Long Life Food Storage
By Joseph Parish
Usually there are specific factors involved which determine how long stored foods will last in the food storage pantry. These factors involve such variables as the temperature of your storage facility, the amount of moisture that is in the stored foods, the quantity of air found in the storage container and the actual storage container itself.
More then any other factor involved, the temperature of your storage facilities has the most influence upon the shelf life of your stored food. If your supply of food will be storing in a warm type of environment you can not expect it to last as long as it could if the storage area was in a dry, cool, dark location. I have previously been informed that the optimum temperature should be approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Realistically thinking however, this is not always an attainable figure. You should however have a consistent temperature. In other words, donít allow the facilities to change temperatures from 40 degrees to 90 as this is not good for your food.
Second in importance is the amount of moisture that is contained within the food itself. It is not unusual for high moisture content in foods to spoil while the food is still in the container. This is particularly noticeable in home dehydrated foods. You should select foods that you plan to keep in your long term food storage with a moisture content that is less then 10 percent. Frequently this can only be accomplished by the use of expensive and complicated equipment.
As opposed to making your own dehydrated foods you may wish to consider those freeze dried foods which are prepared especially for long term survival purposes.
Next we need to discuses the air that is contained in the containers themselves. I personally use oxygen absorber packets when I pack my dehydrated foods. All that is required is to carefully place one packet in the jar or other container and close the lid. Within a short period of time you will find that the jar lid has completely sealed itself and removed any air within. Keep in mind that when using these absorbers you must employ a container that can withstand the resulting vacuum pressure.
We always have to take into consideration the containers themselves. To be useful in food storage a container must be able to achieve a hermetically sealed closure. This will ensure that your food has the longest possible life that it can.
I use glass jars and the food grade storage buckets. Many pastry shops around the country obtain much of their icing in large five gallon plastic buckets. Since you can be sure that these are food grade containers they are perfect for storage.
Generally items such as brownie or cake mixes will only last about 12 to 18 months unless they are re-packaged. Older mixes, although not harmful when consumed tend to lose their rising ability after a period of time. Although many people believe that coffee beans will only last for a couple of weeks, I completely disagree with this idea. I had a coffee shop and the ungrounded beans will last for at least a year. After being ground the oils in the beans begin to lose their potency therefore whole beans would be a good bet for survival food storage.
Other important items include canned baby foods. These can be stored unopened in your pantry for approximately one year. Just as unopened containers of shortening are good for 18 to 24 months. The popular Bouillon Cubes will last for as long as 2 years in your pantry.
Here are some additional publications from my library of files which deal with food storage that you may wish to add to your survival library.
Copyright @2009 Joseph Parish
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