Food Storage for Preppers: Everything You Need to Know

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The Apocalypse, or the end of the world as we know it, is a genuine fear for much of humanity.

From an ecological disaster to a disease which reduces the population to a zombie-like state, there are many different reasons why some people believe the end of Earth could soon be nigh.

The majority of Americans believe (28%) that the apocalypse will take the form of a nuclear war.

Other beliefs include a worldwide revolution, an outbreak of zombies, an alien invasion, or a different undefined reason – like a pandemic or an attack on the global infrastructure might be the cause.

On the other hand, many (20%) don’t believe there will be any sort of apocalyptic event.

Which camp do you fall into?

Even if there is no sole event that causes the end of the world, we are all at risk of falling victim to war or natural disaster.

When an earthquake, fighting, or some other event occurs that creates panic, most people are hurt because they are not prepared.

That’s likely why you’re here – to learn how to be best prepared should the worst happen.

Being prepared for disasters like the Apocalypse involves many things, but having ample food is one of the biggest issues you should plan for.

In this Survive After End guide, we’ll go through how to be an expert of long term food storage to ensure that you and your family can be sustained in the event of nuclear war or an alien invasion.

Read on to find out how to prep in the most efficient way – with a Prepper Pantry.

food storage preppers

What is a Pantry?


A bit of background: For most of human existence, people have kept pantries – also known as larders – as an integral part of the home.

Now more old-fashioned, they’ve been replaced with refrigerators as technology progressed.

They were usually located in the basement or another cool, shady part of the home where the food wouldn’t heat up and go off before its time.

Because it wasn’t always possible to go to the market regularly, families came to rely on their pantries as a way to preserve food for longer.

While people today may find it easy to just hop in the car to hit the local grocery store, it is a wise idea to keep a pantry at home in case of emergency – like your refrigerator cutting out, a hurricane, or the end of the world, for example!

It is a way to have a solid foundation of non-perishable items to eat when other methods can’t be relied upon.

The Benefits of Having a Pantry


There are several benefits to having a pantry, especially where prepping is concerned.

Note that a pantry doesn’t have to be a single physical space – it can be spread throughout your home, in your basement, in an outdoor bunker, or even underground.

The following are the 3 main benefits a home food pantry brings:

prepper food storage ideas

Being Prepared for Emergencies


Here’s the big one.The main reason to have a pantry in modern times is so that you have solid food stocks when emergencies strike.If a nuclear bomb hits, you’re probably not going to make it to the grocery store.And if you do, you’ll probably find the shelves already cleared out by looters.The majority of grocery stores only stock enough food to meet their community’s needs for no more than three days – sometimes even less.It’s recommended that you store at least one month’s worth of basic necessities in your pantry, or have the resources to grow your own food.


Saving Money

Until disaster strikes,if you make good use of your pantry, you’ll find yourself saving money on your weekly shop.Buying in bulk saves you a ton, and means you’ll have more to store than you use.Buying huge bags of oatmeal and rice, for instance, means you get the best value for money and have a large load for your emergency food storage stocks.


Food Security


Keeping a home pantry will provide you and your family with food security.This can be of major importance if you or your spouse were to wind up losing your job, become ill, find your income fluctuating or you take on a job that is only seasonal.Keeping plenty of food on hand allows you to not have to worry about keeping your family fed which will reduce your stress should something happen, whether that’s an Apocalyptic scenario or not.


Organizing a Home Food Pantry


Starting from zero with your food stock? Don’t panic. It’s best to start off small and build your pantry up slowly over time.

You should also consider these following aspects.


Determine the Goals for Your Pantry


This will be determined by the size of your family and the length of time you want to prepare for.If you’re saving food just for yourself, it will be easy to save up a month’s supply or more.However, if your family is larger – say, five people and a dog – you will need to determine how much each person eats in a day and make calculations as to how much you’ll need for the weeks or months you’re planning for.


Consider the Location of the Pantry


Usually the best place to have a pantry for storing food long-term is against a wall in the basement because of how cool the temperatures will be there.Many Preppers utilize their basement and reinforce it to make a safe living quarters if the outside world is uninhabitable.If your home doesn’t have a basement, most cool, dark corners or closet spaces should work equally well – but consider what you will do if nuclear war strikes and it’s unsafe to stay in your home.Until you make that call, anyone without a basement could utilize the space under beds and at the top of closets when finding space for non-perishable food stocks.


Purchase or Build Shelving


Shopping for wood or sturdy wire shelving is a good way to start organizing your pantry.Typically, shelving will go on sale in August and January because of back to school sales but if you have the necessary skills and tools, you can save a lot of money building the shelving on your own.If you’re making a basement shelter, strong metal shelving is recommended so that the material will survive whatever the Apocalypse throws at it.

food storage for preppers

Begin Shopping


Let’s face it.It’s too expensive for most people to just go out and purchase a two-week supply of food at one time, which is why you should begin stocking your pantry slowly.These following ideas can help with the cost of becoming a Prepper:

  1. Take advantage of double coupons.
  2. Pick up a couple extra cans every time you go grocery shopping – go for cans of meat, vegetables, beans and fruit.
  3. Use discount grocery stores to stock up.
  4. Purchasing produce in season and then canning it will help save money.
  5. Stock up on fresh vegetables at you pick farms. You will need to pickle and can these foods yourself, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run.
  6. When your favorite foods go on sale buy extra portions to store.


What Type of Foods Should You Store?


The first and most important thing to consider when stocking up on food is nutrition.

To survive the world’s end, you’ll need to be at your peak physical game; so eating endless tinned puddings isn’t the best idea.

You should stock up on items that are high in all the necessary nutrients you need to stay fit and healthy without access to fresh foods.

Here are our top recommendations:


Canned tuna: omega-3, protein and vitamin D

Beans: protein and iron

Tinned fruit: vitamin C and fibre

Canned meats: for instance, chicken and gravy or tinned beef. These are a great idea as, when mixed with other tinned goods like tinned mixed vegetables and potatoes, one tin can feed up to three people.


The second thing to consider is buying and storing some of your favorite foods.

The reason for this is because if you are going to have to rely on the contents of your pantry to get through an emergency, you and your family will be experiencing much higher levels of stress than you would normally endure.

If you find yourself being forced to consume foods that you dislike and wouldn’t normally eat, then you will find that the situation will be that much greater of a challenge to endure.

Balance a healthy diet with a few home comforts and you’ll be far more able to survive an Apocalyptic event.


Another reason to ‘stick to what you know’ is that if the food turns out to be poor quality or nobody likes it, then you will have wasted quite a bit of your money.

Saying that when you’re desperate and hungry, at the end of the day food is food and you will be grateful for everything in your storage boxes.


This leads to the most important question concerning the contents of your pantry. You will want to break down the contents of the pantry into three basic groups:

  1. Perishable foods that probably won’t last too long
  2. Non-perishable foods that will last you upwards of a year (most tinned and canned goods save for several years)
  3. Long term non-perishable items like seeds – some Preppers like to keep seeds for vegetables and other plants to hand in case there is ever a chance of rebuilding the Earth. Long-term items can also include some vacuum sealed dry goods like rice or beans that can last for over 20 years if properly sealed.


You should store these different categories of foods separately in order to be able to quickly check your inventory and keep a check on its stocks.


Here are the most important types of foods to stock up on:

Bulk Dry Goods


These include staple items that will last in some case over 20 years.You will want to have a supply of 20lbs of rolled oats or oatmeal, dried beans, peanut butter, rice (white lasts longer but brown is more nutritious. It may be best to keep a mixture of both handy and eat them equally), pastas, baking powder, powdered milk, grains like wheat or corn (don’t forget to keep a hand mill around in case power is an issue), dried fruits, sugar, salt and honey. Store these items in a clear air-tight container kept somewhere dark and cool. This can help items last as long as 20+ years.


Canned Goods


Canned foods can be really handy and easy to make. The one important thing you need to pay attention to is rotating the stock of your canned goods so that they don’t go bad.The best way to handle this is to check the expiration dates every three or four months to be sure you are consuming items that are getting close to expiring.Some of the items in this category include canned ham, chicken, tuna, Vienna sausages, Spam, canned fruits (choose versions in syrup because it will have a higher caloric value, but stock some non-added sugar cans too), canned veggies (keep in mind that root vegetables are more nutritious – things like carrots, turnips, potatoes and parsnips), tins of stew, and other canned meals like Spaghetti-o’s and corned beef hash. This also includes canned pet food for dogs and cats.




The most important thing to remember is you will never have enough water.Some organizations recommend that the minimum amount of water you should store for a disaster is one gallon per person per day.Make sure you do some calculations to ensure you are well-stocked for your entire family. Also, keep some seltzer water on hand: it will give a little added fizz to your drinks and can help with minor stomach issues like constipation. You may also want to consider some powdered drink mixes to add some flavor to what you drink.




Spices like salt will help preserve meats if the Apocalypse means you need to do some food preserving yourself. Spices will not only last quite a while if they are stored properly, but they will also make eating the same thing over and over taste a whole lot better.You can’t underestimate how much this will make a difference. Store some paprika, garlic granules, chili flakes, rosemary, onion salt and any of your favorite flavorings to perk up your Prepper meals.


How to Contain Foods


You should invest in a decent quantity of clear plastic or glass containers that you can seal to be airtight.

This will help extend the life expectancy of many non-perishable foods like grains, pasta, and rice.

To dehydrate and store foods yourself, rather than buying them, there are appliances and machines that can help.

Food dehydrators remove water content to stop them from spoiling – like making jerky.

You can do this with all kinds of fruits and veg to ensure you have adequate stocks.


Vacuum sealers are also a great purchase.

This will ensure that air can’t get to your food and cause it to go off.

If you’re worried about your food items, seal them in an airtight way using a vacuum sealer.


The Bottom Line


Surviving the Apocalypse is a very intimidating endeavor to contemplate.

It will require a lot of prior planning, but that attention to detail concerning the foods that you will have prepped and stocked up will make a major difference.

It could be the difference between barely getting by yet hating every last second of it, to surviving in a comfortable enough manner and maintaining health and strength.


We hope you enjoyed this guide to long term food storage for Preppers.

Be sure to check out our other in-depth guides about all things survival at Survive After End, including our Apocalypse Survival Guide. Happy Prepping!

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