How to store your bulk food items.
Buying food in bulk can be good decision as you’ll pay less and have a hedge against possible shortages. Those shortages can occur whenever a natural disaster strikes or in a war. Read on for some tips on a how to store food properly and rotate your stock correctly.
Your needs — Firstly, you’ll need to estimate how much food you want to store and for how long. For example, if you have a family of six and would like to have a six month supply of food on hand, then you’re going to need a large storage area, one that goes well beyond what your kitchen, pantry and stock room can supply. Most of your long-term food items will be dry goods, items that you may be able to store in dry basement, in a room converted to house these goods or elsewhere. Set aside your storage area, build shelves and buy bins to handle the project.
Storage ideas — Accessible food storage means putting your food where it can easily be retrieved and used. Your areas need to be well lit and sealed from outside access, particularly from vermin and insects. An assortment of storage bins and containers can be used to house dry goods. Label each container, but also label each bag or box that goes in the container. Describe its contents and the date it was put into storage. For example: Wheat Crackers, 05/01/2012.
Rotation and placement — Your food storage area should be well-marked and easily understood. If you cannot keep all of your food storage in one place, then assign different areas for various products. For example, legumes, whole grains an dehydrated foods have the longest shelf life and can last for many years if properly stored. Compressed food can be stored furthest away, perhaps in that back closet you have set aside for long-term use. For the rest of your foods, you’ll want to ensure that items that will perish sooner are up front and items that are newer are placed in the back — just as you do in the refrigerator.
Organize and systemize — You can track everything on a spreadsheet and reference that, but ask yourself an important question: will you be able to access your computer if the power goes out? Consider a dual system — one that allows you to keep soft copies of your information on your computer with hard copies kept in a loose-leaf binder or on a clip board. Create the tracking system that works best for you, but is also one that everyone in the family involved can easily follow.
Extend your plan — If interior space is limited or if you want access to more food, you can also purchase cans of seeds from suppliers. Unlike most store bought seeds that have to be used within a year if not months of purchase, seeds stored in airtight cans can last for three or more years. Those seeds can be planted in your garden, to provide fresh fruits and vegetables that can be eaten or canned. With canning, you’ll need to create a storage system and include these goods with your other foods.
A food storage plan should also encompass other items including ample amounts of bottled water, chocolate drinks, sterno cooking heat cans or a propane cooking stove, and even backup radios, batteries and weather alert stations. However you store, you’ll need to track it.
Reference: Managing Your Food Storage Space Wisely