Safely storing food is very important. Whether you are stockpiling food for a big event, or putting together a long-term food supply, properly storing your food is essential. We have compiled a list of general guidelines to follow that will ensure the safety of any food you plan on storing for an extended period of time.
1. Find the Right Food Storage Location
Many people choose their pantries as locations to store food, others go with their basements. When deciding where to store your food, here are some helpful tips:
– The location should be dry, cool and away from sunlight. Bacteria grow easily in moist or warm areas. Bacteria growth will decrease your food supply shelf-life very quickly.
– Make sure the area is large enough for you to store all of the food you plan on storing. The smaller the space, the less food you can store.
– Make sure that the area will be accessible if an emergency arises. If you need to lock the area, a combination lock would be best. You may not be able to get to the key in an emergency.
2. Store Long Shelf-Life Food
When you are making your food selection, make sure to store a variety of non-perishable food. They have a much longer shelf-life than perishables. Some of these include:
– Freeze-Dried Food — Through the freeze-dry process moisture and oxygen are removed from the food. Then, it is sealed in durable packaging to make sure that bacteria cannot grow. This method makes it possible to store items that are generally perishable like meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables without refrigerating. Freeze-dried foods can be stored at room temperature for up to 25-years.
– Dehydrated Food — The process of food dehydration takes most of the moisture out of food. The food is then sealed in durable packaging. The shelf-life of dehydrated food varies greatly depending on the ingredients used. It generally ranges from 5 to 15 years
-Canned Food — One nice thing about canned food is that you can eat it right from the can, with no water or heating necessary in emergency situations. However, they take up larger amounts of space to store, and generally only last 3 to 5 years.
3. Inspect Before Purchasing
Before you buy food for storing, make sure the packaging is not damaged. If you order it from a catalog or online, be sure to inspect it as soon as it arrives. If your food is packaged in heavy-duty mylar pouches, check for puncture marks and powder residue. If your food is packaged in cans, check for large dents. If you are concerned that a dent has penetrated the can, you can hold it under water. If you see oxygen bubbles coming from the can, it has a hole in it. If not, make sure to dry the can off completely and then store it properly.
4. Rotate Your Food
If you are storing canned goods or dehydrated food, go ahead and eat some of the older food occasionally. Make sure to replace the items you have eaten with new items. This helps to ensure that your food will not be expired when you need it most.
5. Remember Utensils
To make your life much easier during an emergency, remember to store utensils with your food storage. Forks, spoons, knives, and a spatula will make eating your food easier and more enjoyable. Also, don’t forget to store a couple of hand-held can openers. The last thing you need to stress about in an emergency situation is how to get your canned goods open so you and your family can eat.