You should stock your Preppers pantry with foods that do not require refrigeration, are highly nutritious, high in calories, taste good, can be prepared in a camping type environment. These characteristics are ideal for use during the adverse conditions possible during a survival situation. Amounts vary based on individuals and family needs, but a minimum of a 3-month supply of these basic foodstuffs for each member of your family is a good starting point.
For a variety of prepping scenarios, many Preppers choose to stockpile shelf-stable food. If you are considering starting your own food stockpile, you might be wondering exactly how to get started as there are plenty of things to consider, such as storage areas, food safety, food insurance options, and amount of money needed to create a stockpile large enough to support your family.
Why Should You Stockpile Food?
Stockpiling food can vary dramatically in scope and size, depending on your purpose. Some families choose to store enough food to last a year, including drinking water, while others may target a shorter disaster recovery period, such as 7 to 30 days.
Others may choose to just have a few extras of common staples around, helping prevent last-minute trips to the store or in case of short-term financial shortfalls.
Using Coupons & Warehouse Stores to Build an Inexpensive Food Stockpile
One of the more interesting stockpiling tips we’ve run across is buying staple foods with coupons. Most families don’t buy a year’s worth of food in one trip, mostly because it’s expensive. But if you learn to combine sales and coupons, you can easily and inexpensively build your store. I’ve even heard of people paying others to clip coupons for them and mail them.
If my local Safeway store had a sale on tuna pouches, it would be a great time to get some additional coupons and stock up. Costco and Sams is also a great place to buy in bulk with significant savings.
Rotating Food Stockpiles Based on Expiration Dates
Stockpiling food over time is also a good idea for food safety and freshness. By buying products over a varying time period, you will get different expiration dates. When you buy new food, rotate your stock like grocery stores do–always put the new food in the back, so the oldest food is in front. That way, you don’t run the risk of having a forgotten item expire in a back corner of your store room.
Another consideration for learning how to stockpile food is your storage space. Ideally, a cool, dark area such as a basement will help preserve the food, and it also protects the items in case of a natural disaster such as a tornado. However, you will want to make sure it is also a dry basement, as seepage can cause cans to rust, which will make the food unsafe. If you live in a hotter area, avoid storing items in your garage, unless it is climate controlled.
Canning & Preserves
Other food stockpiling tips include canning and preserving your own food, as well as growing your own produce for canning. Growing and canning your own food for stockpiling is considerably less expensive than buying canned goods. You can also control the sugar, sodium, and preservatives by canning your own food. If you have a pressure cooker, you can also preserve meats.
When it comes to deciding what to stockpile, consider your family’s tastes, length of expiration dates, and nutrition. The more variety you can store, the better.
Good items to stockpile include:
- Canned soup (look for low sodium varieties)
- Bottled water
- White rice (lasts longer than brown rice)
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Granola and cereal
- Peanut butter
- Baby food and formula (if appropriate)
- Powdered milk and potatoes
- Freeze dried foods (lightweight and last for years – look for these at your local sporting goods store or at a military surplus store.
For natural disasters, you should also store a cooking source and fuel, such as a propane camp stove. Don’t forget a manual can opener as well.