Food storage is economical, provides peace of mind, is crucial for survival in emergency scenarios - and can even be fun! Many people find that creating long term food supplies with their family is a learning exercise and provides quality time. If you’ve been thinking of entering the world of long term food storage - either for emergency purposes or just for practicality and economic reasons - there are some things you should know. Read on to learn the basic best practices that will ensure the most effective long term food storage.
Choose the right location. Food should be stored in a cool, dry place. Oxygen and moisture are the enemy of food storage. Oxygen absorbers will help remove it from inside your storage containers, but don't forget about the environment outside the containers.
2. THE RIGHT FOODS
Know which foods store best. Some foods are ideal for long term storage - others, not so much. The best options have a moisture content of 10% or less. Dry goods like white rice, wheat, flour, beans, sugar, and oats are all good choices for storing in Mylar bags. You could also try freeze dried foods.
3. NO ASSUMPTIONS
Don’t assume you’ll have electricity. For this reason we strongly suggest you have a generator as part of your emergency survival plans. Consider how you will open, prepare, cook, and refrigerate leftover foods.
Ensure you have access to clean water. You should have either a way to filter water from a larger water source, or a significant store of bottled water. This will be important for not only drinking and staying hydrated, but also rehydrating some foods. Make sure you consider water needs when choosing foods - for example, how much boiling will be required?
5. READ LABELS!
Read expiration labels. Many people just stock a pantry with canned goods and assume they’ll be good to go in an emergency survival situation - but some canned foods don’t last as long as you might think. If canned foods are part of your food storage solution, make sure you’ve considered expiration dates and store them so that the items with the earliest expiration date are used first.
6. FREEZE DRIED FOR THE WIN
A good rule of thumb: freeze dried foods can last 25-30 years while maintaining nutrition. It all depends on moisture content, so fruit is at the much lower end of this spectrum. Once the seal on a package of freeze dried food is broken, the shelf life clock is ticking.
7. NUTRITION IS IMPORTANT
Focus on balanced nutrition, caloric intake, and access to vitamins. Know how many calories each member of your family needs to survive. Try to include variety of foods in your survival kit so that everyone has access to essential vitamins and nutrients.
Have the right tools available. Items like a heat sealer, Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, glass jars, a can opener, small propane stove, and cutlery and plates are all necessary. In your initial stages, to simply prepare and store food, consider a kit or a bundle that has the necessary oxygen absorbers and labels included. Your most versatile supplies will be Mylar pouches in a variety of sizes, and food-grade material buckets or tubs, which can be lined with these food safe Mylar bags.
For more detailed information on long term food storage, check out some of our past posts. If you need any advice on specific tools or supplies for long term food storage, just ask our experts.