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Nine Steps For Long Term Food Storage

Nine Steps For Long Term Food Storage

Food manufacturers don’t take into account the need for long term food storage when packaging their products, with the notable exception of canned goods. In fact, most foods are not packaged to last more than a few months with a maximum of a year. Check out the expiration dates on the packaging and you may be surprised at how short the life expectancy is. This lack of long life packaging means that survivalists and those who need to stockpile foods must take steps to prevent spoilage and store food for the long term.

Steps like the simple repackaging of food items can extend the life expectancy for up to twenty years. Packaging that prevents pests like rodents and insects from getting to the food is of primary concern. However, microorganisms such as mold and bacteria that will cause food to rot must also be taken into account. Even oxygen and moisture will affect the spoilage rate of food. Proper packaging should prevent these factors from causing food to spoil while protecting the nutritional value.

1. The Right Supplies

You will need a variety of materials and supplies to ensure that your stockpile is safely stored and contained. These materials should include:

– 5 Gallon Round Buckets or 4 Gallon Square Buckets
   (Square buckets are lighter,and use floor space more efficiently)
– Mylar Bags (Aluminized)
– Oxygen and Moisture Absorbers

These supplies should be available from local home improvement stores, but you can also order the products online (especially the oxygen absorbers and Mylar bags which may not be readily available in a store near you).

2. The Necessary Equipment

You will need a vacuum sealer. Alternatively, use your household vacuum cleaner and hose with a hair straightener or clothes iron to remove the air from and seal the food in the Mylar bags. A rubber mallet is great for securing the bucket lids in place, but is not entirely necessary to the process.

3. The Food Packing Process

You need to fit as much food into 1 bucket as possible to save on space and storage costs. It is best to first place the Mylar bags in the buckets and then fill them with foods, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top. While it is recommended to pack the same foods in each bucket, you can place a variety of foods in the same bucket, especially if they will be used together for food preparation.

4. The Correct Seal

A good seal is essential for keeping food fresh for longer, meaning that the Mylar bag and bucket needed to be correctly sealed to eliminate oxygen, moisture and microorganisms. The gentle application of heat (using the clothes iron or hair straightener) will cause the Mylar bags to melt together resulting in an air tight seal. Leave a gap at the end of the seal, just large enough to fit the vacuum hose.

5. Eliminate The Oxygen

Place the oxygen remover in the Mylar bag. 750 cc is ideal for dry goods like flour, sugar, powdered milk and other baking goods. 1000 cc is necessary for whole grains and pasta. Quickly place the vacuum nozzle in the gap that you have left in the seal and suck out as much air as possible. You have to work quickly as the oxygen remover will already have begun working.

6. Complete The Seal

Have your hot hair or clothes iron ready to complete the seal on the Mylar bag. Hold the opening closed as you remove the vacuum nozzle and apply the heat to create the seal. Once again, you will need to move quickly so as to allow the oxygen absorber to remove the air in the bucket rather than in the surrounding area.

7. Seal The Bucket

The Mylar bag will not provide protection against pests such as rodents and insects and this is why the bucket is so important. It is essential to secure the lid properly by pushing the edges of the lid into the bucket with your hands. A rubber mallet can be used to make the process more efficient and to ensure that the lid has been properly secured. Make sure there are no gaps and that the lid is evenly placed.

8. Create A Label

If you don’t label the bucket as to the contents contained within, you will never know what it holds. List the product/s that are stored inside as well as the quantity. This will help you keep stock of your goods while you stockpile as well as when you start using your stores.

9. Storage Space

The ideal storage space for all types of foods is in a cool and dry environment. While your bucket Mylar combo should prevent air, moisture and microorganisms from entering, mold and bacteria may still grow on the outside of the bucket which could compromise your stores. Heat may also affect the integrity and nutritional value of the food, so a cool storage space is best.

Most non-perishable, dry food stuffs can be stored safely using this method for a period of 20 years or even more. The success of the system lies in the combination of the bucket and the Mylar bag. Where the bucket has weaknesses (not airtight), the Mylar bag protects and vice versa. For example, the bucket is waterproof and protects against pests while the Mylar bag protects against oxidation, moisture and microorganisms.

The oxygen absorbers are another key element to the success of long term food storage. Creating an oxygen free environment is essential to preventing rot from setting in. No oxygen also means that insects and microorganisms cannot survive. Your food should be just as fresh as the day it was stored if you use the products within 20 years.

Survival Self Defense - How to protect yourself and your family
Survival Self Defense - How to protect yourself and your family

Discover the secrets to defending yourself and your family when disaster strikes!