Are you making one of these 25 top food storage mistakes? Read below because I know, as a seasoned food storage expert, that I am STILL making some of these mistakes. Food storage can take a long time to build and take some money to invest in. Just like you protect your property and money, you’ll want to protect your food storage.
*Updated November 2020* – This post contains affiliate links. Read my affiliate link disclosure here
25 Top Food Storage Mistakes
The top 2 are the most important, but the rest aren’t in any specific order. Be sure to read through them all. Some of you will do great with some and not with others.
Some of the biggest mistakes you’ll want to fix soon:
1. Planning to store food, but never actually doing it. It’s great to have the thought about food storage but when an emergency arises, all those “thoughts” won’t help you. Get started with your food storage today by:
- Downloading a FREE Food Storage Meal Plan
- Watching this 4 step Video Series to Start your Food Storage
- Or, have ME make your own Personal Customized Food Storage Meal Plan
2. Buying Food and FORGETTING it. If you have food stored then that’s one step further than everyone else. Now the next thing you need to do is USE it. Food storage won’t help you if:
- You don’t know how to cook with it.
- It’s stale, rancid and un-edible.
- You aren’t used to eating it which may cause other problems. Read about how to use your food storage for more info.
3. Storing food you don’t know how to cook. There is a learning curve to cooking with freeze dried and dehydrated food. Even with preserving and canning your own food, there is a learning curve. Be sure to learn how to cook the type of food you are storing. Here are some tips for planning food storage meals.
4. Buying food you haven’t tasted or eaten. This type of food can either be freeze-dried, dehydrated, MRE’s, or even pre-packaged food storage buckets. If you haven’t tasted it, how do you know you will like it, or even eat it? Here is an article on how to get your family to LOVE food storage.
5. Not storing enough variety. There are many plans out there where you just store the “basics”. Typically they consist of grains, beans, powdered milk, oils, and sugar. Do you know how to make a meal with limited items? What about “food fatigue”? Are you going to get sick of eating the same thing all day long, day in and day out for a couple of weeks?
More Great Tips on Food Storage Mistakes to Avoid
6. Along those lines, is forgetting about vitamins and nutrients. If you are planning on living off your food storage, you need to have enough nutrients to keep your body going. I understand how expensive it can be to have freeze-dried meat, fruit and veggies. I don’t recommend having it in each and every meal, but you do need some of it. You can also store multi-vitamins to support your nutritional needs.
7. Storing foods in the wrong temperature. If your food is stored in a place that is too hot, too humid, or even too bright, it can damage the packaging and the food. Simple Family Preparedness has a good article explaining how heat, light, and humidity can affect your food storage.
8. Not storing food in appropriate sizes. Here is an example. You use an 8 oz can of tomato sauce for most of your meals. But you buy the 16 oz cans, or even the 24 oz cans because they are cheaper. You can store more in a smaller space, and stack easier but is it worth it? Well, when you go to use that food storage, you’ll end up dumping the extra sauce you don’t need out. Another example, buying #10 can of butter, but you only need 2 cups worth. Store food in the sizes that are best for you, this will make it easier for rotating.
9. Not using correct food safe containers for long term storage. Some items need to be taken out of original packaging and re-packaged. Simple Family Preparedness has a great article on how to use oxygen absorbers when re-packaging food.
10. Most people tend to store freeze-dried or dehydrated food, which is GREAT… just don’t forget the water. Those types of food take more water for cooking. Be sure you’ve added that into your water supply needs list.
Mistakes that aren’t too big of a deal… but could still cost you time and money:
11. Planning on using your freezer for MOST of your food storage. A freezer is great to store bulk meat for a much cheaper price (freeze-dried can get VERY expensive), but what if the electricity goes out? Do you have a way to keep everything in your freezer cold? What if things are bad for a whole week and you can’t rely on your freezer anymore, but you have 2 months worth of meals stored in there? Just a thought.
12. Along these lines is storing everything in the same place. Yes, it is definitely more convenient to have a “food storage room” where you can stock everything. But the truth is, what happens if that room floods, or something happens and destroys that room. As a result, all of your stock was in one place, and now it’s gone. It’s very similar to keeping all of your money in one spot. Financial advisers recommend you keep it in separate places. The same goes with food storage.
13. Only buying food that stores 20-30 years. It’s good to have variety in your food storage. Long term storage is nice, and it’s ok to have 2-5 year shelf life food too. As a result, this will save you money, teach you how to use your food storage, and allow you to learn how to cook with it.
How About These Food Storage Mistakes?
14. Buying bulk food because it’s a “good deal”. Again, if it’s too much bulk, then you’ll be tossing out the extras anyway. Buying in bulk is great if you have the time and knowledge to package it into more manageable quantities after purchasing.
15. Not storing food SPECIFIC TO YOUR FAMILIES NEEDS. So the meal says it serves 4… does it really serve 4? The only way to know this is actually make the meals you are planning on storing for food storage. Many times soup says it serves 4, but really only serves 2 if that is all you are relying on to fill you up. Do your kids eat more than the “typical serving”. Above all, store food and recipes according to what your family eats (not some random food storage calculator). Read this article on 7 tips for picking food storage meals for more help.
16. Forgetting to rotate your food storage. Food goes bad, then you have to toss it out. This is not only frustrating, but also a waste of money. And most often, once it goes bad, most people typically don’t restock it because “it just went bad”.
17. Not using it is another top food storage mistake. It’s important to feel comfortable eating your food storage. So as you use your food storage occasionally here and there, it wont’ come as a huge shock when/if you have to rely on it. Read about how to use your food storage for some tips.
More Food Storage Mistakes to Watch For
18. Throwing out food too soon. Now, you need to trust your instincts on this. Canned food, and even fatty food such as Crisco and vegetable oil, have short “best by” dates. I have used many of these 2-3 years (at least) past their “best by” dates WITHOUT any issues. That being said, budging, rusty, off color food, rancid or off smells, are a few signs you shouldn’t be using that food. Therefore, It’s ok to use food past the “best by” date to save yourself money by not throwing out food that is just fine. If you are rotating it and using it, then you shouldn’t have too much of a problem with food getting old.
19. Forgetting to keep track of what you have and what you need. Be sure to keep track of what food is in your food storage, how much you need for your supply, and WHERE you are storing it.
20. Along these lines, not labeling your food. This goes for dates on food in the freezer, and maybe expiration dates. Since I use my canned food past the “best by” date, I don’t go by the dates on the can. I write the month/year on each can after buying it, then I can see which cans I need to use first. Moreover, food in the freezer can look old, but really only be a few months old. Save yourself money and time by labeling all your food so you know how old it is, and if it’s still good for safekeeping.
Even More Food Storage Mistakes to Watch For
21. Forgetting to store comfort food. What do we as humans LOVE to do after a stressful day? Sit down and munch on our favorite food. So if you are living in a stressful situation and needing to use your food storage, you will be VERY gratful for some of that comfort food. And don’t forget your kids. How are you going to get them to eat the nutrients they need? Bribery always works… don’t forget your comfort food. Read more about food storage comfort food here.
22. Not only are you forgetting the nutrients, and treats, but you are forgetting spices and condiments. These can help flavor a meal to make it taste more appetizing AND add variety to simple meals. My kids will eat anything, as long as they can dip it into something. So adding condiments can be a way to convince the young kids to eat the food they need for survival.
23. Most of the time you’ll need to dig into your long term food storage, you’ll be living with electricity and gas. BUT, if by chance that that isn’t the case, you want to be sure you have an alternate cooking method. So learn how to cook with a dutch oven, propane oven and stove, butane stove, sun oven, or another device.
24. Another top mistake is not knowing how to cook your food without the basic appliances. Such as, a bread maker, blender, mixer, etc.
25. Forgetting to stock your kitchen with non-electric cooking appliances, and storing extra can openers to open all your cans.
This is a LONG list of top food storage mistakes. I know! Some of you are probably doing a few of these, and it can be overwhelming to feel like “You’re doing it all wrong!”. But you aren’t, you are doing just fine.
Food storage is an investment, and investments take time to grow, and figure out. First, pick one mistake and fix it. Then pick another one. Some of them aren’t that big of a deal (such as not storing extra spices), and some of them are a HUGE deal (storing food in the wrong temp). Figure out the “worst” mistake you are making, fix it, then work on another one. Pretty soon, you’ll toss all the top food storage mistakes out the window and be a pro!
Food storage is a process, a journey, NOT a race.
Do you have something to add to the list of top food storage mistakes? Comment Below
If you liked this post, please let us know by leaving a comment below and clicking those share buttons to tell your friends. As always, we appreciate you taking a minute of your time to spread the word about preparedness.