeper into food storage. The how-to of doing that goes beyond what this page details. Below I merely list items that I have found to be beneficial in establishing a long-term food storage system.
The ideal system, of course, is redundancy and variety. If your pantry runs dry, for example, you don’t want to be restricted to living on freeze dried food for 6 months; nor do you want to be limited to buckets upon buckets of long-grain rice. That said, both freeze dried food and buckets of rice have their place. You want options.
Food with a long shelf life..
Freeze Dried Food – This is an easy “set it and forget” way to have an emergency supply of food. There are many different distributors. I recommend Wise food. The company has a wide variety of products, they are very responsive, the quality is high, and their pricing is very competitive – Wise Food. They always have a rotating sale going on, so visit them to see.
Food storage products.
5 gallon food-grade bucket with lid (set of 6) – These are the most basic, most affordable option for storing food. Fill these with rice and beans, throw some desiccants in them, and seal them up. Many people opt to seal the food in mylar bags with desiccants. That is the preferred way to store food for the long-term, and if you do that, the mylar will be the barrier you need against plastic, so the “food-grade” aspect will matter less in those instances.
Gamma Seal Lids – Every experienced prepper knows about Gamma Seal lids. They get screwed onto your 5 gallon bucket of rice, beans, or what have you, and instead of trying to pry off a plastic cover and bang it closed each time you want to get into it, you simply unscrew the cover and take out what you need. I own a few of them that I use on whatever bucket I’m drawing food from in the pantry.
Desiccants – These are a staple for long-term food storage. Put them in your food-grade bucks and/or mylar bags in order to draw oxygen out and preserve food for the long haul.
Mylar Bags – You will need these for storing beans, rice, etc. You can buy a fancy sealing device to close them up with desiccants, or you can use the no-frills method of a clothes iron.
Can Rack 200 – This is essentially a canned food storage and rotation shelving unit for a pantry. It can store up to 200 cans and offers a rotating “first in – first out” method, so you never have to worry about rotating stock.
FIFO Can Tracker – This is a smaller, shelf-size unit version of the Can Rack 200. You can easily store up to 54 cans of food with it automatically rotating stock for you.
Vacuum Sealer – This is less of a long-term food storage option and more of a mid-term food storage option. It’s a great way to store leftovers and reduce food waste, thereby extending your dollar for more preps!