Food Storage 101
To be prepared for worst case scenario all families should keep at least one year supply of food and spare household items. This is golden rule for anyone, no matter who you are, paranoid survivalist or average next door citizen. Getting hungry was a one of the worst things which most of modern life don’t even think about which can happen right now, after an hour, tomorrow or next week as a result of natural or human made disaster. Avoid hunger is on of the main human being needs to stay alive and functional and it is so sadly that now days most of the people forgot about it as various food is widely accessible everywhere.
Storing food for long time is not so easy as you think in first eyesight, food storage involve strategical planning of your needs, expenses and storage capacities to not throw your hard earned money away and when disaster strikes found that most of your supplies are mice eaten or just simply rotten. There are a lot of different proven methods how to store your food supplies properly, but main goals are simple, so here are our food storage 101 hints list for all who choose stay prepared.
Organization and food rotation.
Make a list of everything you have, write what you have in what numbers and preferably with shelf life so you can easily plan your food rotation depending on what it is required to be used in first. Store your items grouped and familiarize yourself and your family members about what you have and where it is, do not place everything on everything, have easy access, so each time you need something you can easily get it without restructuring your storage place. Always keep food with ending shelf life in front on other same type products to save your time latter. Keep products which require colder storage temperature closer to ground, and remember that air circulation is a threat you must to avoid mold and keep your food dry.
Storage, temperature changes and temperature.
Avoid any quick temperature changes (this will bring condensation) and extreme cold or extreme hot storage conditions, dry basement, northern side of your house, staying away from any hot sources like chimneys and boiler rooms with extend your food lifespan for a while. Never ever put anything on bare ground, it will rotten very quickly and you loose your supplies in short time. If you have dirt floor on your basement or garage, place everything at least on wooden pallets or wooden bricks. Anyway better look for waterproof cement floor with proper insulation, this can extend your food storage life for a while, putting everything in cemented basement can help you out while sealing all possible cracks or smallest crevices to avoid insects or mice invasion, this small scavengers can easily destroy your food supply just in weeks. Also do not put any chemicals in same storage room as your food, you can easily contaminate it with evaporation and bad smells from various chemical substances.
Keep everything sealed.
This is a good practice are pack all your edibles into additional packaging. This is primary about food like beans, grain, rice and so on as original packaging is often thin foil, paper or cardboard packs which can be easily teared, chewed trough by various bugs or mice. The best and cheapest way to have additional sealing is keep such stuff into five or more gallon plastic buckets which you can easily afford for free at local store or buy them for little money at local home supplies stores. Put your food into this additional storage and write with non washable marker what you have in each bucket to keep everything organized.
What food I need to store?
In first, store everything that you really like to eat, yes there are a lot of alternatives in canned “version”, so you can easily replace your every day meals with canned foods. Make a list for a month while you go shopping for everyday food, write everything down and then look for same products packaged in cans, then count how much of them you need in case store is closed, that’s simple math. Canned foods has great variety of different choices like fruits, meat, soups, fish and so on, think about variety, in harsh times even extra can of tasty canned fruits can elevate your mood and well being for a while. Also good thing is that most of the canned food do not require any cooking, this is enough just heat up your can by any heat source just to make it warm.
Beans, corn, rice and other whole grain products, yes they require cooking, but combined with some canned meat you can make yourself tasty dinner just in time when your grain cooking up. You need diversify meals to keep yourself up healthy and as result in good mood and ready to withdrawal any challenges you may face.
MRE’s or Meals Ready to Eat is another choice, but can be quite expensive and not so healthy in long run for your stomach compared to your custom made emergency food list. Anyway this is excellent choice for your bug out bag contents when you need quick and balanced meal quick.
Freeze dried food is a very good addition to your food storage list, in preparing process all possible water is taken out from food which makes it more compact and very lightweight. This type of food is very popular with hikers, hunters and fisherman which need carry all their stuff in backpack on their own. Freeze dried food has extra long lifespan if stored in cool and dry place, so stock up this kind of food can be good investment into your safety. Just note that make freeze dried food you need water, hot or cold, but liquid is required to make it edible.
“Comfort food” in your food storage 101 list like candies, honey (almost endless shelf life), various hard candies, canned fruits, chocolate (bare black chocolate have extra long shelf life) is a must as in first it is true “rocket fuel” for your brain which boost pure and fast energy to your body too, along with ability make you some nice moments and bring some light even in moments when everything looks bad.
Also, when you look for different same type products, aim for calories, yes in everyday most of people count for less, but remember that calories means your body energy, so better in worst case scenario have more then you need, then less.
At least 3 gallons of water per person daily is required, stocking up water supply for year can be costly, but have several hundreds gallons as reserve is a good choice anyway, you can easily change it on schedule to keep it fresh and costs is almost zero, but without water all your preparedness is useless, this is a must. Also good thing is have enough spare empty buckets or barrels which you can easily fill in case of emergency.
Some tips on buying emergency food.
In first, check for sales, this is very good way to get more and stock up your food storage quickly, but look for expire dates, buying food that expire soon is useless. Buying in bulk is another good option how to stock up easy and quickly, just make sure that you have enough containers to separate large piles of incoming edibles as you do not want get damaged for example big bag of rice at one in case malicious insects found and take over your stock.
That’s all, be prepared and be safe!