While the U.S. is far from having zero food supplies, it’s still best to be always prepared. Put your prepper skills to use and learn how to store food for the long-term.
Store Food for Long-Term Quick Guide
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
Americans are lucky to be reaping the benefits of a strong infrastructure as COVID-19 terrorizes the country. Our store shelves may be more bare than usual, but the shipments keep coming and fresh food is still readily available in most markets.
But as the virus spreads and fewer families venture out, foods with longer shelf lives are becoming hard to find. Canned goods, pasta, and eggs were some of the first items to be in short supply.
Daily staples like meats and dairy products have also disappeared from shelves, with stores limiting quantities to make supplies last as long as possible.
As we all hunker down (and hopefully prepare ourselves for future emergency situations), this is the time to learn about the best food storage options for the long-term as well as foods that will last the longest in your pantry.
Food Storage Options
When it comes to storing food beyond the normal refrigeration or shelf lives, there are four basic options for methods. These extend the lifespan of foods from months all the way up to many years.
Option 1: Freezing
Freezing gives you several months to safely consume your food. Nearly all foods can be frozen, although taste and texture can be negatively affected. Vegetables and meats take to freezing especially well.
Option 2: Canning
Canning increases shelf lives to several years. Pressure-canners vacuum-seal the lids into place; upon opening, the food is ready to eat immediately. Fruits, vegetables, sauces, jam, and even cooked hamburger meat can all be canned.
Option 3: Dehydrating
Dehydrating fruits and vegetables properly can extend their viability for up to 10 years! Drying meat into jerky is also a preferred method of preserving it. The best way to store dried foods is in foil pouches, inside of food-grade plastic buckets.
Option 4: Freezing Dried Food
Freeze-dried foods will last virtually forever, although after many years the flavors may be lackluster. They are lightweight and require no refrigeration at all, but the equipment needed to freeze-dry is heavy and expensive so these are something you would purchase instead of preserving at home.
Best Foods for Long-Term Storage
When planning your long-term pantry, you will want to keep a variety of foods on hand that meet all of your needs for vitamins and minerals. But foods with low moisture and fat levels will have the longest natural shelf lives. These include:
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Dried Apples
- Potato Flakes
You’ll notice that this list does not include much of what you need to thrive. It’s really just what you need to survive. Learning how to store perishable food is critical to your success in stocking your pantry.
Threats to Your Stockpile
When preparing and storing food, you will be fighting against four major threats:
Removing the moisture from foods through drying methods will also minimize the possibility of the deadly botulism toxin developing. You will want your food to be stored in airtight, cool, dark environments, and in sturdy containers.
As you build your Prepper’s Pantry, don’t just focus on storing canned or frozen items; also grow your garden and consider investing in several appliances and food storage containers for long-term use. We recommend a Chest Freezer, Pressure-Canner, and Food Dehydrator, as well as canning jars, lids, & rings, foil pouches, and food-grade plastic buckets.
Happy Food Prepping!
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