Storing your food can have many benefits. Certainly you want to go through your fresh produce quickly to get its greatest benefits in taste and nutrition, but there are plenty of foods that can last a long time. Buying in bulk and in advance can both save you money, allowing you to buy when prices are low due to sales, say, and it can prepare you for the unexpected: including shortage or jumps in the price of food as a result of natural disasters or war. There is an art though to proper food storage. Here are some food storage tips on how t store food safely and efficiently that HIR hopes will help you with your efforts at efficient and safe food storage.
6 Ideas for Economic and Safe Food Storage
1. Make an accurate assessment of your needs. The first step is doing a little advance thinking: determine how much food you will want to store and for how long. A large family, for instance, might be looking at a time frame of around six months supply. If that’s your situation, you will need a large storage area that goes beyond what the standard kitchen, pantry and stock room provide. Since the greater bulk of long-term food items tend to be dry goods, dry basement storage an effective solution. Another solution, if you have the space, might be to convert and dedicate a smaller room in the house. It doesn’t necessarily have to be close to the kitchen; only every week or two might require an inventory shift. Once you have established your storage area, build shelves and buy any necessary bins.
2. Getting the space right. Your storage areas should be well lit and sealed from outside access. This is particularly important as you want to ensure against infestation from vermin and insects. Today there is a great array of storage bins and containers available for home use to store dry goods. Take your time to browse the options and decide on the ones that best serve your needs. Once you’ve made your decisions and brought the items home, label each container with the contents that it holds. An additional tip, though, is to also label each bag or box that goes in the container. Such labels should describe the contents and also date it. Creating information about your food inventory can be valuable as part of an efficient and safe food storage system.
3. Rotate and place items for best use. If you’ve followed the steps up to now, you should have a well lit, well organized, and well demarcated storage space. If haven’t the room in a single space, you can assign specific products to identified areas. Legumes, whole grains and dehydrated foods have the longest shelf life, so can last for years, if properly stored. Compressed food can be stored furthest away, perhaps in a back closet. The more perishable items are better stored in more accessible places. It’s a good trick, like the grocery stores do, to put the newer items at the back and keep those pushing closer to the best before date at the front, so they’ll be used up before going off.
4. A parallel system. It is true that we’re doing all this in part to make your life easier, so you don’t want to get too carried away with systemization. However, there are real benefits to being on top of your storage operation. Some people keep track of their storage supplies on a spreadsheet. There’s no doubt that can be an efficient method. However, one of the concerns for storing food was to be prepared in the face of a natural disaster; if that happens, what if there’s an extended power failure and you can’t get your computer working? That would kind of defeat the purpose. Though a bit more trouble, there might be long term benefits to setting up a parallel tracking system. You could, for example, still keep easy access soft copies about your food storage inventory on your computer, but also keep paper copies in a loose-leaf binder or on a clip board. It might be more cumbersome as your routine information method, but it could be a life-saver in a serious pinch.
5. Grow your storage. Another option, for those with interior space limits that make large storage inventories too burdensome, is to purchase cans of seeds from suppliers. Many store bought seeds need to be used within a year, or even months, of purchase. However, seeds stored in airtight-cans will last for three or more years. They can be opened and planted in your garden on a by-need basis, providing fresh fruits and vegetables, which themselves can be eaten fresh or canned for further storage.
6. Not by bread alone. Your food storage system will also have to include items outside the usual food stuffs. For instance, don’t forget to have ample amounts of bottled water. Other items to be sure you have in supply for emergency would include sterno cooking heat cans or a propane cooking stove, as well as backup radios, batteries and weather alert stations. Again, if you’re going to get full advantage of it when you need you, you’ll have to be sure to track it in your storage information system.
Hope these food storage tips on how to store food safely and efficiently helps you with your efforts at efficient and safe food storage for whatever your needs.