As we mentioned in Storing Foods, Part 5, it's very important that you rotate your food stock often. Why?
- To make sure your stored food stays as fresh as possible (nutrition value and protein decreases over time)
- To get your family used to eating stored food as part of their regular diet.
- Stored/canned food is convenient to use.
- We don't buy products (cans) any more that don't show an expiration date. When in doubt, assume you need to use within 6 months, and write that date as the expire date.
- Before storing, write on the can, etc. in magic marker or attach a label giving the date purchased, and the date to expire.
- There are many products available, or you can build your own, to help you use the oldest can (of green beans or whatever) first. The plastic shelves for cans of soda in the fridge will hold cans of corn or whatever in the pantry. Check out: http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/babysteps/step-1-shelves/, http://www.organize.com/soupcanrack.html, and http://www.foodstorageshelves.com/store/642059/product/Pantry72RotationRack.
- We eat almost the same thing every month, just in different combinations. We pack canned goods according to month bought. We have a large storage tub, and add the 30 cans of fruit, several cans of chicken, ham and tuna, etc. Then put that tub at the end of the line. This helps us use the oldest first.
Other tips that bear repeating:
- Keep track of expiration dates. Some shelf-stable cans and jars are ok 6 months, and some last 2-3 years. Products with tomatoes (acidic) may go less than 2 years so rotate often.
- Store cool and dry. Never near water or heating pipes. And never cold (may freeze).
- Do NOT use or keep any can that has rust, discoloration or bulges. Don't gamble your health over the "chance" that it might be ok.
Note: iodized salt should be kept as cool as possible because otherwise, it will chemically change. Regularly rotate. We buy the "table salt" in 25-pound bags at Sam's, which is not iodized.Last Section tomorrow - sprouting seeds ...