3 Long-Term Food Storage Tips for Survivalists
Most of you have seen McDonald’s food experiments in which hamburgers and fries look exactly the same years after sitting around at room temperature. Even insects and fungus won’t eat these “frankenfoods,” so they last seemingly forever regardless of environmental conditions. But to survive a societal breakdown, it’s essential we preserve real food correctly. There are three primary ways to preserve food long-term, while keeping it readily available to consume.
Astronauts, military personnel and members of various other groups adopted freeze-dried foods as common cuisine soon after the process (technically called lyophilization) became widespread during World War II. Nestle first introduced its Nescafe freeze-dried coffee in 1938, which led to several other companies introducing similar products.
Freeze drying entails using dry ice, liquid nitrogen or some other refrigeration method. The frozen products are then placed inside a vacuum apparatus that removes nearly all of its water. No preservatives are needed, because there is no moisture present for fungus, bacteria or other microbes to thrive. Conversely, dehydrated foods have only 50 percent or less of water removed. Thus the shelf life of freeze-dried foods can extend up to 30 years, whereas dehydrated food lasts anywhere from one to eight years.
Though freeze-drying is a great way to preserve and store food, it’s also very expensive. A home freeze-drying unit costs around $4,000. Those who are serious about this method of food storage and preservation should search Alibaba.com for deals on home freeze-drying units.
There are two basic types of canning: water bath and pressure. Highly acidic foods such as fruits, jams, pickles and condiments are best preserved by the water bath method. Pressure canning is for meats.
The key to effective water canning lies in the jars themselves. Make certain there are no cracks, rough rims or anything that will prevent the jars from being sealed properly. The process starts by heating the jars so you can add hot food to them without the risk of cracking. Prepared foods are then put in jars, air bubbles are removed as necessary, and then the heating process finishes it. It’s best to watch a few videos if you’ve never done any canning before.
Pressure canning is similar to water bathing, but again, it’s best to watch a video or two on it first. But pressure canning is simple enough to do with minimal tools and power. It’s especially useful for those who raise chickens, rabbits and other meat animals.
Ready-to-eat, well-preserved food provides convenient meals that are a lot easier to prepare than you might think. Whether making beef, chicken, turkey or even fish jerky, the process is the same.
Your meat should be lean and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips. The marinade is entirely up to you, but Worcester and soy sauce, along with salt and pepper are typically enough. Let it all sit for at least 24 hours. You can cook the meat in one of two ways: directly on your oven rack and baked at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or in an at-home food dehydrator. Cooking time will span two to six hours. When you’re done, you’ll have fresh jerky that will keep for years.
Long-term food storage and preparation gives you a feeling of freedom and liberty like nothing else. It also happens to be a fun, enlightening activity.
The preceding article was a guest contribution to thepreparedninja.com.