Long Term Food Storage

There are 2 types of food storage. Long term food storage items are foods that will last indefinitely or for many years. These are also foods that will sustain life and are the foundation of food storage. They do not need to be rotated as often. These foods will sustain life.

Shorter term food storage items are those that need to be rotatated frequently. Their quality and safety diminish quickly. These are also the items that add variety and flavor to our diets.

This blog post will deal with long term storage and future posts will contain information about shorter term storage.

Basic principles of long term storage:

  1. Grains will last longer when stored in their original form. Wheat kernels will last indefinitely, but once ground into flour, the flavor and quality deteriorates quickly. Whole wheat flour should never be stored longer than a few weeks because the oils that are exposed in the grinding process will turn rancid. White flour does not have those oils and can be stored for at least a couple of years.
  2. Water is an essential storage item. A person can live longer with no food than with no water.
  3. Many of these items can provide a shock to the digestive system if the body is not used to eating them. Consequently it is a good idea to incorporate whole grains and legumes into our everyday menus so that our bodies are accustomed to eating them.
  4. Diminished flavor does not indicate spoilage. Dried fruit and vegetables can last for many years. Over time they will lose flavor, but will still have nutritional value. It is still best, however to rotate foods so that they retain flavor and nutritional value!
  5. Dried milk needs to be rotated also to maintain its best flavor (which admittedly isn't great to begin with). I have found that using it in recipes is a good way to rotate it without actually having to drink it.
This document from BYU has a lot of great information on the amounts needed to store per person for a year. It also tells the shelf life of each item.