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

Why Prep?

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Why Prep?

Have you ever wondered how you would take care of yourself and your family if you lost your job? How about if there was a bad hurricane? Tornado? Rioting? Civil Unrest? Economic Collapse? Martial Law? Pandemic? Even Zombies?

If these thoughts have crossed your mind or haunted your dreams lately, then you might be considering becoming a Prepper.

Have you already started stocking up on extra canned goods, bottles of water, pet food, first aid supplies and self-defense weapons? Then you are already a Prepper.

Have you looked into solar and wind options for heating/cooling/powering your home and appliances? Have you considered buying land and keeping livestock and a garden? Want to live off-grid?  Then you are a Homestead Prepper.

Have you taken survival classes, learned the arts of bushcraft, fire making, escape & evasion? Are you comfortable living in the woods for a long period of time, living off the land, and using Mother Nature for all your provisions, protection, shelter, and camouflage? Then you are a Survivalist.

All and any of these labels means you are Self-Reliant or want to become Self-Reliant.

Many folks enter into prepping because they have this unexplainable feeling in their gut that something is not “right” with the world. That things are slowly getting more restrictive, less-free, more expensive and more intrusive in our private lives. That unsettling feeling is your 6th sense telling you to prepare.

For others, prepping and being self-reliant is comforting because it is a return to a simpler life much like what our grandparents and great-grandparents experienced (and we remember being told through family-handed down stories). It is a way to exit the “Rat Race” and ensure all their basic needs are met without all the hustle and bustle of big city life.  It is a way of reducing stress and anxiety in their lives, because they are providing for themselves and their families by means of a garden, food & water storage, re-learning basic DIY skills, and saving money by not spending it frivolously.  It is also a sense of accomplishing something with purpose .  It has its rewards and self-gratification.

Whatever your reasons for prepping, rest easy in the fact that your time, money and efforts have not been wasted.  Whether its a natural disaster, extended unemployment, or a true SHTF scenario, you will probably use your preps and skills at some point in your life, or at least be able to pass them down to your children for their future security.

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Turkey Tetrazzini- freeze dried food

TURKEY TETRAZZINI- store in mylar or jars

INGREDIENTS

1 PACKAGE Thin Noodles
2 C Freeze Dried Turkey
1 C Freeze Dried Mushroom
1/4 C Freeze Dried Onion
3 TBSP Butter or Margarine
1 (10 3/4 OZ) CAN Condensed Cream of Mushroom
1 C Dehydrated Fat-Free Milk
1/2 TSP Poultry Seasoning
1/8 TSP Ground Mustard
1 C Freeze Dried Mozzarella Cheese
1 TBSP Parmesan Cheese

 

PREPARATION

1. Reconstitute turkey, mushrooms, onions and cheese; Drain excess water.

2. Cook noodles according to directions on package.

3. Drain and place in a greased 11″ x 7″ x 2″ baking dish.

4. Top with turkey; Set aside.

5. In a skillet, saute mushroom and onions in butter until tender.

6. Whisk soup, milk, poultry seasoning and mustard until blended.

7. Stir in cheddar cheese; Cook until melted. Pour over turkey. Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan.

8. Bake 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and cheese as melted.

Shrimp Jambalaya- freeze dried food

SHRIMP JAMBALAYA- store in mylar or jars

INGREDIENTS

1/2 C Dehydrated or Freeze Dried Onion
1/2 C Freeze Dried Celery
1/2 C Freeze Dried Green Bell Pepper
2 TBSP Clarified Butter
6-8 SLICES Chopped Yoders Bacon
3 C Chicken and/or Vegetable Broth
2-3 TBSP Chicken Broth Seasoning
1 1/2 C Rice
2 TSP Cajun Spice Mix
1/2 TSP Worchestershire Sauce (Optional)
2 C Freeze Dried Tomato
1 1/2 C Freeze Dried Corn
1 C Freeze Dried Cooked Shrimp
1 C Freeze Dried Sausage (optional)
1 C Freeze Dried White Chicken (Optional)

 

PREPARATION

1. Reconstitute onions, celery, and bell peppers in 2 cups warm water for 5 minutes. Strain, set liquid aside for later.

2. In a large pot, saute onions, celery, and bell pepper in clarified butter for 3-5 minutes. Add Yoder’s Bacon and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add enough water to the leftover broth from the vegetables to total 3 cups. Add 2-3 tablespoon chicken broth seasoning to liquid and mix well.

4. Add liquid, rice, spices and Worchestershire sauce to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until rice is done.

5. While rice is simmering, reconstitute tomatoes, corn, shrimp, sausage, and chicken. Add to rice when done.

6. Gently stir jambalaya. Cover and let sit 3-5 minutes. Season to taste.

Easy Lasagna Casserole- freeze dried food

EASY LASAGNA CASSEROLE- just store in mylar or jars

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 C Freeze Dried Ground Beef
1/4 C Freeze Dried Onion
1 3/4 C Chunky Salsa Tomato Sauce
1 TSP Italian Seasoning
2/3 C Dehydrated Fat-Free Milk
1/2 C Water
1/2 CUP Fat-Free Cream Cheese
1/4 TSP Minced Garlic
1 TSP Dried Parsley Flakes
2 C Cooked Medium-Width Noodles
1/3 C PLUS 1 TBSP Freeze Dried Mozzarella Cheese

 

PREPARATION

1. Reconstitute ground beef, onions and mozzarella; Drain excess water.

2. Preheat oven to 375°F.

3. COat a large saucepan with olive oil flavored cooking spray and brown meat and onions on it.

4. Stir in tomato sauce and italian seasoning. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes.

5. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, water, and cream cheese. Add garlic and parsley flakes.

6. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until cream cheese melts; stir in cooked noodles.

7. Pour noodles mixture into 8″ x 8″ baking dish sprayed with olive oil cooking spray.

8. Spread meat mixture evenly over noodle mixture. Sprinkle mozzarella.

9. Bake uncovered 15-20 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Chicken Burritos- freeze dried foods

CHICKEN BURRITOS- store in mylar and jars

INGREDIENTS

2 TBSP Butter or Clarified Butter
1/4 C Freeze Dried Onion
2 C Freeze Dried Tomato Chunks
1/4 TSP Garlic Powder
1/4 TSP Paprika
2 C Diced Freeze Dried Chicken
1/2 C Chopped Black Olives
6 Flour Tortillas
2 C Freeze Dried Cheddar Cheese
SALSA AND SOUR CREAM (OPTIONAL)

 

PREPARATION

1. Reconstitute onions, chicken, tomatoes and cheese according to directions on cans.

2. Melt butter and saute onion.

3. Add tomatoes, seasonings, chicken and olives; Mix well.

4. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring until slightly dry.

4. Fill tortillas, top with cheese and roll.

6. Place into baking pan and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.

7. Serve with salsa and cream (if desired).