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If you’re a prepper, you’ve no doubt spent a lot of time planning for the worst. In case of a catastrophic event, you want to be able to feed your family until conditions improve. Catastrophes can come out of nowhere, so being prepared is key.
But how prepared are you? Have you checked your food storage lately? Unless you’re keeping close track of everything, some of your food might be close to expiring. Or worse, it might have already gone bad. Just imagine a major disaster has struck and the only food you have is inedible.
To make sure that never happens, you need to make sure your emergency food lasts as long as possible. Below, you’ll find nine tricks to make your emergency food last longer. Doing these things takes time and dedication, but it’s worth it in the end.
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1. Buy a Vacuum-Sealer
You may have seen silly infomercials for vacuum-sealing foods, pillows, and clothes in the past. These little useful vacuums are extremely practical for people wanting to store foods for a long time. Vacuum-sealing essentially removes any air from the equation, which is how food tends to mold or spoil.
There are so many foods that you can vacuum-seal for longevity. Removing rice, beans, or pasta from its original packaging and sealing in vacuum bags will allow those foods to last well beyond their written expiration date. You can find vacuum sealers at any department store.
2. Can or Preserve Fresh Produce
Canning food is not only a therapeutic process, it allows you to store fresh produce in a very homemade way. The canning process is simple; you’ll need some lidded mason jars, a large pot of boiling water, and heat-proof gloves. Using this method can preserve the freshest of summer produce for years to come, as long as the jars stay sealed.
Heat creates a seal on the jars after they are filled, much like sealed jars you buy at the grocery store. You can preserve citrus, fruits in the form of jam, pickles, and so much more. Once you can for the first time, it’s hard to stop!
3. Choose Your Foods Wisely
Although you may love certain canned foods, think wisely about the volume in which you are buying. Purchasing the largest can of corn you can find may prove wasteful because it’s hard to eat such a large amount of something in one sitting.
Instead, focus on buying canned goods that are a standard size so that all of the food is actually utilized. Also, only buy foods you know you enjoy! Being wasteful in an emergency is not efficient. Here are some of the best survival foods you should buy.
4. Grow a Garden
Our society has moved away from growing our own produce in favor of the grocery store. What happens if the grocery store were to shut down and you could no longer buy fresh foods? Having a moderately-sized garden is the answer.
In the early 20th century, it was uncommon to NOT have a garden full of produce. By growing your own onions, potatoes, peppers, fruits, or other produce, you are enriching the soil and land around you and providing nourishment found outside of a can. While canned veggies are great and necessary, fresh vegetables provide tons of nutrients that healthy bodies need.
5. Have a Stock Rotation System
Keep a detailed list of every single food item in your stock. On that list, provide the food item, amount in stock, and expiration dates that correspond. When you add or remove an item, write it down so that you are always organized. You’ll always be aware of upcoming expiration dates and what you need to eat through before adding more.
A good rule of thumb is first in, first out. That means the first non-perishables added to your stock are the first thing you eat. This is usually a foolproof way of ensuring you do not allow food to expire, which is a waste of your time and money.
6. Store in a Cool, Dry Location
Many prefer to keep their food storage hidden away. That is great, but the location needs to be cool, dry, and free of any potential critters or sunlight. Direct sunlight can spoil foods much faster, especially those in a glass jar.
Choose a basement, cellar, shed, closet, or anywhere else on your property that never reaches above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. These areas should be totally critter-free. This is the most optimal environment for perfect food storage.
7. Store the Right Non-Perishables
Canned goods are often the most common non-perishables found in a food storage. Be sure that your cans are free of any dents or holes, as this is how canned foods spoil quickly. Keeping cans on a high shelf that is unstable may cause cans to fall and dent. In those cases, it is recommended you do not keep dented and damaged cans.
Also be sure to store long-lasting boxed goods for carbohydrates. Carbs are more important than we think. If your diet needs to be limited due to an emergency, your body will survive and thrive on carbs such as crackers, pasta, and cookies.
8. Try Oxygen Absorbers
You can store food in additional bags or boxes for even further protection from the elements. If storing food in a large bin or tub, many people will add oxygen absorbers, which you can order online. Oxygen absorbers do exactly as they sound: absorb oxygen from the air around the food, which fights off any potential bacteria or mold.
Use oxygen absorbers in combination with other storage solutions such as tubs, bins, or mylar bags.
9. Use Mylar Bags
Mylar bags have the ability to store foods for their longest shelf life. They resemble tin foil bags but are actually made of biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate (AKA BoPet film) and were developed by DuPoint and used by NASA as space blankets. When used in combination with storage tubs and oxygen absorbers, non-perishable foods stored in these bags will last years, if not decades.
There is a lot of information out there about how to store long-lasting foods for an emergency. The first thing to remember is don’t panic. If you have been preparing for an emergency event by creating a long-lasting food stock, you are already a step ahead. Use these tricks to make your emergency food last longer and ensure your family‘s future safety.
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