Decide What Types of Food to Focus On…
Will you buy cases of MRE’s, tons of canned foods, boxes of freeze dried foods, or dehydrated? Or a combination? Learn how long the food will last using each method and which one makes the most sense for you. Preppers have lots of options, but here I will focus on the most practical and effective methods.
Freeze Dried vs Canned vs MRE’s vs Dehydrated Foods
Many preppers start by storing tons of freeze dried foods. This isn’t always the best method (not to mention it’s definitely not the cheapest). There are many options on what type of food to store. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks when it comes to prepping with each of these types of foods will save you time and money.
Canned food is by far the easiest to store as canned goods are readily available at almost all grocery stores. MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) are nice because each one will provide you with an entire meal! Sometimes the MRE will even include a chemical heater so your meal comes out piping hot. Dehydrated foods have a strong following as it can be done at home and also provides for a long shelf life. In my opinion, a varied approach is the best way to be truly prepared for any disaster. Whether it be an earthquake, financial collapse, hurricane, civil unrest, super plague, pandemic, or flood. Here I will provide some information on each including the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
Which Type is Right for You?
Choosing what type of food to store is important and you should do this by consider your habits. Do you eat a lot of canned food normally and would you be able to rotate through your supplies regularly? If that’s the case then focusing on storing canned food and rotating through it may be the best approach for you.
Maybe you are like me and don’t eat many canned foods normally and are unlikely to rotate through your supplies on a regular basis. Or maybe you just want to store the food away and forget about it. If that’s the case you may want to focus on a combination of freeze dried and dehydrated foods as these can often times last over 20 years when correctly stored.
Possibly you know that in a disaster you may have to quickly leave your house and bug out to another location. Maybe you will have to eat on the run. If that’s the case, possibly storing MRE’s would be the most logical. Decide what is best for you and your specific situation.
Ensuring Optimal Shelf Life
There are a few basic factors that will affect the shelf life of the food your store:
The basic rule is that you want to keep each of these factors to a minimum. That is because this is what affects the growth of bacteria in the food. Temperature, in general, should be as low as possible. Forty degrees Fahrenheit is usually optimal (see above sections for storage temperatures of specific foods).
Light should be minimal or non-existent (bacteria loves light). The food should also remain as dry as possible (this is why dehydrated foods last so long). One study shows that in most foods, reducing the moisture content by as little as 1% can DOUBLE the shelf life. Bacteria also needs oxygen to survive so reducing or eliminating oxygen in the packaging the food is stored in will also help.