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Long Term Food Storage

We consider a long term food supply to be a food supply capable of sustaining you and your family of a year or longer.

The types of food you'll store for long term food storage is going to be different than the types of food that you've stored for short term. The length of time you want to store it will determine what you buy and how it's packaged.

1 year Storage- If you're looking to store food for not much longer than a year, then canned goods are the way to go. Canned fruits, vegetables, meats, sauces, and milk are usually good for 1-2 years, but you'd have to check the expiration dates to be sure. If you're canning it yourself, then a good rule of thumb is as long as the seal is still good then so is the food.

Also, meats, cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables will last up to a year in the freezer if properly packaged and processed. This is where a vacuum sealer really comes in handy. It keeps the food you buy fresh and sealed tight until you're ready to use it. It will more than pay for itself when you factor in all the food you can buy on sale and freeze for later use. Just make sure that if you're freezing the fruits and vegetables, you process them first appropriately before you freeze them.

Black beans, pinto beans, rice, pasta, salt, sugar, oatmeal, wheat, and dried onions are all good foods to store provided you can keep it out of the mouths of rodents and away from bugs. Visit our information about types of food containers to help you make sure it stays dry, and is protected from unwelcome visitors. If you live in a humid environment, it might not be possible to store these items without dry canning them in #10 Cans, or using mylar bags to protect them.

Honey is a good sugar to store, as it lasts indefinitely and isn't as affected by humidity as regular sugar is.

Powdered Milk lasts in the box anywhere between 6 months to a year. After that it starts to lose nutrients and isn't good for much longer. They do have milk that comes pre-packaged in sealed boxes that last quite a bit longer than 6 months. It's already a liquid and would work out well for storage in high humidity areas. Just make sure you check the expiration dates before buying it, and make sure it fits in with how you want to use it.

For longer than one year of food storage, you'll have to look into other ways of packaging, such as dry canned foods or freeze dried foods.

Wheat, pasta, beans, sugar, rice, salt, and Oats will all last over 20 years if dry canned in #10 cans and processed accordingly. (I couldn't believe it'd last 20 years either, but it's true!) Make sure that the wheat is kept in the whole kernel style though. If it's ground up and stored as flour, it won't last as long. These cans need to be kept as cool as possible, below 75 degree's and in a dry place. Store it off the floor on shelves or slats so that the air can circulate around it.

Freeze dried foods are readily available almost everywhere. Just about every store that carries camping gear has them. They have the added benefit of being very light and compact, and because most of the water has been taken out of it they store almost indefinitely.

Some of the freeze dried meals are good for up to 20 years! Just make sure to check the dates before you purchase it. If you can't find any packages at the store that last that long, then order them directly from their company web sites. Sometimes you can get really good deals if you buy their discontinued items. Just make sure that it's something you would want to eat before you buy it.

The fruits and vegetables that are freeze dried are usually good from anywhere between 2-5 years. Again, just check the dates before buying them. They taste almost as good as they did when they were fresh, and would certainly make the basics quite a bit more appealing.

If you're willing to start out small and work towards the 1 year supply of food, you'll be quite pleased to find how easy it is to achieve. Getting started is the hardest part. However once you commit and jump in with both feet it gets much easier as you go. Taking the time to decide why you want to store food, and how long you want it to last, will help take some of the confusion out of getting started. Good luck!