Food Grain And Storage Methods that May Save Lives in Critical Times

4 min read

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?

Rusks/Photo Wikipedia

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. 

Preserved food in glass jars/Photo Wikipedia

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.

Jinhua Ham/Photo Wikipedia

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.

Biltong/Photo Wikipedia

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.”

The Thyrsites atun, a.k.a. snoek or “cape snoek”, is a long, thin, perch-like commercial food fish belonging to the Gempylidae family. It is found in the seas of the Southern Hemisphere. It is also known in Australasia as barracouta though it is not related nor should it be confused with Barracuda. It can grow up to 200 cm (78 inches) long and weigh as much as 6 kg (13.23 lbs). It is found near continental shelves or around islands and feeds on crustaceans, cephalopods and small fish like anchovy and pilchard. This species will form schools near the bottom or midwater; sometimes even near the surface at night. It prefers seawater temperatures between 13 and 18C. It is sold fresh, smoked, canned and frozen. It can be cooked by frying, broiling, baking and it can also be microwaved. It is prepared most often by grilling, frying or smoking. It is oily, extremely bony (although the bones are large and easily removed from the cooked fish) and has very fine scales that are almost undetectable, making it unnecessary to scale the fish while cleaning. Snoek has a very distinctive taste. In South Africa, it is mostly caught and eaten in the southwestern coastal parts of the country. It is traditionally served grilled over coals with boiled sweet potatoes. This is a regional specialty.

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.

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