How to Disaster-Proof Your Food Pantry

What’s the single most important aspect of preparedness? Ask five people that question and you might get five different answers.

But I think it’s safe to say a reliable and organized long-term food supply would be among the top three. On just about everyone’s list.

It can take a while to build up that supply. And that’s OK. As long as you keep working at it and updating it when necessary.

However, the last thing you want is for that food to be compromised. Today I want to provide you with a six-point plan. It will ensure that your long-term food stockpile remains disaster-proof.

Inventory your current pantry

Number one in this step-by-step guide is to assess and take inventory of your current food pantry.

The main objective here is to make two lists. You want to write down all of the food items you have and all the ones you need.

Regarding that first list, also write down the expiration date for each item. And move ones that will expire soon to the front.

For the second list, leave plenty of space for more items. You probably won’t be able to think of everything you need the first time you do this.

Make the right choice

Second, choose the emergency food kit that makes the most sense for you and your family. Yes, this stockpile is something you could put together on your own. But it will take up a great deal of your time.

Among the considerations for a done-for-you kit is how much food you and your family will need. Emergencies are lasting longer than ever before. Due to extreme weather and other crises. The more shelf-stable food you can safely stash away, the better.

An emergency food kit provides the convenience of one-stop shopping. And it will give you a long shelf life, assuming proper storage conditions. This will be especially important during a lengthy emergency.

Another major advantage of a survival food kit is variety. Plus the nutritional balance it offers. Different foods supply different vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.

Beware of storage enemies

Third – and this is sometimes overlooked – make sure you store your food properly.

And that means avoiding your food’s worst enemies. They are heat, light, moisture, oxygen, and pests. Those first four are very good at depleting your food of nutrients and minerals. They also facilitate bacterial growth.

Pests can gobble up everything you store if your containers are not secure. Such as rodents and insects. Aim for a cool, dry, and dark environment for your survival food. With solid and airtight containers.  

We could actually add a sixth enemy to the list: time. Now, with a shelf-stable emergency food kit, that’s not a problem. But not necessarily if you’re putting your stockpile together piece by piece. Make sure to consume, give away, or replace items about to expire.

Organize your pantry

Fourth, organize your pantry. Use shelves, bins, and labels. They should help you keep everything in order, allowing quick and easy access.

As they say, a place for everything and everything in its place. This is a good idea under normal circumstances. It becomes even more important during an emergency. That’s when you’ll need to access something quickly.

Valuable space that often goes unused in a basement or other food storage area is what you see when you look up. Too often, a vast majority of food items are kept no more than a few feet off the ground.

Vertical shelving enables you to store plenty of food items with long shelf lives. Keep heavier items on the bottom shelves and lighter items up higher. Otherwise, that vertical space gets wasted.

Supplement your food kit

Fifth, while it would be wonderful if every food item had a long shelf life, some don’t. Although you can get a freeze-dried version of just about any food you like, and it will last a long time.

But fresh produce is pretty tasty. It wouldn’t hurt to have some of that in your refrigerator or suitable container. Of course, it will need to be consumed sooner rather than later.

There may be times when you don’t want to dip into your freeze-dried food items. That’s when canned goods can come in handy. Soups, vegetables, meat, and a wide variety of other foods come in cans. You can heat them up quickly for an adequate meal.

It doesn’t hurt to have other non-perishables in your pantry. Such as peanut butter, seeds and nuts, healthy crackers, and trail mix. You’ll need to rotate them out periodically. But they provide quick and easy nutrition. 

Emergency cooking solutions

Sixth, crises that result in power outages can sometimes derail a food pantry meal. That’s why it’s a good idea to have other cooking options.

The solar oven cooking method works by converting sunlight to heat. The trapped heat is used to cook food. You can bake, boil, steam, stew, and even dehydrate food. This is a safe option without flames.

Portable gas stoves use butane and propane. Butane stoves are portable and can generate enough heat to do most cooking. Propane is a highly dependable fuel at freezing temperatures and high altitudes.

Wood-burning and coal-burning stoves are convenient for use in the winter. You can cook and heat your home simultaneously. But they’re also great in warmer months. If it is flat enough, you can cook on top of it.

If you’re able to hunker down at home during an emergency, or you have a grill at your bug-out location, it will come in handy. Grills use gas or charcoal. They have an advantage over open-fire cooking because their lids trap more heat.

How much is enough?

There is no right or wrong answer for how much survival food you should stockpile. But I’d recommend aiming for one year’s worth for each household member.

That might be impractical right now for whatever reason. But a one-year emergency kit can be broken up to feed larger families.

You can’t have too much survival food with a long shelf life. During a lengthy crisis, you may want to help others outside your immediate household.

And if you successfully disaster-proof your long-term food supply? You’ll be a hero to everyone you’re able to help feed.