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Principles of dry Food Storage for Beginner Prepper.

Dry foods in storage
Dry foods

Principles of Dry Food Storage for beginners / for Long-Term Survival in a nutshell.

In a world that is currently so unpredictable, ensuring a stable and long-term supply of food is a crucial aspect of preparedness. Dry food storage for long-term survival is a wise strategy that can provide sustenance during emergencies, whether it's a natural disaster, economic crisis, or any other unforeseen event. To achieve this, it's essential to understand and follow specific principles of dry food storage. This article delves into these principles to help you establish a reliable food storage system. These are just basic principles that we, as preppers, adhere to. I will cover these in more detail in another blog post and break them down into bite-sized chunks, but here are the basics to get your head around.

1. Select the Right Foods

Choosing the right foods for long-term storage is the foundation of preparedness. Opt for items that have a lengthy shelf life and provide essential nutrients. Common options include rice, beans, pasta, canned goods, dried fruits, and freeze-dried meals (if you are lucky enough to afford them). Ensure a diverse selection to maintain a balanced diet during extended periods of reliance on stored food. I have done a few videos on the best and worst options for food storage, so check them out.

2. Quality Packaging

Proper packaging is paramount to maintain food quality over time. Invest in airtight, moisture-resistant, and pest-proof containers, such as Mylar bags, food-grade plastic buckets, or glass jars. Vacuum sealing is an effective method for removing excess air from packaging, which helps prevent food spoilage over the long term. Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers will guarantee you pest-free dry foods for 10 to 30 years (with proper storage).

3. Storage Environment

The storage environment plays a critical role in food preservation. Keep your dry goods in a cool, dry, and dark place. Exposure to temperature fluctuations and humidity can accelerate food degradation. Avoid storing food in garages, attics, or basements, where conditions may not be ideal. We all live in different countries and different types of houses, so if the garage is the only storage you have, that's okay, just make sure that the packaging you use is entirely moisture-free, your garage doesn't get too hot, and you don't get unwanted rodent visitors. Insulating the garage against extreme cold and heat is a good idea if you intend to use it as a prepper's food storage.

4. Rotation and First-In-First-Out (FIFO)

Implement a rotation system for your stored food to ensure you consume the oldest items first. This practice, known as First-In-First-Out (FIFO), helps maintain freshness and minimizes waste. Regularly check your inventory and replace expired or soon-to-expire items with fresh ones. Please do bear in mind that many foods from your cupboards will last many years past the date stated on the packet with proper storage. Of course, use common sense before consuming, and if it doesn't look right or smell right, then don't eat it. As a tip, I found that putting the dates with a sharpie on the front of my tins makes it easier for me to spot the dates in storage. This way, if you ever had to move your preps from one place to another, it is easier to restack them in date order.

5. Monitoring and Inspection

Periodically inspect your stored food for signs of damage, spoilage, or insects/bugs. Look for dents, bulging cans, unusual odors, or any visible contaminants. Be diligent in identifying and removing compromised items from your inventory to avoid consuming unsafe food. A leaked can that is stacked on another can, if not spotted in time, can rust and ruin the tins next to it, so it is very important to do regular checks.

6. Pest Control

Pests can be a significant threat to long-term food storage. To prevent bug infestations, use oxygen absorbers inside Mylar bags or any other airtight containers. Inspect your pantry regularly. I suggest a minimum of every three months; if spotted early, it will help to nip any bug infestation in the bud. I've done a whole video on other methods of keeping bugs out of the pantry;

Additionally, depending on your area, consider storing your food in a rodent-proof container or area, and use traps or repellents as needed.

7. Labeling and Inventory Tracking

Properly label all stored items with their contents and expiration dates or packing dates if Mylar bagging. Maintaining an accurate inventory list is invaluable. Trust me; I have made this mistake once, and I will not do it again. There are many prepping pantry software available for purchase, but honestly, I don't want to trust my food list on someone else's server. You can also create a simple spreadsheet or just do it old-school and use a notepad. Any method you choose will help in tracking the status of your food storage and facilitates efficient rotation.

8. Diversify Your Storage Locations

This can be looked at in two ways. Firstly, if possible, don't store all your foods in the same room or place in your house. Many reasons are applicable, but for one, if, for example, you had a bit of an issue with bugs, you don't want all of your rice to be infested just because it sits in the same place together. The other reason is a bit more far-fetched, but in case of a total collapse and worry of intruders, don't make it easy for them. That's why it's also important to have some hidden or Placed in not so obvious locations

Secondly, consider having storage both at home and at a secondary, secure location. This approach spreads risk and increases the chances of long-term survival.

By adhering to these principles, you can ensure that your stored food remains safe, nutritious, and readily available when needed most. Remember that preparedness is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment to maintaining your food supply, your family's peace of mind, and your ability to weather unforeseen challenges. My motto is “Prepping is a way of life,” so don't make it overly complicated; just do the best you can with what you have on a regular basis.

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