If you are just beginning your food storage plan, then Food Storage 101 is what you need. Before you begin buying food, you need to make sure the area where you plan to store the food is properly prepped. Here are three simple steps to get your food storage area ready to ensure longer shelf-life.
1) Choosing Your Food Storage Area
Select a room that will serve as your food storage area. For the longest shelf-life possible, make sure it is the coldest place in your house. If you choose the garage, make sure the food is far away from heat sources, such as the furnace or water heater. Make sure to close all heating vents so the room stays as cold as possible. Other possibilities are an insulated garage or root cellar.
If none of these options are available, designate a section of your pantry or kitchen cabinets for your food storage. You can also use a crawl space, an unfinished area of the home, a spare bedroom, under the stairway, under beds or closets.
2) Preparing the Area
If you choose an area that has cement or dirt floors, the food should not be placed directly on the floor. Moisture may get into your food, causing it to go bad. Cement and dirt floors will also cause your cans to rust. Elevate your storage area with wooden pallets. You can also lay bricks on the floor, and place wooden boards on top of the bricks.
Seal any and all crevices and cracks in the room, because cracks can allow insects and mice can get in and destroy your food storage. Keep in mind that mice can eat through foil and food wrappings, and they love military meals and MRE (Meals Ready-to-Eat). Take the proper precautions to protect your food from rodents and insects.
3) Shelving for Food Storage
Your shelves should allow you to easily rotate your food. Rotating food involves using the oldest foods first, and placing the newest foods in the back. Your shelves must also allow air circulation around all your food so everything stays dry. Foods that need to be kept cool, such as oils, dairy products and powdered milk, should be stored closest to the floor. Keep breakables, like glass bottles and jars, on the same shelves. Then, place pieces of wood in front of them to keep them from falling off of the shelves and breaking.
The area on the floor under the shelves can be used to store buckets of pasta, rice, wheat and beans. You can also store non-food emergency supplies there, including a propane stove, coolers, flashlights, batteries, medical supplies, candles, garden seeds, and any other supply you may need.