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Storage food is food that has a longer-than-normal shelf life.  It is usually grains still in their original shells/hulls (like Hard Red Winter Wheat or oat groats) and dehydrated or freeze dried.  Olive oil and honey have natural long shelf lives.  Does that mean you have to invest big bucks into Mountain House or other long-term-survival-food products?  No.  There is plenty you can get at your local supermarket and lengthen its shelf life yourself (such as placing in plastic buckets with oxygen absorbers).

There are other foods that you can get your local markets to order if they don't stock it or order from Walton Feed or or other suppliers:  large bags or pails of wheat (hard red winter and spring), honey (super-long shelf life), and other grains. 

Here is a list of long-shelf-life food items available at places such as Wal-Mart or your local supermarket:

Milk, powdered

Potato, flakes

Pasta, all (including Ramen noodles)

Macaroni & Cheese (contains powdered cheese)

Rice, white


Corn meal



Sugar, white

Oil, olive

Peanut butter

Jellies, Jams, Preserves

Beans, dry, various

Vegetables, canned

Meats & fish, canned

Meats, jerky (you can also make your own)

Fruits, canned



Baking items:  baking soda, baking powder


Boullion cubes

Gravy mixes

Cake mixes


Hot chocolate, tea, coffee

Drink mixes (Tang, Lemonade, Powdered Tea)

Popcorn (cheap filler / bulk)

Note:  You can get larger sacks of things like flour, sugar, popcorn, etc. at "big box" stores like Sam's, Costco, etc.  Many grocery stores that cater to a Hispanic population usually carries 50-lb. sacks of pinto beans.


Prepare menus for one week. Make your menus from long-term-storage food.  Look at every ingredient you will need to make those meals.  Prepare a list from the ingredients.  That's what you should have on hand for one week.  Now, start collecting those ingredients until you have a week's worth.  (Take into account some things like boullion, salt, sugar, oil, etc. will last longer than a week, so your first week will be higher in cost.)  Now, work on your second week's worth of food. Keep doing this until you have as much as you decide you need.

You can also grow or buy fruits and vegetables in season and dehydrate them inexpensively then vacuum ziploc them for long-term-storage.  You can "can" your own butter, cakes, jello, hamburger easily.  See (Manna Meals). 

Also consider inexpensive barter items such as salt, tea, coffee, ramen, hygiene items, tobacco, etc.  Use these to exchange for other things that you need. 

Add to this list in the comments below.  And check out for more information about shelf life, preservation methods, recipes from storage food, and more.  And check out this link for more basic information; contains a wealth of information on self-sufficiency so bookmark it.

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Comment by Cheryl Nelson on August 30, 2017 at 11:58am

I bet we will eat anything to keep from starving.  Treat, a spam-like product, isn't bad fried, but not healthy.

Comment by Jim Balister on August 30, 2017 at 1:13am

Get lots of SPAM!

Comment by Cheryl Nelson on August 29, 2017 at 11:47pm

Yeah, get nuts in the shell so they will last longer, and not be roasted in oils that can go rancid.

Comment by Cheryl Nelson on August 29, 2017 at 11:07pm

Another thing to consider is weight.  Beans and rice and salt and sugar are heavy.  Better to package in smaller containers (like 2-gal instead of 5-gal).  Also realize that if you have to abandon your shelter in a hurry, you won't be taking your food storage with you, because of the bulk and the weight.  So, also include freeze-dried foods you can carry in backpacks and a way to filter water, to rehydrate the food with.  It was much easier planning for y2k than an ELE, for sure.   

Comment by Cheryl Nelson on August 29, 2017 at 11:03pm

The cheap way to keep bugs out of beans and other bulk foods is to use diatomaceous earth (food grade).  All you have to do is wash it off.  I got free 2- and 5-gallon buckets from bakeries and put the beans and things in them.  Better than leaving them in bags. 

One thing I learned is that mold grows on the tops of buckets, so it's good to wipe them off every now and then to prevent mold from growing.  If it does, well, just open the bucket carefully.  If I had it to do over again, I'd bag the food in Ziploc bags before putting into the buckets, as another layer of protection.

Comment by Cheryl Nelson on August 29, 2017 at 10:55pm

Ronnie, canned goods last a year at least, so you could focus your efforts on canned soups, stews, chilis, and that kind of thing.  Shop the dollar stores.  They usually have off brands, but they taste fine.  Watch out for MSG, if you have problems with it cuz cheap foods are usually loaded with it.  Ramen flavor packets are full of MSG, but if you can tolerate it, it's lightweight and cheap.  Then you can add vegetables to it.  Here's a favorite of mine, pre-diabetes-

Cook the ramen noodles and drain.

Top with scrambled eggs (add onions, green peppers, ham, whatever you like), cheese, and Herdez mild green chili sauce (in small cans at Walmart on the Hispanic foods aisle).  Pretty tasty.  (I left out the flavor packet because of the MSG, but the Herdez makes up for it.)

I could substitute the ramen with Miracle Noodles, but won't because they are way too costly, though very low carb.

Comment by Cheryl Nelson on August 29, 2017 at 10:50pm

Right, Carolyn.  Starvation will kill you before crappy food will. 

Comment by Cheryl Nelson on August 29, 2017 at 10:47pm

Ronnie, I used Emergency Essentials house brand, Provident Pantry.  The cans come as individual products without the heavy salt.  At the time, it was the best price I could find.  The quality was good. I haven't bought anything in a long time from them, but they used to have group specials, where if you buy 6 #10 cans (gallon size), you could get a discount.  Also, check closeouts and clearance items.

Augason Farms is available through Walmart online and the prices are decent.  I haven't actually broken into those yet, to taste them.  My plan, because meat is so darned costly, is to use broths and gravies with vegetables, and beans and rice.  I bought those after I became diabetic, so I still have to add more foods I can eat.  Ship to store and you get free shipping.  This helps a lot if you buy heavy items like bulk beans and rice and sugar and salt, etc.

Comment by RLP on August 29, 2017 at 10:12pm

Thanks for the tips...I was looking at this chart on the internet and trying to decide from these popular brands. Have you or anyone you know tried any of these brands like Wise, Thrive, Efoods etc, and can give me some advice of what you think of their quality per se? Thanks for answering me! Much appreciated!  :)

Comment by Cheryl Nelson on August 29, 2017 at 4:27pm

Roni, Mountain House has dehydrated meals, but they have heavy salt content.  Most do.  I went with getting individual ingredients to avoid the salt since I have high blood pressure. 

No, Carolyn, none of the things in the food storage is organic.  Who could afford it?


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