I wanted to give a little overview post on some basic food storage techniques. I’m not going to go too deep though, this will just touch on dry storage and canning. For many, this is a boring topic, but it is essential.
Because it’s an easy one, we’ll first look at dry storage, specifically dry bulk storage. The reason for this is that commercially- as well as home-canned goods are going to get old after awhile. You’re going to want variety because “food fatigue,” eating the same thing day in and day out, really sucks. Plus, there’s something about a home cooked meal that helps with morale.
So what kinds of things are we talking about here? Things like dried beans, whole grains, and dehydrated or freeze dried fruits and vegetables. One of the upsides is that not only do properly stored dry goods last for a long time, like so many other things, it’s cheaper when you do it yourself.
What do you need to store bulk dry goods? Just a few basic things: mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and a clothes iron. Just place what you’re storing into the bag, drop in an O2 absorber, squeeze as much air out as possible, and then seal the bag shut with the iron. You’ll need to make sure that the O2 absorbers are of the appropriate size for the mylar bags you’re using. I recommend Discount Mylar Bags, as I’ve used their products for several years with great success.
Here’s a good video that demonstrates how to store food in mylar bags:
Home canning is more involved, but it’s a great way to preserve all manner of fresh foods. While pressure canning is not that really that difficult, I can not stress enough the importance of paying attention to what you’re doing. Paying attention and using quality equipment will allow you to safely pressure can your own food. For this, I’m going to make a few recommendations:
- Get a copy of the Ball Blue Book of Canning.
- If you’re not confident that you can properly and safely can your own food, find and take a local class on this art. The best place to check is with your county agriculture extension agent or community college. There may be other instructional resources in your area as well, such as prepping oriented stores or garden clubs.
- Get a quality canner. A cheap one is fine for starting out, but if you want one that will last, get an All American canner (I have an All American 921). It’s American Made and built like a tank…your great grandchildren will be using it.
- Regular canning lids are meant to be disposable. That’s not a problem when normal manufacturing and supply chains are functioning, but if you anticipate a situation in which the availability of replacement lids is questionable, consider having a good stock of Tattler Reusable Canning Lids.
If you have questions, feel free to drop me a comment. Happy food storing!