Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The 3 "Do Not's" of Food Storage

Some things come along unexpectedly in life. Things that just happen, out of the blue. We can't simply try to forget the problem and hope that takes care of it. We can all come up with excuses as to why we can't store food.  Some honestly just want to do things their own way and not follow the advice of anyone who actually has knowledge and experience. 

I was a senior in high school during all the Y2K hoopla. Up until that point in my life I had not heard a lot concerning preparedness for disaster or economic collapse. I'm thankful nothing came of Y2K but it gave a glimpse of all the ignorance and outright deceit when it comes to matters concerning interpretation of world events, economic reality, disaster preparedness. Because of this, we've come up with 3 "Do Not's" for Food Storage Preparation. These are the top 3 things you don't want to do when getting ready for the unknown.

Being Unprepared

Honestly, I think the worst mistake people make is not being prepared.  I'm not telling you how long or what all you should have. But making some sort of plan, no matter how simple it may seem, is better than nothing at all. Be realistic about what your family needs. Having at least a 3-day preparedness kit, also known as a 72-Hour Kit, per person is a good starting place. Some people have food storage that will last their family for a year or more. I know some are deterred because they don't think they have enough storage space. Just start with a simple item, then build from there. You'll find there is always a little space in the back of your pantry, under the bed, or behind the clothes in your closet to fit a few essential items. Trust me, you'll be happy that you did.   

Storing in All The Wrong Places

Something to think about  - You can have all the food in the world stored up, but if you do not have it stored properly, then it may not do you any good.  It is important to store canned goods away from moisture and temperature extremes as it is for bulk storage foods.  Temperature extremes, like what is regularly found in vehicles, garages, and attics can destroy 95% of the nutritional value of food within 5 years, making it possible to starve to death with a full stomach after eating improperly stored food.

You should never store food in your Attic or other places that may get warm in the Summer months.

There are also quite a few places that should never be used to store food.  Remember, I said NEVER. One of those places is in the attic.  The summer heat in the attic will likely cause any stored food to go bad. Depending on your location the attic may not even be a safe place in the winter.  Next, do not bury food in the ground.   The moisture will eventually compromise the container.  Rodents or pets may dig them up and eat them before you can. Or worse you will lose track of the location. Crawl spaces often get way too hot in the summer and susceptible to rodents. For the garage, follow the same rule as the attic and crawl space. To get the longest life out of your food stores they need to be kept at the lowest possible controlled temperature.  Sheds and barns get too hot in the summer and are not secure against rodents and other pests.  Also,  you may not want to keep your food storage in a place that is an obvious for others to look and pilfer through.  It may be a prime target for people that are hungrier than you after a disaster. 

Never fail to have food storage before a disaster strikes. Relying on the grocery store to supply you is just not going to work. Any time a large storm approaches or anything else happens that scares people you know what happens.  The shelves are stripped bare within hours and it could be days or weeks before they able to stock up again in an emergency or disaster situation. 

Buying and Forgettting

 Look for ways to use it in your Food Storage in your everyday cooking.

It is okay to purchase what you need to get you through a few days, one month or even a one year emergency. But you need to use your food.  Cook with it. Eat it.  Learn to cook your food outdoors, perhaps in a fire pit or on a sun oven.  Try eating it cold.  Learn what you like and what you will take a pass on the next time around.  But most of all, don’t think that you have to hoard your food. Proper Food Storage Rotation is just as important as Food Storage itself! Eat it, enjoy it, and replace it.

What are some "Do Not's" you can think of for Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness?


Anonymous said...

don't buy in bulk until you have tried it. no sence in wasting money if you and your family will not eat it.

Kmcdesigner said...

You are correct, it makes no sense to waste money on anything, however, having said that, if you do you gain the knowledge you need to make informed decisions, you will find that there are many ways to use these foods that your family will already be used to. I have recreated almost all of my recipes using honeyville foods and my family never knew the difference until I told them. I think that is the ultimate compliment! ALSO...your family will eat grass outside if they are hungry enough...this is MUCH better!!! Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

Article has good advice to USE and rotate stored items. And rotation needs to be kept simple. I am a good home cook that uses FRESH foods. So the process of incorporating shelf-stable foods into our meals has been a challenge. The simplest way I've found is to purchase 12 "sweater" storage bins and fill them with shelf-stable foods and freeze-dried food packets (broken out from large cans and vacuum sealed with oxygen absorbers). One bin with the variety of foods is put into the kitchen pantry each month. This allows me to experiment with freeze-dried alternatives on a gradual (monthly) basis. My goal is to have lots of pre-made freeze-dried mixes in the bins. So far, I like pre-made cornbread mixes and split pea soup with Honeyville ham. Vacuum seal bags are lined up, ingredients added assembly-line fashion, oxygen absorbers added, packets sealed and then put into the newest storage bins which are eventually rotated into the kitchen on a monthly basis. Everything has to be good enough to eat on at least a monthly basis. System is working great so far.

Anne said...

I am lucky to have a Honeyville store close by. They will allow you to taste and test just about everything. I have yet to taste anything bad. My Mom grew up during the depression and the one thing she said over and over was if you are hungry you will eat anything. I know this to be true. :)I would be more concerned about storing properly and the longevity of the product rather than taste.

Anonymous said...

once I open a can (#10 size) I always put the item in mason jars and seal them. I open one to use and place the others in a cool place in my pantry. This helps keep the others cooler and they seem last longer, also. Don't know if this does any good but it works for me...

Anonymous said...

If you buy the emergency premade food, be careful of the very high sodium content. Especially if you need to consume this food for awhile. It may taste good, but not be good for your health. Try to buy the food plain and season yourself.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the warning about complete meals. Not only is sodium content dangerously high for even short-term use, these products are often filled with soy protein to thicken and provide bulk (making you think you're getting a lot more of the meat or vegetable base than you actually are). Many people are intolerant of soy in anything more than small quantities, I.e. Soy sauce used in a recipe or marinade. It would be a disaster to have a need for your food storage only to find that one or more of your family members can not eat the food. A plate of noodles or rice, seasoned yourself, will taste like a king's banquet when you need real food.

Anonymous said...

Oats and bananas are the best when hungry and most nutritious