Home SELF RELIANCEFOOD STORAGE FOOD STORAGE: TYPES TO STORE

FOOD STORAGE: TYPES TO STORE

by A to Z for Moms Like Me

When building your food storage there a different types of foods as well as different ways to store them. This post will go over some of the options.

Vacuum Packed

Some foods can have their expiration date extended by vacuum sealing/packing them.

If there is no air, there’s less chance of moisture or decomposing leading to molds. Using a vacuum sealing machine you can seal not only foods to put into your freezer (sealing them first prevents freezer burn), but shelf stable items as well!

Items such as cake mixes have an expiration date and are prone to mold on their own, but when vacuum sealed in a mason jar you can prevent mold growth and extend the expiration date.

There are mason jar attachments for some vacuum sealing machines, these are great because you can reuse the jar lid and ring- just unseal the jar, take out how much you want, then seal it again with your vacuum sealing machine. Sealing foods in jars is great for dry foods such as chocolate chips, nuts, cake mixes (you’ll want to have the powder in a bag inside the jar), and even candy!

Yes, I said even candy. Years ago I sealed a bunch of candy in jars- no more chocolate turning white! Imagine if you had to rely on your food storage, how nice would it be to have a few of your favorite treats preserved in sealed jars?!? Buy candy on clearance after a holiday and seal it! (you’ll want to make sure any chocolate sealed in jars are kept in a cool place, sealing them wont keep them from melting!)

See my video below to learn how to seal candy in jars:

Dehydrated Foods

You can purchase or make your own dehydrated foods with a food dryer. Dehydrating your own foods is relatively simple, it’s how you store them afterwards that makes the biggest difference. Even dehydrated foods need to be kept sealed in an air tight container to keep them safe from pests, moisture, and extend the life of them. (this is great when combined with the vacuum sealing option above)

Foods that are most commonly dehydrated are: fruits, fruit leather (fruit roll ups), and jerky.

This is a dehydrator similar to the one I have, and also an air drying one (no power) similar to one my mom had growing up.

Shelf Stable Foods

These are foods that are sealed and do not require refrigeration such as canned and boxed goods. Many items such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, etc. are shelf stable until opened which means they can be a part of your shelf stable food storage until they are opened and then will have to be kept in the fridge. There are some foods such as bacon crumbles (available at both Costco and Walmart) that are shelf stable until opened. The more items like this you can find the better because they wont take up valuable space in your fridge or freezer and you can use those spaces for perishable foods such as meats, dairy and fresh produce. Although shelf stable foods generally have a longer time before they expire, they are marked with expiration dates so you will want to be aware of those and make sure you are rotating your food storage as you add to it by a “first in, first out” system.

Freezer Foods

If you don’t have an extra freezer it’s something I would recommend putting at the top of your priority list/budget. You can get a small chest freezer for less than $200 new, and can often find them for sale online for far less used.

If you have the room, an upright freezer is really nice because items don’t get buried as easily which means less waste. Having an extra freezer will allow you to stock up on meat sales and extend the life of them for months.

We also make strawberry freezer jam that’s not cooked- which has a very fresh and delicious flavor, but it has to be kept in the freezer or fridge at all times.

Other foods you can freeze when purchased on sale include: shredded cheese (not blocks), butter, sliced fruits/veggies, freezer meals, and even milk- although for the amount of space milk takes up and the cost only being a few dollars per gallon it’s not the wisest item to freeze in my opinion.

Freeze Dried

If you’ve never heard about freeze dried items you’ll want to check them out! Freeze dried foods are by FAR my favorite and the one I recommend the most due to the longest shelf life, highest nutritional value, and best flavor.

Our family has a freeze dryer we use all the time, but I am also a consultant for Thrive Life.

My consultant link is: www.what8ate.thrivelife.com

Even though we have our own freeze dryer, there are some items that are more time consuming, stink up the machine, or better quality than what we could get so we order those things from Thrive Life.

When it comes to food’s nutritional content the order from highest to lowest is:

  • 1-Fresh or Freeze dried- the nutritional value is pretty similar, but in some cases freeze dried actually has higher vitamin & minerals than fresh
  • 2- Frozen
  • 3- Dried/dehydrated
  • 4- Canned

Freeze dried foods have a much longer shelf life than even canned foods and they are lighter in weight. Freeze dried foods can have a shelf life of 25-30 years unopened and up to 1 year after being opened.

Basically Freeze dried foods are fresh foods that are flash frozen and all the water is removed.

The Wikipedia definition is: “Freeze drying, also known as lyophilization or cryodesiccation, is a low temperature dehydration process which involves freezing the product, lowering pressure, then removing the ice by sublimation. This is in contrast to dehydration by most conventional methods that evaporate water using heat. ”

Freeze dried foods are just as good as fresh when it comes to flavor. They do come at a higher cost however, so if you choose this route be prepared for a higher budget.

Personally we do a combination in our food storage currently, but are switching over to more freeze dried as I earn free products through Thrive Life. You can usually get some unique items freeze dried such as sausage crumbles, eggs, all sorts of fruit and veggies that you may not be able to find a dried/dehydrated version of.

Butter, sour cream, yogurt and some of your harder items to have shelf stable such as meats & dairy are great to get. They will help you be able to continue to make amazing recipes & food without having to substitute ingredients.

Comparison Chart

Below is a chart of some of the differences between canned, dried & freeze dried foods. (note: this chart leans towards dried as the preference, but personally I disagree and would suggest freeze dried instead) The prices are also outdated, so the picture is just for some general comparisons.

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