Home Storage—How to Begin

Junior Wright Child

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    Home storage is an integral part of the Church welfare program. At one time or another, nearly every family will face accidents, illness, unemployment, or other emergencies when they must depend on their food storage.

    The kinds and amounts of food to be stored will vary according to locale, availability of products, climate, age of family members, special diets, and size of the family. Begin with basic items that will sustain life in an emergency. Later, when you have acquired such basic items, consider storing food that your family ordinarily eats.

    Base your choices on food value and storage qualities. Protein, vitamins, minerals, and certain fats are essential for maintaining good health. Most foods which can be stored for long periods of time either lack essential vitamins or lose vitamins during storage. You will need to supplement such basic foods with fruits or vegetables in order to obtain adequate amounts of Vitamins A and C.

    You might want to consider the following basic items for storage. The second column lists the approximate amount needed to sustain an average woman for one year. A man would need more; children would need less.

    Basic Food Storage Items

    Grains (wheat, rice, or other cereal grasses)

    300 lbs. (136 kgs.)

    Powdered milk (nonfat)

    100 lbs. (45.5 kgs.)

    Sugar or honey

    30 lbs. (14.5 kgs.)


    5 lbs. (2.5 kgs.)

    These items provide a diet that supplies approximately 2,300 calories per day—the amount recommended for an average 25-year-old woman.

    Once you have the basic foods, you will want to add others. Your choices will depend on availability, cost, and individual taste. Dried legumes (peas, beans, peanuts, and lentils) are high in protein and store well; vegetable oils or shortening, dried fruits and vegetables, and canned meats and fish are all popular choices. Dehydrated and freeze-dried foods can be expensive, but they store well and retain vitamin content better than many canned or dried foods.

    Whenever possible, select the best grade of product to be stored. Store the food in proper containers. Metal storage cans or heavy plastic containers with airtight lids work best. Rotate your storage supply to prevent spoilage and minimize loss of food value and flavor.

    Store foods in a place where you have easy access to them and where you can control the temperature. Foods should be stored where the temperature is not lower than 40 degrees nor higher than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They may be stored at higher temperatures, but their shelf life diminishes.

    Food storage should, of necessity, also include the storage of water. Boil the water for three minutes and place it in hot, sterilized jars with clean, sterilized lids; or process each jar in a water bath twenty minutes for a quart jar and twenty-five minutes for a two-quart jar.

    You should also include sufficient durable clothing to accommodate your family’s needs for a year. Select clothing that is appropriate for your climate and seasons. It is also wise to store fabric, thread, needles, and other sewing aids. Take advantage of sales to find suitable material that could be used to make needed clothing. Keep clean used clothing on hand, too—to remodel, cut down for younger family members, or refurbish, if needed.

    If possible, keep a reserve of fuel—coal, oil, wood, or whatever you could use most easily. Supplementary heating and cooking units—some of which are portable—can also be purchased. Choose one that could be used both for preparing food and for warmth in case of an emergency.

    Other items, such as first aid articles, prescribed medicines (ask your doctor or pharmacist how to store them), soap, cleaning agents, and matches should also be stored, along with a reserve of bedding.

    If possible, it is desirable to have a year’s supply or more of everything your family ordinarily uses. However, this is often difficult for those with limited incomes and little storage space.

    Borrowing money to buy foods for storage is not advocated. But even if you cannot acquire an entire year’s supply right now, you can do much to be prepared for an eventual emergency. Often, in rather limited space, basic food items such as wheat, nonfat dried milk, sugar, and salt can be stored. Utilize space in closets, under beds, and in attics. It is better to have some food storage than none at all!

    Specific information about foods and the variables of storage factors in given localities may be obtained from local county agents, state colleges, or those professionally engaged in selling food storage items. Once you have the information, begin! Acquire items systematically as you can afford them. Even one extra can of food a week added to your food storage is one step closer to a year’s supply.

    Having our own home storage program will give us peace of mind in knowing that we have provided for our own in times of need. Junior Wright Child, Salt Lake City, Utah

    [photo] Photography by Michael M. McConkie