Letter Re: Velveeta Cheese and Twinkies for Food Storage?

I’m about halfway into your book and love it so far! I’m curious about what store-bought food has the longest shelf life. I am LDS, and you know we believe in food storage, but I’m not too excited about living off of hard winter wheat forever. Can you give some suggestions of store-bought food that will last the longest. For example, I’ve heard that Velveeta cheese lasts forever, as well as Twinkies. I’m really just looking to have some variety in the food storage. Also, is there a better place to get MREs? I have a cousin in the army and I was thinking maybe he could buy them cheaper and fresher. Let me know.

Thank you, – Aaron V.

JWR Replies: First, I’d like to state for the record, that I have never stockpiled Twinkies, nor do I intend to. And, BTW, as documented at Snopes, they do not store “forever”.

I only believe in stocking wholesome foods will real nutritive value, not empty calories. There are better quality cheeses available–either fresh canned or dehydrated flakes–from a number of SurvivalBlog advertisers. The key to a well balanced food storage program is to start first with the staple foods that you use on a regular basis.

1.) Start out by simply doubling-up and tripling up the staples that you normally buy each time that you shop fro groceries, and as needed, package them in vermin-proof containers. This is usually done in 5-gallon food grade HDPE buckets.

2.) Next, add a large quantity of wheat (or a gluten-free equivalent, for those that are gluten intolerant), and then round out your food storage with a quantity of freeze-dried fruit and vegetables, commercially nitrogen packed in #10 cans, for maximum storage life. (BTW, members of the LDS church have access to their church’s local dry pack canneries, at cost. (While I have no common ground with the wayward doctrine of the LDS Church, I admire their food storage program!)

3.) Finally, add a few “comfort” foods for treats and special occasions. (Yes, I suppose, you could store a few Twinkies.) But my personal favorites for storage food treats are freeze-dried strawberries, dried apricots, and banana chips. (Yum!)

In my Rawles Gets You Ready family preparedness course. provide considerable detail on inexpensive methods for stocking up at Big Box stores as well as two methods for packaging bulk foods for long term storage. These will keep them safe from the depredations of insects and their larvae.