Dry foods to avoid
Although technically considered “dry foods,” these products contain too much moisture, oil, or other substances that are not conducive to long-term storage:
- Pearled barley
- Dried meat (jerky)
- Dried eggs
- Flour, whole wheat
- Brown rice
- Milled grains other than rolled oats
- Brown sugar
- Dehydrated fruits and vegetables not dried enough to snap when bent
2. Store at 24°C/75°F or cooler
Storing your food in a cold and dry place will extend the shelf life of your long-term storage. It’s recommended to keep your storage room temperature at or below 24°C/75°F. Most basement cold storage areas will meet this requirement. If you can’t regulate your storage location temperature, you’ll need to rotate products out based on “best if used by” dates and perceived freshness. It’s important to keep your food storage up off the floor when possible to keep it dry and to allow for air circulation.
3. Use the right packaging
Do not leave food you plan to store in its original bag or container. Instead, plan on storing all of your food in one of these proven containers:
You’ll want to add oxygen absorber packets inside these containers (available on Amazon) to ensure the longevity of your food storage. Oxygen absorbers preserve the taste and nutritional quality of your food by eliminating food-borne insects.
No matter how much food you have stored away, if you don’t have an adequate water supply, you’re not going to last very long. Water creates a particular problem for two reasons:
A. We need so much of it.
B. It’s ridiculously heavy.
To store enough drinking water, you’ll need at least one gallon per person per day. A gallon of water weighs approximately eight pounds. That means for my family of three, we’ll need 24 pounds of water per day. Multiply that by 90 days for short-term food storage, and we’re looking at 2,160 pounds of water, or 270 gallons. Although that may seem like a ton of water (It is—literally), the good news is that water’s cheap. The amount of water isn’t a problem as much as storing it in the right container.
You should have an assortment of water containers ranging in size and shape. If you store all 2,160 pounds of water in 55-gallon drums, you won’t be able to take water with you should you need to evacuate. Whatever containers you choose, they should meet two basic qualifications: They need to be food grade containers and PET quality plastic.
Here are a few recommendations:
- Used gatorade bottles (any size)
- Used soda bottles (20 oz. or 2 liter)
Tap water works
Believe it or not, tap water is your best bet when creating your emergency water supply and is safer than bottled water for long-term storage because of differences in tap water and bottled water regulations. Your city tap water is already chlorinated, which means you don’t have to treat it before placing it in storage.
Containers to avoid
- Milk jugs (not PET)
- Used bleach containers
- Single-use water bottles (bulk bottled water)