Creating an emergency food supply is an excellent way to prepare your household in advance for whatever challenges may arise. You can do this little by little or in one fell swoop. Here’s how we created our basement dry food storage supply.
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Why create an emergency food supply?
Having an emergency food supply is sort of like having a financial emergency fund. It simply limits stress by preparing you (and your family) for the whatever might happen in the future.
Whether you face a food shortage or a natural disaster, being prepared will allow you to take responsibility for your own family. You won’t have to race to the store to try to grab the last bag of rice off the shelf, because your basement will already be stocked. Your family will be cared for.
You don’t have create your food supply all at once
Creating an emergency food supply is an investment, but fortunately, you don’t have to do it all at once. You can totally seal up some buckets now and add a few more buckets down the road.
What are the best foods to store long-term for food shortage emergencies?
- Dried beans, such as black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and garbanzo beans
- White rice
- Split peas
- Dry milk
For our dry food storage supply, we’re focusing mostly on rice and beans. We eat a lot of both of these foods and they’re calorie-dense, so they make the most sense for us.
Where to purchase rice and beans for long-term storage
We used Country Life for awhile, and it was definitely convenient to order 50-pound bags of food rather than having to purchase 1- or 2-pound bags every week at the grocery store.
Unfortunately, bulk food prices have increased drastically, and we found that purchasing bulk food became quite a bit more expensive. After researching around, I’ve found the best deal to be smaller bags of rice and beans from Walmart. Most bags are only 1 to 5 pounds, but they do have bigger bags (8 pounds) for certain items like pinto beans.
Where is the best place to store dry food?
The best place to store dry food (such as rice and beans) for long-term storage is in a cool, dark area. Keep them away from sunlight, humidity, and hot temperatures, which tend to degrade the food and can greatly reduce their shelf life. Basements usually work very well for food storage.
Tips for creating a dry food supply in your basement
Here are a few things we learned from creating our basement food supply.
Sometimes buying in bulk is not cheaper
I wish buying in bulk was always cheaper, but the reality is that it’s sometimes not. Purchasing our beans and rice from Walmart ended up saving us money, even though it took a few trips to get everything we needed.
Choose white rice vs. brown rice
We eat brown rice almost exclusively, so that’s what we purchased for our basement emergency food supply. After doing more research, I realized that brown rice can go bad much more easily and quickly than white rice. This is because brown rice has a high oil content that can go rancid.
We still packaged our brown rice, sealing some in Mylar bags and even freezing some. However, we are planning to use it up within 6-12 months and store some white rice in addition.
Not all buckets need to be food safe – save some money!
For our food storage pantry, we’re creating two buckets for each item (for example: 2 buckets of rice, 2 buckets of pinto beans, 2 buckets of black beans, etc.).
One bucket is a regular, 5-gallon bucket that’s not food safe because it has a sealed Mylar bag inside. We’re not planning to touch these buckets unless we have to, and the food can last approximately 30 years!
The other bucket is food safe, and we’ll be getting into these fairly often. We used Gamma Seal lids for these buckets to make usage a bit easier.
Use a hair straightener to seal your bags
You don’t need to purchase a fancy tool to seal your Mylar bags. A hair straightener works really well.
Supplies you’ll need for a basement dry food storage supply
- Dry food, such as rice, beans, lentils, oats, flour, sugar, etc.
- 5-gallon buckets
- Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers
- Hair straightener or heat sealer
How to create a basement dry food storage supply
- Make sure your 5-gallon buckets and lids are clean and completely dry.
- Insert your mylar bag into the bucket (BEFORE dumping your food in).
- Fill with beans, rice, or whatever food you’d like to store.
- Add an oxygen absorber (do not use oxygen absorbers for sugar – they’re not needed and will harden the sugar).
- Seal your bags using a hair straightener or heat sealer.
- Add lids and labels.