It is never a bad idea to have at least a small stockpile of long term food storage in the event of an emergency. Inclement weather events, power outages, disease outbreak, and other disasters could make finding food outside of your home nearly impossible. Having something to fall back on is a smart and safe plan.
Why should you have long term food storage
Consider this very realistic scenario: What if you were caught in a long-term power outage due to a severe storm that caused flooding and major damage to roadways.
Or let’s look at something you might be dealing with now. You have to shelter in place and not leave home because of a viral pandemic. In situations like these, you could be stuck in your home potentially for weeks.
Events such as these, and a long list of other possibilities, could happen to you. Having a plan to survive and thrive in any situation, including enough food and water to fall back on, will keep you and your family safe and healthy despite the drastic situation.
How much food should you store
Every home should have a minimum of three days‘ worth of food and water appropriate for their family size, but having at least two weeks’ worth is preferred. The rule of thumb for water is one gallon of water per person per day, and do not forget to count children and pets at up to a full gallon of water each as well.
The amount of food will depend on your family, but there should be enough food to provide enough calories and nutrition to keep you healthy. At the very minimum, each family member should be able to have at least one full meal per day.
What kind of food should you store
You should stock food that has a minimum of a 3-6 month shelf life, and keep that stock rotated so that nothing is spoiled should an emergency occur. Look for canned goods and other non-perishable foods that your family will eat. It won’t do much good to only stock canned foods that no-one likes, because then it will be less likely that everyone will consume enough food and get the proper nutrition.
What are some examples of foods to store
Ready-to-eat canned goods that do not require cooking before consumption, granola bars, dried milk, peanut butter, nuts, and protein bars are all examples of good items to store. Crackers, bread, and similar products are good to keep as well – as long as you keep the stock rotated and keep in mind that they will not last as long as non-perishable items.
Home grown foods can be canned, dried, or frozen and can supply you with healthy, inexpensive foods for a year depending on how you plan your garden.
Don’t forget about freeze-dried foods and MREs. These food typically stay good for 2 to 25 years, so make sure they are sorted by expiration date. And don’t wait for an emergency to eat them. Try them now and then to see what your family likes, and then purchase more of the favorites.
How do you store food items long term
Have a shelf, closet, pantry, or cellar dedicated to your emergency food storage. Everything in your emergency food supply should be stored in airtight containers and you will want to have extra storage containers and/or zip lock bags to keep opened items in. Keep a list or clearly mark all boxes, cans, and bags with expiration dates and “opened on” dates and keep your stock rotated and free of expired items.
If you lack kitchen space, get creative. I’ve known people who store food in the garage or even under the bed. It doesn’t have to be in the pantry. Think outside the box. And make sure to keep a few things in your vehicle just in case you find yourself stranded somewhere.
Keeping a stockpile of food and water for your family to fall back on in times of need is a responsible part of emergency preparedness. Should a large storm or other disaster occur in your area, you are more likely to be able to survive comfortably for longer. These tips should help you build and maintain a long term food storage.