The majority of foods in grocery stores have a short life expectancy. Most items only last a few months to a year. Canned foods are an exception, they can last for years. Food manufacturers intentionally don’t package foods for long-term storage because it is an added expense, and most people don’t keep food around that long anyway. Although that’s not the case when storing food for survival where you may need to store a stockpile of food for years.
As a prepper most of the foods you buy will need to be repackaged so they will last longer. With proper food storage some of these foods can last up to 20 years. If packaged properly it will keep out moisture and oxygen, insects, microorganisms, and rodents. It will also keep the food tasting fresh and help it retain its nutritional value.
If you’ve ever wondered how to store food for years, you’ll be glad to know that storing food long term really isn’t that difficult. Once you learn a few food storage basics which we’re about to share with you, you’ll know how to store food long term at home yourself. While there are other food storage solutions besides this method, this may very well be the best way to store food long term because the buckets that we use will hold a lot more food and you can stack them on top of each other to save space.
The diy long term food storage plan:
Gather food storage supplies. In addition to the food you are going to store, you’re going to need to have the right sorts of food storage containers and other food storage items. This includes:
1. Five-gallon buckets (food grade plastic)
2. Five-gallon Mylar bags (aluminized)
3. Oxygen absorbers
You might be able to buy your long term food storage buckets locally at a home improvement center, but you’ll probably have to order the Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers for food storage online.
Gather food storage equipment. You need a vacuum cleaner with a hose and either a clothes iron or a hair straightener to seal the Mylar bags. A rubber mallet or something similar can be used to close the buckets.
Pack Food. When storing food in 5 gallon buckets, fill them up as much as you can to get the most out of the space you have available. Put the Mylar food storage bags in the buckets, and fill them to about an inch from the top with dry food. Most people usually just put one type of food in each bucket, but if you want to you can also mix foods that you plan on preparing together. If you do, make sure you use multiple long term food storage bags within the bucket to stay organized.
Create a Seal. For the food to last a long time, the food storage buckets need to be completely sealed so that oxygen can’t get in to them. That is why storing food in Mylar bags is so important, it will melt together when you apply heat forming a seal that is air-tight. Melt the top two inches of the bag together using a hair straightener or clothes iron. Don’t seal it all the way across, leave a small opening.
Remove the Oxygen. This step is critical. Oxygen absorbers work quickly to absorb oxygen so you need to work fast. Get the oxygen absorber into the bag quickly and suck as much air as possible out of the bag with a vacuum hose. Use a 750 cc oxygen absorber for dry milk, sugar, flour and other baking essentials. Use a 1,000 cc oxygen absorber for pasta, beans, and whole grains.
Seal the Bag. As soon as you suck the oxygen out of the bag you need to finish sealing the bag. With a hair straightener or clothes iron seal off the small opening that you left earlier. Hold the bag closed as you seal so that more air doesn’t get in the bag. Don’t forget to work quickly, you don’t want to use up the oxygen absorber on the air in the room instead of the air in the bag.
Close the Bucket. With the bag sealed the food will keep fresh, but you still need to put it in a bucket to protect it from rodents. Fold the bag down inside the bucket and secure the lid on top with a mallet or something similar.
Mark the Contents. Mark the outside of the bucket with what it contains. If there is more than one type of food in the same bucket, write down the quantity of each so you don’t forget later.
Store Food. Keep all your food stored in a cool, dry place. The food will stay fresh longer if it’s stored in a cool location. It will lose it’s nutritional value more quickly if stored in a warmer location. While the bucket and bag combination will keep moisture out, you still want to store the food in a dry location to keep mold and mildew from growing on the outside of the bucket.
With this long term food storage method you can keep your food fresh for 20 years or more. Food storage systems that just use bags without buckets can not keep rodents out, that’s why the buckets are necessary. The five-gallon buckets might be waterproof, but they’re still not as airtight as the Mylar bags. You will ensure optimal protection of your food by using both.
The oxygen absorbers are crucial. They don’t just keep your food from oxidizing, they also keep insects and bacteria from living in the food. They can not survive in the food without oxygen.
I hope these food storage tips have been helpful for you. But, if it seems like a lot of work and you’d rather have someone else doing it for you, there are also several long term food storage companies that sell emergency food kits with packaged meals.