Stockpiling food is a necessity for a variety of reasons and some that we have recently witnessed such as the COVID pandemic, natural disasters and shortage of infant formula in the US.
Disasters can happen at any time, so being prepared is important for you and your family’s survival. Disasters can come in many different forms from storms, floods, tornadoes to earthquakes. They can also be caused by diseases such as COVID. They may even be extreme such as societal breakdowns.
During any of these SHTF events, it may be difficult to get out and buy food, or food may be in short supply. You only have to think about what happened during the pandemic lockdowns and the empty supermarket shelves.
Also power outages caused by storms will render your refrigeration useless, so it is vital to have an emergency stockpile of food to fall back on during these times. Stockpiling food is a smart way to anticipate these events.
The Importance Of Appropriate Storage For Different Types Of Food
Ensuring appropriate storage for different types of food is important so as to protect it from losing its quality, nutritional value, and in some cases, being lost altogether.
As you will be relying on this food for survival, you need to make sure it will still be usable when you need it most. To keep food in the best condition, you need to consider different storage options for different types of food.
Keeping canned, dried foods, fruit and vegetables all in the same place is not a good idea. There are some other food storage myths that need to be debunked to make sure you keep your stockpile in the best conditions.
You Can Store Food Anywhere
Some people advocate storing stockpiled food under beds, in closets, spare rooms, attics, garages, basements or anywhere there is space.
These approaches need to take into consideration three important factors, temperature, light and humidity.
The best places to store foods to keep them in tip-top condition are in cool, dark and dry places. The places mentioned above may not give you these ideal conditions.
Canned and dried foods will soon perish if you keep them in warm, damp places. Fruits and vegetables will not keep very well in places where there is too much light, heat or humidity.
It’s possible that some of the places in your house may be too warm to store food, or too humid if storing food near a laundry room. It’s also possible that your garage or basement may be damp.
Waterproof paint can be used to help combat this problem. Even better would be to invest in a dehumidifier and put wooden pallets on the floor to raise food off the floor.
It may be that your basement or garage gets too warm. In this scenario, the concrete floors will probably hold in too much heat which is not your friend when dealing with long term food storage.
Put Everything In The Pantry
Some items are not suitable to be stored in the pantry such as fruit and vegetables because they need dark, cool places with plenty of ventilation to stay fresher for longer.
The absence of light is very important to stop vegetables like potatoes, onions and garlic from sprouting.
Other items that are suitable for a dry, cool pantry also need to be stored on separate shelves or areas within the pantry.
These items include canned foods, food in glass jars, dry foods, boxed foods, dry-vacuum foods, wet-vacuum foods, MREs and self-heating meals.
Food in glass jars should also be stored in a closed cardboard or other carton. This will prevent light damaging the contents.
All Food Types Can Be Stored The Same Way
Not all of your stockpiled food can be stored in the same way, nor in the same places. Some foods need to be unwrapped and kept in ventilated areas.
Others actually require airtight sealing to prevent damage.
Dry foods such as flour, rice, pasta, sugar, beans, spices, and dried fruits need to be vacuumed sealed or put in airtight containers not only to stop moisture ruining them, but also to stop strong odors affecting them.
Fruits and vegetables on the other hand should not be put in airtight containers. They should left to breathe in a cool, dry, dark ventilated space.
Put Everything In The Fridge
Fridges are one way of keeping some things fresher for longer. But not all food items take well to being put in a fridge.
Putting bread, cakes or donuts in a fridge will actually make them go stale faster than if they were in the pantry.
Tomatoes are best left out because they will go mushy in the fridge and also lose their flavor.
Potatoes, onions and garlic should not be kept in a fridge.
When potatoes get cold, the sugar that forms in them can be carcinogenic.
On the other hand, relying solely on electricity is never a good idea.
One day, this might not be an option anymore. So it’s best to always be prepared for that and have alternatives, rather than be taken by surprise.
Store Fruits And Vegetable Together
Fruits and vegetables need similar storage conditions. However, it is not wise to store some of them too close together because of the ethylene gas that is given off by some. Ethylene gas will accelerate ripening and spoilage, so the area needs to be well-ventilated to avoid this.
The ethylene gas producers are bananas, melons, tomatoes, apples and pears. Fruit and vegetables like oranges, cucumbers, potatoes, squash and pumpkins are very sensitive to the gas. They need to be kept away so they don’t spoil quickly.
You’ve spent a lot of time, effort and money stockpiling your food. So you need to make sure it doesn’t go to waste, especially in times of need.
Most foods will keep for a very long time, but only if kept in the right conditions. How, where and with what you store your food items is crucial to determine whether they will last as long as you need them to.