Having a healthy food stockpile list is essential to any household – but what’s a real foodie to do? What are the best fruits and vegetables to stockpile when you don’t want preservatives or processed foods? Here is the best food to store up from the produce section:
The best food to stockpile is what your family already eats!
The best food to stockpile is primarily getting ahead on what your family regularly consumes. In addition to fruits and vegetables, this works really well for everything else on a food stockpile list like storing grains and how to store meat, protein, and oils long-term.
At first look, it can appear challenging for fresh fruits and vegetables. However, there are easy solutions to ensure that you and your family have what you need in case of an emergency.
I want to eat real food, frugally, not because I’m trying to be prepared. Hopefully, this food stockpile list will inspire you to get overstocked on some of these items instead of just stocked.
A baby step. I like those.
How to Store Fruits for Long Term Preparedness
Keeping fruit in your freezer will only last a day or two if your power goes out.
RELATED: How to freeze strawberries
Assuming you’ve eaten all the frozen fruit in your freezer in the first few days of a problem, here’s a food stockpile list you can rely on:
Any sort of canned fruit, simply because it’s cooked, has fewer nutrients than fresh, frozen, dehydrated, or freeze-dried fruit.
I recommend looking for fruit in glass jars. You can look for preserves and jellies. If you make your own preserved, you’ll avoid extra sugar and nasty ingredients.
Even though it lasts for a long time, I don’t recommend it unless you make it yourself. Applesauce is an easy option (you can even make applesauce in the Instant Pot!)
Keep dehydrated fruit around as a means of preserving the summer produce, particularly strawberries and apples. They’re easy to make into fruit rolls. Bananas also dehydrate well along with tropical fruits like pineapple.
The issue with dried fruit, either home-dried or purchased, is that it doesn’t last forever. You can only keep on hand what you’ll actually continue to go through naturally in a year’s time or so. The trick is keeping more on hand than you need – we can eat a lot of raisins, dates, and dried pineapple, but it’s all too easy to run out.
Stock up on some freeze-dried fruits. Advantages include:
- lightweight and compact for storage, travel
- lasts years without opening it!
- seriously tasty, especially as finger foods for toddlers
The only downfall is that it feels expensive.
If you regularly make smoothies, buy ahead on freeze-dried fruit powders. You can find exotic ones like dragon fruit, camu camu, and kaibae baobab on Thrive Market or at your favorite health food store.
Fruit you can store whole
We keep whole apples in our garage to use over the winter to the tune of about 400lbs a year. However, this only lasts 3-4 months.
Pears can last a couple of months under the right conditions – dark and cool.
We don’t keep a lot of fruit juice on hand because of the extra sugar and lack of fiber. However, there might be value in keeping juice on hand in case of an emergency.
The only way I use it is for homemade gelatin squares which you could make if you had access to fire or heat to use up that juice.
Grow your own fruit
Look up what grows naturally in your area and see what you can plant (or transplant from a neighbor or friend!)
Around me in Michigan these are common:
- currants and gooseberries
- fruit trees:
The downside is that they will only be fresh during the harvest but you can preserve them with the above methods to add to your food stockpile list.
How to Store Vegetables for Long-Term Preparedness
Vegetables are the best food to stockpile because they’re the healthiest and every diet recommends eating vegetables!
If the beauty of dried and canned fruit is that you don’t have to cook it to eat it, the downfall of dried vegetables is that you really do need to rehydrate and cook them. That takes both water and a heat source.
If you have a limited amount of storage space, dehydrated foods are a great choice because they get so darn small when you take all the water out and don’t require any kind of refrigeration!
We dehydrate vegetables, mostly tomatoes, and peppers, not because we like them, but purely to make use of inexpensive summer produce after I run out of room in the freezer for peppers and the energy for canning tomatoes.
Your family may enjoy making vegetable chips out of various root vegetables.
You CAN dehydrate just about anything, but what will you actually use as you go in your day-to-day cooking?
It’s easy to dehydrate onions, garlic, herbs, and celery for your healthy food stockpile.
The downsides of store-bought canned vegetables are nutrient loss, sodium and other unnecessary additives, and the high heat required to cook them.
RELATED: Are canned veggies healthy?
I’m also wary of the plastic lining of metal cans because BPA has just been replaced with BPS which appears to be just as harmful. Opt for glass when you can. Pun intended.
If you want the security of canned vegetables but don’t eat them regularly, buy some (on sale) and mark in your calendar when to donate them to a food pantry so that they’re before their expiration date, then restock.
Vegetables you can buy in glass jars
Buy jars of these vegetables. (My favorite source for organic is Thrive Market.)
- tomato and tomato sauce
- capers (hard to remember to use but they’re great for female reproductive health)
Vegetables you can store whole
Your best bet for vegetables stored whole in a cool environment such as your garage, cellar, or fridge are your:
- root vegetables
- cabbage and Brussels sprouts
Read more on the longest-lasting vegetables with how to ideally use and store each.
Best Foods to Stockpile
The bottom line in my opinion is that fruits and vegetables are much easier to store and use than meats and proteins, but both are an important part of a healthy diet.
Remember to eat what you store, and store what you use.
What fruits and vegetables (and in what forms) does your family eat anyway? That’s what you want to stock up on. As always, be sure to read the labels and make sure that the only ingredient is the food itself!