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20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan

by Monday, June 24, 2013

No matter how many times I write about food, there is always something new to consider or a new and different way to present the same old information in a more useful manner.  With that in mind, today I would like to share a method for getting started with your food storage program in an easy, step by step, and cost effective manner.

To be truthful, my initial goal with this article was to respond to readers who were just getting started and wanted a shopping list of things to buy for their food storage pantry.  I also wanted to compile a checklist that more experienced preppers could use to compare what they had to what they needed.  My goal can pretty much be summed up by saying that I wanted to write about getting started with food storage the easy way.  No frills, no fluff – just a common sense list of food items to get you started.

With that goal in mind, let me say this:  this is not a list of items intended for deep storage. Nor is it a list of items packaged so that they have a 25 year shelf life.  (And in reality, do you really need your stored food to last that long?)  I am also not going to list items that might be foreign to your palate, difficult to find, or too costly to absorb into your weekly shopping budget.

What you are going to get is a list of 20 items that can easily be purchased at your local grocery store, warehouse club and surprisingly, even online at Amazon.  They can be purchased in one shot, all at once, or you can pick up one item from the list each week over a period of twenty weeks.  The choice is yours.  All I ask is that you consider getting each of the items on the list and that you also consider getting started sooner rather than later.  I promise you that this will be easy.

I am going to include quantities that require no extra thought, no calculator and no formula for determining servings or overall quantities.  Like I said.  This is going to be EASY!

20  ITEMS TO KICK START YOUR FOOD STORAGE PLAN

1.  20 pounds of Rice.  As boring as it may sound, rice is one of the backbones of every food storage plan.  It is filling, nutritious  and with the use of  varied seasonings and condiments, highly adaptable in a variety of tasty meals.  The choice of white, brown or a combination of the two is up to you.  White rice has a longer shelf life but brown rice has more nutritional benefits.  In my own household, I like to combine the two along with some Jasmine, Basmati and Calrose sticky rice.

29 Jan 2007 (Rice,rice,rice)

2.  20 pounds of Pinto Beans.   Like rice, beans are the backbone to every food storage plan.  You may substitute white, kidney or other types of dried beans but honestly, pintos are one of the least expensive dried beans and in my opinion, one of the tastiest.  Need help cooking beans? when you are done here be sure to read Survival Woman Learns to Cook Dried Beans and you should too and  Respect for the Lowly Pinto Bean.

3.  20 cans of Vegetables.  Green beans, peas, corn and canned tomatoes are good choices.  Let your taste and budget guide you.  Buy what you currently eat and enjoy.

4.  20 cans of Fruit.  Peaches, pears, pineapple, fruit cocktail – again, this is your choice.  Fruits add a nice sweetness to life and these days we all could use more of that.

5.  20 cans of Meat.  Chicken, tuna, shrimp, salmon, Vienna sausages, beef stew and yes, even the ubiquitous Spam will satisfy this requirement.  Did you know that you can even purchase canned roast beef? Again, let your taste and budget guide you – there is lots to choose from.

Spam

6.  4 pounds Oats.  Remember when you were little and Mom warmed your tummy with a nice comforting bowl of oatmeal?  That is what we are talking about here.  A bowl of oatmeal topped with canned fruit can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

7.  2 large jars of Peanut Butter.  Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, with plenty of calories for energy and sustenance.  Besides, who can resist the taste of a gooey spoonful of luscious peanut butter?

8.  2 large jars of Tang or other powdered drink mix.  The only requirement here is get something you like and something fortified with Vitamin C.  I am not going to preach and tell you to avoid artificial sweeteners.  If Crystal Lite works for you in normal times, go for it.

9.  5 pounds of Powdered Milk.  Milk is a great source of protein and other nutrients.  In addition it is filling and can be used to top your oatmeal cereal or stirred into your coffee as a flavor enhancer.

10.  5 pounds of Salt.  It goes without saying that salt is an essential for survival plus it has a lot of uses other than as an enhancement for food. That said, our bodies need salt to survive.  Read more about salt in the article Reasons You Need Salt in the Prepper Pantry.

11.  10 pounds of Pancake Mix.  An all in one pancake mix (such as Krusteaz) only requires the addition of water to make up a batch of batter.  As with oatmeal, a big plate of pancakes, perhaps with some honey or jam, will make a satisfying meal that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

12.  2 pounds of Honey and 2 large jars of Jam.  We all need some sweetness in our life, even with Mother Nature or life deals us a blow.  I choose honey and jam over sugar but at the end of the day, you can make a substitution or simply mix and match.

13.  10 pounds of Pasta.  Pasta is familiar and easy to fix.  Pasta is a dense form of wheat but so much easier to deal with when you are first starting out.  Besides, it is a fabulous comfort food.

14.  10 cans or jars of Spaghetti Sauce.  Cheap yet satisfying, canned pasta sauce on a bed of pasta creates a satisfying meal that can be put together in minutes.

15. 20 cans of Soup or Broth. The beauty of canned soups and canned broth is that they are a budget friendly.  Soups are an all-in-one meal solution. All you need is a can opener and a spoon and you have a meal ready to go.  For an extra satisfying meal, try using a can of soup as part of the cooking water for your rice.  Yummy!

16.  One large jug of Oil. Choose olive oil, coconut oil or some other cooking oil, but definitely get some.  Oil is essential for good health, fueling our energy stores and providing support for fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients as they work their way through our system. Not only that, but a bit of fat in your diet adds flavor and makes you feel satisfied when you are done eating.

17. Spices and Condiments. Adding some spices and condiments to your food storage pantry will allow you to vary the taste of your storage foods, thus mitigating some of the boredom that is likely to occur over time.  The exact mix of spices and condiments is up to you but some suggestions include  garlic, chili, Tabasco (hot sauce), salsa, oregano, thyme and black pepper.

18.  5 pounds of Coffee or 100 Tea Bags.  There are those that will say that life without coffee is not life at all.  Whole bean (assuming you have a hand grinder), ground or instant – take your choice.  Or substitute tea.  Green tea and many herbal teas are quite therapeutic so if you like tea, this may be a good way to go.

19. 2 large bags of Hard Candies.  Hard candy can go a long way toward making an unpleasant situation bearable.  Butterscotch drops, peppermints and even lemon drops are good.  Have fun with this and pick up a couple of bags of your favorites!

20.  Mini LED Flashlight and Extra Batteries.  Okay, this is a cheater item.  It is not food but it is all important and so it will not hurt to stash a miniature flashlight or two along with the edibles in your food storage pantry.  My top pick of the moment in the Blocklite.  This thing just goes and goes and goes plus, it does not take up any storage space.

20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan

BUT THERE IS NO WHEAT AND NO FLOUR ON THIS LIST!

So you noticed!

There are no wheat berries or other whole grains (other than oats/oatmeal) on this list and there is also no flour.  While there is a place for these items in a long term storage plan, I consider them part of the second phase of food storage.

The truth is that many preppers would not have a clue as to what to do with wheat, so why push the envelope?

The same goes with flour.  To make flour usable, you also need yeast and baking powder plus the skill and know-how to bake. Not only that, you most likely will need an outdoor oven of sorts – especially if the grid is down post disaster.   That, and more, will come later, but for now, while covering the basics, it is much simpler and far more practical to stick with easy to cook foods that can be combined into interesting meals without the need for much experience other than opening a can or a package.

THE FINAL WORD

As you read though this list, I hope you can visualize the number and variety of meals that can be made by mixing and matching the items listed in the kick-start plan.  How about some rice, salsa and canned chicken cooked into a casserole in your cast iron skillet?  Or pancakes topped with canned peaches and honey?  Then there are pinto beans, combined with rice and corn and topped with a bit of Tabasco for a fiesta-style meal.

Well okay, perhaps these are not gourmet delights but with the added condiments, they will taste good and be as healthy as you can expect food to be when fresh meats and produce or unavailable.

Is this a complete list of everything you will need to be fully prepared food-wise?  Heck no.  Are the quantities adequate to feed a family for a month, three months or longer?  Perhaps a month but not much longer.  Truthfully, for long term storage you need more food and more variety as well as some packaging methods (Mylar bags or buckets plus oxygen absorbers) to insure that your will food stay viable and pest free for years to come.

But for now we are more focused on either getting started our rounding out our basic survival pantry.   And for that, these 20 items will do just fine.

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44 Comments on "20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan"

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Schneewitchen
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Schneewitchen
3 years 2 months ago
0

One suggestion under the heading of “Pasta”, is to buy Tortellini or Tortelloni. They are a meal in itself, add sauce and they are really good. The dry cheese in the middle adds to flavor and protein!

Bella
Guest
3 years 2 months ago
0 I wouldn’t store a lot food that requires water , like beans, to make because any water I have us for drinking because this could go on for s long time and if it doesn’t rain or if the sir is contaminated we will need all water or juices from canned veg or fruit we can live longer with liquid and little to eat but we can hunt animals to eat but if atmosphere us contamited then we can’t catch rain or dew so we need water u can store lots in even empty jars store under sinks in… Read more »
RLF
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RLF
2 years 11 months ago
0

If the water from the atmosphere is contaminated you can’t hunt either based on the premise that the animals drink what falls from the sky therefore they are contaminated too! Basically the rule is: if 1 is bad they both are in this situation.

Lets hope we never have to worry about such a thing here at home!

Dee
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Dee
1 year 9 months ago
0 I would like to share my method of storing water which I started to do more than ten years ago. I save water in liter bottles or any food safe bottle by rinsing them well, filling them with water from my softened, hot water faucet, (because we have a lot of rust), right to the very top, then capping it leaving no airspace. I don’t add anything to it. Last winter we had a four day power outage and we used our stored water, which was clear and tasty! I was surprised to see how much we used in… Read more »
gena
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gena
3 years 2 months ago
0 For people who live in the southwest, a good choice if you prefer breakfast tacos to pancakes, is to buy a few bags of tortilla mix that only requires the addition of water, pat it down, cook it on a tortilla pan or even a skillet, and add some of those beans, preferably refried or a variety of other breakfast taco fillers. Also tortillas make a good alternative, easy to make bread replacement. You can just mix and cook up what you want when you want it. I had never tried it, although dated guys in my youth whose… Read more »
gena
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gena
3 years 2 months ago
0

Another good pleasure food is to buy popcorn as long as you also buy a popcorn popper which can be used with a fireplace or external fire source. They are cheap also if you check the right places. A little cooking oil, popcorn and a fire and you can enjoy some popcorn which beats hard candy as far as I’m concerned, although I already have several bags of hard candies – both the butterscotch and peppermint hard candies you spoke of.

gena
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gena
3 years 2 months ago
0

I think it is Jiffy Brand, not totally sure off hand, makes both regular peanut butter and chocolate peanut butter cups in single serving size, nice to throw a few in a go-bag and you can either eat it on crackers, a sandwich, or dip things into them. Around here, at the dollar stores, you can buy a box of three cups for around a dollar.

gena
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gena
3 years 2 months ago
0

If you have a dehydrator you can dehydrate fruit or veggies ahead of time to make your own trail mix or to hydrate when you want them or just buy bags of dehydrated fruit or veggies to rehydrate when wanted. Plus don’t forget raisins or prunes or cranberries. Lasts a long time, and often beats canned fruits unless you like things really syrupy sweet.

Del
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Del
3 years 2 months ago
0

If you start with ready-to-eat soup and add a can of water, once you bring it to a boil you add a can of quick (or Minute) rice and you have a tasty, filling meal that can feed one very hungry or two hungry people. If you start with condensed soup you need to add an additional can of water beyond what the instructions for the soup itself call for. If you use regular rice you have to add water in the correct ratio for however much rice you want to add.

JJM
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JJM
3 years 2 months ago
0

Do you really want “2 large jars of Jam” that need to be refrigerated after opening?? Though larger jars work better in my ‘everyday’ diet for rotation, I prefer the variety of many small jars OR restaurant single servings packets.

TPLadany
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TPLadany
3 years 2 months ago
0

I am a diabetic–most of these recommended foods are not for me-what foods do you suggest that I store.

Ruth
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Ruth
3 years 2 months ago
0 So am I.(60 years) Rice and pasta are good for the family, but I like to stay away from it. Tuna in water. Peanut butter (Protein) Beans (especially Lima/Butter beans) dehydrated veggies (green beans, beets, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet potato, squash, etc.) and plenty of bullion cubes…chicken, beef AND tomato. Honey is good to have on hand if sugar gets too low, PLUS it’s an anti-biotic and stomach//pretty much everything soother. Mix w/a little apple cider vinegar and warm water. Good medicine. Do you need insulin? If so, you may want to check out “FRIO” bags that you soak in… Read more »
Trevor
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Trevor
3 years 2 months ago
0 I have a type one daughter and a grid down situation is a nightmare when considering her. You really want to figure out a way to have extra insulin and a means to keep it as cold as you can (basement, root celler, etc). Even a diabetic is going to need some carb food but you might want to do some extra nuts, jerky, and canned meats so that you can stretch your insulin by doing higher protein and less carbs. You might want to look for some “gluten free” options which will be lower in carbs and some… Read more »
val
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val
3 years 2 months ago
0 If you know how to bake outdoors using a dutch oven (or even just a covered roasting pan might work), all-purpose baking mix (think Bisquick or a generic brand) could help fill in for bread, as can crackers (saltines taste great with any filling you can think of). I agree with dehydrating what you can, just be sure you have plenty of water for rehydrating on top of the water for simply drinking. Don’t forget some kind of water filtration (ie. ceramic, gravity fed, etc) for water (it will still need to be boiled after if there are worries… Read more »
Rosa
Guest
3 years 2 months ago
0

There is also a dry bread/cracker called Pilot Bread. We in Alaska use a lot of it as it is a forever item. Fishermen especially like this because when out on the waters, the Pilot Bread does not spoil. Even makes good little individual pizzas for the kids. Spread some tomato sauce or soup, maybe some baloney, salami, and cheese on top and heat in portable oven, camp stove, or however you can heat to melt cheese, and you have pizza.

glenbo
Guest
glenbo
3 years 2 months ago
0

JJM is correct about large jars of jam, and same goes for peanut butter. It can go rancid fast, so why not buy several small jars? They’re easier to pack and move if that need arises, too.

Hipockets
Guest
Hipockets
3 years 2 months ago
0

I buy Large jars of Jif,have for many years,and never put them in the refrig,in the cupboard so it spreads easy. It does’nt say on the
jar to regrigerate,so I never have’ I’ve survived doing this for over 20 yrs’But everyone to their own thing’

Kris
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Kris
3 years 1 month ago
0

I agree. I have all my adult life kept peanut butter in the cupboard and unless it was one of the ‘organic’ kinds, it never even separates, let alone goes bad. When my grand kids left 3 yrs ago I had a partial jar of Skippy. It took the whole 3 yrs for us to finish it off, and it was still fine!

Valerie
Guest
Valerie
2 years 16 days ago
0

I agree Ive never put peanut butter in the fridge nor jam/jelly as that is already preserved in sugar and wont go off. Just make sure they your knife is clean of bread crumbs when dipping in 😀

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