Food Storage Basics

Feb 17, 2013 by

While many of us have stockpiled food, I’ve received feedback that many do not fully understand food storage basics.  This is why we called on Rachel from Dan’s Depot to educate us on why it is important to master the food storage basics.  
It was helpful to me and I’m fairly certain it will be for you. Be sure to add your comments/suggestions below. 

Food Storage Basics  – Beginning Food Storage

There is no time like the present to get moving on your food storage plans. We all know gas and food prices are intertwined. We also know gas prices have, and will continue to rise, which means food prices will go up as well. What happens when the day comes you really cannot jump into car and head out for a quick trip to pick up that gallon of milk you need? It is time to start thinking about the future and some food storage basics to begin storing the food needed for your family.

Stocking up or storing food is done for a variety of reasons. Many assume those with well-stocked pantries are preparing for some major catastrophe. While that is true, there are a few other reasons people choose to store food.

  • Financial woes. Families who live on a budget may find the allotted grocery fund is a little slim some months.
  • Buying in bulk is often cheaper. Coupons and sales are also ideal for stocking up.
  • Impromptu visits from family and friends.

There are a ton of different reasons to store food. All of them are valid, but don’t start storing food until you know the food storage basics. The old rule, “First in, first out” is crucial to ensuring your food stores are as fresh as possible. You will also want to learn about what kinds of foods you should be stocking.

So, you want to know what exact foods you should store? That is a tricky question and here’s why;

You should only store what you eat regularly, right now.

Your food tastes and preferences are not going to automatically change because there is some emergency. You know what you like and what your family likes and doesn’t like. A life-changing emergency is not the time to test your palate. It is important to keep in mind, that a nutritional, balanced meal is essential to your family’s survival.

Why Appetite Change-Up is Bad

A condition, known as appetite fatigue, can occur when a person suddenly changes their diet. This is very real and has some very unpleasant side effects like diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Not exactly the three things you want to be dealing with in an emergency situation. Appetite fatigue is more common in the elderly and children. Again, age groups that you really don’t want to stress any more than they already will be.

Food Storage Planning 101

First rule of food storage basics is you have to come up with a plan. Give yourself plenty of time to get this part done. Before you begin your planning, you need a time frame  Will you be stocking food to last a month, three months or more? If you are just beginning, the 3-month food store is a pretty good place to start. You can always add more later.

Keep a notepad around to jot down any thoughts about what foods your family likes and eats regularly. Think back to the last month of meals you have prepared and start making a list of the ingredients. Keep in mind, refrigeration is probably not going to be an option. Check you list, these are the types of food you want to begin storing and don’t forget the snacks.

If you aren’t the cooking type, don’t worry. Just write down the meals you tend to pick up already prepared. You can learn to make them at home. In an emergency, that is your only option. It is best if you at least learn some basic cooking skills now, so you are prepared to provide your family with the nutrition needed to stay strong and healthy in uncertain times.

Be sure to add your comments below on what you consider part of the food storage basics.

Rachel Ballard is a food preparation expert. She utilizes her food skills for emergency preparedness and is a regular contributor to Dan’s Depot.


  1. What’s almost as bad, if not equally as bad as vomiting, diarrhea, etc, is severe constipation, very common with MRE’s and many of the dry type storage foods. Drink lots of liquids, lots and lots, and keep a laxative or stool softener on hand, also corn starch or powder, ’cause monkey butt is going to be a given. Just some thoughts….