Certain foods are key to short-term survival, and a wider variety is necessary for long-term survival preparation. This survival food list covers both the basics for a few days without power as well as what would be needed for a long emergency. Check out the lost ways review for my recommended book for survival.
Foods and Supplies to Store for Emergency Survival:
- Water, water filters, hand pump, water purification drops
Access to clean water, or a store of safely treated water, is primary when it comes to building an adequate food storage. Not only is water essential for hydration, it’s needed to reconstitute freeze dried food, cook, and for basic hygiene — washing hands, brushing teeth, cleaning cuts and more. Ensure that this aspect of your preparation receives top priority. For a few days without power, a gallon of water per person per day stored and rotated is sufficient. For long-term survival, a reliable water source is critical. Those on well water can take advantage of hand-operated well pumps for a continuous water source in a grid-down situation.
- Flour, whole grains, rice
Properly stored bulk whole grains will last for years and even decades, making them a perfect choice for home food storage. They are also one of the cheapest items on a per-pound basis to buy; you can get great discounts for buying in bulk. These are the suggested amounts are for one adult’s one-year supply: Whole grain wheat berries, 350 lbs., other whole grains (barley, corn, oats, popcorn, rye), 100 lbs., rice (whole, brown, wild) 45 lbs., pastas (lasagna, egg noodles, spaghetti, wheat, veggie) 35 lbs. Whole grains, and not white flour, white rice and white pasta, are packed with nutrients, protein and even oils. Do not substitute empty calories for these recommended whole grains.
While commercially prepared cereals, such as Cheerios and Raisin Bran, have shorter shelf lives and need to be rotated on a monthly or quarterly basis (use the oldest items and replace with new purchases), whole rolled oats, grits, quinoa and similar dry grains processed for making gruel or hot cereal will last much longer. Choose a variety of several types of cereal, 75 pounds per adult, for a well-rounded one year’s supply of stored food.
As with all categories, it’s important to store foods that you know how to prepare tastefully and that your family actually eats. In the beans/ legumes section of your home food storage, the recommended one-year amount is 75 lbs. for each adult. Consider a combination of black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans (great for making hummus) lentils, pinto beans, navy beans, split peas and other varieties as per your taste and favorite recipes.
- Meat, Frozen, Dried or Freeze Dried
Buying a side of beef and storing it in the deep freeze is one way to ensure a source of protein as long as the power stays on. Aim for about 75 pounds of canned or frozen beef, chicken and fish per adult if you go that route. Dried beef, typically in the form of jerky, doesn’t require power to remain preserved. It still has a relatively short shelf life, however. Unopened cans of freeze-dried meats can last for decades, making them the most stable and reliable way to store beef for long-term survival. See our freeze dried meat blog post for more about buying and using this type of food.
- Dairy Products, Powdered Milk, Freeze Dried Butter
Find and store powdered milk, buttermilk powder, dried yogurt culture for making yogurt, dehydrated or freeze dried butter and cheeses. The goal is to have about 150 pounds of these items per adult as well as about 25 dozen powdered eggs and two dozen cans of evaporated and condensed milks. If you have a milk cow and egg laying chickens, obviously, this eliminates the need to store these hard-to-preserve items.
- Vegetables and Fruits
Frozen, canned, jarred, dried, and freeze-dried vegetables and fruit, such as peaches in cans, are another component of a well-rounded bulk food storage for a family. Consider how much fruit and vegetables you like to eat in a week and multiply by 52 to build a year’s supply.
Honey, natural sugar, stevia, maple syrup In addition to sweetening foods, tea, coffee and other little luxuries, sweeteners are a baking catalyst; necessary for making breads and rolls with yeast as leavening. About 50-75 pounds per adult, depending on your usage, will be more than enough for a year.
- Oils and Fats
Good fats are necessary for your body’s survival under any circumstances. Plan to acquire and store at least 60 pounds of oils and fats (including olive oil, coconut oil, safflower oil, and lard) for each adult benefiting from your food storage for long term survival.
- Leavening: Yeast, Baking powder and Baking soda
Critical for baking, about 2 pounds leavening (yeast, baking powder, sourdough starter) per person is typically sufficient for the year.
Plan to have 5 pounds of salt on hand for each adult.
- Treats: Chocolate, Coffee, Nuts and Dry Fruit
At your discretion and according to your taste, store up coffee beans, tea, nuts, chocolate and other treat items. Store candy in moderation as too much sugar has a taxing role on the body. A little now and then may be a great morale booster, however.