Posts Tagged: storage
Are you prepared for and emergency? Do you have a 3 day supply of emergency food and water on hand? Do you have supplies for a week? Two Weeks?
Utah State University (USU) recommends one gallon of water per person, per day, for drinking and hygiene. If you live in a hot arid area like we do, you should store more water per person, per day. And don't forget food and water for your household pets and/or livestock!
The home canner has a wonderful resource at her/his fingertips: home canning experience and skills. A home canner can preserve food at home by pressure and boiling-water bath canning and dehydration to store in an emergency. If home preserved in glass jars these supplies would be specifically stored in a place to minimize jar breakage and maximize access during the emergency. You can keep three day food/water kits in your home or car trunks, to be rotated in and out of service at regular intervals.
A home canner can also preserve water. Water, as it comes from a municipal supply, is good to store in food-safe gallon jugs (page 1), according to USU; just fill from the tap and screw on the lids. To increase safety for longer term storage, water may be heat treated in sealed jars as instructed in "Water: Storage and Emergency Use", page 2, from the USU. Sounds like a good use for all those quart jars so often see in thrift shops.
The above is just a little information contained on the USU site "Food Storage". Please take a look and download their booklet "A Guide To Food Storage For Emergencies" for more information; just click on the picture of the booklet.
Moisture and oxygen are the two most important factors in spoilage or decay of stored foods.
Moisture in dried foods can lead to microbial growth and moisture around metal canned foods can lead to rust and eventually compromise the can.
Oxygen is an important factor in quality deterioration of many foods.
Oxygen absorbers protect dry foods from insect damage and help preserve product quality.
is a food-grade plastic with no known toxicities. Sometimes they are referred to as “mylar bags”. This type of foil dramatically reduces the transmission of oxygen and moisture through the film. To store DRY food, use oxygen absorbers and a vacuum heat seal.
Any glass jar with a screw-on lid will work for storing dried foods. Two-piece lid, Mason style jars are the safest for home canning foods.
Plastic PETE Containers
These are molded, rigged bottles made from the same material as the foil pouches. These containers have short-term oxygen barrier qualities. They can be used with an oxygen absorber for an extended life. Not dishwasher safe.
Only use buckets made of food-grade plastic with gaskets in the lid seals.
Note: Foil pouches, PETE containers, and plastic buckets are not rodent proof. If rodents or other pests are a significant potential problem in the storage area, foil pouches, PETE containers, and plastic buckets holding food should be placed into containers that are rodent or pest proof. Do not store food in containers that have been used to store non-food items.
(Nuts, brown rice, pearled barley, quinoa, sesame seeds and flax seeds)
Storing food can cause quality deterioration. Oily grains or seeds have high levels of oils, which are subject to rapid rancidity. The more unsaturated the oil, the more quickly it will become rancid. In other words, the healthier the oil, the faster it will deteriorate.
(Whole wheat flour, cornmeal, cereal, granola)
Milling or grinding makes the interior surfaces of grains accessible to oxygen. The oxygen then can catalyze an oxidation reaction leading to rancidity of the grain oils and causing changes to other chemicals in the flour.
Here are some DANGEROUS home preservation methods that are being circulated. Don't do them!
Home Canned Quick Breads
This is dangerous. A recipe for baking zucchini bread in a canning jar has been widely distributed with a 45-minute baking time at 325 degrees F. According to several studies, canned bread meets all the criteria to allow growth of Clostridium botulinum, which can cause the fatal food-borne illness botulism.
Petroleum Jelly or Mineral Covered Raw Eggs
This is a food shelf life extension (quality extension) method, NOT a food preservation method. According to some studies, there is a major food-borne illness risk if eggs are stored above refrigeration temperature (34-38 degrees F). To extend the shelf-life of eggs, mineral oil (often called egg oil) may be rubbed onto egg shells to fill their pores. This minimizes air and bacteria entry, prolonging their (refrigerated) shelf life. The key is that the eggs always be refrigerated.
Home Canned Butter
The methods circulating for canning butter have not been scientifically tested for consumption safety. .
Vacuum Sealed “Wet Foods”
Vacuum sealed dry foods are safe because of the absence of moisture. But don't vacuum seal wet foods because they provide optimal environment for the growth of botulism-causing bacteria. Many people see foods like tuna in a mylar bag and assume it is only vacuum sealed. It's not! Actually, it has been heat processed, just as if it were in a Mason jar, for low acid canning.
Note: To avoid potentially exposing your family to food borne illnesses, purchase commercially processed butter and eggs. Pressure can meat in a Mason jar or purchase them commercially processed. Make your own, dry quick bread packages and add liquids the day you intend to cook it; this will taste much better and be safer than the home canned quick breads we've mentioned.
Freezer Tips - When the Freezer Goes Out
In case of a power failure, check with the utility company to see how long it will be before power is restored. If your power is not likely to be on again within a day, you can do the following:
Check into moving your frozen food to a freezer that is working; you might have a friend or neighbor with space in their freezer for your food.
If there is no space available in another freezer, use dry ice in your freezer to keep your food frozen. Dry ice is very cold. Handle it quickly and always wear heavy gloves to prevent the ice from burning your hands. A 50 lb. bag of dry ice is enough to protect solidly frozen food in a 20-cubic foot freezer for three to four days. Put heavy cardboard on top of packages of frozen food in each compartment of your freezer and put the dry ice on top of the cardboard. Close the freezer and DON'T open it again until you need to replace the dry ice or the freezer is working again. Cook smaller packages that are beginning to defrost and leave larger foods like turkeys and roasts in the freezer, as these can serve as blocks of ice.
You can provide extra insulation for your freezer by covering it with blankets or quilts. Putting packaging material or crumpled newspapers between the cabinet and the blankets will also help. Be sure to fasten coverings away from the air vents on the outside of the freezer. The power may come on unexpectedly and ventilation will be needed.
If there is ample advanced notice of an emergency, fill food-grade water jugs with water and freeze them; you can use them to keep the food frozen longer. When the ice melts, you can drink the water.
“A Guide to Food Storage For Emergencies”, Utah State University: extension.USD.EDU
“What to do if the Freezer Stops” National Center for Home Preservation: nchfp.uga.edu
“Build A Kit” Food Ready: ready.gov/span>
Dry cereal, instant cereal, instant rice, crackers, granola bars, canned spaghetti/ravioli, wheat, quinoa, brown rice, white, rice, lentils, barley.
Canned beans, canned meat, shelf-stable tofu, peanut butter, beef jerky, canned soup/chili/stew, canned nuts, dried Beans, dried eggs/cheese/butter.
Salsa, canned tomatoes, dehydrated vegetables, popcorn, pickles, canned vegetables, corn, pickles.
Canned fruit, applesauce packs, dried fruit, jam & jellies, canned juice, fruit leather.
Pet food, coffee/tea, bottled water, boxed juice, cocoa packets, dried milk, comfort foods, pudding cups, sugar, salt, spices.
Designate a space for your long-term food storage.
Buy foods that your family enjoys that are high in calories and nutrition.
Slowly buy extra food each week until you have the desired food storage amount.
Your utilities may be out during a disaster, making it difficult to cook. Have a camp stove, grill, cooking and eating utensils, paper plates, cups, towels, and a manual can opener.
Don't forget your pets. Make sure they have food and water.
To prevent sickness, have a supply of soap and hand sanitizer.
Have a refrigerator thermometer.
Invest in plastic PETE containers and food-grade buckets.
How much Water Will I Need?
Be prepared with at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day. However, water needs vary according to age, physical condition, activity, climate, and diet. Nursing mothers, children, and ill people may need more. If you have enough advance warning about a possible power outage, you can extend the storage time of food left in the freezer by filling empty spaces with water to freeze. Fill clean, food grade containers with water and freeze them. Your food will stay frozen longer and when the ice melts, you can drink the water.
There are many types of containers for storing water. For safety, the ideal ones are “food grade”, meaning they are designed to hold food or water.
There are many ways to purify water. Some of the most common ways are by boiling, or using chlorine bleach, purification tablets, and filters. Before purifying water, remove particles by filtering it through paper towels, a coffee filter, or a clean cloth.
Rapidly boiling water for 1 minute is the safest and most effective way to kill all bacteria, disease-causing organisms, and giardia parasites, which can cause infections. However, it will not remove salts, heavy metals, or other contaminants.
Household Chlorine Bleach
Add 16 drops of bleach into one gallon of water. The water should have a slight bleach smell. If not, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.
As a general rule, unopened home canned foods have a shelf life of 1 year and should be used before 2 years. Commercially canned foods typically retain their best quality until the expiration code on the can. High acid foods (tomatoes, jams, jellies, preserves, and pickles), usually have a shorter shelf life than low acid foods (meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetables).
Rotate Food Storage
Always use FIFO (first-in, first out), meaning use your oldest cans first. Inspect cans before opening. Discard any badly dented, bulging, rusty, leaking cans or jars that have broken seals. Don't open it! Don't taste it! Discard it immediately!
If you open a can that looks fine from the outside, but the content smells or looks bad, dispose of as above. Some basic foods need more frequent rotation, such as vegetable oil (every 1-2 years).
Please go to next post: Long-term Food Storage Basics Pt. C
Here is a very good article covering the basics of long-term food storage. This covers foods to store, water and containers as well as what NOT to store, among other things.
Great article by Denise Turner, a fellow Master Food Preserver. Thank you Denise!
By Denise Turner, MFP, San Bernardino County
Food preservation and food storage, has been done by every culture and at nearly every moment in time. Food begins to spoil the moment it's harvested. Food preservation allowed ancient man to live in one place and form a community. He no longer had to harvest or kill immediately, but could preserve a portion for later.
Some anthropologists believe that mankind settled down from nomadic wanderers into farmers to grow barley to make beer in roughly 10,000 BC. Beer was nutritious and the alcohol was divine. It was treated as a gift from the gods.
What is Long Term Food Storage?
Long-term food storage consists of emergency foods for one or more years. Long term food storage emphasizes a mixture of canned and dried goods that can safely be stored for years.
Foodborne illnesses can come from three sources: PHYSICAL, CHEMICAL and BIOLOGICAL.
Physical Hazards include stone, glass, insects, or any other non-edible debris.
Chemical Hazards include non-food containers, cleaners, and pesticides.
Biological Hazards include all of the micro-organisms and bacteria that cause food borne disease, including botulism.
Foods naturally deteriorate as they age. The science of food storage and preservation has evolved with our attempts to slow down our food's deterioration. When it comes to preserving the shelf-life quality of foods, the primary concern is preventing spoilage micro-organisms from growing.
Oxygen is the next factor. Oxygen catalyzes chemical reactions that lead to rancidity. In most cases removing oxygen will extend the food's shelf-life quality.
Moisture and temperature are the two critical factors in optimal food storage.
Moisture: The humidity in the storage area should be low. If dried foods pick up moisture from storage area, mold, yeast and bacteria can grow, which can lead to spoilage and food-borne illness. Moisture can also lead to the breakdown of some packaging materials (paper degradation and metal rusting).
Temperature: The optimal temperature is in the cool and moderate range, approximately 40-70 F. If storage area temperatures are higher, rotate products as needed to maintain quality.
Other Factors: Direct sunlight or heat from the sunlight speed up food's deterioration and packaging. Protect cooking oil and products stored in PETE plastic bottles from light and store foods off the floor to allow for air circulation. Flooring materials, especially raw concrete, can leak chemicals into stored food.