I’ve written many times about how we order from Azure Standard and why I love that I can order in bulk. I’ve also shared many times about canning and preserving our own food. Growing your own food can be one of the cheapest ways to have a food storage supply but it’s not the only way. If shit hits the fan you aren’t going to care if your food is organic or canned from the store. You are going to care that it is food and you are being nourished. I could list a million reasons why it’s important that you have food storage on hand, but I assume if you’ve found this post that you already know those reasons. Here are a few ways you can easily work to have adequate food storage in case of emergencies.
Buy in Bulk
The easiest way to start some food storage is to buy in bulk. We buy everything from Azure Standard because it’s organic and well priced. You may think that their prices are expensive upon just looking at them but you have to remember that they are organic. Of course you can go to the store to buy a big bag of Quaker oats cheaper than you can buy the organic ones. The reason behind that is the chemicals that are sprayed on their oats. The chemicals make the processing much quicker which allows them to produce more. It’s the simple philosophy of supply and demand. For Quaker they can supply a lot more and thus balance their demand more. For the organic oats the supply is less which makes them harder to get and can increase the demand. Therefore, their price can be a bit more.
To be honest, I still think they are reasonably priced even compared to name brand items. I spend around 200-300/month with them for the two of us. We don’t go to the store though. We have a freezer full of meat and cupboards full of the staples. Plus, I can buy vegetables in bulk. We might make a quick few stops to the store for some lettuce or bananas but that is it. Whatever I spend at Azure is our entire grocery budget for the month. Just to call this out, we don’t eat out often either. We eat breakfast out once per week and we eat dinner out once per week. Of course, there are exceptions when life gets crazy. As a majority of weeks though the groceries we order last us the entire month.
Best Buys For Bulk
The best things to buy in bulk are grains, flours, beans, and oats. They have really long shelf lives that make it so they are easy to store. We keep them in 5 gallon buckets and then just replenish the jars that we keep in the kitchen from our bulk storage. If you are wanting to keep these items longer I suggest you put them in mylar bags and seal them in 5 gallon buckets. We do not currently do this so I don’t have a ton of experience with it. I also advise if you are storing long term that you use oxygen absorbers too.
Our bulk food is still our working pantry back up. It’s like a little store that we visit when we need to replenish the kitchen but it lasts us months. One 50 lb bag of flour has lasted us nearly 8 months so far and I make a lot of things homemade. Obviously, you’ll need to scale this for your family size. There are two of us so our situation is a little easier but if we had a family I would definitely be ordering more and storing more. Instead of one 5 gallon bucket of each item I’d maybe keep two or three on hand.
One really easy way to start food storage is by picking up some canned goods at the store. These still have a really good shelf life. I’ve found that they can have anywhere from a year to three years on them. I also think that this is just a suggested shelf life and they will last a lot longer. Again, if you start dipping into your emergency stash you aren’t going to care that they aren’t organic or expired a couple months ago. Food will be food. This is a great method because it’s super easy to just pick up an extra can or two while you are already at the store. Just note to yourself that those extra cans go in a separate area and are kept for emergencies or back up.
The biggest key with store canned items is to make sure eventually you start rotating through them. As I mentioned, some of these only have a year of shelf life on them. I would hate for you to buy all of these cans just to have to throw them away a year later. This can be a working pantry just like your oats and grains too. You keep some food in your immediate pantry and then use this as your backup. Then when you replenish it goes directly into your storage pantry. My logistics background wants me to mention FIFO- first in first out. You want to make sure the first ones you buy are the first ones that get used. There are some really awesome storage systems for these types of cans too where you just fill them up and pull the cans right out the bottom.
You can also buy canned foods from Azure. This is a more expensive option. Their canned items are still organic and typically have BPA free linings in the cans. They are probably the healthiest version of canned food you can get. Options like Sam’s Club and Costco are also good for this. Instead of grabbing one to two cans you can grab an entire case. Thrive Market is another option that I like for canned items. You can buy as many as you want and they are also organic. Their prices are really good too! Prior to using Azure, Thrive was my go-to source for food. They have tons of sales and deals too and the membership cost is super reasonable.
Freeze Dried Food
This is the last thing that we added to our food storage. To be completely honest, this is the last thing that I would worry about. Freeze dried food has a shelf life of 20+ years. It’s great to keep on hand and is truly good for if the shit really does hit the fan. I would say your desire to purchase these items is going to be dependent on how much you think is going to happen. Right now, we feel like that is happening and I feel pretty good because I have this in storage.
However, they are expensive and you aren’t just going to want to use them randomly as food. To be completely honest, they’re not going to taste as good as fresh food. It’s just the nature of what these are. Again, if things truly go wrong though you are going to be reaching for some nourishment even if it doesn’t taste the best.
I don’t love Amazon, to be honest. They’re huge and they’ve put a lot of small businesses out. I love to support local places where I can, but for freeze dried food I’m going to recommend Amazon. If you are a regular purchaser on Amazon it’s super easy to just throw something in your cart. Doesn’t matter what it is- fruits, veggies, soup, etc. Every time you place an order just add an extra $10 item.
Other options include getting big buckets full of freeze dried food. They will typically say 30 day supply for one person or 10 day supply for two people. This is super easy because it includes all three meals per day. It doesn’t force you to buy a bunch of stuff that you might not use. It kind of leaves the decisions out of it and it’s packaged so that you know what you are doing. This is a great option but they are also pretty expensive. Expect to spend at least $100 when buying one of these buckets. The good thing is that it’s a one time investment. These last for years and years so you’ll likely only have to buy them once or twice in your lifetime.