What type of food storage is best? This a common question asked by many beginners and even more experienced “preppers”. With TONS of stores out there to purchase, you can feel pushed into buying certain food. Continue reading to find out which food storage is best for you and your family to help you save money, time and frustsration.
What type of food storage is best?
It’s the type you are going to eat.
You’re thinking, it can’t be that easy right?
Well, actually it is. Food storage is an investment to help you live comfortably when a long term emergency arises. The food you will WANT to be eating, will be the same food you are already eating.
You don’t want to learn how to cook new food in an already stressful situation do you? No.
Your kids won’t want to eat a new diet if they are in a stressful situation do they? No.
So the best food storage is the kind you are going to eat.
Here are a few options:
I recommend storing a couple of different options. And, to be honest, if you look in your pantry now, you’ll probably already have a few of them.
This is commercially canned food you buy at your local grocery store. This takes up about 50% of our food storage. Canned food is food you’re already cooking with and using. Canned food is the easiest food to rotate, so you don’t have to really worry about the 3-5 year shelf life. The best way to store this food is using rotating shelves. There are large ones you can purchase HERE, or smaller ones like these on Amazon. Read more about the pros and cons of these rotating shelves. I know canned food can get some rap… but it’s not as bad as you think. Read more about which is better… canned food vs frozen here.
Home Canned Food
Food you have bottled, canned at home with extra produce or meat. I LOVE canning meat, but haven’t done much fruits and veggies. Home canned food is nice because you can purchase quality food and store it for cheaper than buying long term storage quality food. Since this food is stored in glass bottles, it’s harder to rotate and store. The good news is, if you are canning your own food, you most likely know how to use it, and cook with it. So, using it in case of an emergency won’t be “new” and stressful.
Frozen food is OK to have in your food storage, but only for a 1-3 month supply. If you store much more than that, you’ll need a lot more freezers. Also, if the electricity were to go out for a few days, you’ll need a way to keep power to your freezer so you can keep all your food safe.
There are 2 types of dehydrated food, store bought or homemade. Most homemade dehydrated food has a shorter shelf life (6-12 months). The commercially packaged dehydrated food will have more of a 5-10 year shelf life. Both are ok to use for food storage, as long as you know how to cook with them. A few types of dehydrated food that’s easy to cook with are: raisins, onions, re-fried beans, bell peppers (sometimes), and carrots (sometimes). Beef jerky, which is dehydrated, is good to store for snacks, but can be hard to incorporate into a meal. If you are storing dehydrated food, be sure to know what meals you can and can’t easily use them in.
Powdered milk falls into the dehydrated food category. It is one of the easiest things to learn to cook with, and can be cheaper (at times) than buying milk from the store. Just add the powder to your power ingredients, and your water to your wet ingredients. Find out how to use powdered milk here.
Now, this is a controversial topic. Some people will ONLY go the freeze dried food storage route… but me, I disagree. We have about 30% of our food storage freeze dried. Freeze dried can be, and most of the time IS, very expensive. Think of it as buying “organic” when you think of freeze dried. It is a long process, but stores for 20+ years shelf life (in the right storing conditions). Using freeze dried for food storage is great for a few items such as:
- Food you can get cheaper else where. Meat, and fresh fruits and veggies are much cheaper at the store. But, unless stored in the freezer, they are hard to store long term. These are great items to buy freeze dried and let sit without rotating them often. If you rotate them often you’ll be wasting money… but they are good to have on hand for an emergency.
- Dairy- Some dairy is great freeze dried (like freeze dried shredded cheese), but others not so great. Powdered butter and sour cream, when mixed up, does not have the same texture at all, but when used for cooking, adds the flavor you need.
Freeze dried has a small learning curve to cook with, but it’s not bad. If you practice a few times, you’ll get the hang of it. I recommend storing some freeze dried food, as it is easy to store and forget. It is also good to buy a few extra cans, so you can practice cooking with it. I always have a can of powdered eggs open, in case I forget. And some meat open for our camping trips.
This is any type of food you can buy in bulk but does not come in the best packaging. Bulk food can be a great addition to your food storage AND save you money! Depending on how quickly you use it, you may need to re-package it. Here are some examples of bulk food we store:
- 25 lb bags of wheat- (bought from the Home Storage Center, although online, you can only buy #10 cans). We buy bulk wheat, then store it into 3 gallon FREE buckets. I go through wheat quickly, so I don’t re-package it into Mylar bags, I just fill it up as much as a I can and toss in some oxygen absorbsers.
- Costco size honey, yeast, and syrup
- Large (close to #10 can size) containers of shortening and peanut butter from Walmart.
Buying in bulk, instead of powdered, freeze dried, or packaged in #10 cans for long term storage allows us to save money, since we are constantly using these ingredients. Just like canned food, they don’t have a long shelf life, but if you consistently use them, then you don’t need to worry about rotating, and can save yourself money. Read more about how much food you should be storing for your family.
There is a LARGE variety of food storage out there. The answer to your question “What type of food storage is best?” is:
the food you are familiar with and are already using. (It’s good to add a few extras for long term storage).
Whats your favorite type of food to store? Comment below.
Simple Family Preparedness– her complete guide to nutritional difference and comparisons between all the food storage types.
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