These are the types of food that you can put into Mylar bags and then food-grade buckets, and many will last a decade. The kind of "real food" that is super necessary over the long run, and can sustain a family months or even years. You don't want to survive long on protein bars or dehydrated meals. Real food is your friend!
Food (various items) for longterm storage
Bottom line: These are the grains, rice, beans, and other dried and longterm foods that, when properly stored, can last a decade or more. The kind of "real food" that is super necessary over the long run, and can sustain a family months or even years.
Recommended for: All shelters. You'll need storage space, of course. Could be a real pinch for an apartment dweller.
No. of units recommended: For a family of four, you might consider 25 to 50 pounds of rice and a variety of dried beans, each; another 25 pounds of wheat berries (which makes flower), and 25-50 pounds of oatmeal. Then add to it, gradually.
Be aware: Freeze some of the grains, like the oatmeal and wheat berries, for a week or so, before storing them. This will kill any potential bugs or insect eggs that could be in them, especially when you use organic products.
The items here are simply suggestions. For instance, we prefer black beans over lentils. You may like a certain kind of white rice. In a longterm emergency, you want to be preparing food that your family actually likes and will readily eat. No sense in making a bad situation any worse.
Note: Take these products out of their packaging before you put them into the Mylar bags and air-tight food-grade buckets.
- Beans! Any kind of dried beans you like. Everything from Lima, to black-eyed, garbanzo, lentils, Lima, great Northern, Mung, Navy, Pink, Pinto, small red, kidney, and split-pea and soy can all be dried and stored. For instance, we dig Dried Black Beans- Turtle Beans- 25 lb. Bag. For variety, you might also consider nice selections of non-GMO, kosher Garbanzo Beans, and lentils and split peas (the last two don't need to be rehydrated and are FULL of nutrients). When it comes to quantity, we say get more than less: 25 pounds of two to three varieties, stores separately (ie, 50 to 75 pounds) is a nice start and would keep a family with ample protein and other important amino nutrients for months, as long as they also have water.
- Rice! White rice will store up to 30 years in the right conditions. Sadly, not so with brown rice, which is healthier but is only good for up to two years. Legacy Essentials Long Term Parboiled Instant Rice promises a 20 year shelf life and 30 servings for 4,800 calories. Note that many experts recommend up to 300 POUNDS of grains per person per year.
- Flour — by which we mean wheat berries. Regular old flour doesn't last long at all. The milling process opens up the interior to the elements. So you want unmilled stuff, which are called wheat berries. We buy 10-pound bags with two varieties (which give different kinds of breads): Hard Red Spring Wheat Berries 5Lbs & Soft White Wheat Berries. Clearly, since it is unmilled, it means you will have to mill it yourself. You could buy an electric miller, but that won't well serve you in an emergency with no power. (If you DO have power, a food processor or coffee grinder will also serve in a pinch.) So if you're super serious about it, you'll need a hand miller, like the cast-iron Victoria Manual Grain Grinder with Table Clamp. And yes, it might do you good to have a bread recipe or two on hand, too.
- Rolled oats: Another big one. Oats have been a staple for, like, forever. In this case you do not want steel-cut; you want rolled oats, which last the longest (in that 20- to 30-year category), with Mylar bags and airtight plastic buckets. We'd go with two 25-pound bags of non-GMO rolled oats in bulk.
- Dried vegetables. They don't sound delicious, we know, but freeze-dried veggies have come a long way. You can buy quart-sized plastic jars of indivdual vegetables, like brocolli from Mother Jones, or a bucket o' dried veggies — 10 pounds worth — from Augason Farms Freeze Dried Vegetable Variety Pack 10 lbs 10.1 oz 4 Gallon Kit.
- Sugar. Pure cane and table sugar store well. However, you have to keep moisture away from it, so avoid those in paper wrappings. Consider the plastic encased ones like the Florida Crystals Natural Cane Sugar, 48 Ounce (Pack of 6). Even then, they might be stored in an air-tight bucket to keep out odors.
- Salt. Iodiized salt, preferably. A thing that lasts a long time if moisture is kept away. Pour it into canning jars and seal with oxygen absorbers.