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Friday, March 23, 2012

Long Shelf Life Food Options

Many people purchase long-shelf-life food for convenience, so that they'll always have staples on hand, to save money by buying in bulk those foods that won't spoil, and to build up a long term food supply as part of their emergency preparedness plan. Whatever your personal motivation for looking into long-lasting foods, there are many from which to choose.

Whole grains, from wheat berries to rolled oats to barley, store exceptionally well in airtight containers in a cool, dry location. These grains can last for years and even decades in food-grade plastic storage buckets, especially if oxygen absorption packets are slipped in just prior to sealing the lid. Grains for more immediate use may simply be poured into food canisters on the counter or in the pantry.
Beans and legumes, in their dry state, are a very long-shelf-life food group as well. Some choices include black beans, white beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils, garbanzo beans and split peas. Again, these are very stable and simply need a storage container in a cool, dry place inaccessible to pests and where they are not threatened by moisture.
Dried fruit, such as raisins and banana chips and prunes, last much longer then their fresh counterparts and when properly rotated can be an integral part of a long term food storage pantry.
Beef jerky is one of the most appealing ways to preserve and store meat without refrigeration or a freezer. Properly made, beef jerky can last for years in a cool, dry storage pantry.
Freeze-dried foods, which range from whole entrees and meals such as pasta primavera and beef stew to single ingredients like chicken meat, green beans, cheese and powdered eggs, last for 25 years in their cans or pouches stored properly.
Canned foods, including tuna, soups, beans, sauces, vegetables and meals, typically have several years' shelf life from the time of manufacture.
Dry goods, especially pasta, are typically fairly long shelf life foods as well.

Check expiration dates when purchasing foods and set up a system whereby newest foods are placed in the back and older ones moved to the front of the line or top of the stack on your food storage shelves. You should store foods you eat all the time, and rotate individual items, using and replacing them so that nothing goes to waste.

With a well-planned, properly organized long term food storage system, you can both save money and prepare for a possible crisis in which you would need to rely on your stores for survival.

As you build your larder, make sure you know about long term food storage pitfalls to avoid. Find this and related articles on author Maria T. Miller's Survival Food List blog.

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