Food is one of the first things that preppers should stockpile. Doing so will ensure that you and your loved ones stay well-fed, even if a trip to the grocery store is out of the question.
The Types of Food Preppers Should Stockpile Are:
- Canned Goods
- Freeze-Dried Foods
- Dry Goods
- Sugar and Honey
- Herbs and Spices
I’ll cover each of these categories individually and share which specific food items you should store. Later in the article, I’ll cover some additional items that you should have that aren’t food but are food-related.
What Makes Food Good for Storage?
When selecting foods to stockpile, you want them to meet a few different criteria. First, you want the food to have a long shelf-life. This will help you get the most out of your money and make storing and rotating it much easier.
You also want your food storage to be nutritious. Food is your body’s fuel, and you need to put good stuff into it. And lastly, you want your food storage to be something that you and your family will actually eat.
Storing nasty or flavorless food will be nothing but a waste of money if your family refuses to eat it. This is a big concern if you have children who may flat out refuse to eat something that they don’t want to.
The best place for many preppers to start is to stockpile canned goods. They are relatively cheap and easy to store. You can also store a wide variety of foods just by buying canned goods. (I’m not saying you should only buy canned goods, but having variety is nice.)
Canned goods have a minimum shelf life of 1-3 years, depending on what is being stored. However, many of these foods can be safely eaten well beyond the date listed on the can. The main thing to look out for is damage to the can, such as bulges, and odors coming from the food.
When storing canned goods, get a good selection of fruits and vegetables. This will allow you to have a little variety in your meals and give you nutrients that may be missing from dried goods like pasta. While storing dried beans is a good idea, it is also wise to purchase flavored canned beans. For example, my family enjoys the different varieties of Bush’s Grillin’ Beans.
You should also have a good selection of sauces and soups. When it comes to soups, it’s important to remember that while condensed soups may be cheaper, you need to add water to them. That is something that you should consider when determining how much water you are going to store.
Related: How Do Preppers Store Water?
Another type of food that you should purchase canned is meat. Without electricity, fresh meat will not last long. However, canned meat will last for at least a couple of years without problems. Different types of canned milk are good to stockpile as well.
One of the most important things to remember when storing canned goods is that you should rotate through them. I have found that the best way to do this is by using a can rotator, such as this one by Shelf Reliance. It is first in, first out, meaning that the can that you pull out will be the oldest one on the rack. This helps prevent spoilage.
The next type of food that preppers should stockpile is freeze-dried foods. These are available as individual ingredients such as eggs and milk as well as full meals or entrees.
The main advantages of freeze-dried foods are that they have an extremely long shelf-life and are easy to store. Many brands of food can last 30 years or more. You can set them in the back of your closet and forget about them until you need them.
When it comes to brands, my favorite is Mountain House. They have a wide variety of entrees and most of them are pretty good. My favorite meals are their Chili Mac and Lasagna. In fact, the Lasagna almost tastes like one from Stouffer’s that you would find in the freezer section. Augason Farms is a good choice if you want to store individual ingredients.
The main downside to freeze-dried foods is that they are fairly expensive. Out of all of the different types of food that you can store, they usually cost the most. For example, one entree pouch could cost as much as $9 or $10, and that would probably only be enough food for one meal for one person.
The next type of food that preppers should stockpile is dry goods. These are things like dried beans, rice, and pasta.
Foods in this category have high energy content and are shelf-stable. In the case of beans and rice, when eaten together, they give the body a whole protein which is important from a dietary perspective.
The best way to store foods such as these is in sealed mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Mylar does not allow light or oxygen inside of it, and oxygen absorbers will remove any air that remains after sealing. This will prevent spoilage along with insect activity that may occur due to eggs that are present.
When storing rice, be aware that white rice will store longer than brown rice. Brown rice, while more nutritious will go rancid in a shorter period of time. This is due to it having a higher fat or oil content. It will store for 2-5 years sealed in mylar while white rice can store for up to 30 years.
Another type of dry food that preppers should stockpile is flour. Flour is an essential ingredient in many recipes, however, you must know how to store it properly. Flour that has already been ground starts to lose nutrients quickly. Even if stored in a sealed mylar bag with oxygen absorbers, it will only be usable for around 5 years.
The best way to store flour is as the whole grain, meaning that you don’t grind it first. Keeping wheat berries intact will prevent them from losing nutritional value during storage. This will allow you to store them for decades in sealed mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. The only downsides to this are that you will need to grind the grain as you need it and you’ll need to purchase a grain mill. A good grain mill can cost up to $500.
Sugar and Honey
The next type of food that preppers should stockpile is sugar and honey. These will help your food to be tastier and can be valuable trade items.
When storing sugar long-term, plain white sugar is going to be your best bet. It can be stored indefinitely in a sealed airtight container. However, it is best to avoid metal containers since sugar can cause them to rust in humid environments. Like with dry goods, using mylar bags inside of food-grade buckets is a good way to store sugar.
Honey, in addition to being a sweetener, also has medical uses. It has antimicrobial properties, which makes it useful for things like a sore throat. It can even be placed on wounds to help avoid infection.
When purchasing honey, make sure that you get raw and unfiltered honey. Pasteurized honey is available also, however, the pasteurization process removes most of the honey’s medical benefits. Raw and unfiltered honey also never expires.
Herbs and Spices
The next type of food that preppers should stockpile is herbs and spices. Having these will go a long way towards making your food more edible. Here are some ideas of the kinds you could store:
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Steak seasonings
- Tony Chachere
The list above is only a small example of the types of herbs and spices that you can store. The exact ones that you will store will largely depend on what you and your family like. However, one thing that you must remember is to store salt.
Salt has a variety of survival uses. It has been used for thousands of years to help preserve meat, and it is also an essential part of your diet.
Consider Special Dietary Needs
Preppers should also stockpile food for members of your family or group that have special dietary needs. Babies are the first that come to mind. If you have a very young child, make sure to have some dry formula. This will help you keep the baby healthy if mommy isn’t able to produce milk for some reason or another. Loved ones with diabetes or gluten allergies are important to consider as well.
Related: Prepping With a Baby, The Complete Guide
If you have pets, you want to make sure that you have enough food for them, at least for short-term emergencies. If you are on a budget, buying pet food a week early a few times over the course of a couple of months may be a good way to build up a small stockpile.
Other Food-Related Items
There are also some other items that you may want to stockpile that aren’t food but are food-related. The first one is a manual can opener. They are cheap and come in many different types, including crank-style, military P38 can openers, as well as those found on Swiss Army Knives and multitools.
It is also a good idea to have the tools to preserve food and replenish your stores. Canning supplies are a good option for food preservation, while seeds, traps, snare wires, and hunting ammo will help you grow or gather food. This is especially important during a long-term disaster.
You should also have a good supply of cast-iron cookware in your kitchen. Cast-iron can be used pretty much anywhere, including a campfire. If taken care of properly, a good-quality skillet or Dutch oven should last for generations. You can learn more about what types of cast-iron cookware preppers should have and how to take care of hit by clicking here.