5 Money Saving Ideas for Long-Term Food Storage Shopping

While many of us are thinking about saving money by buying in bulk and storing the goods for a few weeks or months, there is another type of food storage we should also consider. Storing the right foods in case of an emergency can ensure the survival of your family. Many pre-packed kits can feed a family for 1, 3 or even 12 months, but they are outside the price range of many families. You can shop for food long term, however, without it costing a fortune.
1. Pay attention to calorie counts, servings and nutrition on prepackaged meals.
It may seem that the meal plan which offers the most calories per dollar is the best money-saving choice, but this isn't always the case. Nutritious calories are much more satisfying, in addition to supplying you and your family with much-needed vitamins and nutrients. For example, 100 calories of butter is much less filling than a large apple, which is also around 100 calories. The apple is also much healthier.
2. Packaging matters in prepackaged meals.
Where you store the meals where they are not exposed to excess heat, but it is up to the packaging to protect the food from spoiling due to exposure to moisture or air. The common ways that long-term emergency meals are packaged include Mylar bags, pails and tin cans. In each of these packaging techniques, the air is removed through the process of nitrogen flushing, or an oxygen absorbing pellet is inserted in the package. Pails are not airtight, so are usually used in combination with Mylar bag and cans. Mylar packaging lasts 7 to 10 years. If you plan to keep your emergency rations longer than this time, it may be necessary to replace the meals. Some meals packed in oxygen-free tin cans can last up to 25 years.
3. Find a balance between dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.
Some foods are best preserved through dehydrating, while others can only remain nutritious long term when freeze-dried. Freeze-dried foods may store a few years longer, but dehydrated foods are much less expensive. In order to freeze-dry foods, the food must be flash frozen. The frozen food is then put into a vacuum chamber where the ice is removed by turning it into a gas. This is a complicated process requiring very specific technology and tools. Dehydrated foods simply have had the water removed through heating.
Dehydrated food also shrinks significantly from its original size while freeze-drying does not. This means dehydrated food requires less storage space than an equal amount of freeze-dried food.
Some companies that sell prepackaged meals already offer a combination of the two, but if not do not be afraid to purchase your meals from more than one source. Buying items such as fruits and vegetables that have been dehydrated in addition to freeze-dried meals can help to bring down the total cost of emergency food storage. 
4. Know what kitchen basics have a long shelf life, and buy them in bulk.
When considering emergency food options, it is easy to get sidetracked by all of the companies who sell ready-to-eat Mylar packed meals, tins of freeze-dried foods and other prepackaged supplies. There are some items in your kitchen right now, however, that have a shelf-life longer than many of these purpose-designed meals. These products include wheat, rice, corn, sugar, beans, oats, pasta, potato flakes and non-fat powdered milk. While they will not sustain your family on their own, ensuring you have enough of these basics for several months of regular use can help save money when you are stockpiling your rations. Purchase these items in bulk from a local restaurant supply, warehouse store or even your local supermarket. They can be stored in food grade 5-gallon buckets with rubber seals, which are available at most hardware stores.
5. Shop around, just like you would for your weekly groceries.
The most simplistic way to create an emergency food supply is to in pre-packed, storage ready containers. There are many companies who offer these foods, as well as associated items such as first aid kits. Not all of these deals are created equal, however. Many online stores offer coupon codes for free shipping or special gifts with purchase as well. Look for these specials to get more for your money. 
Ensuring there is nutritious food during an emergency is an important consideration for any family today. While stockpiling and storing several months' worth of food can be expensive, you can reduce the costs by following these tips.
 
This guest post provided by Agnes E Jimenez, a professional blogger and writer.

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