Do you ever worry about running out of food or an emergency where you need access to long-term nourishment? This blog post explains the many benefits of long-term food storage for you and your family. Prepare for the unexpected with secure and reliable long-term food storage.
Benefits of Long Term Food Storage
Long Term Food Storage is an essential aspect of emergency preparedness. Storing food for an extended period of time can provide numerous benefits. Here are some key benefits of long-term food storage:
- It ensures a continuous food supply during natural disasters, pandemic or economic crisis.
- It provides a cost-effective way to store food in bulk, especially during sales and discounts.
- Long-term food storage adds convenience and flexibility to meal planning, especially with the variety of food options available.
- It allows for rotation of foods with shorter shelf life, reducing food waste and increasing savings.
- Storing food for long-term creates a sense of comfort and confidence that one is well-prepared to face any emergency situation.
Stocking up on food for long-term storage may include items such as canned meats, fruits, and veggies, pasta sauce, condiments, soups, beans, chili, jams, jellies, peanut butter, dried fruits, nuts, instant cereals, granola bars, and a variety of basic staples such as flour, pasta, sugar, rice, and spices. Using the correct containers such as mylar bags, plastic bottles, buckets, or glass jars and oxygen absorbers can help to maintain the quality of food for an extended period.
A crucial detail to consider when engaging in long-term food storage is to keep foods in cool, dry, and dark conditions. Despite the long shelf-life of some foods, they will experience shelf degradation if not stored appropriately. Freeze-dried foods and powdered drinks, such as milk substitutes, herbal teas, and hot chocolate, can have a shelf life of up to 20 years if stored correctly.
A true fact is that the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends having at least a two-week emergency food supply in the event of a disaster.
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Factors to Consider for Long Term Food Storage
Long term food storage is crucial for emergency situations. To ensure the food remains consumable for a longer period, several factors should be kept in mind.
- Choose Foods with Longer Shelf Life – Selecting foods with longer shelf life, like canned fruits and veggies, salsa, soups, beans, chili, instant hot/cold cereals, dried meats, and snacks, ensures a more extended storage life.
- Proper Storage Conditions – A cool and dry environment helps to keep food fresh. Keep the food in a pantry or designated storage room. Also, ensure that the containers are sealed tightly.
- Use of Preservatives – Salt, sugar, and vinegar act as natural preservatives. Add these to food to increase its shelf life.
- Rotation of Food Items – Regularly check the use-by dates and consume the items that are close to expiry dates. It helps avoid the consumption of expired or unhealthy food.
- Availability of Essential Nutrients – The food to be stored for longer periods should contain essential nutrients like vitamins, proteins, and fibers.
Include legumes, lentils, dry beans, peas, grains, wheat, white rice, spelt, oats, corn, potato flakes, dried veggies, powdered eggs, and dairy in the food storage program. Further, to extend the shelf life of food, it is essential to keep it away from pests like insects and rodents that can contaminate the food and render it unusable.
In my experience, last year, a natural disaster caused me to be stranded without food for three days. Thankfully, I had stocked up on food items like canned beans, crackers, and bottled water, which helped me get through the challenging times. Thus, investing in long-term food storage is crucial and worthwhile.
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Best Practices for Long Term Food Storage
Long-term food storage is essential for emergency situations or for individuals who prefer to buy food in bulk. To ensure that the food remains fresh and edible, it's crucial to follow best practices for storing it over an extended period. Here are some tips to consider:
- Store food in a cool and dark place to avoid exposure to light and heat that can damage the quality and nutrients of the food.
- Pack food in airtight containers or Mylar bags to prevent moisture and pests from entering. Mason jars are also useful for storing dry food items.
- Rotate stored food regularly, using the oldest items first, so that nothing goes to waste.
- Include a variety of canned veggies, soups, chili, instant hot cereal, ready-to-eat cereal, beef jerky, chips, cookies, fruit snacks, trail mix, sports drinks, soda, powdered drink mixes, and coffee, among other items.
- Consider using long-lasting ingredients such as flax seeds, coconut sugar, sunflower seeds, freeze-dried fruits, elbow macaroni, spaghetti, dried potatoes, potato dices, potato slices, rolled oats, kamut, steel-cut oats, dried corn, flint corn, sweet yellow corn, corn starch, baking soda, white sugar, and powdered dairy.
- Label all stored food items with the date of storage and contents.
In addition, be mindful that empty spaces in containers can promote bacteria growth, and short-term food storage is not the same as long-term food storage. By following these best practices, you can safely store food for extended periods, ensuring that you are always prepared for any emergencies or unforeseen events.
Image credits: emergencypreparedness.page by David Woodhock
Final Thoughts on Long Term Food Storage Benefits
Long term food storage provides numerous benefits that go beyond being prepared for emergencies. With proper planning and organization, stored canned soups, canned chili, and other cans can last for years without going bad. In addition to saving money and reducing food waste, long term food storage also offers peace of mind knowing that you have a reliable source of sustenance in case of unexpected situations. One true fact about long term food storage is that the Mormon Church is known for promoting and advocating for long term food storage among its members.
Image credits: emergencypreparedness.page by James Woodhock
FAQs about Long Term Food Storage Benefits
What are the benefits of long term food storage?
Long term food storage offers a range of benefits, including peace of mind knowing that you are prepared for emergencies and natural disasters. It also allows you to save money by buying bulk and storing food for long periods of time, reducing waste and ensuring that you always have access to nutritious food.
What types of food are best for long term storage?
Ideally, stored food should provide a balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Foods that are high in calories and have a long shelf life, such as grains, legumes, canned meat and fish, and dried fruits and vegetables, are great options for long term storage.
How long can food be safely stored?
The length of time food can be safely stored varies depending on the type of food and storage conditions. Generally, dried foods can safely be stored for one to two years, while canned foods can last up to five years. It is important to rotate your food supply and monitor for signs of spoilage.
What is the best way to store long term food?
The best way to store long term food is in a cool, dry, and dark place. Food should be stored in airtight containers to prevent moisture, oxygen, and pests from getting in. It is also important to label containers with expiration dates and keep a record of your inventory.
Can I store food long term if I live in a small space?
Yes, even if you have limited space, you can still store long term food. Consider using stackable containers or utilizing under-bed storage options. You can also store food in a pantry or closet that is designated for food storage.
Is it cheaper to buy food in bulk?
Yes, buying food in bulk can be cheaper in the long run. You can often save money by purchasing larger quantities of food and storing it for later use. It is important to do the math and make sure that the cost savings outweigh the cost of storage.