Emergency Food Storage - Storing Canned Food
My food storage plan started with canned foods. I stored some extra cans of the foods that I eat on a regular basis - a few at first and then added more as time went on. I now have enough canned foods for about 6 months worth of dinners.
A large percentage of my canned goods consists of soups. I chose the lentil soup because lentils are a good source of protein. Although their protein is incomplete, lentils can be combined with other foods to make a complete protein. Also, this lentil soup is quite palatable to me without being warmed up. So, in case of an emergency that involved a power outage, I wouldn't even have to heat it up.
To be sure I had some source of vegetables in my food storage, I added the vegetable soup. This was during my early efforts in emergency preparedness. I've since decided to dehydrate vegetables to store, as I'll discuss later. But I'll continue to keep up my stock of vegetable soup because of the ease in preparation.
I've also stored a few cases of canned vegetables, but I may just use these up and not replace them since I now have some dehydrated vegetables stored.
For fruit, I did try some canned peaches, papayas, and pineapple, but found that I just wasn't using them. So I'm sticking with bottled fruit juices for now, which I do use.
I also have an extra bottle of Vitamin C powder, which is important to have if you're not getting enough fruit in your diet. And I have some dried fruit stored in mason jars that will last a couple of months.
I don't eat a lot of meat, but for those who do, storing some canned meat would make sense. Corned beef hash and beef stew are a couple of ideas that come to mind.
Instead of canned meat, I'm storing beef jerky. This, along with grains and beans, will satisfy my need for protein. The jerky is vacuum packed and will last for about a year without refrigeration.
Tips for Storing Canned Goods
Don't forget that you'll need a manual can opener - having a couple on hand wouldn't hurt - in case of emergencies that involve power outages.
One of the most important rules of food storage is to "store what you eat, and eat what you store." There are a couple of good reasons for this.
One reason is that, if the time comes when you need to use your stored food, you don't want to upset your digestive system with new foods - especially at a time that will be stressful. We hear stories of people who stored a lot wheat and then, when the time came to use it, they found that they were allergic to wheat. Sometimes allergies don't show up until a person eats a lot of a certain food.
Another reason is that, if you don't eat what you store, your supply will get out of date and therefore unusable. This is where rotating your stored food becomes important. Set up a system where, for example, the new cans are stored in the back and the oldest cans are in front.
As you can see below, I've stored my canned goods in an old jelly cupboard in the basement. The way my system works, the cases on the right are the oldest. When I use up a case, I get a new one and put it on the very left and move everything over.
Temperature is a big factor in the shelf life of stored foods. So, in the winter when I have the wood stove going in the basement, I'll move my canned goods to an upstairs closet where they'll be cooler. And I'll also turn the cans over at that time to keep the solids from settling at the bottom.
Posted by Beth on Tuesday, July 25, 2006