Food storage systems are a convenient way of saving money and planning meals in advance. In addition to the cost and time savings, food storage methods can help you maintain a healthy diet, prepare for emergencies, and eliminate preservatives.
A significant portion of food is wasted, leading to higher grocery bills. Food storage can help you make the most of your food, cutting waste and saving money. It also lets you buy food in bulk, reducing grocery bills, and limiting the number of trips you have to make to the store.
Food storage methods, such as freeze-drying can increase the number of whole foods in your diet. They also allow you to store food for long periods without the addition of preservatives.
Other food storage methods, such as pickling, make it easy to keep vegetables for up to 6 months. Pickled foods also help support a healthy gut microbiome, which is essential for proper digestion.
When done properly, there are few health or safety risks from long term food storage. However, many prepacked foods with long shelf lives are high in salt and sugar and may have harmful chemicals in the containers. These chemicals can be avoided by storing food in glass containers, which have no bioactive compounds that can get into your food.
Best Food Storage
1Mountain House Just in Case Classic Bucket
Mountain House’s Just in Case Bucket is less about storing fresh food items and more about being prepared for any situation life may throw your way.
In this bucket, you will find 29 full servings of delicious food options that have been dehydrated in some manner so that it can be stored in packet form within this bucket. The bucket contains meals like beef stroganoff, lasagna and meat sauce, and beef stew, along with several other options.
This bucket is ideal for storing away for a time of need. All you need to prepare the meals inside is water. Save the bucket for emergencies, camping, or just because you use limited pantry space for storage.
2Mountain House 3-Day Emergency Food Supply
If you want to be prepared for a situation but don’t want to keep a bucket of 30 meals, this may be the solution for you. This 3-day emergency food supply would be enough to sustain you for a short time period. This food supply contains a single serving of breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a full 3 days. The meals in this are set options that require only water to prepare for eating. You can have your meal in only a matter of minutes.
The meals are nutritious and delicious and provide a reasonable number of calories to survive the day.
3Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply
Augason created the perfect emergency food supply that comes in various options from 1-person supplies to a combo deal that includes full meals as well and fruit and vegetable options. You can choose which bucket solution is best for your needs.
These meals are hearty and delicious and are packed full of nutrition. You will find everything from oatmeal to macaroni to potatoes in this bucket with a lid and handle. You only need water to prepare the dishes and the shelf life can extend up to 30 years if stored properly but is guaranteed at least 10.
4Chef’s Banquet Food Storage
Chef’s Banquet offers an affordable food storage solution that comes in either 90 servings or 300 servings. These servings come in a bucket with lid and handle and also come with an outdoor guide for survival that could be found to be quite useful.
Whether you’re looking for simple storage foods or emergency preparedness, look no further than this kit. The meals include breakfast options as well as an assortment of entrees. These are designed to be mixed with water for easy preparation.
5Wise Company Emergency Food Supply
Wise Company offers a wise solution for your food supply and storage. These food storage options host a multitude of options from freeze-dried meat to fruits and veggies to everyday breakfast and meal solutions.
Wise Company emergency food supply packs come with variety and sustenance for whatever your needs may be – whether you are storing for an emergency, packing for a camping trip, or simply keeping a simple food solution on hand. Wise Company designed their food supplies to host an ideal number of calories that fall in a healthy range while providing tasty dishes.
6Augason Farms Freeze Dried Fruit
Fruit can be one of the most expensive items to purchase. This pail contains an assortment of freeze dried fruits including strawberries, bananas, apples, blueberries, raspberries, and even a whipped topping blend.
You don’t even have to add water to these fruits since they are still good as a grab-and-go snack. Augason operates in the USA and has led the industry for food supply for more than 45 years. Their products are designed to last 25 years when stored properly.
7Northwest Fork Gluten-Free Emergency Food Supply
Northwest Fork believes that an emergency should not leave you with overly processed foods that hold minimal nutritional value. That is why they offer a solution that is healthy and gluten-free while providing you with the food you need.
Northwest Fork has options that range from a 30-day supply to a 6-month supply to even a 1-year supply so you can store away and be prepared for anything or even use the meals for an everyday solution. These meals are flavorful while providing healthy solutions.
8Eden Valley Farms Food Supply Kit
Eden Valley Farms takes your food storage to the next level with these food supply options that come in 3-month, 6-month, or 1-year supplies. The basis of these meals is to provide you with solutions that taste like homemade cooking. These food supply kits do not contain hydrogenated oils, GMOs, or trans-fats making it a healthful solution for whatever your needs may be.
Eden Valley Farms packs their foods in reusable and resealable Mylar bags.
9Sustain Supply Co. 4-Person Food Supply
Sustain Supply leaves you prepared natural disasters, camping, with easy food options for your entire family with this kit that contains 72 hours of supplies for a total of 4 people.
This pack even includes a backpack, water, lights, lanterns, first aid kit, blankets, bowls, utensils, and a knife. The food contents are simple and nutritious with great flavor, with no unhealthy or alarming ingredients.
10Harmony House Deluxe Foods Sampler
Harmony House takes a different approach to food storage supplies with a bundle that is eloquently described as a “pantry in a pouch”. This sampler sets contains dried fruits, vegetables, and meats, as well as beans.
The foods in these packets are all farm-sourced and nutritious. They are simply dehydrated and packed into these resealable bags for your convenience. They are easy to rehydrate and use when you need them.
How We Rank
Food storage solutions should be about more than just having food on hand for emergencies. These solutions provide you with a valuable resource that can be used for camping, emergencies, or simply pantry items. As such, the first thing we looked at, was the nutrition value. If you are in an emergency situation, your health and nutrition are extremely important to maintain.
Any company could throw together pre-packaged meals that only require water to consume but the true test lies in whether these companies provide healthful options or whether the options contain additives and processed ingredients that provide no healthful value. We ruled out the well-known S.O.S. emergency food rations because they held little nutritional value overall and contained things like hydrogenated oils, sugar, and dextrose. Products like Wise Company and Food Banquet were ranked high since they provided high quality nutrition in a long term storage format.
Next, we reviewed the simplicity of using the food storage supplies. Our goal was to ensure you had simple solutions for whatever situation you may have the foods on hand for, be it emergency, camping, or pantry stocking. All of the products that made the cut, like Augauson and North West, do not require heating or cooking. The only requirement to use the food storage options in our ranks is water.
Third, we considered the variety. Were the meals basic and bland or was there a good selection so you feel like you are actually receiving a meal rather than just a survival food item with no taste or appeal. We ruled out options like Grizzly Gear calorie bars since they are bland bars rather than a meal.
Finally, we looked at supply. Most food storage supplies contain both breakfast items and entrees and we specifically built our ranks around food supplies with this type of set-up. Variety was important and the ability to purchase food storage options in a range of supplies was essential in our ranks.
After all this, we determined the top 10 best food storage systems on the market.
1Food storage helps to save on grocery bills. One of the main advantages of food storage is that it can significantly reduce your grocery bills. A significant amount of food goes to waste. By storing food, you avoid this food waste, allowing you to make the most of all the food you buy. These savings add up quickly and can cut thousands from the food budget of a multi-person home.
2Food storage can help prepare for emergencies. If you live in an area where natural disasters are common, food storage is an excellent way of making sure you are prepared for an emergency. Should an emergency come up, your home is prepared in advance, and you won’t have to worry about rushing out to stock up at the last minute.
3Food storage helps you buy in bulk. Buying food in bulk is one of the best ways to save money while grocery shopping. It also allows you to make the most of deals on items that are normally cost prohibitive.
Although buying in bulk is a great way of saving money, much of the food often goes to waste. By storing food, you can avoid this waste, making buying in bulk possible for most foods.
4Food storage helps you eat healthier. Food storage allows you to build healthy meal plans, ensuring that you always have healthy ingredients to cook with. You can stock up on healthy essentials, making it easier to avoid cravings and choose wisely when picking snacks.
When people run out of food, they often turn to unhealthy alternatives, including foods with high levels of sugar and salt. Food storage can help avoid unhealthy last minute scavenging and makes it easier to plan well-balanced meals in advance.
5Food storage helps you visit the grocery store less often. Trips to the store can take up a significant amount of time and energy. By storing food, you can reduce the frequency of your trips to the grocery store. This also saves you money on gas and transportation.
6Food storage helps the environment. A large amount of plastic waste is produced by packaged food, leaving a lasting impact on the environment.
Food storage allows you to eat while using less packaging. With reusable containers and bulk food bags, less plastic is used, reducing your carbon footprint. You can also avoid plastic altogether by storing food in glass containers, which can be reused for years.
7Food storage increases food security. Long term food storage can also provide you with food security in the event that you lose your job or are otherwise unable to afford groceries.
Should something unexpected come up, your pantry will be full for months to come, allowing you to plan for the future without worrying about what you’ll eat in the coming days.
8Food storage saves time on cooking. People often spend a significant amount of time cooking throughout the week. Long term food storage can help free you from the kitchen by preparing ingredients in advance.
This also allows you to focus your cooking time, prepping food that you can eat in the coming weeks and months. Throughout the week, when you’re more pressed for time, you can eat the food that you’ve already prepared.
9The food storage method of pickling foods can improve antioxidant profiles. Pickling is a common way of extending the life of vegetables. It can keep your produce edible for up to 6 months and takes little effort or equipment. All you need is vinegar, salt, and jars. Let the vegetables ferment, and you soon have a healthy snack that will last for months.
Pickled foods also have added health benefits. Many vegetables are high in antioxidants, but lose them when cooked. Pickling preserves these antioxidants, which help the body fight free radicals and maintain healthy cellular function. Pickles and other fermented foods can also help maintain a healthy gut biome. There are trillions of bacteria in your digestive system that help you absorb nutrients. Pickled foods support these healthy bacteria, increasing nutrient absorption (1).
Better absorption can boost energy levels and lead to fewer crashes throughout the day.
10Food storage helps you to become more aware of what is going into your body. Proper long term food storage requires a lot of planning. Although this can take some effort, it also makes you more conscious of what you’re eating, making it easier to choose healthy foods and improve your diet.
Many unhealthy food choices are made last minute when people are hungry and in need of a quick solution. Long term food storage helps you make more rational food choices that aren’t driven by convenience.
11Food storage helps to limit and avoid preservatives. Many pre-packaged frozen foods are loaded with preservatives. Although these can be safe in small amounts, they may be hard on the body when consumed in large volumes (2).
Freeze drying is an effective and safe way of preserving whole foods without any added preservatives. You can lock in all of the nutrients that you would get from fresh fruits and vegetables without having to buy fresh produce constantly. Furthermore, freeze drying makes eating whole foods more convenient and affordable. Since you can store food in large volumes, you’ll always have a healthy option on hand for a snack.
12Food storage can help increase the variety of foods you consume. When buying fresh produce, it can be difficult to consume a wide range of different fruits and vegetables. If you buy too many, most will go bad by the time you get around to eating them.
Long term food storage and freezer drying allow you to stock your shelves with a greater variety of foods. Without having to worry about produce going bad, you can add more flavors to your pantry.
You can also use freeze-dried foods to create powders. Simply take the dried up foods and grind them or put them in a blender. These powders can be added to just about anything, and give you an added nutritional boost. They also last indefinitely, so you can store them for years if properly sealed.
13Food storage can help make dieting easier. One of the main difficulties of following a diet is always having the right foods around. If you run out of the food that you are supposed to eat, you may turn to unhealthy alternatives, such as junk food or pre-made meals.
Long term food storage can ensure that you always have the foods that you need, helping you make healthy choices and stick to a diet. You can stock up on the foods needed for your diet in bulk, and then parcel them out into smaller servings.
14Food storage helps one organize the pantry and refrigerator. Food storage forces you to think ahead and plan. One benefit of this is that it will make you organize your food better. By creating an organization system, you can make the most of your groceries and prevent food waste. It also makes it easier to plan meals and find the ingredients that you need.
1If it is not well sealed, it can rot and be dangerous when consumed. Proper storage is crucial, as the food will be sitting on the shelf for prolonged periods. When freeze drying food, make sure that most of the moisture is removed. If it’s not, this can cause the food to spoil at a faster rate, and may make it dangerous to consume.
2When selecting foods for long term storage, you should be careful with many prepackaged options. These are often high in sugar and salt and lack many key nutrients.
3Some food storage systems may be toxic. Many cans contain bioactive chemicals such as BPA, which can harm the brain of infants and children (3).
Other plastic containers may have chemicals that can leach into your food, especially when exposed to the sun. Use plastic containers that are free of BPA, and always store food in a cool, dry, and dark place. You can avoid concerns about chemicals entirely by using glass jars and containers to store food. These last for years, and contain no bioreactive chemicals that can interact with food.
There are a number of different methods for food storage, including freezing, freeze drying, and vacuum sealing. The right method will depend in part on the type of food. Meats are best frozen, whereas fruits and vegetables can be both freeze-dried and frozen.
There are also more involved methods for storing food long term. One way is to cure or dry meats. Although this can take a decent amount of time and effort, it’s an effective way of making meat last.
Another way to store vegetables is to pickle them. This process is fairly straightforward and only requires vinegar and salt. Pickled vegetables have a long shelf life, and tend to be more flavorful than freeze-dried or frozen vegetables.
Also make sure to stock up on essentials with long shelf lives, such as pasta, rice, and dry legumes. These will keep for years and are an affordable base for most meals.
When freezing food or packaging it for long term storage, always make sure that you label the food. Put the date, as well as what’s in the bag. If you know how long the food will last, you can also add an expiration date.
What is a cold storage room? A cold storage room is a great place to store fresh fruit and vegetables so that they keep for longer. The idea of these rooms is that they will stay much cooler than normal room temperature, which makes them ideally suited to keeping all sorts of perishable items.
What is proper food storage? Proper food storage helps maintain food quality by retaining flavor, color, texture, and nutrients while reducing the chance of contracting a food-borne illness.
Is aluminum foil safe for food storage? Yes, aluminum foil is safe for food storage, but not for a long time. It’s safe to wrap cold food in foil, though not for long stretches of time because food has a shelf life and because aluminum in the foil will begin to leach into the food depending on ingredients like spices.
What defines food storage? Food storage is the process in which both cooked and raw materials are stored in appropriate conditions for future use without any entry or multiplication of microorganisms.
How long will freeze dried food last? Freeze dried foods are known for being some of the longest lasting foods, with a shelf life that can last for years. However, shelf life will also depend on how the food is freeze-dried and how it is stored. If all of the moisture is removed from the food and it is vacuum sealed, it will last indefinitely. If, however, the food still has some moisture, it may only last for a few months.
Does freeze drying food storage change the nutritional value of food? Proper frieze drying should do little to change the nutritional value of food. Fruits and vegetables will keep almost all of their nutrients when freeze-dried, provided they are stored properly in an airtight container.
How long will pickled food storage vegetables last? Pickling significantly increases the safe consumption window of most vegetables. If stored in a sealed jar, pickled vegetables should last around 6 months. Once the jar has been opened, they should be kept in the refrigerator.
Why do foods stay fresh longer when the food storage system used is in an airtight container? There are 3 reasons why foods will stay fresher longer in an airtight container. The container stabilizes the temperature of the system. Reactions that spoil food need oxygen to occur. The container increases the pressure on the food.
What’s the best way to eat freeze dried foods? Many freeze dried foods can be rehydrated. Simply soak them in warm water for around 10 minutes before eating or cooking. Freeze dried fruits can also be consumed without being rehydrated, and are excellent when added to cereals, oatmeal, or granola.
Why is food storage important? It’s important to store meat safely to stop bacteria from spreading and to avoid food poisoning.
How long will meat last in the freezer as a food storage method? The answer depends on the type of meat, as well as how it is stored. Most meats, including chops, roasts, and steaks, will still be good for up to a year in the freezer. However, you may be able to extend this time by sealing the meat in airtight bags. This can prevent freezer burn and lock in flavor.
Ground meat will not last quite as long, and may only be good for around 6 months. After this period, it will still be safe to consume but may lose much of its flavor and texture. Cooked meat will not last as long, and should only be stored in the freezer for around 4 months. It will likely still be safe after this period, but often becomes tough and flavorless.
Can you freeze dry at home? Yes. However, you will need a special device to do it. These machines can be expensive, so they only make sense if you plan on freeze-drying large amounts of food.
What happens if food is not stored properly? Food poisoning is frequently caused by bacteria from foods that have been incorrectly stored, prepared, handled, or cooked. Food contaminated with food-poisoning bacteria may look, smell, and taste normal. If food is not stored properly, the bacteria in it can multiply to dangerous levels.
How long does freeze drying take? The process will take anywhere from 20 to 40 hours. The food is frozen and then slowly warmed. As the food returns to room temperature, moisture evaporates, drying it out. Once the food is dried out, it should be stored in a vacuum sealed bag or airtight container.
What is cold food storage? Cold food storage is the most basic food preservation method. If you live in a climate with true winters (freezing temperatures), you have what you need to keep many vegetables and fruits in good condition for months after harvesting.
What do you need to pickle vegetables? Pickling is one of the easiest ways to preserve and store vegetables. All you need is vegetables, salt, vinegar, water, and a glass container. Combine them and let the vegetables ferment and your pickles will be ready. You can store them at room temperature, but they should be refrigerated once the jar is opened.
What is the difference between food preservation and food storage? Food preservation is the process of treating and handling food to stop or slow down food spoilage, loss of quality, edibility, or nutritional value and thus allow for longer food storage. Food storage is the methods used to keep the food after being treated.
Is food storage only for emergencies? Most food storage solutions are designed to prepare you for emergencies or to provide meal solutions for survival kits for hiking, camping, and backpacking. However, it is not uncommon to use food storage kits to simply stock your pantry with simple meal options.
Can you make your own food storage kits? You can make your own food storage kits but it is highly recommended that you leave the job to the professionals. When you make your own food storage kits, the type of packaging used, how items are packaged, and how items are stored are extremely important. If any one step of the process is not done correctly, it can leave your foods susceptible to bacteria that can make you sick or give you food poisoning.
Are food storage systems healthy? It is extremely important that you pay close attention to labels when you are selecting food storage options. The labels tell you everything you need to know about the contents within. For instance, some food storage kits are highly processed with hydrogenated oils and other similar products that provide no nutrition.
However, there are a number of solutions that do not use these additives that are not healthy for you. Read the labels and ingredient lists and familiarize yourself with the terms to understand the nutrition content.
What kinds of foods should be in food storage supplies? There are a number of foods that store well and therefore make the best options for food storage if you are not purchasing kits that were made for this purpose. Canned goods that include ready-to-eat meat, fruits, and veggies are great options. Additionally, items like peanut butter, canned juice, dried meats, dry cereal and granola, jerky, and similar food items are optimal for this type of solution.
Food storage is an effective way of cutting costs and saving time in the kitchen. It allows you to always have healthy food options on hand, making dieting easier and more cost effective. You can also buy in bulk when you go to the grocery, saving you money and cutting the number of trips you have to make to the store.
In addition to the cost savings, food storage can help you eat more whole foods and avoid preservatives in your diet. Methods such as freeze-drying allow you to store large volumes of fruits and vegetables for long periods, without any loss of nutritional value. Freeze dried foods, if vacuum sealed, can last you for years.
Storage methods such as pickling also let you keep vegetables ready to eat for up to 6 months. Pickled foods are rich in antioxidants, and they can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, which improves nutrient absorption.
Should an emergency come up, food storage methods ensure that you’re always prepared. They also increase food security, so your family has something to eat in the event of a loss of income.
When done properly, there are few safety risks with common food storage methods. However, you should avoid plastic containers that are made with BPA or other chemicals, as these can leach into your food.