A lot of people are storing food and there are many reasons to do so. If you are going to store food, you need to make sure that the food you store is adequate for the need your family expects. Most people make serious errors when storing food. These food storage mistakes will take a toll on their supplies and many will end up being hungry and dissatisfied.
Having a well-equipped pantry is becoming a common habit for the average American. The reality of today’s world is somehow forcing us to think about the future. A well-equipped pantry will keep you fed during a disaster, it will help you deal easily with unemployment and most importantly, it provides peace of mind.
Regardless the reason why you are storing food, there are some common food storage mistakes that you should avoid.
Food storage mistakes – Variety
This is the most common mistake and most people don’t have enough variety in their storage. They think that storing some basic items such as: beans, wheat, honey, sugar and salt, is enough to keep them alive. The reality is that most of us can’t survive on a poor diet for more than a few months.
Here are just a few reasons why not having enough variety in your pantry will decrees the quality of your life:
- Many people will develop food allergies from eating the same food meal after meal. For example, a lot of people are allergic to wheat, but the allergy is not triggered because they don’t consume the same food over and over again in their daily lives.
- Not having enough variety will make it harsh for young children to accommodate to a diet that is somehow restrictive. A moody kid is enough to handle as it is, imagine having to deal with one during a disaster or emergency situation when stress levels are high.
- Eating the same food over and over again develops food fatigue (appetite fatigue) and we will get tired of what we have in the pantry. We will lose our appetite and our moral will decrease, we will prefer not to eat at all rather than tasting the same food one more time.
- Young children and older people need to have comfort foods. They will not be able to handle appetite fatigue and they will get ill in time.
Food variety is essential when it comes to storing food and it’s better to know the preferences of your family members. It is important that you store flavorings such as tomatoes, bouillon and onions. Make sure you also include a good supply of the spices you like to cook with. Having various spices at hand will allow you to improvise and you can do many creative things with what your pantry holds. Don’t limit your cooking skills by forgetting to store spices. Make a list with what your family likes to eat and store the ingredients that are needed to cook tasty meals. In time you will know what items you need to store and you will discover what’s missing.
Food storage mistakes – Staples for the long run
You need to have staple foods that are vital even for the most basic recipes. You can’t cook tasty meals without items such as: baking powder, yeast, soda, cooking oil and powdered eggs. Store as many dehydrated and freeze dried foods as you can. Home canned and store bought canned goods should not be forgotten. Always go for the staple foods that have a high shelf life.
Suggested reading: Essential pantry foods to survive the worst
Food storage mistakes – Not enough vitamins
The body’s ability to store nutrients diminishes during harsh times, when we are exposed to a poor diet and high, constant stress. Children especially, will not be able to store nutrients as adults do. Having a good quantity of multi-vitamins and vitamin C is vital for a healthy life. You might add other vitamin supplements as your budget permits. You can look for foods that have an increased quantity of vitamins and an adequate shelf life. For example, goji berries are an excellent source of vitamin C and they have a two year shelf life. Do a little research about what foods have an above average content of needed vitamins and make sure you store these foods in your pantry.
Food storage mistakes – not having quick and easy foods
Foods that don’t require cooking or that require little preparation are ideal items for any pantry. These quick and easy foods will help you deal with any disaster scenario when you are psychologically or physically unable to prepare your usual meals. Freeze-dried foods, MREs and canned goods require little preparation and are a good addition to your pantry. Throwing in some bonuses such as Jello, candy, pudding, etc. will make your life easier through the years. Don’t forget about these foods because they have a good impact on your state of mind. Having them in your pantry will help to normalize any situation and make it more bearable. Psychological foods are especially important if you have children or if you have to care about older people.
Food storage mistakes – keeping a good balance
When people start to store foods they go in big time and they make the mistake of concentrating on a single item. They buy the same thing over and over again until they build up the stock they need. Don’t do that. You have to keep a balance and buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. Think of it like this, if you bought only beans, all week long and a disaster happens during the weekend, what will you eat? That’s right, you will eat beans with beans!
If sometimes happens and you have to live on your present pantry, you’ll cope better with the situation if you have a one month supply of various items than a year’s supply of three or four items. Budget also plays an important role when buying food for your storage and you need to make sure you have enough for all the items, without sacrificing some of your daily needs.
Suggested reading: How to stretch your food budget
Food storage mistakes – containers
People throw away a lot of food because they didn’t store it properly. Not having the right containers is one of the biggest food storage mistakes one can make. Food left in sacks or in the original boxes will become highly susceptible to moisture and pests. Always store your bulk foods in food storage containers and use desiccants to avoid any problems. If you decide to use plastic buckets, make sure the ones you buy are lined with a food grade plastic liner. Always go for the containers that have multiple uses, such as the waterbricks.
These can store water, dried food and ammo. Make sure your food containers are cleaned with water and soap before storing them in your pantry, otherwise they will attract rodents. Don’t stack your containers too high because an earthquake might compromise your food supplies. The lids can pop open or they may crack under pressure. Make sure you do your homework before choosing the containers for your food storage.
Food storage mistake – not using/testing your storage
We have a full pantry and we are proud of what we managed to achieve, but most of us aren’t putting our own work to the test. People are storing foods without knowing what to do with it. It’s important that all your family members become familiar with the items from your pantry. You’re not the only one that needs to know how to prepare the food. Every member of your family should be able to make a tasty meal with what you’ve stored. A stressful disaster scenario is not the time to change your diet or learn how to cook.
You should put your pantry to the test and I suggest you do it sooner rather than later. Try to live one week with only what you can prepare from the items available in your pantry. Write down what went wrong, what you are missing and how the overall experience was. Based on this experience you will discover what you need to add to your pantry and what the items you need to cut off are. Most importantly, you will have time to make the needed corrections. Putting your pantry to the test is a good method to discover if you can improvise while cooking.
Food storage mistakes – not having a decoy pantry or a plan B
Putting all your eggs in one basket is not a good idea. Especially if there are desperate people out there, people that will do anything for food. Having a plan B when it comes to your food storage is a good idea. You never know when you can lose it all. Any disaster scenario that will disrupt the food supply chain and make food scarce will create desperate people. Even if martial law is declared and things will seem under control, your food will become propriety of the government and they will not hesitate to take it. Regardless the scenario we might face, you must understand that your food is a precious resource that will make you a target.
This is why I suggest having a pantry decoy and using it as a precautionary method. Having a decoy pantry means you need to hide the majority of your food items (at least 80%) and keeping the rest in plain sight. Or at least not putting a big effort in “hiding” them. This way, if a home intrusion occurs, you can give up these supplies without risking your safety. You will have to put up a show to be convincing enough so that the intruders don’t search for other supplies. Remember to always use for your decoy pantry only the items that have a shorter expiration date, the ones you can make do without.
Suggested article: Essential Tips to keep your pantry safe
You will have a well-stocked pantry and enough food if you avoid the food storage mistakes listed above. Food storage shouldn’t be complicated and it should be just an easy precautionary method that will help you face harsh times. Most food storage mistakes are made because people lack the proper knowledge. It’s better to inform yourself before starting your food storage and you should make sure you have enough food to last you a long time.
Stay safe and God Bless!
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