How to Store Dry Foods for Survival

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Your emergency food storage is not complete without an assortment of dried foods. Because you know electricity is probably not going to be an option when things get rough, you need to have food stored that does not require refrigeration. Grains, rice, flour and beans are often the basis of many meals in a survival situation. There are hundreds of different ways to use grains and beans and you will want to have a large amount on hand. There is another major benefit to storing dried foods like grains and legumes, they are incredibly inexpensive. Unfortunately, despite the long shelf lives that accompany dried foods, there are some storage mistakes that can destroy a person’s food supply.

Enemies of Dried Food

• Oxygen
• Moisture
• Pests/rodents
• Temperature
• Light

Where to Store

To get the longest shelf life on your dry foods, you will want to choose an area that is relatively cool. You don’t want anything below 50 degrees if possible. On the flipside, you don’t want your dried goods to be exposed to temperatures over 70. Basements are often ideal because they tend to stay cool. However, moisture can ruin your dried foods. Cool and dry is your main goal. Avoid storing in an outdoor shed that has no temperature control. The floor of your closet will work or a food pantry that is away from windows that will let in a lot of light. Avoid placing your food near heating vents and ceiling ducts or near appliances, like a refrigerator in the basement. Appliances put off heat when they run.

Buckets

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If you buy bags of dried food, you will want to invest in food-grade buckets with lids. You can often find these at bakeries and delis for just a couple of dollars. Restaurants are another excellent place to inquire about buckets. The buckets will keep out rodents while keeping ingredients dry. You can add another layer of protection to your dried goods by adding several bay leaves to the bottom of the bucket before adding your rice, grains and what not. This will help deter pests and keep your food fresh. For a 5-gallon bucket, you will want to add 5 to 10 bay leaves.

Rotation

Your food stores should not be left alone and forgotten about until a true emergency strikes. You don’t want to rely on them for your dinner every night, but you are paying good money for the food and you don’t want it to go to waste. If you have been storing food for a year or more, you need to slowly start using the older stuff and replacing it with fresh items. There is a rule of thumb you will want to use, First In, First Out. Most food items have dates on the packaging. Arrange your food so the oldest items are up front and will be used first. If you are using buckets, label the buckets with the date you stored them. When disaster strikes, you don’t want a basement full of food that is so outdated it is inedible.

These tips will help extend the life of your dried food stores. Failing to store your food properly is akin to burning the money you spent buying it. Your most important goal when it comes to stocking up your emergency food stores is finding a place where the temperature will not fluctuate too much. Heat is your number one enemy in the art of food storage.

Canned or Freeze-Dried Food–What’s Best for Food Storage?

Preparing to survive some kind of catastrophe, whether it is a natural disaster, an act of war or financial collapse has become very mainstream as of late. People have seen what happens to those who are not prepared to survive in their homes for days or weeks without running to the grocery store or are forced to rely on the government for help. Basically, it is every man or family for himself. You need to keep a pantry stocked with food, water and other essentials in case of an emergency.

What do you stock?

If you are new to the prepping world, you probably have a few questions about what you should stock in your food pantry. Non-perishable foods are your best bet or foods that have long shelf lives. Your goal is to build up a food storage that will feed your family for a minimum of 30 days. Some ambitious preppers will shoot for a 6-month or even 1-year food store. It is up to you.

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Canned foods are typically the first thing you think of when it comes to food you can store in a pantry for a long time. You would be thinking right. However, there are some things you need to know about canned food.

• Canned food can spoil over time. When it does spoil, it can become lethal to consume.
• High temperatures can cause cans to swell and botulism is a strong possibility.
• Canned foods are heavy and difficult to transport
• Canned foods take up a great deal of room and require a very sturdy shelving system

With that said, one of the major bonuses to canned food is price. It is extremely cheap and you can stock a great deal of food for very little money.

Dehydrated/Freeze-Dried Foods

healthy freeze dried foodYou have seen these packs of food that are often used on backpacking trips. Any outdoor store will have a variety of these meals that are easily stowed away in a backpack or bug out bag. They have long shelf lives, with some extending up to 10 to 15 years. All that is required is a little water and a short wait and a meal complete with meat, vegetables and noodles are ready to eat. Military have been using meals like this for decades. They are often referred to as MREs or Meals Ready to Eat.

Lately, these freeze-dried and dehydrated foods have made the transition from single-serve packages to bulk cans and 5-gallon buckets. If you have seen the price tag on these items, you may initially cringe and quickly head back to the canned food aisle. Before you do, check out the benefits to storing dehydrated or freeze-dried foods.

• Lightweight and easy to store on shelves
• Long shelf lives when stored correctly
• Bulk cans can be resealed after use for up to 30 days
• No risk of food becoming spoiled or potentially deadly if consumed
• Large variety of meals including dairy, fruits, vegetables, meats and pasta

When it comes down to it, freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are the best choice for your food storage needs. The cans and buckets do cost more up front, but when you consider the price per meal, these foods are much less expensive than canned foods. The dehydrated foods are more nutritional and you will be amazed at the variety of food available. When you are preparing to survive a situation, living off of canned veggies and beans is certainly an option, but if you could eat scalloped potatoes covered in cheese with a delicious chili, what would you choose? You can supplement your food stores with canned foods, but ideally, you will want to spend your money on the freeze-dried and dehydrated foods.