STORAGE AND PRESERVATION
AND PRESERVING FOOD
object of food preservation, aside from storing your foods
and making them last longer, is to prevent the growth of
bacteria, yeast and fungi. If food is not preserved correctly
it can cause botulism and other sickness that you don't
want to experience.I will discuss a few different ways to
preserve foods, but the way you choose to do this is up
to you and may require more research on your part, as it
would be impossible for me to cover all of them in one article.
Here are different methods of preserving food for you to
storage should consist of a year’s supply
of basic food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel.
After this goal has been reached, emergency and
expanded storage should begin.
The choice of storage foods depends on availability,
nutritive value, cost, storage qualities, and
other considerations. Store foods that the family
is willing to eat. In times of stress, it may
be difficult to eat unfamiliar or disliked foods.
Store a variety of foods, as no single food has
all the essential nutrients in the correct proportions.
Store the highest quality or grade of food obtainable.
For example, wheat should be cereal grade, double
cleaned, at least 11 percent protein, and no more
than 10 percent moisture.
Store foods in sturdy metal, plastic, or glass
containers with tightly fitting lids. Sturdy wooden,
straw, or earthenware containers may also be used,
but a plastic bag liner would help protect the
food from possible contamination.
Store foods in areas that permit easy access and
allow control of temperature and humidity. (In
general, cool temperatures prolong storage life
and quality.) Not all storage items should be
located in one area of the house; not all should
be stored in one type of container.
To destroy insects that may infest grains, nuts,
dried fruits, or other foods, place the food in
temperatures of 0° F. (or below) for four
days. As an alternative, the food may be sterilized
by being heated at low temperature (around 200°
F.) for about one hour, depending on the nature
of the food. Spread the food on shallow pans so
that the heat can penetrate easily. Stir the food
occasionally to keep it from scorching. Dry ice
kills most adult insects and larvae, but it probably
will not destroy the eggs or pupae. Pour two inches
of grain into the bottom of the container. Add
dry ice; then fill with grain. Eight ounces of
dry ice is recommended for one hundred pounds
of grain, or one pound for each thirty gallons
of stored grain. Seal the containers loosely for
five to six hours; then seal them tightly.
Storage foods should be planned for and acquired
according to an orderly and systematic plan. Food
costs can be minimized by budgeting and shopping
wisely. Borrowing money to acquire food storage
is not a good idea.
Use stored foods on a regular basis to maintain
quality and minimize waste. Maintain a food inventory
and replace items as they are used.
one of the oldest food preservative techniques
that reduces water activity to prevent bacteria
•Vacuum Packing: The storage
of food in a vacuum sealed bag or jar.
out moisture in meat through a process called
osmosis. The meat is cured with salt or sugar
•Sugaring: Used to preserve
•Smoking: Used by exposing
meat to smoke off of materials such as wood
•Pickling: Pickling is
a method of preserving food in an edible anti-microbial
liquid. Typical pickling agents include brine
(high in salt), vinegar, alcohol, and vegetable
oil, especially olive oil but also many other
•Canning and Bottling:
Canning involves cooking food, sealing it in sterile
cans or jars, and boiling the containers to kill
or weaken any remaining bacteria as a form of
•Jellying: Food may be
preserved by cooking in a material that solidifies
to form a gel. Such materials include gelatine,
agar, maize flour and arrowroot flour.
•Potting: A traditional
British way of preserving meat (particularly shrimp)
is by setting it in a pot and sealing it with
a layer of fat. Also common is potted chicken
liver; compare pâté.
of moisture from food
•Freeze Drying: To preserve
food by rapid freezing and vacuum drying.
this article I have chosen to discuss food dehydration
as a source of preserving your foods.
There are many different benefits to food dehydration.
Dehydrating is another low cost way to preserve
foods that you can't or don't want to jar. Or
perhaps you have an over abundance of a fruit
or vegetables and no way to can them, then this
might be the way to go for you! This way is very
good for a person who doesn't have a lot of space
to store foods and is also a worry free way to
save your foods and not be concerned with botulism.
Selection and Preparation:
•Select your fruits or vegetables carefully.
You don't want any that are bruised. You want
fruits that are ripe and ready to eat.
•Cut your food selections into pieces as
you would serve them. For example, you would slice
bananas, but with apples you could slice them
or cut them into rings. Keep food evenly sliced
is size and in thickness. Slices cut at about
1/4 inch to 1/8 inch usually dry more quickly
than thicker cut slices.
•To prevent browning, try to stem your foods
or coat light colored fruits and vegetables with
acids such as lemon juice or a product called
Fruit Fresh before drying.
•Most fruits need some sort of preparation
before drying. Most fruits do not need to be peeled
before drying, but things such as cherries or
tomatoes have a waxy peel so would need to be
cracked also known as blanched. Blanching means
to scald or parboil in water or steam in order
to remove the skin. Apples are peeled, cored and
sliced. Peaches would be cut in half and pitted.
Here is a good place to get an idea of how to
prepare different sorts of fruits.
•Dehydration Equipment: Selecting the right
equipment that is good for you is important. The
three most common ways to dehydrate are using
a conventional oven, a store bought dehydrator
or using the sun. If you purchase one please make
sure to read the directions. Drying times with
each method will vary.
•You want to maintain a temperature of 130F-140F
degrees. The important thing to have is air circulation.
The circulating air removes the moisture from
your foods to prevent spoilage. The drying temps
of 130F-140F allow for fast removal of moisture
to seal in flavor and nutritional values. If you
don't have proper air circulation or the temperatures
are not correct, that will allow unwanted changes
in your food you might not like, such as texture,
color or flavor changes.
•If dried correctly, your food should be
leathery, hard or brittle.
Conditioning Your Fruit:
This process is done after you dry your fruit.
•Conditioning is a process used to equalize
the moisture to reduce the risk of mold growth.
•When you remove your fruit from your dehydrator,
it might still contain some moisture due to its
positioning or thickness in the machine.
•After being dried, allow the fruit to condition
for about 8-10 days. To condition the fruit, take
the fruit that has cooled completely and pack
it *loosely* in plastic or glass jars. Seal the
container and let it condition. The excess moisture
will be absorbed by the drier pieces.
•Gently shake the jars daily to loosen the
fruit so it doesn't become compacted.
•Check the moisture in the jar. If you begin
to see condensation in your jar, remove the fruit
and return it to your dehydrator.
•After conditioning you may then package
and store your fruit.
Packaging Your Fruits and Vegetables:
•The amount of food you package in one container
is completely up to you. We like to package ours
in amounts we think we might eat, because once
your food is re-exposed to air and moisture, the
quality of the food and its nutrients will lower.
•Choosing how you package your food can
depend on what you are packaging. Metal cans,
glass jars or plastic containers are all acceptable
ways for storing dried foods. Plastic bags are
acceptable as well, but are not mouse, bugs or
pet proof. Foods that have been sulfured should
not touch metal cans so make sure and place it
in a bag first and then in the metal container.
Storing Your Finished Products:
•Store in a cool, dark, dry place and use
within 6-12 months after packaging. Most dried
fruit will last about a year if stored at 60F
and 6 months at 80F. I would not recommend storing
in the garage.
•Storing your foods in glass jars or containers
is ideal so you can check your foods moisture
frequently. If you see any condensation but no
spoilage then eat immediately or re-dry. Anything
with mold or that smells bad should be thrown
BAGS FOR FOOD STORAGE
FOOD STORAGE USING PLASTIC BUCKETS AND MYLAR BAGS
food in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers is one
of the best ways to store your emergency foods.
A Mylar bag is a vapor barrier bag that blocks
oxygen, moisture and light, the three big enemies
of food storage. Think of it as a flexible metal
can. Many preppers get by just fine with using
only food grade buckets and oxygen absorbers.
Most foods will keep for years stored that way.
Plastic buckets are generally used for bulk storage
because they're fairly rodent proof. They tend towards
water impermeability, but they're not always great
at that. What they really do is keep the mice and
rats out of your food. Important thing, right?
The second layer of the food storage is a plastic
Mylar bag. Mylar evolved out of the NASA space
program and is a really cool material which is
used everywhere. It's an interior layer of polyester
and an exterior layer of evaporated aluminum that
has the ability to keep all moisture out of the
things you store inside it. It is not, however,
strong enough to be used on its own - you need
an exterior layer.
The third thing that goes into many Mylar bags
is something to kill bugs. I use oxygen absorbers.
You can purchase these purpose made, or you can
simply buy off the shelf hand warmers at the end
of the winter season. Either way, the iron filings/powder
will reduce the amount of oxygen left in the bag
after it is sealed, thus reducing the ability
of vermin to live in your stored food.
1- Get plastic buckets. Food grade plastic
will not leach any chemicals into your stored
food. Other buckets might. Use these at your own
risk and with your own best judgement.
2 - Purchase Mylar bags and insert into
the bucket. Fill with what ever food product you
Step 3- Open O2 absorber and
toss into bucket.
Step 4- Press all the air you
can out of the top of the bag.
Step 5 - Have, on hand, a hot
iron and a board. Flatten out bag at its seams
and use iron to seal the bag. Mylar adheres to
itself with heat, so just iron it shut and double-check
that no air is able to get in and out - I do this
by flattening the whole thing down as I fold the
extra material into the bucket. If there is a
little bubble of air pressing back at me, it's
a good seal. Alternately, you could pull the extra
material up and see if it sucks air back down
into the bag.
Step 6 - Put lid on bucket
Step 7 - Label and date so that
you can rotate the stock.