A large part of prepping is building up a store of foods for survival after a major disaster. Long term food storage is an important part of this, because food that is not stored well will be unusable. All foods will deteriorate eventually, but by storing correctly you can extend the life of the stored food as much as possible.
Storage Conditions For Long Term Food Storage
Storage conditions are one of the most important factors determining how long any food will last. All of the food on our prepper’s food list can be stored at home with no fridge or freezer. Most food is best stored in a cool, dry place, away from moisture and temperature fluctuations. Some foods can be stored in their original packaging (e.g. tinned food), while others are best transferred to airtight containers.
Major factors that can reduce the amount of time you can store food are temperature, light and moisture. To store food long term you need a place that is dry, dark and cool. The temperature should be as consistent as possible, without major day-night or seasonal fluctuations.
Packaging And Containers For Long Term Food Storage
Many foods can be stored long term in their original packaging. Tinned foods, for example, will last a long time in the tin as long as it remains sealed. Plastic bags containing dried foods, such as pasta, will also last a long time in the sealed packet.
To increase the shelf life of dried foods, store them in an airtight, dry and oxygen free environment. The most reliable way to do this is to use mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Mylar bags block light, moisture and oxygen, making them great for storing food long term. Oxygen absorbers, as the name suggests, absorb any oxygen from within the bag when it is sealed. This is a great way to store many foods for a very long time.
“Use By” And “Best Before” Dates
When you buy food, it will have a date on it. This can be a “use by” date or a “best before” date. “Use by” suggests that the food will not be safe to eat after that date has passed. “Best before” means that after the date has passed, the food will still be safe to eat but may not be at its absolute best quality. Foods that are past their best before dates will still be usable for much longer after the date.
First In First Out Long Term Food Storage
The best way to manage long term food storage is not to buy everything at once, but gradually build up supplies over time. This way, you won’t have all of the food getting old at the same time. You can rotate food out of your prepper’s pantry to use as it gets closer to its date, and replace with new. This is called the first in first out storage method. When a disaster happens and you need to use your food stores, everything will be ready to use and still have plenty of time before it goes bad.
Damaged Tins Can Be Dangerous
A large amount of food that can (no pun intended) be stored long term is tinned. Tinned food lasts a long time, and doesn’t need any special storage conditions, making it ideal for preppers. However, tins can be damaged if not looked after properly, so be careful when stacking tins. If a stack of tins falls over, some of them may be damaged which could allow the contents to spoil. Protect your tins by using strong shelving with racks for the tins.
If you find any tins that are damaged, bloated, or tins that hiss from gas escaping when opening don’t use them. Damage could allow air in to the tin, which will cause the contents to go bad. Bloating or hissing indicates that the contents of the tin are producing gas, which is a sure sign of decomposition.