This article was written by James Tolboe, co-founder of Valley Food Storage. James has always had a passion for his family and helping people. After researching the industry he realized that by teaming up with Bob and Wayne he could make a real difference working with Valley Food Storage. You can usually find James with his family up a canyon chasing his dog or getting his flies out of a tree.
When most people think of long term food storage, pantries filled with canned goods often comes to mind. However, we have to be very careful with what we store and buy. Things are not always what they seem when it comes to food storage; many products claim to be made with the famed 25 year shelf life, but when you start to read the label you will find ingredients that will not last more than 2-3 years.
Want to know what you should look for? This article will teach you.
1. Read the Label
When looking at long term food storage, you must first look at the ingredients. Can you pronounce every ingredient? Do you see words like hydrogenated, hydrolyzed, or Mono-sodium Glutamate (MSG)? These words, along with many others, indicate artificial flavoring, coloring, and preservatives that can be very harmful to your body, not to mention unstable.
If you have bought food, go grab it and let’s look at the label.
If you see things like cake flour, it only has a shelf life of eight months to a year. Keep looking. Do you see soybean oil, canola oil, hydrogenated oils or hydrolyzed syrup? Those all have a shelf life of only a year or two, yet they are being sold as 25 year food storage! Don’t forget to also look for things like whole eggs or dairy as well. These ingredients simply will not last as long as these food storage companies claim and you need to be aware.
To be shelf stable the minimum of water content in the food must also be considered. The FDA suggests dehydrated food, using any form of dehydration, must have a water content of less than 7%. The problem most companies find with following this mandate is simply cost. Making sure the food actually gets under 7% of water content requires extra time, effort, and power, creating a path for shortcuts to be taken. Unfortunately, many companies choose to take this route.
When shortcuts are taken, added preservatives have to be used. By putting in the hydrogenated oils, food storage manufacturers can extend the shelf life of lower quality oils such as vegetable, soy, and safflower oils. These oils have a natural shelf life of 18 months under preferable conditions. When chemicals and artificial preservatives are introduced, they can store for several years, but they have been altered to an unhealthy form to accomplish it.
When purchasing your food, make sure you do your homework and read the label. It may literally save your life.
Finding a manufacturer that believes in using natural, shelf stable ingredients means that they don’t have to use the artificial chemicals to preserve their long term food storage. The food is just as flavorful, healthy, and nutritious as when it was originally sourced. When you are looking for good ingredients, look for real food products that have been freeze dried and prepared to last. For example things like tomato or onion powder chopped or grated vegetables. Also look for whole foods like whole beans in the food, products that contain these types of ingredients will be sure to provide you the nutrition your body will need, when you need it.
2. Check for “Fillers” and Servings
Another thing to watch out for is fillers in your food storage. Many companies try this dirty little trick in food storage to make it seem like you are getting more then what is really in the package. Look close: does your kit include a powdered drink that’s responsible for half of the caloric intake? It’s true and it happens more then you think. There are many other types of products that assume that same role. Make sure you know what’s in the kit you choose to buy.
3. Is Your Food Protected?
Taking a closer look at the way your food storage is packaged is important for safety and protection. Most food storage comes in large white buckets these days. While the buckets look good, they are not what actually is protecting the food from the elements. When you open up the bucket you will notice that the food is individually packaged in plastic or Mylar type bags. This is crucial to long term food storage because if your packaging fails your food will spoil long before its shelf date. A few things I like to look for is the quality of the bag itself. Is it flimsy and folds easily? That’s a bad sign. Look for solid, quality bags at least 5.4 mm think so it will stand the test of time. I also really like the resalable option so you can one use a little at a time and still seal off your food.
The next thing to look for when it comes to packaging is how the provider is eliminating oxygen from the food. This will again provide the product a long shelf life as well as keep it fresh. If the company only provides an oxygen eliminating pack in its product, that’s really not enough to keep the food fresh. Look for a producer that fully nitrogen flushes its food to eliminate all oxygen in each bag.
Getting your food storage doesn’t have to be difficult. Don’t make the mistake of buying from the first food storage company you see and getting food that won’t be edible in an emergency. ValleyFoodStorage.com is dedicated to helping you with great tasting, long lasting, healthy food storage you’ll actually enjoy. That’s why our slogan is store food you’ll love to eat!
Valley Food Storage was established on the simple fact that there wasn’t a single food supply store that emphasized quality ingredients. We have a deep desire to bring the best quality food to you and your family as if your family was our own. Help us to bring the best-valued food to every home’s table.