If you’re thinking about putting together some kind of emergency food storage solution for you and your family, one of your biggest concerns is making sure the food remains edible. Obviously nothing lasts forever, and food is no different in that respect, but eating food that’s spoiled can have a serious effect on your health, which is the last thing you want in an emergency situation.
So how long will your emergency food last? This depends on a lot of factors, especially the type of food itself and the method of food preparation.
You may be tempted to just stock up on canned foods, thinking that metal shell will protect the food forever, but that’s not the case. Canned food does expire, but some of it expires sooner than others. Foods with a higher acid content, such as fruits, tomatoes and even pickles will last 1-1½ years before needing to be replaced. Canned foods with lower acid content, like vegetables and meat products, may last as long as 2-4 years.
Freeze Dried Food
This is a more recent technique, compared to preserving and canning, which has been with us for close to 200 years now. Freeze dried food, when properly processed, can last decades. When kept in cool, dry conditions, you may not have to worry about freeze dried food for 20-30 years, and, once you open it, you may still enjoy it for up to a week before you need to worry about it going off.
Rice & Grains
This is a more “high maintenance” solution compared to the other two, but if you can process, prepare and cook rice or other grains like wheat, you can store these items indefinitely. Uncooked rice and grains will always be good, provided you keep them dry and uncontaminated. This also means you’ll need to know how to use them in meals once you’re ready, but these ancient food sources have been with us for millennia for a reason.