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Home » Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Part One: Food Storage

Submitted by on November 11, 2010 – 10:29 am 62 Comments
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Those of you who aren’t too caught up in the trivialities of life or Hollywood, and are actually paying attention to what is going on in our economy (and no, mainstream news and Associated Press articles do NOT count) are hopefully coming to the realization that we are on a one way course into disaster with no U-turns in sight.

More and more and more people are beginning to wake up and realize that things could get really ugly, really quickly, and they are starting to think about what they can do now to get prepared. I have found myself answering a lot of questions and lending a lot of advice to those considering food storage, and I am encouraged to know that so many others are getting their houses in order. The more people who can feed themselves, the better off we’ll all be.

You don’t know how I pray that nothing disastrous happens in our country. I fear mostly for my children’s sakes. I can only hope that somehow we are able to dodge this bullet called hyperinflation (or worse) and still maintain the country we know and love. And even though I truly pray that the Lord will deliver His children from this crazy world before it implodes, I just can’t help but think we’re gonna have to ride out this wave for a while. I truly believe it is He who is warning us to get prepared.

Since it seems I’ve been giving out a lot of the same advice and information to those who are asking (and maybe even loved ones who aren’t asking), I thought it would just be best if I wrote an entire series on the subject for everyone to read, and you can ask me any other questions you may have as we go. I’ll have to write in several parts, as there is a lot to cover, and I will probably miss some stuff but will do my best to be thorough.

Today, we’ll talk about Food Storage.

What do I need to survive a long term emergency situation?

A Year’s Supply of Food. This means enough shelf stable food to sustain every member of your family for an entire year. And it can’t be just rice and beans. You’ll need, and appreciate, a nice variety!

(Read my post on The Easiest Way To Build Food Storage On A Budget)

Here are some things you’ll want to stockpile:

Wheat (Wheat Berries)- Flour will go rancid after a few months; wheat berries store for decades. You will need a wheat grinder to turn these into flour; I’d recommend a hand grinder in case you are without electricity. (We have a Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Mill, you can check out my review of it HERE.) I’d also recommend storing Soft White Wheat (or pastry wheat) for making pancakes, quick breads, and other breads that don’t need yeast; you could use hard wheat for these, but pastry wheat is cheaper. You’ll also need Hard Red Wheat and Hard White Wheat for making loafs of bread and other recipes which do call for yeast. Hard Red Wheat has a bolder flavor, and makes a denser loaf. Some people prefer using Hard White Wheat, as it gives a milder flavor and softer loaf. And yet others recommend mixing the two for a good balance, which is what I am doing.

Beans and Lentils- Cheap and very nutritious! An important source of fiber, protein, carbs, iron, and vitamin B. Store a variety: Pintos, Black Beans, White Beans, Navy Beans, etc.

Rice- Although Brown Rice is better for you, it will go rancid quickly. White Rice will store for 30+ years, and makes a great filler in many recipes.

Rolled Oats- Not only for oatmeal, but also for cookies, breads, meatloaf, etc. Store Quick Oats and/or Old Fashioned Oats, depending on which recipes you plan on using.

Dried Corn- For grinding into cornmeal. If you don’t use cornmeal normally though, this isn’t really a necessity. I hardly ever make cornbread, or use corn tortillas, so we probably won’t store much of this.

Sugar- A major staple!! Especially if you want to be canning jellies, jams and preserves, and stuff like that when they come into season. Also, you should store some sort of drink mix or tea bags, just to break up the monotony, and you’ll definitely want a sweetener for those.  (Plus, you do not wanna live with me when I’ve been without sweets for too long.)

Pasta- Another cheap and filling staple. Store Macaroni, Spaghetti, Lasagna, ABC shapes for the kids, etc. Don’t forget to print out this recipe for homemade noodles as well, just in case you run out. Cheese is expensive, but if you can store up some cheese powder and/or dehydrated cheeses, that would be nice in pasta dishes. Don’t forget spaghetti sauce! You can make your own from canned tomatoes and spices. Find a good recipe to plan on using. Ingredients to make Stroganoff and Alfredo sauce would also be a nice way to mix it up.

Powdered Milk- For drinking, and for using in recipes. THRIVE powdered milk is the absolute BEST for drinking and for cooking with. You won’t find any other powdered milk that tastes as good as this does.

Honey- For recipes. Also good for sore throats and coughs.

Vegetable and Olive Oil- For baking breads, homemade salad dressing, frying foods, etc. If you prefer a different type of cooking oil, then substitute that instead.

Salt- Not only for flavoring foods. It is important to store Iodized salt, along with any other type of salt your family uses (ie: Kosher, Sea Salt, Canning salt). Iodized salt contains Iodine, which is an essential trace mineral our bodies need to stay in good health. It can also be used for preserving meat.

Yeast- Don’t forget to store this for baking breads.

Baking Powder

Baking Soda- not only for cooking, but cleaning as well.

Spices and Condiments- Look through the recipes you plan on cooking from your food storage to see what spices you’ll need. Learn how to make your own Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Salad Dressings, etc from these spices and other ingredients, or stock up on your favorite condiments.

(Read my post on Food Storage, Bulk Spices, and My Must Haves for a list of all of the spices I recommend storing.)

Canned and Freeze Dried Fruits and Vegetables- Even if you plan on having a garden, you can’t depend on it giving you enough food to last an entire year. Store up foods your family normally eats. We eat a lot of green beans, carrots, corn, potatoes, and peas, so that’s mostly what we’ve got stored. I’ve also got tomato sauce, paste, whole and diced tomatoes for using in recipes. The same goes for fruits; applesauce, mandarin oranges, peach slices, pineapple bits, and fruit cocktail are among our cans. Don’t forget the jams and jellies, and pie fillings!

You can get fruits and vegetables freeze dried or dehydrated, though freeze dried foods last much longer.

Canned and Freeze Dried Meats- Although we plan on having our own chickens and other small animals to butcher, along with hunting for wild game, we know we won’t be able to depend on these options always being available. Buy chicken, beef (you can even can ground beef!), and other meats you eat a lot of  and can them yourself, or buy already canned meats. Tuna is another good thing to store, if your family likes it.

Freeze dried meats are surprisingly delicious, and super easy to toss into your favorite dishes just as you would fresh meat. TVP (textured vegetable protein) is also a cheap, high protein (soy based) meat alternative which is also incredibly tasty.

Dried Potatoes- Could come in the form of instant potatoes, freeze dried, potato flakes, etc.

Dried Onions- Dehydrated or freeze dried slices, diced, minced, whatever.

Vinegar- White and Apple Cider; for cooking, medicinal remedies, and disinfecting/cleaning.

Coconut Oil- for baking (and soap).

Chocolate or Cocoa- for sanity.

Molasses- for baking, making brown sugar, etc.

Lemon Juice- for cooking, dehydrating and canning.

Peanut Butter- if you like it. We eat a LOT of peanut butter around here.

Vanilla

Cocoa Powder

Cornstarch

Cream Soups- Cream of Chicken, Cream of Celery, Cream of Mushroom; for recipes.

Evaporated Milk

Cheese Powder- or dehydrated cheeses; for recipes

Powdered Eggs- Even if you have laying hens, it wouldn’t hurt to have some of this stored up. You’ll need eggs in a lot of recipes.

Popcorn Kernels- just for fun.

Powdered Drink Mix or Tea Bags- You can order different flavors of powdered drink mix in bulk, or get them from a restaurant supply store. We drink a lot of sweet tea, so we have gallon tea bags stored up.

Coffee- If you are a coffee drinker, and even if you’re not, this would be good to have on hand. You might need that extra boost of caffeine. I’d suggest storing coffee beans instead of already ground coffee. Again, a good hand cranked wheat mill will do a great job of grinding coffee beans.

Pectin- For canning.

Once you have enough of these basic staples stocked up, you can think about other treats for your food storage. Some people like having dessert mixes, hot chocolate, pancake mix (like Bisquick), and other convenience foods on hand. I’d say definitely spend your money on more substantial foods before splurging on these things.

How much of all of this food do I need?

Fill in the number of people in your home on this spreadsheet, and it will calculate how much food storage you need. You should also go through your recipes and make a plan as to which ones you’d use from your food storage, then calculate how often you’d plan on cooking that meal per month. This will tell you how much of these ingredients you’ll need as well.

How do I store all of these foods?

It is extremely important that you store your foods properly. Nothing would be worse than to open a bucket of grains to find it crawling with Weevils, or to find that a mouse has been enjoying your stockpiles before you could! Take a few extra steps to ensure that your food will still be good when you are ready for it. Many of these things can store practically indefinitely if well protected.

Buckets- When looking for a bucket to store your grains in, you need to make sure that you use a food grade plastic bucket. You can’t just run to the hardware store and buy buckets. On the bottom of a food grade bucket will be an HDPE, with a number two within a triangle of arrows. I’ve read that the colored buckets, even if they have the #2 on them, are not safe. If you wanna be safe, get white buckets.

You can find these for free, or sometimes for a small price, at your local bakery. Just ask for icing buckets with a lid. Size doesn’t really matter. Gratefully take any and all they offer you! You can also order them online, but they are pricey. Gamma Seal lids are awesome, but again, are pretty expensive.

#10 cans- You can buy some food items already packed in #10 cans, which are about 3/4 gallon; these will already be prepared for long term storage. If you have a cannery in your area you can buy bulk foods and can them yourself using their equipment. Packing #10 cans yourself is definitely the cheaper of the two options.

Mylar Bags- Some people seal their food in mylar bags before putting them in a bucket. Although it isn’t necessary, it is an added protective measure. Personally, I feel safe enough with just a well sealed bucket. You can buy these online and at survival stores.

Oxygen Absorbers- You’ll need to put these absorbers in your buckets, and #10 cans if you are filling them yourself, along with the food you’ll be storing. They will absorb all of the oxygen in your container, killing any bug eggs that might be ready to hatch out in your foods. Make sure that the container you will be putting these in is airtight.

As soon as you open the sealed bag of absorbers, they will begin working. You have about 10 minutes to get them into a bucket and sealed before they start losing their potency. If you will not be using them all, store the extra oxygen absorbers in a small glass jar tightly sealed until ready to use again. They will lose a little bit of strength since they will have absorbed the oxygen in the jar, but not much.

Oxygen absorbers come in different sizes; 100 CC, 300 CC, 500 CC and 2000 CC. It is recommended to use one 500 CC absorber per #10 can. A 5-6 gallon buckets needs two-three 500 CC absorbers. You can get these online, at survival stores, and cheapest at LDS canneries.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)- A naturally occurring substance, safe for consumption as long as it is “food grade” DE, and not what you will find in swimming pool supplies. Mix one cup of DE into every 40 lbs of grains and legumes; approx. 1 cup per 5 gallon bucket. Do this in small batches to ensure that every kernel is covered in the powder. Use a mask when mixing to avoid inhaling this product. You might wanna protect your eyes as well. You can order this online, some garden centers and feed stores also carry DE. Read the ingredients on the bag before buying to make sure that other chemical insecticides have not been added.

Iodized Salt- Add 1 cup of salt to a container of pasta to keep weevils out. You won’t be wasting the salt, ’cause it will still be usable when the pasta is gone.

Where do I store all of this food?

food storage

Consider converting a large closet into a storage pantry.

Build more shelves in existing closets, as high as it will go. Clean out unnecessary accessories, gadgets, and kitchen tools you never use from your cabinets, and use that space for food storage.

Raise every bed in your home to accommodate small buckets.

Stack large buckets in every corner of every closet, as much as possible. If you have a garage, basement, or root cellar, you are very fortunate!! Use this space to the best of its capacity! Make sure you take preventative measures in protecting your food from water damage in flood prone areas. Just keep in mind that the food needs to stay relatively cool. Hot, humid places should be avoided.

Make sure that you are using the more perishable items in rotation, paying attention to expiration dates. Some things will only last for a year no matter how well they are stored. Use these foods in your every day cooking, and replace them as you go.

Phew! Well, I think that covers that. Did I miss anything? Obviously, water needs to be stored, but that will have to be an entirely different post.

Hopefully that will help you get started, or motivate you to finish storing up your year’s supply. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them for you.

*Since writing this post, I have become a consultant for Shelf Reliance, a top quality distributor of long term food storage and emergency supplies. If you are interested in purchasing any of these products at an up to 30% off discount, send me an email at: newlifeonahomestead@gmail.com, and I’ll be happy to get you hooked up with my savings!

Continue Reading This Series…

Part Two: Personal Library Essentials

Part Three: Living Without Electricity

Part Four: Feminine Hygiene

Part Five: Guns and Ammo

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62 Comments »

  • Jason says:

    If you are looking for a way to calculate what food storage you need and set a goal, check out: stockupfood [dot] com.

    Good luck!

  • Carla says:

    I’m just getting started on parts of my ‘savings’ plan. How long will can foods last? Are they good only through the date of expiration? One last question: pasta and rice, are they safe to eat after a year in a plastic airtight container if no bugs are present? I have lots of plastic containers I purchased at Dollar Tree and thought I’d stock up on pasta and store them in these. Thoughts??

    Thanks so much!
    Carla

  • SJ Smith says:

    @ Rebecca – I also put a few large cans up for a neighborhood potluck. I would not like to see folks starve too badly. My great grandfather helped others during depression when they got too skinny. Just a meal. No more. The 5 lb cans of tomatoes, chili, fruit cocktail, beans, etc… can be quickly made up for a WEEKLY get together. They’re usually cheaper to buy in that size too. Hopefully you have neighbors who are friendly.

  • nancyb says:

    Kendra, in one of your responses to another comment to this post, you mentioned not having much meat in your food storage. It is definitely worth it to pressure can meat. You can can it with no additives and it is very convenient to use, basically heat and eat. I can venison stew meat chunks, venison chili, chicken breasts, chicken and turkey broth. If you have no power, you may lose the meat in your freezer. Canning meat is your insurance policy.

  • Diane says:

    Sorry, I forgot to add that I am attempting to get 2 homes ready for emergency. We have a cabin, not too far from our home, that if we would have to bug out would be our choice. It is actually a lot better prepared for loss of power etc, but extremely small and has no storage space. Any suggestions there for an inexpensive storage solution? I would hope that if we would have to bug out to there, that we could manage to take much of our supplies with us, but know that might not be feasible. Thanks again.

  • Diane says:

    I just found your blog today and am thoroughly enjoying it. I too am trying to stockpile, on an extremely tight budget, and will be trying my hand at canning for the first time this year. I probably have a couple month stockpile on hand in store bought items. For now, I am working on some foods, but more to the side of paper essentials, hygiene supplies, and laundry supplies. The laundry supplies are easy, as I know that if the desperate times come, laundry will not be priority, but I want to have enough detergent and liquid fab softener on hand to get by for an extended time, which actually won’t take that much. I want low sudsing for easier rinsing, so the “cheap” brands are it for me. I feel a little fabric softener will make the line drying a little more “comfortable”. Bleach, bleach and more bleach is high on my list of essentials, i.e. cleaning, laundry, purifying water. I buy one extra multi bar package of ivory soap every month to stockpile, even though we don’t use it now. Many uses. I also purchase suave kids 3 in 1 bath gel, shampoo and conditioner in place of seperate items, both for convenience and to maximize storage. I keep it on hand for my grandkids anyway, and feel it could be very useful. Extra TP every shopping trip, even if I can only afford a single roll. Alcohol, peroxide, benedryl caplets, any first aid or medicinal supplies in the .88 bin from Walmart also find their way in to my supplies. I don’t purchase anything with an expiration date that I know won’t or can’t be used before that happens. Rotation is my key right now. I search out BYGO free at the store, and get as many as I can, and stockpile the “free” one of whatever it is. I could save money and just get the half price item, but look at it that if I use the free item, got it cheap, if not, not out anything more than I would have been at regular price. Make sense? I have read everything of yours, though might have missed some things. As you see how I am attempting to go about this, do you have any advice for me? Sure would appreciate it. Keep up the good work! And thanks!

    • Diane,

      I applaud your efforts, though I am a bit concerned that you are focusing too much on cleaning products, and less on essentials such as food and water. Clean clothes and hair are nice, but what good is it when you haven’t eaten in days? I’d say make FOOD and a source of clean water your TOP PRIORITY. Toiletries won’t mean a thing to you if you’re too weak to use them. Be careful not to “nickle and dime” yourself to death on the small things, and neglect to make meaningful investments in what will truly matter in a life-and-death survival situation. Food, food, food, lol ;)

  • MSJENNY says:

    You have a wonderful site and so informative, thank goodness for people like you who are willing to share and teach.
    The picture of the closet filled with food…because it is just store bought food, I assume that would be for short term supply and use as regular house stock? As a rule, how long does that kind of food have a shelf life for? Having a sale on 10 for 10$ items seems like a way to start nice and slow and an easy way to get started…have to start somewhere! Watch the grocery ads for specials and stock up little by little. So much to think about and different ways to do it for your family.
    Thank you for your assistance..msjenny

    • Ms Jenny,

      When we bought the cans of food, we were in the very beginning stages of storing up food. I need to update this post, really. We were very naive, and had never heard of freeze dried foods, really. Canned goods are definitely much shorter term than freeze dried foods. We still have a bit of these cans of food left, but once they’re gone I will NOT be stocking back up on canned goods. Canned foods expire much sooner than freeze dried foods. They do last longer than their expiration date, generally, but the longer they sit the less quality and nutrients they maintain. Freeze dried foods do not degrade in nutrition or taste for up to 25 years. Freeze dried is definitely a better buy, in my opinion!

  • MSJENNY says:

    I LOVE TO SHOP THE DOLLAR STORE. IS THIS A GOOD WAY TO STOCK UP ON STAPLES AND THINGS THE FAMILY LIKES..HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO BUYING FROM THRIVE AND STORING YOURSELF?

  • tenisha says:

    I have not stocked anything yet. Been thinking out it for months. I’ ve brought this up to my husband. He does not take this serious. How and what is a great way to start stocking with two little boys.

  • Anonymous says:

    Well, it’s been two years since you wrote this amazing post. It might be fun to ask your viewers:

    1. Do they remember this post? How many readers were following your blog back in Nov. of 2010 when this was posted?

    2. How much progress have they made over the past two years? Did they faithfully “stock their ark” and are they now amazed with the results? OR, did they have some crisis and need to eat up the food? Or, did they grow weary in well doing and abandon the call? It would be interesting to hear the comments as readers self evaluate as they look back over the past two years.

    I had another warning dream this week. The short of it is that the population could not acquire the meat that they wanted/needed and were STUNNED and in DISBELIEF this was occurring. It happened SUDDENLY and without warning. No one saw it coming. The effect on me when I woke up was URGENCY!

  • Larry says:

    Mellisa-I’ve put up over 21 people in my house over 20 years. Everyone of them caused me pain and anguish. I finally realized I was not accompaning Joeseph and Mary (with child Christ). Maybe you’ll find a small child along the way but DONT open the door otherwise!!!

  • April says:

    Hi Kendra,
    Just wanted to pop in and say that I have finally started storing food.The last few weeks I have spent a little extra on our groceries each week and now we have several additional weeks of food already. It feels SO good to know that we are preparing just in case something happens and we need it. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Kim Campbell says:

    Thanks Kendra! I’ll try that! Keep up the amazing work. You are so needed.

  • Kim Campbell says:

    Hi, Kendra!

    I am new, very new to all this. I have a question, when I open your spreadsheet, I am unable to use it. I get a message saying this is in “Read Only”.

    I have SO many questions about food storage!

    Love your blog!
    Kim

  • T says:

    Discussing protection for your stored food supply – if no one knows you have it, chances are they won’t come looking for it. Do not advertise that you are stockpiling to co-workers, neighbors, even family. When, not if, the event occurs requiring use of the stockpiled goods, you can share if you want with whomever you want, but not be in as much risk of looters because no one had a heads-up that you had the supply.

  • Diana Tyree says:

    I have been storing grains for years and have rarely ever had a problem. Last year I lost alot of wheat because the buckets I got at the bakery did not have a rubber seal, it was plastic on plastic. Make sure you get buckets with a rubber seal. Diana

  • Melissa says:

    Regarding the question of feeding fellow believers who may not have planned ahead…

    I totally understand your response. If you’ve got a large family, storing enough just for you and yours is expensive – both money and space-wise.

    For me, I’m a single Mom, with one daughter. I would like to begin storing for a year for my daughter and myself. That said, it’s just us two, I’m going to plan on saving for enough for 3 people, so that there is extra for someone in need. I would never take the food from my child’s mouth, but I would absolutely ask her to split it if someone else was about to starve to death in front of us. I suppose that would ultimately depend on how desperate of a situation we found our ownselves in. I’m just praying that should the worst occur and we really end up needing the stock-piled food, that some level of Christian charity and trust in God would override any fear of sharing.

    I wonder if any other families doing this would consider increasing the number they stock-pile for by 1 or 2? If everyone did it, we could all help at least someone – even if it’s only ONE – beyond ourselves.

    Just a thought.

  • Amberly says:

    Hi! Great blog, I will be saving this in my favorites to come back to~ we are just now starting to prepare for things if we start to see more effects of hyperinflation, etc. It’s scary out there, and I agree that we need to protect our families as much as possible in these scary times! Keep up the good posts~

    Amberly~

  • Laverne says:

    I really like the white whole wheat berries. I seem to digest them much better than the red wheat and the flour raises much better than than the red. Thanks for the list.

  • Julie says:

    What amazes me, though, Kendra is that many of my family that seem to think I’m paranoid or whatever…. well, they seem to forget that just a couple of generations ago (especially in our area; which used ot be very rural and agricultural based) it was standard practice to can, store food all year and especially for the winter, live off the land, etc. They always give me the excuse that we don’t have to worry about that anymore (i.e. like Walmart is around the corner). But I can’t seem to get them to see that it’s just an illusion of security. It wouldn’t take a huge event at all to severly disrupt and perhaps criple our food system and such. And these are the same people who live with me in hurricane country and have gone through Betsy, Camille, Andrew, Katrina, Rita, Gustave, etc. Hello!!!! Just with a hurricane (for which we get warning) we see gas shortages and food/water flying off the shelves practically over night. Can you imagine if it was an unexpected, more wide-spread event? I am just baffled that they can’t understand all this. It’s frustrating but I am very confident in what I’m doing for my family. I’d rather spent the little extra money we have on more food storage rather than eating out all the time or getting my nails done. And Kendra, “seeing” you go through your family’s transition to being more self-sufficient, etc. has been a great inspiration to me. Many of the things you are doing I can’t really do yet (need our own place but working on that) but I am doing what I can in our situation and have built up so much knowledge that I just can’t wait to hit the ground running as soon as we do get our modest piece of property. Keep up the great work and thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! Your willingness to share, especially in the trial and error way that you do (hehe), helps so many of us. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: I wish we were closer in distance because I’d love to come “play” at your house. LOL. I find so few my/our age who are interested in these things and it sometimes makes me feel very alienated and lonely. Thank God for the internet though!

    • Julie,

      Comments like yours are what keep me motivated to write. Sometimes I feel like it’s just too much for me to try to keep up with the blog and writing about everything I’m attempting. But then I get blessed with encouragement from those who are actually reading what I say and learning from our experiences, and it makes it so worth it!! Thank you :)

  • Julie says:

    I got into food storage a couple of years ago and have really focused on this “topic” this past year. Even with DH being out of work about 8 months this year I’ve managed to stock up a good bit. I can’t say exactly how much we have, but I know that we would be good for at least 6 months or more if we stretch it big time. With a family of 4 in a small 2 bedroom trailer, we’ve managed to store more than I ever thought possible but now we are kind of out of room. But… anyways… I’ve been feeling a very strong urge to stock pile just about everything this past year and the urge is great now than it has ever been. I wish that more people would get their head out of the sand. I try to talk to family members and help them “see the light” but they just kind of look at me dumbfounded.

    • Julie,

      I am so happy to hear that even on an extremely tight budget, you have found a way to set a little aside for food storage. No excuses… that’s great! I think my family thinks we are in some cult or something because of changes we’ve been making over the past year or two, especially food storage. But some of them are beginning to see the wisdom in being prepared, and are thankfully starting to consider doing so themselves. I just hope they are prepared before it’s too late.

  • Rachel says:

    I also wanted to add that it is important to note that at some time you may have to flee your own home in order to get away from some kind of disaster. Flood, fire, etc. It is important to think of a ready to run bag for you and your family. To have a plan and a meeting place in the event that you aren’t together when disaster strikes. Our area recently lost power for over 5 days. Praise God we did not, but we were prepared with a wood stove, candles, plenty of food, water etc. Many had to pay to stay in hotels and had no water if they did have a heat source. It is important to plan for all emergencies. Ones that occur on the road, at home, away from home. You must plan ahead. A quote I recently read was, ” It is better to be 5 years early than 1 minute late.”

  • Beth says:

    Just starting out canning/stockpiling/etc, but I wanted to pass along this tip I came across – instead of the oxygen absorbers with the mylar bags (don’t use ‘em, haven’t tried this), use the “hothands” warmers instead. It’s the same stuff, but lots cheaper. And the lady whose blog I read about this at said she’d been having issues getting a seal/vacuum, but once she started using the hand warmers, she was getting a seal very quickly.

  • Save the Canning Jars says:

    Just before bed last night, I flipped on the TV as I was trying to wind down to go to sleep. I had just started surfing the channels and came across Hal Lindsey. I paused to see what current events
    issue he was discussing. I had only been listening for about 3 minutes when he started stressing that viewers should prepare for economic collapse. He encouraged stocking of food and water in order to at least get through 4 weeks and to gather with other believers during that time and network together. He felt there would be at least 4 weeks of confusion and chaos post collapse. I thought WOW!

    At 4 a.m. I could not sleep. I fought the bed until 5:40 or so. I went to the living room and started channel surfing and came across Sid Roth who was interviewing John Kilpatrick in front of a
    large audience in Alabama. This was unusual as most of Sid’s shows are taped in his studio. I had been watching less than 5 minutes when John Kilpatrick instructed the people to stock food and water and to have cash at home on hand.

    How can ANYONE in this country still be asleep to the need to prepare? We are being bombarded with this information at every turn, from both the religious community and the secular world (just think of
    Glenn Beck drawing attention to this at least twice last week).

    God may have started out whispering this info to us…then speaking this info…but now He has moved on to SHOUTING these instructions. How long until He SHAKES us while He shouts? He already has my full
    attention!

  • Save the Canning Jars says:

    Great post! Here is my 2 cents:

    1. When hunting season is 365 days/year, soon there is nothing to hunt. This is beautifully illustrated in the book “One Second After” by William Fortschen. Need a good kick in the pants to get you motivated to stock? Read this.

    2. Rita Bingham wrote a powerful book called “Passport to Survival”. You will know how to prepare after you read this book.

    3. Identify what you don’t want to be without and GET IT NOW! For me, SOS pads. I wanted one/day (especially if I’ll be cooking on my wood stove). I negotiated a better price than what the superstore sells them for. The small chain grocer ordered me 4 cases.

    4. If you’ve identified you need a wood stove and a hand well pump, get’er done! No vacations and no wasting money until those fundamental items are in place.

    5. To Kendra: I see you’ve been shopping Aldi’s. Me too…on my non-negotiated items.

    6. Store buckets OFF of the cement/concrete. There can be moisture transfer over time. I elevate mine on wooden pallets.

    7. You grind your own wheat…roll your own oats! Rolled oats start to break down nutritionally once you crack the grain. Store them whole and roll them yourself…when you actually need them.

    8. Consider vacuuming dry foods in 1/2 gallon or quart canning jars. We use the Food Saver Vacuum Sealer system (our’s has a port).
    Hook up the tube/regular mouth or wide mouth attachment and vacuum the air out of a canning jar. (attachments available at places like Bass Pro). I saw this on the instruction video that came with my model. Don’t buy the expensive white lids, instead vacuum using a Kerr or Ball canning lid (you know…15 cents). To keep sugar or a spice from getting sucked out of the jar through the tube into the machine, cut a piece of paper towel as a buffer and lay it on top of the sugar at the head space area. Then seal away. No bugs or mice in your dry goods. I vacuum sugar, all purpose flour, spices, dry cat food, dehydrated apples, breakfast cereal, etc.

    9. Thursday, Glenn Beck talked about canning/stocking, urging people to return to the skills of their grandparents and put up one year of food. Want to watch?

    10. Monday, Glenn Beck talked about hyperinflation NEXT YEAR and held up groceries and their projected new prices…like one ear of corn $12, Folgers coffee $77. Want to watch? It is near the end of the segment. You can slide the button under the picture to fast forward to that part if you’re impatient:

    Thanks everyone for your great posts!

    • Save The Canning Jars,

      I just finished reading “One Second After” a couple of weeks ago. Now hubby is reading it. Very good book. Thanks for all of the great suggestions! And thanks for the Glenn Beck links. You know we don’t have tv. I’m surprised to hear he’s talking about this stuff! I’ll have to watch the videos and see what he says.

  • Wesley says:

    Thanks for the post. We’ve got a small stock in our cellar, but don’t have the funds right now to fund a full-fledged food stock. Once things improve financially, however, this will be one of our first expenditures.

  • Tancy says:

    I agree with having sprouting seeds. If fact, I think that will be my priority right now. They are very easy to store, take very little space, and very nutritious, especially in the winter when there is little other green stuff available.

  • Andrea says:

    We’ve included a couple pounds of sprouting seeds in our food storage. It takes just a couple days and a smidge of warm water to have fresh sprouts. You can use them in salads, on sandwiches, in stir-frys or soups.

    I’ve never tried it before, but from what I read, you can sprout the wheat, dry it, then grind it into flour for bread and it’s chock-full of phytonutrients that you don’t get from the wheat alone.

    I can’t wait to read your post on living without electricity. 2 years ago, the remnants of Hurricane Ike ripped through the Ohio Valley (yeah, a hurricane in Ohio) and we were without power for nearly a week. That was a huge learning curve for me and has really influenced the way I prep.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Cat says:

    I am pretty new to this prepping life. I am constantly trying to find ways to improve our situation and have been also following your indepth changes in your own spiritual life to be refreshing and inspiring. I appreciate the way you put yourself “out there” because it is subject to backlash and yet you keep trying to help us. I am one who will look forward to each installment. Thank you

  • Lynda says:

    Homemade oxygen absorbers: steel wool (fine..not sos pad), salt, papertowels and stables….take a bit of steel wool and work in the salt put in a single paper towel and staple shut…

  • Andrea says:

    Excellent post, Kendra! We’ve been working on our food storage for nearly 3 years. A couple things I would add to the list is instant hot cocoa mix, sprouting seeds and garden seeds. I don’t see the cocoa mix as a luxury- I see it as a shelf-stable source of calcium that everyone in the house will drink, no questions asked. Sprouting seeds are a great way to provide fresh veg, even in the dead of winter. And garden seeds, well, I don’t think I need to elaborate on those.

    As far as armed mobs, all you can do is shoot them- they’ll break in whether you have food storage or not.

    I’ve asked God to position angels at the 4 corners of my property to protect us…don’t know if that works, but it can’t hurt. I’ve taken a concealed carry class. I’m comfortable with a high powered rifle. I’m ready to do anything I have to do to protect my home and my children.

    • Thanks Andrea! Yeah, I didn’t add Cocoa Mix ’cause I have a recipe for homemade mix you can easily make from the other ingredients on the list. Maybe I should have added that recipe. I will be doing a whole separate post on the importance of storing Non-Hybrid, Heirloom Garden Seeds… but you are right, that is vitally essential! I’ve never done sprouts, but I’ve heard how good they are for you and that you can sprout wheat and beans? I need to learn more about doing that.

  • Lanna says:

    I’ve been working on my own stockpile, again. Despite a few bouts of unemployment and pathetic garden this year and blah blah blah. I also don’t post photos of my security blanket so to speak anymore (only a few online friends I know really, really well), and keep my location somewhat vague.

    I will add that I don’t do the oxygen absorbers and such because, well, if things happen, I won’t be able to easily find/get those. I figure better to learn how to do that myself, now, with what I’ve already got. :

  • Heather says:

    I was wondering about the flour. I buy the large 25# bags from Costco and immediately put them in food grade buckets. I’ve never had a problem with it going rancid. Last time however, I bought 2 more bags for my supply. Would it be better to store my flour buckets in a freezer? Just asking because I was recently offered a freezer from a family friend for $35. I already have 1 upright and 1 chest which are filled to the max. However, if I should be freezing my massive amount of flour supply, I should jump on the freezer offer. Thanks.

  • Michaela says:

    I think I just drooled over your closet ;-)

  • Jessica K. says:

    I totally believe in stockpiling…you are WAY ahead of us :) If I had to guess, I would say we have about a three month supply…not a lot, but I had this terrible urge to stockpile about a year ago and it has since slackened off. Like Tancy, we are now working on debt. I feel as though God wanted us to have that amount stockpiled for now and now the thing for our family is to pay off debt. Of course every situation is different which means we all have to listen to what God is trying to tell us. :) And we are also always prepared to defend our family. Even before stockpiling!

  • Tancy says:

    I also am aware that things could very well collapse in our economy but I also wonder if stockpiling is the best answer. I think it is wise to be prepared as much as possible but we are working hard on our debt and don’t have much leftover for stocking up. And like Rebecca asked, what happens when you are faced with having to protect your stash? We have felt that if we can have the know-how skills to hunt and trap food, find it in the wild, fish for it, etc. we are better off. Be mentally prepared, and spiritually. Have books on how to make things yourself. Again, I am not bashing being prepared and certainly do not advocate sticking your head in the sand.

    • Tancy,

      While paying off debt is absolutely a number one goal to have, I would ask you, what if disaster strikes in the middle of the winter, grocery store shelves are bare and you have about a week’s worth of food in your cabinets? There wouldn’t be many animals to hunt, nor wild food to forage. How would you survive? I would strongly urge you to consider at least building up four months of food. Yes, being debt free would be AMAZING… but what good would it do you to starve to death in your paid-for home? If it were my family, and this is totally my own conviction, I would stop paying extra towards my debt for just a few months in order to get some food stashed in case of an emergency. It wouldn’t take much to get the essentials necessary for survival. Find out if you have a cannery in your area, it would be worth checking out. You can get a 25 lb. bag of wheat for $6, a 25 lb. bag of beans for $14, and a 25 lb. bag of rice for $8. A few of these and you’ll at least have enough food to live through the “barren” time. Something maybe to consider?

      • Tancy says:

        “Kendra, We are well able and equipped to defend our family. And we have plenty to sustain us for a few months. My point was that there is much more to prepare for than stockpiling. Life as we know it will END when things hit the fan. We will no longer enjoy the comforts we have now. Food will need to be rationed (regardless how much you have), it will be important to know how to take care of ourselves and live with much less that we are now accustomed to. We live a very simple life because it is our goal to be debt free in a few months and even our lives will change dramatically. This takes a preparation of mind and heart. And basic skills.

        And by the way, there is no way to outdo an armed force at your door demanding your stash. Weird things will happen.
        I do not disagree with being prepared and defending your family.

        • Tancy,

          I completely agree with you. It is extremely important that we know how to survive without a stockpile of food if we are ever in that situation. And I have always said that getting out of debt is breaking the shackles of slavery. I’m glad to hear that you do have enough food to sustain your family for a few months, if need be. I worry about those who like to empty the cabinets in the name of saving grocery money for a month. And I am very glad to hear that you are equipped to defend your family, God forbid you ever have to. I understand your point, and I will be getting to other areas of “survival” in posts to come, such as what you would need to function without electricity, wild foraging, the importance of knowing medicinal herbal remedies, etc. But you are right, life would NOT be the same, even if we did have a nice food storage built up. It would still be survival mode 24-7. I totally get that. Food Storage is by no means everything there is to it, but I do believe it is an important starting point.

  • sandra says:

    the thing is, Im guessing those are pictures of your stuff, do you regularly eat from it and just constantly restock as you go? otherwise, I guess stuff would eventually go bad while being saved.

  • I just wrote a post about finding very cheap baking soda in large quantities. You can also make your own washing soda (for homemade laundry detergent, etc.) from baking soda. Check it out if you’re interested. http://www.mysuburbanhomestead.com/find-cheapest-source-baking-soda/

  • Rebecca says:

    One of the most disturbing parts of food storage for me is the knowledge that if you have that much food, you will have to be prepared to defend it.
    Are you and/or your husband willing to physically maim or kill someone (or a gang) that enters your home looking for food and other valuables in the event of an economic collapse? How do you plan to handle that situation? (This happened as recently as Hurricane Katrina in America, and is a standing problem in any collapsed economy worldwide)
    What about believers that have chosen to stick their head in the sand and come to you for aid as a fellow believer? Your food storage will quickly dissipate with only a single other family dependent on you.
    All that to say that we too are building our pantry and medical supplies. I have a goal of a 3 month supply by 2011. I’m interested, though, in how (or if) you plan to defend that supply when massive need and barbarism is all around you.

    • Rebecca-

      I have always been prepared to defend my home with lethal force if necessary, even before we ever had a food storage. I will absolutely shoot anyone who breaks into my home threatening the lives of my precious children, you better believe it, no matter what they are looking for! My father is a police officer and taught me to use a gun as a teenager. He always told me that if anyone was breaking in, to shoot them before they got one foot in the door. So, yes, we are preparing for that inevitability as well. As for others hoping to live off of our supplies… as cold as it sounds, I cannot take food from my children’s mouths to feed another. We are storing extra grains, and would happily offer a loaf of bread to a starving family, but we will not take anybody in. No way. We just don’t have enough food. That is why I think it is so incredibly important that we get this word out now, that we tell our friends and loved ones, so they have no excuse to not be prepared.

    • Rebecca and Tancy,

      I also want to add… if, *if*, we do experience a total societal meltdown, do you think that gang members and crazy people are only going to be breaking in for food? You think those with food storage are the only ones in danger of having to defend themselves? I don’t think so. There are evil people out in this world, those who would seek to murder and rape, whether you have food or not. Think about that. You better get prepared to defend your family, food or no food.

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