Stockpiling food for over the long term is an essential aspect of preparing for any grid down disaster.
The best kinds of foods to store for a disaster are foods that are nutritious and that will last for many months or years in the pantry under good storage conditions.
There are certain foods that many people believe will fit the second part of this criteria, but that in reality are perishable very fast. These are the foods that you’ll want to avoid the mistake of stockpiling.
Here are eight ‘long shelf life’ foods that will actually go bad faster than you may think:
Many people have the idea that, so long as it doesn’t get moist or invaded by bugs, rice will last indefinitely in the pantry.
However, this is only true for white rice. White rice will last for years if it is stored in an airtight container that protects it against moisture and infestation.
Brown rice, on the other hand, only lasts for three to four months under these conditions. It will last only a month or two longer if it is stored in a refrigerator.
The reason for this is because brown rice contains much higher levels of oil content than white rice does, and this oil is at much higher risk of attracting bacteria and spoiling.
Several people are under the impression that olive oil like wine is a food product that gets ‘better with age.’
Long story short, it doesn’t, and most olive oils will last for a year to a year and a half at the maximum. After it’s been opened, olive oil will start to lose its flavor fast as well.
Most preppers understand the vital importance of stockpiling meat so they have a good source of protein for when the grid goes down, and chicken is usually a prime candidate for stocking up on.
That’s because chicken is usually less expensive than beef, highly nutritious, and can be included in a wide variety of meals and dishes.
That being said, you should be aware that chicken can be easily contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella. This is why you should always freeze it within one day of purchasing.
When frozen, chicken should last for up to a year, but even then you’ll want to carefully inspect it afterwards.
Herbs and Spices
Most kitchens have entire cabinets full of dried herbs and spices. Stocking up on herbs and spices may seem wise to help give your post-apocalypse meals a bit of extra flavor.
The truth is that while most dried herbs and spices will not spoil, they will use their taste within a matter of months.
As a general rule, you’ll need to replace your dried herbs and spices approximately every year to ensure that the flavor is preserved.
Ground meat, such as ground beef, is another type of meat that’s commonly stockpiled by preppers because of the fact that it’s usually less expensive than roasts, chops, or steaks.
Unfortunately, ground beef is more prone to spoiling than roasts, chops, and steaks, even when frozen. The meat’s quality starts to deteriorate after 3-4 months
This is because it’s much easier for bacteria to breed in the air pockets that are present throughout the ground beef.
If you want to keep ground meat from spoiling, you should start canning it using this guide.
This way it will last up to 10 years.
It’s also wise to use any ground beef you freeze within four months of freezing. While it can last safely longer than that, the quality and the taste of the meat will decrease considerably after that time.
Many people have a major misconception that mayonnaise is a long lasting food product that can stay good on your pantry’s shelf for years. The reason for this is because of the large quantities of vinegar that mayonnaise contains.
However, mayonnaise also contains high levels of egg, which makes it much more likely to spoil fast. This is why an opened jar of mayonnaise should always be used within two months of opening. Unopened, mayonnaise will last for around three months before spoiling.
Potatoes are not as long lasting of a food as you may think. While they can last safely for several months in a cool pantry, potatoes will lose their flavor within weeks and are best eaten within two weeks.
Once potatoes have been cooked, they will last inside a refrigerator for only three to four days.
To make potatoes last longer, keep your potatoes in a paper bag instead of a plastic bag. The paper will do a superior job of keeping light and oxygen out, and will be less likely to trap in moisture like plastic can.
Why not stockpile wine for the apocalypse? No, it’s not a necessity. Furthermore, even if you don’t drink, wine (and alcohol in general) can be a highly valuable bartering item following an economic collapse.
There’s an old adage that wine gets ‘better with age’…but that’s only true under certain circumstances. Only red wine can last for long time periods, while white wine will only last for one to two years at most. Furthermore, you need to keep red wine stored in cool and dark locations (hence why we have wine cellars).
Plan on storing your wine at forty to fifty degrees Fahrenheit at the maximum. If you store unopened red wine for two to three years at normal room temperatures, let’s just say you won’t want to taste it when you open the bottle.
If you were planning on including any of the above food items as part of your long term food storage, you may want to think twice about doing so.
So if the above foods are not the best options for storing over the long term, what should you stockpile instead?
Focus on canned meats, canned vegetables, canned beans, dried beans, oats, pasta and noodles, and white rice.
Additionally, focus on food preservation methods such as pressure canning and dehydration to help extend the shelf life of common food products as well.
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