The Survival Guide To Long Term Food Storage: Part 1
These are troubling times indeed with economic, climatic, and social upheavals and wild gyrations of every type in every corner of our planet. Although I would not specifically ever rate myself as a "survivalist" I do believe in being prepared for any eventuality: One of the most important factors towards this type of preparation is to ensure that there is an adequate food supply to last out any emergency, whether short- or long-lived.
Many foods simply cannot last without refrigeration, and one of the key aspects to being prepared is to acknowledge that electricity supply may be sporadic if it exists at all. Therefore, when all of the options of the various comestibles are carefully considered, it turns out that the only type of food product which can be safely and conveniently stored for prolonged periods of time is grain.
Grains are extremely nutritious and if they are paired with sources of animal protein, can go a long way towards forming a properly balanced diet. At times of no refrigeration it is imperative that animal protein be secured fresh on an ongoing basis, and it is not my intention to delve into a fishing and hunting guide Hub. There are more than enough sources of that information readily available.
If you're intending to store food for a prolonged period of time, buying grains locally is a great idea. There is one thing you definitely want to watch out for and that's that you most certainly don't want to store treated seed prepared for planting. It is always colored to warn you, usually with a pink or red dye. Depending on the kind of seed, that coloration indicates that it is covered with pesticides or fungicides. Don't ever try to eat this as it is extremely poisonous.
If you live in wheat country and get wind of a neighbouring farmer who is going to plant some winter wheat, you might want to ask them if perhaps they would sell a bit to you in the spring. Keep in mind that wheat straight out of the combine still has a lot of chaff, foreign seeds, and even tiny rocks in it. In the spring before the farmer plants their wheat they get it cleaned and treated at a seed cleaning plant which takes all that foreign matter out so you don't have to. Ask your farmer friend if they will clean a couple of extra hundred pounds for you. Then get it before it's "treated" with those red chemicals and you'll have a supply of perfectly good, edible grain.
You have heard "store foods in a cool, dry place" your whole life, and it's absolutely true. The best storage temperatures are below 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) and the optimum storage temperature is close to 4 degrees C (40 degrees F). It's also extremely important to make sure that the temperature is as constant as possible. Big swings in temperature can ruin stored foods in a very short time.
According to The United States Department of Agriculture, (USDA): "Each 5.6 degrees Centigrade (10 degrees Fahrenheit) drop in temperature doubles the storage life of the seeds." Of course the bottom level of this scale is at the freezing point, at which level it is irrelevant to keep reducing the temperature.
Another important aspect to maximize food storage times is to limit or outright eliminate the access to oxygen of the food product you're storing. I'll get into greater detail on how to accomplish that later in these Hubs.