Developing a survival eating plan for a disaster or crisis scenario is a complicated undertaking. The easiest way is to develop a two-, three- or four-week menu and then multiply the ingredients to make that menu, and then store them. Of course, you have to make sure that the foods used in that menu will store for 20 years, without refrigeration — and that’s where your troubles begin.
There is little that comes prepackaged in such a way that it will last more than a few months or maybe a year on your pantry shelf. Food producers assume that their products will be eaten quickly, often within days of purchase. So they invest just enough in their packaging to ensure that their products will last a few months, and nothing more.
There is one exception to this, and that’s canned goods. While every can of food that I’ve ever looked at has an expiration date printed somewhere on it, that expiration date really doesn’t mean much. The process of canning ensures that foods will last pretty much indefinitely, regardless of what those expiration dates say. Yet, food processing plants add those dates — not to protect the consumer, but to protect themselves from lawsuits.
Metal cans and glass jars are airtight, so anything that’s canned in them will last a long time. But there are some foods which are canned in plastic bottles and jars, such as juices and apple sauce. Those bottles and jars may seem airtight, but they aren’t completely so. Therefore, the expiration dates on those containersdoes actually mean something. In those cases, you should rotate the stock to ensure that the food you are storing is always fresh and edible.