Are You Packing? 5 Inexpensive Ways To Store Your Food
by Tess Pennington
by Tess Pennington: Paracord:
The Most Versatile Item in Your Bug-Out Bag
You can spend
a fortune on food
for long term storage, but if you don’t protect your investment,
that money could be completely wasted. Proper storage containers
don’t have to cost a fortune. You can glean many different kinds
of containers from things that would normally be thrown away. Once
you’ve alerted friends and family that you are seeking these containers,
you will likely be given more containers than you could ever use!
Food must be
protected from three specific “enemies”:
oxygen, moisture and pests. Proper containers are like an insurance
policy on your food. Careful storage
practices combined with the right containers are (Hint: Before
repackaging your dried foods for storage, send the item to the deep
freezer for a couple of weeks to kill off any mealy bugs or pests
that could be lurking in the product.) Choose your storage location
carefully, because even the best storage practices can be hampered
or derailed completely by rodents
, extreme temperatures or excessive moisture.
One of my favorite
methods of storing dry foods is in leftover soda pop bottles, because
the containers are a freebie! Our family doesn’t drink much of it,
but we do get the occasional club soda. Other folks drink lots of
it, though, and are usually happy to pass their empty bottles on
to us, especially in our city, where we pay for garbage disposal.
This method is not for extremely long term storage but will keep
food fresh and pest-free for 2-3 years. Date your bottles and rotate
them out of your storage pantry into your kitchen within a reasonable
amount of time. Rodents will chew right through plastic, so this
method is only to be used when you are reasonably certain that mice
cannot access the storage area.
for this method, look on the bottom of the bottle for the code.
You want to find the word “PETE” or “PET”. This is the recycling
symbol and it indicates that the bottle in your hand is at the lowest
risk of breakdown that will cause toxins from the plastic to leach
into your food.
We use these
bottles for water storage and dried food storage. I’ve used them
for sugar, salt, beans, rice and flour with absolute success.
For food storage,
wash your bottles and be sure that they are thoroughly dry. If they
have moisture in them, your food will be ruined. Use a funnel to
pour in your dried foods. If you feel the food requires it, you
can fold up a desiccant packet and shove it into the bottle as well.
I’ve used them for sugar, salt, beans, rice and flour with absolute
above, the recycling code “PETE” or “PET” means that a container
is one of the most food-safe and unlikely to pose a health risk,
assuming it is not exposed to high heat.
containers that I have washed and reused for storage have included
coffee jars, peanut butter jars, juice jugs, ice cream tubs, pretzel
jars, dog treats and protein powder canisters.
that do not close tightly are not recommended for anything other
than very short-term storage. Things like margarine tubs, yogurt
or sour cream containers or plastic dip containers are better used
for leftovers. Never microwave your food in plastic.
Lots of store-bought
food comes neatly packaged in glass jars. While these lids cannot
reliably be resealed for canning using a hot water method, they
do close tightly and work well for dried food storage.
the rest of the article
joined the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999 Tess
worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and
is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response.
You can follow her regular updates on Preparedness,
and a host of other topics at ReadyNutrition.com.
Best of Tess Pennington