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Old 02-02-2013, 17:18   #1
Stupid
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What kind of food can I store without temp control?

I am looking for food for long term storage that I don't have to worry about temperature control very much. My place gets warm during the day because nobody is at home and AC is off. There can be quite some temp swings.

MREs seem to always need to be under controlled temp.

Last edited by Stupid; 02-02-2013 at 18:07..
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Old 02-02-2013, 22:23   #2
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TVP is the only thing that really comes to mind; along with unground grain and probably white rice. BUT... temp still matters, those are just the first-to-mind things that tend to be forgiving. Overall, the closer an item is to the 'ready-to-eat' category, the more dependent they tend to be on ideal storage conditions.

Simple - rough - rule of thumb is figure 70 degrees fahrenheit and work from there, either doubling or halving the supposed shelf life in ten-degree increments. For every ten degrees above 70, figure cutting the shelf life in half; so 80 means half the shelf life and 90 degrees means one-fourth. Opposingly, if you can decrease the temp by ten degrees down to 60, you can figure roughly double the shelf life; decrease by 10 more degrees to 50, figure four times the shelf life.

It might be worthwhile to find a way to keep a small space in the house cooled for storage use. When I built our 'pantry', I insulated it extremely well, framed in a small window-type opening and put in its own window a/c unit, set to keep it as cool as it will go. It keeps the room at a max temp of 65-70 degrees in the hottest months, and a small heater keeps it at 40-45 in the cold months; so probably an average of 55-60 degrees overall. A dehumidifier keeps it at 35% RH, which also helps immensely with non-canned items. In that room, we can keep regular boxed breakfast cereal well over a year with absolutely no noticeable degradation in freshness or taste, and I'm completely convinced it's due to the atmosphere being both so cool and dry.
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Old 02-02-2013, 22:29   #3
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TVP is the only thing that really comes to mind; along with unground grain and probably white rice. BUT... temp still matters, those are just the first-to-mind things that tend to be forgiving. Overall, the closer an item is to the 'ready-to-eat' category, the more dependent they tend to be on ideal storage conditions.

Simple - rough - rule of thumb is figure 70 degrees fahrenheit and work from there, either doubling or halving the supposed shelf life in ten-degree increments. For every ten degrees above 70, figure cutting the shelf life in half; so 80 means half the shelf life and 90 degrees means one-fourth. Opposingly, if you can decrease the temp by ten degrees down to 60, you can figure roughly double the shelf life; decrease by 10 more degrees to 50, figure four times the shelf life.

It might be worthwhile to find a way to keep a small space in the house cooled for storage use. When I built our 'pantry', I insulated it extremely well, framed in a small window-type opening and put in its own window a/c unit, set to keep it as cool as it will go. It keeps the room at a max temp of 65-70 degrees in the hottest months, and a small heater keeps it at 40-45 in the cold months; so probably an average of 55-60 degrees overall. A dehumidifier keeps it at 35% RH, which also helps immensely with non-canned items. In that room, we can keep regular boxed breakfast cereal well over a year with absolutely no noticeable degradation in freshness or taste, and I'm completely convinced it's due to the atmosphere being both so cool and dry.
Nice set up!
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Old 02-02-2013, 22:47   #4
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So what would you suggest if I can maintain that 75F temperature?
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:18   #5
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There are some good options, but choosing between them really depends on what factors are most important to you. Basically, what aspect are you trying to maximize? (Sticking here with store-available items; not home-made things like hardtack, pemmican, etc; although those are very good options to consider.)


- Length of shelf-life (if hassle-free and non-rotation are high on your priority list)

Here, unground grain, white rice, and tvp again come to mind. Pinto beans are another staple here but they can become hard & almost unusable in 'really' long term storage.

Opposite, would be (obviously) things like fresh fruits & vegetables. Also bad choices here would be things that were high in fats & oils (nuts, cooking oil, peanut butter, etc) as it will unavoidably rancid over time.


- Days' worth of food per dollars spent (maximize how fast you can accumulate a given time-frame's worth of food storage)

Rice, beans, some pastas, and grain (& possibly flour) probably swing the 'preference balance' this way.

Opposite end of the spectrum here would be canned meats, freeze-dried & dehydrated foods.



- Days' worth of storage per "X" square feet of storage space (storage space being at a premium..?)

This is where the oils & fats do shine; calories per ounce. Peanut butter is a good one for calorie-density.


- Ease of use (how much food prep & cooking is acceptable when actually having to use the food storage?)
MRE's, peanut butter, crackers, canned meats, etc; things you can just 'open & eat'.

This goes back to the "ready-to-use" vs. "long-term-tolerant" thing I mentioned above. Generally speaking (but not an absolute), the more an item has been processed toward using, the less shelf life it has. IE, wheat stores longer than processed flour, processed flour stores longer than cooked bread, etc. Modern retort packaging helps to reduce this disparity, but at a substantial dollar cost.

Hard to say what's 'best' in a generic, overall sense. Best option for me may be completely wrong for anyone else.

What are your highest priorities, biggest concerns, and worst limitations?
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:06   #6
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I don't know where you live at,I'd suggest burying caches if temp is a problem.Earth will insulate most things from temp variances.'08.
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Old 02-03-2013, 13:21   #7
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Sounds like the start of a root cellar
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Old 02-03-2013, 15:03   #8
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I don't know where you live at,I'd suggest burying caches if temp is a problem.Earth will insulate most things from temp variances.'08.
Yes, what is the earths temperature at sea level? 55 degrees?
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Old 02-03-2013, 17:39   #9
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It really depends on how long you want to store it. As long as it doesn't require refrigeration, anything will store without temperature control for some amount of time - probably at least as long as the expiration date put on it by the manufacturer. Are you talking about something that you put away and never look at again until you need it 5, 10, or 15 years from now? Or are you talking about something that you will use in your everyday meal plan and will be able to keep rotated?

We favor canned foods that we have worked into our everyday meal plan. This allows us to rotate our stock of food and gets us used to eating what we will be eating in a SHTF situation. Yes, it means eating things regularly that we might not have otherwise chosen if we weren't prepping, but that's what we've decided to do and it has worked out pretty well.
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Old 02-03-2013, 22:42   #10
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Yes, what is the earths temperature at sea level? 55 degrees?
I believe down a couple feet, the temp is the average year round air temp. do ngu dep do ngu nam dep do dung sau sinh quan ao ban buon vest cong so album anh cuoi dep
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Old 02-05-2013, 20:57   #11
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It really depends on how long you want to store it. As long as it doesn't require refrigeration, anything will store without temperature control for some amount of time - probably at least as long as the expiration date put on it by the manufacturer. Are you talking about something that you put away and never look at again until you need it 5, 10, or 15 years from now? Or are you talking about something that you will use in your everyday meal plan and will be able to keep rotated?

We favor canned foods that we have worked into our everyday meal plan. This allows us to rotate our stock of food and gets us used to eating what we will be eating in a SHTF situation. Yes, it means eating things regularly that we might not have otherwise chosen if we weren't prepping, but that's what we've decided to do and it has worked out pretty well.
I would say about 1 year as a start.
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Old 02-09-2013, 22:52   #12
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Hard tack is reported to survive storage in high temperatures reasonably well.
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