So, you have decided to set aside the time and money to store survival foods. That is a huge first step. However, it is very common for people to get their survival rations and then just throw them in a hot garage or a damp basement.
Most people do not think about the proper way to store survival foods long term. Keep in mind that these foods must be good when the time comes that you need them. The worst thing you could do is eat spoiled food and get sick when trying to survive.
Most people think about the weeks or months that the food may need to last during the SHTF scenario. However, they do not consider the time between when the food is purchased and when the food is needed. It could be years before you ever need to eat these rations.
Unless you plan to throw it all out with the garbage and buy new rations periodically, the food needs to be stored properly. This will make it last longer, making it safer and saving you money. In this article, we will cover the best ways to store your survival foods long term.
Before you can really start to build up your food reserves, you should have the proper space set aside. This amount of food will not just fit in your standard pantry. You will need a separate space specifically for your survival foods. A safe way to calculate the space needed is to assume one cubic foot of space for every day that each person needs to eat. This is assuming three meals per day.
For example, if you have a family of four, you will need four cubic feet for each day of food. If you then want enough food to last three weeks, four times 21 days equals 84 cubic feet. If you want enough food for six months, four times 182 days equals 730 cubic feet.
To give you an idea of what this means, if you have 10-foot ceilings in your space, then you would need to set aside a nine-foot by eight-foot area just for food. This would take up the majority of a small bedroom in most homes. Decide how much time you want to buy for your family when SHTF, and then think about places in your home that might work.
Where To Store Food
As stated above, it is not uncommon to find people storing food in hot, buggy, or moist conditions. This is a perfect formula for disaster. Moisture, heat and insects are your enemy when storing food.
The reason that most of your survival food will likely be dry goods is because it will last a really long time if it stays dry. However, just a little moisture will cause it to spoil quickly. You are shooting for a cool, dry place in your home that is not exposed to insects.
The ideal place to store your food would be in the climate-controlled portion of your home. If you have a storage space available, that is perfect. Maybe you have a closet that is not being used or even a spare bedroom that never gets used. Any of these are good options. The food will stay dry and cool while insect activity will be at a minimum.
If this is not an option, an unfinished basement is a possibility. However, you must ensure that there are no leaks or cracks in the concrete that would allow moisture to get to your food. You also cannot have a large amount of insect activity. With these precautions, your basement is fine.
Containers For Food
To conserve space, you will want to transfer many of your survival foods to larger containers. For example, if you purchase pasta, you will need to open the bags or boxes and move it to a larger container. Even buying in bulk, pasta packaging is inefficient for our purposes.
When going through this process, cubical airtight containers are best. You want to fill them to the brim so as little air as possible is left in the container. The shape of these containers makes them perfect to stack side by side and on top of each other.
Do NOT leave your dry goods in the manufacturer packaging. Your food will go bad faster and it will take up too much space. The only exception would be wet goods like canned foods or MREs. These should be left in the original packaging as exposure to air could make it spoil faster.
If you need to save money, you can use large zipper bags for some of your dry goods. These are difficult to stack, so you will likely need to put the filled bags in cardboard boxes for stacking purposes. If you do this, make sure you label the boxes and the bags.
All containers should be labeled with the food product inside as well as the date purchased.
When you have large amounts of food stored, it is very likely that you will not buy it all on the same day. In addition, different food types will have different shelf lives.
Assuming everything is labeled with the date purchased, you want to set up a food rotation system. This keeps the food that will expire the soonest at the front with foods that will last the longest at the back.
For canned goods, you can purchase or build a rotation rack. With this device, you feed the newer cans into the back. These cans push the older cans forward for use.
However you decide to set up your system, you should check everything periodically. If your system is working properly, you can just check the shelf life of the foods at the front and throw out anything that is no longer good. Checking quarterly is normally fine unless you are expecting a major event in the near future.
Proper food storage can make certain foods last for years or even decades. However, bad food storage can ruin your food and cost you thousands of dollars. Take this seriously. There is no point in storing food if you are not going to do it right. Set aside the proper space, get the appropriate containers, and be sure to rotate your food. If you do all of this, you will have plenty of good meals when you really need them.
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