How to Store Food Long-Term without Spoilage:
Preppers need to repackage most foods that they buy. With proper storage, those foods will last much longer, as much as 20 years. That proper packaging will keep out oxygen and moisture, insects, rodents, and microorganisms that will keep the food tasting fresh while retaining its nutritional value.
Food manufacturers and processors don’t bother with the added expense of packaging it for long-term storage, it is made to be used now and for fast turnover on shelves at your local stores.
However, that doesn’t apply to survivalists, who may store their food for many years. The only exception to this is canned goods, which can last for years if the seal isn’t broken. Check the expiration date on the package/can.
Time: Is the one factor that we can not control – and it does have a significant effect on the shelf life of various foods.
Items for Store Food Long-Term:
The right sorts of containers and other supplies.
Five-gallon food grade buckets,
A vacuum cleaner with a hose,
Gallon size aluminized Mylar bags,
Mylar bags, Oxygen absorbers can be purchased online.
Gather Equipment: You will need a vacuum cleaner with a hose and either a hair straightener or a clothes iron to melt and seal the Mylar bags. A rubber hammer is a good idea for putting on the bucket lids.
Pack Food: You’ll want to put the Mylar bags in the buckets, and fill them to about an inch from the top with dry food. Most people only put one type of food in each bucket, although it is possible to mix foods that you’ll prepare together. Stay organized by using multiple bags within the bucket.
Create a Seal: The Mylar bags are excellent for this because they melt together when heat is applied, forming an airtight seal. With a hot clothes iron or hair straightener, melt the top two inches of the bags together, leaving a two-inch gap at the end unsealed.
Remove Oxygen: This is the most critical step in the process. Add an oxygen absorber to the bag. For flour, sugar, dry milk and other baking essentials, you’ll need a 750 cc oxygen absorber for each bucket. For beans, pasta and whole grains, you’ll need a 1,000 cc oxygen absorber for each bucket. Once you put the oxygen absorber in the bucket, suck out as much air as possible with the hose of a vacuum; try to do this quickly.
Time to seal the bag: This is done the same way that the seal was started with a hot clothing or hair iron. Be sure to hold the bag closed while sealing it so more air can’t sneak in. Work quickly so that the oxygen absorber doesn’t get used up on the air in the room rather than in the bucket.
Close the Bucket: The sealed bag will keep the food fresh, fold the flap down and put it inside the bucket, and then secure the lid on top. You can pound the lid down around the edges with a rubber mallet or just use your hands to force it down tight.
Mark the Contents: Don’t forget to mark the bucket with what’s inside!
Store Food: All your food stocks should be kept in a cool, dry place. While moisture can’t get inside the bucket the heat can cause the food to lose its nutritional value more quickly, and a cool location helps keep it fresh.
Remember: Most food stored in this manner should stay fresh and usable for 20 years or more. However, even though five-gallon buckets are waterproof, they aren’t as airtight as the Mylar bags, using the two together you ensure optimal protection for your food.
The key to this is the oxygen absorbents. Not only do they protect the food from oxidation, but no insects can survive without oxygen. Nor can bacteria survive without oxygen. With this method, your food will be as fresh and usable when you open it as it was when you packed it away.
Temperature: This is the primary factor affecting the storage life of foods
avoid above 90 degrees for extended periods of time.
The longer food is exposed to very high temperatures the shorter the edible life and the faster the degeneration of nutritional value.
Moisture: Can deteriorate food value rapidly and create conditions that promote the growth of harmful organisms.
The moisture level contained in foods varies depending on the type of product it is. Have foods in moisture barrier containers in high humidity areas.
The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.
Very cold flooring: or any condition where there is a dramatic temperature differential may cause a buildup of condensation inside the container.
Oxygen: – A high oxygen environment causes oxidation, which leads to discoloration, flavor loss, odors, rancidity and the breakdown of nutritional value in foods. Whole grain and beans have natural oxygen barriers and can store for long periods of time in low humidity and if free from infestation.
The best long term storage containers are glass and metal.
Infestation: Examples include rodents, insects in all their stages of growth, mold, microorganisms, and any other creatures that get hungry – large or small.
The proper packaging and storage conditions are required to control infestation and not allow critters to both get into the food, or have the necessary environment for them to flourish if they are sealed into a container – such as in the form of eggs or spores.
Handling: Rough handling can not only damage the food itself, but it can also adversely affect and compromise the integrity of the container in which the food is stored. Glass of course can break; any pouched item can develop pin holes, tears, or cracks. The seams on buckets and cans can be tweaked, twisted, or damaged to allow oxygen to enter the container.
Light: Food should not be stored in direct sunlight both for the potential of high temperature, and its effect on food value.
Sunlight, directly on stored foods can destroy nutritional value and hasten the degeneration of food quality, taste, and appearance.
Foods packed in light barrier containers do not pose a problem with the effects of light.
Be safe, take care. CJ.