Food storage is a common issue that we all face. Even if you aren’t a “prepper” these 8 long term food storage tips can save you money, frustration and possibly even your life in an emergency situation.
One of the main ideas behind prepping is to not run out of supplies. That means having a backup plan and a backup plan for the backup plan!
You can have plenty of food on hand but if it is the wrong kind or it isn’t stored correctly then it could make you sick or in some cases even kill you.
Here are 8 things that you should consider for your food storage solutions.
1. Food Type
Some types of food are easier to store long term than others. Items like pasta can be stored for many years if packaged correctly and protected from insects. Meat, on the other hand, does not store very well unless it is dried like jerky or heavily salted.
Many people rely on home canning the vegetables and fruits that they grow as a key part of their long-term storage plans. Proper canning procedures ensure that your veggies are safe to eat long after they have been harvested. Click here for tips on proper home canning.
2. Food Packaging Integrity
Always check the expiration date on store bought items even though they may not be entirely accurate. Also, check for cans that appear bloated…this usually indicates that you do not want to eat the contents!
Check for moisture absorbers in the packaging that will help keep the food safe for consumption. Look for items that have been vacuum packed or that contain oxygen absorbers to ensure freshness.
For more tips on food packaging methods for long-term food storage click here.
3. Food Rotation
Most people want to store foods that they commonly consume. This is a great idea because it allows you to have some continuity in your life even during an emergency. Treat your storage like the grocery store does…first in, first out.
That will ensure that you are eating fresh food at all times. The last thing you need is to pull out a can of beans only to find out that they expired 5 years ago! They might still be edible but taste funny or they could make you sick. Why take the chance?
Store what you like to eat, rotate your food properly and have one less thing to worry about.
4. Temperature Control
Storing your food in a cool environment extends the life expectancy of it. That is why root cellars were very popular before refrigeration became the norm in modern society.
Almost all food will last longer if stored at 55 degrees or lower. Click here for more information on proper food storage temps.
5. Humidity Control
When it comes to long-term storage humidity is your enemy. It creates an environment that allows for the growth of bacteria and mold. Even when the packaging looks solid humidity can create enough moisture to ruin almost any food.
The presence of humidity can even create enough moisture to cause the metal storage cans to rust. Once the cans begin to rust the food will soon be exposed to the moisture, possibly insects, and rodents so now your food supply is compromised. Not a good situation at all.
Click here for info on how humidity impacts your food storage.
Most long-term food is stored in vacuum sealed packaging in order to keep oxygen out. Some companies even fill the void in their packages with nitrogen for the same reason. These things are almost impossible for the home canner to do.
If using mylar bags you should ensure that they are thick enough to keep oxygen out and also put some oxygen absorbers into the package so help keep it away from your food.
Here are some home canning tips that can help you protect your food supply.
7. Ambient Light
Sunlight is another enemy of long-term storage. The UV light in sunlight causes food to deteriorate rapidly so you want to protect your food as much as possible.
Mason jars are one of the most common storage containers for home use but they are clear so be sure that you store them in a dark area for your own protection.
8. Protecting from Creepy Crawlies
Bugs, mice, squirrels. Yuck. I don’t want any of them near my food! Glass and metal containers are the best protection from these vermin. Store as much of your food as possible in glass or metal. Anything that you store in mylar will be best protected if you can place the bags into a sealed 5-gallon bucket.
Here are some more tips on protecting your food from rodents.
I hope these food storage tips help you in your quest to be prepared for almost any emergency that comes along.