Emergency & Long-term Food & Storage

Power outages are unpredictable and can last an hour, a day, a week or more. Foods with a long shelf-life and don't require heat or cooking are ideal for stocking the pantry in case of a power outage. Here are some suggestions:

Water - the most important part of all emergency preparations

Canned & Dried Meats

Canned & Dried Fruits & Vegetables

Powdered Milk & Drink Mixes

Dry Breakfast Cereals

Honey - Raw Honey, stored in a sealed container, can remain stable for decades, even centuries. Commercial Honey last about 2 years.

Peanut Butter (all-natural varieties have a shorter shelf life)

Packaged Mixed Nuts, Granola, Trail Mix


There are a number of commercial Long Term Food companies. Research and sample to find the one(s) that will suit your needs and tastes. The point is that a long-term food storage plan should be part of your overall emergency plan.

#1: Don't store food you don't like. Obvious but if you have to eat the same food for a few weeks, make sure you like the taste.
#2: Know the expiration date or when (date) the product was manufactured to determine an approximate expiration date.
#3: Store food in multiple locations (upstairs, downstairs, etc.) in case access is not possible to one or more storage location(s).
#4: Long-term food reserves need a cool, dry place so it lasts longer. Keeping food in the attic (or even at normal room temperature) severely shortens its storage life.
#5: Store liquids (water) to rehydrate dehydrated foods: Most emergency foods need water to prepare.

It is not enough to just collect food and stick it away somewhere until it's needed. Knowing where and what it is and when it will expire is essential. A little planning ahead of time will save a lot of space and organizational problems in the future.
1 - LABEL each item and/or container to clearly identify its contents and expiration date.
2 - INVENTORY (notebook (preferred) or computer) food as it is being labeled. Record how many of that item are available, their expiration date(s) and the location where it is stored. As items are used/removed from storage, mark that item off the inventory list so it is current with what is actually available.
3 - CATEGORIZE food items (such as wheat, rice, beans, vegetables, fruits, etc.) during the storage process so that they are easier to find.
4 - FIRST-ON-FIRST-OFF is a method to help use the food when it is needed. Foods with the nearest expiration date should be the first used and placed at the front of the shelf while items with the furtherist expiration date should go to the back of the shelf.
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In additional to a long term food storage program, a renewable food sources program should be part of your overall Emergency Plan. Look for current and future Posts in this Blog for ideas like growing, recognizing and gathering wild edible plants, raising livestock, gardening with open-pollinated or heirloom plants , hunting, canning, hedydration and more.

Food Supply Guidelines for Emergency Preparedness

Bugs - The Food the West Forgot
Wild Edible Plants
Hunting, Fishing and Trapping

Salting (Sea Salt - about 4 gallons of sediment-free sea water boils down to about 1 pound of sea salt)
Aging & Curing

Sugar vs Honey vs Coconut Sugar

See Also:
Top 10 Food Storage Companies Comparison
Dehydrating Food
Aquaponics and Hydroponics
No Fishing Gear? No Problem
Pet Food as Survival Food
When the Food Runs Out
Off-Grid Refrigeration
Keep Foods from Spoiling
Must-Know Rules for Picking Edible & Medicinal Plants
Replenishable Water and Food Sources
Emergency Cooking and Heating
Cooking with Solar Ovens
Rocket Stoves
Mountain House Products Nutritional Information