If you want to survive long-term, you better know what it takes to store food.
If you have been stockpiling food as part of your emergency preparedness plan, you need to make sure you’re using techniques. If not, you could be in for a nasty surprise just when you need food the most.
The shelf life of food products is affected by the following six factors, often referred to as the enemies of food storage.
Ideally, food should be stored in a location with cool and consistent temperatures. Temperatures ranging between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit are typically best for long-term storage. The quality of food suffers at temperatures that are outside of this range.
The presence of oxygen can be harmful for food storage. Oxygen can alter the flavor and consistency of your food. It can also cause food to become rancid. Oxygen-rich environments are conducive to the growth of bacteria and microorganisms that can be harmful to your health.
Humidity and condensation can wreak havoc on your food supply. When stored food becomes damp, bacteria and mold can begin to grow, causing the food to spoil. Moisture can also cause some types of packaging to deteriorate. Proper packaging is essential to keep your food safe over a long period of time.
Exposure to light can cause degradation of taste, appearance and nutritional quality of food. Fat soluble vitamins and proteins are most likely to be affected by light. Store your food in opaque containers.
Pests can be extremely destructive and wipe out vast quantities of your food supply. The types of pests you’re likely to encounter vary depending on your location.
Rodents are expert chewers and can make fast work of bags and other soft storage materials. When possible, use hard-sided containers such as aluminum, glass or other sturdy materials to keep the rodents from getting in. You can also put oxygen absorbers in your food to make it impossible for bugs and larvae to survive.
The final enemy of food is time. Even foods that are packaged and stored under the ideal circumstances will be susceptible to degradation over time. There are some products that offer an extended shelf life and will stay edible for up to a few decades.
Food storage is sort of like an insurance plan to protect you in case the unthinkable happens. If you take the extra steps to ensure you’re protecting your food against these enemies of food storage, you will be well-prepared to survive in dire circumstances.