February 20

How To Stock and Build a Prepper Food Pantry

By Rob

February 20, 2022


The prepper's top priority is staying ready for when hard times hit.

What if there was a countdown to the end of the world?

What if you and your family needed to stay prepared for the end of time?

The term "prepping" can refer to various activities, including food storage, water storage, and emergency tool storage.

Did you know that if you don't eat for three weeks, you'll die of starvation, says the rule of three?

Hunger and malnutrition drastically impair your capacity to function, even if you are still alive.

Food is essential for long-term survival and well-being.

Having a well-planned and well-stocked prepper pantry is necessary.

In the event of a disaster, a prepper pantry supplies the necessary calories and nutrients to keep you going for as long as possible.

how to get ready for a natural disaster

Your pantry has to be prepared for anything from short-term power outages to long-term system failures.

A prepper's pantry provides both convenience and security.

You don't have to choose between starving your family and on a risky foraging journey into the wilderness since you have a well-stocked pantry.

Let's go through how to stock and build a prepper food pantry for you and your family to keep them safe.

What is a prepper pantry, and why should you have one?

A prepper pantry is exactly what it sounds like ― a pantry stocked with the nonperishable food and emergency supplies to last for an extended amount of time.

It's a crucial part of the survival kit for any prepper, and it's something that will make the difference between life and death in the event of an emergency.

It's important to remember that food is not just for sustenance but also comfort and protection.

build a prepper pantry

Your pantry can provide you with all of these! In addition, the contents you choose should be helpful in both regular times and disasters.

Dry products such as beans, rice, oats, flour, pasta, maize, and corn flour are essential items.

Vegetables, fruits, soups, and stews are all examples of canned products.

Canned meats such as beef, pork, ham, tuna, and chicken, as well as chili and other mixtures, may be included in your prepper pantry.

Fats are essential and should not be ignored.

  • Nut butters and oils should be included, so don't overlook them.
  • Bee honey and jellies are examples of sweeteners that fall within the sugar category.
  • Potato flakes, dry milk powder, protein powders, electrolyte drinks, and spices round out the list of optional inclusions.
  • And whatever you do, DON'T forget your water stockpile.

A prepper pantry is essentially a self-contained grocery store.

Thanks to supermarkets' efforts, keeping significant food inventories has become a science, and they have mastered it nowadays.

Today's stores like to choose foods that appeal to their customers, which will last on the shelves for a long time.

Therefore, they rotate them so that they have the freshest food possible on their shelves at all times.

This is your main objective. Make room for foods that you like eating.

Choose foods that are long-lasting, e.g., nonperishable.

Rotate such foods on a regular and consistent basis.

Let's take a look at some of the keys to stocking your prepper pantry.

How to keep your prepper pantry organized

Your prepper's priorities may vary, but one thing is consistent across the board.

Maintaining an organized pantry will help you save time when it comes to storing your foods for future consumption.

how to stock a prepper food pantry

It is possible to purchase too much, too little, or lose money due to spoilage or expired goods if you don't keep track of what you have.

Therefore, you must devise a system that saves you time and money, decreases the danger of forgetting what you've saved, and reduces the chance of losing track of what you've got.

Having a disorganized pantry will make you feel like you're throwing money away because you can't find what you need when you need it.

When food storage becomes overwhelming, it can make your survival plan seem impossible, and that's the last thing you need right now.

To stay organized, you must separate your foods by type.

For example, you'll divide your canned goods from your dried foods.

This will make it easier to find the right food when you need it, and you'll avoid the temptation to eat too many of the wrong things because they are all in the same place.

Expiration dates (keep track)

Now let's discuss expiration dates.

Many people obsess over food, so keeping it safe from the elements is essential.

Since battery life is an important consideration when preparing for emergencies, your prepper pantry should not include expired foods.

Most foods that you buy today have some type of bar code or stamp-like (Best Buy) that indicates the date of expiration.

expiration dates prepper food in the pantry1

The date will show how long ago the product was manufactured.

However, this expiration date does not necessarily mean the product's shelf-life.

Changes in temperature, humidity, and exposure to moisture have a significant impact on food quality.

This is why you should avoid filling your pantry with expired items that will expire soon. Let me stress this again.

Best by dates are not mystical dates after which the food becomes rapidly foul and terrible; rather, they are just guidelines.

  • The food can still be fine if it has passed the use-by date printed on the package.
  • Therefore, it is OK to buy items near their expiration date as long as you use them before the expiry date has passed.
  • It is OK to consume a can of beans, corn, or spam beyond the best by date.

I am a living witness to the dangers of consuming outdated food.

It is your responsibility to assess your tolerance for out-of-date food.

One month, one year, ten years. You are your own judge on this one.

Everybody is different. Always utilize your senses, just as you would with food before the specified date.

First, examine the can for flaws such as rust spots and swelling. If your can or jar lid contains any of these, throw it out.

Once opened, check whether the scent is OK, the food appears OK, and any liquids are clear and not off-color.

Again, if there are any symptoms of spoilage, discard it.

I try to keep my cupboard stocked so that I can consume goods on or soon after the expiration date.

Assuming that most best by dates are one year after production, I have a one-year supply of that particular item in the cupboard.

Apply this to a complete pantry, and I've got a good start on a year's supply of food.

Use the working pantry method

Make a "working pantry" out of your food supplies.

This means you're getting meals from it regularly.

This technique has several benefits.

If you hide your pantry in a forgotten corner, you won't visit it, you won't check the contents, and you won't notice any problems that may arise. 

stock and build a prepper pantry

Of course, there are times when this form of food storage is appropriate, but your survivalist pantry is not one of them.

Following that, when you periodically raid your pantry, you always take stock of what you have and its condition.

  • Suppose you observe bulging cans and food that has passed its expiration date.
  • Clearly, this means there are shortages.
  • Excessiveness is evident.

Finally, when you remove cans or boxes from the pantry, you devise a strategy for their replacement.

Better yet, add before removing

This ensures that the things in your pantry are rotated regularly.

Doing this will help you keep your supplies fresh at all times.

First-in first-out (FIFO)

The next stage is to organize physically.

The first can, box, or bag stored is the first one that is pulled out.

This FIFO (first in, first out) method guarantees that the oldest item in your cupboard is used first.

Each can behind the first can is a more recent addition.

FIFO storage racks or date-labeling and wise to use and will help you accomplish this goal.

FIFO storage racks for a prepper pantry

Adding to the top and removing from the bottom is possible with FIFO racks.

They are the most straightforward way to impose FIFO.

They're not expensive, but they're well worth it if you have the space.

Utilizing labeling is one way to keep your costs low.

Of course, you need to mark each case or can with the date you bought it.

That's all there is to this method.

Now I will say this strategy will require more discipline, but it's 100% free.

We have two pantries in my house.

The first category includes all case products.

Any open cases should be moved to the "short" pantry.

label you prepper food in the pantry

The open cases in the pantry are always the oldest, and they are kept separate.

This leaves space available in the main pantry.

Any item that isn't completely filled necessitates a shopping excursion.

Finally, we segregate the commodities in our FIFO stacks.

All corn is in one place, and the bottled sauces are in another.

Proteins are kept separate from vegetables, which are kept separate from fruits.

How to restock your prepper pantry

Restocking your prepper pantry every so often is essential if you want to stay food-safe.

It's a simple process.

If you use it, make sure you replace it.

If you don't, then you'll eventually run out of the supplies you need and won't be able to last for long.

how to restock your prepper pantry

There are two parts to building your prepper pantry.

The first one is keeping it full of food at all times, so you always have supplies on hand.

I will get deeper into this later on, so for now; you want to keep it as full as you can.

Then, once you are at capacity, keep it full. In our situation, opening a can of mushrooms, olives, or tuna implies it is no longer in the pantry.

  • For starters, it leaves an apparent space in the pantry. 
  • What was once full is now depleted.
  • The item is then added to the list.

This guarantees that it is replenished as soon as we use anything on the next journey.

As a consequence, the home is as crowded as it can be. Fill in the blank spots at the next opportunity.

How to stock up your prepper pantry

OK, you are all set.

You have the room for the organizational plan, and now you have to start stocking it.

So here is the first question. What the hell do I stock it with?

What do you like to eat?

Well, this one is obvious, stock the food you and your family like to eat.

If you don't like beans and rice, having a whole basement full of them won't do you any good.

  • Are pancakes your favorite morning food?
  • Water is needed to keep certain packaged brands fresh for years.
  • Assemble them in a criss-cross pattern.
  • Do you prefer potatoes and corn over asparagus and green beans?

Instead of green beans, stock up on potatoes.

I think you get the point here. Let's get real here.

My point is if you don't like what you stock, you won't eat it.

favorite food as a prepper

I am sure you have heard this one before hunger is the best spice, but it will only take you so far.

Here lies the problem if you wait too long, food fatigue will set in and drive you away from the foods you like to eat.

So make sure that your pantry includes variety.

For me, the best way found to overcome these issues is through spices.

I have dedicated space in my pantry just for spices alone.

Is fresh basil preferable to basil that has been aged a year?

Yup! However, eating plain rice every day will quickly get tired of rice.

I'd rather eat rice seasoned with old basil than plain rice just for the variety.

Next, be sure to include the raw ingredients that are included in regular meals. Sugar, oils, and salt are all included in this category.

It's easy to overlook them when you're focused on canned products.

Also, don't forget to stock up the goodies.

We all know life is short, and it's even shorter without chocolate.

So, grab more than just one bag.

Eat what you store

Look through your cabinets to see what you already have on hand to help you figure out what to stock up on.

Even better, keep a journal for one month of everything you eat.

Everything from breakfast to supper should be included on the list.

Keep a record of the kinds and amounts.

Then, calculate how much you'll need for a month and project to six months or longer.

For the second part, stock it up with shelf-stable food.

journal for food as a prepper

Canned and dry products are also included in this category.

Foods with a shelf life of a year or a best by date of a year out are ideal.

Third, inject some variety into the situation.

  • Beans and rice are the staple diet for a large portion of the world's population.
  • This does not mean you or your family have to do the same thing.
  • It also does not imply that it is a healthy eating plan.
  • The key to flourishing under a long-term emergency is nutritional diversity.
  • You could have a favorite dish, but is it well-balanced?

Instead of focusing on depth, try to focus on width.

Even if potatoes are on sale in the autumn, eating mainly carbs might leave you with a nutritional shortfall that can be difficult to overcome.

Two cases of potatoes and two of the other veggies will suffice.

Pantry Facts

I think the grocery store is the best place to get most of your survivalist pantry supplies.

However, if you want to add flavor and functionality, don't be afraid to branch out into other areas.

We have enough food in our pantry for a few months' worth's of meals from the local grocery store's canned and boxed items, but that's not all.

prepper pantry food facts

In addition, it carries a month's worth of freeze-dried food and supplies.

Individual vegetables, fruits, and sweets are also included in our selection of meals (stews and mac & cheese among them).

Please keep in mind that they are not pricey, but we've been able to hit the deals and build up a decent store list over time.

Lastly, don't forget about canning. You want to can what you can.

Some of your supplies are not good for canning, but most are.

I suggest that you pressure can, water bath, and dehydrate as much as possible.

That is how we do it in our house.

Garden vegetables, jellies, jams, and fruits used for pie fillings are some of our favorites that are bathed in water.

Pressure canning is where the proteins are being loaded and stacked up high.

Pork, chicken, and various stews are used to supplement the commercially acquired items.

Keeping it safe

Canned products are safe as long as they are not damaged or moist.

However, boxed items may need a bit of extra safeguarding.

Having a pest- and humidity-free storage space is a significant plus.

We've had to put all paper-packed products in plastic bins because of the odd mouse every non and then.

This has resulted in near-zero losses over the last decade.

Totes or 5-gallon buckets are ideal for storing dry beans and grains in bags.

5 gallon buckets for storing food

Mice and other pests will be able to scent through the container.

Remember, if you can smell it, they surely can.

Use 5-gallon containers if you're not sure

They are easy to store because of their low price and high strength. Your food should be safe!

After that, choose a cool and dry storage location.

With a lower storage temperature, you may have a longer shelf life.

The optimal temperature is between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Run a dehumidifier if you're storing it in your basement and it becomes too humid.

Your survivalist pantry will become quite an asset over time.

But, it's a big commitment of time and money to build a pantry!

So take pride in it and take good care of it because it's your lifeline.

How to build your prepper pantry

OK, now you know what to buy and how to stock your pantry, let's build it.

In many ways, it's the same as stocking. Keep in mind there is no reason for you to fall into debt over your prepper pantry.

Start with copy canning

Start by canning copycat products. Buying a little more on each trip to the supermarket is what this method entails.

canned food for a preppers pantry22

If you usually purchase a can of soup, then buy two cans of the same product.

Then, fill your cupboard on every trip by spending a little more money.

Putting together a pantry one can at a time might seem tedious.

The reason why is simple. It is slow, but I am good with that because I know it will pay off in the long run.

Consider it this way.

You are one or two dinners ahead after each trip to the grocery store. 

After a month, you should be between five and six.

You'll be a month ahead in a year.

Think of it like this: 

  • What would an unprepared family do if the main power grid went down? 
  • Yes, this can happen, as we all have seen in the last few years. 

So be ashamed of it and take pride in every can or item you add to your shelf.

Coupons and sales

After that, hit the sales, it's time to go shopping!

Vegetables are among the many foods that have a particular season.

Harvest time is always in the autumn.

In other words, a push will be made to get rid of the old goods once the fresh batch is ready to ship.

Coupons for preppers food pantry

Every autumn, the prices of most canned fruits and vegetables at our local supermarkets are slashed dramatically.

Put some money aside in anticipation of the significant discounts in the months leading up to the autumn.

Buy in bulk while they're available.

It's a terrific way to save money and stock up on food.

Be patient while purchasing more costly things, such as freeze-dried meals.

I've never bought freeze-dried food at less than a 50% discount.

Do I have what I want in the proportions I desire?

No. But I have a lot, and I've saved up to 75% of my income.

Having said that, it's taken me five years to be at ease with this section of my pantry.

Finally, use coupons to expand your family's budget.

Grab the Sunday flyers, join the buyers club at your local retailers, and target the sales.

Make it a habit to choose the brands on which you can save a little money.

Soon, the option to purchase a single can give way to the capacity to buy two or three.

The idea is to shop wisely!

Before you know it, your prepper pantry will be overflowing, and you'll be in the market for a new shelf system to take you from one month to three!

So make it a practice to shop around for the best deals on your favorite products.

The ability to purchase a single can will soon be replaced with the ability to acquire two or three cans.

It's important to shop wisely!

Before you know it, your survivalist pantry will be bursting at the seams, and you'll need a new shelf system to last you for three months!

To sum it up

Canned products, boxed pasta, bulk beans and grains, freeze-dried meals, and meals ready to eat (MREs) may all be kept in long-term storage.

Take a logical approach to stocking your survivalist pantry.

It does not have to be costly, intimidating, or complex.

Purchase items that you already consume. When these things are on sale, buy them.

Then, every trip, buy a bit more. Sort through your shelves.

Consume the oldest foods first. These are straightforward guidelines to follow.

After a few months of doing these simple things, you'll be a bit farther ahead every week.

It's similar to the ancient adage. What is the best way to eat an elephant?

Take one mouthful at a time.

What is the best way to store a month's worth of food? Only one can at a time!


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