Sunday May 20, 2012: Updated June 18, 2017
My wife and I set a goal to have 2 years worth of grains, beans and milk, and 1 year of sugar, flour and canned goods for our family of six.
I built a room in our basement with a sturdy shelving system to keep all the jars and bulk foods off of the ground but still within reach.
We wanted every bucket to be easily identifiable and accessible.
Each bucket has a label and a date system that allows for easy rotation, inventory and re-use.
Raw ingredients cost less than store bought meals. Plus, you are in control of what goes into your food.
Wheat stores for 30+ years. In 2011, we finished off two 5-gallon cans of wheat from 1970 that my mom gave us. It actually tasted really good. Old wheat when preserved correctly will stay good for decades, but we have found that bread doesn't rise as well when using 1/2 century old wheat.
In 2016, as an experiment, I grew my own wheat in the backyard.
Although you would never want to grow all your wheat in your own backyard, it was educational and humbling see how much work actually goes into growing wheat. Naturally I had to make home made bread from home grown wheat.
Rice and beans store for 10-15 years. 1/25/2015: I recently just leaned that you can pressure cook beans in jars. It takes just as long to process 7 quarts of beans as it does 1 quart, so do a bunch all at once and you'll have enough beans to last you for months.
If you have the room for an extra appliance, a rice cooker makes preparing whole grain rice super fast and easy.
Sugar stores for 3-5 years. Sugar may get clumpy after a year or so. The key is to keep it in a cool, dry place. Better yet, only store what you will consume in 1-2 years.
Morning Moos Milk stores for 1-3 years. 6/2017: We used to drink Morning Moos exclusively but now we just drink regular milk. It's fresher and makes better quality yogurt. Morning Moos is still our go-to milk when the regular milk runs out before we can go shopping.
The Purpose of Food Storage:
Just because a grain or bean can be stored for decades doesn't mean you should store it for that long. The idea here is to eat what you store. Make it a part of your everyday diet.
About every 6 months to a year, we inventory our food storage and replenish what we have already eaten. On these occasions, we buy about 200-450 lbs of grain, sugar, milk and beans. It costs about $250 to replenish the supply.
In this way, we always have a 2-year supply of food that is still nutritious, healthy and tasty.