Here's the thing about food storage…
Storing up food and water in preparation for a disaster is one of the key things we must do. We can't rely on local government that may be overstretched dealing with unrest, and we certainly can't rely on local services to keep us supplied in the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise.
The last minute panic buyers will have stripped the shelves bare.
Most of us will have a significant amount of our available resources invested in food and water preps, as its one of the most effective ways we can mitigate against possible disaster.
Unfortunately, some people will make fundamental mistakes in storing their food that not only makes their efforts a waste of time but puts the destruction of their entire stockpile at risk,
Here's some of the most significant food storage fails you should avoid if you don't want to see your hard work being unusable when you need it the most.
It goes without saying that finding a suitable storage area is the highest priority.
Having a few shelves at the back of the garage isn't going to cut it for long term storage.
You'll need an area with stable temperatures of between 45 – 75 degrees. Higher than this and foodstuffs will deteriorate quickly, containers could burst and if theres any hint of moisture then bacteria could grow, making food inedible or dangerous.
At cooler temperatures the risk of freezing with damage to containers and spoiling of food is greatly increased.
The area must be insect and rodent proof. Unfortunately these pests have a knack at finding out food in even the most hygienic of areas, so having traps or bait around would be a good idea. Insect screens where needed too.
The area should be free of direct natural light as this can reduce the shelf life of some foodstuffs.
It may be that you will have a few storage areas around your property that you use depending on the need, but make sure they are good for the job in hand.
Food storage containers need to be completely airtight. Not only will they eliminate the food smells that are attractive to pests but they will increase the shelf life of your food preps.
Sealed canning jars, sealed plastic buckets with gaskets designed for foodstuffs are the best bet. Old plastic containers should be avoided but if you must then make sure they are completely sterile before use.
Vacuum sealed mylar bags are great for portion sized foods, but should be stored in hard containers to give an extra layer of protection from pests.
The use of oxygen absorbers will get rid of excess air in containers and lessen the chance that any bacteria will grow and spoil the food.
Foodstuff with strong odors need to be stored separately otherwise the smell will contaminate other food stuffs.
Its a false economy if you stockpile foodstuffs that you wouldn't eat in a normal situation.
I like fresh meat as much as the next guy, but will happily eat tinned stuff on occasion and have plenty of canned foods stowed away. I haven't anything around though, that me or my family won't eat.
Do you really need to store bags of unground wheat for grinding if its not something you would usually use?
Its pretty important to have a system to rotate your food stocks so that you get to eat it before its expiry date is reached.
Keeping the freshest stuff at the back of the shelves will ensure you use the oldest stuff first.
Having a system of shelves will help with this as will having a stock book and lists. As with #3, you don't want to have to throw stuff out as it nears its end of shelf life so make sure you plan for this.
Some freeze-dried foods and MRE’s are a great way to supplement your preps. Ease of storage and its long shelf life is a definate plus but I wouldn't choose to rely on it solely as the bulk of my food preps.
Not only is it very expensive but I find the varieties limited.
With dehydrated foods, you'll need to significantly increase your water supplies too.
Most people seriously underestimate their fresh water needs.
Unfortunately, stored fresh water takes up a lot of space and during a disaster and you're going to need plenty of it to keep you healthily hydrated and clean.
Most situations will require approximately a gallon per person per day for drinking, cooking and hygiene needs.
Also bottled water has a shelf life like any other foodstuff so will need to be rotated like your food.
You'll need water to cook with, so if you have dehydrated food as part of your preps, make sure you store extra to compensate.
If you can't store a lot of water, then you'll need a decent natural source with the means to purify and make it safe to drink.
Having an abundance of canned food isn't going to do you any good if you can't open the tins. Its a lot easier with a tin opener rather than trying to chisel the things open with a knife.
Obvious maybe, but how many people put so much effort into storing stuff only to forget the basic stuff.
Having a few basic tools like spoons and can openers, the means to cook for when you don't have power, spare fuel for the camp stove etc.
Alternatives to the kitchen tools you use on a daily basis should be part of your food storage preps.
If you're going to rely on a freezer, do you have alternative power supplies to keep it running?
So there you have it, just seven of the food most common food storage fails. Get them sorted and it'll help maximise your food storage efforts.
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