What To Store
GrainsThe foundation of all food storage programs should be grains, which are nutritious, as well as inexpensive and easy to store. (See below for a list of bulk food suppliers. You should also be able to get these products locally.)
Hard red winter wheat is a good variety of wheat for baking bread and sprouting. Thus you will probably want the majority of your wheat to be hard red winter wheat.
Corn should also be a part of your food storage program. Whole corn has a longer shelf life and retains its nutritional value better than storing cornmeal. Dent corn can be stored for making tortillas.
Brown rice has an advantage over white because of its high nutritional value. However, because of its high fat content, it will not store very long (up to 2-3 years at room temp. with low oxygen levels). White rice will store many years.
Oats are most easily stored in their "rolled" form, as whole oats will have some of the hulls left on.
A variety of other grains such as rye, barley, millet, and pastas can also be included in your storage program.
A grain mill will also be needed for grinding these grains. Sources below: Christian Family Resources, Azure Standard and Millennium Outfitters, L.L.C.
BeansSoybeans are an essential part of any food storage program, because of their high protein content. Soy can be used in baked goods, or as milk and meat substitutes. Soybeans have a shelf life of only 3-4 years unless packaged in an oxygen-reduced atmosphere.
It would be good to have a variety of other beans, including ones that cook quickly, such as lentils and black beans.
Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried Fruits, Vegetables and Dairy ProductsFruits, vegetables and dairy products, etc, should be purchased professionally dehydrated and prepackaged from a reputable food packing company. The following dehydrated food products are recommended: Milk, butter, egg and cheese powder, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Freeze-dried foods are more expensive, and take more space than dehydrated food. However, they have better flavor, and meat is only available freeze-dried.
SproutsBecause of the fact that storage foods do not include fresh fruits and vegetables, which provide important vitamins and minerals, it is important to be prepared to grow sprouts to replace those “live” foods. Sprouts have higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids than either the seed or the grown plant. Sprouts are fun and easy to grow, and can be used in a variety of ways. Add them to salads, sandwiches, meat loaf, casseroles, bread recipes, etc. Liquify them and add to beverages.
How to SproutSoak seeds, beans or grain overnight in 1-Qt. wide-mouth jar filled 1/2 full with warm water. (Start with 1-3 Tbsp. seeds and adjust amount later depending on how full jar becomes when sprouted.) Cover top of jar with cheesecloth, gauze or pantyhose and secure with rubber band or jar ring. In AM, drain water and rinse and drain again well. Store jar in dark place, such as inside kitchen cabinet, or just covered with towel. Rinse seeds 2 - 3 times daily for 2 - 4 days, draining well each time. They may then be eaten or stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. If sprouts seem tough or bitter, they probably were sprouted too long.
Caution: Do not sprout seeds intended for agricultural use as they have been treated with insecticides. Also, tomato and potato seeds are poisonous and must not be sprouted.
Miscellaneous FoodsItems like baking soda, baking powder, gluten, yeast, sugar, honey, salt, bouillon, oils, nuts, peanut butter, etc. also need to be stored. Several of these, including Crisco and oils, can be purchased at a supermarket and stored in their original container safely for a couple of years.
Also you should have a sprouter and sprouting seeds because of their high nutritional value.
Travel / Camping FoodsTravel and camping foods are definitely not essential to a food storage program, but would be useful in certain types of emergencies, such as when you need to leave your home for a period of time.
MRE’s (meals-ready-to-eat) are military meals that are packaged in metalized bags, and can be eaten directly from the package.They have a shelf life of up to ten years if kept at the right temperature. MRE’s can be purchased as either entrees or complete meals. When purchasing MRE’s it is important to be sure that they are fresh and have not been sitting in a hot warehouse for an extended period of time.
Unlike MRE’s, emergency food bars, such as "MainStay" brand, (not to be confused with sports bars), can be stored in a hot environment like the trunk of a car without going bad.
How Much To StoreThe following list gives approximate amounts for each type of food for one adult for one year, at approximately 2450 calories per day.
For anyone on an extremely tight budget, the U.S. government recommends the following as a minimum amount to sustain life for one person for one month:• Grains = 300 pounds
• Beans & Legumes = 75 pounds
• Dairy = 40-50 pounds
• Meat/Meat Substitute = 10 - 20 pounds
• Fruits & Vegetables = 20 - 30 pounds
• Sugars = 60 pounds
• Fats = 20 - 30 pounds
• Wheat = 20 pounds
• Corn = 20 pounds
• Soybeans = 10 pounds
• Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) = 15 grams
• Salt = 1 pound
How To Package Food For Storage
Preserving Your Own Food. Some foods need to be purchased prepackaged from a food storage company, but for dry foods such as grains and beans, you can cut back on the expense by packaging them yourself.First you will need to purchase plastic food-grade buckets. After putting the food in your buckets, you will need to have some way of removing the oxygen to preserve the food. One way this is done is by displacing the air inside the bucket with carbon dioxide (CO2), or nitrogen. To do this you will need a gas regulator and wand. The actual process is done by filling your bucket with food, and inserting the wand to the bottom of your bucket. Then just barely crack the valve of the gas cylinder. The bucket will fill with gas in about two to five minutes. To be sure all oxygen has been displaced, hold a lighted match over the bucket. If the flame goes out immediately, you have removed all the oxygen. You may now add an oxygen absorber on top of the food if you wish, to absorb any oxygen that may be left in the bucket, and put the lid on.
Another method is to use about 1/4 lb. dry ice, wrapped in butcher paper, in the bottom of the bucket, with the lid sitting very loosely over the top. Wait about 20-30 min. and close lid. Then watch carefully to see if lid starts to bulge. If it does, loosen lid and wait a few more minutes for dry ice to finish melting. Once the lid no longer bulges, you may close it.
CO2 (dry ice or a CO2 cylinder) has a disadvantage over nitrogen in that it sometimes causes the bucket to suck in and deform, making it impossible to open the lid. The problem is due to the fact that CO2 expands and contracts with the temperature, so the trick is to: 1. Package the food when the temperature is not very hot or cold (lest the buckets collapse or bulge). 2. Be sure the buckets are filled as full and tightly as possible with food, so there is less CO2 to contract, or expand.
NOTE: DO NOT store your food buckets on a concrete floor. Put boards underneath them to keep them off the concrete.