Long term food storage for our family of 6 is as important as zero waste. I make alot from scratch and buy in bulk. I am looking for suggestions on how to store food for the future without the packaging.
I have been thinking about the same thing. I have no idea how to do this except canning your own fruits and veggies. Soups and meat can also be pressure canned. I'm thinking this may be the way to go for us. The only problem is for storing grains and such. Most people usually use large 5 gallon buckets and plastic bags, I wonder if there's a large glass container that might work.
I agree with Stephanie regarding canning fruits, veggies, soups, and meats. Of course follow the current safety recommendations! Another option is dehydration. Works well with a variety of products, takes up little space, and has a long shelf life. Curing, pickling, fermentation are also tried and true long term preservation techniques. I personally have a great deal of fun making my own sauerkraut and pickles :-) and routinely dry mushrooms, apples, etc. These are stored in glass jars.
Regarding grains, I think you have to first decide why you would stockpile. Those who wish to be prepared for a natural disaster will have to figure out storage, but I guess first decide the quantity per package. Half gallon, probably gallon, airtight glass jars easily available. Stainless steel is another [expensive] option. If you don't have the "worst case scenario" mindset, I'm not sure long term grain storage makes any sense, since always available. Usually the price is relatively constant, so you might not be saving anything when factoring in cost of storage containers and the space required.
If you don't do your own large scale gardening, the same might be said for fruits/veggies,and the rest. The rationale for preserving these is usually not economic though!
Sandor Katz, Sally Fallon even Alton Brown, are great resources on the how-to's of fermenting kraut and pickles, and the instructions/recipes are searchable online and at most libraries. Though easy, it's rather lengthy to explain; would be glad to answer questions once you get going :-) Who knows, you might even try kimchee! FWIW, I don't use a crock, rather a glass jar with an airlock so no skimming neccessary. Airlocks can be gotten at places selling beer/wine making supplies, online, etc. Container must be airtight in this set-up, though.
"Regular" pickling I just use Ball Blue Book recipes.
Never made fruit leathers, but you might find a silpat a reasonable substitute for parchment paper. Just a guess, though. I have a dehydrator from way back and have the solid trays for it so haven't researched alternatives. I dried tomato sauce into a "leather" once upon a time to save on space (had bought one of those hulking cans at Smart&Final), That was marginally useful since we aren't big consumers of the sauce... some people dry everything, but for me the favorites are sliced apples (dipped in diluted citric acid), sliced tomatoes, and mushrooms since I use a lot of these and can find quite cheap at times. Peach and apricot slices are also quite good dried, but of course require peeling, pitting and treating with lemon juice/citric acid to keep from browning. The dried apples are almost candy-like.
How many days do you want to set aside for? Living in earthquake territory, we're advised to be prepared for 3 days without help. I wouldn't recommend our system (ummmm, rainwater, heat source, filter and tablets to purify: bleh) but what you are preparing for has a lot to do with the container. Maybe 5 gallon water bottles, which are plastic. Unless you aren't worried about collapsing structures, glass is not a good idea, though available: glass carboys that beer making suppliers should have. Stainless steel is also available, but very expensive. Also remember that some of your fluids may come from the foods you store. Smaller, more portable containers are abundant, including Kleen Kanteens. I suppose you could even "can" water.
Have no idea how long water is good in any of these containers, though I'm sure a web search will give you some ideas. I've seen 6 months as well as a year. I also just discovered you can purchase purified water in a can: 30 year storage life. Not cheap.