Food Storage Mistakes To Avoid

Food Storage Mistakes

Food storage mistakes are more common than you may think, especially for newbie preppers. While it is one of the first things that most preppers initially set up and acquire regarding their family preparedness, there are mistakes to avoid.

Food storage is easy to do, it has a big impact on general preparedness, and it doesn’t cost too much money to get started.

There are a number of ways to go about acquiring food storage. However there are also a number of food storage mistakes and pitfalls to avoid.

 

Food Storage Mistakes

Here are a few to consider:

 

Buying food storage that you don’t regularly eat

When first setting out to fill a deep pantry for preparedness, it’s easy to go overboard and start acquiring foods that you might not normally eat. Instead, especially at first, just start buying more of what you do eat!

Exception: Regardless of whether or not you normally eat them, there are foods that I do advise acquiring. Dry goods that store well for long term such as rice, beans, and wheat. Why? Because they’re packed with calories, they will sustain life, and they are easy to store for many many years (if stored properly).

Not diversifying a variety of foods

In other words, buying too much of one thing or just a few things. Can you imagine just eating rice & beans day in and day out?

Also, diversify the types of processing & storage such as canned foods, dry goods, dehydrated, freeze dried, freezer, etc..

Getting started with food storage but not following through

It’s easier to get excited about starting a new project or setting out on a new goal. But it’s harder to follow through to completion.

Keep on acquiring. Every time you’re at the grocery store, pick up some extra for your deep pantry. Keep filling those shelves. Not only will it set you up for preparedness, it will also save you money in the long run because food prices don’t go down over time…

Building up a food storage supply and letting it sit there

Although foods will be safe to eat beyond their “Use-by Best-by” date, the best way to utilize your food inventory is to consume it!

Rotate your food storage by actually consuming and replacing. Consume the oldest first, and so on… Again, don’t forget to replace it!

Not making a food inventory

After awhile, you will not remember every little thing that you’ve acquired. It’s a great idea to inventory what you have in food storage.

We simply use an Excel spreadsheet. You might choose to simply write it on paper. You can be as detailed or general as you like. But it’s a good reference to have, especially while practicing good food rotation.

Buying too much freezer food

It sure is nice having a chest freezer filled with food. I have several. However, don’t let that be the majority of what you’ve stored!

Why? Because if the electricity goes out, you might lose what you have! You might be okay for 48 hours, but unless you have a generator and unless the power comes back on before you run out of fuel, you will be SOL.

Not labeling your foods with date of purchase

This only applies to certain things, but it’s worth mentioning. For example when I acquire (or DIY) a 5 gallon bucket filled rice or wheat, I apply a strip of white artist tape and with a Sharpie write month/year. This way, later on I know which is oldest, and I’ll use that first! We also do this with some freezer food packaging.

Overlooking the Spice!

Don’t forget about all the other stuff that makes food taste great!

 
Let’s hear from you. What are some additional food storage mistakes to avoid?

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173 Comments

  1. Buying pre-packaged meals such as boxed rice. They don’t store well and they’re seriously expensive. You can buy a bag of rice and some of the seasonings required for the price of one boxed meal.

    1. Yep, 22# bag of white rice 12$ on sale at a place I like shopping.
      Can eat on that for quite a while.

  2. When we began our food prepping our first mistake was that we felt that we needed everything. Soon found out that we didn’t like some of the stuff that was cheap so we decided to come up with a better plan. We sat everyone in the house down and asked them to write down what 3 meals they loved. We then took those and made sure everyone liked them and started stocking up with those items to make those meals. We ended up with 10 meals for breakfast, 10 for lunch and 10 for supper. In reality you only need 7 but if you think you might get tired of that meal then its best to plan for a few extra so we had enough for variety or a different meal for a special occasion.
    We ended up with spam and eggs for one of the breakfast for example. So then we started stocking up 52 cans of spam and several #10 cans of scrambled eggs. But we also have chickens but not really reliable, depending on the time of year.
    Another was Spaghetti, so we stock up on 52 small packages of noodles and several #10 cans of dried tomato powder, several small containers of Italian seasoning, #10 cans of dehydrated tomato chunks, dried garlic, etc…. Everything you need to make a spaghetti sauce that your family will eat. We have ironed out our recipes and usually only eat homemade. Now you have enough food to make spaghetti 1 time per week for a whole YEAR!

    This is what now works for us the best. That way we know what we store – we eat.

  3. I mentioned this in another thread, but I think everyone should have a “sick bin” going into the winter cold and flu season.

    We do not normally eat stuff like pre-made Jello, pudding cups, saltines, Ensure, Gatorade, flats of individual bottled water but nothing else sounded good, so I ordered it online during a recent flu like illness running through our house. We are usually pretty healthy, and diet reflects, but some illnesses can just knock you flat out. None of our normal preps, even ones I thought were great for sickness were workable. No one felt like cooking them, or eating. Particularly, my elderly mom.

    If this illness had happened during a crisis, it would have really been dreadful. Hopefully we’ve paid our dues this year, but I’m always going to keep a “sick bin”going forward.

    1. I agree! I never drink orange juice, but drink it constantly when ill. I water it down to lower sugar and to get more fluids in. I should add a gallon or two to the freezer.

  4. Regarding spices, Sam’s Club sells very large jars of spices at good prices. We’ve bought garlic, parsley, black pepper and others, but we especially like the big containers of dried minced onion and beef and chicken bouillon.

    1. Yes they do we have nice big jars of spices. I have found that if you wrap them in saran wrap it is very efficient at keeping out moisture etc.

    2. I use Sam’s Club too. Most don’t know for a less than 10% surcharge, anyone can shop at Sam’s Club.
      The reason I said ‘less than’ is twice our 10% was lower than 10%.
      Don’t know why, but they tell you 10% when signing for the day card.

    3. Mr. Gray, Mrs.USMCBG, JJ

      Re; Sam’s Club Spices, Would suggest you get some Pint Mason Jars and repackage the spices into them, use the Vac Adapter for the Seal A Meal, and label them, they WILL stay a lot fresher for longer.

      I personally like the get my spices online at Amazon of course, for a lot cheaper, they are 99.99% of the time sealed in Mylar Bags, once opened in 5-10 years :-) I put em into the Jars and reseal each time used…..

      Lastly, I find the Organic Spices from Online a lot better quality and still cheaper that Sam’s, though I do buy a LOT from Sam’s and do pay the yearly membership charge, BUT, Bombay Gin in the 1/2 gallon is $37 at Sam’s $45+ everywhere else, just as an example. So the membership pays for itself in a week…. HAHAHA

      1. NRP
        I just typed in spices on Amazon and did not find any that were sealed in Mylar bags, just bottles. Any suggestions as to how I can locate what you purchase.

      2. NRP
        On the spices, I purchase them in bulk either at Cash & Carry or Winco. Since I have the availability to the largest baby food jars. My spices go into those jars with the lids on but not tight–I want the lids to set(pop)then placed into the vacuum seal bags. When the air is removed the lids on the jars will pop sealing the spices inside, here is the best part of all. It removes the air out of the jar and gives you an addition protection on aging due to the 2 is 1 scenario. The other advantage is smaller jars open at one time.

        OK, I can hear you but– but– but I do not know of anyone who has these jars, look at the free ads for them or put a posting on Craig’s list for these jars.

        1. you could use the Mason or Kerr 8oz jelly jars and use O2 absorbers and vacuum seal it with FoodSaver and canning jar lid attachment.

          FoodSaver Kit Wide-Mouth Jar Sealer with Regular Sealer and Accessory Hose

          Even after vacuum sealing a jar, it still has air in it. It’s the OXYGEN, as well as heat and light, that will make your spices go stale. An O2 (oxygen) absorber converts the oxygen into “rust” inside the little packet and will draw it’s own vacuum but I use both because I like “overkill”.

  5. My mistake is that I am the only one who knows the specifics of our food storage. Yes, I record everything but it doesn’t have much meaning to anyone but me. For instance, a pint jar of dehydrated tomatoes is a certain number of tomatoes capable of providing how much to a stew. A one quart Mylar bag of beans is how many servings. I know that it is one freeze dryer tray of beans. Nobody else does. I know that a one gallon bag of pork is one tray and is about two pounds. No one else does. The same is true of hand soap, dish soap and homemade laundry soap. Nobody knows how long each will last.
    A friend saw my bucket of freeze dried foods. It was number 71. They immediately thought I had tons of food. If they had been curious enough they would have opened a bucket. Each bucket only holds about seven packages of vegetables. They can’t be packed in or they would turn to powder. The Mylar bags also take up a lot of space. What they thought was a “ton” of food wasn’t.
    So, this is my mistake in long term food storage.

    1. Pie, glad to hear about the packing. I might have tried to stuff bags in without thinking.

      1. Mrs USMCBG
        I have seen photos where they place the bulky foods into canning jars for storage with vacuum sealed lids.

    2. Pieface
      If you know this information make up a sheet with the data, make several prints place the information only you know with the food. That way if you were sick with the flu rest of the family could make up a meal with your quantity list.
      Do not worry you are not the only one with the habit, it is not the ‘how to’, but where did she hide that stuff so they could make meal.

  6. To the New peppers on this site: Learn from my mistakes:

    When I was young and mobile, (no fixed home at the time/apartment living.). I was given several hundred dollars worth of Mountain House Freeze dried food that was gifted to me. I placed it in storage unit in a cardboard box not realizing the place was over run with mice. I lost most of the food before I bought a metal garbage can in which to store the remainder of the undamaged pouches. It was an expensive lesson so it still bothers me.

    Learn from my mistakes. Make sure you address storage before purchasing/aquiring mass quantities of anything.

    1. My mistake was not sealing/bucketing egg noodles. They became bug food–weevils.
      I saved lots of bags, just used the colander to shake the bugs away and then selaed in gallon buckets.

      1. JJ
        If you have BAY tree, or pick up loose Bay leaves at the grocery store. Those leaves will kill off the bugs in the pasta when you store it. You can also freeze it for a couple of days let it come to room temperature then process. ‘Fair warning’ pasta will age over time. It was store in the original bag-vacuum sealed and placed into 5 mil Mylar bags into food grade buckets(overkill). If you want to store long term look at the LDS store on line or check to see if Amazon carries such an item.

        1. Yes! I have a wild Bay tree on my land (which is one of the things I will miss most when I relocate,,,). I add a handful of dry Bay leave to wheat berries, beans/lentils, etc when I store.

          And don’t forget to store plenty of dry Bay leave with your herbs/spices, too! What would soups/stews be without them?

        2. Yep–I put bay leaves in some things…but Diatomaceous Earth is in my buckets and some jars now

        3. Noodes and Pastas are items I put in freezer for minimum of 7-10 days. Then vacume seal/with a bay leaf. and put in a bucket or bin.

  7. When I started, I made sure I bought long term storage foods we would normally eat. I’m not a big fan of beans and rice so I stayed away from those two as single buys. I have plenty of MH #10 cans with rice as part of the meal. Canned meats is an area I need to purchase more of especially tuna, kippers, spam, and canned ham. These are products we use weekly or monthly so they will be rotated. So far I haven’t had any spoilage of any food I bought. It’s all inventoried on paper and thumb drives for access if I’m not available. I keep everything inventoried in a emergency three ring binder along with the thumb drives on our keychains. Additionally I put inventory sheets in all my buckets before sealing them and on the outside of the bucket. Keeping a good inventory just makes sense.

    1. Broadwing
      You found a canned shelf stable ham? What brand, everything we have tried tastes like a version of spam. Do not get me wrong, we like spam but I want ‘ham’ to taste like ‘ham’, that is why I am asking.

      1. Hi, sorry I’m late answering, the Ham I buy is DAK Preminum Ham, Product of Denmark, in 1 pound can. It has a 5 year stated shelf life . I’ve tasted SPAM, and this to me tastes like Ham which it is 100%.

        1. The dark is a good canned ham. I also can my own for beans and pea soup etc. buy them around xmas when they are. About .99 a lb and can enough for a year or two

    2. Buying heavy on long term for things you already eat is very smart. To expand the regular foods you do have, consider adding rice and beans as stretchers to other recipes., the things you MAY already cook.. Rice can be utilized to make rice flour, to make rice milk, in caserols and to make desserts.So is a stretcher food, in many categories. Beans are excellent protein to add to soups/stews, variety is the key to getting the best benefit. We have stopped buying most canned fish. I have placed what we have back to the back of shelves to avoid using on a regular basis. My concern is the contamination of heavy metals an radiations in commercial fish. we have access to a private pond for now..
      Inventory is my hardest hurdle. with many things being boxed up in opaque boxes,( as 2-3 week supply of many things,) doing peice by peice of inventroy is daunting. Bucketed things are easier, because i also put list inside and on outside of bucket.

  8. I agree with CailRefugee, Storage is just as important as the food you buy. I was real good with all the other points Ken brought up, except maybe eating it, can’t afford to replace the meat and cheese. BUT I got complacent and left some things in mylar bags or boxes and some mice snuck in. I lost hash browns, potato pearls box of things, pecans, CHOCOLATE! Not to mention having to wipe everything down. Now everything is in tin cans, glass jars, thick 5 or 6 gallon buckets or cleaned kitty litter buckets. Those little suckers will starve if they ever get in again!

    1. kitty litter buckets-brilliant! Never would have thought to save those, I’m learning so much from all of you!

      1. Svzee,
        The kitty litter jugs can also be used.. I re-use for non potable water, and for doing dog food or cat food in … i clean them well and freeze the dog/cat food, for at least 10 days…either in jug or not.(depends on room) put a few tablespoons of DE on top of the jug after filled, it will de worm the dogs and cats as they consume, and they won’t know it is there.It is non toxic, kills bug that might get in. When i use the buckets for human food, i put food in two layers of any combo of.. food grade wrap, ziplock, mylar, vacume packing…

    2. You can also get gallon size food grade plastic from rest homes and nursing homes kitchen staff. They purchase things like mayo in these and go through them rapidly. Tell them what day you could pickup based on their garbage day. They also have laundry detergent tubs quite often. Perfect for rice, beans, pasta.

  9. Lots of No.10 cans.
    Black beans, white beans, pinto beans, rice, sugar,white wheat berry,red wheat berry, potato flakes,dehydrated Apple’s, dehydrated carrots,flour (10 year shelf life) all the rest 30 years from LDS cannery. Next a lot of cans from Walton Feed with fruits and vegetables,meat dehydrated and freeze dried. The walk in pantry in the kitchen would take use two months to clean out. I know a lot of people talk about store what you normally eat. When you get really hungry you would be surprised what you will eat. Sometime I’ll tell you all about Panama and my little friends the tree chickens. Green on the outside white on the inside!

      1. Nailbanger
        We both know he was trying to add a ‘little extra’ in that storage bin of his.☺

  10. Do not buy the book “Dinner In A Jar” and then change the process that they suggest. Do not assemble all of the meals in Food Saver bags instead of using canning jars. When you vac-seal those ingredients, and a few months pass by, you wind up with food-bricks that are cylindrical. Ask me how I know….

    1. Same thing happened when I sealed in vacuum bags my cheddar broccoli soup by Bear Creek.
      Live and learn–I now seal in mason jars!!

    2. Modern Throwback
      I have that book in my future YARD SALE items. Never used it, looked at the recipes, and thought “how am I to squeeze all of that into a jar?” It is a Murphy…….give it/sell it to someone else.

      1. @AC
        For me, I didn’t want to waste a quart jar on a DH ‘meal’ when I thought a vac-sealed baggie would do. I’ve never made the recipes and put them in jars. Guess mine is a Murphy, too. lol

  11. The Morale of your Troops
    One big mistake is not dedicating some of your budget to comfort foods like Canned Cheese, Bacon, Ken’s Article on Canned butter, Hard Candy, Coffee and of course Booze & Tobacco!!!!
    This can make a huge difference in your groups mental state. They can look forward to meals like Mac N Cheese after a crappy day of hard labor vs. just beans and rice. They may just lynch you if you serve rice’n’beans day in and day out.. Luxury Items will make a difference. Plus you can get top barter for these items when they become scarce. Say trade a can of butter for a full automatic AK. Can of Ham for some companionship at night. Stuff like that.

    1. Cracker, I did read an article about the boredom of eating the same food each day. I do not remember what it was called. However people will not eat even if hungry. This would be especially so with children I think. Yes if budget allows luxuries are a necessity too.

      1. I ate a cheese, green pepper and salsa burrito and an orange every day for 6 months to lose 40 pounds and keep it off…until I started dating again after 20 years and ate out. I never got tired of it, I just liked eating other foods more. That’s what brought the weight back on!

      2. It is called food fatigue. That is a very good reason to store as muh variety as you/family will eat.

    2. Butter is a luxury food in a crises. After Ken’s article on Red Feather Butter at $6.95 I checked Amazon.ca (Canada). In Canada it sells for $300.00 for six cans. Hard to believe! Maybe it was a misprint. I will check again in a few months. I wonder what it would cost in Venezuela.

      1. Bummer about the butter!
        Does the restriction on importing also apply to “gifts” from outside the country? Wondering if you would have contacts in the US (or Australia?) who might be able to ship it to you legally?

        1. @ FinallyOuttaCA

          Have had gifts sent and ended up having to pay duty before getting them. Not a good thing’

          Thinking of getting DH’s cousins to maybe get something for us and we can pick it up when we head down to the annual family reunion. And that also depends on whether or not DH wants to drive the 14 hours back to his hometown.

          Or maybe I can check out the stores when we get there and buy whatever I can find. Getting it home is another problem.

          kk

      2. @ Pieface

        That price for canned butter in Canada is NOT a misprint. Third party sellers always post the most outrageous prices in the hopes someone stupid enough will buy. I could give other examples but I won’t bother everyone. It is what it is.

        kk

        1. In my experience, plain old salted butter from Aldi 2.99/lb not on sale will keep very well When my fiance moved out of her apartment after finishing grad school in May of 98, she left some boxes full of stuff in her fathers garage. Some months after we got married in Jan of 99, I was retrieving and unpacking here orphaned stuff from her fathers garage and I found an unopened pound of salted Aldi brand butter And It Was Still Good! over nine months in the garage, some of it hot summer months, and it was still fine. The wax paper around each stick was a little stuck, but it tasted fine. If it was stored in a dry cool place it should last indefinitely, at least the salted type The salt keeping it from going rancid.

  12. Not storing a HUGE supply of spices!
    While “beans & rice” can become quickly boring & even something to dread—especially when meat supplies must be rationed. Beans & rice beg for creativity with spices & herbs. Over the years, I’ve acquired cookbooks with spicy recipes from India, Thailand, & Mexico, of course.

    Curry is dynamite used with lentils & all veges, Also cayenne pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, whole cloves, nutmeg (my favorite secret ingredient in savory sauces) & whole seeds of coriander, dill, mustard, & cumin.
    Best to store spices whole, when possible. I store mine in mason jars & keep in coldest, darkest storage space available.

    If “ethnic” style recipes are unfamiliar, now is a good time to experiment! I prefer actual cook books to internet recipes, for obvious reasons. Bon Appetit!

    1. Spices are best bought in bulk from food co-ops/natural food stores.
      Cost effective, & often organic/GMO free as well.

    2. Marilyn;

      Curry, the life blood of the Spice world for sure…..
      And I don’t give a hoot, what others say, Thai food is the Cat’s Meow. Think about that one HAHAHA
      But I do LOVE Thai Food.

      1. NRP
        Good day to break out my heavy steel wok, slice some fresh ginger root, & stir fry a big bunch of fresh-picked Kentucky Wonder beans, At the finish, toss in a handful of green onion tops, splash over with soy sauce & serve over Jasmin rice.
        Meow

          1. Kentucky Wonder is brown seeded. CAN be saved as a dry bean. For me, here in N CA, they produce prolifically, early, & go till the rains come & rot the pods. I grow only pole beans.

          1. DAMedinNY
            Mint! I’ll give it a try, thanks.
            BTW, I neglected to mention GARLIC in my above stir fry—add near the end of fry to retain a good “bit” & use at least 4 plump cloves per serving.

      2. NRP said:
        “Thai food is the Cat’s Meow.”
        OK, I’ve been thinking about it.
        Now I have to put it out of my mind.

      3. Cat? Tastes like stringy pork. As an aside, I didn’t know what I was eating until afterwards.

        1. me

          When eating in Thailand, you NEVER ask what it is, just eat and enjoy.

          Hardest part is getting back off the flood once dinner is finished :-)

          1. I’ll eat anything that’s well prepared.
            In Peru I ate Cui/Guinea Pig—roasted on a spit.

            In Colombia I enjoyed flash fried cicadas w/ salt.
            Along the Orinoco river jungle I ate monkey brains, cooked in their own broth & served in the skull.

            I am NOT pulling your leg. I like to *travel* & like all CA foodies, I’m adventurous with food.

      4. NRP,
        A little stringy but in stir fry with ginger,lemon grass and shoyu…
        That dish is definitely in my “CATegory ” of recipes …

          1. Ahhhhh yeah, Marilyn is fitting in just fine…. HAHAHA

            AND driving Ken absolutely Cat-tankerous.

          1. Better be careful or Ken will CAT-apult the lot of into the bad dog box.

    3. Also it is surprising what you can grow in the way of spices inside and out. I was amazed when my sage and thyme wintered over outside in the snow,

      1. Yep i agree. Mine are both in 5 gal buckets in the front yard. i get snow dozens of times each winter with no problems

    4. Ill second trying out those recipes now! Be sure to check your family for any spice intolerances. There are several things my family can’t and will not eat, Curry,Cumin and Italian spice mix.(vomiting for 3 days is never fun)..

    5. I have lots of spice and #10 cans of veggies for that. Rice and beans,some spices and boulon plus freeze dried meat and the combos are endless

  13. Starting out right now I’m struggling with the ‘buying only what you’ll actually eat’ thing. Realizing how picky my family is and how much we rely on cold foods, as well as convenience type stuff. I asked my husband for some ideas for food he’d like, that would store long term-he gave me a blank look and then suggested pancake mix (I now have 5 boxes tucked away lol). The man does not eat rice or beans, or soups/stews/chili/pasta dishes/canned meats-all the things that store well long term sigh….he’s in for a rude awakening if things do start to get bad :p

    1. Bear in mind that I don’t suggest to buy “only” what you actually eat. However I do suggest to buy what you currently eat, to an extent. Assuming that one eats relatively “normal”.

      There’s a point where that’s unreasonable or not such a good idea if all one eats is pizza and ice-cream for example ;)

      Also when you start getting into a very deep pantry and long term storage to supply for a long time, then you really need to consider foods that will store well, caloric content, preparation requirements, nutrition, and other factors.

      1. Ha, don’t even get me started-he lives off of fast food, bagels, cheese and then meat, meat meat ugh, lol. I’m going to try and accommodate him on some things like the pancake mix, but I’m going to go ahead and focus on long lasting/calorie dense items, and he’ll just have to deal if need be!

        1. Learn to make bagels, cream cheese, hamburger buns, grow tomatoes, lettuce. Potatoes means real (i.e. fresh) potato chips and fries. Then store the meat meat meat and read up on how to preserve it. Learn how to make jerky and sausage. Store plenty of salt so you can take care of everything you have in the freezer.

          1. I just bought the Charcuterie book NRP recommended and I like it so far – and there’s plenty of photos. I have not tried preserving meats, but I can see where these skills may be invaluable some day. I am particularly interested in learning how to salt meats – either fresh, or to preserve defrosting cuts from the freezer in a grid down situation as Lauren mentioned. I may even get brave and try sausage making, which would also be a first for me.

          2. Lauren-good idea on the salt for meat in the freezer! Ours doesn’t have a lot in it (we’re definitely in the ‘go to the store every couple days’ camp right now), however, my in-laws, who’d be in our ‘village’ has a second freezer that’s always full with a beef share. It would be good to know how to save that meat, if we lost power.

    2. I stored pancake in sealed mason jars and buckets –neither was long term.
      Lost all the pancake mix.

      1. JJ

        Problem with some/most Pancake Mix is it has the oils in it already, not conducive for long-term storage.

        1. Did y-all see that???

          “conducive”

          That’s a big old work for this Barn Cat to be using ya know?

          1. Lauren

            How in the heck did I spell “Conducive” correctly and not “word” UGHHHH

      2. I stored Krusteaz 10 lb bags of pancake mix for five years in Mylar bag with O2 remover and it was fine. We are eating it as I type this. The new recipe is a bit different because you now have to add egg but I expect it will store as well.

  14. Just a comment on variety,
    Yes, variety is nice, but if you are hungry and know that starvation is definitely a possibility, eating beans and rice and spam or sardines day in day out is far preferable to looking like you fell out of Africa

    1. (SMILE) I stock other things so I don’t have to eat sardines at all and spam only occassionally.No store i can find her stocks anything but the regualr and jalapeno…can’t find the bacon flavored one.
      Rice can be ground into flour, soaked whole for making rice milk, and w/flour can make biscuits and gravy with the addition of oil.. Having canned pork and canned lard will go a long way to keeping those rice and beans from getting boring. coconut oil is one of the longest storing oils. up to 5 years by date. Pork fat has been stored/sealed in pints by a friend for 3 years and counting. Her directions were to render out well, fill hot sterilized jars as full as possible/to keep out air and pop lid on while still very hot, after wiping rims with vinegar cloth…

  15. Dehydrated foods placed into vacuum seal bags. Example, sliced potatoes–ohh these were so nasty did not even consider giving them the neighbors chickens. Placing food into plastic bags, then into the vacuum bags for sealing long term storage is an absolute NO NO. The general plastic food storage bag we use daily is not designed to preserve food for years. I has a tendency to leave a smell on the food, ok, it was a few years…3-5. That is why the glass jars came to my rescue. 🤗

    My best discovery is dehydrated foods store longer, retain the flavor when placed into glass canning jars with the lid & rings lightly tightened, then placed into vacuum bags to be processed. Dh requires a lot of fruit so I use peaches from Costco, reuse those jars for long term food storage, saves on my canning jars. It is a win-win.
    Semi sweet chocolate will discolor no matter what you do to preserve it although the flavor does not diminish,, just the color. So I went to milk chocolate chips for storage.
    The chocolate hard shell candies regular and mini’s store well in jars..just make sure you do not leave them in a room outside when it is a 110+ degrees and the building is hot, fry and egg hot. Nothing like having Humpty Dumpty chocolate candies in a jar…..yes they were all cracked up.🙄 Another lesson learned!!

    1. Hi AC,

      Since I’m just starting to experiment with my dehydrator I want to be sure I have this right – you dehydrate, fill jars (with an oxygen absorber, or no?), add lid & ring, then into a vacuum bag & seal over the jar? I was thinking I was just supposed to use my new jar sealing attachment on the jar lids and I was good to go.

      1. So Cal Gal
        HI SCG: O2 absorber is not required. You can do it with just the lid on the jar no rings required after processing. If you are going to use a ring on the jar, set it lightly so it does not interfere with the adhesion.

        Reason I took it a step farther is experimentation. IF one is good,,,, TWO is better(I hope!!) If I am only processing the jars (vacuum sealing only)
        I will not use the bags. The jars then have a sock slip cover to protect them from being damaged by bumping-shaking-rattle& rolling on a shelf.

        1. AC,
          Okay… just an extra layer of protection – makes sense. And I am going to try your sock slip cover method that you suggested – especially for the jars I transport. Since I am food-storing for 2 locations now I have to be extra-smart about minimizing losses or damage. Thanks! : )

        1. Hi NRP,

          The link didn’t go through, but I just ordered and received the jar sealer attachment a couple of weeks ago. I got the kit that has both regular and wide mouth sizes since I have both kids of jars. I’m planning to put the rings on for sure – especially since at least some jars will be transported to BOL. Thanks!!!

          1. So Cal Gal

            Main reason I put the rings on the jars…. SO I can find em :-)

          2. So Cal Gal & NRP
            Almost forgot IF you have the older canning jars 1950’s/60’s & possible 1970’s you may find that they do not seal with the jar attachments. Believe it could be that the openings are a little larger than today’s canning jars. I still keep these jars for foods that I store in my working pantry to keep bugs and other critters out.
            If you have a failure–look at the jar carefully it could be from that era.

          3. Antique Collector

            Heck I have a bunch of OLD canning gars that have the Glass Lids and flat gaskets for them…. AND a few of the older Blue Glass ones….

          4. @AC,
            That’s interesting about the older jars. Most of mine are new as I am new to canning. But, MIL did give me some of her older jars as she doesn’t can anymore – too much for her at this point. I’ll have to take a look at those older jars. Thanks!

          5. So Cal Gal
            MIL jars will be good for canning. Did not want you to become frustrated when the older jars did not seal.
            I wipe the glass rim with vinegar on a paper towel before I place a lid on top, if it did not seal first time. If it does not seal I stack two lids face down.

          6. Someone had mentioned a couple years ago, if the jar wasn’t sealing to put two lids on it and try again. One would stick and then take off the second lid before storing.

          7. SoCalGal
            Make sure you put the lid sealer level on the jar before you suck the air out. Found out the hard way (LOL) that if it’s not “seated” properly it won’t seal the jar completely. We had a couple of jars start growing “fuzzies” on the food even though it was completely dry when it went into the jar. Moisture and air got in and spoiled it.

        2. I have read that if you put the rings on the jar, and the lid pops, the food might spoil and you won’t know it as the ring is holding the lid down but not enough to prevent spoilage. (got all that?)

          1. old lady, I do not tighten the rings, just put em on and screw them to the lids gently, do NOT tighten at all

      2. So Cal Gal
        We are transplants from No Cal, not that that has anything to do with dehydrating food! Don’t know if I just got lucky or not but couple years ago I had dehydrated shredded potatoes and put them in a metal tin. I use Christmas popcorn tins, fruit cake tins, whatever is free and they usually are in abundance. Anyway, those potatoes were overlooked and sat in that tin for just over 2 years when I found them. They were delicious! Plan to make more soon and store the same way. Just dumped into the can. Maybe I will set some aside for 3 years and see what happens.

  16. I prevented a big mistake by purchasing smaller portions of freeze-dried “meals” and trying them out. Like back-packing sized meals. Glad I did! Many of the “recipes” were not good to either myself or my family. They looked good in the picture tho! I suggest strongly that before investing a lot of money in freeze-dried pre-made meals you try before you buy.

    I ended up purchasing only individual ingredients and they all taste really good even before rehydrating! Freeze-dried pineapple is addictive! I’ve also purchased from several different companies… really not a lot of difference. luv ya’ll, Beach’n

    1. Thats why i have canned veggies, fruits, and meats, i know what they look like, taste like, and what i can make from them

      1. Me too. I recommend individual ingredients to be mixed when preparing – that way the menu can be varied a little to suit taste.

          1. NRP
            I notice your favorite topic is food. Now I know what happened to Fito.

          2. hermit us
            OK, I’ll bite.
            (Tho even you may be too subtle for me.)
            Who “we”? “Conducive” to what?
            Does this have anything to do with Dave Brubeck?

  17. So Cal Gal & NRP
    Regarding jar attachment not sealing…just use two lids. ONe facing down, the other facing up.
    Then remove the one facing up.
    Works every time for me.
    Or I use my brake bleeder.

    1. HI JJ,
      That’s an interesting tip about the upside down 2nd lid – if I am having sealing problems I’ll give that a try. Thanks!

      1. The reason I read was the companies don’t always have the same distance from rim to neck(best way I know to describe it).
        The second lid makes the jar attachment fit the neck part better.

      1. this all happened after Lauren introduced him to Cinderella. He’s probably working on his elocution as well for their impending meeting.

          1. Guess I have to try dog treats in my freeze drier. I’m not knowledgeable about the best kind, but the bone shaped cookie types look interesting. Woooof.

          2. hermit us
            I never give treats to Bad Dogs.
            And as to your “freeze drier”—do you refer to the frozen landscape you call home?

            Will you share your recipe for your bone shaped cookies? Many of us have dogs. And they’re not all Bad.

          3. Cinderella
            If you go back to the June 19, 2107 article, you will see the frozen country side to which you refer.
            I have a freeze drier in my attached garage. It is going on two years since I began this type of food preservation and have had no regrets.
            I don’t prepare dog treats but only pick up them occasionally if in a town with a pet supply store.

          4. hermit us
            Interesting article. Your comments, included. And I agree with you about storing in glass jars. With exception of long term/high volume amounts of things like wheat berries, white rice, etc—I prefer half gallon mason jars.

            I don’t trust any plastic/mylar long term & for me aesthetics is part of it. Here in earthquake country, breakage is a concern. I’ve rigged strong deer netting across shelves, held with carbiners for easy access—but in a BIG quake nothing will help. One of reasons I hope to get out of here & into country where the combo of quakes/wildland fires aren’t so ever present.

            Thanks for the tip. And just teasing re “frozen landscape.” (Pretty sure you get my sense of humor by now…)

          5. Cinderella
            Did you go back to June 5. I don’t recall any discussion of jars versus mylar but memory is not what it used to be.

          6. hermit us
            Not yet. It took forever, clicking back & back to find the 1st article. Is there a faster way? And no search feature, is there?

            Yes, there was discussion, by someone, re glass vs mylar. Maybe not your comments…

          7. @Cinderella
            Search feature is on the lower right side of the page, below the various ads.
            (Would be more helpful if perhaps Ken could put it up on the main menu bar?)

  18. Salt, as someone mentioned we will require a lot of it. Called the company “SALT WORKS” in Washington. They have a smoked salt that you could use for curing meat, it was not available when I was searching on line. The were out, but kindly sent us sample packages of their different salts, so you can try before you purchase.
    Not all salt is the same…before you stock up on the wrong item. This company provides you an idea of what you might like & can use if the ;-Pzzzzzz hits the fan.

    1. AC, went to their site they have some neat salts. My new favorite is Seitenbacher Dead Sea Salt. I buy it at Vitacost. cost is 3.59 for 8ozs. Has the lowest sodium I know of at 350mg. Great flavor too.

  19. My biggest mistake early in my prepping career was purchasing pinto beans, which I love to eat. After about 2 years I deceided to cook some of my pinto beans. And I cooked them almost endless and they never became soft and they tasted/smelled awful. So I have a lot of pinto beans and no solution for this problem. Help!

    1. Texas Boy
      I feel your pain! If a long, long soak followed by cooking in a pressure cooker doesn’t work, feed ’em to livestock. Worse case, add to compost. If somewhat soft, chickens will gladly eat them.

      As to beans, I’ve gone to almost exclusively organic black beans, which I buy by 25# bag from my local food co-op. Guaranteed to be current harvest. With beans, you get what you pay for. Learn to use them in lots of delicious ways now, rotate your supply, & plan on growing your own after SHTF.

      They’ve easy to grow in pretty wide range of climates—tho only available to grow as bush beans, which uses garden space. For me, black beans are worth it! But then, I cook a lot of types of regional Mexican dishes.

      1. @ Texas Boy….try crushing then rehydrate. Try a batch of some bean paste or a hummus type dish first. If it’s still bad, livestock it is.

        1. I have not noticed too many posts about food poisoning ranging from upset stomach to severe illness or worse. Perhaps this topic has a bearing on safe food storage discussions.

    2. Texas Boy….

      just for the heck of it, try planting some ..

      If they should grow, you can package them and sell them as seed at some garage sale.

      1. Unless packed oxygen free they should grow. My neighbor plants food bagged pintos every year. they make half runner beans, and are good for snap beans small and make good long storage beans when they go to maturity.

    3. Texas Boy,
      when cooking the pinto’s. I have some 5 years old and they are still eatable using this method..
      . wash beans, put in warm water and heat for 20 min until to a low boil… trun off, allow to sit for 1 hour, minimum to swell. turn on heat to burner bring to a boil. once to a boil. remove from heat and place in sink over a collander. add 4 tablespoons of Baking Soda… watch fizz, stir to bottom to encourage… rinse with hot water, as hot as you can get to sink until the water runs clear and there is no salty taste… add hot water to pot, plenty tonear top of amount for cooker…. place in pressure cooker…NO SALT until beans are tender…can add meat if recipe calls for it. cook 2x’s the normal amount of time at 10 lbs pressure unless over 1000ft/ then incease to 15#. .. after tme up allow pressure to excape, remove lid and check for tenderness. if beans are tender , season with(browned) rue flavored with bullion and garlic.. add and allow to simmer and thicken for 10 min. If beans are not tender put on to pressure for 30 more min. OR If you choose to secure and have quick fix meals,.. can add seasoning to jars, onion and garlic, powder/granules, diced ham and can beans, processing in canner for 75 min for pints…90 min for quarts dependiing on family needs. I have done both ways. If you are going to can do not add thickeners to jars, just the seasonings, and mix those in a small amount of juice at bottom of jars, so they will not clump. I add a teaspoon of garlic granules and onion powder to each pint.

      1. I had some I pressure cooked for a total of one hour and 20 min….but they were 5 years old.

    4. I have really old pinto and white beans; like years old.
      I soak them overnight in a few tb. of baking soda.
      They cook in about an hour and taste great.
      I guess the bacon grease helps. :-)

  20. I guess what I like most about freeze dried food storage – I don’t have worry about temperature control. Red cabbage or raspberries look wonderful in jars at 90 degrees or minus 10 in the storage room. Then the best of all – the taste is perfectly preserved.

  21. Although it’s more expensive, I buy exactly what I use and eat daily now in canned and storable foods. It’s put in containers by use by dates so we “rotate” with what were normally buying anyway so there is little waste which actually is less expensive I believe in the long run. Also, if it’s coming up onthe use by date and we’re not planning on eating it we’ll donate to the local food bank so it’s put to good use, hence nothing is wasted…

    1. I went to a LDS CANNING class where we filled then sealed our own #10 cans with wheat ,rice and beans. They had a neat machine where you put the filled can on a round metal dish dropped a oxygen pack on top,put the lid on and then the machine sealed the lid down. Very cool machine and portable too.
      Opened and ate it about 8 years later. Fresh as the day we put it in the can.
      Those folks got mad skills when it comes to storing food..

    2. USMCBG,,, use to do #10s a lot ,at home ,,,got cans from restaurants ,,would cut them down over and over and reuse 5 or 6 times ,,with the kids out and away haven’t done that in years ,,,,offered can sealer to kids but no one wanted it ,,,to much work you know,,

      You can lead a horse to water but can’t make them drink

    1. @ Old Geezer….Only about a day or two. It hydrolizes like there’s no tomorrow and will turn to a soggy mess 😉!

  22. Mr. had to buy some MRE’s. Awful! I would need a huge supply of Zantact if I had to eat that all the time. He was thinking they were like the ones in Vietnam which he said were ok. Also we have some freeze dried meals from Wise and Emergency Essentials. Mostly full of carbs, sauce and sodium. Thus the freeze dryer purchase. I know I can do better.

    1. I have relate a humorous incident about my freeze dried food.
      I gave a visiting friend jar quart jar of raspberries. I first call we received was to tell us that her DH had put some on his cereal the next morning and loved them. Then, two days later she called to tell us that a three year old granddaughter found the jar and gobbled up the last half jar – after which she asked for more. It seemed to be a lot for a child but had no adverse effects and was certainly better than candy for her.

  23. I guess I’ve been stockpiling for 6-7 years. In all that time I have opened one can that has been bad – tomato sauce. It was out of date by about 1.5 yrs. After that I have opened other cans of tomato sauce with similar expiration dates that were still good.

  24. On a humorous note, while we were in the RV and had stuff stored in the house, I had my sewing machine in the pantry room. Two weeks ago I needed a needle and went down to the basement where the pantry is and opened the drawer to get the needle and found it full of macaroni! Lots of macaroni! A little chipmunk had snuck in while we were gone and made himself a nice stash! He didn’t get into anything else, just the macaroni. It is now stored in a bucket with a lid. Chipmunk has been banished to the out of doors! Funny, but it could have been very destructive and expensive! Lesson learned!

  25. When you inventory your food also keep track of the calories for each item and size. Use a spreadsheet to keep track so that totals can be used to determine how long and for how many people your storage will last. I base mine on 2000 calories per day and for 8. 6, and 4 people. Obviously for more people the less time.

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