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Food Storage Shelf Life

There are two very different types of shelf life for food storage. One is best tasting if used by such and such date. Everyone is familiar with that because it is printed on the packages of food purchased at the grocery store. It is the length of time that food will retain flavor and nutrition. The other shelf life is food storage shelf life. How long will it last before it is unsafe to eat? The nutrients may be gone; the taste is certainly different than intended, but nothing destroys the calories which makes it life sustaining. That is, until it reaches the point where it becomes inedible when stored under ideal conditions.

Ideal conditions would be to store your food in a climate controlled environment such as a dark room in your basement that will never get above 70 degrees or below 32 degrees. Ideal humidity would be no higher than 15 percent. To accomplish that you would have to have air conditioning in the storage room as well as a dehumidifier. Plus, the food would still have to be properly packaged to keep out air and light. You should not store food directly on the floor, or up against a wall because of condensation on basement floors and walls. Condensation would definitely affect the shelf life. When stored food becomes damp, not only does the product deteriorate, it can create an environment in which microorganisms develop. It also fosters chemical reactions within the stored food. If you have bulky items to store such as 50 pounds of rice, stack two pallets and put the food on top of the pallets to keep it off the basement floor. You will also need shelving to put the food on so you can easily keep track of what you have and to rotate the food off the shelves as it ages. I. Another helpful site is http://beprepared.com. Note to readers: Both places also sell supplies and equipment. A third site has a handy calculator that helps you determine how much food to store depending upon how many days you want to be in survival mode and how many people you will be feeding.

Many people want total control of their food and want to can their own food, then pack and store it. This is great if you invest the time it takes to learn which foods store the longest and how to properly package the food. A lot more is involved besides putting a box of powdered milk or a sack of sugar on the shelf and calling it good. Using powdered milk as an illustration: Powdered milk has a two year shelf life in the box as it is. If you put that powdered milk in a glass jar and then put the jar in a storage box in a dark place, the shelf life for life sustainability changes to 25 years.

Without a doubt, freeze dried foods last the longest and provide the widest variety of foods. Nearly every freeze dried product will last 25 years. The advantage of using freeze dried food is it comes already safely packaged for you and lasts up to five times longer than foods you prepare and package yourself.

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