In trying times like these people are looking for solutions. They want to feel safe. They want to feel like there is a future worth striving for.
There is something very important about food. I never felt better about prepping and preparing for disasters and emergencies than when I put up long term food storage. Long term food storage stabilizes the future. It assures that you will have food even in the worst-case scenarios.
We are going to look at the best places to store long term food storage so you can create a safety net in tough times.
What is Long Term Food Storage
Long term food storage is a category of foods that are shelf-stable and can be made shelf-stable for long periods of time, sometimes decades! This adds tremendous utility to your food storage because you can pack these foods away and forget about them! If you store them in the right containers they will be safely stored that way for a long time.
Here are some great examples of food that can be stored long term:
- Dried Beans
- Dried Corn
You can do a lot with these ingredients. This base of ingredients can also provide you with all kinds of nutrition. Add to it a small garden and some egg-producing hens and you can eat pretty well.
You can buy these ingredients already packed in food storage containers or you can buy the containers and items yourself and pack them up effectively.
What Affects Long Term Food Storage
The best way that you can understand which containers are the best is to know what will ruin your long term food storage. There are different kinds of contaminants and conditions that affect food and using the right kinds of containers can prevent spoilage.
Food storage needs to be stored at a consistent temperature. This has much more to do with where you store your food compared to what you store your food in. However, if radical temperature change occurs the more robust the storage container the longer it will keep the temperature consistent.
The time that food is at an inconsistent temperature is what has the effect. If you can limit the time that temperatures fluctuate then you are in a much better situation. Keep your food stored in a climate-controlled area or buried underground but that’s another story altogether!
One of the greatest threats to your food storage is going to be moisture. Shelf-stable foods mostly rely on being kept dry. Even canned goods rely on the integrity of the aluminum can and if that can is wet then it will be compromised.
Moisture can occur in small amounts or it can come from things like spills or floods. Either way, you want to be prepared with the right food storage containers to keep your food safe.
Pest control is a part of preparedness that is often overlooked. Thanks to quick action from modern pest control companies we rarely have to face the drastic effects that pests can have on our food storage.
When we talk about pests we are not just talking about mice and roaches. For preppers who store lots of grains, there is also a pest known as the Indian meal moth. These moths breed fast and can infest grains in a matter of days or weeks.
If you are stacking sacks of rice and flour directly on shelves these moths will take advantage of that. Using legitimate food storage containers can change all of that and make it nearly impossible for these kinds of moths to gain access to your grains. They simply cannot chew through Mylar.
The Best Long Term Food Storage Containers
There are a variety of containers that you can use for long term food storage. The better the container the longer that food storage will last.
Ziplock bags are designed to protect foods from outside contamination and the harmful effects of oxidation. They come in a variety of sizes which makes them ideal food storage containers.
I use ziplock bags for things like freeze-dried or dehydrated foods that are not going to sit on my shelves for longer than a year. Dehydrated apples are great in ziplock bags. We eat these so quickly that they rarely spend a month or two in the bags.
Ziplocks will tear over time so they are not the best container for long-term storage but it is good to have them around different uses.
Having a vacuum sealer can add all kinds of value to your food storage plan. We most often see vacuum-sealed items go into the fridge or the freezer. It is a good idea to have lots of frozen meats on hand. This can make a huge difference in your level of preparedness.
However, the vac sealer can be used to protect other long term food storage items for the long term. I have seen many instances of people vac sealing entire packages of things. For instance, taking a pack of coffee and vac sealing the entire thing!
This can be done with things like sugar, flour, and even rice. It will create an added layer of protection to foods that might store for 6 months. You will create a much longer shelf life with a vacuum sealer. By removing the oxygen you make it much harder for bacteria and pests to reach the food.
You also eliminate the risk of moisture getting to the food, as long as your vac sealed package stays intact.
Mylar is one of my favorite food storage containers. The foil protection is an enhancement over regular plastic. This material can also be heat sealed, opened, and heat-sealed over and over again. This gives you all kinds of options while you are using the food that you stored for the long term.
When you use Mylar bags in conjunction with oxygen absorbers you can create airtight containers that keep everything from growing. I have eaten rice from Mylar bags that was nearly 10 years old and it was completely fine. This was because I packed them with oxygen absorbers.
Mylar bags come in a variety of shapes but my favorite size is 1 gallon. These bags seem to be the very best for long term food storage. These bags can be labeled and stored to help with things like kitchen organization, too.
Mylar bags of all sizes are a must-have food storage container. They can provide an airtight seal and are also easily opened and closed over and over again with a semi-permanent heat seal. They are also one of the main components in the very best method of long term food storage.
The mighty mason jar is a staple of food storage. These are some of the most popular food storage containers. Mason jars are glass storage containers that are used to store a variety of foods but are most often used as canning jars.
Since mason jars are made of tempered glass they can be boiled during the canning process. There are a variety of different sized containers and that makes it easy to use the right sized jar for the job. These mason jars for canning come with special lids that are designed to create an airtight seal. The two-piece lids are a very important part of the process.
I have stored dried mushrooms in mason jars for years and have also canned beef stew in mason jars, too! These are multi-functional food storage containers that can do almost anything you need in terms of food storage. you could use them to hold leftovers, too!
Mason jars can be used to ferment foods, too! They are one of the very best food storage containers on this list and I would say that having Mylar, mason jars and 5-gallon buckets gives you the ability to maximize what you do with long term food storage.
5 Gallon Bucket
The 5-gallon bucket is armor. I have always looked at it that way. Whether you decide to store large amounts of grains and foods directly in 5-gallon buckets or if you store your Mylar bag food storage in the buckets, they are just a nearly impenetrable armor for your food storage.
I know people who throw bags of rice and beans directly into a 5-gallon bucket until it’s full, throw in an oxygen absorber and then snap the lid on. DONE!
Moisture, pests, or any other kind of containment is kept at bay by the thick plastic of those 5-gallon buckets.
For me, the 5-gallon bucket is an irreplaceable part of my long term food storage plan. I store my long term food storage in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers that are sealed and then packed in 5-gallon buckets for maximum protection. To me, there is no food storage container that can protect your food storage the way that a 5-gallon bucket can.
Other Long Term Food Storage Tools and Accessories
If you are going to store long-term food there are some accessories that are worth considering. They will make you more effective at storing these foods and also help you turn things like leftovers and garden harvests into long term food storage.
5 Gallon Bucket Opener
Opening the 5-gallon buckets can be a pain. Having a 5-gallon bucket opener allows you to use leverage to pop those lids and get to the food you need when you need it most. These are affordable and very effective.
A freeze drier is a serious investment. We are talking about thousands of dollars. However, you can rest assured that you will make that investment back over time, and with food prices, probably 10 fold! A freeze drier can turn your tomato crop into freeze-dried tomatoes or it can turn a pot of rice and beans into a long term food storage meal.
You can freeze dry things like eggs, milk, and even butter! Wild, right? They are effective and worth looking into.
A cheaper option is to buy a simple air dehydrator. These can do some incredible things for you. They can also provide you with a way to preserve your harvest and make the most of extra fruits from the supermarket.
A pressure cooker or pressure canner gives you the ability to can anything you’d like and do it safely. If you have your mason jars and a set of canning recipes you will be able to can everything from jam to meatballs and sauce.
A pressure canner gives you the ability to put up entirely prepared meals as food storage. Pop the top and eat.
Added to your Mylar bags, 5-gallon buckets, or both, you can use 02 absorbers to kill pests and stop the oxidation of foods in your food storage containers.
An often-overlooked accessory for food storage is some quality scoops. You can quickly scoop rice or other grains with a good set of scoops. Turning 50lbs of rice into 5-gallon buckets of food storage can be very easy with the right scoops.
Food is an Investment
Knowing that you have the ability to put food on the table in a disaster has such incredible value. I cannot impress upon you how great it feels when you put up 100,000 calories packed away in Mylar bags buried in 5-gallon buckets.
Prepping and survival add peace of mind and it’s hard to put a price tag on that. Food is one of those things that really just changes everything.
Having the right food storage containers gives you confidence in the fact that when you break that seal or pop that lid, the food that is stored on the other side is still going to be fresh and delicious. Don’t invite pests and moisture to the party. Protect your food for the investment that it is.
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