How to Store Food Long Term
DIY Long-Term Food Storage
Why Store Food Long Term
The first consideration for long-term food storage is what can be stored. Chose dried items that are low in moisture content and do not have an oily base. As an example, white sugar would be good to store, but brown sugar is too moist. Whole grains will store indefinitely, but ground flour will go rancid in a year or two. White rice is a good choice, but brown rice is too oily. Think about each item before putting it away so waste can be kept to a minimum.
Cans and Mylar
Once an item has been chosen, a decision must be made on what type of container in which it should be stored. If a Mormon cannery is located nearby, #10 cans might be a good option. The canneries are normally open to non-members, but call first to learn the local policy. Another option would be to seal the food in Mylar bags and place in food grade 5-gallon buckets. The Mylar protects the food from moisture and air, while the buckets will protect from insects and rodents.
If using the Mylar option, chose a thick grade bag that will not easily tear. Choose a dry sunny day to seal the food, so the moisture content will be as low as possible. Place the Mylar bag in the bucket, fill with food, place an oxygen absorber in, and press out the air in the bag. Then use an appropriate heat sealer or an iron with a Teflon coated bottom. Make sure there is a good seal all the way across. Place the lid on the bucket and tap down with a rubber mallet.
The number of oxygen absorbers needed in each bag will depend on its ability to absorb oxygen. If using 500 cc packets put one in each gallon size bag or three for larger bags. Oxygen absorbers will begin to work as soon as the package is opened so have everything ready for sealing and work quickly. Check the bags in a few days to insure the absorbers have worked. You can tell because the sides of the bag will have sucked in due to the vacuum effect of the oxygen absorbers.
The Cooler the Better
Food in long-term storage should be kept as cool as possible without freezing and in a dark place if possible. The shelf life of the food will directly correspond to the storage temperature, with the ideal temperature being in the 40s. Keeping the storage area low in moisture, cool and dark will guarantee a family security in uncertain times.
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