There are many reasons why you should have a prepper pantry things like job loss, blizzards, storms, hurricanes, and even earthquakes. Having a stocked pantry is very important to not only your families survival but in getting through very tough times. In recent years in North Carolina, for example, there have been riots and even martial law that was enacted, going out to a grocery store was not an option at that time.
My most recommended gear for anybody making a food pantry is the Mylar bags, these are airtight, waterproof and are great for storing anything to beans to spices. Click here to check price on Amazon.com
There are 3 types of food pantries for preppers:
- Working pantry where you are continually using the product that you have stocked.
- Long-term pantry where you are stocking 5-20 years of food for a long-term emergency.
- Trading and bartering pantry, with which you use your stocked food items as a currency in the event of an economic collapse.
In this article, you will get all the info you need for a Working Pantry.
Stocking period is around 6 months to 1 year, as this is a working pantry you will continually be using the items that you have stocked up. This way it will deplete from anything between 6 months to 1 year. At the 9 mark month, you should start looking for sales for that particular item and buy additional supplies to bump it up to 1 year.
At any given time you should have a 6 month supply of every item in your pantry.
The first thing to do when making a food pantry for preppers is to write down every single item that you use over of a year. This will be a lot of work but get an Excel spreadsheet, categorize all your items and write down everything that you have used. After that start eliminating items that you don’t use very often.
It is very important when you start your pantry that you consider the amount of space that you need and the more items that you have the more space you are going to need. Don’t forget to keep a track your supplies in order so you can replenish those supplies.
When creating the Excel spreadsheet consider writing down items that you are using for different things you use throughout the house. For example, you use rice for your meals but you can also use rice to create a gluten-free flour, so the rice has several purposes. Another good example is vinegar, you can use it for canning but you can also use it as a cleaning product.
Basically, try to stock up as much as possible on items which serve multiple purposes. This is going to be very beneficial when you are building your prepper pantry.
After you wrote your list and eliminated the products which you rarely use start and write down the prices that you currently get the items for. Make a price comparison with several stores and bulk suppliers. Find the cheapest priced store where you can buy as many of your items on your list and shop from there.
You will not get all your supplies from one place, you are going to find prices that are a lot higher or a lot cheaper at one store so you need to get the cheapest prices at the cheapest stores and this means you will be shopping at multiple stores. You can shop at your local grocery store when they have big sales, Wallmart as some prices are cheaper than in other shops like rice and beans, Trader Joe’s because they have good prices on chicken.
Here is my list of items for my personal prepper pantry
- Meat is an item that you should store mostly by canning. Some meat you can store in the freezer but if the power goes out that meat will go bad in a matter of days. Canned meat will last a minimum of one year if stored properly. There are some canned meat that lasts 3-5 years but it is full of conservatives.
- Canned tomatoes as they are easy to grow, store and when canned they last several years.
- Potatoes, buy them in bulk or grow them if you have space to grow as many as you use. You can buy a 50-pound bag of potatoes and keep them in your basement. To store potatoes you need a cool environment and you should look at your potatoes often. Throw away the rotten ones and snap off any eyes that grow. Once the potatoes start to become wrinkly can them. Canned potatoes are fantastic for quick use like mashed potatoes.
- Beans like the potatoes you can buy them in bulk or grow them. These take up less space as the potatoes so you should not have any problems if you opt for growing them. An added benefit if you grow them and can them yourself is that it doesn’t have as many preservatives making it much healthier. You can buy a 25-pound bag of each bean that you use and can just a small batch of those, it would be very hard if you would all 25 pound of beans due to the amount of space you need for that and the amount of canning. Can a small batch and as you start using them just can another batch.
- The rest of the beans you can store them in Mylar bags, these you can get from US Emergency Supply. These bags have inside an oxygen absorber which removes the oxygen from the bag thus bugs can’t hatch. The beans in a Mylar bag will last you probably longer than a year. If you are storing for less than 1 year it is probably not important to use the Mylar bags. Fill up the Mylar bag with your beans, add one of the oxygen absorbers to each bag and seal it with a hot iron.
- You can store rice in a 5-gallon food grade bucket with a gamma lid. The Gamma lid is a lid that pops up onto a 5-gallon bucket and it is airtight and leak proof. As you will use the entire 5-gallon bucket of rice within a year you don’t need to use the Mylar bags.
- You can also buy these in bulk and as they are already in a plastic bag you can simply store them in a plastic container. The spices depending on their type will last you a couple of years.
- This is an item that is already packaged so just use a plastic bin for holding.
- These you can also buy in bulk especially raisins, store them in a 5-gallon food grade bucket and these will last at least 1 year.
Items that don’t store very well
- Brown rice is one of these because it has a very high nutrient value than a lot of the white rices. Brown rice will last only for about 6 months while white rice lasts for years.
- These don’t store well because they have a high oil and fat content and they will last around 6 months.
- Regular cooking oil such as olive oil won’t last for very long 6-12 months. The exception is coconut oil which can last up to 2 years.
- Nut butter stores a little bit better than whole nuts and it will last for about 1 year past the expiration date.
- Flours have a very short shelf life of about 6 months. But you can always make your gluten-free flour from white rice.
A lot of the items in this list are bare bone ingredients, items like beans, rice, canned meat because you should cook the majority of your meals from scratch. If you don’t cook from scratch that is ok and you can just store your prepper pantry with things that you currently use. Just make sure when you are stocking your prepper pantry that you only stock items that you use. you don’t want to stock items that are going out of date and expire because you will be just wasting your money.
Another thing to take in consideration is the nutrient value of the items that you are storing. You don’t want to store 20 bags of Doritos and maybe go instead for some canned fish which has a higher nutritional value.
Consider where and how you are going to store when you are purchasing food for your prepper pantry. You can get the round food grade buckets from an emergency supply place for $7-8 each but you can get them for free at a lot of bakeries, just ask the local manager if they have food grade icing bucket that they can give away. Another option is to get rectangular which you can get for $1 at the Walmart bakery. The only problem with the rectangular buckets is that they do not work with the Gamma Lids as these are round.
Shelving you should specifically design your pantry for the size of your containers so you don’t waste any space.
- Any time you have a pantry or food storage you are going to have pests such as bugs and mice.
- For mice you can use cheap mouse traps, just throw some peanut butter on it and monitor the trap.
- As for the bugs you can use bay leaves, which you can put in your plastic containers.
If you live in a flood zone you will need to take precautions against your food being damaged by flood water. Make sure you have it up off the floor so that it will not be damaged.
This is my 6-12 months food pantry set up, how I store items and for how long I store them. If you don’t want to have a big pantry that is ok, you can apply the same principles for 2-3 months working pantry