Prudent Food Storage

The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down. - Proverbs 21:20

Section 6 Resources
D. Organizations


The LDS church, commonly known as the Mormon Church, has long had a social welfare program for the benefit of its members in need. Believing the best way to deal with the problem of needy members is not to have any, the church also strongly encourages its membership to be as self-reliant and self-dependent as possible. To further this end it provides accessto church owned cannery facilities and makes large, bulk purchases of storage foods to sell at cost to any member with an interest in starting a personal food storage program.

Most facilities will be at one of the LDS Bishop's Storehouses located in various places around the country, but some churches will also have their own local facilities. The easiest means of finding one is simply to ask the LDS church member you know. If they don't themselves know, or you don't know any Mormons, then a little phone book research will be necessary. Find your nearest local Mormon church and ask to speak with the local Bishop of the Ward or Relief Society president. Either one of those two individuals should be able to give you the information you seek.

The Church also has it's own web site at and there you can find further information on geographic locations of church owned Home Storage Centers and instructions for how to begin your own home food storage and emergency preparedness programs. Even if you aren't an LDS member and don't intend to use their facilities the food storage and emergency preparedness areas are worth a look.

If you find that you have a cannery within striking distance give them a call. If you are not LDS inquire as to whether they allow non-church members to use their facilities, any available times, and what you need to provide. Be up front and honest, you'll hardly be the first to talk to them about food storage. Ask for a copy of the cannery guidelines and a price list of what is available. There may also be classes or seminars as well. There is a degree of variability between the canneries so what is available at one may not be at another.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Policies about non-members using the LDS Family Canneries may vary from location to location so you'll need to investigate the specific cannery you are interested in. Please keep in mind that the individuals responsible for the family canneries are all volunteers with demands on their time from many areas. Be courteous when speaking with them and, if there are facilities for use, flexible in making arrangements to use them. You will, of course, have to pay for the supplies that you use, cans and lids at the least, and any food products you use. As a general rule they cannot put your food into storage for you. Be ready to pay for your purchases in advance, if necessary. They do not take credit cards and probably cannot make change so take a check with you.

Any food products you want to have sealed in cans or pouches will need to fall within their guidelines of suitability for that type of packaging. This is for reasons of spoilage control since many types of foods aren't suitable for simply sealing in a container without further processing. If you purchase food products from the cannery, they will already be within those guidelines. A brief treatment of these guidelines can be found below.


Subject to some variability among storage centers, the following foods are generally available at the canneries:

Apple SlicesHot Cocoa MixPudding, Vanilla
Beans, Great NorthernMacaroniSoup Mix
Beans, PinkMilk, Non-fat DrySpaghetti
Beans, PintoOats, RolledSugar
Beans, Refried DryOnions, DryWheat, Red or White
Carrots, dryPotatoes, dryWhite Flour
Fruit Drink MixPudding, ChocolateWhite Rice

In addition to what foods may be available for purchase from the cannery you may also be able to bring your own to put up. These will need to be low-moisture in nature, of a high enough quality for storage, and free of insects.

Approved Dry-Pack Products
MilkNon-fat dry milk and milk or whey products such as hot cocoa.
White flourBleached or unbleached, but not self-rising.
Whole grainsNot milled or cracked, no oily seed coat.
Rolled oatsQuick or regular.
LegumesDry peas and beans, including dehydrated refried beans.
PastaPasta products that do not contain egg.
Fruits and vegetablesDehydrated or freeze-dried products that are dry enough to snap. (Best items:  apples, bananas, potatoes, onions, carrots, corn, peas. Marginal items:  apricots, peaches, pears, tomatoes, green beans).
SugarGranulated or powdered, but not brown or other damp sugars.
MiscellaneousTVP (textured vegetable protein), cheese powder, gelatin, soup mixes (without bouillon).

You will be able to purchase the necessary cans or pouches, oxygen absorbers, boxes and plastic lids for what you want to can.

Some foods do not keep well simply sealed inside a can or pouch even with oxygen absorbers so are not approved for canning.

Non-Approved Dry Pack Products
Milled grainWhole wheat flour, cornmeal, cereal.
Oily grains/seedsNuts, coconut, brown rice, pearled barley, sesame.
Baking mixesAnything that has self-contained baking powder is not suited to long-term storage.
LeaveningsBaking powders, baking soda, and yeast.
Egg noodlesAny noodles, pasta, or macaroni that contains egg yolks.
Cold cerealsReady to eat breakfast cereals, granolas, etc.
MiscellaneousSpices, oils, bouillon, dried meats, dried eggs, brown sugar, candy, first-aid supplies.

Although I am not in complete agreement with the above list, it is workable and will get the job done. Make sure the food you want to pack has little fat or moisture content and you should be OK. For grains, legumes, flours, meals and dried fruits and vegetables do make sure to use the oxygen absorbers. You should not assume the food is insect free. When the packets remove the available oxygen any insects in the can will die or at least go dormant.

Updated: 9/18/96; 4/16/97; 7/21/97; 10/20/97; 9/15/98; 11/02/99; 12/01/03

Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003. Alan T. Hagan. All rights reserved.

Excluding contributions attributed to specific individuals or organizations all material in this work is copyrighted to Alan T. Hagan with all rights reserved. This work may be copied and distributed for free as long as the entire text, mine and the contributor's names and this copyright notice remain intact, unless my prior express permission has been obtained. This FAQ may not be distributed for financial gain, included in commercial collections or compilations, or included as a part of the content of any web site without prior, express permission from the author.

DISCLAIMER: Safe and effective food storage requires attention to detail, proper equipment and ingredients. The author makes no warranties and assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in this text, or damages resulting from the use or misuse of information contained herein. This FAQ is not intended for, nor should it be used in, any commercial food applications.

Placement of or access to this work on this or any other site does not necessarily mean the author espouses or adopts any political, philosophical or metaphysical concepts that may also be expressed wherever this work appears.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements & Foreword

Section 1 - Shelf Lives

  1. Time, Temperature, Moisture, Oxygen and Light

Section 2 - Foods

  1. Common Storage Foods

A. Grains & legumes

  1. Grains & Grain Products
  2. Legumes
  3. Availability of Grains and Legumes
  4. Storing Grains and Legumes

B. Dairy Products

  1. Dry Milks
  2. Canned Fluid Milks and Creams
  3. Butter
  4. Cheese

C. Eggs

  1. Dry Eggs

D. Sugar, Honey and Other Sweeteners

  1. Granulated Sugars
  2. Honey
  3. Cane Syrups
  4. Corn Syrup
  5. Maple Syrup

E. Fats and Oils

  1. Buying & Storing Oils and Fats
  2. Extending Shelf Life By Adding Anti-Oxidants

F. Cooking Adjuncts

  1. Baking Powder
  2. Baking Soda
  3. Herbs & Spices
  4. Salt
  5. Vinegar
  6. Yeast

G. Infant Formula

  1. Alternatives to Breastfeeding
  2. Selecting and Feeding An Infant Formula
  3. Storing Infant Formulas and Baby Foods

H. MREs - Meals, Ready to Eat

  1. U.S. Military MREs
  2. U.S. Civilian MREs
  3. British/Canadian MREs
  4. Other Self-Heating Ready To Eat Type Products

I. Ration Bars

  1. Ration Bars

Section 3 - Specific Equipment Questions

A. Storage Containers

  1. What is Food Grade Packaging?
  2. Plastic Packaging
  3. Metal Cans
  4. Glass Jars
  5. Mylar Bags
  6. Reusing or Recycling Packaging

B. CO2 and Nitrogen

  1. Dry Ice
  2. Compressed Nitrogen

C. Vacuum Sealing

  1. Vacuum Sealing Considerations

D. Freeze Treating

  1. Freeze Treating

E. Oxygen Absorbers

  1. What Is an Oxygen Absorber?
  2. How Are Oxygen Absorbers Used?

F. Moisture in Packaging and Food Storage

  1. Why Moisture is Important
  2. What Is A Desiccant?
  3. Types of Desiccants
  4. How Do I Use Desiccants?
  5. Where Do I Find Desiccants?

G. Diatomaceous Earth

  1. What is Diatomaceous Earth?
  2. Where Do I Find DE and What Type Should I Buy?
  3. How Do I Use DE in Food Storage?

Section 4 - Spoilage

A. Insect Infestations

  1. Pests of Stored Grains, Legumes and Dry Foodstuffs
  2. Control of Insect Infestations

B. Molds in Foods

  1. Minimizing Molds
  2. Molds in Canned Goods
  3. Molds in Grains and Legumes

C. Bacterial Spoilage

  1. Botulism

D. Enzymatic Action in Food Spoilage

  1. Enzymatic Action

Section 5 - Shelf Lives

A. Food Product Dates

  1. "Best Used By", "Use By" and Other Food Product Dates

B. Closed Dating

  1. Closed Dating Codes Used by Some Food Manufacturers

C. Shelf Lives

  1. Shelf Lives of Some Common Storage Foods

Section 6 - Resources

A. Books

  1. Books

B. Pamphlets

  1. Pamphlets

C. Electronic-online

  1. Information sources
  2. Software sources

D. Organizations

  1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - LDS Family Cannery Guidelines

E. Food and Equipment Suppliers

  1. Mail Ordering Storage Foods What You Should Know
  2. Addresses of Suppliers