Food storage is one of the key components of prepping.
Building up a healthy supply of food can sustain you through almost any crisis.
Here’s what you need to know if your food supply is suddenly put at risk.
Freezing is a great method of preservation that can keep food relatively fresh for months, sometimes years.
Freezing can allow food to maintain its taste and nutritional value.
However, your freezer stock of food could be put in serious jeopardy if you lose power.
Even if you have a backup generator, you could lose power while at work.
If the power is down for an extended amount of time, like during a devastating hurricane or something on that scale, there isn’t much to be done to salvage the food in your freezer.
Your options are a backup generator or to eat the food as quickly as possible.
This is one reason why you should have a stock of freeze-dried foods stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Freeze-dried meals can last years if sealed properly.
As for freezer food, if you lose power for several hours, your food might still be edible.
The interior of the freezer remains cold through heat transfer and insulation.
While the cooling mechanism of your freezer will obviously shut down when the power goes out, the insulation in your freezer can keep the interior functionally cold for a couple of days.
The key is for the interior to remain below 40ºF, which is achievable if the door remains closed and the freezer is out of direct sunlight.
Keeping the door closed traps the cold inside and keeps warm air from circulating.
So if the power goes out, don’t open the freezer door until the power comes back on and the cooling system is working again.
You can also improve the insulation in your freezer by packing it tightly.
The less open air there is, the cooler everything in your freezer will remain.
One trick to help with this involves filling the freezer with water bottles and allowing them to freeze over.
Dry ice can also aid in keeping the contents of your freezer sufficiently cold.
If you put the dry ice on the top shelf, its gasses will flow down throughout the freezer interior and extend the shelf-life of your food.
Seafood, meat, and poultry are items you want to be particularly careful with.
If they go bad, they can make you very sick.
The best practice is never to refreeze these items once they’ve thawed.
As for fruits and vegetables, if there are still chunks of ice in them, they’re probably safe, but be sensitive to taste and smell to make sure.
In terms of dairy products, milk and ice cream should not be refrozen once thawed since there’s a strong likelihood they’ll be infected with bacteria.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not the food is still good, err on the side of caution and throw it out.
You don’t want to make yourself unnecessarily sick, especially if there’s a SHTF crisis looming.