Guest Post: 5 Food Storage Basics for Emergency Preparation
5 Food Storage Basics for Emergency Preparation
- Common sense
Storing water should be at the forefront of your planning. A person can go much longer without food than they can without water, so in case an emergency arises each person in the household should have a minimum of 1 gallon of water per day to survive. Water should be stored in containers designed specifically for water storage, and thoroughly cleaned before any water is added. Store water in a cool dry place and rotate the water storage regularly, every six months is a good target for rotation.
The basic rule of thumb when it comes to storing food is that the higher the temperature the shorter lifespan of the food’s shelf life. Ideally, food should be stored at a constant temperature between 50°F – 60°F. This generally means that you will want to keep the storage inside, in a cool place, and out of direct sunlight to avoid temperature fluctuation throughout the day.
Food must be stored in proper packaging to ensure long lifespan and safety when consumed. Prior to storing food make sure everything is treated to ensure that pests are not present when the storage process is completed. Small pests like insect larvae can be killed through various means like dry ice carbon dioxide fumigation prior to packaging. Larger pest can be prevented from entering by using proper storage materials like food grade plastic buckets that come in 6 gallon drums. Dry foods should be stored with oxygen absorbers to prevent any oxygen from spoiling the food.
Specially packaged dry foods can stay healthy and nutritious for decades. Other foods, like canned food, might be just as delicious, but might not last quite as long as 20 years. Canned goods need to be rotated out much more frequently. Canned goods should be rotated annually to ensure that everything within the can is safe for consumption. Place your food on a rotating schedule with the oldest cans nearest to the front so they are used and replaced with new cans. In an emergency you’ll have the yummy chicken noodle soup to warm your body and get you through tough times.
Keep your head about you when preparing emergency food storage. Don’t choose items to include in the storage that your family would never eat in a normal situation. Also, make sure you keep track of everything you are storing by using an inventory system. Make a list of all that you have purchased and stored so replacement of missing food can be done without too much heartache. Finally, don’t forget to add a few nonfood items to your emergency food storage planning. Plan on storing formula for babies, medication, diapers, first aid supplies, and communication devices like radios, to be as prepared as possible.
Lee Flynn is a personal preparedness and food storage writer.