7 Uncomfortable Truths about Food Storage

uncomfortable things about food storage

You are looking to start your food storage huh?  Every one tells you should should be doing it, and you want to get started.  I LOVE food storage!  But I wouldn’t be doing my duty in educating you about it if I didn’t share with you the 7 uncomfortable truths about food storage.

*Updated November 2020* – This post contains affiliate links. Read my affiliate link disclosure here

Uncomfortable Truths about Food Storage

1. Tastes different

The taste will not taste as good and perfect as a fresh homemade meal.  I’m not saying it will taste BAD, but it will probably be more like a 3-4 star meal than 5 star.  (That is if you aren’t already cooking and using freeze-dried, canned, and dehydrated foods in your everyday cooking.)

Canned or bottled beef or chicken have a slightly off taste.  I don’t notice a difference, but my husband does.   When I HAVE used freeze-dried meats, it definitely tastes off and weird (this article will teach you how to use freeze-dried meat the right way). But, when push comes to shove and circumstances get tight, then I’ll gladly have meals with freeze-dried beef.  I also cook at least one meal a week with bottled beef and we have gotten used it, it doesn’t bother us anymore.

Canned fruit and veggies can taste different than bottled ones too… so just realize that everything won’t be tasting “fresh”.

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2. Takes up space

I don’t care what they say… FOOD STORAGE TAKES UP SPACE.  There are so many places that tell you to store it on top shelves of your closets or under beds, but honestly, ours (and most everybody else I know) are already using up that space for clothes and other storage.  I haven’t ever talked to one person who said

I can’t believe I have all this space!  What am I going to do with it all?

Usually it’s “I need more space!”

If you are committed to food storage, you realize the importance of being prepared.  In that case, you are more willing to find the space to put food storage. Read my review about the shelf reliance rotating shelves to see if they are a good option for you.

3. Rotating can be tricky – Another One of the Uncomfortable Truths About Food Storage

This is true.  Having a ton of cans in your pantry is difficult to keep track of… and can be painful.  Here are the reasons storing cans can be difficult:

  • Not enough room for cans… so you try to stack them.  Ask anyone who’s tried to stack their canned goods and ended up with bruised toes… it’s NOT a good idea.
  • They are annoying to try to rotate in limited pantry space
  • Difficult to see the expiration dates

Honestly, a rotating can system is the BEST idea… here are some options.

To tell you the truth, you can do without the #10 can one (keep those in boxes somewhere since they are your “long term storage”), but the “any” size can is AMAZING!!!  I have SO MUCH space in mine and that’s AFTER I’ve gathered a year supply.

Read this great article about canned food myths and how to store canned food. Then read another one about how to know if canned food is bad.

I’m going to be honest with you… I eat canned foods past the expiration date.  I have not died, NOR have we thrown out a meal because it tasted bad.  (We ate a meal with canned food 3 years past the date last night).  The theory in our house is if it’s not bulging, leaking, goo-ing, or anything else out of the ordinary it’s safe to open.  Then, if it smells bad, toss it out (yes, there may be some discoloration).  This has saved us TONS of money and stress.  We still rotate and eat the oldest cans first.

4. You need to get MORE than wheat, rice, beans, etc…

There are so so many sites out there that have a list of all the basic needs and how many pounds you need for each person.  PLEASE DO NOT FALL INTO THIS TRAP.

Having 50 pounds of wheat, and 20 pounds of rice mixed with 10 pounds of sugar is NOT going to cook you anything!  We don’t store beans, because we don’t eat beans (we’ll, now we do, but we didn’t used to).  Be sure to read what you are forgetting in your food storage, to make sure you have it all.

If you aren’t consistently cooking with rice, wheat, oats, powdered milk, and beans what makes you think you or your family will eat it in a crisis?

Do you know what recipes, and meals you can make with these basic ingredients? That’s right, you can make basic meals such as bread, pancakes, and biscuits.  I can promise you that these will get very old fast.

You WILL need to take TIME to plan, pick, and get the ingredients and amounts your family needs.  Read this article for tips on picking food storage meals, and another article on how to start your food storage.   Or you can check out my Shop and buy some of the meal plans I have already created.

P.S.  If you’re looking for a great book which has a ton of recipes for the basic food storage items, then check out the book on Amazon “I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage“.  There are some fantastic recipes with beans, wheat, powdered milk.  I totally recommend it!

5. You CAN’T just buy it and forget it

A lot of people think they can buy food storage with a 25 yr shelf life, then forget about it.  I used to think I could buy it and forget about it too… but that is wrong. For a few reasons:

Pre-packaged or ready made food storage products

These typically come via #10 cans OR buckets, you may want to do a little bit more research on those.  Most of those bucket calories they claim to have are from sugary drinks or liquids.  Open up and try to live off the suggested servings of one bucket for a week and let me know how it goes.

Because my research goes to show, it is NOT enough to feed one person and is more like 700 calories per day versus 2000 calories per day.  Store This Not That has a video, where they talk about the different varieties of food storage.  Around the 6 min mark, they go into depth about pre-packaged food storage products (but I can’t find the video link anymore?!).  

#10 cans only last for 25 years in special circumstances

The also need to be stored in cold dark areas.  Most of us aren’t able to store our food storage that way, which can decrease shelf life to 20 or 15 years.

You still want to rotate food

Rotating your food is a must.  Are you planning on surviving longer than 25 years? Well then, are you going to toss it all out and start over in 25 years?  Probably not.

Although you can buy MOST items with a 25 year shelf life, there are many items you won’t want to buy in bulk.  Some items such as baking ingredients, spices, sauces, or smaller canned food items all have shorter shelf life, which you will need to rotate through.

Rotating your food and using your food storage is how to save money. Your family gets used to eating it AND it keeps your food fresh.

As you rotate your food, you will need to buy more to replace what you have been using.  This is one of the top food storage mistakes.

6. I do need a gun

My husband is the “I need a gun”, and I WAS the “I don’t need a gun”.  When we first got married Will said “You take care of the food storage, and I’ll take care of the guns and ammunition”.  Boy has this been true.

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I never thought I would ever need a gun… who would come tearing down our door to take some food?  Would it really get that bad?  I was honestly still hesitant about “needing” a gun until a reader and friend commented on my post How to Be Prepared for Anything.

“Having had so many of my family and friends be in such a state of panic during the south louisiana flooding, I agree with all this.  If they’d had 72 hour kits, good and fresh clothing wouldn’t have been an issue, whether stuck in a flooding house or a flooding shelter.  Even weapons….there are awful people who were trying to loot homes….with the family still inside along with flood water!”- Jessica

So, yes, an uncomfortable truth about food storage is you DO need some way to protect it. Even if you might be willing to share with some friends… what happens if someone takes it ALL and your family is left empty-handed?

7. A Natural Disaster WILL happen

This is another one of the very uncomfortable truths about food storage.  I’m not trying to scare you, but sometime, somewhere, something will happen that will affect you or your family.  Take a look at everything that is happening nowadays… disasters are happening in areas where they haven’t been before.

A disaster doesn’t even have to happen to your town… but somewhere close that can limit groceries being transported to your town. This could cause an influx of ridiculous food prices or no food to restock the stores at all.

When a disaster does happen, will you be eating your food storage for a year?

No.  You won’t.  You might eat it for a week, maybe a month.  But, how many friends, family, and neighbors do you know that haven’t been preparing, and will be affected by a disaster as much as you?  Do you want them to go without food for a week or month?

Food storage is also something that can be used if you are unemployed for a period of time.  Read more about why you need to be prepared and the reasons you should have food storage.

In Conclusion

There are a ton of reasons you may want to stay a way from food storage… but ultimately, having a food insurance will help you feel and stay more safe, as well as keep your family healthy.  Read more about the #1 tips to help beginners start food storage.

 Whats your biggest road block keeping you from food storage preparation?

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10 thoughts on “7 Uncomfortable Truths about Food Storage”

  1. I have also written the expiration date on food items in LARGE numbers that I can readily read! I used to put them on the tops of cans but since most are Walmart “GV Brand” and branding is pretty consistent on all products, I write the date in the same spot on the label so I know exactly where to look. (I am a perfectionist so all my cans must face the same direction!)

    In addition, we had our own (personal, financial) crisis awhile back and was glad to have the food storage to stretch our income. I rarely use canned goods or prepackaged foods so that created a problem with things expiring before I could use and rotate them. By the time my stockpile was used up, many items were as much as three years past the expiration date. I did end up throwing out a few bulging cans but when I think about their purpose, losing a few in the long haul wasn’t such a bad trade-off!

    My biggest pet peeve as far as the freshness of foods was cheese! 2-year-old Velveeta was gross, even though it is a “shelf” food. Packaged meals with cheese sauces were also gross. Even powdered cheese for macaroni discolored and just had an off taste. I am storing things like canned nacho cheese, Ragu and Prego cheese sauces now in hopes they will store better and longer. Also, grated Parmesan in the shaker jars should hopefully store longer. I will definitely keep rotating these within a year now.

    1. I LOVE those tips! I also stored canned nacho cheese, and cheese powder (used to make sauce) to add to the tops of our meals. It won’t be the same, but has a longer shelf life so should tasted better.

  2. I have my canned food storage on a wall. The cans go in bottom first and I use a sharpie marker to write expiration date on the can. What is in each row, I have it marked on the wood at the bottom where the cans rest. A 30 inch wide rack gives me storage for about 140 cans of food. That is the normal size cans though. Oldest items up high and newer items down low. Makes it a lot easier for me. I can’t read the label on the cans, but I can see the best used by date easily. That is more important to me.

  3. I write the exp date on top and bottom of can in Sharpie marker. Just be mindful not to write where it opens at edges by pop-top or with a can opener.

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