How To Start Your Home Food Storage

There are three approaches to getting a food supply. The correct plan for your family is probably a combination of the three.

1-         Buy about 450 pounds of wheat, oats, beans and rice per person. This will give you enough calories to keep you alive and that is about all. These can be stored almost forever provide you protect it from heat and insects. If you still have it in 40 years, you can throw it out and think of it as the insurance policy that you didn’t collect on.

2-         Buy freeze dried food, MRE’s and such from companies specializing in food storage. This is expensive and I’ve done very little of it.

3-         Buy what you eat and eat what you buy. This provides the most palatable solution. It is more complicated and impossible to do perfectly.

When I go to the grocery store, I’m always looking for specials. The other day, Walmart was selling Hormel chili for a very low price. I bought two cases.

When finding a bargain, I check the ‘sell by’ date, realizing that this date doesn’t mean the food will self-destruct on that day. It means some nutrition is lost. Then I do some math.

Let’s say a can of tuna fish has an expiration date that’s about two years away. Let’s also say that our family eats about two cans per week. I’d be safe buying 200 cans of tuna.  That would be a bit much. For one thing, the store doesn’t have 200 cans of tuna and I don’t have space for them. I can see that 50 cans would be a good step forward and it would last me half a year.

There are a few problems with this last method. If in two months, I might decide I don’t like tuna. What, then, am I going to do with those remaining 35 cans? Also, in a survival situation, I probably won’t limit myself to two cans per week.

Beware—when a store sells food at extra low price, they are probably trying to clear out space for the next year. For instance, in October, we found flour for a ridiculously low price. Checking the date, we could estimate that this flour was one year, maybe two years old. That doesn’t mean we won’t buy some. It just means we won’t buy a huge quantity.

Obviously, you won’t want to concentrate on one particular food. You want things to give you a more balanced diet plus. You’ll also want to consider soap, detergent, toothpaste, matches, batteries, garbage bags, duck tape and other nonfood items.

On my computer I have a spread sheet listing key foods, a column for the count, a column for the number of calories in the can/box/bag. (Multiply the number of servings times the calories per serving). The spread sheets totals the number of calories and divides it by 4,000. (I assume 2,000 calories per person per day). The answer is roughly the number of days of survival.

In the end, it is not so much what you do as that you do it. A poor choice is better than nothing, plus, you can always barter and trade your two cans of tuna for a can of Hormel chili.

About erharoldsen

Information about Family Life, Family History, Humor, Emergency Response, Disaster Preparation, Latter-day Saint Religion (Mormon) and other stuff that tickles me. Contact me through erharoldsen at But use the @ symbol. (This helps me avoid spam.)
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