Emergency Food Supply

ShortTerm Food Storage The MustHave Items You Need in Your Emergency Kit


Having short-term food storage ready for an emergency is a must. Knowing what food items to get and how to store it will help ensure your family has good nutrition, even when groceries are unavailable.

Creating an effective plan for storing food is important. Experts suggest 3 days of non-perishables and 2 weeks of perishables for the size of your household. Consider nutritional value and shelf life when making a list of items.

Prepare the right tools for storage. Sealable containers can preserve perishable items. Dry ice or chemical cooling packs will preserve meats, cheeses, and other perishables.

When looking into short-term food storage, think of everyone's needs. Everyone should have enough safe nutrition while supplies are low. Choose foods that need no electricity to cook; like oatmeal and other grains. Ready-to-eat meals that need only water, and canned foods with pull tabs are also good.

Choose products wisely. Consider dietary preferences and make sure everyone gets their portion. This will keep them strong during dangerous situations, while protecting their diets.

Non-Perishable Foods

Non-perishable food items are a must for your emergency kit. They don't go bad quickly. You can find them in most grocery stores. There are a lot of types you can store in your emergency kit. Let's look at some of them:

  • Canned food
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Granola bars
  • Protein bars
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Candy
  • Powdered milk
  • Powdered juice

Canned Goods

Canned goods are ideal for short-term emergency food storage. They don't spoil, no prep needed, and last longer than other foods. Pick items that you'll actually enjoy eating in an emergency!

Types of canned goods to add to your pantry:

  • Green beans, corn, carrots
  • Fruits with no added sugar
  • Sauces, mustards (in small amounts)
  • Baked beans
  • Tuna & salmon
  • Soup bases & broth
  • Tomatoes (puree, chopped, diced)
  • Beans (kidney, garbanzo, black)
  • Tomato paste

Dried Fruits and Vegetables

Dried fruits and veggies are ideal for an emergency kit. They last longer and don't spoil easily. Plus, they require minimal preparation, and provide essential nutrients. Invest in freeze-dried options if you can afford them. These have a shelf life of 25 years and taste good when rehydrated with water.

When selecting dried items, read nutrition labels for freshness. Check the expiration date to make sure you're getting food that has recently been processed and still offers nutritional benefits. Clean cans or containers before packing them away too, as bacteria from airborne particles could contaminate foods.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds can make an awesome addition to your emergency food kit. They give you protein, vitamins, and minerals. And, with the right storage, they can last a long time. Different types of nuts and seeds boast different health benefits. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, and peanuts all have lots of nutrition. Chia and flax seeds are very versatile. They can go in smoothies or baked goods for extra nutrients, or be ground into flours for recipes.

When shopping for nuts and seeds to store, don't forget to check the expiration dates. Nuts should be put in airtight containers in a place with no moisture, heat, or light. Seeds should be kept in cool cabinets away from heat and humidity or else they'll spoil. With the right storage, you can make the most of these healthy staples in your emergency food kit!

Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is a must-have for emergency food supplies. It's a great source of calcium, Vitamin D and Riboflavin, plus it has a longer shelf life than other perishable foods. Incorporate it into recipes such as cakes, cookies and muffins for a unique taste. Look for products fortified with extra vitamins and minerals. Nonfat dry milk is the best choice if you plan to use it regularly. Save space in your emergency kit with packages that come with scoops and measuring lines.

When using freshly prepared dry milk, use cold water for optimal texture and flavor. Warm water will create big clumps! Ensure a longer shelf life by storing powdered milk in an airtight container.

Protein Bars

Protein bars are super convenient snacks. They have a long shelf-life and are packed with proteins like whey, soy or others. These power bars are a must to keep hunger away during a crisis. They come in many shapes & flavors and some contain dark chocolate, nuts & dried fruits.

Popular protein bar brands use minimal ingredients & no artificial sweeteners/sugar alcohols. With a shelf-life of up to 2 years, they can be stored without worry. Protein bars should be included in any emergency supply kit. They provide essential nutrients when other sources may not be available.


Water is a must-have for any emergency kit! It's vital to ensure you have enough on hand to get you through a short crisis. As it's needed for drinking and other necessities, sourcing it in a crisis can be tricky.

To prepare, here are some options for short-term water storage:

  • Canteens
  • Water bottles
  • Water bladders
  • Water jugs
  • Water barrels
  • Rain barrels

Water Purification Tablets

It's essential to have water purification tablets for any short-term food storage plan. These tablets have chlorine to wipe out bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants. When used correctly, they make tap water safe for drinking and cooking in 30 minutes.

When selecting water purification tablets, check the expiration date and type of active ingredient. Chlorine dioxide tablets are the safest and most effective. Read labels carefully; the solution should be visible, with no or a slight chlorine-like flavor.

Besides tablets, keep other emergency items like plastic buckets or jugs to store clean water. Clean and dry these containers before use, to prevent germs in stored water. Remember to check expiration dates on both the purification tablets and containers, for your safety and that of your family over time!

Water Filters

Water filters are key for any emergency food storage kit. They come in various shapes, sizes, and capacities. Choose the one that reduces contaminants you need to, like clear water only, or chemicals, cysts, bacteria, and viruses.

Two types are activated carbon filters, e.g. pitcher-style water filter, and ceramic filter systems, e.g. portable. Activated carbon filters reduce toxins and improve taste and odor in clear water sources. Change it every 3 months, depending on usage.

Ceramic filters can filter particles of 0.2 microns or larger. This includes protozoa, bacteria, and some viruses. If you're worried about particles like Cryptosporidium and Giardia lamblia, a 0.2 micron rated ceramic filter will work for up to 5,000 gallons. No need to replace cartridges.

Don't forget tablets that kill bacteria in contaminated water. These should not replace regular filter changing but provide an extra layer if filtered resources take longer than expected during an emergency.

Water Containers

When preparing an emergency kit, use containers designed for long-term storage. Food-grade plastic or glass is best, as they don't let in chemicals. Rinse them with a mild bleach solution (2 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of clean water). Then rinse well with tap water. Keep the containers tightly sealed when stored away.

Different types of storage can be used:

  • Large tanks made from thick plastic. These come in various sizes from hardware stores.
  • Buckets are a good option for limited space. They come in smaller sizes and can store extra items like blankets and survival tools.
  • Water Barrels hold 55 gallons and come with spigots.
  • Smaller bottles or jugs are good for larger drinking water quantities. Avoid plastics with chemicals, as they may leach into liquids over time.

Cooking Supplies

Short-term food storage? Essential. The right cooking supplies? Make all the difference. In an emergency? A nutritious meal? Yes please! Here's what you should keep in your emergency kit: must-haves for cooking. Ready? Let's go!

  • Non-perishable food items
  • Cooking and eating utensils
  • Matches and lighters
  • Fuel for cooking
  • A portable stove
  • Waterproof containers
  • A first-aid kit

Camp Stove

Camp stoves are great for many activities such as camping, fishing, and emergency situations. When searching for one, it's important to make sure it meets your needs without taking up too much space. There are many types of camp stoves to choose from.

Some of the options include:

  • Single burner propane stoves designed for simplicity.
  • High-end two-burner models with adjustable valves and ignitions for easier starting.
  • Compact folding models taking up minimal space in backpacks and emergency kits.
  • Heavy-duty three burner gas camping oven combinations with griddles offering the most versatility.
  • Bonus components like baking pans and windscreens can make cooking outdoors more enjoyable.

There are plenty of quality camp stoves to trust in tough times.


Choosing the right cooking fuel is key for good meals. There are different fuels for different tasks. Budget, personal preference, and the type of food cooked all matter. Each fuel has pros and cons. Here's an overview of common ones:

  • Wood: A traditional energy source, it gives food a smokey flavor. It burns hot and slow. Perfect for grilling or smoking. Can be inexpensive, but fire risk is high if not used properly.
  • Propane: Burns cleanly and produces consistent heat. Ideal for outdoor grills and deep-fryers. Can be costly to refill.
  • Charcoal: Produces strong heat. Good for slow-cooked dishes. Needs to be monitored.
  • Electric Stovetop: Safe and efficient. Inexpensive upfront, but expensive in energy costs.


For short-term food storage, you need some essential items. Utensils are a must for prepping and eating. You should get:

  • Forks and spoons for stir-fries and other fast meals. Go for durable stainless steel that lasts longer.
  • A cutting board. This is great for chopping produce. Get one made from bamboo or hardwood, and lightweight so you can move it around.
  • Knives. Chef's knife, paring knife, serrated knife, utility knife – these will help with prepping food. Get ones with ergonomic handles so you don't tire out.

With these utensils, you can quickly make meals from your food storage before an emergency!

Pots and Pans

Pots and pans are essentials for a well-equipped kitchen. You'll need small and large ones for everyday cooking and emergency food storage. Select durable materials like stainless steel or cast iron. Also, non-stick surfaces are not ideal for emergency use, as they will wear out fast.

When picking pots and pans, think about the people you're feeding and the space in your emergency kit. Look for sets with multiple sizes and lids with vent holes. Also, consider spouts or pouring lips for draining liquid foods. Include a few small pans that can be used on stovetop burners or in the oven. Lastly, don't forget heat-resistant utensils like tongs – they're great for turning meats carefully!

Miscellaneous Items

Stocking up on canned goods, grains and other non-perishables is important. But don't forget the less obvious items. Here's a guide to the necessary extras for your emergency kit. Preparedness is the key for whatever life sends your way!

First Aid Kit

A well-stocked emergency kit should include a first aid kit. You may want to adjust the contents of your kit, based on age and special conditions. Here is what most people should include:

  • Assorted bandages
  • Sterile gauze pads and rolls
  • Adhesive tape
  • Scissors, tweezers and splinter remover kits
  • Antiseptic wipes, alcohol swabs, cotton balls
  • Petroleum jelly, antibiotic ointment, burn ointment and calamine lotion
  • Over-the-counter meds like aspirin, antihistamines, antacids and laxatives
  • Disposable gloves, masks and eye shields
  • Instant cold packs and heat pads for sprains or bruises.


A flashlight is great to have in your home. It can be used for power outages, checking windows, and general nighttime activities. Get one with LED technology. It will conserve and extend battery life, up to 10 years.

Get multiple flashlights to share with family and neighbors. Have extra batteries ready. Get spare bulbs and replacements too.


Batteries are essential for your emergency preparedness kit; without them, other supplies are useless! Get multiple sets of different sizes and types, like AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt.

Alkaline batteries last longer than carbon zinc – store them in a cool dry place, with terminals insulated.

Invest in rechargeable items like flashlights or radio – fully charge them and always have power banks on hand. Be prepared – don't be caught unaware!


Matches are a must-have in an emergency kit. They are a great source of heat and light when tinder is available. They can also be used to fire up gas stoves and other cooking appliances. Stormproof matches are the best option for storage. “Strike anywhere” matches don't need foam strips on boxes. It's wise to have various match lengths for different uses, such as campfires or candles. Plus, several types of lighter fluid and fuel sticks for added convenience.

Store matches away from moisture and ignition sources, but still accessible. A waterproof container with a secure lid is the best choice for keeping stormproof matches safe.

Portable Radio

Include a portable radio in your emergency kit. Choose an analog or digital model based on your preference. An analog radio has a dial to scan the airwaves. A digital radio has extra features such as preset stations, alarms and tactile feedback.

For short-term emergencies, get a radio with good reception, great sound and long battery life. Rotate the batteries. Fresh batteries should always be ready. Local stations' updates and warnings could be vital during an emergency or natural disaster. Don't leave without a reliable radio!


Having a food storage plan and an emergency kit can help reduce stress and uncertainty during an emergency. Preparing for an unexpected event can be daunting, but focusing on the necessary items each family needs will make it easier.

Prioritize by stocking up on non-perishables like canned or packaged foods with long shelf life. Make sure to include adequate water, manual cooking tools and basic survival supplies. A well-stocked pantry can mean the difference between life and death in certain situations. Thoughtfully consider what is essential for each family. With this, you can develop a plan to survive any disaster – big or small.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the most important items to have in an emergency food kit?

A: The most important items to have in an emergency food kit are non-perishable food items such as canned goods, dried fruits and nuts, and high-energy snacks. It is also important to have a manual can opener, a water container, and a fire extinguisher.

Q: How long can food be stored in an emergency kit?

A: The shelf life of food items stored in an emergency kit depends on the type of food. Non-perishable items such as canned goods, dried fruits and nuts, and high-energy snacks can be stored for up to five years.

Q: What should I do to make sure my emergency kit is always ready?

A: It is important to regularly check the expiration dates of food items stored in the emergency kit and replace any expired items. It is also important to check the fire extinguisher and refill it if necessary.

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