Food Storage

Food Storage Night

Long Term Food Storage – Suggested Quantities

By JoAnn K.

The new guidelines for Long Term Food Storage as found in the pamphlet “All Is Safely Gathered: Family Home Storage include the following foods and quantities (these quantities are listed for adults – children and youth requirements will vary):

Have any combination of the following with a combined total weight of 25 pounds per person per month:

  • Wheat
  • White Rice
  • Corn
  • And other grains

Have any combination of the following with a combined total weight of 5 pounds per person per month:

  • Dried Beans (Pinto, Navy, Black, Kidney, etc)

All of the foods mentioned above have a 30+ year shelf life.

For a quick and easy calculation each adult needs 300 pounds of the grains per year and 60 pounds of the dried beans per year. The Provident Living website also has a quick and easy food storage calculator you can use.

It should be noted and considered in your long term food storage plan that some of the “long-term” foods mentioned above can serve duel purposes.  For instance did you know that white beans can replace fat in most baking?  Or did you know that you can make sugar (diastatic malt) from whole-wheat, which can be used to supplement part of the sugar needed for bread making?  Wheat can also be made into basic gluten, which can be used as a meat substitute.

The pamphlet also makes the following suggestion:

“You may also want to add other items such as sugar, nonfat dry milk, salt, baking soda, and cooking oil. To meet nutritional needs, also store foods containing Vitamin C and other essential nutrients.” ( website)


Other food items with a long shelf life which can be purchased from the Home Storage Center include:

  • Non-fat dry milk (20 years)
  • Sugar (30 years)
  • Apple slices (30 years)
  • Carrots (25 years)
  • Macaroni (30 years)
  • Spaghetti (30 years)
  • Onions (30 years)
  • Potato Flakes (not pearls) (30 years)


Freeze Dried Food

Freeze dried foods maintain nutritional values rivaling the best fresh frozen products.  They keep their texture and shape. They have a long shelf life if the product is properly stored (some companies have a “best if used by” shelf life of 25 years). They come in a wide variety of choice in #10 cans and pouches (entrees, side dishes, snacks, dairy, egg and meat products, and more).

No cooking is required, just add water.

Freeze dried foods are an excellent food for long-term food storage, but they are high in price.

If you are interested in exploring the world of freeze dried foods try typing “freeze dried food” into your favorite search engine and let the adventure begin.


Still Tasty:  Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide – Save Money, Eat Better, Help The Environment

Ever wonder how long your favorite food or beverage stay safe and tasty? Want to know the best way to store your food?

Look-up the answers to these questions on thousands of foods at

Long Term Food Storage Using Plastic Buckets

By Jenny Casper

Our family uses a variety of methods for our long-term food storage. A good portion of our long-term food storage is packed in plastic buckets. There is TONS of information on the internet about storing foods in plastic buckets, even instructional videos. I am not an expert, but I was asked about how our family uses plastic buckets to store food.

What to store in buckets

Plastic buckets are great for storing: hard wheat, beans, oats, corn, pasta, rice, sugar and flour. It is recommended that you store food with a moisture content of 10% or less in a bucket. Some people store dog food, camping supplies or 72-hour kits in a plastic bucket.

What kind of buckets to use

You should always store your food in a FOOD GRADE bucket. Most plastic containers, usually on the bottom, will have a number inside a small triangle. The #2 means it is made from HDPE plastic. This number doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s food grade. Sometimes a bucket has a dye added to the plastic that is not food grade. And sometimes the bucket manufacturer uses recycled HDPE. Also, when something is put in a bucket that is a nonfood type product such as paint or chemicals; this makes them no longer food grade. A good rule of thumb is if your buckets have the triangle with the 2 in it and the buckets are white or natural, they should be food grade. Obviously if you are using a used bucket, know what was stored in the bucket before you got it.


What size of buckets

Buckets come in several sizes and shapes. I have collected an assortment of buckets over the years. I use square shaped 4 gallon buckets and round 5 gallon buckets. My personal favorite is round 6-gallon buckets; they are big and heavy but they hold more and I can use less buckets. A 6-gallon bucket will hold about 45lbs. of rice.

Where to find buckets

You can buy your buckets new or get them used. Craigslist is a great way to find them used. You can also get buckets from bakeries, ice cream manufacturers and parlors, large restaurants or kitchens, or food processing plants. Only use buckets that you know have already been used to store food and haven’t been used for anything else.

New buckets can be purchased online at places like Walton Feed or Emergency Essentials. Resourceful people can find their buckets free, craigslist buckets usually sell for $1-$2 and a new bucket will run you about $7.

What about Lids?

It’s important that your lids make an air tight seal, especially important if you are not planning on using mylar bags. The best kind of lids have a gasket along the inside to ensure an air-tight fit.

lid lifter

There are cool ‘gamma lids’ that make accessing your food very easy. You’ll also want to invest in a rubber mallet to close lids and a metal lid-lifter to open the buckets These two tools are cheap to buy and will make your life a lot easier.

How to fill your buckets

There are several different ways to pack your food in plastic buckets. The most obvious is to simply pour your food in a clean, dry bucket and put on the lid. This is an acceptable method and will safely keep your food fresh for many years. If you want to go one step further, you can toss in a couple of oxygen absorbers right before you put the lid on. This ensures that a minimal amount of oxygen is present which is what causes the majority of food spoilage and off-flavors. Oxygen absorbers are readily available and cost only a few cents. Oxygen absorbers come in all different sizes, we like the 500cc kind. A Google seach on oxygen absorbers will give you more information than you ever wanted to know!


The latest and greatest way to pack your bucket is to use a mylar lined bag in combination with oxygen absorbers. If you were to buy a 6-gallon bucket of wheat from Walton Feed or Emergency Essentials, it would likely come in a SuperPail. That means the product is sealed inside a mylar lined bag. The mylar liner adds an additional level of protection. Mylar bags can be purchased for about $2 a bag.

Our family has yet to try the mylar liner method. We are planning to use it in the future, especially for foods that we don’t rotate thru very quickly (like wheat and beans).

Once you’ve packed your food in buckets, make sure you label what’s in your buckets. I write on the lid and the side of the bucket what’s in it and the date I packed it. This makes it easy to grab the oldest bucket when you need to open a new one.

Where to store buckets

I would love to have a large cool basement to keep my food storage. Unfortunately, we don’t have a basement so we use our garage. It’s not a perfect system but we make it work.

How to use/rotate buckets

I keep small plastic containers in my kitchen cupboard. I also keep my oldest bucket of food in my pantry. When my small containers are empty I open the oldest bucket and fill up my small container. I keep this system going until the bucket is empty. When the bucket is empty – I fill it up and re-label it and rotate it to the back. Then I open the next oldest bucket and draw from that until its empty.


Buckets compared to #10 cans

There are pros and cons to both #10 cans and plastic buckets. For example, as I mentioned at the beginning, #10 cans are ideal for powdered milk and other powdered or moisture rich foods. #10 cans are also lighter and easier to handle.

A lot of it is personal preference. I grew up in a family where we used buckets (they used to be metal) and I’ve developed a similar bucket system that works for me. It’s important to store what your family will eat. For example, our family prefers a type of rice that is not sold at the Home Storage Center.

I buy 25lb bags of rice, flour, white sugar and brown sugar at Costco. Prices vary, but currently you can buy jasmine rice for $.52/lb, white flour for $.30/lb, brown sugar for $.58/lb and white sugar for $.50/lb. I buy pasta and oatmeal at WinCo. I store all these foods in plastic buckets.

It’s pretty difficult to say whether buckets or #10 cans are cheaper. I can buy the above food in bulk cheaper at WinCo and Costco than in bulk at the Home Storage Center. But you also have to factor in what you spend for buckets, lids, oxygen absorbers, mylar liners, Costco membership, etc.

For example, a 6-gallon bucket of rice is equivalent to about 8 #10 cans. My cost for a 6-gallon bucket of rice is probably around $30 (that’s with a new bucket, a used bucket would cut the cost to $25) Right now 8 #10 cans of rice at the Home Storage Center sells for $33.

I believe an argument can made for either a #10 can storage plan or a plastic bucket storage plan. Both are great methods and I personally have had great success with a combination of the two storage methods. The most important thing is to have some long-term food storage! Good luck!


Photos by Jenny Casper


Know the Right Storing Conditions for Your Food Supply

Store in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight. #10 cans - long-term food storage

Keep a constant temperature between 40-70 degrees F.

Find the coolest place in your house (basements are great).

Keep food storage away from heat sources (furnace, freezer, water heater, refrigerator).

Keep food storage away from clothes dryer (too much humidity )

Keep food storage dry at all time.

Room should have good ventilation.

Store foods off the floors.

The Utah State University Cooperative Extension has a great site with fact sheets about food storage. If you want to read more on Storage Conditions, click here

  Where Do I Store All This Food?

by LDS Intelligent Living

Take some time to look around your house to see where you can find storage spaces for your food supply.

Toy chest - hidden food storage at the bottom

#10 cans hidden at the bottom of a toy chest





These pictures show how a toy chest is being used to store #10 cans at the bottom. Cover the cans with cardboard or a blanket and store the toys on top. This idea works for long-term supplies that wouldn’t need to be rotated often.

Tables are great places to hide storage itemsHide storage items under tables





Underneath tables are great places to store various items. In the picture, a three months supply of toilet paper (the 1000 sheet per roll brand) is kept in a container. When spaces are tight, you have to examine your house carefully to discover all the possibilities.

12 boxes under a twin size bed - 6 #10 cans in each box - one year long-term food storage for one person

12 boxes under twin size bed - one year long-term food supply for one person




One year long-term food storage for one person can be stored under a twin size bed. A bed with a space under the frame of 10” in height with a depth of 36” and a length of 76” will accomodate 12 boxes with 6 #10 cans in each. If you want to store more, remove the bed frame and use 24 boxes instead (1 year long-term food storage for two people), cover them with a bed skirt, and place the mattress on top of your “food storage bed frame”.

Boxes measures: depth 7 1/2”- width 13”- length 19”

Portland Home Storage Center oat cases


Photos by LDS Intelligent Living

Build a Three Month Food Supply Gradually

by LDS Intelligent Living

Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet. One way to do this is to purchase a few extra items each week to build a one-week supply of food. Then you can gradually increase your supply until it is sufficient for three months. These items should be rotated regularly to avoid spoilage.

Grocery shopping
Consider these guidelines as you build your 3 months food supply:

Remember to build-up your supply gradually!

 1. Decide how much to spend on your food supply each week.

 2. Date the food to be shelved when you get home AND update your inventory list so you know what you have and need as you go.
3. Use one or several food rotation methods you like, read this post for ideas “9 Food Rotation and Labeling Ideas” 
4. Make meals several times a week using food from your pantry.
Follow these steps as part of a regular routine of planning, grocery shopping, and stocking up on food storage and you will have great results. One advice I would like to give you is to create your own food storage list. YOU know best what your family eats and you can better plan what to buy and when. Grabbing a list off the internet because you don’t want to do the work or you want to save time will not help much. You need to feel in control, and you need to create your own plan/lists/menus and be in the driver’s seat! It takes time to build up a food storage and you may have to create new habits and disrupt old ones, but do not be discouraged.
Keep going, and stay positive.
How to Save Lots of Money and Build a 3 Month Food Supply much faster

If you are well organized and know what you are doing, you can build your food storage much faster. When you shop smart, you save lots of money!

 You most likely have heard these money saving tips before:
  • Don’t go to the grocery store on an empty stomach: Eat before you go shopping so you don’t succumb to impulse buying, and get extra food not on your shopping list because you are hungry.
  • Leave your husband and children at home : Go by yourself if you can; you will have more success sticking to your shopping list.

Those are great tips to follow, but there are many more helpful ones. You should be paying close attention to these money saving ideas because, remember, when you plan your grocery shopping wisely, you can save a lot of money and build your food supply faster!

man-shopping-at-a-mobile-produce-market-725x484 PUBLIC DOMAINHere are my suggestions about saving money on groceries; I share them with you because they truly work!

If You Want to Save Money, Lose the Traditional Menu Planning Idea

I read a book, years ago, that changed my grocery shopping habits. It explained that the traditional planning of menus is counter productive in the attempt to save money on groceries. When you start planning meals, and collect the recipes for the meals planned, and then, head to the store with your list, you will be most likely paying full price on most of the food on your shopping list.

Barbara Salsbury said: “Plan to eat the bargains you find, rather than trying to find bargains on what you plan to eat!” In other words, you should plan your meals after reading the ads in the newspapers, after comparing them to find the best deals, AND after checking your well stocked pantry for what’s already on the shelves. Using the food in your storage is an important factor in this method; if you can buy food in bulk when it hits rock bottom price, you will never have to pay full price again; you can stock-up your pantry and wait for the next sale cycle.

A grocery price book will help you keep track of the sales cycles for the items you regularly buy in each store so you’ll know if the sales are truly “great deals”. The best way to find those price cycles is to record the prices and dates for each of the products you regularly purchase. So, next time you go shopping, don’t throw away your receipts and start recording. Don’t be overwhelmed, take baby steps, start with a few items at a time and build up your price list slowly.

When you add coupons to those bargains, you will have much better results saving money on groceries; the extra savings will help you acquire your three month food supply faster.

When you learn to combine a price book with coupons and other shopping techniques, you will be able to save hundreds of dollars. Remember: It will take planning, organizing, and time at first, but it will be well worth the effort when you see the results.

Why do all this? For peace of mind, to save money, and for convenience–you never run out of food in your house because your pantry is well stocked. Think how much better you will feel knowing that if you experienced economic hardship, had to “shelter in place”*, or were caught in a natural disaster situation, your family would have what is needed to survive.

Also, don’t forget the other necessities like toilet paper, deodorant etc. and the other needful things in your life that should be included on the list.

*A grocery price book is the ultimate money saving tool: you can use a notebook, or go digital. Melanie Pinola on lifehacker said that “Both paper and digital price books have advantages. A paper notebook is quicker to jot down prices and refer to when you shop, but grocery apps make quick work of calculating prices (plus, they serve as grocery lists).” You can also use a spreadsheet to create a price book to record the prices of all the items you regularly purchase at different grocery stores; the grocery price book enables you to detect price cycles in different supermarkets; find the real bargains, and plan your shopping trips for maximum savings.

Here are several articles that will help you build a price book

Making a Price List: The Digital Version

Grocery Pricebook Apps

How to Save the Most Money on Your Grocery Budget with a Price Book

How to create Your Own Grocery Pricebook

…and some great ideas on these sites that will help you save hundreds of dollars on  groceries

29 Ways to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Groceries

15 Money-Saving Ways to Outsmart Your Supermarket

Involve your children in your self-reliance projects, get the whole family on board! They need to learn about self-reliance, and they need to understand that it is a way of life, one that will bring peace of mind.
First photo on this post from LDS Intelligent Living

Second photo is from the public domain

Can I Keep My Food Storage in the Garage?

By David

In most instances the garage is not a good location for food storage. Most garages are not insulated and thus the temperature can fluctuate a lot.  Large fluctuations in temperature are worse for the food storage than a high constant temperature. Even if the garage is insulated you still have a number of other issues to deal with.  The garage door is usually not insulated and can let heat in or out more than the walls themselves.  If there is no living space above the garage, then the garage attic must be insulated as well.  You would also need to properly seal any other areas where air can come in or go out such as around windows, below the garage door and where wires and pipes enter or exit the garage.  Your best bet is to monitor temperature and humidity for a while and see if they are okay.

Dry food storage is affected by four things, temperature, moisture, light and pests.

The temperature should stay below room temperature (75 degrees or less).  The warmer the temperature above freezing level, the shorter the shelf-life for keeping it’s nutritional value.  The Church’s website points out that the staple dry goods, such as wheat, rice, etc. will last at least 30 years if kept below 75 degrees.

The humidity should be as low as possible.  Anything above 50 or 60% is a poor location.  It is better to aim for about 15% if possible.  This can also be helped by using oxygen absorbers in with the food and sealing the storage containers properly.

We’ve already seen how the garage is a poor location for the first two conditions.  The garage is also a great home for pests.  That means that three of the four conditions make the garage a poor choice unless you can guarantee the conditions listed can be met.

Photos by LDS Intelligent Living


3 thoughts on “Food Storage”

  1. Craig’s List is a good place to find used food grade buckets – I usually get mine for 2 or 3 dollars and that includes the lid! Like was mentioned in the article, check to see what it was used for before you buy! Happy bucket hunting!

    1. As a Stake we have dry-pack canning sessions every other month. So our next sessions will be in October. However, you can go during the walk-in hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9-3 p.m.

      You haven’t missed August’s dates though; so if you’re still interested in going with the Stake in August the dates are 8th from 9 am – noon, and on the 13th from 6-9 pm. If you’d like to go during August get in touch with your ward canning specialist or send an email to the Intelligent Living Network (I’ll send you the address privately).

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Providing for Self and Family