Preservation Methods for the Essentials
It is important to have certain staples on hand in the event of an emergency, disaster and in the event money is tight and running to the store for every meal is no longer an option. I make it a goal to have a bulk supply of Dry Good Staples on hand such as:
There are a variety of methods to store these bulk staples. No matter the container, it must have an air-tight seal to prevent oxidization and spoilage. For example, my Flour is stored in an air-tight container with dried Bay Leaves scattered about to protect my flour from insects. To keep moisture from ruining my salt and sugar, I add soda crackers throughout the container.
Another method for storing these essentials are food-grade 5-gallon buckets with screw-top air-tight lids. I purchase these new from Uline and have had great success! (They also sell Mason jars, oxygen absorbents and desiccants!) Because these buckets are made of food-grade plastic I skip using a Mylar bag and rely on natural moisture control. Be sure no matter which method you choose you properly label your container with the following:
1) The contents of the container
2) The expiration or “Use By” date, if any
3) If no expiration date, label with the date it was placed into the container
Keep in mind, some things can be stored indefinitely while others must be rotated every 6 months. For instance, powdered milk must be rotated every 6 months. Preparing for an emergency with a well-rounded food supply is an ongoing project. There must be a continual rotation of foods so nothing on your shelf is expired. A key to preserving the essentials is to only store what you and your family enjoy eating! If you do not eat it, do not preserve it.
1) Medicinal Uses. Some herbs such as ginger are proven to help decrease internal inflammation. In the event you or your loved ones can no longer procure medicine from a pharmacy, making a Ginger and Turmeric tea will aide arthritic patients and those suffering from inflammation.
2) Add Flavor Your Meals. Nothing boosts moral more than a scrumptious meal and a full belly. In times of disaster, encourage others to eat a meal that not only provides substance but an appealing flavor. You would be surprised how a good tasting meal will add a pep in someones step – which could make or break someone facing a disaster!
3) Natural Pest Control. After time, money and effort storing a food supply to have ready in the event of an emergency the last thing you want is to have it unavailable due to spoilage and pests! Naturally keep pests away using dried herbs such as mint, bay leaves and peppercorns!
Get familiar with your dehydrator and use your herb garden to grow a supply dedicated to drying. Having fresh herbs on hand is awesome to create meals and use in home canning, however, now that you know these dried herbs can extend the life of your Essentials, be sure to include them in your food preservation arsenal.