Long-term food storage is actually more complex than most people give it credit for, but knowing the essentials can keep your food edible for years.
How, you may ask? Well… let’s take a look. Here are 8 best food storage practices that every family should know:
1- Don’t Lose Your Cool
Literally… heat is like Disneyland for bacteria. It accelerates activity and enzymatic processes, which is a fancy way of saying that your food will spoil quickly regardless of how carefully you’ve packed and placed your precious morsels. Basements are the obvious choice for storage, but keep in mind that even a water heater can raise the temperature in a room.
2- Lights Out, Ladies and Gentleman
Protein can easily be compromised by light energy. Have you ever tried to un-screw a piping hot light bulb? Of course you have, we all have, and it always ends in burnt finger tips and broken glass. Energy from light can quickly turn up the heat, which goes hand-in-hand with keeping your storage cool. When you avoid heat of any kind, you avoid containers and cans from expanding, broken seals, exploding, and allowing microorganisms to contaminate the food.
3- Keep it Airtight
When food is exposed to oxygen, essential nutrients start to degrade rapidly. When an environment is oxygenated, microorganisms and fungi throw a “let’s multiply” party, and they invite all their friends. Not to worry, food storage has come a long way in the past few years. The technology of Mylar packaging and oxygen absorbers keeps oxygen from contaminating your scrumptious meals.
4- Consider Variety and Taste
You may think that it’s a great idea to keep oversized bags of oats and grains in your storage, but after eating like a horse for so long, you’ll wish you would have considered what you and your family actually enjoy eating. Have a conversation with your loved ones and make a list of meals and ingredients that will turn bland and boring into delicious and yummy.
5- Test Runs and Replacements
Whether you are in a crisis situation or not, you should put your pantry to the test. Have you and your family live for one week strictly on what is available in your cupboards. Take notes on what worked, what went wrong, and what needs to be discarded and replaced in order to accommodate your family’s food storage needs (and taste buds).
Preparing a stock pile of edible goodness can quickly become quite expensive. Buying in bulk can be a great idea, especially when grocery stores have hard to resist sales, but if you plan with friends, family, and neighbors, you can split the cost (and storage space). This will make it more affordable for everyone involved.
7- Keep it Spicy
Staring at a mass amount of bland food can seem more like a disaster than the disaster that actually caused you to be in a crisis situation. This can be remedied quiet easily… dried spices and herbs have a long shelf life and can turn the blah into Yaaassss!
Food and nutrients are a major part of emergency preparedness, but the most important thing to remember is water. Humans can forage and find edible things (insects are packed with nutrients) in many places, but when water is unavailable, a bad situation can quickly become dire. Humans must have water in order to survive and dehydration comes in fast and furious. Keep a stock of clean water in your storage and have a way to boil water in case your stock runs out or clean water becomes unavailable. Boiling water kills all the bad stuff and makes it safe for consumption and use.
9- Have a Backup Plan
You may have followed all the guidelines and have a basement of emergency preparedness that could make a grown man cry, but if Mother Nature decides to come at you and she targets you with her wrath, you could go from stocked and prepared to S.O.L. Have a plan B… Hell, have a plan C. The more you prepare for each scenario, the more likely you are to survive.
If this year has taught us anything, disaster can strike at any moment, and it is rarely kind. Emergency preparedness can be the difference between life and death. Beef up your food storage game (literally, you’d be surprised how savory and delectable Freeze Dried Diced Beef can be), stock up on clean water, have a game plan, and you’ll be right as rain in the face of a crisis.