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Food Storage Basics

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 5 8

The news these days is all about rising food costs, inflation, and other unpleasantness. I've personally always enjoyed a good doomsday scenario and have no problem with doing a little stockpiling. I don't actually believe the world is going to come to an end but I hate to grocery shop and the occasional end of the world fantasy can make it more exciting. Even if the world doesn't end there could be a blizzard, hurricane, or other natural disaster which can be made more pleasant if I have a jar of peanut butter on hand.

What is Food Storage?

Food storage is just what it says storing food for future use. We might just be the first generation that hasn't endured a famine. It used to be if you didn't plan ahead you just starved during those periodic times of food shortages. Somehow being prepared has become unnatural and even looked down on. You know what you think about that crazy guy down the street with his cans of food and that funny hat. He's a nut case right? Nobody wants to be thought of like that. We can sneak around and do a little food storage without any outward signs that'll make people think we're crazy.

Food Storage for Beginners

I've been going through a moving process and have been eating up what is in my personal stash of food. I don't really want to move it across 3 states before I eat it so I'm going to be starting at the beginning again. Food storage for beginners isn't hard just a little bit intimidating. You have to know what you eat, how often you eat it, and how long it will last on the shelf. I'll tell you right now when those cans of soda say 3 months they mean it. If you leave a 12 pack of soda on a shelf for a much longer time it will eventually explode. It's not a lot of fun to clean up what has sprayed out of a can of cola so pay attention to the expiration date. Create a food storage plan and get started as soon as you can. Once the process has begun it isn't as hard as you might think.

Emergency Food Storage

Many people begin their food storage with 72 hours to 1 week. This will get most people through a general natural disaster. You're probably not going to get snowed in for 6 weeks nowadays. The snow plows will eventually get the snow out of your way unless you live way out in the boonies. Beginning with a simply selection of emergency food storage will give you peace of mind and an idea of how to start. You'll need some liquid and non-perishable foods that you can eat without cooking. People go on and on about water but in reality most canned goods have liquid in them and a case of soda will keep you from dehydrating yourself to death in a pinch.

Long-Term Food Storage

Once a good basic stockpile has begun a little thought can go into long-term food storage. The main question here is … Just how long is long-term? Is it 3 months, a year, or 10 years? This is up to the family in question. Are you expecting a nuclear winter or just a bad 3 months? That's up to you. Whatever makes you happy is good with me. Varying times require different storage methods. Certain foods can be kept for a very long time if they are kept away from oxygen and moisture.

Food Storage Containers

Speaking of keeping things away from oxygen and moisture … Good food storage containers that are air-tight are a big help in storing food for an emergency. Vacuum sealed bags can come in handy also. Your average margarine container will not suffice when it comes to keeping food as fresh as possible for as long as possible. When buying new containers for storing your food check the label and make sure that the manufacturer at least claims that it is air tight.

Shelves for Storing Food

While a few days worth of food can be kept in a box in the closet to really call your food storage a food storage you need shelves for storing food. In a perfect world you'd have a nice sized room that you weren't using that you could turn over to the food storage. It's usually not a perfect world though and adjustments often have to be made. Any type of sturdy shelving unit can be used for holding cans and bags of rice. The hard part is finding the place for the shelves. Find a nice place that is out of the way and see if that'll work. Large closets, basements, or garages are all options for your food shelves.

Don't Forget Your Pets!!!

Fido needs food to. Pet food needs to be kept as well. Extra canned or dry food should be kept on hand just in case you need it. Pet food storage is the same as people food storage. If you pick up what you can and keep it for the future, you won't have to worry about it later.

Rotate that Food

Once you begin your food storage it is important to use it. It's kind of a waste of money to throw your food storage away every year just to replace it. Make sure the food that you are stockpiling is food that you'll actually eat. Eat the oldest food first and replace it as you go. This will keep your food shelves constantly full and the food will remain fresh.

Every family needs a different system of food storage. No two families eat exactly the same or have the same amount of space. Know what you like, what you use, and what you can afford before beginning. Create a system that works for you and if it works for you don't change it just because someone else thinks you should.


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Comments

Nov 19, 2010 1:15am
dreamaker
Great coverage of a necessary topic, well written quality article. Thanks Mary.
Nov 19, 2010 1:26am
maryrecord
thanks. Maybe I shouldn't be pushing soda instead of water but it tastes better. :-)
Nov 19, 2010 11:26am
Deborah-Diane
Excellent, detailed information on food storage! Thanks!
Nov 19, 2010 11:43am
maryrecord
thanks Deb. I have a couple of typos and oddball sentences that need fixing but haven't gotten around to it yet.
Nov 20, 2010 12:44am
southerngirl09
I have an extra walk-in closet that I use for my food stash. I like to shop at warehouse clubs and buy in bulk - it saves me time and money.
Nov 20, 2010 7:42pm
maryrecord
When I get moved to my new shack I'll have to figure something out. The shack is a lot smaller than where I'm living now.
Nov 29, 2010 11:57am
aidenofthetower
Great article! Storing food can also be great when money gets tight. It's always good to have food stored up.
Nov 30, 2010 2:46am
maryrecord
It's good to be prepared for whatever might come.
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