Having enough food for your household for emergencies is important for survival. However, you can’t expect certain goods that you stored ten years ago to still be viable. Knowing when each food item in your storage will last before it goes rotten. Instead of waiting for this to happen and throwing them out, you and your family should eat it and then replace it with fresh ones. This is what’s called rotating your inventory.
Creating a Chart of Your Inventory
The first thing you’ll need to do is get everything down on paper. The best way to organize this is by using a chart, such as one created by Microsoft Excel. This should showcase the foods you have in stock, along with their expiration dates. Here is a typical look into how long certain foods last:
Veggies last 2+ years when canned and one to two years frozen (longer when vacuum packed). When dehydrated veggies can last one to two years and 25+ years when freeze dried.
Meat can last 2+ years when canned and one two years when frozen, dehydrated or freeze dried.
Fresh eggs are a bit iffy for storage, just follow the expiration date of the carton.
Scrambled eggs can last 25+ years when freeze dried.
Egg crystals can last seven years when freeze dried.
Powdered milk can last 10 to 20 years when dehydrated or freeze dried.
Cheese can last one to two years when frozen, although the texture of it will become grainy. If freeze dried, cheese can last 25+ years.
Other items that can be stored for a long period of time include beans, rice, pasta and grains.
Storing Spices and Sauces
Having flavor for the food that you cook when stuff finally does start to hit the fan, so you’re going to need to store sauces and spices. When you vacuum pack spices and herbs, they can last a lot longer. You can also dehydrate sauces and it can then be turned into a powder and then placed in bags and bottles to be stored for the long term.
Rules for Rotating Food Storage
Keeping track of the food that you have stored is necessary if you don’t want to end up having to throw things out. Once you have stocked up your pantry with food, you will need to consume the oldest foods first. You can follow the FIFO rule (first in, first out) for the freezer, refrigerator and pantry. So when you are stocking up the fridge and cabinets with food after grocery shopping, you’ll want to put the new items behind what’s already in there. This will reduce the amount of food that ends up going bad.
When you have leftovers, it should be placed in a container that is marked and dated. Make sure the container is sanitized and placed into the freezer. Any leftovers that are left in the refrigerator should be thrown out within 48 hours.
There are special shelves that you can purchase that help you to keep the old and new food products in the right order. The cans simply roll down behind the older products. Otherwise, you can use a black marker to place a date on the cans and packages before putting them up. This will allow you to quickly see which food should be consumed first.
Learn the Real Shelf Life of Foods
The way food is prepared, packaged and stored will determine its shelf life. As mentioned, freeze-dried and a lot of dehydrated foods can last up to or more than 25 years. Short term shelf life foods are usually kept inside of pantries and cabinets. You should have about three months’ worth of short-term shelf life foods in your pantry. So, make sure to keep any eye on the rotation of these foods to avoid spoilage.
Then for the long-term shelf life foods, you can place them in closets, rooms or basements where they can sit for years or until you need to consume them. You can really stock up on these items, so that you and your family have food to last even more months after the short-term food has been devoured.
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