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What, & How To Store Food #2

Tuesday 23rd July 2013

In the first article we discussed buying and storing your everyday food items. There are other items that are wise to store to help supplement and increase your food storage. Whether the reason you need to rely on your food storage is caused by personal economic problems, national or worldwide turmoil or whatever, the point is that with the way things are going all around us you might need to be almost totally self-reliant for an extended period of time - as in two or three years.

Grains and legumes are essential items; they provide additional protiens and fats that are essential for the body. They can be added to many dishes to stretch and even increase their flavor and nutrional value. By so doing you can stretch out your "regular food" food storage even longer. These kinds of products can be purchased in small to large bags, cans and packages.

To ensure that they maintain a long shelf life they need to be transfered from a bag into some sort of sealed container. Most people are spending at least $7 and up for each bucket and lid they put these items in. The money used to buy that costly storage container could better be used for food itself. You can't eat buckets and bags. When buckets are put on shelves they usually waste several inches above the lid. Or, if placed on the floor they get stacked and it becomes combursome to unstack heavy buckets to get to the one you need. They are also harder to keep track of which is oldest and so on.

With few exceptions, don't spend any money on expensive buckets, lids or other containers. The idea is to protect the food products from light, moisture and pests. If you have already read our articles on water storage you understand what I am talking about when mentioning bottled water in one gallon bottles or jugs. You can also use sanitized soda pop bottles, but one gallon water bottles usually have larger openings. Either one, however, is food safe and often free. If you buy 2 or 3 liter bottles of pop or one gallon bottels of water you have the bottles already. If not, ask friends and neighbors to save theirs for you. You can also buy a few one gallon jugs of water now and then and save the bottles after they are empty. Another source, although different in shape and size, are empty jugs (bottle or jars) of mayonaise/salad dressing and so on. These can work just fine for some items. The most important precaution is to never use milk or other liquid dairy containers. Besides being made to decompose over a year's time or so, they also absorb the enzymes from the milk which can never be eliminated. These enzymes will react with other foods, spoiling them and can even make you sick.

Using whichever type of containers you want or have, ensure they are absolutely clean and dry before putting any other food item in them. Using a funnel that has been trimmed to enlarge the exit hole to be slightly smaller than the size of the opening of the bottles you are filling, it is easy to pour grains and other food items such as flour and sugar into them.

The first difference in using these cantainers is they are often free. The second difference and benefit is that they can be laid on their side on almost any shelf and stacked multiple jugs high until the shelf space is nearly fully used - less wasted space. The weight of several rows of bottles is not so much that you can't pull a bottle out from the bottom, thus automatically using the oldest first. Again, no lists to make, no dates to remember or read, just the natural first in/first out principle in action. Simple, simple, simple.

Even with all the storage of normal foods talked about so far there is, for some, a need to store even greater quantities. Perhaps your extended family is large and some of them will return home following an emergency. Maybe you know you will have others to include in your food storage use such as elderly neighbors. In any case, begin to enlarge your storage by adding carefully selected dried foods to stretch your food storage. These may be a combination of dehydrated and freeze dried because both have their benefits. Please note that I haven't yet used the term "long term storage." That's because that is generally a waste of money.

Even though some foods may be stable for long term storage, if you are not regularly using everything you store, you are storing the wrong things. And most of what makes up long term storage is dried so it requires lots of water to even be able to use it. With a water shortage a very real possiblity, relying solely on dried foods can be a huge mistake. That's why you want canned foods with their own moisture; you can add dried foods to increase the quantity and stretch each meal and your overall storage. But by itself, dried foods are a very poor choice for your main food storage.

Ever hear about concerns that the government will come and take your food storage? This concept is not as far fetched as you might think. The United Kingdom recently passed laws giving the government that authority and President Obama gave himself (with the Senate's approval) that same authority and much more. Great Britain (end of 2013) bought in with Monsanto and other world wide seed producers banning non-hybrid seed sales and use by individuals and farmers. To learn more about how to deal with this and protect your own family, read What and How To Store Food #3 (coming soon).

About the author: Jim Higgins

Jim Higgins