In a major emergency, making the standard grocery store run whenever your pantry gets a little low might be impossible. If this happens, you’ll be very glad you took the time to learn proper long term food storage methods. The food you store today, will allow you to survive a multitude of disasters tomorrow. The good news is that long term food storage isn’t nearly as complicated as you might first think. And, it’s something that can be done, no matter what your budget!
Building up your food stores takes time. Plan on starting out small, especially if you’re growing your own food. The first thing you need to do is look around your house and choose a spot where you can store your food supplies. Many people start out with a large cardboard box and move things to a pantry or closet as their stockpile grows more substantial.
If you don’t have the land needed to grow your own food, or you want to get started stocking up on your long term food supplies, you start out by grabbing one or two extra cans of vegetables each time you go to the store and tuck it into the container you’ve designated for long term food storage.
Learn to Rotate
The biggest mistake novice preppers make when they start stockpiling food for emergencies is tucking food items aside and basically forgetting about it. The problem with this plan is that if enough time passes, even canned good go bad. You need to make sure you keep everything as fresh as possible.
Use some tape and a marker to label each food item you set aside for your long term supplies. When it’s time for you to tap into your supplies, you’ll want to eat the older items first. If something has been stored for a long time, you should rotate it into your regular food and replace it with something fresher.
Dry Food Storage
Prepper experts say the first type of food you need to stockpile is grains and beans. The best way to acquire the grains and beans is to purchase them from a wholesaler. The biggest challenge with both of these types of foods is keeping them dry and away from the rodents they attract. The best way to store your beans and grains is by tucking them into a heavy duty, food grade metal containers and placing the containers up high in a pantry. You need to make sure that the lids are securely placed on these containers and they need to be routinely checked for signs of oxidization.
Once you acquire a food dehydrator, you’ll be able to create your own dried fruits, meats, and vegetables, which are an excellent source of nutrition and can even be used if you have to bug out of your home. When creating your own dried foods, make sure you have a way to remove oxygen from the storage containers. Many preppers pick up a vacuum sealer for just this purpose.
The next aspect of your long term food storage is acquiring the supplies and tools needed to create your own canned goods. Being able to can food not only allows you to increase your long term food stores, but it also maximizes the amount of use you get out of your annual garden. Whatever you grow that you can’t eat fresh can be canned. Making sure you’ve canned everything properly is just one step to long term storage. Your canned items need to be placed in an area where they’re not exposed to any sunlight.
Blanching is another way you can store the produce you grow. To blanch foods you submerge veggies in boiling water and then quickly transfer it to cold water. After doing this you’ll bag and freeze the food. Blanching keeps the food surprisingly fresh. Canning and blanching are just two ways you can store food you’ve produced.
If you hunt or grow livestock for meat, smoking is a great way to store what you don’t eat right away. The type of wood you use to smoke the meat will impact the flavor so choose with care. After the meat has been smoked, it needs to be stored using a use a vacuum sealing system.
Brining is a method of food preservation that works really well for meat and poultry. When done properly, the meat gets soaked in a brine solution for up to 12 hours, which prevents food microbes from developing. The exact length of time the meat needs to be soaked depends on the type and size of the cut.
What is your preferred way to store food for long-term use?