When it comes to getting ready for an emergency, nothing says preparedness like food storage. Setting aside food stuffs for use in the event of a natural disaster or crisis is a wise choice. But getting started can be overwhelming with the many different kinds of food storage items out there. How do you choose which one is best?
Here are some of the most common food storage items and the pros and cons of each:
- Canned Foods – Canned goods are a good place to start. After all, they are abundant in modern life, and a wide variety of foods come in the canned category. On the other hand, canned goods often get a bad rap because many nutrients are destroyed during the canning process. For food storage, though, canned goods are usually less expensive, they have a relatively good shelf life of two to five years, and they can be eaten right out of the can. The disadvantage is that canned goods are heavy and take up quite a bit of space.
- Dehydrated Food – Heat is used to process this type of food stuffs, and the extreme heat removes the moisture in order to extend the shelf life. The shelf life of dehydrated food is better than that of canned goods, lasting anywhere from 10 to 20 years, but the key to getting the greatest shelf life is to store them in a cool, dry place. In general, dehydrated food does not taste the same and it also requires to be rehydrated before consumption. Dehydrated items costs much two to three times as much as canned goods, but they are lighter and do not take up as much space.
- Freeze-Dried Foods – Freeze-dried items are one of the best options for food storage. The process to create them is much the same as for dehydrated foods but a little different. Technology makes it possible to quickly remove the moisture from these foods so that the natural nutrients and taste are preserved. Plus, freeze-dried items have a long shelf life, up to 25 years. Although freeze-dried food is typically more expensive than canned or dehydrated food, all you have to do to prepare them is add water.
- MREs- MREs, Meals Ready to Eat, is another type of food storage to take advantage of. These pouches of items have been vacuum sealed and then sterilized with heat. They retain more nutrients and are lighter than canned goods but they have about the same shelf life. MREs are more expensive than canned items but about the same price as freeze-dried foods. In terms of quality, they are typically superior to freeze-dried food and can be eaten right out of their packaging or heated with water.