Make your own free website on




Storing Food Safely

(Content provided by:

All food contains bacteria and mold spores, and most food contains insect eggs. Given the right environment, these microorganisms will start to grow and destroy the food. The main conditions that can cause insects and microorganisms to grow are moisture and heat.

If products are not properly packaged, they can absorb moisture out of the air. When the moisture reaches a level of 12% to 18%, product breakdown will accelerate. Make sure to store food in a dry place.

Heat is also a major cause of deterioration in food quality. Store all products away from heat ducts, clothes dryers, sunlight, chimneys and other sources of heat.

(Following content provided by: Mary Catherine ("Cathy") Miller)

Buckets - Use only food grade buckets for your food storage. The Life Latch buckets have a unique resealable lid that requires no extra tool or expertise to use. Most other plastic food storage buckets require a tool to open to prevent breaking or warping the lids, and these lids fit down well if you place a board across the top of the lid and pound down the board, rotating it around the lid as needed. (From )

Oxygen Absorber Packets - There are two types of oxygen absorbers used for the storage of Food, "B" absorbers and "D" absorbers. The "B" absorbers require moisture from the food they are packed with to perform their action. The "D" absorbers contain their own moisture and are better suited for dry pack canning because there isn't enough moisture in correctly dried food to activate the "D" absorbers. The "B" absorbers will last a year after they are manufactured but the "D" absorbers only last 6 months. Once it is opened, the unused packets must be put in another air tight package. A small mason jar with a new canning lid should do. Oxygen absorber packets will not absorb moisture. (From )

Using Dry Ice To Preserve Your Food - Dry ice is a solid and looks much like regular ice - except that it's -110 degrees F. below zero (-78.5C). Use great caution when handling this product as it will burn your skin if it makes contact. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide.

Materials Needed: A food scale, a measuring cup, dry ice, the food you are planning on preserving, and storage containers.

Carefully place about one to two ounces (1/3 cup) of dry ice in the bottom of a six gallon bucket. Place a paper towel over the top of the dry ice. Fill the bucket with grain or legumes to within ½ inch of the top. Set the lid lightly on top and wait for the dry ice to melt (about ½ to 1 hour.) Seal the container. Check the lids every 20 minutes or so for a few times to make sure that you didn’t seal them too soon. If they bulge, loosen them, then reseal.

Storing Your Food Using Compressed Gas Such As Nitrogen or Argon - This method is very expensive for the person who is only storing a few buckets because of the expense of the equipment. It may be very cheap for the person storing hundreds of buckets because the gas itself is inexpensive.

Equipment needed: Nitrogen Bottle, Pressure reducing valve and gauges, Hose, Wand (a hollow, rigid tube connected to the end of the hose which is pushed to the bottom of the bucket for the actual nitrogen purging.), Hand held valve at the top of the wand (optional: You could use the valve on top of the bottle but this would be a real pain).

(You should be able to get the majority of the equipment you need at a welding supply store.)

"After you get your nitrogen apparatus set up, adjust your output pressure to between 60 and 70 PSI. Fill your bucket with the product, set the lid on top, off-centered just a bit so there is access for the wand, then stick the wand to the bottom of the bucket and open the valve. Stick a lit match, a lighter or candle over the top of the bucket where the gas will escape, then open the valve, starting the purging operation. Its' a pretty good indication that most of the oxygen has been removed when the flame goes out. If you time this, you should only have to use this flame technique for four or five buckets until you get a pretty good feeling for how long you will need to leave the nitrogen on for each bucket. After you have inserted the nitrogen, immediately remove the wand, slide the lid over onto the bucket and seal the lid. If you want the best job you can get, you can always seal one oxygen absorber inside the bucket to capture any residual oxygen left in the container. In my opinion, a mylar bag isn't needed as there will only be such a small amount of oxygen absorbed that the vacuum created by this will be minimal."

(From )

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) - CAUTION: Use only FOOD GRADE DE in your food storage. "Mix thoroughly one cup of DE to every forty pounds of grain, grain products or legumes. You need to make certain that every kernel is coated so it is better to do the mixing in small batches where you can insure more even coating. DE does not kill the insect eggs or pupae, but it will kill adults and larvae and any eggs or pupae that hatch into adults will die after coming into contact with it. WARNING: DE is a very powdery kind of dust, so you need to take steps to keep it out of your lungs and eyes. Even whole wheat flour dust can cause lung irritation if you breath enough of it." (From )

Label & Rotate - Label each can, bucket, jar, etc. of your food storage with what is inside and the date it was stored. Rotate your storage, using the oldest first and restocking your supplies regularly. Rotating your storage will ensure that you have fresh food when you need it and that you know how to prepare it. Using your food storage regularly will also ensure that your body doesn’t reject the whole grains, etc. if you ever have to totally survive on your food storage because of a natural disaster, economic disruption, or some other reason.



Food Storage Amounts

(Content provided by:

Since no single food contains all the nutrients a person needs, it is wise to store items from each food group. Consider the circumstances of family members when deciding which foods to store. The amount of basic food a family should store depends on the age, sex, and activity of the individuals in the family. For food storage to be successful, dry-pack products need to be low in moisture (10% moisture or less), good quality, and insect free. The following products are excellent to store because of their ability to retain flavor and nutritional value.

Suggested Amounts of Basic Foods for Home Storage

(Per adult for one year. This list may vary according to location.)


(wheat, rice, corn, rolled oats, spaghetti) 400 pounds (181 kg) OR

72 #10 cans (wheat)


(dry beans, peas, lentils) 60 pounds (27 kg) OR

12 #10 cans (beans)

Powdered Milk

16 pounds (7 kg) OR

4 #10 cans

Sugar or Honey

60 pounds (27 kg) OR

10 #10 cans

Cooking Oil

10 quarts (11 liters)


8 pounds (3.6 kg)


(2 weeks) 14 gallons (53 liters)


Storage Guidelines

1. Use storage areas that are well ventilated, clean, dark, dry, and cool. If your conditions are less satisfactory, rotate contents more frequently than recommended. Even though space may be limited, there are usually "hidden areas" for storage. Use your imagination!

2. Do not place food storage containers on or against cement or dirt floors and walls. Place pieces of wood between the storage containers and the floor or wall to provide ventilation and protect against moisture.

3. Keep stored food away from products that may affect the flavor of the food.

4. Rotate and use food storage items regularly. Date food items as you purchase or can them, then store new supplies of food at the back of the shelves, moving earlier purchases forward to be used first.

5. Do not go into debt. Acquire food items gradually. At the very least, save a few dollars a week for storage items. Using the basic foods in day-to-day menus can cut food costs and allow you to purchase more supplies. Or, as a family, give up some of the nonessentials for a short time until you can accumulate additional foods. Through prayer and concerted effort, you can work out a food storage plan that will provide you with security and peace of mind.

No single food storage plan will work for everyone. Each family’s needs differ, as does their financial ability to accumulate the storage items. But by working under the direction of the First Presidency "to concentrate on essential foods," it can be done.


The following guidelines will help in purchasing and storing basic food items:


Grains include wheat, rice, rolled oats, dried corn, pearled barley, and other cereal grains. Flour, cornmeal, and pasta products such as macaroni and spaghetti are also included. Each family should store various grain items that suit their individual circumstances. For example, rather than storing three to four hundred pounds of wheat per person, a family might choose to store two hundred pounds of wheat, one hundred pounds of flour, twenty-five pounds of rice, twenty-five pounds of rolled oats, twenty-five pounds of dried corn, and twenty-five pounds of macaroni per person. There are numerous combinations. This gives variety to the menu and encourages using and rotating the supply. It also provides choices for those who do not like or cannot eat a particular grain.

Most grains can be dry-pack canned in small containers (see below). This makes them more convenient to use and reduces the possibility of spoilage. Grains may also be stored in tightly sealed metal or heavy plastic containers.


Legumes—an inexpensive, nutritious protein food—include beans (soy, pinto, white, kidney, lima, winged, red, navy, pink, and black-eyed), split peas, lentils, and peanuts. They can be stored in clean, dry metal or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. They may also be dry-pack canned.

Fats and Oils

Fat is essential to every diet. Shortening, cooking oil, margarine, and mayonnaise are suggested for storage. Store fats in sealed containers in cool, dry, dark places and rotate them frequently.

Powdered Milk

Nonfat powdered milk, instant or regular, is an excellent storage item. It contains all the nutrients, except fat, found in fresh milk.

In the past, storing large amounts of powdered milk has been recommended. However, this has often led to spoilage and waste. More recent studies show that smaller quantities of milk are adequate if people store and eat larger quantities of grains.

Powdered milk can be stored in the original sealed packages, or if purchased in bulk, it can be stored in tightly covered metal or plastic containers. It can also be dry-pack canned.

You may also use canned milk as part of the milk storage program, but you must rotate it regularly.


Nutritionists recommend iodized rather than plain salt, when it is available. Store salt in its original container in a cool, dry place.

Sugar and Honey

Whether to store sugar or honey is a matter of personal choice. Sugar may harden; honey may crystallize and/or darken. Neither affects the safety of the product.

Store honey in small containers. Then, if it crystallizes, you can immerse the containers in hot (not boiling) water to reliquefy it.

Store granulated sugar in a tightly covered metal or plastic container or place it on a shelf away from moisture in its unopened cloth or paper bag. Occasionally knead the bag to help prevent the sugar from hardening.


Water is more essential than food in sustaining life. Store a minimum of seven gallons of water per person for drinking and food preparation. Store an additional seven gallons per person of the same quality water for bathing, brushing teeth, and dishwashing. Use heavy plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. Metal containers, which may corrode, tend to give water an unpleasant taste.

If you have any doubt as to the bacterial safety of stored water, you may purify it by boiling vigorously for one to two minutes or by adding chlorine bleach (5 percent sodium hypochlorite solution). Generally, half a teaspoon of bleach will purify five gallons of clear water, and one teaspoon will purify five gallons of cloudy water. If you store it away from sunlight in clean containers, and if it is safe bacterially at the time of storage, water will remain pure indefinitely.


Container Size and Approximate Food Weight

1 gallon = 7 lbs. Wheat, beans, rice, or sugar

1 gallon = 5 lbs. Powdered milk or flour

1 gallon = 4 lbs. macaroni

1 gallon = 3 lbs. Potato flakes, oatmeal, or instant milk

2 gallons = 15 lbs. Wheat, beans, rice, or sugar

2 gallons = 10 lbs. Powdered milk or flour

2 gallons = 8 lbs. macaroni

2 gallons = 6 lbs. Potato flakes, oatmeal, or instant milk

4 gallons = 30 lbs. Wheat, beans, rice, or sugar

4 gallons = 20 lbs. Powdered milk or flour

4 gallons = 15 lbs. macaroni

4 gallons = 13 lbs. Potato flakes, oatmeal, or instant milk

5 gallons = 35 lbs. Wheat, beans, rice, or sugar

5 gallons = 25 lbs. Powdered milk or flour

5 gallons = 20 lbs. macaroni

5 gallons = 15 lbs. Potato flakes, oatmeal, or instant milk

6.5 gallons (50 lb. can) = 50 lbs. Wheat, beans, rice, or sugar

6.5 gallons (50 lb. can) = 30 lbs. Powdered milk or flour

6.5 gallons (50 lb. can) = 25 lbs. macaroni

6.5 gallons (50 lb. can) = 20 lbs. Potato flakes, oatmeal, or instant milk

13 gallons (100 lb. can) = 100 lbs. Wheat, beans, rice, or sugar

13 gallons (100 lb. can) = 60 lbs. Powdered milk or flour

13 gallons (100 lb. can) = 50 lbs. macaroni

13 gallons (100 lb. can) = 40 lbs. Potato flakes, oatmeal, or instant milk

30 gal. Drum = 225 lbs. Wheat, beans, rice, or sugar

30 gal. Drum = 150 lbs. Powdered milk or flour

30 gal. Drum = 120 lbs. macaroni

30 gal. Drum = 90 lbs. Potato flakes, oatmeal, or instant milk

55 gal. Drum = 400 lbs. Wheat, beans, rice, or sugar

55 gal. Drum = 275 lbs. Powdered milk or flour

55 gal. Drum = 225 lbs. macaroni

55 gal. Drum = 160 lbs. Potato flakes, oatmeal, or instant milk


Where to Store

(Content provided by: Kathy Hedgecock)

Here are some ideas:

First, look around your house. You'll find lots of things you can eliminate to make room for food storage. We have seen whole rooms lined with shelves, but some folks build shelves in garages or storerooms. Sometimes your kitchen cabinets can be rearranged, and an extra shelf added to make more room. A lady I knew stored her five gallon buckets on top of her kitchen cabinets. She sewed a pretty curtain, from sheets, that hung from the ceiling to cover them up.

How about in your bedroom closets? Try this-you may have two feet or more of wasted space above the top shelf in each closet. Install an extra shelf there for storage. Or, stack five gallon buckets or #10 cans in the "back" corner of the closet. Each closet could yield a little space. (This works best when you don't have teen-age girls!) I've heard it suggested that you tie loose items up in a sheet or pillow case, and hang it from a huge hook from the ceiling. The hook needs to be placed on a "stud" or beam, to hold the weight. This would work for things like bar soap and other smaller items.

Then we come to the linen closet. Empty it out! Store toiletries in the bathroom. (I use a white "CD tower" to store the towels) Place a spare set of sheets for each bed between the mattress and box spring, give the rest away (OK, if you've got a bedwetter, keep two sets of sheets!) Now you've got a new food storage closet!

Last, but not least, (after convincing your hubby that white five gallon buckets are attractive) make furniture! I've known people to use the buckets as bed bases! You can also stack two sets, two high (say that three times, fast!) and place a round board over the top, and cover with a tablecloth to the floor, and Voila! An end table! I once saw an attractive folding screen in the corner of a living room. I asked the lady if it had special meaning, and she replied "Sure! It hides my food storage!" I looked behind it, and sure enough! There were several buckets and boxes! See, guys! Five gallon buckets are attractive!

It's Important to Know Food storage should be kept in a cool, dry place. Optimum temperature is 72 degrees. Here in the Southwest, moisture isn't a problem, but we lived for a time in the East and the Pacific northwest. Moisture is something to consider. If you store food in metal containers, keep them off the floor! We laid rows of 2x4's on the floor, and set the cans of wheat on top of those. The air space prevents the moisture from rusting the cans. This is true with plastic buckets also because moisture can still creep inside.

BUGS can be a problem as well. Freezing flour and grains will kill any eggs waiting to hatch. Airtight containers and oxygen packets are useful in suffocating the little buggers. I buy packages of bay leaves in the ethnic section of the grocery store and spread them all over our storage room. Twice a year I vacuum them up and spread new ones. The bugs hate the smell! If you wish, you can put a bay leaf or two inside the container of flour you are currently using just don't eat it! Tupperware is one of the few truly airtight storage containers (no, I don't sell it or own stock!) Rubbermaid makes some. Not all containers are airtight, so be careful what you use. I have heard that you can put the product (flour, pasta, etc.) in a mason canning jar with an oxygen packet and put the lid on. As long as the seal is in good condition, whatever's inside will keep fresh that way. Oxygen packets are available at the local church cannery for about $9 for 100.


Back to Home Page