How can I get started on food storage?

Dec 1, 2011 by

LDS food storage room

~by Michelle

Patricia recently wrote and said:

I was visiting the Ronald McDonald House in New Mexico last weekend. The resident family who runs the house on the weekends is Mormon. I noticed in the basement they have a years supply of food stored and I did not know why, so I decided to look it up on the internet. I am interested in beginning a food storage for my husband and I. We talk about it but never know where to start or what products to buy and how to re-cycle it so it does not go bad. I have been attending The Seventh Day Adventist church for 20 years but my husband and I are not vegetarians, we do follow the dietary laws of the Seventh Day Adventists and I think we are very healthy because we do follow it.

Patricia, thanks for your question. I think having a food storage is a great goal. Also, hats off to you for your healthy eating habits. I hope some of what we share below will be helpful as you think about how to start your food storage.

We’ve already had one commenter share a response:

Charlene writes:

If I may address Patricia on ideas about food storage – try this link:

One of the best ways to get started is to just buy an extra of the foods you already enjoy. So, an extra can of corn, or an extra package of pasta. Mark each with the date you bought it, for rotation purposes, then build from there. Good luck!

Here are a few other food storage links/resources that we hope can be helpful as you think about how you want to approach your own food storage. All of these resources talk about a three-month supply (which is the typical shorter-term goal we as Mormons have when we talk about food storage), but you can apply the same kinds of principles and begin with a one- or two-week (or other shorter-term) supply. Of course, you should adapt any of these lists/spreadsheets/planning ideas with the specific foods you eat.

There isn’t one right way to do this — the biggest key to begin a food storage is just to start somewhere, anywhere. Think about some of your favorite recipes and consider what foods you could store to prepare those meals. When you go shopping, as Charlene mentioned, you could purchase an extra supply of the ingredients for your recipes. Then you can expand with more recipes. If you store what you already use, it makes it easier to rotate your foods because you already know you like what you are storing.

As you think about what to store, think about foods that are shelf-stable, like canned goods, grains, baking supplies, etc. I also like using the freezer for part of my food storage, especially for fruits and vegetables and for storing grains like brown rice that don’t keep well on the shelf.

Please don’t hesitate to ask follow-up questions, but I hope this can be some good information to get started.

Food Storage Made Easy Three-Month Supply tips — they have questions you can ask yourself as you get started, a spreadsheet to help you plan, a video, and more.

You can find another food storage planner here. (Look at the bottom of the spreadsheet for the different ‘sheets’ which include sample menus and shopping plans.)

Here’s an example of a three-month supply list (this was a website I quickly put together a few years ago when my church assignment was to help with food storage and emergency preparedness). This three-month supply website also has some simple meal ideas using the foods listed.

Crystal at Every Day Food Storage has made a video that has some good ideas and tips for creating your own food storage (embedded below). She also created a three-month supply food storage list.


If you are interested in storing some non-food items, here are some thoughts on that.

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Read more about why Mormons do food storage

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  1. Wow! What a helpful article with so many great resources / links. I 2nd everything you’ve linked to here. Love all those sites!

    But I just have to add one caution against storing TOO much in your freezer. I keep about a 3 month supply of produce, meats and dairy (other than milk) there now. But I used to keep a 9-12 month supply. My husband lost his job and we were able to live off our food storage for quite a while, but eventually we couldn’t afford our rent and moved in with my parents two states away. We lost all the food in our freezer ($$$$). The power went out here recently and I don’t yet have a generator, so once again I was afraid of losing all that food. If we were to face a serious natural disaster, chances are we would be without power, and those with a lot of food in their freezers will lose it. So, instead I’ve opted to store a smaller supply in my freezer and the rest in shelf stable foods. I get freeze dried for produce, meat and cheese b/c it works & tastes just like the foods in my freezer, but lasts 25 years on the shelf. It is usually a bit more pricey, but worth the investment b/c it won’t go to waste if you lose access to power!

  2. Mistiy,

    I agree with your caution, in the sense that one shouldn’t rely completely on the freezer for food storage. I use it as a compliment to my shelf-stable foods, not a replacement for them. I also use it more for shorter-term storage (three-month supply) rather than a longer-term storage. I’ve taken an approach similar to yours, where I have meats, veggies and fruits, etc. in canned/freeze-dried form so that if we lost power or ran into a problem like you did, we’d still have food storage.

    Thanks for the input!


  3. mamasmith

    I have a freezer full of food too and have had many power outages. If the power goes out, the first thing we do is cover the top of the freezer with lots of sleeping bags and blankets and then something heavier to give it some weight. and then don’t open it! most of the stuff will be safe for a few days! we had power out for about 5 days once and all was well. when the power comes back on we open it up and go thru everything and take out the softer stuff, usually bread and things like that. Some of the fruit & veg close to the top will be soft so we take them out eat them.

  4. Knowing how to prepare simple foods in a delicious way is really important too:).

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