Food storage is an important part of emergency preparedness. However, it is one thing to buy food from the supermarket and store it in a cupboard or pantry just in case, but quite another to set up a food storage schedule that ensures you use up the supplies you have before you need to buy new ones.
For example, if you buy groceries every weekend, how are you going to eat the canned goods when the supplies run out? Canning food is a good start, but to keep it edible, you need to plan how you are going to use up your existing supplies before you go back to the store.
Food Storage Tips
Determine your food storage needs
Before you start making plans, take the time to determine the amount of food needed for your household. This is different for everyone, but a good rule of thumb is to always have three days’ worth of supplies on hand, and more in case you are not able to get to the store in time to restock.
Use Your Current Grocery Purchases to Create a Rotation Plan
In order to create a rotation plan for your groceries, you should take an inventory of the foods you already have on hand and determine the shelf life of those products. You can find this information on the product’s packaging or by talking to someone at the grocery store who works in food production. Consider using a cryovac machine to help you store and preserve food safely and cleanly.
Assign a Place for Storing Your Food
Think about where you want to store your food so it is accessible when you need it.
Create a Weekly Rotation Schedule with Three Phases
By setting up three phases of three days each, your food supplies will be rotated and replaced before they expire. You should store your food in a cool, dry place that is free of pests and extreme temperatures. After three days, remove the first phase from the cupboard or pantry and store it temporarily before moving on to the next phase.
Label Your Containers when Moving Food Down a Phase
To ensure your household members consume food before it spoils, label each container with a reminder of when to remove the item from storage. For example, use notes and pens to write the phase on each container so you know which food is for which day (e.g., today is phase one, tomorrow is phase two, and the day after tomorrow is when the food will be put away). This way, no one will take three days worth of supplies on a Monday morning.
Consider Rotating Your Food Storage Yearly
Your grocery rotation schedule depends on when you buy your groceries and how often you go to the store. If you have a large stockpile, you will need to rotate your food supplies more frequently because perishable foods need to be consumed before they spoil. In this case, you should rotate your supplies every year to ensure that no food has spoiled before it has been consumed and replaced.
Protect Against Bacteria and Spoilage
Food storage is not just about planning, it’s also about knowing how to keep food safe for an extended period of time. By rotating your stored food regularly, you minimize the risk of bacteria or other contaminants growing in the food. Rotating your food storage is also a good way to remember which foods you have stored and which are still waiting to be eaten, as the older foods will move to the newer areas of the rotation schedule.
Maintains Nutritional Value
Foods that can spoil need to be consumed in a timely manner so they retain their nutritional value. A three-day rotation schedule is a better standard because it allows enough time for fresh, stored foods to be consumed without spoiling and wasting anything.
Reduces Prices of Other Necessities
If you store your food supplies properly, you will be able to better budget for other expenses during times when you need to draw on your supplies. If you are able to save money on your grocery bills, you can expect the savings to affect other areas of your budget as well.
Allows you to include your family in preparing for an emergency or natural disaster
Whether it’s a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, it’s always better to be prepared for the worst. By setting up a food rotation schedule and getting everyone involved in moving phase one containers into temporary storage until they are moved into phase two, you can ensure that you have enough food on hand for an emergency.
Provides Variety to Your Food Storage
Food that is stored for a long period of time quickly becomes boring, and it can be difficult to eat the same meals over and over again. By rotating your food supplies, you’ll ensure that you have plenty of new items on hand on a regular basis.
How to Create a Food Storage Rotation Calendar
It is important to create a plan for how and when you will move the food in your warehouse. A good first step is to create a calendar that shows how long food can be stored before it goes bad. Once you have this information, create a rotation schedule that shows which storage phase each food item should be moved to after three days, seven days, or a maximum of two weeks.
First, create a table that shows how long items need to be stored in phase one and how those items should move to phase two after the first three days have passed. Check the expiration dates on the packaging and use information from reputable online sources. You can constantly go through your stockpile and use expired items if you absolutely must, but it’s better to avoid that possibility. The second column of the chart is for the second phase of storage.
The third and fourth columns record what goes into each section each day. Make sure that no item is stored in phase two for an extended period of time. When you know what needs to be moved to phase three, mark it on the chart and write next to it where it should go after rotation.
Rotating food is a great way to maintain your supplies and save money on groceries. It can be a fun project that gets the whole family involved in preparing for an emergency or natural disaster. By setting up a food rotation schedule and sticking to it, you can ensure that all of your food supplies are properly rotated and stay fresh.