Food & Water Storage 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.


Why Prep?


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.


Survival & Prepper Classes We Offer



Please contact us at:   to inquire about upcoming survival or prepper classes.   You can also visit our website at:    for even more classes not listed here!





(All CLASS courses include refreshments and snacks, all participants must be 18 or older, or at least 15 years old with a paying, participating adult in attendance with the minor child.)

Emergency Scenarios & Preparedness 1 day (5 hours) $50/person or $75/couple CLASS

What To Do In The Event Of:

-Martial Law & Civil Unrest

-Foreign Invasion/UN Troops/ War

-Nuclear/Biological/Chemical Attack or Economic Collapse


-Natural Disaster (hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, etc)

-Bug-Out-Bags and what to put in them & Emergency Planning

Food & Water Storage 1 day (up to 5 hours) $50/person or $75/couple CLASS

-Preparing you and your family for 1 year storage and rotation

-Individual Plan Preparation

-What is Food Storage? Why do I need to store food and water?

-What can I store and what can I not store?

-Shelf-life and extending it

-Freeze-dried, Canned, Dehydrated Foods

Personal Awareness and Self-Defense 1 day (5 hours) $50/person or $75/couple CLASS

-Learning to Assess your own Home for Security and Planning/Prevention

-Learning to Assess your surroundings when out and about

-Personal Safety and Awareness

-Basic Self-Defense

Off The Grid 1 day (up to5 hours) $50/person or $75/couple CLASS

-Wind, Solar, and Water Power, Alternative Energies

-Going off the grid- how and why

-Hobby Farm/Homesteading, being self-reliant

-Raising your own animals and gardening for food and material

Beginner Outdoor Survival & Confidence 2 days (1 overnight) $200/person or $325/couple OUTDOOR

-Fire Building Plus $25/person food cost

-Shelter Making

-Food Gathering, Hunting, and Trapping

-Water Collection and Purification Vs. Filter

-Basic Land Navigation and Using a Compass

-Knives and other Outdoor Survival Gear

Advanced Outdoor Survival & Confidence 3 days (2 overnights) $250/person or $350/couple OUTDOOR

-Primitive Fire Building Plus $35/person food cost

-Primitive Bush craft

-Winter/Snow Survival

-Advanced Shelter, Food Gathering, Hunting, Trapping, Water Collection

***Must have taken and passed Beginner Outdoor Survival to take Advanced Outdoor Class!***


CLASS= classroom only, held indoors

OUTDOOR= outdoor training, dress appropriately for weather, held in New Buffalo, Michigan

School of Self Reliance Find us on Facebook!

All participants must be 18 or older and must sign a waiver

All participants are responsible for their own safety and well being

Participants 15 through 18 must have a paying/participating adult to attend.

Children under the age of 15 are not advised for safety reasons.


Simple Food Rotation





When you purchase food to lay-in or put-up, consider this order in which you will eat your food in an emergency scenario.  Then rotate your foods often in the order below as well.

EAT FIRST-  What is in your freezer and refrigerator and what is already ‘open’ in your pantry and cabinets. Foods that will spoil without power or go stale within a week to two.


EAT SECOND- Canned goods (both commercial and homemade), unopened items in your pantry and cabinets. Home sealed/canned or dried foods. Foods that will spoil within in several months to a year.


EAT THIRD-  Commercial purchased freeze-dried, dehydrated, and powdered long-term storage foods.  Foods that have a shelf-life of 10 or more years.





Example:  I take fresh broccoli from my refrigerator (or a freezer bag from the freezer), a can of pinto beans from my pantry, and a #10 Can of freeze-dried pork chops from my long-term storage.

I cook dinner with these 3 items, replacing them when I go shopping the next time, and put the leftover/extra pork chops from my #10 Can sealed in a Ziploc bag and store them in the freezer. I can then use the remaining pork chops over the next month for several meals. I rotate my stock this way regularly.

I date all my food with Sharpie permanent markers on the packaging-  date with when I put it into storage, and then when I pulled it out of storage and opened it (if I have extra/leftovers).

Use the same methods restaurants use:  FIFO- First In First Out rotation to insure proper rotatation and use of your foods.  No sense in letting anything spoil or go to waste since food costs money!

What is BPA?


What is BPA, and what are the concerns about BPA?

from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

BPA stands for Bisphenol-A.   BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s.

In particular, BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles, and baby bottles and cups. They may also be used in toys and other consumer goods. Epoxy resins can be used to coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, baby formula cans, bottle tops and water supply lines. Some dental sealants and composites also may contain BPA. And certain thermal paper products, such as cash register receipts, may contain BPA.

Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA or into your body when you handle products made with BPA. BPA remains controversial, and research studies are continuing. The National Toxicology Program at the Department of Health and Human Services says it has “some concern” about the possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. This level of concern is midway on its five-level scale, which ranges from serious to negligible. The Food and Drug Administration now shares this level of concern and is taking steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply by finding alternatives to BPA in food containers.

In the meantime, if you’re concerned about BPA, you can take steps to minimize your exposure by:

  • Seeking out BPA-free products. This may not always be easy to do, of course. Some manufacturers label their products as BPA-free. If a product isn’t labeled, keep in mind that most aluminum cans or bottles have linings that contain BPA, while steel bottles or cans don’t. Polycarbonate plastic is generally hard, clear, lightweight plastic. It often has the No. 7 recycling symbol on the bottom.
  • Microwave cautiously. The National Toxicology Program advises against microwaving polycarbonate plastics, although the American Chemistry Council says this is safe. The plastics can break down over time, possibly causing BPA to leach into food.
  • Wash safely. The National Toxicology Program advises against washing polycarbonate plastics in the dishwasher using harsh detergents, although the American Chemistry Council says this is safe.
  • Use alternatives. Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids instead of plastic containers.
  • Cut back on cans. Reduce your use of canned foods since many cans are lined with BPA-containing resin. Or store canned foods in cool, dry, dark places to minimize heat fluctuation.

Why Store Food & Water?




You have:

Car Insurance

Home Owner’s/Renter’s Insurance

Life Insurance

Medical/Dental/Optical Insurance

Flood Insurance

Retirement/Pension Insurance

All “Just In Case” Insurance for the uncertain future-

So why not have FOOD INSURANCE???

Storing your own food and water properly can guard against unemployment, natural disaster, man-made problems, and economic collapse.


We used to be a mostly agrarian (farming) society- everyone had a water well on their property, a fruit orchard and vegetable garden, chickens and a milk cow.  These people were your grandparents and great-grandparents. For some, this was the way your own parents grew up. These people survived the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s because even if they didn’t have money or a job, they did have a way to keep food on the table. They turned and mended their clothes. They recycled EVERYTHING.  They lived and helped each other within their community and church group.  They may have been poor, wearing rags for clothes and unable to buy new shoes, but they SURVIVED.  They survived by their own means, their own hard work, and with a sense of community.  The folks who lived in the cities during the Great Depression had no jobs, went homeless and hungry because they depended on the Federal Government to hand out Federal aid in the form of loans, bread lines, and shanty town shacks.  City folk in a lot of ways, had it harder than country folk during the Great Depression. Everyone suffered, but some suffered more than others because they weren’t prepared.

This generation went on to fight and win the Second World War and they are known as the “Greatest Generation”, not because they won a global war by means of inventions, workforce and monetary means, but because they had Gumption. They weren’t afraid to work hard to protect their family, their values, morals and beliefs.  They were smart about their money, their situation, and used their Old World know-how to survive.  We have to become like this generation again. We have to find our way and our will to SURVIVE.

Preparedness FACTS


Need help convincing family members to get into a “prepping mood” or to attend a survival class?  Here are some good facts that can strengthen your discussion of becoming preppers.


  • 85 percent of the nation is not ready for a devastating event.
  • More than 62 percent of Americans think the world will experience a major catastrophe in less than 20 years.
  • Nearly three out of every four people (71%) envision a major disaster in their lifetime as an act of God, not man. (Clarification- “acts of God” as defined by insurance companies are things like Cat 5 Hurricanes, extensive heavy flooding, 6.0 or higher earthquakes, or EF5 Tornadoes. “Acts of Man” would include terrorist activities, martial law, FEMA camps/democide, civil unrest/looting/rioting, nuke/bio/chem attacks, etc.)
  • One-third (27%) believe that the Mayan calendar’s prediction about a calamitous event in December 2012 will be at least “somewhat true.”
  • Among those who feel unprepared, 40 percent cite the lasting effects of the recession as the reason for their unpreparedness.
  • The same number (40%) is saying “to hell with a 401(k)” to save money for catastrophe arrangements.
  • Nearly half (49%) of Americans would forgo new high-end appliances in a new home if it had a safe room or bomb shelter instead.
  • If doomsday were to arrive, nearly four in 10 (39%) think they would not last two weeks based on the supplies they have on hand.
  • One in four Americans have done nothing to prepare.
  • According to FEMA, citizens of the United States should be prepared with emergency rations and a full tank of gas in the case of a major event.
  • Since the 19th century, the earth’s magnetic field is 10% weaker.
  • On an average, the United States use of oil amounts to 19,148.000 barrels each day.
  • 727 million barrels of crude oil is housed by the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  This is the largest government owned stockpile, and while this may seem like a tremendous supply, if the United States supply of foreign oil were to be cut off, this reserve would supply the nation for less than 38 days.
  • If the current trends continue, a study performed by UC Davis claims that we will run out of oil 100 years before developing an alternative energy source.
  • 9 million barrels of oil each day is produced by Saudi Arabia.  This is the most oil that is produced in the world.
  • According to the Oil Depletion Analysis Center as much as a trillion barrels of crude oil has been used by humans since drilling began in the mid-19thCentury.
  • Each year over 12K earthquake of varying destructive levels are recorded.
  • During the 16th Century, the world’s most devastating earthquake occurred in Central China, which may have tipped the 8.0 on the Richter Scale.  Over 800,000 lives were lost.
  • Each year over 500K detectable Earthquakes are experienced.  Of these 100,000 can be felt and 100 actually cause damage.
  • A 9.1 Earthquake was experienced in Sumatra on December 26, 2004.  The earthquake was so powerful that the rotation of the Earth’s axis was changed by 7 centimeters and the day shortened by 6.8 microseconds.
  • In 1831, James Ross, located the magnetic north pole.  His trip lasted four years.  Roald Amundsen ventured out in 1904 on his own trip to discover that the magnetic north pole had moved 50KM since Ross had first discovered it.
  • Gasoline jumped from $1.56 to 3.37 per gallon in 2001.
  • In 132 AD, Chang Heng invented the first seismoscope.  The instrument is used to measure movements of the Earth’s crust.
  • One of the world’s largest super volcanoes (super volcano implies an eruption of magnitude 8 on the Volcano Explosively Index) is located in Yellowstone Park and last erupted 640K years ago.  Its crater is large enough to hold Tokyo, the biggest city in the world with a population of 18 million persons.
  • The US financial crisis has been compared to the famine in the USSR that spanned 1932 – 1933.
  • Boris Borisoy, a researcher and author of an article titled “The American Famine” estimates that US financial crisis victims will reach over seven million people.
  • True polar wander will take millions of years to complete before the Earth’s rotational axis changes.
  • A MRE (Meal, Ready to Eat) meal is not only healthier for humans; the cost is comparable to that of a drive-through meal at McDonalds.
  • Military MRE cases are now constructed with TTI which is a time and temperature indicator to help assist whether the meals are still good.
  • As of 1968 ammunition dealers and manufacturers must be licensed and keep records of all transactions.  This is enforced by the Federal Gun Control Act.  Mail order transactions have also been prohibited by the act.
  • The March Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster is said to have leaked much more radiation than the Japanese government has claimed.
  • According to FEMA during evacuation you are going a set direction to get out of the risk of the disaster or potential disaster- north, south, east or west.  Choose a destination for each direction.
  • According to researchers, it is estimated that a million deaths would be prevented if everyone routinely washed their hands.
  • The Y2K term was invented in 1995 by David Eddies.  Many feared it when Clinton signed the Y2K Act that would limit the government’s liability in 1999.
  • There are 8.48 million miles or roadways in the United States.
  • Travel times are delayed by .8 hours due to congestion on the United States Highways.
  • 5.5 trillion miles were travelled by Americans in 2008.
  • Computer-controlled locks in prisons can be unlocked by the computer virus stuxnet.
  • More Americans’ lives were lost to the Spanish flu than in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam combined.
  • Nearly 36K Americans die from annual flu viruses, another 200K are hospitalized, and 20% are infected.
  • Annually, about 20K children under five years of age are hospitalized due to flu related complications.
  • In the United States, flash floods are the leading cause of weather related deaths at the rate of nearly 200 a year.
  • In 1978 to 2011 Florida State had nearly 1.5 billion dollars in flood damage.
  • Among participants in a 2012 study, 17% believe that the world will face a major catastrophe within a 12 month time frame.  Another 2012 study revealed that over half of the participants believe that it is essential to be prepared for a potential disaster.
  • 100 grams of crickets equals 6.7 grams of protein, 5.5 grams of fat, and 562 calories.
  • As of 2005, four companies controlled the processing of over 80% of the country’s beef and three of these same four companies (along with an additional fourth) process over 60% of the country’s pork.
  • The four major companies in broiler chicken processing provide over half of the country’s chicken supply.
  • Federal health authorities have estimated that foodborne diseases sicken 76 million people, cause 325,000 hospitalizations, and kill 5,000 Americans every year.
  • Nearly 100 percent of the turkey consumed in America on Thanksgiving Day has been artificially inseminated.
  • In 2010, the USDA estimated that 70 percent of U.S. corn acreage was planted with herbicide-tolerant corn and 63 percent had been planted with insect-resistant seeds.
  • It is estimated that the average American meal travels about 1500 miles to get from farm to plate.
  • According to the National Corn Growers Association, about eighty percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by domestic and overseas livestock, poultry, and fish production. The crop is fed as ground grain, silage, high-moisture, and high-oil corn. About 12% of the U.S. corn crop ends up in foods that are either consumed directly (e.g. corn chips) or indirectly (e.g. high fructose corn syrup).
  • In 2000, United States based farms accounted for over 50% of the world’s soybean production.
  • In 1996, for instance, Britain imported more than 114,000 metric tons of milk. Was this because British dairy farmers did not produce enough milk for the nation’s consumers? No, since the UK exported almost the same amount of milk that year, 119,000 tons.”
  • The average head of lettuce travels over 2000 miles from farm to market



Prepper (noun): An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances or lifestyle without significant reliance on other persons (i.e., being self-reliant), or without substantial assistance from outside resources (govt., etc.) in order to minimize the effects of that change on their current lifestyle.

A Prepper is not the same as a Survivalist. A Survivalist typically focuses on learning primitive and other woodsmen skills and have very little focus on actually stocking up supplies and building an extensive repository of every needful thing.  Whereas Survivalists prepare and learn to live off the land, Preppers prepare to maintain their current lifestyle as much as possible by stockpiling food, water, medicine/first aid, and other items. Preppers usually plan to “shelter in place” in their home or “bug out” to their Bug Out Location during a catastrophic event.  While they are not synonymous, many Preppers are also Survivalists and are very adept at living off the land.

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