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Long term food storage guide

Long term food storage guide

Home food storage is important not just to guard against natural disasters, but also personal crises or economic catastrophes. An emergency preparedness food supply is a must-have for any family who wishes to be self-sufficient.

How Much Food to Store

In general, a long-term food storage supply indicates enough food to last one year or more. Many people are overwhelmed by the idea of stockpiling that much food all at once, and choose to focus on building a supply sufficient for a few days, weeks, or months first.

Food storage is a gradual process, and people with emergency food storage should be continually adding to and using items in storage. People should also learn how to store water along with their food.

Food Storage List

A survival food supply can sustain life if there is no other way to get food for an extended period of time, but it doesn’t mean people have to eat bland meals of spaghetti, rice, and beans every day for months on end. Some of the best types of food for storage that combine nutrition and variety are:

  • Flour and/or wheat (wheat has a longer shelf life)
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Beans (pinto, navy, refried, and so on)
  • Pasta (a variety of types)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Shortening
  • Mayonnaise
  • Peanut butter
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Cooking essentials like baking powder, baking soda, salt, and yeast
  • Powdered milk
  • Canned meats, including tuna
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Crackers
  • Dry cereal
  • Granola bars
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts or trail mix
  • Boxed sides such as stuffing or mashed potatoes
  • Dry soup mixes
  • Powdered drink mixes

Commercially packaged foods will have a “best by” date listed on them, usually 1-2 years. Home canned foods are good for about one year.

Some food products can be canned using the dry pack method, which significantly lengthens shelf life. According to the LDS (Mormon) Church’s Provident Living website, under ideal conditions dry packed sugar can last 20 years or more, macaroni for 8 years, and rice and white flour for 3-5 years.

Home Food Storage Safety Tips

Food should be stored in air-tight containers, away from sources of heat and light. Packages should be stored in a dry, cool location. If possible, they should be kept in the basement where they are not directly in contact with any walls or floors in case moisture seeps in.

Using and Rotating Food Storage

Organization is key when it comes to home food storage. Each package should be labeled with the item name and the date of packaging. It should be organized neatly with like items, with the oldest item in front. Regularly use and rotate food storage items into everyday cooking and eating to prevent wasting food.

Emergency food storage serves many purposes, for families from all walks of life. Know what foods store best for long term use, store them safely, and don’t forget to rotate and replenish the home food supply often!

How to Clean and Organize the Refrigerator

Cleaning and organizing refrigerators is something that not everyone really enjoys doing. Most households have refrigerators or freezers that stock cooked food, raw fruits and vegetable, poultry and other meats, along with drinks, desserts and breads. Therefore, it is essential that this storage unit be kept tidy, well-organized and high on hygiene. Here are steps that would make cleaning and organizing the refrigerator easy and simple.

When to Clean the Refrigerator

Ideally, refrigerators should be cleaned at least fortnightly. However, it does depend on usage and how dirty does it get. A house with a lot of kids and a large refrigerator might need to clean it every week while a single person may need to do the exercise just once a month. So identify your usage trend and mark Cleaning Days on the calendar.

How to Clean the Refrigerator

Here are steps to clean out the refrigerator completely and get rid of any annoying smells and odors.

  • Empty out the fridge completely. Go through all the contents and check for past due dates. Throw out anything that is past due, smells or looks stale.
  • Switch off the power and remove all trays and racks from the refrigerator. Wash the racks and trays with detergent and hot water. Wipe dry.
  • If there are some strange smells in the fridge, wipe the refrigerator walls clean with a solution of 2 tablespoons baking soda in a ¼ cup of water. This would be an eco-friendly way to deodorize and clean at the same time. Alternatively, use any household degreasing spray to wipe clean the interiors.
  • Then, remove everything: magnets, artworks, photos from the top and front of the refrigerator and wipe the exteriors clean.

Organize Storage in the Fridge

Now that the fridge is clean and sanitized, it is time to start organizing and arranging everything back in, so that it looks neat, tidy and well-stocked.

  • Arrange the racks and trays. Store cooked food in flat, lidded containers so that they can be stacked on top of each other.
  • Store fruits and vegetables in perforated bags and in separate crispers or compartments, since the gases from fruits tend to spoil the vegetables.
  • Arrange bottles and jars neatly in the door racks and try to organize them according to type or size. For instance, all jams, salad dressings, juices could be stored together. Similarly, all large bottles or jars could go together while smaller bottles could be placed next to each other. This would make the refrigerator look neat and tidy.
  • Breads, butter, cheeses and spreads could be placed together to allow for quick and easy access when fixing sandwiches for morning breakfast.

How to Keep the Fridge Clean and Fresh

Once everything has been arranged and stacked neatly, it is important that steps be taken to keep it looking neat and smelling fresh till the next cleaning exercise.

  • Place some baking soda in a bowl or half a lime on one of the racks to have a deodorizing effect.
  • Ensure that containers used to store food are preferably, flat with lids, which makes it easier for them to be stacked.
  • Instruct family members not to store food in pieces of foil, paper napkins and cardboard cartons.
  • Label dates on freezer containers and also, use a marker to write the past due dates on lids of jam jars, salad dressings, spreads and the like. This would ensure that you would know exactly when something would be past due and dispose it off in time.
  • Use cling film to wrap containers without lids to prevent odors in the refrigerator.
  • Ensure that stored cooked food is consumed within the week, creating space for more food to be stored.

These simple and easy to do steps would ensure that the refrigerator looks clean and organized, while being a hygienic and safe place to store food and drinks. Use these steps to make cleaning the refrigerator a pleasure rather than a pain and enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained, orderly and neat cold storage system.