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Food Storage 101: What to Store and How to Store It

Keeping a small stockpile of food is a good idea for many reasons. For one, having a decent stock of foods you commonly eat can help you save on your grocery bill, should the need to pinch pennies ever arise. For another, if your area is ever affected by a natural disaster, food and supplies at your local store may be hard to come by, making it crucial to have easy access to food. Other families simply like to be prepared at all times, for any situation that might make it difficult for them to otherwise find or buy food.
Whatever the reason, storing food is a smart idea, but it’s also an overwhelming one. How do you know what to store? Where will you keep it? How do you make sure it doesn’t go bad? Today, we won’t dive too deeply into the topic, but we will give you some surface level information that can help you get started with your own stockpile of food.

What To Store

The most common problem people face when it comes to food storage is trying to decide what foods to store. The best answer is to store foods that your family enjoys and eats regularly. While that may seem difficult, there are many ways to adapt recipes to accommodate easy-to-store foods. Here are some foods that should definitely be included as you build your own stock of food.


This deserves a top spot on the list, because it is the most important. Not only will water be necessary for drinking (in case of an emergency), but it will also help you cook foods or rehydrate dehydrated foods. Store water in specially outfitted water barrels, or in old soda bottles or water jugs if necessary. If you are stocking up in case of emergency, plan on one gallon of water per person, per day.

Pasta and Jarred Sauce

Pasta is a food with a long shelf life, making it a good candidate for long term storage. While it does take water and a cooking method to prepare (perhaps making it a less convenient option for emergency situations), pasta is a great thing to store for times of financial difficulty. Jarred pasta sauces will also keep well, so you can have a good stockpile of easy and tasty meals, just from these two things alone.

Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh produce can be expensive during times of financial hardship, and it may be hard to come by in times of emergency. Since you can’t store fresh vegetables and fruits long-term, it’s a good idea to store them in their dehydrated forms. While this method may alter the taste of the food, it’s better than nothing.

Canned Foods

Another option for fruits and vegetables is canned goods. Canned foods have a long shelf life and are very easy to prepare. What’s more, there are many options available to you as canned foods, including certain meats (tuna, chicken) and soups, which can be an entire meal.


Protein is vital to nutrition, so make sure your food storage includes some protein-rich options. Suggestions might include beef jerky (or jerky from another meat), protein bars, peanut butter, or even protein powders that can be mixed into foods or drinks.

How to Store It

Most foods require storage in a cool, dry place. Somewhere indoors is usually ideal. Pantry space is the obvious choice, but if you don’t have room in your pantry, try to find space in closets or under beds. If you garage is temperature controlled, you could use that. If not, you can still use the garage if absolutely necessary. A temperature controlled storage unit would work as well.
Make sure containers are clean and dry, and that cans aren’t pierced or dented, before adding them to your storage. Also, make sure that expiration dates are clearly visible. Along those same lines, you’ll want to periodically rotate the items in your food storage, using soon-to-be-expired items and replacing them with a fresh stock.
If you follow these guidelines, you should be well on your way to having a decent stockpile of food to help you and your family be prepared. Hopefully, the need will never arise, but if it does, you’ll be glad you were ready for it.
Arizona Storage Centers offers reliable and secure storage throughout the Phoenix area. We offer temperature controlled units that keep your most precious items (or your stockpile of food) safe. We have facilities located in Gilbert, Chandler, Deer Valley, Phoenix, and Glendale, so your storage unit is never too far away. We’d love to help you with your self-storage needs, so please drop by one of our centers today, or give us a call at 480-386-6022.

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