Helpful Food Storage Tips

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Be Practical. Store the food you eat and eat the food you store. It doesn’t make sense to buy food storage that your family isn’t accustomed to eating. Many items, such as wheat, flour, oats, and dried milk are needed to sustain life and are already included in many of the foods that we enjoy each day. Become familiar with recipes that include ingredients contained within your food storage. This will not only enable you to become familiar with the preparation of foods within your food storage, it will also allow you to rotate your food in a timely manner.

Store Foods Properly. Quality is best maintained by minimum exposure to light, heat, moisture, and air. Items stored in a basement will last much longer than in a pantry or garage. Store food on shelves or on a raised platform rather than directly in contact with concrete floors or walls. Avoid storing items next to certain products such as soaps or fuels; this will prevent the spread of odor and other possible contaminants.

Temperature. Where possible, always store your food indoors. Temperature has the largest affect on food storage. Canned goods will store 2 to 3 times longer at 70°F than they will at 90°F. Most dry goods store indefinitely below 70°F. Temperature affects nutrition, texture, and taste.

Moisture. Dry goods should contain less than 10% moisture. The more a container is opened, the more moisture is introduced. The humidity in the air the day food is dry packed or home canned can also affect storage life. Weevil cannot grow in grain with less than 10% moisture. For a maximum shelf life, non-fat dry milk should have no more than 2.8% moisture.

Light. Store foods in opaque containers or dark cupboards. Light fades colors, destroys vitamins, and speeds the rancidity of fats.

Air. Containers should have airtight seams and lids. If in doubt, use duct tape as an additional seal. Plastic buckets with rubber gaskets are airtight if the gasket has not been damaged.

Use Variety. Use a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein sources, and dairy products to obtain balanced nutrition. This will provide greater flexibility in cooking.

Use Labels. Label your containers with the date of purchase.

Rotate Your Storage. Rotate as many items as you can by using food storage at least twice a week. This will allow for a complete rotation of a year’s food supply every three years. It will also help your family become accustomed to the items you have stored.

Store Water. Be sure to store a large amount of water (at least 14 gallons per person for a two week supply). Soda and juice bottles will work for water storage as will larger food-grade plastic containers. For larger quantities, 5, 15, 30, and 55 gallon storage drums can be used. Water will need to be treated before storage. FEMA recommends treatment with 4 drops of bleach per quart of water. Water supplies should be replenished yearly.

Store Non-Food Items. Food storage is only part of emergency preparedness. Don’t forget to store non-food items such as medicines, toiletries, soap, cleaning supplies, paper products, laundry detergent, and clothing.

Grow a Garden. For easy access to fresh produce, grow a garden. Also, store and rotate seeds. If you don’t have garden space, try using pots to grow vegetables.


Paper Products

Has anyone thought about how much TOILET PAPER to store? I stored a lot at one time and somehow it got moths in it and boy did they have a wonderful time! I now store it in those big plastic vacuum bags that are advertised for storing blankets, sweaters, etc. using the vacuum to remove the air in the sealed bag. I'd hate to run out of the stuff 3 months into an emergency, thinking I had stored enough for a year.

storing food canned in jars

Do you have a system for storing food that is home canned in jars?

home canned jars

I have heard that shelf reliance is coming up with a system to store and rotate jars.

Do you have a system for storing food that is home canned in jar

I have been using several different ways..
1.) I have 75gallon round storage cans with ring seals & one way I have used is to use recycled papers (shredded) I usually get the kids to do this for a good thick layer on the bottom & paper inbetween the jars. then I take some cardboard (from a local appliance store refer or stove) and cut out large circles n place that on the top of each layer of jars & alternate with shredded paper...

2.) I have also been trying out with the same barrels, instead of shredded paper, I have been using that spray insulation that comes in a spray can (can be bought @ any local hardware or Walmart stores) Spray very lightly as it swells up really big & fast... & then use the same cut rounds of cardboard for each layer...

3.) I have also been trying out with the same barrels, styrofoam peanuts...just go to craigs list anywhere and you'll find all you need for free...same rounds of cardboard for layers & even been playing around with the spray insulation & the peanuts...interesting...but it all works..

4.) also I've just used cut up card board boxes to make seperators in between each jar...with the same rounds of cardboard for layering..

5.) I have also used the infamous FLIP N FOLDS......I picked up a bunch of them @ a local auto parts store..they sold them to me for like $2.00 a piece..used n dirty, buy they wash up & hold lots of jars. You will need a GOOD heavy duty dolly to move ANY of the methods I have used... I also use these for one months worth of ??? , then I have 4 of them completly outfitted for 3 months worth of supplys.. Then I put the 4 flip n folds in A corner of my garage. Then I start on the next 4 and so on till all 4 corners of the garage have a 3months supply in each corner...

I also save my plastic detergent jugs. when finished with the soap, I take it to the tub & fill it with water, cap it and it goes out to the garage with the fs...I do the same with the softners & bleach bottles...
There is just enough soap left in the detergent bottles to supply you with soapy water to wash up with....n enough softner in the jug to just take out the REAL stiffness of hand washed clothing....I put them in the flip n folds also...and they all stack very nicely and uniformly...

I then have spray painted them different colors to represent differnt, food, first aid, tools, cooking etc....

hope this helps someone...I've had a blast trying out differnt ideas....
Kit Mattice-Buttram

Canning/Bottling Food

The best video I've ever seen on this whole process (plus solar oven and Rocket stove cooking, equivalencies (how much water does it take to rehydrate 1/2 cup of strawberries, etc.), vacuum sealing food, bottling meats/entrees, LOTS of recipes, etc. And she sends you the print version free. The DVD is very inexpensive and comprehensive. She also gives you the actual storage length of various foods and AMAZING tips on the ACTUAL shelf life of purchased cans, refrigerator & freezer items, vitamins, and more. Don't believe what it says on the container.

Putting the Foods You Love Into Food Storage
by Wendy DeWitt

Lest you think I'm getting a commission or something for the recommendation... not at all. I'm just so impressed by the information shared. Add that info to the products here and you should be well on your way to self sufficiency. Even Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) is talking about switching from residential investments into ranch/farm land and food storage in preparation for the changes to come.

Keep sharing more information everyone. We have LOTS to learn before the major solar flares hit next year. Karen Kraft


I have been freezing food for long term (1-1 1/2 years) food storage for a long time, but am new to other methodds. As I don't have a garage, I do have a room that I'm not really using except as a catch all area. With all of your good ideas, I think I am going to clean out the room and utilize it for food storage. Thank you for sharing your great, helpful ideas.

storing food canned in jars

The best way to store jars of canned food is a root cellar.