Tips when buying long-term emergency food:
#1: Don’t store food you don’t like. Pretty basic, but if you have to eat the same food for a few weeks, make sure you like the taste.
#2: Know when (date) the product was manufactured to determine an approximate expiration date.
#3: Don't store all of your food in one place. If all of your food is stored in the basement what happens if there’s a flood? Even if the food’s in waterproof containers you may not be able to access it.
#4: Don't store food in the wrong place. Long-term food reserves need a cool, dry place so it lasts longer. If you keep your food in the attic (or even in normal room temperature) it severely shortens its storage life.
#5: Store liquids to reconstitute meals: Most emergency foods need water to prepare. Water is the most important piece of the survival puzzle.
There are a number of Long Term Food companies. Research and sample to find the one(s) that will suit your needs. The point is that a long-term food storage plan should be part of your overall emergency plan.
Camping/Backpacking Meals (7 year shelf life): I have a 72-hour supply assortment of entrees for each of my Emergency Kits. There are 6, 2-serving pouches (for 12 meals). To prepare, boiled water is poured directly into the pouch, sealed for about 12 minutes, and eaten directly from the pouch. If the entire contents are not completely eaten, the re-sealable pouch saves the "leftovers" for the next meal. Click here for a video on this product.
Long-Term Storage Meals (25 year shelf life): I have purchased these containers of dehydrated food (ready made breakfasts and entrees). The plastic 20-liter containers are stackable and have carrying handles and measure 15" tall x 10" x 12" and weigh about 16 pounds each. A small sticker, at the bottom of the container, indicates when the container was packaged to give you an approximate "Use By" date. Mine were packaged on March 5, 2013 so my use-by date will be about March 5, 2038.
It is not enough to just collect food and stick it away somewhere until it's needed. Knowing where and what it is and when it will expire is essential. A little planning ahead of time will save a lot of space and organizational problems in the future.
1 - LABEL each item and/or container to clearly identify its contents and expiration date.
2 - INVENTORY (notebook (preferred) or computer) food as it is being labeled. Record how many of that item are available, their expiration date(s) and the location where it is stored. As items are used/removed from storage, mark that item off the inventory list so it is current with what is actually available.
3 - CATEGORIZE food items (such as wheat, rice, beans, vegetables, fruits, etc.) during the storage process so that they are easier to find.
4 - FIRST-ON-FIRST-OFF is a method to help use the food when it is needed. Foods with the nearest expiration date should be the first used and placed at the front of the shelf while items with the furtherist expiration date should go to the back of the shelf.
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Read my reviews on the P4T Blog for Wise Food, Valley Food Storage and others as I receive and test products.