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Survival Skills: Long Term Food Storage

Updated on September 25, 2016

None of us know what the future holds. If you find yourself worried about the decline of civilization, the best option is proper planning! in this case that means having an emergency food supply Many survivalists focus solely on a single event such as a EMP (electromagnetic pulse), or the collapse of the US dollar and many other scenarios that would lead to the fall of civilization. I choose to focus on simple survival in any scenario, while being able to feed my family no matter what.

What are the basics of survival in a doomsday scenario, water and emergency food supply are at the core of any human's basic survival needs. More often than not doomsday preppers will focus on the compound, a bug out location, and security, this is a huge mistake. While all these things are important, not having long term food storage and water will mean starvation for the family even in the most secure of locations, so focus on the basics of survival first.

This hub can benefit anyone wanting to stock up and to prepare for any hardship, even a seasoned survivalist could find valuable food storage information they may not be aware of. We have all been down and out before, so I decided there is a need to take a proactive approach in sustaining life for my family, I have acquired a wealth of knowledge on food preservation techniques and food shelf lives.

The main thing affected when any family has a hardship, is the ability to provide nutritious foods. Sure you could coupon and stock up on Ramen noodles since they are relatively inexpensive and you can make a darn good stir fry with them too. though they are not the most nutritious of choices - your body and abilities would suffer if this were your only food source. Instead understanding long term food storage and extending shelf lives should be a goal.

Knowing how to properly store grains and other foods for long term storage, is key to avoiding any spoiling food.
Knowing how to properly store grains and other foods for long term storage, is key to avoiding any spoiling food.

Doomsday scenarios

What scenario are you prepping for?

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Preserving food, this used to be a way of survival for everyone. It is time we look towards the past to survive the future!
Preserving food, this used to be a way of survival for everyone. It is time we look towards the past to survive the future! | Source

Resources

What is the number one resource people need to survive

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Dry Goods, Beans, Grains and More

Dry goods are an essential element to any pantry. Proper food storage is important and can lengthen the shelf life of many foods.
Dry goods are an essential element to any pantry. Proper food storage is important and can lengthen the shelf life of many foods. | Source

A Great Choice For Long Term Emergency Food Storage and Survival

Hard White Wheat - Organic - 35 Lbs. Resealable Bucket - High Protein - Perfect for Food Storage, Flour, Baking, Sprouting & More
Hard White Wheat - Organic - 35 Lbs. Resealable Bucket - High Protein - Perfect for Food Storage, Flour, Baking, Sprouting & More

I purchase this Hard White Wheat to add to my emergency food supplies for several reasons. It is organic and non-gmo, and already comes in a food grade bucket. I buy this because not only is it a wonderful addition to my emergency food supply, I can also plant it in the future if needed!

 

Knowing What Foods Last Longest

While you may very well be on your way to a well stocked pantry, knowing what items can be stored the longest and even indefinitely is crucial! Proper storage of these items is very important. All stored food items should be kept in clean dry areas away from sunlight!

I will list some items that can be stable for long term storage, some indefinitely if stored properly! There are four key things that effect food storage, and the ability for your food to remain stable and fresh. Temperature and moisture control, storage container and the containers atmosphere. For every ten degrees the temperature of the storage drops it adds double to the shelf life. As a reference 39.76 degrees F means a 50 year shelf life.

Soft grains such as barley, hulled or pearled oats, rolled oats, rye and quinoa stored properly (hermetically without oxygen) at 70 degrees will last 8 years. Soft grains have a soft shell that protect them so they do not last as long as some other foods.

Hard grains are buckwheat, corn, dry flax, kamut, millet, durum wheat, hard red wheat, hard white wheat, soft wheat, special bake wheat, spelt and triticale. Considered hard grains for their hard outer shell, and are well preserved naturally due to the shell. Hermetically sealed with no oxygen present these can last 10-12 years at 70 degrees F, considerably longer at lower temperatures.

Storing beans is a bit different. You may want to consider canning beans in lieu of storing them dry. The reason is that as beans age they resist water absorption and loose the natural oils. You can still use them in the dry state but may have to grind them into a paste instead of using in a soup or other recipe. These beans are lima beans mung beans, pink beans, pinto beans, small red beans, soy beans ,adzuki beans, blackeye beans, black turtle beans, garbanzo beans, great northern, kidney beans, and lentils. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen expect these to last 8-10 years at 70 degrees F. As with most thing proportionately longer in cooler temperatures.

Dehydrated dairy products store very well when oxygen is removed and they are hermetically sealed. Lasting for 15 years at 70 degrees F. Some examples are powdered eggs, cheese powder, cocoa powder, butter or margarine powder, whey powder and powdered milk.

Pasta will last for 8-10 years if it is, you guessed it hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen! Again at 70 degrees F and longer at cooler temperatures.

Flours and other products made from those hard grains and soft grains we discussed can be a little tricky. Many people think these will last forever, truth is if you are not storing properly anything you make from old flours just taste bad. Like Crocodile Dundee said 'you can live on it, but it taste like S#%$'! These only remain shelf stable for 5 years when hermetically sealed with oxygen removed, at 70 degrees F, maybe longer in cooler temperatures. This is because in order to mill the flour, you have destructed the outer shell that protects the grain.

Dehydrated fruit has a seemingly short shelf life of 5 years, when compared to its dehydrated counterparts. Sealed properly at 70 degrees, and longer in cooler temperatures.

Dehydrated vegetables on the other hand have a shelf life of 8-10 years when hermetically sealed at 70 degrees F without oxygen present. Longer when in cooler temperatures.

Granola, I see all the time that preppers store granola. I am not an advocate of granola because it can go rancid due to the oils in the nuts. The life expectancy of granola is only 6-9 months. Not to mention it can be an expensive item to purchase. I feel like this is a waste of money when planning for the long term. You could spend your money wisely and purchase corn, oats etc.

Here are some items that should be in every survivalist emergency food supply; honey, salt, and sugar. Why? They can last indefinitely! Keep in mind they must be stored free from moisture, and look out for honey with additives, pure honey is best. The honey may crystallize the older it gets but heating it up will dissolve the crystals and it is perfectly safe to eat even if you do not heat it. Your Great grand kids could potentially be eating honey that you stored today!

Before you start storing brown or white rice you should know they store very differently! Brown rice is only expected to store for 6 months because the essential fatty acids in brown rice quickly oxidize. While white rice will store for 8-10 years at the average conditions of 70 degrees F, and yes longer at cooler temperatures.

Yeast is another one of those items with a not so long life expectancy. Since it is a living organism you should only store them in the unopened original container at the average temperature. You can expect it to store for two years this way. Now if you refrigerate your yeast it will last 5 years and in the freezer even longer.




Source
50cc Oxygen Absorbers for Food Storage (200) with PackFreshUSA(™) LTFS Guide
50cc Oxygen Absorbers for Food Storage (200) with PackFreshUSA(™) LTFS Guide

One of the most important things to long term food storage is making sure that no oxygen is coming into contact with your food. I use these oxygen absorbers when adding to my emergency food supply to ensure my food stays void of oxygen. I even toss them in my flour and other items that are being stored in canisters for use in my kitchen.

 

Proper sealing of goods

In a survival scenario failing to properly store dry goods can lead to spoilage. I know the hub is getting lengthy, but this is very important. In most cases a double barrier food storage system is the best option, for ensuring long term storage. This means a food grade bucket, with a vacuumed sealed bag of your food inside it. So this way not only the bag protects your food but also the bucket. It will also add a little extra deterrent to any unwanted animals sniffing around. You should also include an oxygen absorbed pack into your bag of dry goods before sealing.

I hope this helps you as you begin to prepare for the unknown, or just to help you have a better understanding of a proper emergency food supply and how to store it.

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    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
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      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Thank you Katie! I appreciate the comment!

    • profile image

      Katie campbell 2 years ago

      I loved all the information, thank you!

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Thank you aliciaharrell! I do like to try and use the polls to see if people are actually reading or just skimming the information ;)! My only downfall, is having a lack of time to write, my son keeps me very busy most of the time!

    • aliciaharrell profile image

      Alicia Rose Harrell 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Enjoyed this hub; well written and thought provoking. The polls were fun. They were an excellent way to see if people read your hubs too. ;) I am enjoying reading your hubs. :D

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Thank you Whitney Rose Wood! I appreciate it! I know what you mean about beans, it was one of the things I remember thinking lasted forever at one point! I have a small house so I understand the storage issues too. My kitchen is a nightmare! I have limited cabinets and only so much room in the cellar but I would rather have plenty of food than worry about it looking cluttered!

    • profile image

      Whitney Rose Wood 2 years ago

      Wow, very informative. I did not know that beans can lose their oils over time. I will most likely re-read this article in the future when I get a place with some storage capacity. Voted up.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Haha good point! I think the problem with eating zombies is the possibility of contracting the virus :). Not to mention most people frown upon cannibalism even in a survival situation. Thank you for reading and commenting!

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      I still say once we learn to eat zombies all our problems are solved. Still you have some very good and detailed information here. Water is life!

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      You are very welcome! Having had a water crisis last year (our public water systems were contaminated with harful chemicals). I felt the need to learn as much as possible about alternative water sources. Food preservation has been an interest of mine since I was a little girl.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for sharing the very useful information about food storage. The details that you've shared are important for anyone who wants to preserve food and water.

    • profile image

      hotnews24 2 years ago

      Thank