Food Preservation Options
When it comes to food preservation there are two very important things that should be looked at, Why and How.
Why are you preparing, and what length of time or type of emergency are you preparing for?
Example: Let’s say, you’re preparing for a weekend away camping outdoors with your family, or even building your own 72 hr kit for home emergencies. You won’t need to invest nearly the amount of time, or money that you would for any type of long term emergency storage situation. When planning your WHY, please take a look at the following.
Short Term or Emergency Storage
This type of preparation should be considered as the bare minimum. It should be assembled or purchased with the intention of getting you and your family through a very short time of need, such as a power outage or brief emergency.
It should contain enough supplies, to address any minor first aid needs, power failure provisions as well as enough food and water to sustain each person for 1 to 3 days. It should also be easily accessible, in case of an emergency and be portable in case emergency relocation is needed.
Keep in mind that most of the items in this type of kit will need to be replaced and or rotated every 1 to 3 years depending on its contents. Keeping the ability to travel in mind, a small but effective water filtration system is advisable. Water is a survival must and filtering your own is much easier than carrying it. Keeping it light is always a good policy and when the proper supplies are chosen, it should easily fit into most mid range to high quality hiking packs.
Mid Range or Life Sustaining Storage
This type of preparation should be your next step in providing peace of mind and a solid sense of security for yourself and your family. It will take more time to prepare and should be well planned and able to sustain the needs of you and your loved ones for 1 to 3 months.
There are as many options available when assembling this type of storage as methods of food preservation that can be used when preparing its contents. Keep in mind, that depending on your budget and how much you choose to spend, either by purchasing it or doing the work to pack and prepare it yourself. The quality of packaging and technology used will determine how often you will need to rotate or replace its contents.
How you plan your why is very important. There are many different methods available to preserve and store food, so it is important that you research your options and plan wisely. If done properly you can easily provide a firm safety net that you and your family can depend on if needed. If done wrong, it can be an enormous waste of time and money. If it is done poorly, when the time comes for you to use your survival storage, you could actually end up worse than if you had nothing at all!
It doesn’t matter if you’re a do it yourself person, or you prefer to buy it from the store. Most canned goods only last between 3-5 years, depending on the quality of seal and product in question. In general, always use the expiration date printed by the company as an indicator for how long it’s going to last you.
Any time after that is questionable and hardly worth the risk, especially if you have children. In the end it is up to the individual to risk eating bad food or not, but hungry is always better that sick or dead. As scary as that sounds, feeding it to a child, who can’t read an expiration date seems even worse.
With frozen foods, you are looking at the same type of expiration system as canned. The date on the box is going to be your best indication as to when it might not taste as good as you remembered. Keep in mind, that in most situations this is probably the most undependable way to build a source of food storage. The invention of the freezer and its huge variety of foods that are available, have taken us to new heights in being able to eat our favorite meals any time of year.
However, unless you have a good generator, lots of gas and the know how to fix a freezer or happen to live in Alaska. Your hard earned food storage could all be gone and smell pretty terrible after only 2 or 3 days.
This means of preservation is a good one, and has been used for thousands of years. Long before the all mighty fridge and grocery store even existed. If done properly, it can last 3-5 years or more. You should still use the expiration date as a good indication of shelf life. If you are doing it yourself, do your homework and please use good judgment. Many cultures, like the American Indians would use this method to cure and preserve their meat supply for the winter.
Please do your research on this one, even though drying out meat on a stick over a fire worked great 100 years ago. In a world of dehydrators, preservatives, and vacuumed tight storage bags it is pretty silly not take advantage of the amazing gifts of technology and convenience that we all hopefully have right in front of us.
Now we are talking, no matter what kind of storage you are putting together this method is much more dependable than any of the above. The major challenge with this method is that, almost none of us have the ability to do it at home. This method of preservation is almost exclusively done at a commercial level, and in most cases will need to be purchased.
However, if you take into consideration what your spending now per month to feed your family. You can usually buy that amount of sustainable Freeze dried food storage for around 1/3 of the price you spend monthly on groceries. Freeze dried food can last anywhere from 5-25 years, depending on the quality of the process and packaging used in its manufacture. The major upsides of this kind of product are:
- 5-25 Year Shelf Life
- Because of Flash Freezing methods, the food can retain up to 90 % or more of the original taste and nutrients.
- Just Add Water: Some products out there only require 1 cup of water and a ten min wait and you’re enjoying great food anytime or anywhere.
- Weight: Because it is freeze dried, it’s more like a backpack full of Lucky Charms than a month supply of healthy delicious food.
- The Guarantee: It’s hard for many do it yourself people to admit, that Purchased food storage may be the best way to go. You may lose the chance to say you did it all yourself but you save time and gain the confidence of using a solid product that has a proven track record. When building a storage reserve of more than 6 months, purchased is the way to go.
Long Term Storage
This is the final stop and ultimate in food storage preparation, and should be planned to last up to a Year or more. When planning your long term food storage options there are many things to consider. Ultimately when you begin these types of preparations you are looking at a big job that can cost a bit of money and a lot of time. It is for this reason, that the only option we would advise is Freeze Dried foods.
It may cost you up front, but the reality is that you are purchasing a 20 year supply of or peace of mind knowing it can easily be prepared in a tight situation using only water! It also has the huge benefit of retaining most of its flavor, while losing very little of the foods original nutrients.
The worries of trying to learn how to preserve all that food yourself, just to rotate it every 3-5 years will be off your shoulders. You can rest easy knowing you and your family are covered in almost any emergency situation or time of need.
Tilden Carter – Many more tips and checklists, just like this one food4tomorrow.com your Emergency Education & Preparedness Products one stop resource.
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