Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Survival Planning: Food Storage - How to Master it

Okay you have a good start to your emergency food buying but where and how do you store it?

Store your grains in a cool dry place. I put mine in plastic tubs with lids or pails with lids, clearly labelled with the name of the food item and the date purchased. Then I store them on shelves in a dark cool basement and to be extra sure I'm keeping light out, I put up curtains across my food shelves.  If it's a food I might not be used to cooking, I also add instructions and recipes, plus a nutrition "label" that tells me what % of my daily nutrient requirements the food has and how much of it I need to meet those requirements.

Keep them out of the light for optimum storage

I never buy canned beans because I don't want to rotate them every 3 years. So I buy dried beans in bulk which I store in their original bags and inside a plastic tub with lid. I label everything with its name, date of purchase, nutrional value and instructions for cooking. Dried beans have a shelf life of 25+ years if stored  in a cool dry place.

I keep my sugar and salt in their original paper containers inside sealed plastic tubs. Dryness is important for these foods. If you have honey just keep it out of the light. And be sure you buy pure honey for indefinite shelf life

Same deal as sugar and salt. Keep them dry and in a sealed container.

These will last twice as long if you refrigerate them. If you put the seeds in a freezer their shelf life is quadrupled. So most (but not all) sprouting seeds will last 25+ years in the freezer. I keep mine in  plastic bags and then inside a plastic tub (with a lid) which fits nicely in the freezer.

I've always grown my own herbs, and  this year I decided to only plant herbs that will come up every year. Since I garden on a deck in window boxes, I have to bring my herbs inside during our Canadian winter or they die. In the fall I harvest the herbs and let them dry, then I store them in green glass containers. Why green? Herbs lose their potency very quickly if exposed to light. So store any herbs in a dark and dry place. Don't put them in direct sunlight.

The worst thing you can do with any herbs or spices is open them over something hot on the stove. Spices and herbs don't like heat or humidity so open them away from that hot stove or oven.

I store spices and herbs in my pantry which has a door to keep out light. Extra emergency supply herbs and spices are stored in glass jars inside cardboard boxes which are sealed and placed behind curtains on shelves in my dark cool basement room. I could put the ones I'm not using on a daily basis in the freezer or fridge to store them.

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