There’s nothing worse that diligently adding to your store of food only to have it become inedible by the time you eat it. You need to know the best ways to store food so that doesn’t happen. Proper storage of your supplies is what makes them able to last as long as they need to. Airtight containers are going to be your best friends as you build your prepper pantry.
It is also good to decide whether or not you want to utilize a freezer for certain things. If this is the case, you might want to make sure you have a backup generator of some kind to keep it running if you do not have electricity. I use my deep freezer to store food, but I don’t have a generator. However, I live in an area where the threat of losing electricity is rather low. Generators add a large expense to your storage efforts, so weigh your needs carefully.
Best ways to store food: freezer or pantry or both?
Well, you need a pantry no matter what. It stays stable whether you have power or not. All that you need for a quality pantry is for it to be in a cool, dry place where pests cannot access.
A freezer is a wonderful asset, but you will need a way to keep it running no matter what, i.e. a generator. As I mentioned, this is an expensive investment not everyone is willing or capable of making. And, not everyone needs to make that investment, either. Consider your needs and whether you can do without. However, if you can afford it, a deep freezer is one of the best ways to store food. And, it can help you keep fresh meats, nuts, seeds, cheeses, and much more on hand for emergencies.
Whichever option you choose, you must check on your supply regularly. Make sure all your pantry stock is in good condition with no dents, holes, or signs of mold in your food. Also check on the freezer if you have one, to make sure it is working properly and keeping your foods frozen. Keep it well maintained and free of accumulated ice, if possible.
Best ways to store food: choosing containers
BPA free plastic containers with locking seals are great for storing things like rice, pasta, beans, flour, sugar, and more. Almost any dry, shelf stable product can be stored in these types of containers. Assorted sizes also make it easy to store the exact amount you want/need of each thing. If you want extra peace of mind, you can utilize small oxygen and/or moisture absorbers. Hard plastic will also keep mice and bugs from chewing through and getting to your food over time.
For example, pasta usually comes in thin cardboard boxes. Rodents and bugs chew through these easily. However, if you transfer that pasta to a sealed container like mentioned above, you keep the smell contained and the food is safe. Another great storage option is vacuum sealing. What we have done is buy fresh vegetables when they’re in season and on sale. Then, we cut them up and if needed, blanch them. Next, we vacuum-seal them in portion sizes and freeze them Some foods can last months when vacuum sealed, and the freezer extends the life of some fresh foods by years.
Know when to rotate
Depending on what you have filled your prepper pantry with, not everything will stay unspoiled for an indefinite amount of time. This is why knowing how to rotate supplies out is important. FIFO (first one in, first one out) is a good rule of thumb for this process. Maybe your family loves a certain kind of jarred pasta sauce—but it only lasts about six weeks on a shelf. You can build up a supply and keep the oldest jars in the front, while restocking from the back so you can use up the old ones before they expire. You will still be able to use the amount you need in an emergency, but it will not go bad just sitting on a shelf until that time.
Long-term storage solutions
If you only want to stock things that will last indefinitely, make sure you have enough space for them. These items are usually in bulk and come in pre-sealed containers. These foods can be stored for years at a time, and tend to be the bottom of the barrel as far as taste goes. The heavy preservation process can also be a problem if anyone in your family has dietary restrictions or allergies. This kind of long term food lacks a lot of variety. I really don’t recommend these foods, but I mention it in case this option appeals to you or is all that’s available to you. Be sure to keep these sealed until absolutely necessary if you get them. They are perfect for storing long term, but they need to remain sealed to last that long.
Knowing the best ways to store the food in your prepper pantry will give you a huge leg up on preparedness for nearly any situation. Use these guidelines to help your stores last as long as possible for whenever you need to use them.