Day 11 – National Preparedness Month Challenge – Long Term Food Storage, Part 1-What and Why
As mentioned in a previous post , I have been interested in all aspects of emergency preparedness since about 1998. This area – Long Term Food Storage– has been the most helpful, even comforting, for my family. When my husband was completing college, and again when we started our first business, we used this “stash” as an economic buffer. I think it might even be fair to say that without my Long Term Food Storage we might not have made it – at least not without help! It kept us from being hungry and discouraged, and don’t things always seem harder when you’re hungry and discouraged?
There are several ways to store food for your family. The refrigerator or freezer are good for short term food storage and according to this handy storage time chart the guidelines of 1 to 12 months for freezer storage are for quality only. Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely. The USDA provides Fact Sheets for just about any thing you might want to store in the freezer, even eggs. We use our big chest freezer for storing meat, cheese and as overflow for the small one in the kitchen. Using the freezer is an important part of our storage plan as is home canning. Check back on Day 18 for – Home Canning and Day 15 for 3-Month Pantry Supply ideas
We also have allotted money in our budget and space in our house for long term food storage items – those basic necessities that will store for 10 years or more. Some can last for 30 years or more when properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry place. Since it would be cost prohibitive to purchase a year supply of food all at once, it is best to gradually build a supply of long term food storage. Important items to store are: grains, white rice, beans and sugars. Salts, fats, dairy and leavening agents.
According to Provident Living.org
The estimated shelf life for many products has increased to 30 years or more (see chart below for new estimates of shelf life).
|FOOD||NEW “LIFE-SUSTAINING” SHELF-LIFE ESTIMATES (IN YEARS)|
|Non-fat powdered milk||20|
Notice that this chart says “life-sustaining” shelf life. As long as you spent the money on this food you better use it! We use powdered milk for cooking in our house so we are sure to rotate it into our daily meals. Make sure that every item you bring into your long term food storage is marked with the purchase or canning date so you can practice first-in-first-out inventory rotation.
Today’s Challenge – Learn the principles of Long Term Food Storage
GOOD: Review the pamphlet Food Storage in the Home from Utah State University and learn about how to package and optimally store your food.
BETTER: Learn about packaging for long term food storage. Acquire food storage containers, such as food-grade plastic pails with gamma seal lids. These are excellent for whole grains, nonperishable foods and emergency supplies such as matches, candles and lanterns. As you purchase survival foods and bulk items, store them properly to avoid waste.
BEST: Review your long term food storage area. Is it in one place or spread through out the house? Are the moisture and temperature conditions optimal for storage?
Tomorrow’s challenge: Long Term Food Storage – Part 2, Inventory it – Plan it – Execute it