What Foods Are Good For Emergency Storage? | Build a Stash

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Nothing is alarming or irrational about storing food. We live in a never-ending state of emergencies, and food storage is one of the safest backup plans.

How would you survive if a storm came today and knocked out all electricity and water sources? Many people rarely think about emergency food storage. You should consider these primary foods for your emergency storage: canned goods, bottled water, and other low-sugar dry foods.

In the case of a large-scale calamity or disaster where help may take a long time to arrive, you are left to care for yourself. Consider food storage in your plan while preparing for such catastrophic situations. Find the best place in your home to accumulate and store food and pack it securely with the foods mentioned in this guide.

In an emergency, you're more likely to worry about satisfying fundamental requirements than preferences and tastes. However, if you prepare ahead of time, you may be able to get a wide range of food and nutrients. We have helped many families build reliable food storage pantries to prepare for both long-term and short-term situations.

Table of contents


Why You Should Create An Emergency Food Storage

Global pandemics and quarantines, natural disasters, and a state of emergency are not common, yet they can happen at any time. You may not be able to go to stores, retailers may not be able to acquire enough supplies, or your electricity may be down, leaving your refrigerator useless.

Because you won't be given early notice of these situations, having a strategy in place before they occur will help you weather any of them.

How To Store Food For An Emergency

Knowing how to preserve food in case of a worldwide epidemic or natural disaster might save you money and your life.

Food storage requirements are arranged in a hierarchy. Drinking water is at the very top of the list; without it, a human being will die very fast. Every day, an average person needs at least a gallon of fresh water and more if they participated in strenuous activities.

Before you start storing food, make sure you have a reliable supply of drinking water, such as a well or a water purification system, or start storing drinking water in sufficient amounts. A two-week supply of freshwater would be a decent starting point. This is also a great place to start when it comes to emergency food storage.

These methods will aid your emergency food storage, allowing you to be prepared without wasting food.

Examine Your Food Storage Capabilities

For safety reasons, shelf-stable non-perishable foods should be maintained at room temperature away from severe temperature changes. They must also be kept dry and free of pests.

Best Places For Food Storage

Food should not be stored in unfinished basements and attics, especially in spaces with unregulated temperatures. Look for a location that is out of the way but off the ground and complies with all food storage regulations.

After you've examined elements like temperature, water, and accessibility, you'll need to choose a location for your storage. To keep track of how much room you have to work with, take measurements and write them down. Take a snapshot of the area and save it to your phone to refer to it when shopping.

You can get any of the following locations:

  • A cupboard or shelf you are not using in either your kitchen or closet
  • A storage bin big enough to hold your storage
  • A space in your living room wide enough to store the food

Determine The Amount Of Food You Need To Store

Food storage for emergencies needs proper preparation. It'll be a waste of money and resources if you store things you'll never eat.

Before calculating how much food you'll require, you must first determine how much food everyone consumes on a typical day. You should also keep track of the kind of meals your family eats daily.

You can make a list of each member of the family's regular meals, snacks, desserts, and beverages for one day. You can also make a list of the quantities and particular foods.

At Ready.gov, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides information on food storage. They recommend keeping a three-day supply of nonperishable goods to serve your family or all of your household members. Meanwhile, two-week storage is recommended by the Red Cross and FEMA.

Decide Which Foods To Store For Emergencies

You must use caution while selecting what food to store. Consider what you might be able to use and how you could go about preparing it. Storing difficult-to-prepare foods that are unlikely to be consumed might be a costly mistake.

Nutrient-dense, long-lasting, and readily storable foods are the best options for food storage. Beans and other legumes, for example, are a fantastic source of protein, minerals, and fiber; they're also simple to cook and typically loved by everyone. To keep things fresh, ensure that the expiry date lasts up to six to 12 months.

Bulk staples and a range of canned and dried foods are one method of long-term food storage.

Bulk Staples

Wheat, corn, beans, and salt are relatively inexpensive to buy in bulk and have a nearly limitless shelf life. You could survive for years on small daily amounts of these staples if necessary.

Per adult, each year, the following quantities are suggested:

Food Item Food Amount
Wheat 270 pounds
Powdered Milk 80 pounds
Corn 260 pounds
Iodized Salt 6 pounds
Soybeans 150 pounds
Fats and Oil 50 pounds
Vitamin C 200 grams

Storing Foods for Infants

Emergency food supplies for infants would need to be stored with special care. Whether you are relying on homemade or store-bought formula, it can only be kept for a short time after being opened or used. Be sure to keep it in a cool place to maximize shelf-life and close with an airtight lid.

Each package contains an expiration date for reference and should be thrown away if stored past that date. Parents should also stock up on various infant cereals and baby meals. The infant's age will determine exactly how much food you should have on hand.

Examine your shopping list to see which goods are the most nutritious and which are a real necessity. Anything with a high salt content should be avoided since it might make you thirsty when you don't have much to drink.

To enhance morale amid an emergency, choose one "want" item for each family member. Only keep nonperishable products in cans, jars, bottles, or sealed cartons on hand.

According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), at least one gallon of water a day is recommended.

Best Foods You Need In Your Emergency Storage

Most of these meals don't require cooking, and they may be stored for one to two years. Meats and vegetables stay the longest in cans, which are the best packaging alternatives for preserved goods.

This emergency food storage checklist will assist you in determining which foods are appropriate for emergency storage or a survival food kit.

Bottled water Milk (Canned or boxed) Canned meat
Packaged dried meat such as beef jerky Canned fruit juice or water Canned vegetables
Canned chili Power bars Granola bars
Bullion Canned tuna Canned soup
Dry pasta Jarred sauce Dried fruit
Dry cereal Unsalted nuts and trail mixes White rice
Flour Cornmeal Beans
Lentils Dry soup mix Vegetable oil
Salt, pepper, and sugar Peanut butter Honey

Foods You Want In Your Stockpile

Having a few "luxury" food products in your storage might help families cope with stress and maintain a good outlook during disasters or emergencies.

Cookies Powdered drink mixes Instant coffee mix
Instant tea mixes Instant hot cocoa mixes Candies (hard)
Fruit juice Fruit snacks Specialty crackers

Buy A Few Items At A Time

Putting together an emergency food supply does not need a single extensive shopping trip.

Many food stores impose limitations on how many vital food products you may buy in a single trip, especially if a pandemic has already begun in that region. That is why it is essential to start your food storage plan even if there is no immediate need.

Buying two or three things on each regular shopping trip is a simple method to store food on a budget and in a socially responsible manner.

Organize Your Food Stockpile

As soon as you get the emergency foods, sort them into your designated storage area in an orderly manner. Items with the earliest expiration dates should be placed at the front or top of your pile so that they are used first.

The easiest method to organize the foods is to keep them all together, from the earliest to the most recent "use by" date.

What To Buy Before An Emergency

For example, if you've been given plenty of notice that a storm is approaching, there's still time to rush to the store and stock up on hurricane food, such as fresh vegetables and other perishable things.

Most of these items will stay fresh for at least a week after being purchased, providing a fresh alternative to packaged foods.


Apples can be kept for up to three months in a cool, dry place away from more perishable fruits (such as bananas), which could lead them to ripen faster.

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits can survive up to two weeks without refrigeration due to their strong acid content and tough skins, especially if purchased before they are fully ripe.

Citrus fruits contain high water contents making them bad options for long-term storage, but excellent choices for emergency short-term storage. The high water content and Vitamin C make them a healthy snack during an emergency.


Unripe avocados should not be kept in the refrigerator. Typically a new store-bought avocado is still a bit unripe and needs a few days before ripening.

Once ripe, you can shift it to the fridge for storage to make it last longer and remain ripe as long as possible. If you leave it out for too long, it will spoil and become inedible.


Tomatoes may be kept at room temperature for several days if purchased unripe.

Yams, and Potatoes

These root veggies are excellent keepers and make great side dishes if you have access to a functioning stove. Potatoes will survive approximately a month if kept in a cool, dark place.

Squash and Cucumbers

Outside of refrigeration, these veggies will last for a few days and may be eaten raw. They make for great snack options with easy preparation methods.

Other Tips For An Emergency

How do you know what is and isn't safe to eat from the refrigerator if the power goes out? Do not consume food that has been exposed to temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than four hours.

Frozen meals are safe as long as they have ice crystals or are cold to the touch. Bacteria grow fast once it reaches room temperature, so you should be very cautious about what you consume. To speed up the thawing process, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed.

Remember to stock up on those essential food products if your family has particular needs.

For example, if you take medication daily or have a young kid you can keep a spare supply of infant formula and baby food jars on hand, as well as a backup supply of your prescriptions.

If you live in a flood-prone region, buy all of your pantry food products in cans rather than jars since they are less likely to be polluted by floodwaters. People should avoid eating home-canned or jarred goods that have been exposed to flood waters because the seals will not be intact.

Emergency Food Storage Success

Managing emergency food storage is a continuous process. Creating storage might take days, weeks, or even months. You'll need to check on it every six months once it's been made to ensure that the foods aren't going to expire or have been spoiled.

Keep a manual can opener and some dining utensils with your food storage, so you have everything you need for an emergency meal in one location.

If you find that any of the foods are past their expiration date, replace them right away to ensure nobody eats them. This keeps everybody safe in your home and avoids a food shortage during the next emergency.