Dry Goods


We make our own bread and use about two loaves per week. We use a variety of flours in the bread to keep it interesting to make and to eat. Calculations: each loaf takes 17 ounces of flour. That’s a bit more than a pound. If we use one pound as an approximate, then we need 2 pounds of flour per week, ten per month, thirty for three months.

White bread flour, four 5 lb. sacks
Whole wheat bread flour, 2 5 lb. pound sacks
Several smaller (2-3 lb.) sacks of other grains (I am partial to spelt)


We stock canned beans as an emergency food supply. Canned beans can be eaten cold or heated quickly. We keep enough beans for one can per person per day for one month. For three adults this works out to ninety cans. I write the date I purchased the can in sharpie on the label so I can be sure to use the oldest first. To use 90 cans up within a year we have to use 3 cans every 2 weeks or so.


Like beans, oatmeal can be eaten cold in an emergency, and can be heated up quickly on a propane or wood stove. Oats weigh a little more than three ounces a cup, making about four cups per pound. We eat two cups of oatmeal for breakfast three days a week. That means that we go through a 25 pound bag of oatmeal every three months.


Here’s a quick calculation. We use 1 cup of dry rice for each rice dish. That’s about 8 ounces (a little less, but we’ll take it for ease of calculation). Two rice dishes per week is 16 ounces. So a 10 pound bag would last 10 weeks, a 50 pound bag all year. We get 20 pound bags of basmati and jasmine, using basmati for Indian-based foods and jasmine for Asian-based menus.

Pasta and canned meat

If you can boil water for 15 minutes you can make either a rice dish or a pasta dish. One 8 ounce package of pasta makes one meal. In an emergency you could heat the pasta, toss with olive oil, and add canned chicken or tuna and let the pasta warm it up. In dinner rotation we make a white sauce and add tuna or chicken to the sauce at the end of cooking. We also make spaghetti, and make sauce with tomato sauce, beef, and spices.

Quantities: Costco sells variety pasta in packages of 8. I keep six of those on hand, or 48 individual meals. We have pasta one day a week; in an emergency, having pasta 3 days a week, these would last 16 weeks.

Costco also sells packages of canned tuna and chicken. We stock two of each of these and use them up two to three per pasta dish. We have so much wonderful meat locally it’s hard to eat canned meats, but we keep the food in our diet for emergency preparedness.

Preserved foods

Many vegetables can be pickled and processed in a water bath. I like to do cucumbers. I also process apples into applesauce and apple butter. Many local cooks preserve a wide variety of foods, saving the energy of refrigeration, and providing healthy homegrown foods all year. The WSU Extension offers classes in pickling, canning and preserving.

Pickles, sauces, and jams add variety to a diet. They’re welcome additions to any meal, emergency or everyday!