Emergency Food Storage Tips

Emergency food storage preparedness should start long before an unforeseen event takes place.  Being aware of a few simple things can help you and your family feel secure and at ease in the event of an emergency.  In the process of preparing an emergency food storage supply, you should plan to have enough water and food on hand.  But first, you need to examine a few facts, such as each family member’s nutritional needs, types of food to buy, quantities of food to buy, and you need to have a plan for storing emergency food items.

Emergency Food Storage Tips

Storing Water:  When storing water, each member of your family should have a minimum of one gallon of water per day.  There’s never a convenient time to deal with an emergency, so it’s a good idea to have accessible water on hand at all times.  Having a few five gallon buckets on hand would be ideal.

Additionally, you should always fill tubs and sinks with clean water as soon as you are made aware of an emergency that could cause water contamination.  Many natural disasters can leave homes without clean water for weeks or even months.  If your emergency water supply is running low, now is the time to replenish your home stock.  Keep your water supply stored in a cool place away from sunlight, to avoid evaporation, and always make sure you replenish any that is outdated.  You should check the dates on the water bottles every few months, and maybe use the outdated water to water your plants, then place fresh bottles or buckets in your emergency supply.

Snacks:  You may be thinking, “Is it really necessary to have snacks?”  Well, the answer is yes.  Being in a situation of confinement can cause hunger, nervousness and boredom.  Kids especially should have some comforting, healthy snacks to carry them through the event.

Some healthy snacks to consider include nuts, dried fruit, jerky and dehydrated vegetables.  You can make your own trail mix packs by mixing nuts, dry fruit and candy, then vacuum seal the pouches.  These make terrific snack options during emergencies (they are also great for lunches, trips and after school snacks).

If and when an emergency arises, you’ll be happy you packed some snacks for the family.

Replenish Stock Annually or As Needed

Try not to dip into your emergency food supply and if you do, make sure to replace whatever was used. Remember, emergency foods should be for times when you can not leave your home due to unforeseen, unsafe conditions.

Check the dates on your food supplies, to make sure expiration is not near.  If it is, simply use up your current supply on your next camping trip or road trip, and replenish your emergency supply with fresh food and water.  Remember, bottled water has expiration dates, too, so remember to check it, as well as your food supply.

Choose the Right Packaging for Storage

It’s important to choose the proper packaging for storing foods.  Use the recommended bags and containers from the vacuum sealer unit you have.  You’ll find suggestions in the user manual.  There are many options such as regular vacuum seal bags, Mylar Bags, plastic containers that are made for vacuum sealing, and Mason Jars work well for some foods, too.

Knowing When to Use Bags, Jars, Containers

Sometimes it’s simply a matter of preference on your part.  Trail mixes can be sealed in bags, containers or jars, depending on your storage preference.  There are even gallon containers that people use to store large quantities of dry foods such as sugar, flour, large quantity snacks (such as nuts or trail mix), and so on.  You can use Mason Jars to store a variety of foods, spices and other items, or you can use plastic bowls or containers to store dry foods.  Again, your vacuum sealer user manual will lead you in the right direction, and you can find more great tips and advice on this website.

Store Foods Properly, So That They Will Last Longer:  Always store vacuum sealed foods in a cool, dry place.  This applies to those that do not require refrigeration.  Store away from sun and any other heat sources, and do not store vacuum sealed foods in moist or wet places.

Emergency Food Supply Healthy Food Choices 

Making healthy food choices might not be on your list of priorities when planning your emergency food storage checklist, but doing so is easily achievable, and is the best choice for your family’s well-being.  If you already practice healthy eating habits on a regular basis, then packing healthy for emergencies will be an easy option for you.  Not only will you already have healthy food options available in your household, but you’ll know what your family prefers, and how to pack for them in case of emergency.

Always use the food in your refrigerator first, to avoid throwing money down the drain.  If an emergency such as a hurricane, tornado, or storm is in route to your area, warm any leftovers right away before the power goes out.  Try to keep your refrigerator and freezer closed, as much as possible, to avoid food spoilage.

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