Having your own pantry has many benefits. The primary reason to have a pantry is that you will have a food supply should you need something but not be able to get to the store. Natural disasters and national emergencies are also good motivating factors for stocking a pantry in your home. During power outages or poor weather conditions, you will have the food your family needs to survive.
The most important part of stocking a pantry for long-term food storage is to have bottled water. Most experts suggest having one gallon per person per day. Having several gallons of water on hand is important in case your water supply becomes contaminated. If you have well water at your house and the power goes out, you may be faced with an exceptional water shortage if you use an electric pump, so having water stored on hand is important. Bottled water can easily be stored on shelves or in a corner. It’s best to keep your bottled water on the bottom shelves of any storage unit due to the heavy weight of the bottles.
Your other food items will depend greatly on what your family typically eats. A good way to determine what items you should store is to keep a log of your family’s eating habits over the course of a week. Be sure to record drinks and snacks in addition to structured meals so that you get a well-rounded view of your family’s eating habits.
Building a pantry can be done slowly over a period of time. When you grocery shop, if something you use is on sale, simply buy a few extra items for your pantry. This way, you’ll be purchasing items your family already uses but are getting them at a lower price.
When you store your food, make sure you mark the tops of boxes and cans so that you know how old they are. Keep the oldest food at the front of your shelves or boxes, and the newer food in back. This way, your food will rotate and you will never have outdated or rotten food.
Some basic foods to keep on hand are flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking seasonings. Boxed foods, such as macaroni and cheese or powdered milk are also good to keep stocked. Canned fruits, vegetables, and soups store greatly and can last over a year when stored in a cool environment. It’s important to remember to buy food that your family will use on a regular basis. If your family never eats canned peas, for example, stocking up on them will be a waste of money.
Your pantry should be located in a cool, dry place. Plastic bins or shelves make food storage organized and sturdy. If you do not have a large amount of space, a linen closet can double perfectly as a pantry.
Having food on hand will benefit your family greatly, and is easy and simple to store. Just remember to rotate your food and buy things your family will use consistently, and you can begin using your pantry regularly – not just during an emergency.