You get your oil changed every 3,000 miles, you go to your dentist on a regular basis to have your teeth cleaned and you go to your doctor for your annual physical but are you doing a good job of maintaining your food storage?
It’s quite common during uncertain times for people to jump on the prepping bandwagon and stock up on supplies only to neglect them shortly thereafter.
We saw this during the Y2K prepping frenzy. A perfect example during this time was when people who had never owned a generator flocked to the stores and cleaned off the shelves.
Unfortunately, after Y2K passed and civilization continued as normal, these generators sat unmaintained in garages and sheds all around the country. That was an amazing time to buy a used generator because many of them wouldn’t start due to lack of maintenance. More specifically, they were left in storage with old stale gas in their tanks which clogged the carburetors. Consequently, you could pick up generators that were practically brand new very inexpensively at that time.
How This Applies to Food Storage
Depending on the type of food items you’re storing, your supply of emergency food rations will need different level of care and attention.
If you’re canning your own vegetables and meat, special care needs to be taken to ensure that you don’t treat your jars of food like those unfortunate Y2K generators. It’s not my intention to tell you how to inventory your food storage in this article. If you’re putting up your own cans of food, you most likely understand the importance of properly labeling your lids with the appropriate dates.
If you’re buying specially packaged food storage that is designed to have a very long shelf life, the job of maintaining your food storage supply is easier in one way but in another, it could pose it’s own pitfalls. These types of items are great but it’s easy to become complacent and forget all about it because you may not be in the habit of cycling through your homemade canned goods.
Those who aren’t careful you just might end up with hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of food that needs to be thrown away because it isn’t fit to eat.
Something That You May Overlook About Food Storage
Even though it would seem like common sense to cycle through your stored food supply, many of us have very busy lives and oftentimes life tends to get in the way which leads to us accidentally letting food items expire. This is the most commonly overlooked thing when it comes to food storage maintenance.
That being said, there are other problems that can happen to stored food items. Maybe you got a puppy who figured out that he could chew through your food storage containers when he was feeling a little curious or bored?
Maybe some smaller critters have found their way into your emergency food supply stockpile? Rodents and insects don’t tend to have much respect for the fact that you’re counting on the food you have stored to help your family survive in an emergency someday. If they can find their way into your stored food items, they’ll eat it so that they can survive today without giving any thought whatsoever to your plans of eating it in the future.
Do you store your food supplies in your garage? Was your winter especially cold? Was your summer ridiculously hot? These are all things that may have a direct impact on how long your food will stay safe to eat.
What This All Means to You Now
If you’re one of those people who hasn’t done a very good job of maintaining your food storage, the first thing you should do is set some time aside to do a full inventory of what you actually have put back as well as when the expiration dates are.
This will give you an opportunity to physically put your hands on the containers to check them for problems like pest infestations or broken jars.
If you find yourself in a situation where much of your food storage is nearing its expiration date and you can’t eat it all before it goes bad, you may consider sharing it with friends and family members who might be able to use it.
Those of you what have stored commercially packaged food might be able to donate it to needy families or a food bank.
The main takeaway here is that the time to find out that there is a problem with your food storage is NOW and not after a major natural disaster has struck.
Remember, spoiled or contaminated food will be of little use to you when your family’s very survival is on the line. Take the time now to make sure that your family will actually be able to eat the items you have worked so hard to stockpile.
A little effort today will go a long way towards keeping your family safe tomorrow.