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
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.
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.
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.