• You should always keep a reserve of food and water in case an emergency situation arises, preventing you from accessing food, water or electricity. According to the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), your emergency food storage should be large enough to supply all family or household members with at least two weeks’ worth of food and water. Look for foods with long shelf lives to preserve for emergency situations.

Canned Foods

  • Canned condensed meat and soups typically have long shelf lives of one or more years. Canned fruits, fruit juices and vegetables also have long shelf lives, and you can store canned hard candy and canned nuts to eat in between meals as snacks. Store all canned food items in airtight containers with screw-top lids to prevent the food from becoming stale and to prevent pests or animals from eating the food.

Freeze-Dried Fruits

  • Freeze-dried fruits provide essential vitamins and nutrients and also act as a natural sweetener. Freeze-dried apples, berries, bananas and other fruits require no preparation, though you may rehydrate freeze-dried fruit to soften the fruit and bring out its flavor. To rehydrate dried fruit, boil one cup of fruit with one cup of water in a pot or pan until the fruit’s tenderness matches your taste preferences.

Foods with Indefinite Shelf-Lives

  • Foods with indefinite shelf lives include wheat and rice, dried corn, dry pasta and soybeans. According to FEMA’s emergency food and water guide, you may store these foods in your emergency food reserve indefinitely as long as you keep them in dry, air-tight containers. You can also store sugar, salt, baking powder and vegetable oil indefinitely as ingredients to use in emergency food preparation.


  • According to FEMA’s emergency food and water guide, you should store water for your emergency food reserve in food-grade water storage containers. If you do not want to purchase food-grade water storage containers, use plastic two-liter soft drink bottles that have been washed with anti-bacterial soap and sanitized with a mixture containing one-teaspoon of non-scented household chlorine bleach to 0.25-gallons of water. After sanitizing the bottle, rinse the bottle once more with water to remove the sanitizing solution. According to MayoClinic, healthy people must consume eight to nine cups of water every day when living in a temperate climate. You can also store instant coffee, tea and non-carbonated soft drinks indefinitely in airtight containers.