Some countries are prospering and food is inexpensive. However, some countries like parts of Africa are on the brink of starvation due to environmental or man-made disasters, wars and the like. Food should never be taken for granted and nature teaches us not to waste unnecessarily. We should always be thankful, because, one can’t tell when there may be a shortage of grains and meat. This begs the question. Which foods can we store and how should meat and grains be preserved?
Some specially prepared foods can be stored for a long time.
Biscuits/ rusks are good for a start. Mostly composed of dry ingredients they are small, light and nutritious They are long-lasting too and can be stored for up to 3 years or even longer.
Cocoa, honey and some dried meats are all long-lasting and nutritious foodstuffs.
Some foods have a shelf life fo up to 20 or 30 years. There are companies today specializing in selecting, processing and packaging such foodstuffs.
Dehydrated foods have the longest shelf life:
Dried beans, 30 years
Rolled oats, 30 years,
Pasta products, 30 years.
Potato flakes, 30 years
Dehydrated fruit slices, 30 years
Dehydrated carrots, 20 years
Foods with a moderately long shelf life
Some foods last quite long, but not for decades. Unfortunately, the shelf life of ordinary instant noodles is only six months to one year. For a few months of short-term emergency, instant noodles are very good food. The expiration dates on bottles, cans, and boxes should serve as a guide. Pay attention to foodstuffs packed boxes or bags which are more likely to get spoiled due to moisture or bug or rodent invasion.
Dehydrating, freeze-drying, pasteurization, heat processing, curing and pickling are all methods one may use to extend shelf life. Generally, foods in tins and glass can be preserved for three to five years.
There are also some long-term canned foods that can be stored for 30 to 50 years. However, at the end of the day, it’s the foods that have the longest inherent shelf life that determines how long it will remain edible for.
Apart from metal cans and glass jars, another packaging solution is the use of large, 5-gallon plastic buckets. White rice, flour, sugar, salt, and other staples can be stored in bulk. The seal on the lid must be of good quality else your foods might get permeated with mildew.
Storage is critical in determining long shelf life. Cool and dry but not freezing is ideal.
Darkness is important for any foods stored in glass jars.
Meat and Fish
Ham sausage is also a short-term storage food. Generally, it can be stored for six months to one year.
The better one is Jinhua Ham. Even Jinhua ham can be stored there for three years. If sealed in a vacuum bag, it can be stored for five to ten years. Because it is a fermented food and has a large amount of common salt and sodium nitrite, it has excellent antiseptic properties and is extremely nutritious.
Beef marinated with a lot of salt and nitrite can also be kept for many years. In South Africa it’s extremely popular called “Biltong.”
Fish can be marinated and dried and can be stored for many years if kept dry. Coastal people often make dried fish from yellow croakers, catfish, moray eels and various miscellaneous fish. Cuttlefish can also be dried.
There are also various shellfish that can be stored for many years after drying.
Last but not least
Plan well and research your subject thoroughly. you never know when you may need it.