34 Foods You Need in Your Food Storage Pantry

34-foods-need-in-food-storageThe following is a fairly complete list of foods that you should have in your storage. The quantities will depend on the size of your family and the length of time you want to live on your food storage.  Personally, I feel you need a absolute minimum of a one year supply and preferably more. While some of these foods need regular rotation, the majority are long storage items. With these 34 foods in your food storage pantry, you can cook a wide variety of foods to keep your family or group happy.  Good food equals good morale.

34 Items for your food storage pantry

  1. Wheat, if stored correctly, good for at least 30 years. If you store even a little wheat, you’ll need a reliable grain mill. I highly recommend the Wondermill Junior. If you’re a beginning prepper, you probably have no idea why people store wheat! Here’s some basic information on that subject.
  2. Oats, can be stored up to 30 years and are very versatile.
  3. Spelt, similar to wheat but with more protein and some people with mild wheat allergies can tolerate it. Buy a small package of it and try it in a few recipes. If family members are gluten free, this is the time to see if they have a negative reaction.
  4. Quinoa, an excellent source of protein can be used like rice, eaten warm with milk, or added to any dish as a meal stretcher.
  5. Beans, white, good source of protein.
  6. Pinto beans pinto, good source of protein
  7. Beans, black, good source of protein
  8. Beans, mung are very good for sprouting. If you’re planning on sprouting seeds, you’ll need a simple sprouting kit like this one.
  9. Lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut after soybeans and hemp. Sprouted lentils contain sufficient levels of all essential amino acids. They are a complete protein.
  10. Rice, white rice not brown. Brown rice is better for you but turns rancid in 6 months or so. If it’s stored in a very cold environment, it will last longer. By the way, we store our rice in clean 2-liter soda bottles with 1 50 cc oxygen absorber.
  11. Salt can be used to preserve food. Most people fail to store enough. I store at least a 100 pounds or more.
  12. Millet, can be used in breads and cereals. People with celiac disease can replace gluten-containing cereals in their diets with millet.
  13. Powdered milk, good source of protein. This chart will help you know how much powdered milk and water you need to mix up different amounts.
  14. Dehydrated and dried vegetables, either home dehydrated or in #10 cans from a dealer. Thrive Life foods are packaged well and after comparing numerous brands, it’s our family’s first choice.
  15. Meats, home canned and freeze dried. Many people do not realize you can home-can meat, ham, fish, and poultry. We buy Zaycon beef and chicken in bulk, which gives us plenty to eat now and home-can for later.
  16. Meat, commercially canned like Spam, canned hams etc.
  17. Dehydrated and dried fruits. either home dehydrated or in number ten cans from dealer, but these are easy to dry at home. You’ll need a good dehydrator that evenly disperses the hot air for even drying. Don’t fall for the “Made in China” dehydrators that look similar to the made in the USA Excalibur brand. We’ve tested the Chinese version vs. Excalibur, and it’s inferior.
  18. Seasonings and spices — store what you use. I like to store various hot peppers, great in beans and almost anything. Most spices need to be rotated
  19. Baking powder, or make your own by combining baking soda and cream of tartar (1 T. baking soda, 2 T. cream of tartar)
  20. Baking soda can be used to help soften hard beans. See Making Bean Flour and Cooking with Old Beans. We use baking soda for multiple purposes and buy the very large bags at Costco.
  21. Sugar. Store in an airtight container, especially if you live in a humid area.
  22. Honey will store indefinitely if not stored in metal cans.
  23. A source of oils. I have built an olive press and have learned how to cure olives. Oils need regular rotation since they become rancid.
  24. Powdered eggs. I prefer dry whole eggs.
  25. Dehydrated onions for any number of recipes, including beans.
  26. Miscellaneous wet packed canned goods. Get foods that you normally eat, so that you can rotate them.
  27. Jams and jellies
  28. Peanut butter, good source of protein. It has a very long shelf life.
  29. Split peas can be used to make mushy peas or soups.
  30. Potato flakes, they store well in #10 cans and are very inexpensive. You can use them to make potato soup (use extra milk) and fried potato patties.
  31. Dent corn or pop corn dried can be ground into corn meal. You need a good quality grinder.
  32. Dehydrated shortening, comes in a powder, just add water.
  33. Junk or comfort foods for treats. Be sure and watch the shelf life, these normally need to be rotated regularly.
  34. Vitamin pills as needed. It’s important to store these in a cool location to prolong the shelf life.

Stock up on what you are short of and you will be confident that you have most everything you need in your food storage pantry. Because of difference in cooking styles, you may find a couple of items you need to add. This list is by no means all-inclusive. There are other options.  If you have questions about any of these foods look them up through the search function on my blog, I think you will find articles on each and every one.

Updated by Noah, 10-23-16.

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24 Responses to 34 Foods You Need in Your Food Storage Pantry

  1. Val Jackson says:

    I have a “million” lists like this from a wide variety of sources, but this is probably the best!

  2. laura m. says:

    Good list, but many remember the y2k farce, when foods were thrown out or donated to local charities circa 2001. Grain mills were sold, donated or thrown out, along with camper stoves for those who didn’t camp, dehydrators, on and on by me and friends. Doubt if older folks want to go another round (been there done that) lots of money wasted. I prep. from the grocery store for weather issues. I hate the taste of long term foods, too much salt, etc.

    • too much salt? get low salt foods.

    • Security Guy says:

      Looks like you missed the whole definition of “Being Prepared”. I hope you have luck going to the grocery store with the mad rush of sheep that believe the same. By Being Prepared it means while people fight and riot at the store (think of Black Friday at Walmart) you are at home safe and sound. A week later as people have run out of food you can open another can of soup and use some of those crackers from the pantry. A year later you are taking down the starved/murdered/fled for the hills neighbor’s fence to expand the gardens for the next planting season.

  3. Pam T. says:

    I would only add to make sure to begin using the wheats, flours and beans now to get use to them all in your recipes or adopt new recipes. Have these recipes written or printed out and usable now. You won’t use, eat, anything you aren’t all ready eating. Great list.

  4. raffiki says:

    Bouillon. Bouillon makes everything taste better. I love the Goya and Knorr brands. They’re the best tasting bouillon I’ve found yet.

  5. L.A.West says:

    Currently – people are rioting and looting in Venezuela over food shortages. The situation there will spread – and it WILL happen here in the USA too. It will not take a calamity to make the tenuous situation here escalate to a full blown crisis. We’re going to feel the effects of the massive droughts in the West and California this year.
    I have noticed, for quiet some time now, that WALMART shelves are barely stocked. Usually not much more than two cans rows or boxes deep. Other stores are not much better… So there already IS a shortage here, but it isn’t a crisis – YET!
    Gasoline-Petroleum prices, Droughts, the Trans Pacific Trade Deal, Corruption, Production Costs of Packaging, Collapsed Economies, and other variables in the equation affects food costs and who gets it. If there is one thing I am certain of is this; The USA in not immune to shortages. We are LONG overdue for a ECONOMIC meltdown. It isn’t going to matter who is the White House either. But, if the Democrats win it – we’re going to be more than screwed. And they will try to steal the Election by any and every dirty political trick including murder – to Gain those Ruby Slippers! God help us all!
    We are beyond BROKE, and the Corruption of the System too great and too wide spread to think they we can fix it, or keep kicking the can down the road. And it is for that reason alone – that I prepare to face lean, mean, difficult times ahead. When the SHIT HITS THE FAN – and it already is in many parts of the world – World War will epidemic, famines will be wide spread, rioting and looting everywhere, killings and assassinations endless, and you can expect a knock on the door at 3AM by federal good squads. Clinton has already hinted that she wants to send adults to “FUN CAMPS!” She has already claimed that her first order of business as President will be to make a “GUN GRAB!” So add it up, Fema Fun Camps – A Gun Grab – does this sound like anything good that She hopes for?
    Prepare people – prepare now as if your life depended on it – because it does!

  6. Linda says:

    I have a question. I live in an old house in Louisiana. No insulation. We have a few window air conditioners; but they won’t be available in an emergency, and we don’t use them to cool any room to 50 some degrees. I understand that refrigerators are too humid for storage, and again, with no electricity… We do not have a root cellar as we are only about three-and-a-half to four feet above sea level. What is the best type of food stuff for us to store and how should we store it? Thank you for your suggestions.

    • Kenyon says:

      Solar generators. Start growing food.

    • Susan Peterson says:

      You can can food and buy commercially canned food. I believe you can store beans, rice, and grains in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, and then put in plastic buckets, and it should be ok in any climate.

      • Noah says:

        Not any climate. Heat is always the #1 culprit when it comes to deteriorating food. Otherwise, using mylar bags, buckets, oxygen absorbers — all good.

    • Eric says:

      If build cellar water tight it matters not where sea level is. You may have to pump the water out as you dig and during building process but if water tight once completed no longer is a concern .

  7. Darla White says:

    If you have no basement or root celler which is most Anericans i know it Maybe a good idea to get a gallon of black paint and some extra insulated curtains. If and when the SHTF we could lose our electricity and then we would need to blackout our windows and the extra heavy insulated curtains can be used in the center of the house to make an interior room that would be cooler (by several degrees) then the rest of the house. That’s where the food supply would need to be relocated to for longevity.

  8. Scott says:

    Comfort food. Liquor, chocolate, coffee, tea. Big time barter items.

  9. Terri says:

    I am keeping a supply of desiccant packs and oxygen absorbers for when I open my #10 cans but don’t use all, which will be often given there are just the two of us.

  10. How can I store salt that I see its melting in wet climate? Anw, thanks for your sharing.

    • Noah says:

      You’ll need to store it in something airtight, like canning jars. No need to add an oxygen absorber. Just fill the jars to the top, add the lid and the ring, and tightly seal. In a humid climate, those cardboard containers are no good at all!

  11. James at EK says:

    Great and varied options. Goes above and beyond the normal preparedness lists you see!

  12. Michael Caldwell says:

    On storing water ? I hear all the time that the plastic bottles can contaminate the water, is this so ? Are the large potable tanks safe ? Should we store water in glass jars as well ?

    • Eric says:

      Toxins from plastic can leach into your water. And sometimes elements from the air was well if the lid is watertight but not air tight.

      Some plastics are better about this than others but one thing for sure storing the water in a cool dark place will prolong its life (by not having the sun and heat breaking down the plastic). Metal water cans can rust. Even stainless steel water cans only reccomend up to 3.5 years of storage (though likely can stretch this in an emergency).

      Water does not expire. If the water is sterile (I would reccomend filtering. Boiling, some may reccomend adding few drops of bleach as well but if boil for 15min. Or better yet boil for 15min inside a pressure cooker may not be needed. In a higher pressure environment boiling point goes up. Thus boiling kills more bacteria once reached. On mt everest the pressure is low and boiling point I believe only 157 degrees. Which is not high enough to kill all the needed bacteria.

      Glass containers won’t leach into the water, won’t let air in through the sides. If stopper with rubber stopper they may be best for extended storage of water. But typically glass containers are small, and they break easily. If whatever disaster shakes the shelves all your stored water ends up on floor in a broken mass of glass shards.

      If you boil and filter your stored water supply after storage (before use) then can filter out any toxins plastic may have put in, and kill any bacteria that may have grown. Then the storage option not matter as much. The idea of glass is to keep fresh water “fresh” for basicly forever. But if only goal is to keep water stored then can make the water fresh through latter interventions.

      I personally would reccomend a well through. I’ve seen a well pump supplier that offered a pump for up to 350 feet with a solar option for up to 200 feet.

      From the reading my understanding you can have a 350 foot well and you can use the solar option as long as the water level is less than 200ft down. After that hand pumping is required. Thus you may only have to hand pump during a severe drought.

  13. Matt says:

    This is all a waste of time unless we can get the masses to prepare to at least a minimal level. But 75% of Americans don’t have a $1000 in the bank.

    If half of America had a three day supply of food, the effect of most disasters would be minimized. But not 1 in 50 do.

    How are you going to sit on all your supplies when everyone else is starving? If that is your plan, it is going to fail.

    So spend your time on spreading the virtues of a 72 hour kit.

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  15. Patty Kris says:

    After reading the posts, I have a different take. I have mylar bags, but haven’t used them. They could be fine, but we live in the country and have mice. Mice can eat through the mylar as well as plastic buckets. I dry can everything in glass mason/ball jars. Dry canning gives you a 35 years shelf life. Put your ingredients in a sterilized and dry jar. Put in the a 200° oven, on a metal tray, for 1 hour. Remove them from the oven, and place a sterilized lid on the jar followed with the ring. screw it on, and wait for the familiar ping. Nothing’s going to get into those jars. Also remember, the sweeter or saltier something is, the longer it will last. They found Honey in the Egyptian tombs. Honey is not only a sweetener, it is a good topical treatment for a wound. Also invest in a food saver vacuum sealer and a dehydrator. It’s a good start.

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