Food Storage 101, What to Store

January 25, 2011, by Lauren (Mrs. MSB)




The first real tip here is: store what you will eat! You can spend too much time analyzing calories and nutrition content. I think the bottom line here is if you store what you eat on a daily basis, I think you’ll be just fine.

Storing what you eat regularly will also help with adequate rotation of your food storage. If you store foods you’re not eating, they will just sit there and not be rotated.

Start with a look at what you currently have in your pantry/cupboards and expand on that first. If you have the room, I recommend you keep a ‘working’ pantry that you will use on a daily basis for your meals. Your working pantry should be in or near your kitchen. It can simply be some well stocked cupboards, a closet or an actual pantry (small ancillary room to the kitchen).

In a separate place you should keep your food ‘storage’. This is where you will take from to restock your pantry. Again, depending on your space, this can be in a basement, garage, spare bedroom closet etc. You will need to decide. There are several reasons for having a separate storage. Ever hear the saying “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”? After all, in a true SHTF scenario, better to have some of your food compromised, than all of your food!



As a general rule, canned foods make an excellent food storage item. Typically, most canned foods have a shelf life of several years, some even longer.

They come in large varieties such as vegetables, meats, fish, soups and fruits to name a few.

Most canned foods, in an emergency situation, will not require that you heat or cook them before eating them. They may not taste as good cold, but they will sustain you. You can also take advantage of great sales on canned foods and stock up quickly.



Another choice for food storage are bulk foods. Generally they are more cost effective because you are buying them in bulk quantities.

One thing you will need to do with bulk items after you purchase them is to transfer them to long term storage containers.

Many of the items that you can buy in bulk are items such as rice, grains and beans. If you are not familiar with cooking these items, you will need to educate yourself now. Cooking with whole grains takes a little practice. Better to learn now. Besides, they are so much healthier for you.



I love the fact that we have a few cases of these. One reason is you will have a nice hot meal without having to cook. A disposable MRE heater provides a chemical reaction which is sufficient to heat the food.

Another plus is the portability of these meals. They are small and easy to store, perfect for an evacuation scenario and keeping some in your car kit. They are also quite tasty. One disadvantage is that they can be pricey.



Many people forget this as a prep item. Seeds are a ‘must’ for every prepper in order to grow your own food. These should be rotated every year or two. Check your packets for an expiration date. As seed packets are inexpensive enough, it’s not a huge endeavor to rotate these.


I don’t know if you can ever really be sure if you have enough. ‘Enough’ is a personal opinion. Let me tell you that I have been a prepper for years, and still I occasionally find something to add to my storage.

The following is one example of this. I would say it was probably about a year after beginning storing food and supplies that I realized one important item that we did not have in our storage…….COFFEE! That’s right, I had absolutely no coffee in my stock. You better believe that the next time it went on sale, I went out and picked up a dozen cans to start my stock of coffee.

A few months later, I realized that I had no additional spices. Coffee and spices, both would add to providing comfort in a survival situation and both are great barter items.

‘Enough’ depends on how many people are in your family and how long you want your stock to last. One thing I can suggest that works for me is to ask yourself every time you take an item from your pantry, “Do I have enough of these?” Many times that simple question will prompt me to add an item to my storage.

Another trick that helps me is really browsing through the supermarket when I have some extra time. I’ll walk up and down every aisle looking at everything that is on sale. Occasionally, I come across an item and decide to add it to my stock.