So, I have a bud­dy that is pret­ty new to prep­ping, as I am sure many of you do know that we’re deal­ing with or have dealt with what was sup­posed to be a glob­al dead­ly pan­dem­ic.  Every­one went out hoard­ed paper prod­ucts, pas­ta, etc from the gro­cery stores ear­li­er this year.  He thank­ful­ly heed­ed some advice from myself and good friends that are prep­pers to get some sta­ples.  Not because of the pan­dem­ic mind you, but because as prep­pers we believe it just makes good sense to have food, sup­plies, gear, etc around just in case the worst does hap­pen to engage with our lives.

When I first start­ed prep­ping, and if you have fol­lowed this blog for any length of time, you will recall I start­ed writ­ing when I was in an apart­ment in North­ern New Jer­sey.  Space was lim­it­ed, I was one per­son, I learned, fol­lowed oth­er blogs, I made mis­takes, went through Hur­ri­canes Irene and Sandy, met some oth­er prep­pers that would become close friends to this day and some not so close friends, etc.  I found that you meet all kinds of peo­ple when you prep.  But I digress.

Fast for­ward to 2020/2021, which seems to be everyone’s favorite years (sar­casm implied).  My friend is full-on prep­ping now… He’s buy­ing food, he’s been train­ing in hand-to-hand and firearm com­bat­ives’ for a few years…  And of course, he is shar­ing with us what he is buy­ing and ask­ing where we buy and what we buy… You know the nor­mal stuff…

What I want­ed to do today (for the read­ers here, and my bud­dy), out­lines how I prep for food stor­age.  Before I get start­ed though, I will tell you I am no longer in an apart­ment, but in a house.  We have a crawl space but no base­ment but do have a one-car garage, where many of my preps reside today, with the excep­tion of the off-site prepa­ra­tions else­where.

Caloric Intake

When I first start­ed prep­ping many years ago, I was ‘just buy­ing food.’ As my prep­ping matured, I real­ized the human body expends calo­ries and required calo­ries to func­tion.  And, that in a high­er stress sce­nario, the body required more calo­ries because the brain insists on mak­ing the body burn more calo­ries.  So today, much of my food prep mind­set is calo­ries in / calo­ries out along­side a nutri­tion­al table so that the body can take in the prop­er nutri­tion­al val­ue it needs to stay ful­ly func­tion­al and rel­a­tive­ly healthy.

I’ll be writ­ing up a post on the caloric intake of food types in a future post so that you get an idea of what it takes to fill your diet with 2,000 — 3,000 calo­ries per day, and have the ener­gy to com­plete the tasks that are required to be com­plet­ed in a SHTF sit­u­a­tion.

Dry Foods

Almost all dry foods are pack­aged up in mylar bags with O2 absorbers and put into 5‑gallon buck­ets.  Many of you will no doubt say that if you’re using a 5‑gallon food-grade buck­et, you don’t real­ly need a mylar bag.  While I tend to agree as I have seen peo­ple with beans, rice, etc open up buck­ets that are 15 years old with no mylar bag, and the food was like the day it went into the buck­et.  I like a mylar bag as it is an added lay­er of pro­tec­tion “just in case” and because some of my preps are not in the “ide­al” heat or cold ranges for opti­mal fresh­ness.  An extra lay­er helps pro­tect the preps. So here is how I pack­age some of the dry foods:

Oat­meal Exam­ple:  Quak­er Oats, Quick Oats, or sim­i­lar brand:  Mylar bag, appro­pri­ate sized 1,000 or 2,000 CC O2 Absorber(s), seal up the mylar bag, drop it into the buck­et, and seal the buck­et.  I do the same with flour, rice, beans (black, red, lentils, etc), grains, and sug­ar.  A spe­cial note on sug­ar though… Do not use an O2 absorber or you will end up with a brick of sug­ar.  Sure you can break off a bit and mash it up, but hey, why do extra work…

Dehydrated Foods

Dehy­drat­ing is a good, low-cost method of pre­serv­ing and stor­ing some foods, espe­cial­ly fruits and veg­eta­bles.  Occa­sion­al­ly, when I make a Cost­co run, I will buy a few bags of 5lb frozen veg­eta­bles of var­i­ous vari­eties, bring them home, and stick them in the dehy­dra­tor for 24 hours at a clip.  Once ful­ly dried and dehy­drat­ed, I then pack them with O2 absorbers in mylar bags and they go into a buck­et with a twist-off gam­ma lid.  

I do the same thing with instant mashed pota­toes, pas­ta, and dried soups that you get a the gro­cery store.  You can buy them any­time, or when they are on sale, and they can go right into a 5‑gallon food-grade buck­et and sealed up…  I’ve test­ed 10-year-old instant mashed pota­toes that taste like the day you bought them in the store.

A note on eggs… If you do not have chick­ens and a seem­ing­ly end­less sup­ply of the world’s most deli­cious food, you may want to store pow­dered eggs.  I have used many dif­fer­ent types of canned pow­dered eggs, pow­dered eggs in a pouch, freeze-dried eggs from camp­ing meals, etc.  It’s hard to screw them up unless the can or pouch is dam­aged.  Expen­sive, but good to have… For some rea­son, I won’t repack­age pow­dered eggs.  I will buy them and use them pri­or to their expi­ra­tion date.  I feel as if they go bad, or expire, they have to go in the trash.  I may be wrong but would rather pur­chase pre-pack­aged long-term stor­age with regard to eggs.

As far as bev­er­ages, I also buy Fol­gers Instant Cof­fee, oth­er non-dairy cream­ers, teas, and oth­er pow­dered bev­er­ages such as Gatorade, tang, kool-aid, iced tea, etc. as well.  While not many like instant cof­fee, I use it for stor­age, I have about a year’s worth, and rotate it out to make instant iced cof­fee in those GNC shak­er con­tain­ers…


I have way too many of these… But I have a the­o­ry, because they are zero prep, cold or hot, and it is gen­er­al­ly a com­plete meal.  I prob­a­bly have about three-four months of (if it is only one per­son eat­ing) them, oth­er­wise, it is about 30 days per adult per­son.  I have them for fast for low prepa­ra­tion time, portable meals so I can throw one or two in my lev­el one or lev­el two gear.  I can put an entire con­tain­er of them in the back of my truck dur­ing a short-term bug out, and not feel like I am miss­ing a beat.  Yes, they are more expen­sive, but if you were to buy a cou­ple cas­es per per­son in your home, you would have 12 days of food for each per­son in the house­hold where there is lit­er­al­ly zero prep except to heat it up. 

MRE’s are good in a stress­ful sit­u­a­tions so you don’t have to remem­ber any­thing.  Heat, eat, and full of calo­ries.  My sug­ges­tion might be to have some Meta­mu­cil around too so that you don’t get bound up stiff mus­cle…

Canned Meats, Vegetables, and Soups

I also buy shit tons of canned meats (Spam, fish (tuna) canned ham, which is get­ting scarce, canned beef (which admit­ted­ly I am very low on), and canned chick­en.  This way I don’t need water (or much water) to prep, and they are por­tioned well for a small meal unless you have a larg­er can of some­thing.  Addi­tion­al­ly, I can sim­ply heat and eat, or mix with rice, beans, or oth­er veg­eta­bles to make a com­plete meal.  Worst case sce­nario, these to can be lift­ed into the truck to bug out, but ensure you have a can open­er or you will be pissed off…

While they are heav­i­ly pack­aged and take up space, they still have nutri­tion­al val­ue and caloric val­ue, I lump canned soups and canned veg­eta­bles in the same buck­et.  I will rou­tine­ly doc­tor up a can of soup with addi­tion­al veg­eta­bles, rice, beans, and/or meat-based pro­tein to fill a hunger void.

Frozen Foods

We also store (and rotate) some prepack­aged frozen foods.  These serve the same pur­pose as the MRE’s.  Fast and full of calo­ries.  Also bulky and some­times take up too much space, they need to be used and rotat­ed out.  If it is one thing COVID-19 has done for frozen foods, is push food pro­duc­ers to make frozen meals that actu­al­ly have more fla­vor, are fresh­er, and make health­i­er options avail­able.

In addi­tion to the pre­pared foods, we store a num­ber of oth­er foods in the freez­er, such as bacon, sausage, steaks, ham, poul­try, ground beef, etc. not unlike oth­er peo­ple do.  These like­ly don’t get rotat­ed as much as they should, but plans are to grow this stor­age (even with ris­ing costs).

The next thing is to buy anoth­er chest freez­er to sep­a­rate the veg­eta­bles from the pro­teins…  As well as get sev­er­al 35 – 50 gal­lon pick­le bar­rels, clean them up and use them for potable water storage/rainwater cis­terns.

Garden Harvest & Canning, etc.

Admit­ted­ly, our gar­den is not huge.  I have a very small back­yard and the pool fills most of it.  How­ev­er, I do make room to grow herbs, toma­toes, zuc­chi­ni, beans, pep­pers, egg­plant, straw­ber­ries, and tried my hand at let­tuce, car­rots, radish­es, beets, onions, and pota­toes this last year.  Some of which was very suc­cess­ful, and some of which was a fail­ure (car­rots).  Any­thing we could we pick­led, canned, made toma­to sauce, or dehy­drat­ed, and stored.  I was actu­al­ly pret­ty impressed with how much we could store based on the amount of space we had.  It won’t get us through a sea­son, but for all intents and pur­pos­es, nature put food on our table, in our home, and in stor­age for almost free.  For that I am grate­ful.

This was our sec­ond-year steam bath can­ning.  We also pur­chased a pres­sure can­ner this year, and are going to start exper­i­ment­ing with can­ning home­made soups, pro­teins, etc.  More on that anoth­er time though…

Water Storage

Like­ly, water stor­age is where I am the weak­est.  When I was in an apart­ment, and sin­gle, I had about 50 gal­lons of water stored in 5‑gallon water stor­age con­tain­ers in a clos­et, and I have a water bob, in a pinch I used in the apart­ment.  This gave me anoth­er 35 — 50 gal­lons of water stor­age in the tub which was clean and potable.  The water bob came in very handy dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Sandy and Hur­ri­cane Irene when there was no pow­er…  When we moved to a house with a pool that all changed…

I do have an inground pool in the back­yard, so there is ample water for the moment.  How­ev­er, I do feel as if iI need to add 50+gallon bar­rels of addi­tion­al water stor­age for “semi” porta­bil­i­ty, the abil­i­ty to catch rain­wa­ter, etc.

In Conclusion

I may be miss­ing a cou­ple items, but this is the high lev­el of food stor­age.  As men­tioned above, it is much more than sim­ply buy­ing what we eat and rotat­ing it out.   It cer­tain­ly did­n’t start out as a mul­ti-pronged food stor­age pro­gram of sorts.  It took time to fig­ure out, get a small base­line, and start to get some crit­i­cal mass on the stor­age we have been accu­mu­lat­ing…

Let me know what else you are doing that may be dif­fer­ent from what we are doing here.

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