In order to keep your emergency food storage as fresh as possible for the duration of its predicted shelf life, certain precautions will need to be followed. Otherwise, a product with a shelf life of 25 years might only be good for five years or less.Shelf life is affected by light, moisture, oxygen, and temperature. Too much of one – or all – can really hurt the quality of your food. In order to mitigate loss of shelf life, follow these suggestions:
- Light – Store your food in a dark place, like a basement.
- Moisture – Keep your food dry, including the moisture in the air. If you live in a humid area, consider using a dehumidifier.
- Oxygen – Seal your food in a metalized container, (i.e. cans, pouches, or Mylar bags). Also use oxygen absorbers in the container to eliminate any residual oxygen.
- Temperature – Store your food in an area that doesn’t get too hot. We recommend storing food at temperatures below 70°F.
- Best if used by shelf life - Length of time food retains most of its original taste and nutrition.
- Life-sustaining shelf life - Length of time food preserves life, without becoming inedible.
Store your food in cool, dry conditions, to keep your life-sustaining shelf life going strong. When properly caring for your food storage, most of your food storage’s life-sustaining shelf life can be good for 30+ years.
Once you’ve opened your food from its original package, it is no longer packaged for long term. Use it within a couple of weeks to a year to avoid it going stale. You also can put the contents of your can or pouch into an airtight container. Try using a metalized bag and oxygen absorbers for even longer shelf life.
You will also want to rotate your food storage. This will keep your food supplies fresh, as well as get your body used to eating it. As a bonus, you will get in good practice cooking with your emergency food and will know which recipes work best. This way, you’ll be that much more prepared when you really need to eat your food storage. Cooking with Food Storage is not as scary as you think. Once you add the water back in, it’s quite similar to cooking with frozen foods. Plus, your ingredients are pre-cooked! Just throw chicken and veggies straight into some broth, simmer for 5-10 minutes, and voila! Dinner is served!
To rehydrate your food, simple soak in warm water for 5-10 minutes. You can then use it like regular frozen fruits, veggies, and meats. Try topping a pizza, or adding it to pasta to create a delicious meal in half the time.