Food & Water Storage Conditions

conditions

What conditions should I store my food and water storage prepper supplies in?

Good question!  You must first understand that light destroys nutrients and shelf-life.  Oxygen also causes nutrient decay and increases risk of food-borne illness due to bacterial growth. Reducing oxygen levels in your food with Oxygen Absorbers is the best way to maintain food quality and shelf life.  Temperature plays a role as well, too hot and nutrients and proteins will be damaged, too cold and product quality and taste will suffer.  Pests can eat up your food storage and spread disease.  Moisture can cause bacterial and mold growth as well as rust to form on metal cans or canning lids.

So what conditions do I need?

Someplace COOL (around 6oF is perfect)

Someplace DARK (no natural or artificial light shining on your food storage)

Someplace DRY (no moisture to cause rust or bacterial or mold growth)

Someplace PEST FREE (no bugs or rodents to destroy and contaminate your food and water)

Storage Conditions

There are six conditions to be aware of when storing food for emergency preparedness food storage, or outdoor recreation.  The foods being referred to in this post are shelf-stable freeze-dried, dehydrated, dried commodities.  Optimal storage conditions can also be applied to wet pack:  retort, MRE’s, canned goods, and other specialty longer term wet pack foods.

  • Temperature– This is the primary factor affecting the storage life of foods.  The cooler the better. 40 degrees-50 degrees would be great. Room temperature (65 degrees-72 degrees) or below is generally fine.  Avoid above 90 degrees for extended periods of time. The longer food is exposed to very high temperatures the shorter the edible life and the faster the degeneration of nutritional value.  Note:  There are some “foods” available for emergency preparedness that are known as “emergency food or ration bars.”  These products are generally referred to as “life raft bars” because they were originally designed for life rafts and can withstand high heat for extended periods of time.  They primarily consist of white sugar and white flour, and were not meant to be the sole source of nutrition for a long period of time.
  • Moisture– The lower the better.  Moisture can deteriorate food value rapidly and create conditions that promote the growth of harmful organisms.  The moisture level contained in foods varies depending on the type of product it is.  Have foods in moisture barrier containers (metal, glass) in high humidity areas. Note:  Mylar bags or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 3 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  Note 2:  Be careful where you store dry foods in cans.  Very cold flooring or any condition where there is a dramatic temperature differential may cause a build up of condensation inside the container.
  • Oxygen – A high oxygen environment causes oxidation, which leads to discoloration, flavor loss, odors, rancidity and the breakdown of nutritional value in foods. It also allows insects to feed on dried food reserves. Without oxygen, insects cannot live, nor can aerobic (oxygen dependent) organisms. Whole grain and beans have natural oxygen barriers and can store for long periods of time in low humidity and if free from infestation. All other processed grains, vegetables, fruits, etc. must be in a very reduced (2% or less) oxygen environment for long term storage.  Note:  Mylar bags or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 3 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  The best long term storage containers are glass and metal.
  • Infestation – Examples include rodents, insects in all their stages of growth, mold, microorganisms, and any other creatures that get hungry – large or small.  The proper packaging and storage conditions are required to control infestation and not allow critters to both get into the food, or have the necessary environment for them to flourish if they are sealed into a container – such as in the form of eggs or spores.
  • Handling – Rough handling can not only damage the food itself, but it can also adversely effect and compromise the integrity of the container in which the food is stored.  Glass of course can break; any pouched item can develop pin holes, tears, or cracks.  The seams on buckets and cans can be tweaked, twisted, or damaged to allow oxygen to enter the container.
  • Light – Food should not be stored in direct sunlight.  Both for the potential of high temperature, and its affect on food value.  Sunlight directly on stored foods can destroy nutritional value and hasten the degeneration of food quality, taste, and appearance.  Foods packed in light barrier containers do not pose a problem with the affects of light.

 

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Life of Stored Food

LIFE OF STORED FOOD

This is a generalized table of how long food will last if properly stored (no light, no heat, no oxygen, no bugs, etc) and kept at 60F or lower (but not freezing).

FREEZE DRY FOODS (NITROGEN BACKFLUSHED & SEALED)- 25 TO 30 YEARS

MYLAR BAGS (MRES, CAMPING POUCHES, METALLIZED BAGS)- 5 TO 7 YEARS

DEHYDRATED FOODS (SEALED, BUT NOT NITROGEN BACKFLUSHED)- 3 TO 5 YEARS

CANNING (STOREBOUGHT OR HOME CANNED)- 3 TO 5 YEARS, (possibly longer if stored properly)

SMOKED CURED- SEVERAL MONTHS

FROZEN- 1 YEAR FROZEN (BEFORE FREEZER-BURN SETS IN), FEW DAYS THAWED & REFRIGERATED

RAW FOOD- 7 TO 10 DAYS IF REFRIGERATED, LESS THAN 4 HOURS AT ROOM TEMP

Chicken Soup & Dumplings- Freeze-dry recipes

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Dumplings  (you can use any brand name or freeze dry product)

 

2 tablespoons butter
1 Bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add butter, carrots, celery, and chicken in addition to 2 cups soup mix. Stir until combined and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
For Dumplings:
1 In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, cornmeal, sugar, and salt. Add the prepared milk and mix just until combined; mixture should be thick. Drop 12 tablespoons of dumpling mixture into simmering soup. Cover and simmer for another 12 minutes.
1/2 cup THRIVE Carrot Dices
1/2 cup THRIVE Celery (FD)
2 cups THRIVE Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup Mix
1 cup THRIVE Chopped Chicken (FD)
1 cup THRIVE White Flour
1/2 cup THRIVE Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons THRIVE Baking Powder
1/2 cup THRIVE Cornmeal
1 tablespoon THRIVE White Sugar
1 teaspoon THRIVE Iodized Salt
3/4 cup THRIVE Instant Milk, rehydrated (4 1/2 tablespoons powder + 3/4 cup water)

Creamy Cauliflower Broccoli Bake- Freeze-dry recipe

Rich and Creamy Broccoli & Cauliflower Bake  (you can use any freeze-dry/brand name product)

by Natalie Riley on Oct 20 2009

Ingredients

  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T thrive white flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1 c thrive powdered milk, prepared
  • 1 c mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 3 T grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1⁄2 t nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 t thrive iodized salt
  • 1 1⁄2 c thrive freeze dried broccoli
  • 1 1⁄2 c thrive freeze dried cauliflower
  • 2 T heavy cream

 

INSTRUCTIONS

In a medium size bowl, cover broccoli and cauliflower with warm water. Let sit 5-10 minutes until softened and re hydrated. Drain. Repeat same process for THRIVE freeze dried cheese if necessary.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute. Next, whisk in prepared milk, stirring quickly to avoid lumps. Continue stirring over heat while sauce thickens for about 2-3 minutes.

Add cream, nutmeg, salt, and 2/3 cup of mozzarella cheese. Stir to combine and remove from heat.

Add well-drained broccoli and cauliflower. Gently stir together, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Place mixture in a greased baking dish or a small pie plate. Top with remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until hot, bubbly, and golden brown.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie- Freeze-Dry recipe

Strawberry Banana Freeze (you can use any freeze-dry product/brand name)

Ingredients

1⁄2 cup THRIVE Orange Drink, rehydrated (1 tablespoon powder + 1⁄2 cup water)
11⁄2 cups cold water
1⁄2 cup THRIVE Pineapple Chunks (FD)
1 cup THRIVE Strawberries (FD)
1 cup THRIVE Banana Slices (FD)
1 cup ice cubes

Directions:

1. Combine the orange drink, water, pineapple, strawberries,
bananas, and ice in a blender and process until smooth.
Refrigerate until cold.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler- Freeze Dry Recipe

Blueberry Peach Cobbler  (you can use any name brand/freeze-dry product)

Ingredients

1⁄2 cup butter, softened
3⁄4 cup THRIVE White Sugar, divided
zest of 1 lemon
2 THRIVE Whole Eggs, rehydrated
(2 tablespoons powder + 1⁄4 cup water)
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup THRIVE White Flour
1 teaspoon THRIVE Baking Powder
1⁄2 teaspoon THRIVE Iodized Salt
1 cup THRIVE Peach Slices (FD)
1 cup THRIVE Blueberries (FD)
1 cup THRIVE Peach Drink, prepared
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

1. In a medium-sized bowl, cover peach slices and blueberries with peach drink or warm water. Let sit 5-10 minutes until softened and rehydrated.

2. Preheat oven to 350˚F.

3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together butter and ½ cup sugar. Add lemon zest, eggs, and vanilla extract.

4. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; add to the butter mixture, stirring to incorporate. Spread half of the batter on the bottom of a greased 8 x 8 x 2 inch baking dish.

5. Top the batter in the pan with the rehydrated peaches and blueberries, along with 1⁄2 of the hydrating liquid (about). Carefully spread the remaining batter over the top of the peaches. Sprinkle cinnamon and remaining sugar over the top.

6. Bake for 38-45 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve hot with ice cream.

Summer Potato Salad- Freeze-Dry Recipes

Summer Potato Salad   (you can use any freeze-dried products/brand names)
Ingredients
11⁄2 cups THRIVE Potato Dices (FD)

1⁄2 cup THRIVE Diced Ham (FD)
1⁄2 cup THRIVE Celery (FD)
1⁄2 cup THRIVE Chopped Onions (FD)
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
11⁄2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
THRIVE Iodized Salt and pepper to taste
green onions, chopped, optional

Directions:

1. In a medium-sized bowl add potato dices, ham, celery, and onion and cover with water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until ingredients are rehydrated and soft. Drain.

2. In a large mixing bowl add all ingredients with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Stir until combined. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped green onions, if desired.

3. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.