Conditions for Optimal Food Storage
This will vary a bit depending on what you are storing and how you have packaged it up, but there are a few important points to make that should apply to just about any scenario.
The section before this one has already covered containers, so you should already know the best packaging options. So now how/where do you store them? Of course, this is all for foods you are not going to keep in the freezer. Anything that is stored in clear glass jars should be kept somewhere dark, or at least out of direct sunlight. Other opaque containers can really be kept anywhere.
The most typical place to house a food storage collection is in the basement. This is usually fine as long as you do not have a very damp basement or one that gets below freezing in the winters. Damp conditions are less of a problem if your food items are well packed in sealed plastic or glass containers. A garage can also work as long as you have a fairly moderate and consistent climate that will stay above freezing. You do not necessarily have to have your storage food tucked away like this. Any spare bedroom in a house can be used to hold your supplies.
Just to keep things organized, it is usually best to store your materials all in one location. In a small home (or even apartment) this may not work very well, especially if you are keeping several months-worth of food on hand. You can store food all around your home but then you should keep a detailed written inventory of where everything is kept. Areas such as unused closets, on top of bookcases or under beds can all be utilized.
Rotate Your Stock
Part of keeping your storage food in ready-to-use condition is that you rotate it whenever possible. Any foods that have a very long expiration time-frame (freeze dried foods, dried beans or rice), are not that necessary to rotate. But any foods that should be used within a year or less should be kept in such a way that you can use the older items up so that nothing goes to waste.
Basically, you want to use up the food in your stash as you replace it with new items. Use up the oldest items first so that you have the freshest collection at all times. Specifically how you do this is up to you. Arrange your cans or jars on the shelf so that you add new ones to one side and remove them from the other is a good working concept. Mark everything clearly with created or purchased dates so you can immediately see when something is soon reaching the end of its safe shelf life.
Keep a clipboard with a running inventory near your stash so you can mark when food is removed or used so that you know when you need to restock. When you have a large number of food types in storage, and you use it periodically to keep things fresh, it is very easy to lose track of what you have. Since you never know when the next emergency will arise, you don't want your supplies to dwindle too far.
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