Guidelines for Obtaining Long Term Food Storage

After creating a three-month supply of food, and storing a two-week supply of water for each person in your household, it is time to start working on long-term food storage.

The goal with long-term food storage is to get a one year supply of food items with a long shelf life. This food supply should begin with basic items that will sustain life in an emergency in case there is nothing else to eat. Items stored should be capable of having a shelf life of 25 to 30 years or more.

The following basic items might be considered for storage. Indicated with the item is the approximate amount of each needed to sustain an average person for one year in an emergency.

  • 300 lbs. of Grains (Wheat, rice, or other cereals)
  • 100 lbs. of Powdered Milk (non-fat)
  • 100 lbs. of Sugar or Honey
  • 150 lbs. of Beans and Legumes
  • 100 lbs. of Flour
  • 2 Gal. of Cooking Oil or Shortening
  • 5 lbs. of Salt
  • 1 lb. of Baking Powder

These items provide a diet that supplies approximately 2,300 calories per day. The above suggested items may be proportionately reduced as other foods are added. Those frequently chosen to be added to the above list are dried legumes (peas, beans, peanuts, and lentils) which are high in protein and store well. Vegetable oils, dried fruits and vegetables, and canned meats and fish would also make great additions.

As you can see from the above mentioned long-term food items, meals made from these ingredients would be very basic and probably wouldn’t do much more than sustain life. I know, however, that there are many recipe books that show how to make great tasting meals out of these ingredients.

Ready-made freeze-dried and dehydrated foods may be included in your long-term food storage preparations. These tend to be slightly more expensive, but can be great tasting, easy to prepare, and tend to retain their vitamin content better. Ready-made freeze-dried and dehydrated foods will take your food supply beyond just sustaining life in an emergency to providing variety, good nutrition, and great taste during times of emergency.

When storing long-term food storage items the following items need to be considered:

  1. Buy quality products. Obtain top grade whenever possible and store it away from other products that may affect the flavor of the food.
  2. Use proper containers. Usually metal storage cans or heavy plastic containers with air-tight lids are the best.
  3. Use easily accessible storage facilities.
  4. Foods should be stored at cool temperatures (between 40 to 60 deg. F.).
  5. Regularly rotate food storage items to prevent spoilage. Date food items when you purchase them and use the oldest items first.
  6. Foods should be stored in a well-ventilated, cool, dry, dark, and clean area.
  7. Do not place food storage containers on or against cement or dirt floors and walls. Place pieces of wood under and between the storage containers to provide ventilation and to protect from moisture.
  8. Don’t go into debt to obtain long-term food storage. Acquire food storage items gradually.

Hopefully these guidelines will give you some good ideas on how to get started on long-term food storage so that you are prepared in case there is some sort of emergency.