Food Storage: Where and How
August 1981

“Food Storage: Where and How,” Ensign, Aug. 1981, 54–55

Food Storage: Where and How

Home storage should consist of a year’s supply of basic food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel. After this goal has been reached, emergency and expanded storage should begin.

People who are in mobile situations (such as the armed forces and school) or who have small homes with limited storage area should prepare as best they can for emergencies. Basic food items often can be stored in a rather limited space: closets, attics, space under beds, and even space made available by family or friends. It is wiser to have food storage sufficient for only a few weeks or months than to have no storage at all. The food storage program should be adapted to meet geographic and individual needs, but the following suggestions may:

1. The choice of storage foods depends on availability, nutritive value, cost, storage qualities, and other considerations. Store foods that the family is willing to eat. In times of stress, it may be difficult to eat unfamiliar or disliked foods.

2. Store a variety of foods, as no single food has all the essential nutrients in the correct proportions.

3. Store the highest quality or grade of food obtainable. For example, wheat should be cereal grade, double cleaned, at least 11 percent protein, and no more than 10 percent moisture.

4. Store foods in sturdy metal, plastic, or glass containers with tightly fitting lids. Sturdy wooden, straw, or earthenware containers may also be used, but a plastic bag liner would help protect the food from possible contamination.

5. Store foods in areas that permit easy access and allow control of temperature and humidity. (In general, cool temperatures prolong storage life and quality.) Not all storage items should be located in one area of the house; not all should be stored in one type of container.

6. To destroy insects that may infest grains, nuts, dried fruits, or other foods, place the food in temperatures of 0° F. (or below) for four days. As an alternative, the food may be sterilized by being heated at low temperature (around 200° F.) for about one hour, depending on the nature of the food. Spread the food on shallow pans so that the heat can penetrate easily. Stir the food occasionally to keep it from scorching. Dry ice kills most adult insects and larvae, but it probably will not destroy the eggs or pupae. Pour two inches of grain into the bottom of the container. Add dry ice; then fill with grain. Eight ounces of dry ice is recommended for one hundred pounds of grain, or one pound for each thirty gallons of stored grain. Seal the containers loosely for five to six hours; then seal them tightly.

7. Storage foods should be planned for and acquired according to an orderly and systematic plan. Food costs can be minimized by budgeting and shopping wisely. Borrowing money to acquire food storage is not a good idea.

8. Use stored foods on a regular basis to maintain quality and minimize waste. Maintain a food inventory and replace items as they are used.

9. Specific information regarding appropriate foods and optimal storage conditions in given localities should be obtained from local universities or government agencies.

The above suggestions are adapted from Essentials of Home Production & Storage, a booklet published by the Church. Order the booklet through your ward or branch leadership; or send 35¢ and the booklet title and stock number (PGWE1125) to the Salt Lake City Distribution Center, 1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104. Make checks payable to “Corporation of the President.”

Photography by Jon T. Lockwood