There’s a lot of advantages that come with storing food. It’s a great way to save money and such preparedness means you’re always ahead of the game in a worst-case scenario.
Even if you’re not preparing for the end-of-times, having a few months of food on hand can mean everything when suddenly losing a job or a serious health issue arises.
Here’s some great tips on how to store your food longer and ensure that there’s always going to be food on the table for you and your family.
#1: Use Permanent Markers
A good food catalog system requires a constant attention to identification and if you forego this detail, your buckets of food will soon be lost in the mix. Mark every item being stored with a permanent marker that includes both a date and a description of the food.
#2: Rotate Your Food
You obviously want to avoid food spoils, so develop a system of rotating the old foods to the front and using them first. The greater your food supply, the greater the need for an effective system of rotating all your food.
#3 Store Food in Cool Areas
Ideally, you want to store all your consumables at 40 to 50 degrees and if this isn’t a possibility, standard room temperature works well. Try to ensure that the food storage area temperature doesn’t rise above 72 degrees. Avoiding high humidity areas for food storage will also help your food to last longer.
#4 Keep the Weevils Away
Weevils are evil – they’re small beetles that love to invade food storage areas because the environment is perfectly suited for their growth. The larvae of weevils typically develop inside the seeds and stems of plants – which means your flour, cornmeal and cereals will all be at risk. The trick to beating the weevil is to freeze your grains for a few days, killing the larvae off, and then store away in air-tight containers.
#5 Don’t Store Too Much
You’ve got a storage area and there’s a big sale – it’s a recipe for acquiring more than you can eat and that means waste and it defeats one of the purposes of storing food away in the first place. Supermarkets typically rotate food sales at 12-week intervals. When you find a great sale, buy 12 weeks worth, eat it up and head back for more in three months.
#6 Keep the Sun Away
The sunshine is great for providing you with lots of Vitamin D but it’s the last thing you need for stored food. Direct sunlight can accelerate deterioration by damaging nutrients.
#7: Use Opaque, Moisture-free Containers
Opaque containers keep the sun out and taking this a step further by using moisture-barrier containers will ensure a longer shelf life for your food.
#8: Store Your Potatoes With an Apple
An apple emits ethylene gas and this makes it hard for potatoes to sprout. You’ll add weeks to the life of your bagged potatoes, if you store them away in the ventilated bags that you purchased them in.
#9: Know When Food Spoils
All foods have “best-by” dates on them but stored foods will almost always last longer than the suggested date. The quality of your food becomes a greater factor than safety in the weeks that follow the best-by date. Make it a point to know which foods will last the longest while still tasting great. This knowledge comes in handy when you’re planning a meal and have to choose between more than one food item that has recently expired.
#10: Keep an Inventory
Don’t just rely on your system of permanent markers. You need to maintain a master list of all food items that is updated each time you add or remove foods from storage.
Developing a working system of food storage is much like learning to be a good gardener – it takes time and practice to get good at it. Do it right and you’ll always have all the beans you need for a great pot of soup.