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The 4 Types of Food Storage – Know your Options

Food storage at first glance can seem pretty straight forward: buy extra food in case of emergencies. It doesn’t take long into the gathering process, however, for extra questions to surface. “What kind of food should I buy?” “How long will it last?” and “What are the differences between all the types of rations out there?” are a few that come to mind.

Generally speaking, there are four main types of food storage to mix-and-match in your supply: dry staples, freeze dried, dehydrated and canned. Each has pros and cons, but here are the basics.

Dry staples are the base necessities of your food storage. These consist of things like flour, sugar, rice, beans, coffee, pancake mix, or even instant potato flakes. These dry goods can be stored for thirty years and over, making them the longest lasting part of your food storage. They are usually very heavy but are the most nutritious and cheapest kind of rations, and can often be purchased in bulk at many grocery stores.

Freeze dried rations are prepared by freezing the food, placing it in a vacuum chamber, and then drying off any excess moisture. They are often sold by specialist companies and online in nitrogen sealed cans, and although they are arguably the most expensive food storage option, they are healthy, tasty, and very light and compact, requiring only hot water to rehydrate. They also are advertised to last upwards of twenty years.

Dehydrated food shares many of the same characteristics as freeze dried, and is lightweight and long lasting. It also tends to be a more expensive option, and is often sold by specialty companies that market everything from dehydrated brownie mix to powdered milk and eggs, but it is less bulky than freeze dried rations and doesn’t spoil easily. Food dryers are also available to buy so that you can dry food at home, saving the expense if not always the hassle. Commercially sealed dehydrated food can last about twenty years if stored properly, however, while home dried food should be eaten within the year.

The fourth and easiest storage option is (home or store-bought) canned food. Canned foods are not only the most readily available, but they are easy to use and rotate out, and they often require no water, heat, or preparation. They are heavy though, not as portable, and have a minimum shelf life of at least three years although they can last much longer. Canned food is a durable and cheap type of storage, but we recommend that you buy them slowly over time so that your emergency rations don’t have the same expiration dates.

Military MRE’s and emergency food bars also get a shout-out and are good for emergencies, but are not intended for long-term consumption and are usually best used in 72-hour-kits.

Whatever mix of food storage you choose to stock-up on, make sure that it is something that you can use in everyday life as well as in emergencies. All types of food storage need to be used and rotated on a regular basis to keep everything current, and if you have a basement full of things your family doesn’t actually eat, then hundreds of dollars and pounds of food will go to waste in time. Store the things you use, and use the things you store.

***On a final WARNING*** Without a store of drinkable water to go along with your food storage, in an emergency it would be next to impossible to find enough liquid to drink, wash, cook with, and rehydrate any freeze-dried or dehydrated food for any length of time.

Prepare ahead of time with food and water storage for whenever it could be needed. Get Prepared Today!

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