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Bulk/Long Term Food Storage Primer **Updated 05/11/09**

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The following was posted by DeltaEchoVictor and is a great starter/primer for those wondering where to even begin for long term storage of bulk foods.

From the following thread:  $200/month for storing up food reserves. Please, recomendations needed.


With that many mouths to feed I would invest in a couple of cases of long term storage type food.  One good resource is The LDS Catalog.  Several of us have ordered from them with good result.  The LDS Preparedness Guide Thread is a thread about a downloadable .Pdf file put out by the LDS church containing a really good system for food storage.

Here's a good deal on the foodsaver vacuum packing gizmo.  It would help with storage of your dried foods.

The Five Item Challenge is a stickied thread Jack started so we could compile a database of first hand experiences with different types of storeable, store bought food.

Here are a couple of threads about using Mylar bags for food storage. #1 , #2 It's just some general info in case you decide to go down that road.

A good thread by ElyasWolf on packaging for long term storage.

Hopefully some of that stuff will provide you with a starting point & welcome to the boards. ;)

The 7 Mistakes of Food Storage from Backwoods Home.

7 Mistakes
of food storage

By Vicki Tate     

If you are going to store food, make sure that the food you store is adequate for the need you and your family anticipate. This may not be as easy as to achieve as many people think, because the facts are that most people make serious errors when storing food—errors that will come back to haunt them when the food they’ve stored is the only thing that stands between them and their empty, dissatisfied, bellies.

There are seven common mistakes people make when storing food. They are:

1. Variety

Most people don’t have enough variety in their storage. 95% of the people I’ve worked with have only stored four basic items: wheat, milk, honey, and salt. Statistics show most of us won’t survive on such a diet for several reasons. a) Many people are allergic to wheat and may not be aware of it until they are eating it meal after meal. b) Wheat is too harsh for young children. They can tolerate it in small amounts but not as their main staple. c) We get tired of eating the same foods over and over and many times prefer to not eat, then to sample that particular food again. This is called appetite fatigue. Young children and older people are particularly susceptible to it. Store less wheat than is generally suggested and put the difference into a variety of other grains, particularly ones your family likes to eat. Also store a variety of beans, as this will add color, texture, and flavor. Variety is the key to a successful storage program. It is essential that you store flavorings such as tomato, bouillon, cheese, and onion.
Drawing of woman baking bread and muffins.

Also, include a good supply of the spices you like to cook with. These flavorings and spices allow you to do many creative things with your grains and beans. Without them you are severely limited. One of the best suggestions I can give you is buy a good food storage cookbook, go through it, and see what your family would really eat. Notice the ingredients as you do it. This will help you more than anything else to know what items to store.

2. Extended staples

Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze dried foods as well as home canned and “store bought” canned goods. Make sure you add cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast, and powdered eggs. You can’t cook even the most basic recipes without these items.

3. Vitamins

Vitamins are important, especially if you have children, since children do not store body reserves of nutrients as adults do. A good quality multi-vitamin and vitamin C are the most vital. Others might be added as your budget permits.

4. Quick and easy and “psychological foods”

Quick and easy foods help you through times when you are psychologically or physically unable to prepare your basic storage items. “No cook” foods such as freeze-dried are wonderful since they require little preparation, MREs (Meal Ready to Eat), such as many preparedness outlets carry, canned goods, etc. are also very good. “Psychological foods” are the goodies—Jello, pudding, candy, etc.—you should add to your storage. These may sound frivolous, but through the years I've talked with many people who have lived entirely on their storage for extended periods of time. Nearly all of them say these were the most helpful items in their storage to “normalize” their situations and make it more bearable. These are especially important if you have children.

5. Balance

Time and time again I’ve seen families buy all of their wheat, then buy all of another item and so on. Don’t do that. It’s important to keep well-balanced as you build your storage. Buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you’ll fare much better having a one month supply of a variety of items than a year’s supply of two or three items.

6. Containers

Always store your bulk foods in food storage containers. I have seen literally tons and tons of food thrown away because they were left in sacks, where they became highly susceptible to moisture, insects, and rodents. If you are using plastic buckets make sure they are lined with a food grade plastic liner available from companies that carry packaging supplies. Never use trash can liners as these are treated with pesticides. Don’t stack them too high. In an earthquake they may topple, the lids pop open, or they may crack. A better container is the #10 tin can which most preparedness companies use when they package their foods.

7. Use your storage

In all the years I’ve worked with preparedness one of the biggest problems I’ve seen is people storing food and not knowing what to do with it. It’s vital that you and your family become familiar with the things you are storing. You need to know how to prepare these foods. This is not something you want to have to learn under stress. Your family needs to be used to eating these foods. A stressful period is not a good time to totally change your diet. Get a good food storage cookbook and learn to use these foods! It’s better to find out the mistakes you’ll make now while there’s still time to make corrections.

It’s easy to take basic food storage and add the essentials that make it tasty, and it needs to be done. As I did the research for my cookbook, Cooking with Home Storage, I wanted to include recipes that gave help to families no matter what they had stored. As I put the material together it was fascinating to discover what the pioneers ate compared to the types of things we store. If you have stored only the basics, there’s very little you can do with it. By adding even just a few things, it greatly increases your options, and the prospect of your family surviving on it. As I studied how the pioneers lived and ate, my whole feeling for food storage changed. I realized our storage is what most of the world has always lived on. If it’s put together the right way we are returning to good basic food with a few goodies thrown in.

Vicki Tate is the author of the popular book, Cooking With Home Storage, available in the BHM General Store. Vicki also lectures on preparedness subjects. You can reach her by calling (435) 835-8283.

How To Dehydrate and Store Food from a thread started by Hraz.  Thanks Hraz!

This thread has a good series of YouTube videos in it that Hraz & ebonearth both posted links for.

From a post by 411man.  Located Here.

On Line Sources For Bulk & Long Term Survival Food. 

A couple of the links don't work, I'll edit those out or see if I can fix them when I have more time.

Here is a link to Food Co-ops across CONUS.

From another post by 411man, which can be found HERE.

Here are some Online sources to aid in determinding when commercially produced canned foods were produced, the sell by dates, best used by dates, etc. Below these online sources I will list some sites which offer food storage specific information.

Please look at and read this Online information source first as it reveals the limitations on can food labeling, date information, FDA regulations, types of date information, and general facts about the shelf life of commercial canned foods [ ]

Plesase note the following four very important quotes:

a) "Canned food has a shelf life of at least two years from the date of processing. Canned food retains its safety and nutritional value well beyond two years, but it may have some variation in quality, such as a change of color and texture."

b) "Each canned food manufacturer has a unique coding system. Some manufacturers list day, month and year of production, while other companies reference only the year. These codes are usually imprinted on the top or bottom of the can. Other numbers may appear and reference the specific plant manufacturing or product information and are not useful to consumers. Below is a sampling of how some manufacturers code their products so consumers know when the product was packaged. If you have specific questions about a company's product, contact a customer service representative at the phone number listed"

c) "There are several types of dates
"Sell-by" date - tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires.
"Best if Used By (or Before)" - recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
"Use-By" - the last date recommended for the use of product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.
"Closed or Coded Dates" - packing numbers for use by the manufacturer in tracking their products. This enables manufacturers to rotate their stock as well as locate their products in the event of a recall."

d) "Expired Dates
"As long as a product is wholesome, a retailer may legally sell fresh or processed meat and poultry products beyond the expiration date on the package"

Closing Dating Codes : s.htm


I will begin with those sources which offer information on a variety of brand names then proceed to the brand specific sources.

1) From Walton Foods:

2) This source offers information on a list of name brands.

3) Here are the contact phone numbers for many of the Con Agra food brands as well as other information on food dates of their brands.



Here are some sites which offer food storage and storage life information.





5) : This site needs to be read in detail by examining the subtopics such as those listed under the heading of "Shelf Lives of Food". Read this site in its entirety, you will gain an encyclopedia of information on the subjects of food storage and shelf life.





This offering is NOT Comprehensive. One should contact a food brand directly for any questions and more detailed information.


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