Meet Your Emergency Food’s Worst Enemies
by Tess Pennington
by Tess Pennington: Home
Invasion: Preventative Security Layers To Protect the Home
you plan on packaging your own food for the long term using any
of the 11
food items that can last a lifetime, or other dry goods, knowing
how to properly store these items will ensure their freshness and
extend their lifespan. If improperly stored, spoilage can occur
at exactly the moment when you need your larder the most.
There is nothing
more disappointing than seeing your food investment ruined by natural
elements or bugs. Knowing what your foods worst enemies are,
understanding how they can ruin your food, and how to prevent their
havoc will help you preserve your food
investment for the long term.
The Enemies and What Do They Do?
The best course
of action to preserve your food storage is using a
multi-barrier system. Using this method protects your food investment
by reducing oxidation of foods, bug infestations, and exposure to
increase temperature and moisture levels. Protecting your future
food supply can be achieved by simply investing in a few extra preventative
tools such as Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and food grade containers.
Foods can become
contaminated by moisture through humidity, rain, and standing water.
As a result, molds, mildew and microbial infestation can form and
rot stored food, thus making it inedible. Since some foods draw
in moisture, such as wheat, rice and grains, the best way to avoid
moisture from coming in contact with stored food, is to store it
that store food for long term, try to remedy this by using a multi-barrier
approach and making sure the the food items are are away from any
possible areas that can flood (laundry rooms, bathrooms, near water
pipes, etc), and have been properly sealed to avoid moisture. Additionally,
storing your food grade buckets or round cans on shelves or stacked
on wooden platforms 6 inches off the floor is another method of
preventing decontamination of food. Providing ventilation between
the stored containers can also assist in preventing increased moisture
live in areas that are prone to high humidity may want to consider
adding desiccant packets to their food storage. Desiccant packets
only moderate the moisture levels, they do not completely
absorb moisture. Being that desiccant is not edible, if the packet
somehow breaks open and spills onto the stored food, the entire
contents of the container must be thrown away. Desiccant manufactures
recommend adding two 1 ounce packets per 5 or 6 gallon pail, or
two per large barrier bag. There are certain food items that desiccant
should not be added to specifically: flour, sugar and salt. These
items need a certain amount of moisture to stay activated, and if
desiccant is added to it, they will turn into a hard brick. Note:
make sure the desiccant packet is not touching the oxygen absorber.
shines directly onto your food pantry or food storage area, photo-degradation
(spoilage) occurs and results in losses of pigments, fats, proteins,
and vitamins, as well as surface discoloration.
food in Mylar bags is an easy solution to remedy this concern. Mylar
bags are metallized foil liners that prevent sunlight, moisture
and bugs from ruining food. Investing in the thickest grade of Mylar
would be a good investment for your food storage endeavors. The
thicker Mylar bags are more durable, and can be reused for future
uses. Mylar bags come in different sizes and can easily be rotated
into your food pantry. For those who are investing in a shorter
term food supply, many simply pour the food contents into Mylar
bags, add an oxygen absorber and properly seal the bag closed. This
will keep a short term food supply fresh over a given period of
include storing your food items in a dark area not prone to sunlight
or temperature fluctuations is the best course of action. If you
have to store your food supply in a room with a window, put up curtains
or black out material over the window. This is also a good security
measure so that others do not see your stored food.
Oxygen is another
force to reckon with when food storage is concerned. Overtime, oxygen
will break down food, cause discoloration, and create staleness
oxygen absorbers greatly prolongs the shelf life of stored food.
Because it absorbs the oxygen from the container, it inhibits the
growth of aerobic pathogens and molds.
come in vacuum sealed packs. They begin working the moment they
are exposed to oxygen. Therefore, it is best to work as efficiently
as possible. Oxygen absorbers come in different sizes, so pay attention
to the size needed for the container. Manufacturers of this product
suggest that, 2,000-4,000 ccs of oxygen absorbers should be
added in one #10 can, and roughly 15,000 20,000 ccs
for 5 gallon pails. If working with smaller containers such as Bell
jars, 50 ccs of oxygen absorbers should be used. When in doubt
on how much oxygen absorbers to use, check with oxygen absorber
manufactures. However, it is best to add extra oxygen absorbers
rather than not enough. Oxygen absorbers are not edible, not toxic
and do not effect the smell and taste of the product.
in temperature create an imbalance in the environment that the food
is stored in. Ideal temperatures for stored food should be between
65-80 degrees F.
people store their food storage in unused closets or areas in the
home that do not have large exposure to sunlight. Ideally, the area
where the food is stored should have access to air conditioning.
Those that do not have extra space in their homes have used their
basements, root cellars and have even used temperature controlled
storage warehouses. To ensure the area where the food is stored
is at adequate temperatures and moisture levels, install an indoor
thermometer and humidity gauge.
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