Monday, March 14, 2011

Adding to our food storage

A reader asked what it was we planned to purchase to add to our stored food. I thought this was an excellent question, so here's a list. Please understand that what you're NOT seeing is stuff we already have in sufficient amounts.

• Rice. We're BIG rice-eaters in our family; and unlike wheat, rice is something we can't grow here in north Idaho. I actually looked into it - there are some cold-climate rice strains grown in the Himalayas - but getting those strains as well as the logistics of setting up growing spaces is beyond our capacities. So we want lots of rice stored away. Properly stored, white rice will keep for years, if not decades.

• Sugar. Ditto - we can't grow sugar (though we may experiment with sugar beets and see what happens).

• Brown sugar

• Flour. We have 300 lbs of wheat stored away and we also have a wheat field growing (with no idea what it will yield, of course), and we also have a grain grinder; but the convenience of flour is hard to beat. It will store for a couple of years so I like having lots on hand.

• Peanut butter

• Salt

• Bacon (if the price isn't too high) - I'd like to have more canned up.

• Oatmeal

• Cornmeal

• Black-eyed peas

• Coffee

• Chocolate chips (there is unrest in the Ivory Coast, where a lot of chocolate comes from)

• Cocoa powder (ditto)

• Soy sauce

• Raisins

• Chicken breasts (for canning)

Items to get at the Mormon cannery through the kindness of our Mormon neighbors

• Wheat (we'd like another 300 lbs just to be safe, and it's fairly cheap)

• Powdered milk (we already have 50 lbs but it's not a bad item to have) to supplement times when our cows are dry

As I said, this supplements the food stores we already have. Frankly it's the rice I'm feeling most panicky about since the thought of going without rice is sorrowful indeed.

But I should emphasize this isn't "panic buying." Panic buying is when I rush to the store behind everyone else and help strip the shelves bare. Instead I will calmly walk into the wholesale grocers and load up on things no one else has thought to buy in advance, while prices are cheap and availability is high.


  1. I have to admit, my first thought was to hit the stores and buy another 40 pounds of jasmine (our fav) and another 30 of powdered milk.

  2. I wanted to add as a just in case, most of our local produce comes from the west coast so I've had my dehydrator going 24/7 as well. Last summer we had a blah year for the garden so I don't have as much put up as I would wish and no guarantee that this year will be any better for sunshine.

  3. "• Sugar. Ditto - we can't grow sugar "

    Sounds like it's time to consider a couple of bee hives!


  4. Not sure if you are close to Spokane, but they have a Cash & Carry there I usually get good buys on my bulk Items, the sales last 2 weeks to a month and you can check them out online before you shop. Also no membership costs involved

  5. Personally, I'm getting a few extra boxes of hair color too. If the SHTF,I don't want to deal with grey roots as well. That'd be just too much at once. :)

  6. Noticed Soy Sauce on your list. My German in-laws turned me on to Maggi Seasoning which they use in gravy, soups and stews. It is made from wheat rather than soy and has a rich meaty flavor. Besides soups, I like it on salads with balsamic vinegar or lime juice.

    Supermarkets near us only carry the small jars for around $3 but all the Asian markets carry Maggi in the large jars (about 8 times the size of the supermarket bottles) for about $8.

    Maggi originated in Switzerland, but is made in many countries including the USA (by Nestles under license from Maggi), France, Germany, and China.

    I do use soy sauce, but use far more Maggi as it goes well on so many things. Try it you might like it.

  7. Sometimes the best place to get rice is an Asian foods store. One near me has 7 or 8 different kinds of white, and 4 or 5 kinds of wild or colored rice. (Did you know it comes in pink?)

    The same for beans and Mexican markets. Some have a hundred different kinds. You can buy small amounts and find different kinds you like.

    What would I buy to fill up a shortage? Canning Jars. I don't have nearly enough if I had to home can everything instead of buying canned. Some things aren't cost effective to home can at the moment. They're cheaper store bought.

  8. Thank you for this information. We are new (REALLY NEW) to prepping and feel the need to be as prepared as can be at this point in time. Your insight, knowledge, and willingness to share is helping us (me) out a great deal.

  9. Thanks for posting this...most things we keep in good stock, but there were a couple of items on your list that I hadn't thought of yet. Thank you!! :)

  10. One thing I've noticed about rice - you can practically abuse the stuff. My IL's stocked up for Y2K (don't ask) and I managed to inherit 50lbs of jasmine rice from 1999 and stored it in all kinds of (mostly dry) temperatures. In the regular bags in rubbermaids. Just a month ago I finally got them into food-grade buckets (that I got from the Donut House for $2/ea), and we're still slowly eating through it all.

    Costco has a Nestle chocolate chip coupon this month (go in and out several times since there's a 2-package limit, just no limit on how many transactions total - I watch my prices closely and the generic chips don't cut the mustard), and if you find bulk cocoa powder, please share! Costco hasn't had it for a good four years, and I've *checked*.

    Can I make two suggestions?
    Do some research on the milk - I've heard various anecdotes on the taste of the cannery milk. I've got some from Provident Pantry/ that I've already hidden in cooking/baking without my family knowing.
    And oil. Whether it be olive, or canola or something else - butter won't always be your first stop. I've had some extra-virgin olive oil that's lasted in our temperate pantry for longer than the experts claim. :D

  11. Thanks for sharing,you are helping more people than you think. Everyone needs to be preparing,because we don't know what may happen down the road,best to try to be ready,in whatever way you can. Blessings jane

  12. We no longer buy brown sugar, but buy molassas & just add it to the white sugar, which "makes" brown sugar. We don't buy cornmeal either, just the popcorn to grind into cornmeal as we need it. It stores longer than the ground meal.
    And yes, definately stock up on those chocolate chips! A woman homesteader without some sort of chocolate is a CRABBY homesteader!

  13. So how much rice is enough for your family?

    I love the stuff, too. Easy to prepare, filling, versatile. Delicious. :)

    Don't forget coffee! That's going up rapidly, too. I get mine green from They even sell it in Mylar sacks if you seriously want a lot of it; the per pound price goes way down that way.

  14. Yikes... Coffee prices are jumping up fast.

  15. To Carolyn Renee. Every grinder says not to grind popcorn as it has too low a moisture content. You need #2 dent corn or you are going to ruin your grinding burrs. Just my 2cents worth.
    I thought I was doing well in storing. But obviously I have a LONG way to go. Yikes.

  16. Thanks for the insight...Do you have another list somewhere of what you already have or recommend?

  17. Someone earlier mentioned 'Maggi over soy sauce' because it's a wheat-based product. The best selling/highest quality soy sauce in the world is 'Kikkoman brand' mfgd. in Wisconsin. The listed ingredients on labels are in a descending order of percentage [greater amounts are listed first]. Wheat is in higher percentages than soybeans for Kikkoman soy sauce, I was born and raised in Hawaii-so I grew up on this stuff. I have used Maggi and other similar products, but for a 'product-to-price-ratio' soy sauce is more economical. If you want a product with 'a meaty flavor' you want to look for 'Bovril' from England.

  18. #10 Cans vs 4.5 or 5 gallon buckets? (Buckets with Mylar and Oxygen absorbers inside.) I need to place an order from the cannery for wheat etc. and feel like my head is going to explode trying to decide! I'm new to this... what is best? Thanks

  19. Anon 2:58, I've found the best deals at the Mormon cannery are bulk wheat (comes in 25 lb bags), bulk powdered milk, and oxygen absorbers. Oh, and #10 cans of hot choco mix if you're Mormon and don't drink coffee or tea. I'm not a big fan of getting #10 cans of anything else because prices are MUCH cheaper at a wholesale grocery store. In Spokane we go to Cash 'n Carry, but if you look in your local yellow pages (or even inquire of your favorite restaurant) you'll find a wholesale grocer in your area. You can either purchase food-grade buckets or salvage them from grocery store bakeries. If you're into serious volume, you can find food-grade barrels as well. Plastic or Mylar liners are never a bad idea, esp. for food-grade barrels.

    Another advantage of buckets over cans is the buckets are REUSABLE. Once it's empty, you can use it to store something else. Once you open a can, it's useless for food storage.

    - Patrice

  20. Thank you Patrice. I've calculated that where we live rice, wheat and beans are all cheaper at the cannery than at our local bulk store. How many oxygen absorbers from the cannery do you put into the buckets? Is it one per gallon?

  21. It's ONE oxygen absorber per #10 can. If you've got a 5 gal bucket, I'd put 7 or 8.

    - Patrice

  22. Really appreciate your help answering my questions.

    My hubby is finally on board with storing food and is anxious to put up some long term storage. Thank God for answered prayers. I have read several of your posts to him and believe you have helped encourage this move.

    Thank you again Patrice.

  23. Kikkomann is made in Wisconsin???!!! Who wouldda thunk!

    I recently tried to order a 50 pound sack of dent corn from a bulk grain supplier and was told it was unavailable. I never thought I'd see the day when America was out of corn. Really, really scary!

    A suggestion on making dehydrated milk more palatable: after rehydrating, add a couple of drops of vanilla extract(no more)and serve ice cold. Really improves the taste.

    Thanks for all you do


  24. Remember, PURE vanilla NEVER goes bad. Great storage item.

    Jeff - Tucson

  25. Just an note.....the oxy absorbers are available in different sizes, 2000cc being the biggest I've seen, one works for a 5 gal. bucket. Jim

  26. We are starting to prepare in the food category. I've been prepared for other aspects of mayhem for a while, but Sandy has gotten me thinking again.

    We're starting small, just buying an extra flat or two of canned goods when we go to Aldi.

    But what are the criteria for a storage place? I have some garage areas that rarely go below freezing, certainly never down to 0. I know many of them have quite a bit of salt, so that should lower their freezing temperature some.

    But how could can I store commercially canned goods?

    1. Well, my wife pointed out an area in the climate-controlled part of our home I'd overlooked. We can store a few months' food there I'm sure. We figure 1 dozen cans will feed our family of 7 for a day ... so ... need more cans!

      We'll try some Folgers coffee cans for some dry goods too.

    2. Sorry, Daniel, I meant to address this sooner.

      You're right, canned goods must be stored in climate-controlled areas of the house. Neither home-canned nor commercially-canned items handle temperature extremes very well.

      You might look at a friend's blog post about storing canned food in confined spaces:

      - Patrice

    3. Thanks, Patrice! Checking that out!

    4. Thanks, Patrice! I'm checking that out.

  27. I thought this was an left 4 dead survival warehouse excellent question, so here's a list.