Smart Food Storage Tips
There are a number of factors to consider when creating food storage for emergency situations. Most people are aware of the need to keep their pantry stocked, however, imbalanced food intake and lack of variety can pose problems.
There are also pitfalls that make food storage impractical or renders stored foods unusable. You can take certain steps in setting up storage for emergency supplies that will greatly improve your chance of survival.
Food Storage Space And Types Of Containers To Use
Keep food in a dry, cool spot – a dark area if possible. For at least the last several hundred years, householders have stored food below ground (root cellar) where the temperature is cooler, or at least consistent. Basements and cellars aren’t very common here because they are very hard to dig in our sometimes solid rock, and of course, there’s the water issue, too.
Humidity Is NOT Your Friend In The Long Term Storage Of Food
An interior closet, ideally a well-insulated pantry close to the kitchen (but away from heat sources) will usually work very well. If you live in a small house or mobile home, you may not have much extra storage space. You might have to make do with the corner of a closet or even under the bed if this is your situation. Keep food covered at all times. Square containers will fit a lot more neatly on your pantry shelves, but some food storage experts suggest that standard round buckets are better because they allow for air circulation around them (so hopefully they will stay cooler). Opaque material is preferable over transparent, because light will degrade your stored food, even in a closed pantry or cabinet.
Labeling Food Storage Containers
Labeling your containers is very important. You don’t want to have to open every bucket to find what you need. Be sure to label the side of your container, and the top, too, to make stuff easier to identify. If you don’t wish to write directly on the container, you can use masking tape (works OK) or duct tape (stays on better).
Types Of Food Storage Containers And Miscellaneous Tips
Open food boxes or cans carefully so that you can close them tightly after each use
Determine which type of shelf system you want to use and purchase one shelf to get started. Build your own, buy plastic or metal shelves, or splurge and buy a fancy can rotation system. Don’t keep food in sacks, where they become highly susceptible to moisture, insects, and rodents. If you are using plastic buckets make sure they are lined with a food grade plastic liner available from companies that carry packaging supplies. Never use trash can liners as these are treated with pesticides. Don’t stack them too high. In an earthquake they may topple, the lids pop open, or they may crack. A better container is the #10 tin can which most preparedness companies use when they package their foods.
Main Staples – Basic Food Storage Supplies
Purchase your grains and learn how to use them: wheat, corn, barley, rice, pasta, etc. Purchase your legumes and learn how to use them: dried beans, bean soup mixes, lentils, soy beans, etc. Purchase or preserve fruits and vegetables to supplement your core foods.
Healthy Variety With Little Effort – Spices and Vitamins
Purchase items necessary for baking such as oil, sugar, powdered milk, salt, honey, cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast and powdered eggs and flavorings such as tomato, bouillon, cheese, and onion.
Also, include a good supply of the spices you like to cook with. You can’t cook even the most basic recipes without these items. Vitamins are important, especially if you have children, since children do not store body reserves of nutrients as adults do. A good quality multi-vitamin and vitamin C are the most vital. Others might be added as your budget permits.
Purchase any comfort foods that would be pleasant to have should you be forced to live off your food storage for a long time (chocolate, pickles, spices, etc). “Psychological Foods” are the ‘goodies’ – Jello, pudding, candy, etc. – you should add to your storage.
Amount Of Food To Store Per Person
Store a minimum of a 2 week supply of water (1 gallon per person per day). Buy 55 gallon barrels, get several 5-6 gallon jugs, or fill up empty soda/juice bottles. Make sure it is food grade plastic. Purchase a three month supply of foods you normally eat. Come up with meal plans for the 90 days, or just buy extras of things you use a lot.
Don’t Forget Your Pets
Make sure to also store plenty of food and water for your Pets. Remember to stock up on pet Medications, as well, if your pet has special needs!
Pest And Critter Control
Empty opened packages of sugar, dried fruits and nuts into screw-top jars or airtight cans to protect them from pests. Putting a chunk of dry ice into the filled food container works well. As it melts, the spaces between the grains are filled with carbon dioxide, smothering any little critters and discouraging future hatching. Bay leaf method of insect control. Put 3 or 4 bay leaves (dried, not fresh) in the bottom of your clean container. Add a few inches of your grain (or whatever food you are storing), then a few more bay leaves, another several inches of grain, and so on, until your container is full.
Check shelf-life of foods for storage. Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies, dated with ink or marker. Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in front.
Read more about Smart Food Storage here:
Food Storage Resources
USA Emergency Supply: Food Storage FAQs
Real foods: Long-Term Food Storage Tips
USA Emergency Supply: Seven Major Mistakes in Food Storage
Food Storage Made Easy: Baby Steps
Augason Farms: Food Storage Tips
I hope you liked my “smart food storage tips” and leave me a comment below!
Love & Light,