20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan

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No matter how many times I write about food, there is always something new to consider or a new and different way to present the same old information in a more useful manner.  With that in mind, today I would like to share a method for getting started with your food storage program in an easy, step by step, and cost effective manner.

To be truthful, my initial goal with this article was to respond to readers who were just getting started and wanted a shopping list of things to buy for their food storage pantry.  I also wanted to compile a checklist that more experienced preppers could use to compare what they had to what they needed.  My goal can pretty much be summed up by saying that I wanted to write about getting started with food storage the easy way.  No frills, no fluff – just a common sense list of food items to get you started.

20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan

With that goal in mind, let me say this:  this is not a list of items intended for deep storage. Nor is it a list of items packaged so that they have a 25 year shelf life.  (And in reality, do you really need your stored food to last that long?)  I am also not going to list items that might be foreign to your palate, difficult to find, or too costly to absorb into your weekly shopping budget.

What you are going to get is a list of 20 items that can easily be purchased at your local grocery store, warehouse club and surprisingly, even online at Amazon.  They can be purchased in one shot, all at once, or you can pick up one item from the list each week over a period of twenty weeks.  The choice is yours.  All I ask is that you consider getting each of the items on the list and that you also consider getting started sooner rather than later.  I promise you that this will be easy.

I am going to include quantities that require no extra thought, no calculator and no formula for determining servings or overall quantities.  Like I said.  This is going to be EASY!

20  ITEMS TO KICK START YOUR FOOD STORAGE PLAN

1.  20 pounds of Rice.  As boring as it may sound, rice is one of the backbones of every food storage plan.  It is filling, nutritious  and with the use of  varied seasonings and condiments, highly adaptable in a variety of tasty meals.  The choice of white, brown or a combination of the two is up to you.  White rice has a longer shelf life but brown rice has more nutritional benefits.  In my own household, I like to combine the two along with some Jasmine, Basmati and Calrose sticky rice.

29 Jan 2007 (Rice,rice,rice)

2.  20 pounds of Pinto Beans.   Like rice, beans are the backbone to every food storage plan.  You may substitute white, kidney or other types of dried beans but honestly, pintos are one of the least expensive dried beans and in my opinion, one of the tastiest.  Need help cooking beans? when you are done here be sure to read Survival Woman Learns to Cook Dried Beans and you should too and  Respect for the Lowly Pinto Bean.

3.  20 cans of Vegetables.  Green beans, peas, corn and canned tomatoes are good choices.  Let your taste and budget guide you.  Buy what you currently eat and enjoy.

4.  20 cans of Fruit.  Peaches, pears, pineapple, fruit cocktail – again, this is your choice.  Fruits add a nice sweetness to life and these days we all could use more of that.

5.  20 cans of Meat.  Chicken, tuna, shrimp, salmon, Vienna sausages, beef stew and yes, even the ubiquitous Spam will satisfy this requirement.  Did you know that you can even purchase canned roast beef? Again, let your taste and budget guide you – there is lots to choose from.

Spam

6.  4 pounds Oats.  Remember when you were little and Mom warmed your tummy with a nice comforting bowl of oatmeal?  That is what we are talking about here.  A bowl of oatmeal topped with canned fruit can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

7.  2 large jars of Peanut Butter.  Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, with plenty of calories for energy and sustenance.  Besides, who can resist the taste of a gooey spoonful of luscious peanut butter?

8.  2 large jars of Tang or other powdered drink mix.  The only requirement here is get something you like and something fortified with Vitamin C.  I am not going to preach and tell you to avoid artificial sweeteners.  If Crystal Lite works for you in normal times, go for it.

9.  5 pounds of Powdered Milk.  Milk is a great source of protein and other nutrients.  In addition it is filling and can be used to top your oatmeal cereal or stirred into your coffee as a flavor enhancer.

10.  5 pounds of Salt.  It goes without saying that salt is an essential for survival plus it has a lot of uses other than as an enhancement for food. That said, our bodies need salt to survive.  Read more about salt in the article Reasons You Need Salt in the Prepper Pantry.

11.  10 pounds of Pancake Mix.  An all in one pancake mix (such as Krusteaz) only requires the addition of water to make up a batch of batter.  As with oatmeal, a big plate of pancakes, perhaps with some honey or jam, will make a satisfying meal that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

12.  2 pounds of Honey and 2 large jars of Jam.  We all need some sweetness in our life, even with Mother Nature or life deals us a blow.  I choose honey and jam over sugar but at the end of the day, you can make a substitution or simply mix and match.

13.  10 pounds of Pasta.  Pasta is familiar and easy to fix.  Pasta is a dense form of wheat but so much easier to deal with when you are first starting out.  Besides, it is a fabulous comfort food.

14.  10 cans or jars of Spaghetti Sauce.  Cheap yet satisfying, canned pasta sauce on a bed of pasta creates a satisfying meal that can be put together in minutes.

15. 20 cans of Soup or Broth. The beauty of canned soups and canned broth is that they are a budget friendly.  Soups are an all-in-one meal solution. All you need is a can opener and a spoon and you have a meal ready to go.  For an extra satisfying meal, try using a can of soup as part of the cooking water for your rice.  Yummy!

16.  One large jug of Oil. Choose olive oil, coconut oil or some other cooking oil, but definitely get some.  Oil is essential for good health, fueling our energy stores and providing support for fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients as they work their way through our system. Not only that, but a bit of fat in your diet adds flavor and makes you feel satisfied when you are done eating.

17. Spices and Condiments. Adding some spices and condiments to your food storage pantry will allow you to vary the taste of your storage foods, thus mitigating some of the boredom that is likely to occur over time.  The exact mix of spices and condiments is up to you but some suggestions include  garlic, chili, Tabasco (hot sauce), salsa, oregano, thyme and black pepper.

18.  5 pounds of Coffee or 100 Tea Bags.  There are those that will say that life without coffee is not life at all.  Whole bean (assuming you have a hand grinder), ground or instant – take your choice.  Or substitute tea.  Green tea and many herbal teas are quite therapeutic so if you like tea, this may be a good way to go.

19. 2 large bags of Hard Candies.  Hard candy can go a long way toward making an unpleasant situation bearable.  Butterscotch drops, peppermints and even lemon drops are good.  Have fun with this and pick up a couple of bags of your favorites!

20.  Mini LED Flashlight and Extra Batteries.  Okay, this is a cheater item.  It is not food but it is all important and so it will not hurt to stash a miniature flashlight or two along with the edibles in your food storage pantry.  My top pick of the moment in the Blocklite.  This thing just goes and goes and goes plus, it does not take up any storage space.

BUT THERE IS NO WHEAT AND NO FLOUR ON THIS LIST!

So you noticed!

There are no wheat berries or other whole grains (other than oats/oatmeal) on this list and there is also no flour.  While there is a place for these items in a long term storage plan, I consider them part of the second phase of food storage.

The truth is that many preppers would not have a clue as to what to do with wheat, so why push the envelope?

The same goes with flour.  To make flour usable, you also need yeast and baking powder plus the skill and know-how to bake. Not only that, you most likely will need an outdoor oven of sorts – especially if the grid is down post disaster.   That, and more, will come later, but for now, while covering the basics, it is much simpler and far more practical to stick with easy to cook foods that can be combined into interesting meals without the need for much experience other than opening a can or a package.

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THE FINAL WORD

As you read though this list, I hope you can visualize the number and variety of meals that can be made by mixing and matching the items listed in the kick-start plan.  How about some rice, salsa and canned chicken cooked into a casserole in your cast iron skillet?  Or pancakes topped with canned peaches and honey?  Then there are pinto beans, combined with rice and corn and topped with a bit of Tabasco for a fiesta-style meal.

Well okay, perhaps these are not gourmet delights but with the added condiments, they will taste good and be as healthy as you can expect food to be when fresh meats and produce or unavailable.

Is this a complete list of everything you will need to be fully prepared food-wise?  Heck no.  Are the quantities adequate to feed a family for a month, three months or longer?  Perhaps a month but not much longer.  Truthfully, for long term storage you need more food and more variety as well as some packaging methods (Mylar bags or buckets plus oxygen absorbers) to insure that your will food stay viable and pest free for years to come.

But for now we are more focused on either getting started our rounding out our basic survival pantry.   And for that, these 20 items will do just fine.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

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A Practical Guide to Storing Food For the Long Term
99 cents for the eBook – also available in print!

When most people start thinking about family preparedness, they focus on food. Not shelter, gear, sanitation, power, self-defense or the myriad of other concerns that need to be addressed following an emergency or disaster situation. Quite simply, food is the number one concern people have second only to their concern for having an adequate supply of water.

The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage is a book about food: What to store, how to store it and best practices. It is a roadmap for showing ordinary citizens that long-term food storage is not something that will overwhelm or burden the family budget.

This book is based upon my own tried and true personal experience as someone who has learned to live the preparedness lifestyle by approaching emergency preparedness and planning in a systematic, step-by-step manner. Nothing scary and nothing overwhelming - you really can do this!

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Bargain Bin: Here are some of my favorite food storage items. Whether you are just getting started or a seasoned pro, here are the items you will need when purchasing food in bulk for long term, SHTF needs.

Mylar bags & Oxygen Absorbers: What I love about Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers is they protect against every single one of the food storage enemies. Prices do vary but for the most part, they are inexpensive and easy to keep on hand. And while you can seal them up with a FoodSaver, some tubing and a common clothes iron, I find it infinitely easier with a cheap hair straightening iron that you can pick up $20 or less.

60 – 300cc Oxygen Absorbers: This is one area where you want to make sure you are getting a quality product. Currently, a pack of 60 (in three 20 unit packs) is about $10 with free shipping.

FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer: As long as the unit has an accessory port (and this one does), and inexpensive FoodSaver will work just as well as the fancier models. That is my two cents, at least.

FoodSaver Jar Sealer: Already have a FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food.

Mylar Zip Seal Food Storage Bags The Sunday Survival Buzz Volume 22: These are the zip seal bags that I use to package up my spices, herbs and butter powder. These are extra heavy, 5 mil bags. I found that the zip feature made packaging extra easy although I still seal the bags with my hair iron.

Sharpie Permanent Markers: Sharpies were invented for preppers! And without question, Amazon is the cheapest place to buy them. Typically, the price on Amazon is less that $8 for a dozen.

Avery Color Coding Labels: These are perfect for labeling your emergency storage foods with the date purchased.

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Comments

20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan — 57 Comments

  1. Another great article, Gaye. There is a lot of variety here which is important to avoid appetite fatigue during a crisis. Also ordered the Survival Seeds Playing Cards. I love these little offers. Thanks to you and Joe!

  2. Great article and a reminder for those of us limping along on the preparedness venture to stay aiming for the mark. I’ll go back and recheck my pantry. But I try to have enough in there for 30 days for a family of 9. It gives a person a benchmark. Thanks again.

    • I believe the key is to take a look at what is in your pantry already and insure that you have enough variety to mix and match in order to create different versions of meals using a limited number of food items.

      The other thing is that quantities are highly subjective. I tried to come up with a list that included reasonable quantities to fill a starter cupboard. Obviously, the number of mouths to feed will play a role in how much you need but there is comfort in knowing that you at least have the basics on hand – whether they will last a week or a month.

  3. In addition to this list, may I refer you to the Weston Price Foundation and the book Nourishing Traditions? These two sources will help us to decide on the healthiest versions of all these foods; the end goal is to remain healthy and nourished so that we can enjoy all these things we store! Thanks for the article–it set my mental wheels to turning 🙂

    Sage~~
    ~~Rotating a year’s supply, including home-canned pastured meats, home-fermented veggies and other foods, and lots of other good stuff.

  4. I’m so glad I found you… I have been trying to figure out what items to add to my stockpile resulting in a little bit of everything. Seeing your list of the 20 items to start with will be so much easier to start with then I can build from that. I do not can but I am going to invest in a food saver for dry items … Thank you Barbara

    • Barbara – I know what you mean. It is easy to become both overwhelmed and disorganized at the same time. The nice thing about the list of 20 items is that you can purchase them all at once or one item a week. Then you can set them aside and at least for the short term, consider your food shopping done and move on to the gear or the next major task on your preparedness to-do list.

  5. The seed cards look really neat, but the infomercial that went along with the offer was pretty intense.

    I like your site a lot, Gaye, and try to get my nonprepper friends to come here for an easy-does-it intro to the process, and nonintimidating encouragement along the way . . . .

    • @Mindy – So odd – nothing intense came up when I clicked through myself. My recommendation is to simply close your browser when that happens. The Seed Cards are really neat BTW. Glad you enjoy my website!

  6. This is the mainstay of what I have except for a couple of items I am missing. Be careful with the pancake mix as it has a short shelf life and make sure to rotate it often. This article has helped a lot. I was worried I did not have enough but have a much larger quantity and feel so much better. I also have variety of other items mixed in and this goes way beyond my every day pantry. With 70 lbs of rice and 15 of beans and 10 of oats as a basis. Working on the beans, I have about 24 cans of meat. A ton of cans of veggies and fruit and cases soup in cans, mixes, cubes etc. I have 15 lbs of matzoh and 5 of crackers. I have about 8 cases of ramen noodles. I have bread mixes, cake mixes, honey, tea, coffee, powdered milk, spices, at least 10 lbs of salt. I have sugar at least 25 lbs but I think more. I have flour. I have at least a dozen pasta and sauces. I have 8 giant sized jars of peanut butter and rotate them out, five giant cans of drink mix(tang and iced tea) This is all besides my regular pantry that would easily last a month and I rotate my groceries from this so they do not expire. I have 200 gallons of drinkable water plus filtration and tablets and bleach for much more. I have all this but still I have the urgent feeling that it is never enough and when I grocery shop am always trying to add one or two items. I know I have six months of survival for 3 adults but thinking maybe it is more.

    • @Phyl – You are the prepping master!

      I know how you feel when you get that urgent feeling that what you have is not enough. Shelly (the Survival Husband) and I were just talking about this last night. In my mind, I know that I have a lot but I keep purchasing more. Luckily, like you I am good at food rotation although I do have a lot of #10 tins and properly packaged buckets in deep storage as well. Those do not get rotated.

      Keep up the good – not great – work!

  7. Can anyone recommend a resource for beans in bulk? Our local Costco sells rice, oats, etc. but not beans. Buying them 1-2 pounds at a time from the grocery store would be expensive. Thanks!

    • Have you tried Wal-Mart? They sell pintos in large 20 pound bags for about $19. BTW, we get our pintos at Costco – perhaps you local Costco was simply out of stock?

      The other option is to shop Emergency Essentials of one of the Backdoor Survival sponsors. Many sell pintos and other beans in 5 or 6 gallon buckets.

    • We got our last batch at Sam’s Club. I think they had four different brands in bags running from 15 to 25 pounds.

      If you are looking for long term storage, you might try the LDS (Mormon) church if one is nearby. They have all the basics, including pinto beans. Some of the warehouses sell to anyone, some restrict sales to members. As I understand it, it is the local Bishop’s decision. You should call ahead for hours as they tend to be limited.

      I think you can also order online, but have never tried it. We picked up a starter kit to try the variety of things before we bought cases of rice, pinto beans, and quick oats, and plan on checking dried apple slices, which are not in the starter kit.

      You can find the locations here: http://providentliving.org/self-reliance/food-storage/home-storage-center-locations?lang=eng

      You can see their inventory here: http://store.lds.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category3_715839595_10557_3074457345616706237_-1_N_image_0

    • You might also check if there is a local cash and carry…that’s a business which sells wholesale to other business/restaurants. You can buy bulk there for almost wholesale prices. They will have bulk items of many things in addition to other items like paper plates, napkins and you get the idea. If you can find a place which sells bulk, then ask your favorite store to special order. Who knows, you might get it cheaper that way. BTW: Gaye, next time you’re on the mainland near Mt. Vernon, check out WINCO for those bulk items.

    • To buy beans and different similar items go to your local produce wholesaler, I live in San Antonio, and I go to the company called Produce Express , they beat Wally World hands down if you want bulk. Ask for Leo Fernandez

  8. Even though I have a good start on my food pantry, it is always a good idea to look at others ideas. I had not thought of bulk pancake mix. I am a single person and got a great deal on Bisquick shake and pour ($1.00 each) I bought 2 dozen! I don’t really care for pancakes on a regular basis but once in a while… That all being said, I did purchase a vacuum sealer and have made good use of it. I also have a large dehydrator and visit the farmers market often for goodies to dehydrate and seal. When I have purchased these 20 items, I am then on to other needs such as shelter, etc. I have a lot of camping gear but not a good tent if I should have to vacate. Thank you Gaye – keep up the good work.

    • Leanne – Like you, I am not a big pancake eater but if the SHTF, I know that pancakes will be both easy to cook outdoors on my cast iron skillet, plus filling. Pancakes and some nice berry jam are not bad – actually a good combination.

      I am thinking that I should create a printable document with the 20 items listed so that it can be printed and used as both a checklist and inventory form. So much to do LOL.

  9. Gaye,
    Thank you for the great guide. Am I correct in assuming that these quantities are per person? Our family is 3 “adults” (my almost 16yo son is taller than me), and 2 children age 12 & 8. Thanks for your help.
    Paul.

    • Paul,

      Actually, the intent of the article was to help readers put together a starter cupboard of food storage items. I wanted things to be simple and uncomplicated without regard to how many mouths these items will feed for “XX” amount of time. So many online food storage calculators are way too overwhelming to deal with. Most of my readers need and want a starting point or simply a list they can go through to check against their existing food storage inventory so that they can fill in the gaps.

      My recommendation is that families start with this list as a bare minimum then start doubling up as they see fit.

      I hope this makes sense to you. It sounds like you have already figured out that with a growing teen and two additional children in the household, this will be a good start but that more will be needed over time. By doubling these quantities my guess is that you will be better prepared, food wise, than 90% of the population. And even without doubling the quantities, you will be better prepared.

  10. Instead of SPAM which doesn’t really have a long shelf life try Keystone canned meats! They are awesome, come ready to eat right out of the can, and have a minimum 5 year shelf life! keystonemeats dot com

    Another choice instead of SPAM is DAK canned ham. Again, a longer shelf life and they are ham! They are sold at Walmart.

    • Jeff – I know about DAK hams. They often go on sale for under $3.00 per can and when that happens I stock up. I have not heard of Keystone canned meats but will check them out. I do like the Kirkland brand canned chicken from Costco. Love it actually 🙂

  11. Since I havent been financially able to purchase anything this month, I took the oportunity
    to inventory what I have, I’m amazed, feel a bit better. Some things on this list I dont have much of, but others, I have lots of. I usually buy both krusteez and bisquick. you can use them for other things like chicken pot pie in your cast iron dutch oven, or make a cobbler, and use canned veggies, and canned fruits. now im off to trim lettuce, and asparagus in the garden before they go to seed.

    • Just be aware, if you have stored mixes like bisquick or cake mixes which have baking powder in them. Baking powder has a shelf life, after that shelf life, the bp isn’t stable so your product may not rise and/or may taste funny. Depending on what form of dry milk (powder as opposed to instant milk) is used, that can also make your premixes go bad.

  12. I stored Flour, Sugar (white & Brown) along with yeast, baking soda/powder and crisco. My plan is to use a Bread machine to make bread. I have a large generator to power essential items. I also have a small generator (very quite) to power things during night time hours or my camper that has an oven we could use in an emergency. The best thing you can do now is to sit down and go thru some various scenarios in your head with varying degrees of severity. Then, write it all down on paper in note/bullet statement format. When you’re stressed-out is not the time to formulate a plan.

    • I love my bread machine and hope to use it as well although I do know how to bake traditional bread too. I just baked my first loaf of bread using home-milled flour. I made a 100% whole wheat bread and used a powdered egg plus some vital gluten. It was a bit more dense than normal – I should have added more water to account for the extra gluten (4 TBL). Still, it was quite delicious 🙂

  13. I would like to add something, not necessarily to the list, but more like “food for thought” ideas that could very well save you and your family’s life. Living in the South, you “will almost” grow up around some natural disasters, whether it be a hurricane or tornado, most of us here take “prepping” very serious..and we learn a lot from those disasters also (I.e. Hurricane Katrina). I grew up around great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, other relatives and friends, who have a garden, almost for the entire year. Learning to can and freeze food was as natural as brushing your teeth! During the summer, when school is out, we shelled peas, shuck corn(yeah say that fast!), canned beans and tomatoes, picked berries, smashed berries, and, on occasion, churned butter! I wish I had a dollar for every pea I shelled! I be richer than Midas! Knowing these “techniques” can make a huge difference in feeding your family for several months without electricity. There have been lots of times when we would get lunch or diner straight out of the garden, washed and prepped, cooked, and on the plate in a couple of hours. No storage. No refrigeration! Scraps of food went into the garden or compost. And you can cook this stuff straight over an open fire. Two words…”cast iron”…it is a very good investment…it is great to use anywhere…open fire or stove! You don’t have to wash cast iron(I know it does sound gross, but believe it or not, that is the “beauty” of cast iron)..you wipe it out and keep it seasoned. You can cook anything in cast iron, from biscuits…to a cake! People with cast iron can cook almost forever! I would view it as essential. Enough about the garden.

    I still hand wash clothes and hang them out to dry..yes, I do have a washer and dryer, but sometimes I just like sun dry clothes. You can set up a clothes line between two trees, in less of an hour. At the lake, we dry clothes over pallets. By the way, speaking of pallets…they are free and you can use them to start up a fire pit or fire place. Get you some. Pallets are good for LOTS of things. Keep that in mind.

    We are fortunate to live around hunters and people who do “a lot” of fishing. Almost all of my relatives, friends and neighbors hunt! Write down in your disaster plan the names of people you know personally who hunt and fish. You may very well have to depend on the for some food, eventually. Make friends with people who garden too!

    Last thought. I live in a small subdivision, in a small southern town, and a lot of the stuff I mentioned, are very natural to us, because we grew up around it. I can’t even remember the last time I bought a tomato at the grocery store! Our small community established our own disaster plan in an effort that if there was a great catastrophe or crisis, we can block off our subdivision and go straight into “survival mode”…it is not that hard to do, and remember there is always safety in numbers.

    You just never know what tomorrow will bring, but don’t wait until the time of a crisis to practice some of these skills. Learn to garden, because fresh food is healthier…make it a natural part of your life. Two tomatoe plants can produce a lot of tomatoes! Learn to fish..for fun with the family! Make a mental note of the people around you (or coworkers) who hunt. Learn to milk a cow(I am not kidding). Learn to sew or knit. Learn to cook over an open fire pit…make sure you build a fire pit! These are little things you can do now…without a computer. Hold practice runs with your community with disaster plans. A manual is not going to help you. What you know on a regular basis, will. What good is 20 lbs of rice going to do without knowing how to cook it without a stove or electricity???! It’s not! And for heavens sake, take a first aid class, and invest in a very good first aid kit. That is something you should do anyway.

    First thing first…in any event or emergency, the first thing you absolutely need to do is establish your water supply first! You can do without food for a few days, but you cannot survive without water! Familarize yourself with small creeks, streams, or small lakes near your home or work!

    When Kafrina hit a few years ago, it was unbelievable to see the number of people who decided to ride out the storm instead of evacuating. As the “reliality” of the destruction of Katrina was sinking in on TV, what was so horrifying was watching all these “hundreds” of people without water! And nowhere to get it! They were completely cut off from civilization! As the next couple of days passed on, and still, no relief in sight, I watched in horror the actions do these people desperate for water! I wanted so badly to reach through my TV and hand them a bottle of water, but could not do that! I never felt so helpless in my entire life. And they were killing each over in an effort to get to water! With all the technology, with all the electricity, with all of our knowledge, we could not get a bottle of water to these people, and some died on the side of the road in desperation to get to water! I have never forgot how quick a people can destroy theirselves over they lack of water, and also for their lack of taking other precautions to keep themselves alive!

    Enough said…get some water!

    • Susan – Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I can write and write and write but at the end of the day, it is the real time experience of my readers that give me the most inspiration.

      Backdoor Survival gets lot of preparedness newbies – I will share this with them in a separate article if that is okay.

      — Gaye

  14. My mylar bags and oxygen absorbers just arrived. I’m very excited to begin this new angle on prepping, as my previous efforts have been canning, buying canned foods, and stocking up on other essentials such as personal items.
    If I’m not mistaken, one of the suggestions for storing already packaged food, such as pasta, said it is okay to put a little hole in each package, add the absorber, seal it to the corner, suck the air out, and finish sealing. Is this right?

  15. This is a good realistic list for those starting out. I have all of this plus in my pantry at all times, my MIL thought I was insane until we needed it an I was able to stretch our pantry with our garden and about $100 at the store for 3 months!!! Now she just shakes her rad and asks where I plan to put it all 🙂
    I would add just a few things though, if you use creamer in your coffee add a few bottles of the powdered version, some dried fruits or a couple large bags of trail mix, pie fillings in a few fruit varieties (awesome in oats!), crackers are great for kids who won’t eat a tuna, spam or other canned meat sandwich but they may be willing to eat “lunchables” DIY of course!, and other all in one items like spaghetti O’s, canned stew, canned ravioli, and ramen. It may not be the healthiest solutions but if you need these items you will be exceptionally grateful you have them!

  16. I would add the simple necessities to make tortillas, a great wrap for almost anything.
    I always associated them only for tacos, but when living at a S TX fish and hunting camp for a few months, every night resulted in barbecued whatever wrapped in tortillas.

    • Unopened milk alternatives (almond, soy, coconut milks, etc) will actually store for a year. That is according to the printed expiration dates, so they may even last longer…though I have not tested that out myself.

      I haven’t looked into it yet, but I’ve wondered if large dried coconut flakes, stored properly, might last longer than a year. It is pretty easy to make coconut milk from them with water and a blender.

  17. i absolutely agree on this list! Most of these item hubby and I eat anyways, so they fit perfect in my grocery list. for those who dont know how to cook Beans or rice, they can begin by making a pot of soup! Beans and rice go good in soup, and believe it or not, i love spam chili over rice!! Noms!
    Today while at Dollar general, i found cans of Seasoned veggies on the $1 shelf. like a can of tomatoes/okra/corn, Hoppin’ johns, red beans/rice. Make a big old pile of mashed taters, and YUMMO! for a buck in my stash!

  18. No flour/wheat because you need yeast, etc? Not completely true. If you have access to clean water (or milk/yoghurt), you can make Indian flat bread or chapattis! Once you get the hang of making them – basically adding tepid water to the flour until you can make a smooth and elastic dough, then roll it out and cook in a skillet – you can make endless variations! I often dissolve a vegetable or beef bouillon cube (you should stock those too, or instant bouillon) in the water first to add more flavor to the chapattis, but you can use any herbs you like. Getting the hang of making them might seem a little trying at first, but eventually whipping them up is just a breeze! My kids love eating them right out of the pan with a little butter spread on the still hot bread, and we often eat them together with beans, etc. Here’s a handy tutorial for those interested: http://indianfood.about.com/od/breadrecipes/ig/How-to-Make-Chapatis/Making-Chapatis—Step-1.htm

    • Thank you, just to add something. This is a great recipe for letting out your anger or frustrations. Once you have the dough in balls. Forget that roll pin, grab your cast iron skillet (works better than a griddle which I would be already heating up for cooking) and bring that skillet down hard on that ball of dough. Have a smashing good time. 🙂

    • To buy beans and different similar items go to your local produce wholesaler, I live in San Antonio, and I go to the company called Produce Express , they beat Wally World hands down if you want bulk. Ask for Leo Fernandez

      For those who want bread with their meals, make tortillas , their is a product called Pioneer flour tortillas mix , my wife and I tested a bag of it by storing it in a cool dark cellar for ten years, then we opened it up to test to see if it was still good, my were we surprised, we checked for bugs in the flour, NONE what so ever. Then we made ten tortillas over an iron flat plate, one that can also be used on an open fire. We cooked them up and they were great. I could not believe it, neither could my mother in law , 80 yrs old at the time she thought they were good . What I came to find out later that the same flour mill that made that brand made also an even better tasting flour tortilla mix that is ready to go by just adding water, is called White Wings flour tortilla mix .
      For those living in the SouthWest, the native Indians made a flour out of Mesquite tree Beans.
      When hiking chew on the raw Mesquite bean and it will give a sweet flavor like a rock candy .

  19. Hi Gaye,
    I am really enjoying this site that I discovered through Pinterest. You make everything simple and so much easier to follow than most the prepper websites I have seen. I have even ordered the LDS Providential Living, and while the information contained therein is great, it is just not really practical stuff easily affordable on a budget. This startup guide is wonderful and I really enjoy the 12 month breakdown you have provided as well. I have added your boards, but it would be nice if you had a Pinterest pin on your site so that all your archives I could store as well. Thank you so much for all you are doing! I learned some really cheap ways to make fire starters from you.

    • You are right; I definitely need to create some great images for the articles that were crafted before Pinterest became such a great way to archive ideas and articles for safekeeping. Consider me nudged!

  20. This list is really helpful but the problem I keep having is figuring out how much I need per person so I can figure out how long my supplies will last. How big a family are you feeding from this? I have a family of 3 adults, will this last a month for them?

    Thanks,
    Jesse

  21. I giggled about your reason for not including wheat berries. I agree that many have few or no backing skills or how to make flour but…. I like the idea of wheat because if it is properly stored it can last 30 years and when I first started prepping I told my self that I wasn’t looking for a part time job rotating short lived stock. With my first 5 gal buckets of wheat (from a farmer friend) I also got a manual flour mill. Lots of fun and good exercise. I make some version of whole wheat bread every week. (Don’t want to be heavily invested in prepping and not know how to use what I got!) One season we had a complete wheat failure so I picked up a couple of buckets of soybeans. Another learning curve but eventually made pretty good bean dishes. Question for you and yours, during general internet research I found some articles on Trypsid inhibitor (TI)in beans and how it could be a real problem. Most of the articles appeared to be aimed at telling farmers to not feed soybeans directly (with out some processing) to pigs – in time it can kill them. The TI is neutralized when sufficiently heated. So the hours of boiling beans would take care of this condition but it doesn’t answer questions like:
    cold grinding to a flour to enhance flour to make high protein bread?
    eating fresh soy bean sprouts
    Is TI limited to soy beans ( which have been eaten in Asia for ~~ 1,000 years)or is it found in all/other beans but not an issue because people always boil them?

    I was wondering if you have heard of TI and had found an answer to these questions?

    Thanks,

    J McDonald

  22. Per #17: Consider 25 pounds of sugar, even if like me, you don’t use it; it can become like money because so many have a sweet tooth for it. Next: at least the same amount of salt. (I buy sea salt for the iodine within and it’s a mineral all animals need in their diets so it too, can be used like $$. Third: black peppercorns, in past history this was used as money everywhere along the spice routes. Why? Because they have a very very long shelf life without losing potency. Then buy a pepper grinder, coffee/spice grinder and/or a mortar and pestle.

    All 3 of these have a very long shelf life, can be used to barter with, AND are needed by our bodies to function. I know, salt is a mineral and needed. The other two? Try going without them for 2 weeks and see how you and your family feel. 🙂

  23. One thing is to preserve meat with out power..2 ways our fore fathers did this is smoking and salting.. do you think you may touch on this some time in the future?

  24. I will not stock PAncakes because they are water wasteful. You hydrate something just to boil it off. Also I don’t need the sweetness. Raw, organic honey has enzymes helpful for cuts though. A good medicinal vector I think. NOT for eating. The single most helpful SHTF thing you can do is eat well and get your appetite down before the fact. Eat light to heavy and don’t eat when you are not hungry EVER. Yesterday I only ate one meal and even then not really cause I was hungry but kinda for fun. IT was two potatoes. I had the energy to get shit done all day because I eat veggies when I need to eat. And I take my vitamins: Vitamin A! Vitamin D! And Vitamin K! The holy trinity of eye health, mental health, bone/teeth health and everything else.

    • So do we, we bake up potatoes and each of us have a couple, it is very filling!!!

      A friend of mine does this: baked potato topped with cooked ground beef, steamed broccoli, grated cheese, then ranch on top…….her family calls this meal “Western Potatoes”

  25. thank you for this, it gives me more ideas on what to look at, being married to a filipina we eat lots of rice, we are a family of 5, with younger children. We have enough food for 2yrs put away. but with this list in hand we will put more away.we look at long term, as u do not know what is really going to happen at any given time. while i am still alive i will make sure my family is taken care off and protected..only thing we dont have is a farm and that would be the bee’s knees…lots of people in here give great feed back and some bloody good idea…thank u everyone…for the wonderful comments, the advice never got astray..

  26. Do not underestimate Wheat. Most people just don’t know how to use it and are not used to the taste/fiber it contains. It is a VERY healthy food storage item. I know of people that overcame health conditions and diseases by eating wheat in many forms. If you don’t have a grinder, that is okay…..many ways to still use it. Here’s a list of ideas:

    Cooked wheat in slow cooker to use as a breakfast cereal with real maple syrup and butter
    Blender wheat pancakes or waffles
    Blender cracked wheat cereal with butter and honey
    Cooked whole wheat to make meatless burgers / patties
    Wheat chili
    Wheat berrie bread
    Cracked wheat bread or rolls
    Cracked wheat pancakes
    Sprouted wheat as a snack and in salads
    Sprouted wheat bread
    Cracked wheat spice cake
    Leftover cooked blender cracked wheat to use in ground beef to stretch it, this makes an especially good taco filling, as well as meatballs (ratio of 1 c. cooked cracked wheat, cooled or chilled with 2 c. ground beef)

  27. Nice list (Yes I know this is an old thread) the only suggestion I would add is to build the inventory incrementally (Don’t buy 30 lbs of pasta in one trip) build the inventory slowly over a few months and then you can properly manage rotating inventory and run less risk of items going bad/out of date.
    Also Smaller packages are easier to store and will be easier to deal with if needed.

  28. I first read this article two years ago, and started laying in the suggested items over a period of several weeks. Reading other articles on this site led me to start stockpiling water, vitamins, and personal-care items; I also took on a second part-time job to add to my emergency savings account. Unfortunately, I lost my full-time job several months ago with no warning and am still job-hunting, but I’m not worried about it. This experience is so much less stressful with a fully stocked fridge, freezer, and pantry, the aforementioned other supplies, and plenty of cash in the bank. Only a few family members know that I prep…everyone else can’t figure out why I’m so calm. Thank you, Gaye!

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