For years, we’ve been told to store our food in the fridge and freezer. This is no longer a great practice, and for many reasons, but one of them is because it can create problems in the long run.
We all have bad habits when it comes to food storage. But with a little awareness and a lot of willpower, you can easily avoid many of these pitfalls.
In a world where food is often perishable and easily spoils, we know how important it is to properly store our food. But what happens when we put things into storage incorrectly?
What should you keep in mind if you want to avoid wasting your food?
We know that not all foods are created equal, so we have a few steps you can follow to ensure you’re getting the most out of your food storage and avoiding wasting time, money, and ingredients.
In this blog, we’re going to look at 10 common incorrect food storage step that many of us have made—and the way that you can avoid them.
Storing Food That They Don’t Enjoy
One of the biggest mistakes people make is storing food in the cupboard which doesn’t appeal to them, that they’ve never tasted, or which they’re not familiar with.
That’s the most common mistake I see happening. I’m most likely going to refer to beans and rice in this post. This is an example that should be replaced with something you know comes to mind for your world.
If you are going out, everyone is saying stock some beans and rice. Beans and rice are good because they’re inexpensive and last forever. blah blah…
You go out and buy beans and rice, but you don’t know how to cook them, you don’t know if your family likes them or not, and you don’t know what to do with them. You may have wasted a lot of money.
You shouldn’t store foods that you don’t like. This is the time to maybe spend $5 and go get some beans and go get some rice and learn how to cook them, look up some you know recipes on the internet. And discover different ways that you might be able to fold that into your menu.
If you don’t already, you can decide, whether or not it’s worth stocking upon, whether or not you can get your kids to eat it, or whether or not you can get your spouse to eat it.
Don’t focus on foods that other people are saying are a good thing to stock up on, instead focus on foods that you currently eat and enjoy, because those are the ones that you need to stockpile.
Don’t Rotate Their Foods Stockpile
The second mistake that I see a lot is that people don’t rotation their food. If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to buy 10 cans of tuna, and then two weeks later buy 10 more cans of tuna, make sure to put those behind the first 10 cans or whatever is left of them, because it’s a first in the first method.
You want to use those ones that you bought first before you use the ones that you just bought, and you want to pay attention to the best buy date or the expiration dates, to make sure they are not spoiled. by doing this, it can help you rotate your food appropriately.
I’ve been getting questions recently from people who have gone to the store and bought 10 cans of tuna. They see it on the shelf and they decide to go get 10 more, and they notice that the best buy date on the new purchase is earlier than it is on the previous purchase, so you want to keep track of that, to see if you need to check expiration dates before you make a purchase.
I know it seems like a lot, but it’s actually pretty easy. Just glance at it when you go to put it away and then you’ll know which ones to use first.
If you keep buying 10 cans of tuna and after a year the ones you bought first are all the way in the back, they’re not going to be good, that’s why you must rotate this.
You want to make sure that you keep track of the ones that you bought first upfront and the ones that you bought last in the back, and rotate them through.
It’s important that you get into the habit of doing it, instead of just tossing it in the cabinet, you want to make sure that you organize and make sure that it’s in the right place. Okay, let’s get this thing out of the way.
Storing Food Not In The Right Temperature
The temperature is the third incorrect food storing step that I see happening.
The things that are bad for food storage are light, temperature, and moisture, so if you’re talking about food storage, the common theme is light, temperature, and moisture. They say that you should keep it in a dark, cool, and dry place.
Now we’ve people that live in Arizona without air conditioning, California, New Mexico, Florida that have humidity, that have heat, with no air conditioning and a lot of people ask, what do I do with this?
It’s not that you’re not going to be able to eat it, it’s just that it’s not going to last as long as you’d like it to. It should be okay as long as the jars come unsealed. With the increase in heat, the nutritional value tends to decline.
When it comes to extreme temperatures, you have to watch your food storage containers to make sure that they remain sealed. That plays an important role.
⇒ Read my post about: Why is Proper Food Storage and Refrigeration Very Important
The heat can make things expand, it does play a factor in your food storage containers regardless of what they are, whether you’re a home canner or you buy most of the stuff from the store or whether you have things in five-gallon buckets.
The best temperature for food to be stored in is between 50 and 70 degrees theoretically.
When it comes to temperature play, what is worse, a constant 90 degrees or a constant 80 degrees? It is worse for your food when the temperature goes from 30 to 80 than it is when it stays at 80.
Now I’ve seen say 42 degrees to this, but let’s just round it up. Okay, 50 to 70, 75 degrees is the optimum temperature you want for your food.
If you can’t maintain that because you don’t have air conditioning, you’re going to have to add to what you need to keep an eye on it.
It’s not that it’s going to go bad, it’s just that you need to make sure that it stays sealed, it stays contained, and you may need to rotate it through a little bit faster, just because the nutrition value could be impacted.
So temperature is a very big deal when coming to the food storage step.
Not Storing Enough Liquid to Reconstitute Their Foods
It’s number four, not storing enough liquid to reconstitute your food.
let’s get back to the beans and rice, You can’t make rice without some kind of liquid, you can’t make beans without some kind of liquid, and you can’t make instant mashed potatoes without some type of liquid., so the liquid is needed for a lot of different long-term storage foods in order to make them edible.
Having water on hand is very important. So you can store a hundred pounds of beans and a hundred pounds of rice, but you’d better have a hundred gallons of water to go with them or a way to get that liquid to go with them.
So many times with canning, when you do a lot of home canning, there is a liquid created either by the product that you’re canning or added to the product that you’re canning in the jar. And so that liquid comes into play a lot when you’re using things that need to be reconstituted.
So if you’re making beans and rice and you want some ground beef in there, you can take the liquid from that jar and you can pour it onto your beans and rice, and add it to that.
So you know that there are different things that you can use that liquid in the jars for, and ideally, you want to make sure that you have water so the rule of thumb always is at least a gallon a day per person.
So make sure to store enough liquid to reconstitute those foods that you’re putting in your pantry.
Don’t Have Condiments and Spices for The Food That They Stored
Number five is condiments and spices, beans and rice taste terrible if they don’t have something else with them. If they don’t have stock in the rice, if they don’t have spices, if they don’t have condiments, then they will get boring very quickly.
You can make a lot of different meals using the same base ingredients if you add different spices and condiments. Take a look at your spices and condiments, see how much more you would need to add to the food that you have stored in order to change the flavor, to use them in, and to make it better a taste.
You can also do things like making your own mustard, It’s simple to make your own mustards, just a few ingredients and you’re good to go. A whole bunch of different food can be changed into a better-tasting meal with the use of mustard.
what you want to be careful though are the things that expire really quickly, mayonnaise, miracle whip, and salad dressing are things that do have a certain shelf life and you really have to be careful about the temperature that they’re stored in.
So you want to make sure that wherever you store your food it’s the safest and that it is the most temperature control, condiments and spices are necessary for good tasting food, so look at what you have in your refrigerator and your cabinets today, look at what you can store more long-term, look at what you can make from scratch and make sure to put some of that away also.
Not Having Enough Food Variety
Six is not having a variety of foods. Variety is the spice of life, it is really important. There’s a thing that’s called food fatigue, and if you’ve never felt it before, bless your heart.
That’s awesome because most people, I don’t think, have any idea how serious food fatigue really is. It is very real, it is very serious, and it can actually make you ill. If you have to eat a baked potato every day for the next month, I can almost guarantee you by day 10 you’ll say “I can’t eat another baked potato” and by day 20 you will actually start to want to be sick if somebody puts that baked potato in front of you.
Variety is the spice of life. Especially when it comes to your food storage. You need a variety of foods for your family, and especially for your children, to avoid getting “food fatigue”. Because kids will suffer from food fatigue faster than anybody else.
As an example a lot but you want to make sure that you’ve got that variety if you have to base every single meal off beans and rice, you want to make sure that you’ve got a way to change it from day today. Today ideally, you don’t want to have beans and rice every day. Instead, you want to have scalloped potatoes or stuffing or you want to have something else.
It’s good to have variety in your food storage, and I’m not talking about having 30 different meals with all kinds of different ingredients. You just need to make sure that you’re not being really really redundant with what you’re cooking and serving.
Storing Huge Food Stock
Number seven is storing too much food, I can’t believe I must say this but size matters. it does it really really does, In terms of weight and volume, you need to keep only the right amount of food to keep yourself comfortable.
For example; when you purchase 50 pounds of flour, it may be more affordable and it’s more of a prepared attitude to keep that 50-pound bag of flour in that 50-pound Bag, but it’s just not something you should do. You need to break the large items into smaller containers.
To make them easier to manage, to make them more manageable, to make sure that you’re going through them at the right place, to make sure that they are stored properly, and not being impacted by light, moisture, heat, and bugs.
Your purchase that 50-pound bag of rice, and then you break it down into smaller quantities, such as 5 10-pound bags or 5 10-pound buckets. You then want to make sure that each of those bags or buckets are sealed properly and contained, This will prevent anything from getting into them and making your rice stale. You now have more control over your food supply.
In my opinion, the ingredients are important. When I purchase my food, I preferably purchase in “pantry-size” cans. Which is about half the size of a number 10 can, and while I have to have twice as many of those to have the same amount as number 10 cans, you know I could have 10 pantry cans or five number 10 cans, but the number 10 cans I can’t go through all of that fast enough. by doing this I make sure to put the food in it at risk and becoming unusable.
Because I Know I Will Be Able To Use It At The Rate I Need To Use It. It’s just whatever you buy, however you buy it, what you want to do is, you want to break it down into more manageable portions, more manageable quantities so that you can use it, what’s best for your family.
Now what I typically do for my typical family of two isn’t going to work for your typical family of seven. So my method is different for your family than it is for mine. So food storage for your family is based on your family’s needs.
if you have a family of seven, you’re going to need to up your portions, and you’ll also want to think about storing it in a way that keeps it fresh and nutritious.
Make sure that you’ve got the buckets, that you’ve got the jars, that you’ve got everything that you need to put it into the proper portions, and that it’s properly stored in the right containers. Size matter!
Not Using Properly Food Containers
We’re going to merge right into number eight which is the food containers. There are various kinds of food containers for different needs. We’ve discussed some of them at one time or another.
I use mason jars a lot; for canning, storing my grains, flour, sugar, and such, and also use them for storing my dried herbs and other “perishable” bulk items.
I have two pints that I use for my spices. I have a half-gallon jar that I use for different things like crackers and flowers and salt. I use court jars to store crackers. I know it really depends on what I’m storing and what jars I have available at that time.
I use buckets that are food-grade, you can get those at Walmart. They’re around $3 per piece and don’t come with a lid, so you’ll need to buy lids separately. You could probably find these buckets normally near the paint aisle, though.
I’ve never honestly looked for the lids at Walmart, but I use Gamma Lids for everything, you can normally buy Gamma Lids on Amazon. You can buy them from Home Depot and a lot of Hardware Stores. So hunt around and you can find gamma lids for your five-gallon buckets.
The other thing is mylar bags. These are very very good for storing a multitude of items in, if you take that 50-pound bag of flour and you divide it into one-gallon bags, then that is perfect to seal those up, store them in a bucket and you’ve got your flour ready for you all ready for whatever you want.
⇒ Read my post about: Why Use Mylar Bags in Food Storage
You can take that one-gallon bag and empty it into your canister. Then you can use what you need. If you haven’t used it in a while, you don’t have to worry about oxygen absorbers.
Definitely breaking things down and putting them into the right containers is very, very important. So look at what you’ve got, what you need, how you can break it down, and the equipment that you need, to do it. It’s a little bit of an investment but it’s absolutely worth it in the long run, just to not waste money, to not throw money out the door.
Ziploc bags are not like Mylar bags, just in case you were wondering. They are not airtight, so you cannot store your dehydrated goods in there for the long term. You really do need to find an alternative way to store these things and you can store them in glass jars, you can store them on buckets, and mylar bags. You can actually use oxygen absorbers in five-gallon buckets with gamma lids.
⇒ Read my post about: Best Glass Jars for Dry Food Storage
Not Using Extended Staples
Here are the number nine incorrect food storage steps, not using extended staples. But wait! what are extended staples?
Extended staples mean that you’re not putting all of your eggs in one basket, you’re also storing dehydrated and freeze-dried food, home good,s, and store-bought food, you’re going to hit all of those different things so you’re not going to put all of your eggs in one basket.
I have chicken in jars, chicken in the freezer, I have fruit in jars, I have dehydrated fruit, and I have frozen fruit. I have vegetables in the jars, I have vegetables in the freezer, and vegetables that are freeze-dried. So, you see, you need to make sure that you’re not putting everything all in one basket.
You should diversify how you store your food. It’s really important to have a backup to your backup, in case one thing goes wrong. Make sure you have extended staples for several different types of storage units for your stuff.
Not Having Comfort Food in Their Storage
Last but not least, the number ten incorrect food storage step I see is not having quick and easy comfort food in their storage. It is about health, it is about not filling yourself with a whole bunch of garbage. So it’s in home-canned or store-bought it really doesn’t matter garbage is garbage.
But when it comes to storing food, it’s also important to take into account your health. You may be tired or not feeling good, or perhaps you’ve had one of those days. It’s always a good idea to keep a supply of easy-to-make meals on hand, and when you’re storing your food for an emergency situation, you might want to consider choosing foods that won’t require a lot of preparation.
I mean the whole time that I was home during the first shutdown, I cooked every single day at least once a day, we normally scavenge for the other meal but at least once a day every single day.
After about four months of this I was like “Please God, just give me a break!” I knew it was a big risk but could we get a pizza, please could we get a PB&J, anything so I didn’t have to prepare a full meal. Quick and easy food that’ll satisfy your hunger and give you energy so that you’re less likely to be cranky and less likely to have a bad day.
That’s why I always keep a stash of my favorite comfort foods in my kitchen. I call them “emergency foods.” You never know when life (or a lack thereof) is going to hit you in the gut, and having a little baggie of comfort foods on hand will help you get through those rough patches.
You want to find something that brings you some kind of comfort or pleasure, and a lot of us talk about “chocolate” or “cookies”.
I remember before last year’s winter hit, I vacuum sealed up some vanilla wafers, because when I was sick I had vanilla wafers and they helped my stomach, and it’s just one of those things you have in your “toolbox” for those unexpected situations when things aren’t going so well.
Now I’ve got crackers and cookies vacuum-sealed in there because they’re comfort foods. Sometimes life sucks. You know, some quick easy a fly again, quick easy comfort food, really goes a long way, and not having that in your food storage is a mistake, in my opinion.
I’m sure these are just the 10 most common food mistakes that I see on a regular basis I hope they have you take a closer look at your pantries at your plans for your pantries, for your food storage, and what you can do to kind of fill those gaps and take care of those issues ahead of time.
Remember only buy what you eat, eat what you buy, remember to rotate it through, eat the oldest first, remember to keep it stored at the evenest temperature that you can.
Remember to always have some kind of liquid to reconstitute the foods that require it, condiments and spices are your friends, you really need to get acquainted with them make sure to have a variety.
Size matters when it comes to storage so buy that 50-pound bag of flour but break it down into smaller amounts in proper storage containers, make sure that the containers are food safe and that they are stored properly. Make sure that you have your extended staples to make sure that you’re not putting all eggs in the same basket.
And then last but not least quick and easy and comfort those are really really important during very stressful times. i hope that you enjoyed this post.
I would love to hear if you have any concerns about long-term food storage?