Stocking Up The Smart Way
Stockpiling non-perishable or long expiration dated foods is a great way to cut costs when catering for the family during times such as winter when the bills are on the rise.
It’s also a great way of preparing in case of an emergency when there might be unexpected power cuts or restricted access to your local stores and supermarkets.
You might be able to think of the obvious ones such as rice, pasta and a wide variety of canned goods but there are lots more long-life products than meets the eye. We will cover all areas of foods, liquids and condiments to give you some ideas on what you can stock up on.
How Much Should You Stockpile?
It all depends on the size of your household and who you are catering for. Furthermore, you should consider whether you live in a rural area or not as you may find you’re isolated in bad weather and therefore delivery services will also be restricted.
As a benchmark starting point, consider building up supplies that would last each adult 2-4 weeks. This will give you an idea of utilising space and storage without overcrowding the fridge, freezer and cupboards.
Before diving into foods to stockpile, consider different liquids other than bottled water which are complimentary to cooking as well as drinking.
Bottled water is something every home should have reserved. You could unexpectedly encounter a water shortage or supply cut-off due to technical issues in your area. It’s cheap to purchase and lasts for years when dry-stored.
Long-life milk lasts for six months on your shelf without refrigeration. This means that if you have a power outage or some other event where you cannot get access to refrigeration for an extended period of time, then you can still drink this type of milk without fear of getting sick.
You’re then able to enjoy your morning breakfast cereal, teas and coffee! Another alternative is powdered milk which has even longer expiration dates although the taste is subjective to some.
Cooking oils are the fats and oils used in frying, baking, and other types of cooking. They are often a mixture of vegetable oils or animal fats which have a very long shelf life and generally last upwards of 2 years.
There are many different types of cooking oils you can stock up on. These include:
- Butter (if refrigerated)
- Canola oil
- Coconut oil
- Corn oil
- Olive oil
- Peanut oil
- Sesame oil
Not essential for the emergency stockpile but necessary to add flavour and comfort to any meal. Consider the following condiments for your food storage supplies:
- Butter and spreads
- Tomato ketchup
- Brown sauce
- Soya sauce
- Salsa (once opened it needs to be kept in the fridge and consumed within a week)
- Hot sauce
- Mustard (must be stored in the fridge once opened)
- Relish (must be stored in the fridge once opened)
Baking your own bread or making cakes might be preferred over ready-made depending on how you budget your money. Either way, you can put bread and some cakes in the freezer and they will last for up to 6 months (usually).
Having flour, baking powder, and dried fruit which are shelf-stable is always good practice but less so if you don’t tend to bake often. If you are a baker at heart then you will more than likely keep plenty of these ingredients anyway!
Canned food is a great option as they are easily dry-stored in cupboards or pantries. There are probably a lot more foods available in a tin can than you can initially think of that are also highly nutritional and tasty.
During the manufacturing process, the cans are heat treated and sealed which kills bacteria and preserves the goods until they are opened.
Here are some examples:
- Soups – The nation’s favourite go-to canned food
- Vegetables – Canned vegetables such as corn or green beans
- Fruit – Try to avoid canned fruits preserved in syrup
- Beans – Kidney beans, soybeans, black beans or even chickpeas
- Meat and Fish – Ham, corned beef, potted meat, tuna and mackerel
Ready To Eat Pre-Packed Foods
Ideal for energy boosts throughout the day between meals, pre-packed food bars or grazing boxes with nuts is the most efficient emergency food for the day’s supply and is surprisingly filling.
Also, dried fruits and nuts can be purchased in packs or sometimes found in energy or granola bars which are packed with flavour. A simple emergency food with the added convenience of being compact for storage benefits.
Granola and protein bars
Packed with around 5-20g of protein, and high in fibre and micronutrients they are great for between meals and are also rich in vitamin b, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
You can often find deals across the web or in-store to buy in bulk which makes them one of the best foods to stockpile and is generally considered to be a non-perishable food if consumed within a few years. See product-specific packaging for best-before dates as a guide.
Cured meat is the process where moisture is drawn out by using salt which is called osmosis. Examples of cured meats are chorizo, salami and beef jerky which are great for adding to meals and platters for the family to enjoy or simply on their own as a snack.
Too much sodium is bad for your health and can cause high blood pressure, so it’s advisable to consume it in moderation.
Peanut butter is packed with protein and lasts for 1-2 years if kept in a cool, dry place. Complimentary to rice cakes, toast, baking and hot meals such as thai style curries it is a very versatile, shelf-stable addition to your cupboards.
Fresh Produce With Long Best Before Dates
Food items and emergency food with long best-before dates don’t necessarily mean you should ignore various kinds of fruit and vegetables.
The food industry is subject to criticism over best before or use by dates on packaging, when in fact they can be consumed long after these dates have surpassed.
Providing they are kept airtight and moisture-free they can last months. Apples are generally picked and stored for up to a year before they are sold to the public in special air-controlled storage facilities.
Consider apples, pears, melon, grapes, lemon, lime and grapefruit which are all great examples of fresh produce that have a surprisingly good shelf life if stored correctly.
Complimentary to drinks, food dishes and consumed on their own. They aren’t going to last as long as grains and wheat for example, but shorter term, they serve their purpose when stockpiling foods.
Vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, beetroot, dried beans and pumpkin all have a great shelf life if stored correctly which can all be used to make delicious stews or contribute to hearty meals on a budget.
They are also very cheap compared to fresh meat and fish which is a positive when you are trying to cut back on expenses during winter or in emergency situations where food rational is a priority.
Pasta, Rice And Grains
Pasta, rice and grains are some of the best foods to stock up on. The manufacturing process is what makes them last so long. If you were to choose 1 food type then this would be it.
The pasta, rice and grains we buy in stores have a long shelf life because they have been processed to prevent spoilage. The process removes the natural starches and sugars that encourage bacteria growth.
This means that when these foods are cooked at home, it is not necessary to worry about their expiry date as they will last for a long time without spoiling.
Purchasing pasta sauces in jars or cans is a good idea as they also have a very long shelf life and are generally low in sodium too.
Buying meats and bagged frozen veg paired with rice and pasta can be turned into a good meal very easily without breaking the bank. Microwave vegetable pouches are also a great alternative for quick and easy nutrition for 1 of your 5 a day.
There are many different types of supplements available which are often overlooked when it comes to stockpiling food.
Some are taken to provide a few essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that may be missing from a diet. Others are taken to support the immune system or help with weight loss.
The most common type of supplement is protein powder, which may be used for muscle growth and maintenance, weight loss or general health purposes which are great to keep in the cupboard.
Many people purchase powders, snacks or drinks for consumption on the go. These specifically manufactured supplements are designed to replenish and fuel your muscles for recovery.
You will often find you don’t have time to make a meal shortly after exercise, so these are great alternatives as a source of food and nutrients until your next meal.
These supplements are usually more economical than their liquid counterparts because they don’t need to include preservatives to keep them fresh.
Powdered supplements also have the advantage of being able to store them in your pantry for years without worrying about them going bad if you forget about them from time to time.
Stockpiling or building up an emergency stockpile of foods is always a good decision even if you live in the city. Having a food supply of daily essentials and nutritional ingredients to make meals for yourself and the family during an emergency or whereby access to the grocery store is limited.
Wheat, canned goods and liquids that can be stored at room temperature are the best foods to stockpile if you’re just starting out. Everyone is different in terms of dietary requirements so it’s advisable to experiment and stockpile accordingly.
Having excess cooking oil, flour, canned meats or high-energy snacks is also a popular addition if you are looking to broaden your stockpile further.