How Much Food Storage is Enough?

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This year has made more people preparedness minded. They don’t ever want to run out of toilet paper again! They don’t want to get stuck in their home with only stale cereal. They want to start and or improve their pantry.

The Red Cross advises us to have a two-week supply and food and water on hand. Preparedness spokesmen advice a three month supply and even one religious organization advises a year’s supply.

That’s where a little planning comes into play.

Sure, you can run out an purchase one of those buckets of freeze dried and dehydrated long-term storage food. And there’s nothing wrong with having some of those in the back of the closet however unless you’ve actually tried some you might realize, too late, that it’s not something your family really wants to eat. That said, anything is better than nothing. (Not putting down freeze-dried buckets of food as they are certainly an option for feeding a family, plus they’re easy to stack/load/carry should need be.)

A lot of folks in the preparedness forums/groups are concerned about the current and future situations they, and their families, might fall into. They’ve been beefing up their food storage pantry. This is something that most prepared folks do every time they grocery shop. If they used up some cream soups, they’ll replace it and add an extra one, just in case.

They took active note of the items that went quickly during the shut-down and as they are coming back to the stores they’re stocking up. Just in case.

So how do you know when you have enough put back?

canned fruit

Back in ‘grandma’s day’ it wasn’t uncommon for Grandma to put up HUNDREDS of jars of bounty from the garden. She canned up peas, green beans, tomatoes, as well as apples, peaches. They dried beans. They smoked meat, and put back everything they could so they could make it through the winter until the next harvest.

An easy way to figure out how much food you’d need for a certain time period, be that 3 months, 12 months or longer is to take stock of what you actually use in a week, or a month. Take note of EVERYTHING you use during your time period. That includes salt, baking powders, drink mixes, and everything that goes into the dishes you make each week.

You can then multiply that list to determine how much you’d need to have on hand for a certain time frame. Make sense? For instance, IF you make spaghetti once a week, and are planning on a year’s worth of food, you’d need 52 jars of spaghetti sauce, and 52 packages of pasta (plus whatever else you add to your spaghetti, be that garlic, bread, meat, mushrooms…)

Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? It is. It probably won’t fit into your regular kitchen pantry. However, if you serve spaghetti once a week now you only have to figure out 6 more ‘main’ meals.


Don’t forget about lunches, breakfasts and snacks!

Soups are good for stretching a meal. Add some homemade bread and you have a filling meal. If you planned on homemade chicken soup once a week for a year, you’d need 52 cans of chicken, 52 small packages of pasta or rice, and of course chicken broth or powdered bouillon. Plus your extras, like dehydrated onions, carrots, celery…

You can do this. Just start small. If you need one, buy two. One to use and one to put back. If you do this consistently you’ll wind up with a full pantry easily.

So what else can you store successfully? Rice is versatile. Dried beans vacuum sealed in canning jars. Protein bars, canned soups, canned fruit, canned vegetables, peanut butter, jellies, powdered drink mixes, powdered milk, nuts, canned meats, pasta, instant soups, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, yeast (store in freezer). Canned milk, oatmeal, in short anything you regularly consume. However, if you don’t cook (I’ve known a few.) it won’t do you any good to store certain items if you don’t know what to do with them. Consider a basic cookbook too.

The events of 2020 should have shown you that it pays to be prepared. The prepared folks didn’t panic about the toilet paper run because they had plenty already on hand. They didn’t freak when the canned meats disappears from the grocery shelves because they had enough to tide them over. They didn’t become distraught over the prices of ground beef, when it could be found as they had some in the freezer.

Cup of tea
Cup of tea

Make preparedness a part of your daily lives and if you haven’t started yet, well, today is a good day.