The Prepper’s Food Storage Checklist

Easy to Follow Food Storage List

food storage list for preppersWhen it comes to storing enough food to survive, unassisted and on your own for three six-months or a full year or even longer is the point where most new preppers get overwhelmed and some even give up altogether. And while I agree that storing and rotating such a large amount of food on a continuing basis can be a lot of work and takes dedication, it is by no means impossible, and if done right can even be enjoyable – just follow this food storage list.

But where do you start? You should start with the basics first wheat (or other grains, for those who have trouble digesting gluten), rice, beans, oats, corn, salt, honey, cooking oil and powdered milk.


This is the backbone of your survival diet. Wheat is nature’s longest storing seed, with an indefinite shelf life given proper storage conditions. The wheat (and other grains) can also be sprouted, adding fresh greens to the diet even in winter.


Rice is my favorite storage foods and I actually prefer rice over wheat for storage, but that’s a personal decision, and well I like rice and rice dishes. White rice stores better and has a longer shelf-life than brown rice; however brown rice has more nutritional value. Despite the trade-off in storage duration, I still prefer brown rice for storage because of the added nutritional value.


Beans, corn and rice combined make a complete food, providing just about everything you need to survive. Add some fresh green sprouts or garden produce and extra vitamin C just to be sure you’re getting enough to avoid scurvy, and you’ll be well fed and healthy.

I like to store a combination of pinto beans, black beans, and mung beans. How much you store of each will depend on your personal preferences to taste.


Don’t go overboard when storing oats, about 20 pounds per adult per year is plenty. Oats have a storage life of approximately four to six years, depending on storage conditions and whether or not they have been opened after being packaged for long term storage.


Corn equals cornmeal, cornbread, cornmeal mush, corn cakes, and a huge list of other foods that you can prepare using the seed. I store whole corn because it stores much better and with at least double the shelf-like of cracked corn.


While not a food but a mineral, salt, is none the less essential to the diet and individual health. Salt is also used in the preservation of food and animal products. Salt, like wheat, has an indefinite shelf life. Store at least 10 pounds of iodized salt per person, per year.

It’s also a good idea to stock up on salt blocks to attract game animals for future harvesting. You can find these in the sporting goods stores and other outlets that sell to hunters. You can also get these through your local farmers co-op, where they sell them for domestic livestock supplementation.

Honey or Sugar

As a sweetener honey makes an unequaled contribution to the diet. Honey, like wheat and salt, has an indefinite self-life. Store at least 10 pounds per person. If the honey hardens and crystallizes, heat it slowly in a double boiler to reconstitute.

Cooking Oil

There is some controversy as to which is best for storage in the preppers pantry, vegetable oil or olive oil, while both will work fine and you should stock up on the one that you like best. I recommend putting away, 10 quarts, per person, per year.

Powdered Milk

Most people turn their nose at the thought of powdered milk, preferring whole milk from the supermarket shelf. Granted it does have a slightly different taste, but it’s not unpleasant to drink, and after a week or two it seems to “grow” on you. Studies have shown that nonfat powdered milk, when packaged (nitrogen-packed) and stored properly has a storage life of 20 years or more.

Stockpiling Hard To Store Foods

I prefer to buy those hard-to-store long-term items like powdered milk, dry margarine, butter powder, buttermilk powder, cheese powder, shortening, and powdered eggs prepackaged for long-term storage in #10 metal cans, from Augason Farms or other reputable survival food vendors.

Supermarket Canned Foods

food storage list for preppers canned foodsCanned foods from the supermarket have many advantages when it comes to food storage, they have a decent shelf-life on average of 2-5 years for most products, (note: shelf-life means that the foods retain 100% of their listed original nutritional value up until that point – store bought canned foods remain edible, far past the listed expiration dates in most cases).

As long as the cans aren’t bulging, rusted through or punctured and the foods smell fresh, upon opening then I would not hesitate to eat canned goods that are far past their listed expiration date. But that is a personal choice and one you’ll have to make yourself when the decision is needed.

Store bought canned foods have several advantages over freeze-dried or dehydrated foods, including cost and calories contained per serving. Another advantage is that canned foods already have their own water supply for preparation, so there is no need to use any potable water from your storage.

Despite the advantages of canned foods over freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, canned goods do have some disadvantages in comparison, like, weight, space needed for storage, and shelf-life.

I like to include a combination of the basic foods like wheat, rice, and beans, store bought canned foods and certain “packaged for long-term storage” foods that are hard to store like powdered milk from one of the reputable survival food vendors…

All canned foods should be dated using a permanent marker and rotated on a FIFO (first-in-first-out) basis. I suggest that you build a rotating canned food shelf that will automatically rotate your canned foods when added and pulled from the shelf.

Always keep a notepad beside the shelf or in your kitchen, and write down every item that you take from the shelf and then take the note with you on your next trip to the supermarket, and then buy and restock the items that you’ve taken from the shelf, that way you always have a fully stocked shelf and a fresh supply.

Don’t Forget the Can Opener:

Sure you could use a knife, but a manual can opener is easier and safer – so whatever else you do, don’t forget the can opener. Buy several or the strongest made ones that you can find.

Other Foods

After you get the basic foods listed above in the needed proportions (see below), it is a simple matter to add other foods as you get the extra money.

Canned meats: We all know that SPAM is the preppers go to for a cheap “meat” source that has a longer than average shelf-life, and fat content. Canned hams, tuna, salmon, chicken, and turkey are all welcome additions in my pantry shelf – stock-up on the meats that your family normally eat and date and rotate just as you would any other canned food.

White flour: White flour from the store has a much longer shelf-life than does whole wheat flour because it has been “processed” which removes the oily germ, but unfortunately this “processing also removes the nutrition.

Processed white flour has a shelf-life of over five years if kept dry and safe from pests (like the meal moth). Mill moths get into the flour, lay eggs and those eggs turn into flour weevils, which ruin the flour. Look for tiny dark specks in the flour, as this is the first sign that the flour has been infested.

If it clumps together because of settling, just break it apart and run it through a sifter before use.

Store flour for long-term storage in airtight containers, with oxygen absorbers, added – see details below. You can also freeze flour that has been put into five-gallon buckets. Freezing will also kill any meal moths that happen to have been trapped inside before they can do any damage to your flour.

Most of my “flour” is in the form of whole wheat berries, that I have to mill (grind) before use, but I do have some processed flour in my pantry, for lazy days when I don’t feel like grinding whole wheat into usable flour.

Peanut butter: Peanut butter is a good source of fat and calories and has a decent shelf-life. Peanut butter is also an energy food and one that I always take on hunting and camping trips. Unopened peanut butter will last for years.

Spices: Be sure to include a good selection on spices in your food storage. Spices can make even the most awkward foods palatable, and help to alleviate food boredom. Cinnamon, Turmeric, Paprika, Ginger, Oregano, and Garlic are my favorites and make up the bulk of the spices in my pantry.

Baking powder, baking soda, and yeast: Baking powder, baking soda, and yeast (keep yeast frozen to extend shelf-life) are also essential since you’re storing and baking using unprocessed grains.

Dried pasta: Dried pasta will keep indefinitely if kept dry in bug and rodent proof containers.

Comfort Foods:

Storing a sufficient amount of “comfort foods” is very important, to your psychological well-being as well as to alleviate “food-boredom” that is sure to set in after eating only storage foods for several months. Comfort foods are even more important if you have children or need to care for the elderly.

Consider comfort foods such as – Jell-O, instant pudding mix, cake mix, hard candies, chewing gum, Spaghettios, mac and cheese, brownie mix, canned spaghetti and meatballs, mashed potatoes, popcorn, cocoa, tea, coffee, powdered juice mixes, sunflower seeds etc. And remember to date and rotate on a FIFO basis.

We crave variety and having a supply of familiar comfort foods can go a long way toward retaining our sanity and self-worth during a long term disaster. You can only deny yourself for so long before desperation and depression start to set in. Life will be difficult enough – give yourself a treat. You deserve it.

It is a proven fact that if we are forced to eat foods we don’t want or the same foods for extended periods – just to stay alive – dissociation begins to set in. We begin to float away as an escape – we still eat to stay alive, but suffer a lack of focus and become disorientated in relation to our surroundings.

This is dangerous in a survival setting. Don’t think it can happen? Try eating nothing but beans and rice for three months and you’ll see what I mean. Having a supply of comfort foods can help by providing at least some form of normalcy to your life.

Older folks and children will have the hardest time adjusting to new or unfamiliar foods, with many refusing to eat altogether, especially if the food is unnecessarily bland or unappetizing. Comfort foods will help them cope.


To ensure that you’re getting a sufficient amount of needed daily vitamins and minerals for optimum health, you need to stockpile a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. Also consider extra vitamin C and D. Vitamin D is of extra importance if you’re forced to stay inside (bugging in) for a longer than normal period of time and thus are unable to receive the needed vitamin D producing sunlight that is required for optimal health.

Don’t Forget about Your Pets:

Don’t forget to include a sufficient amount of food in your stockpile to feed your pets. A decent dog will increase your chances of survival because they can hunt and alert you to trespassers and other trouble. I prefer smaller dual-purpose breeds, with my choice for a working dog being the Jack Russell terrier.

A Sample Three Month Food Storage List for One Adult

  • Wheat 75 Pounds
  • Grains, rice, oats etc. 25 Pounds
  • Canned meats 5 Pounds
  • Canned margarine, powdered eggs etc. 2 Pounds
  • Dried beans, peas, lentils, etc., 6 Pounds
  • Dried fruit juice and concentrates 6 Pounds
  • Dried fruits or canned 25 Pound (if dried, then equal to this fresh weight
  • Comfort foods 3 Pounds
  • Non-fat dried milk 25 pounds
  • Peanut butter or substitute protein/fat source 3 pounds
  • Dried potatoes 12 pounds (equal to this fresh weight)
  • Salt 2 pounds
  • Shortening oils 3 quarts
  • Sugar or honey 12 pounds
  • Canned or dried vegetables 9 pounds (if dried, then equal to this fresh weight)

Please bear in mind that the above list is only a sample to help you get started, the most useful food storage list is the one that you put together yourself. After all who knows better than you, what you and your family, likes to eat and in what amounts.

Where to Put All this Food?

After reading the above recommendations, you’re probably asking yourself where in the heck, you’re going to store all of this food. Well, that’s a good question and one that you alone can answer for your situation better than anyone else, but I’ll make a few suggestions that I hope will point you in the right direction.

The absolute best place in an underground bunker, root cellar or basement, unfortunately, most people don’t have any of those and have to make due with other less ideal storage options… Consider a spare bedroom, attached garage, detached storage building on your property, or as a last-resort a nearby storage unit rental.

If at all possible put in an underground storage area of some sort to keep you storage foods safe (and you) safe from weather extremes, as well as the main enemy of your food-storage shelf-life; heat. An excellent option, and inexpensive when compared to other suitable alternatives is the buried shipping container.

How to Store Dried Beans and Grains at Home for Long-Term Storage with Oxygen Absorbers & Mylar Bags

I store all my grains, beans and other dry foods (besides sugar, salt or sprouting seeds) inside food-grade five-gallon plastic buckets. There is some controversy over what is and isn’t food grade. Most buckets with #2 inside a small triangle on the bottom are food grade, but not all – the only way to be reasonably certain is to contact the manufacturer and ask.

I buy mine from the local hardware store in the paint department. They also have them at my Wal-Mart, but, I prefer to buy from local business owners if possible. Sometimes they can even be gotten free from bakeries and restaurants, just be sure they only held food products – not paint, chemicals or other things that can make you sick or dead.

Foods packed in oxygen don’t store as well as those in an oxygen free atmosphere. Oxygen absorbers work by removing the air from the enclosed container, leaving an atmosphere of 99% pure nitrogen in a partial vacuum inside the buckets.

Don’t open the bag of oxygen absorbers until ready to use because they will absorb oxygen from the surrounding air and become useless. Have everything ready to go before you open the package. Any unused oxygen absorbers can be stored inside a small canning jar until needed.

Be sure to have everything ready to go before you start. Line the inside of the bucket with an appropriately sized Mylar bag these will help to keep light and moisture out extending the storage life of the foods inside.

The Mylar bag also offers a layer of protection between the food and the plastic bucket, if for some reason the bucket that you’re using isn’t considered food-grade.

Pour the food into the buckets a little at a time, shaking each bucket as it is being filled to settle and distribute the contents. Fill each bucket to about ½ inch from the top and throw in one 2000 cc oxygen absorber in each five-gallon bucket of food.

Now to seal the Mylar bag – first roll the top of the bag closed on one end leaving an opening at the other and press out any air that has been trapped inside, next place a 2×4 across the top of the bucket and pull the Mylar bag over the 2×4 and seal with a clothing iron set at the highest setting in a typical ironing fashion across the board.

Quickly put the lids on each bucket and pound shut by laying the board across the top and striking with a hammer or rubber mallet. After a few hours, the absorbers will create a vacuum that will cause the lids on the buckets to “pop down” indicating a good seal and a proper atmosphere for long term storage. Be sure to label each with date, content, and weight, written on the front with a permanent marker.

Useful Resources and How-To Articles

Copyright Information: Copyright and M.D. Creekmore. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to Please contact M.D. Creekmore for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. justjane says:

    Beans and BROWN RICE is a complete protein, not beans and white rice.

    • patientmomma says:

      I also add bay leaves to my buckets and mylar bags. Items which are more frequently used (like sugar) go into buckets with gamma lids so I don’t have to wrench off a regular bucket lid. Buy your spices in bulk and repackage them in vac-sealed canning jars or mylar bags.

    • justjane,

      Did I say, white rice and beans make a complete protein? Nope. See the section right above that where I talk about rice… But it’s good to repeat it in your comment here just in case someone missed it in the original article.

  2. TheWatchmaker says:

    Something my wife and I learned a long time ago was to use whole Bay leaves in the flour to keep weevils out and/or to kill their eggs before they hatched. We never, repeat never, had to throw away flour treated with Bay leaves because of weevils. For a 3-5 gal. bucket, we put 4-6 whole Bay leaves in the bottom, then fill half full with flour, add more leaves, add the rest of the flour, and a few more leaves on top, then seal it with a good tight lid. Try it! It worked well for us when we were younger, and still now in our later years.
    God bless!

    • JP in MT says:

      We have started doing the same, although we don’t naturally have the same bug issues. As we rotate bulk foods out, we will find out more.

    • Red tower says:

      Something we found with bay leaves is that sometimes they begin to break apart in the flour. My DM, OCD as she is, sews them into a small mesh bag before including them in the flour.

  3. Even with a tool, I cannot get the tops off buckets, so is gamma seals all the way for me.

    Since I am so allergic to wheat, rice will be my choice. If you buy Uncle Ben’s parboiled brown rice, it will store for almost as long as white rice and will retain 80% of the nutrients. Any parboiled rice will work.

    I would probably be more upset with too much spices in savory foods than too little. However, spices for sweet foods would be necessary for me. I probably only use 2 lbs of salt in one year, but I don’t/won’t use it for preserving food. However, if anyone with me wanted food preserved with salt, it would be here.

    Flour, cake mixes, and cornmeal come with bug eggs! Freezing them will kill them. Of course, they will spread if not dealt with. Mama said that during the Depression that they just sifted out the weevils and used the flour.

    If you freeze the flour, be sure to store it in a container where more weevils or bugs cannot enter.

    Fearless leader, I like your list–short and sweet. Plus, you leave choices for people.

    This week and last week, I ate a can of tuna dated 2013. I did not die. Minerals do not degrade; vitamins do degrade. Well, that is what I was told by a nurse. I am buying StarKist tuna with 2020. I use a marker to put “20′ on top and sides of every can. A china marker will last after all the markers have dried up, so maybe people should get a few of those.

    Hormel roast beef in the can is wonderful! Since I am allergic to beef, I gave it all away. I should have kept it to feed to others.

    Great article! Oh, I like the banner and your new picture.

    • I label top and front of all cans and boxes, not side!

    • JP in MT says:

      And for those that think round lids are an issue, try square buckets. They stack better and take up less space, but what a pain to get open. We do use gamma lids on a bucket of each of the bulk/bucket foods we keep.

      • JP,
        The only reason I have square buckets is that they were free. The woman was so happy to give them to me that I hated to say I did not want them. I am going to plant cayenne peppers in them.

    • [[[Mama said that during the Depression that they just sifted out the weevils and used the flour.]]]

      I feel better now about sifting my egg noodles!!!
      They are now in 5 gallon buckets. We store…we learn…:-)

      • JJ,
        I hope you froze the noodles before you put them in the five gallon buckets. Otherwise, you can have another infestation from just one egg or bug still in the buckets. Since I no longer have a full size freezer, I put things in jars and freeze for three days in the refrigerator freezer. It’s a pain but worth having no bugs.

        I got weevils from a

        house into which we had just moved. grrr The flour was stored in tight metal canisters. These critters can get in anywhere that is not sealed airtight and watertight. I had to throw out all boxes and all spices.

        Do you have gamma seals on the buckets? Or, at least a lid with a gasket?

    • Red tower says:

      A caveat on sea food, particularly tuna. My MIL recently underwent (still is) a severe bout with mercury poisoning. This from eating only ONE tuna sandwich a week from the local hospital cafeteria. One would think that to be safe, but once investigated, they told her that all tuna and most other seafood, even the canned stuff, has now become so contaminated that you eat at your own risk.
      You are right that minerals (being of the earth, and not the complicated molecules of vitamins) do not degrade. Mercury is a natural element itself, and will not degrade. Just be careful of what you eat. Oddly, the older tuna may have been safer than your new stuff.

      • Red tower,
        I think you are right about the older stuff being safer! One can a week was what I was eating until a couple of years after Fukishima. I have made and effort to eat only one every two weeks or once a month, but I wanted to dump some onto salad greens. Maybe I need to just switch to the canned chicken for salads.

        Usually, I dice chicken breasts onto salad greens with grape tomatoes, shredded cheese and vinaigrette dressing.

        With tuna, I put in Miracle Whip, sweet and dill pickle relishes and then dump that onto a bed of greens. Sometimes, I mixed finally chopped veggies into the tuna.

        I will start eating canned chicken when I don’t have cooked chicken in freezer or thawed in fridge.


        • “finely chopped” not “finally chopped” I could have sworn I did not type “finally”!!!!

  4. JP in MT says:

    We have been putting food up, vigorously, for a number of years. Our issue now is space, there just isn’t any more where we currently are. We have all of the above categories covered, plus a few. I have a separate listing for things like desserts (including chocolate), meat, gravy, spreads (jelly and peanut butter) hot/cold drinks, fruit, eggs, cheese, and pasta. We have a category for breakfast that includes creamy wheat and oatmeal (favorites here) and a few other items. We also have a category for meals; things like mac & cheese, canned chili & beef stew, both freeze dried and commercially canned.

    We have commercially canned fruit and vegetables, along with dehydrated and freeze dried. I have bread/roll mix stored without leaven.

    The only item I have had go bad here is commercially canned honey cornbread mix. In the last 18 years it is the only item we have lost, but we have cut back on our storage of it (about a 40% spoilage rate, the cans seem to last about 5 years).

    My primary storage facility is underground, with a dirt floor. Much like a root cellar. It stays between 62 and 65 degrees year round. Although I do not know about the humidity, I store my ammo in the same facility without any problem. Nothing is stored directly on the dirt, no paper deterioration or rust.

    We have sacrificed a bedroom closet for our storage of TP and medical supplies.

    This is what has worked for us. It has grown over the years. It is now in desperate need of a good reorganization; but my knees and back make that a slow process. I am glad that our main stockpiling efforts are almost at an end, it is going to become a rotation and donation issue soon. Then the money can go for other things – we have not taken a vacation but twice in 25 years. Some things have had to come first for us.

  5. HI, great list and a good reminder, I buy my buckets from my local bakery, they had icing in them and food grade is best, I do however make my own mixes and seal them and put them in the bucket, The best recipes I came across was from The Homemade Pantry, by Alana Chernila. This book helped with Organic instant oatmeal, A little work but I sure loved the results!!!!It has several other little tips and even humor, when your working to get your pantrys filled this will make you smile!!!

  6. Prepared Grammy says:

    Although I do have a few cake and brownie mixes, I prefer storing the ingredients to make them from scratch. I have a lot of cocoa and carob in the pantry. In addition to stockpiling freeze dried and canned food, I also have my own garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, walnut tree, dairy goats, chickens (both egg layers and duel purpose), and my own bee hives. The latter gives me the best honey I’ve ever had. I’ve recently added an indoor herb garden. I’m trying to grow/raise as much of my own food now.

    • Goatlover says:

      I’m with you, Grammy! Though I’ve got enough food to keep me and the DH alive for 3 or 4 years, it’s my ability to produce fruits, vegetables, eggs and dairy products that gives me the most comfort. I also have several cases of home-canned chicken breasts, ground beef, and pork. (I just can’t bring myself to buy SPAM—“Some Parts Are Meat!”

  7. Check your local bakery or donut shop for food grade five-gallon buckets. Most of the fillings and flavorings these places use come in the buckets, which you can get super-cheap, if not FREE.

  8. ladyhawthorne says:

    I have one question MD, what type and brand of peanut butter do you buy? I like Jif and had one large jar left in the cupboard that was 2 years old and it had gone rancid. Jif comes in plastic jars, is this perhaps the issue?

    • ladyhawthorne

      Mostly Smuckers Natural Chunky, but just because I like the taste best. Never had any go bad, but as with most everything else high temps are a food storage enemy.

      • I eat Smuckers Natural smooth. I do keep it in the bottom door shelf of the refrigerator–about 8 jars. Even the jars I have kept in the cabinet has not gone rancid. And, the jars are glass and very handy to reuse.

    • BlueJeanedLady says:

      Hello Ladyhawthorne. I’m a big Jif peanut butter fan, too. The only time I ever had the Jif pb go bad was a half eaten jar that got accidentally shifted / shoved to the back of the pantry shelf and forgotten. I’d already opened another jar weeks (months?) before I found that last opened one. The old one didn’t seemed to be actually rancid but it really tasted stale. I’ve wondered about the plastic jar, too, but I really don’t think it makes that much difference as long as it remains sealed and awaiting it’s rotation into current use. Just my two cents worth! 🙂 ~BJL~

    • Prepared Grammy says:

      I’ve had some go rancid too.

    • I have peanut butter on my shelves bought years ago–all is fine.
      The only bad pb I ever bought(and I buy the cases when I buy)was from Aldi’s. I could have eaten it, but 9 of the 12 jars tasted off.
      I don’t think it was a storage/shelf life issue, just bad pb.

    • Red tower says:

      The thing that makes peanut butter go rancid is if the oil has contact with oxygen. It is the oil that goes rancid. Plastic jars may eventually go rancid if the plastic is too permeable, which is why I prefer glass, plus I can reuse the jars. Some peanut butters have a lower oil content and are mixed much better than “natural” versions, but it also means they are more processed and may contain more sugar and chemicals than is good for you in the long run.

      • Red tower,
        I dump the natural Smuckers into a bowl and beat it with a beater. Then, I scrape it back into the jar and refrigerate. That way, I don’t make a mess trying to mix the oil with the peanuts! It is a pain but less painful than the cumulative minutes that I spend trying to stir and then cleaning oil off me, the counter, and the jar.

        Of course, I do this just before I use each jar. I think if I relied heavily on pb when I had no refrigeration, it would not spoil before I had a chance to eat it.

        It is a pain when it is refrigerated, so I just get a knife and get out what I need and let it sit on the counter on my plate for about twenty minutes. Then, I can spread it onto bread without ripping the bread apart.

        I really love the glass containers, especially the straight side on the Smuckers pb.

  9. American Pacrat says:

    Love the photo for this article MD, wish my pantry porn was as pretty. In the middle of remodeling a room so it might look half as nice as this one.

  10. If you store baking powder, over time it will lose the ability to make your baked goods rise. Store baking soda and cream of tartar and make only what you need for what you are baking. Of course, if you are planning on doing a lot of baking, more can be made. Just use what you make right then as it, too, will go flat.

    Recipe for 1 tsp baking powder:
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp cream of tartar
    cornstarch (optional)

    stir the two ingredients above
    To store, stir in cream of tartar.

    In addition, you will not be eating aluminum! There are ready-made brands of baking powder that do not contain aluminum–Argo.

    My suggestion–do not store baking powder. Store: baking soda, cream of tartar, cornstarch.
    1 tsp cornstarch (optional)

    • Roger J. says:

      Great info about making your own baking powder, I didn’t know about that, thanks LindaW.

      • You are welcome. This way, you won’t store baking powder that has lost its leavening ability. If you are using old baking powder, near its best by date or after, just use more according to how old it is.

    • BlueJeanedLady says:

      Hey LindaW, I’ve recently learned of the baking soda / cream of tarter mix for the baking powder substitute but not with the optional cornstarch. Do you know why (especially if one only mixes as needed) the cornstarch is added and/or optional? Just curious. ~BJL~

      • BJL,
        If you only mix what you need, there is no need for the cornstarch. I think the cornstarch in the stored batches keeps it from caking. There will be some moisture in the mix unless you store it airtight, and maybe even then.

  11. Alleycat says:

    What is the shelf life of cooking oil? 10 qts/person/year is a lot that can go rancid. Long-term options?

    • riverrider says:

      we have had good success with olive oil from sam’s club, lasting years past the date. if it goes rancid you can still use it for lamp oil, soap, and many other uses. we stock ghee, a form of butter used widely in restaurants for cooking and flavor. it has practically indefinite shelf life. we get it from pleasant hill grain. we get canned butter, cheese and very good canned meats from them also. free shipping over 99 dollar order. not affiliated, just very happy customer. you have never had a grilled cheese sandwich until you have one made with ghee!

    • Try olive oil, peanut oil, or cocoanut oil.
      I bought a huge jug of peanut oil at Sam’s.

  12. correction: to store, stir in cornstarch and store in a canning jar with lid.

  13. That was a very good article.
    I know you can feed your dog rice, peas, and chicken broth but there is something wrong about feeding them beans. Lol

    My favorite choice on dogs has to be a GS. They can hunt and are easily trained and will defend your family.

    • I would add pop tarts and chips/pretzels/nuts and beer !!!

      • BlueJeanedLady says:

        Ha, Thor! The pop tarts must be cinnamon & brown sugar and/or blueberry – both without the fake frosting! I’m good to go with the chips / pretzels / nuts and beer, too. 🙂 ~BJL~

  14. BlueJeanedLady says:

    Hummm – I’m a bit perplexed on one point. Well, I’m not a professional dietician or nutritionist and maybe I’m overthinking or not thinking this through but 5 pounds of canned meats per person for one month sounds a bit slight. Wouldn’t 5 pounds of say, beef or fowl ground meat, only make 20 quarter pound meat patties for an average 30 day month leaving at least 10 days without any animal proteins? Of course one could survive on such but as long as we’re still able to add to our stores I believe more animal proteins should probably be added to this list.

    Personally, I would add another 3-5 pounds of canned fish products, to the 5 pounds of meat per person, per month as well. Currently I also stock commercially canned tuna, canned salmon and canned sardines. The only commercially canned lump crab I can find is imitation crab and while it is a real fish product it tastes nothing like real crab but it is a reasonably acceptable substitute in a few recipes I use. I am able to buy real lump crab commercially packaged in glass jars at the fish / seafood counter of one local store on occasion but since the jarred real crab has to stay refrigerated with a short shelf life, I don’t consider this product as part of my long term dry / canned storage pantry.

    Other than the animal proteins that I got hung-up on, the list seems an excellent guide for anyone to get started. Thanks, MD, for writing / posting this informative and helpful article.

    • BJL,
      That is five pounds for the whole three months, not for each month. If I were making hamburgers, I would not make four from one pound; I would make more per pound. Five pounds for three months is not even two pounds per month. Maybe he meant 15 pounds. There is substitute protein, eggs, and peanut butter on the list. I don’t know. Maybe MD will read this since I put in his initials. I have crab meat in a can on the shelf, but I am not sure of the name. It was in WM and pricey.

    • Red tower says:

      The US Dept if Agriculture used to recommend 20 lbs of assorted meat per month for a “working man” or teenager, 15 lbs per month for a woman or not working man, 12 per child to age 12, and 8 per small child to age 6. The average amount per serving was 3-4 oz., depending on the fat content, as fat would cook up. Adjustments were to be made for “working women” age, infirmity and occupation. The meat portion of a meal was only to be a fifth of what was served, the rest being, of course, fruits, vegetables, bread and dairy. Mass quantities of meat were only to be consume during famine, when plant foods were not available. Meat could also be increased during winter.

  15. You forgot about the whiskey and weed.
    Helps during those stressful situations.
    Plus you can barter with them.

  16. riverrider says:

    well done, m.d. there are many new preppers foundering away out there looking for such a list for direction. i would add much more salt though, not the iodized kind either. great barter item, and it takes quite a bit to cure just one hog with. they don’t call it salary for nothing 🙂 and i can recommend the victorinox can opener. by far the best i’ve used. yes, from the swiss army knife makers. keep stacking, ’cause he who lives the longest on his stockpile wins.

  17. Tractorgirl says:

    I need to know where to buy the wheat berries in large quantities…I bought a small pkg and it is expensive in that way…I live in a rural area so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find but I don’t know where to go to ask,,,,,what is the best type of rice …I hate buying products just to find out it is not the right type..rice is just not rice…it would s jasmine..brown..wild …well you get the idea…as in salt…kosher…sea…pink…?????? Help a girl out here….

    • Prepared Grammy says:

      There is a small grocery store near where I live that is owned by a Mennonite family. They sell a lot of bulk foods that are only available to most people on the internet, including wheat berries. The prices are great! I consider myself fortunate to have the ability to shop there.

      • Tractorgirl says:

        We could go to a bulk store a couple of hours from us..thanks for a reminder of our bulk food I need a rice tutorial……what kind is best for nutrition and longevity…

        • GrainGuy says:

          If you go to a grain elevator they usually have plenty of extra wheat lying around, whether it be in a bucket or somewhere. it would be more beneficial to find an elevator with a cleaner because they will probably have cleaned wheat around. you can buy 60 pounds for roughly 5 dollars if it came down to it. which is a lot better than any price you’ll get from an online place. if the wheat is not cleaned it will be easy, albeit quite monotonous to go through it and pick all the dockage out. But should be well worth the time compared to online sources.

          When storing the grain i simply use 5 gallon buckets with O-ring sealed lids. I place a bucket bag and then pour in the grain and add a few oxygen absorbers, then tie up the top of the bag and tape it shut. then i put the lid on and also tape that. I have had pretty good success at sealing the buckets and stored properly wheat and some legumes will store indefinitely.

          A side mark would be to make sure that the grain you are getting is bug free and has very little impurities. And the protein should be between 12 and 14 for best baking results with at least a 60 pound test weight, and a falling number of no less than 400. If you dont know what those are any person at a grain elevator will gladly let you know.

    • I can only tell you what kind of rice I like and purchase. I buy Uncle Ben’s PARBOILED Rice. It is great in blackeyed peas! Parboiled means it has been partially cooked, then dehydrated. It will store almost as long as white rice and has 80% of the nutrients it had before parboiling. Of course, any brown rice has more nutrients than any white rice. Using white rice, feeding it to your children or eating it yourself means you are basically dining on sugar.

      I buy my Uncle Ben’s parboiled brown rice in Walmart in the rice section in plastic bags, five pounds, I think. It will/must say “Parboiled” on the front of the package or at least on the back under ingredients.

      Since I was determined to eat to get more nutrition, I just switched cold turkey to brown rice. I also grind it in my coffee bean grinder to make cream of rice. Cream of rice would be great for an upset stomach or as baby food.

    • All salt is sea salt! Sometimes, the sea has dried up. People talk about the impurities that are not in sea salt. Give me a break. The ocean is not clean. I buy Morton’s iodized salt…period. However, somewhere along the way, I bought a bit of not iodized plain salt and have a bag of pickling salt.

      No matter what you buy, iodized, is an important quality it should have.

      • BlueJeanedLady says:

        Hello LindaW & all interested,
        As I understand (which I humbly admit could indeed be a questionable assumption at times 🙂 ) your comment,

        All salt is sea salt! Sometimes, the sea has dried up.

        is technically correct but the fact is a bit confusing in differentiating / addressing / choosing from all salts available for human consumption these days. I did get the gist of what you said easily, though, so thanks for the comment, but buying salts certainly can be confusing to the average consumer these days! 🙂

        In today’s marketing world salts collected from still existing salt water seas / oceans are indeed labeled as sea salt. Anything mined underground from ancient sea beds (several active salt mines in Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, Utah, Ohio & New York to name a few U.S. states) is generally labeled as rock salt. Kosher salt is usually (not always) mined rock salt (versus collected sea salts) and all are usually more pure (naturally occurring minerals) and less processed than the regular and most commonly known, table salt(s).

        Table salt is often more processed than sea / rock / kosher salts as table salt generally is stripped of some minerals and more-often-than-not has iodine &/or iron added as well as anti-clumping agents. (This is a modern day process – fine grained table salt, refined & with additives – as at the time, the iodine & iron were added for potential dietary needs in the modern era for those that did not have access to many or most sea foods.)

        Himalayan salt is mined in Pakistan, thus labeled as Himalayan salt. However, if one buys domestic, pure rock salt simply refined (pulverized big rock chunks reduced to medium grain sizes) into kosher salt, that kosher salt may very well be coming from deep underground, ancient sea beds, mines near Hutchinson, Kansas! Go figure that one! 🙂

        Guess there never was a really big marketing agent eager to “brand” such as “Hutchinson Kansas Salt” to the modern day, massive domestic & foreign markets! Ha, ha, ha! 🙂

        My added summary is indeed overly simplistic, too, LindaW and surely not without exceptions. (It’s amazing how we – us humans – have made salt so complicated. Isn’t it? Ha!) Bottom line is that salt has been a staple of life for both the natural minerals and the added flavor to foods, here on earth for millennia – – – iodine &/or iron supplemented, or not.

        Again, as this is just my general understanding of the basic, edible salt products widely available; and as always, best for each to do their own research and read the nutrient labels for one’s personal information / needs / consumption!

        Keep taking care all. Stay safe & smart.

      • Red tower says:

        Thks you. Nice to know I’m not the only one out there irritated by this

        • Red tower says:

          Thank you, that is. And the extended led so. On salt history is nice. I’ve been to the salt mine in Hutchinson. What a cool place!

  18. Insects in buckets??
    Use diatomaceous earth..sold at TSC.
    Farmers give it to their livestock to prevent parasites.
    It kills ants in my house over night; just spread where needed and vacuum next morning.
    Non toxic and cheap.

  19. from looking at this list, I think it is very good and useful, I am glad I looked over this list, it has given me more ideas on basic things to store.

  20. mom of three says:

    Check out “You Tube” for oven canning your flours, cornmeals, oats, beans, rice. I wanted another way to keep my dry foods longer. Watch and see many some videos, are better than others.

  21. Jeanie Smith says:

    What a great and informative article! I have been storing up foods for a couple of years, and wonder if I can use the ‘Tidy Cat buckets that kitty litter comes in?? I wash them thoroughly with clorox, hot water and soap, and dry them completely. Could they be used to store rice, beans, flour, etc if I add O2 absorbers to the bucket? It does have a tight lid. Thanks in advance for any help!

  22. I see list like this all the time and think they are a good starting point. Would love to see this list with a menu list included to make meal planning easier.

  23. Gary Gaiser says:

    I am certainly an advocate for food storage and do in fact store food for myself, however I believe there is a point of diminishing returns. I believe storing food for more then 1 1/2 years supply becomes less beneficial. I am also a firm believer in eat what you store, store what you eat. Keeping on hand what you can/do consume in 1 1/2 years and replenishing your stock by doing “normal” weekly shopping Is a pretty simple plan. Obviously leaving a buffer in there of items that are more shelf stable is prudent. Beyond the 1 1/2 year supply my attention is more focused on being prepared to sustain my food supply after SHTF or whatever the case may be. tools, plant seeds, farm skills etc. Honestly if all obtainable food vanishes for 18 months it has probably vanished for years beyond that So having a plan to supply your own new sources of food is essential.

Before commenting, please read my Comments Policy - thanks!