In this article, I will cover 11 food storage myths you should know ASAP.
There are several websites that provide information on survival issues, including food preservation. Most provide reliable facts, but there are a few food storage myths that many people believe without a doubt.
It is obvious that the methods and guidelines for preserving food need to be clarified, so keep reading to learn how to conserve both food and money.
Here are 11 food myths that are wrong, and why.
1. Believing Food Storage Labels
Believing food storage labels can be a tricky business. The truth is that food storage labels don’t always accurately reflect the actual expiration date of your food.
For starters, many people are unaware that most “use by/best before dates” on packaged goods aren’t actually based on how long it will take for spoilage to occur.
Instead they’re estimated guesses from manufacturers about when peak freshness might diminish and at what point flavor quality could start to decline. This means these labels should not dictate whether you eat these foods or not.
You should also keep an eye out for grocery store sell-by dates which also often overestimate the amount of time until deterioration takes place (which typically happens much faster).
In addition to this inaccurate labeling issue, another factor influencing actual product lifespan lies within proper storage conditions – temperature being one key element affecting overall longevity since warmer temperatures speed up decay while cooler ones slow down the decomposition process significantly.
For instance, refrigerated meats have been known last twice as long under optimal freezing circumstances versus room-temperature meat. So make sure anything requiring cold preservation remains kept there whenever possible!
In fact, even nonperishables all benefit greatly from cool dry locations away from direct sunlight UV rays, moisture, and heat sources. This ensures maximum shelf life over extended periods of time. Therefore relying solely upon expiration dates without considering environmental factors first isn’t the smartest way go around preserving foods safely.
2. Alcohol Should Be Stored in the Cabinet
When it comes to storing alcoholic beverages, the type of beverage and its alcoholic content plays a large role in determining where you should store them.
Beverages with lower alcohol contents—such as beer, wine coolers or sparkling wines should be placed in a cool location once they are opened because exposure to oxygen can cause oxidation that will affect their taste. In addition, these types of drinks tend not to have preservatives that other higher-alcohol-containing beverages do.
Examples of low-alcohol-containing drinks include beers (4% – 5%), light ciders (2%-5%) and some white wines (~10%). It is important for those who consume any one of these beverages on occasion to keep an eye out for when bottles become open, so you remember to store it in a cool location.
If you store it in a warm or room temperature location, it’ll heat up too quickly since the air has been exposed to the bottle/can. The best way then would be placing them back inside cabinets —especially if your house tends to get warm easily–where temperatures remain consistent throughout the days ensuring freshness stays intact until consumed completely.
Higher alcohol content beverages like hard liquors such whiskey, vodka & gin along with certain red wines need less worry. Temperature changes and oxidization are less of an issue. However, it’s still optimal to store these drinks in a cool, dry location.
3. Beans Last Forever
Beans are a popular pantry staple, providing an inexpensive and easy-to-prepare source of protein. But don’t be fooled into thinking that beans last forever – they actually have quite a limited shelf life.
When properly packaged dried beans can maintain their quality for up to 12 months in the pantry or cupboard before losing flavor and texture due to oxidation.
Beans also tend to absorb moisture from the air which causes them to become hard over time; this affects both the taste and ability for them to cook evenly during preparation, so it’s important not store opened packages too long either!
For optimal storage conditions, keep your dry bean bags in a tightly sealed plastic container away from heat sources (such as stoves) where temperature fluctuations could affect fresh food levels.
You should also avoid storing near foods with strong odors like onions since these will cause cross-contamination if left unattended.
Additionally, make sure there is no light exposure because direct UV rays can degrade proteins found inside grains/beans faster than normal temperatures alone might do.
4. Store Plenty of Wheat
One of the most common food storage myths is that you should store plenty of wheat. While it may seem logical to stock up on a cheap, versatile grain such as wheat for long-term emergency preparedness, there are several issues with this approach.
First and foremost, grains have limited shelf lives due to their susceptibility to pests (e.g., weevils) and changes in moisture levels which can lead them to become rancid over time if not properly stored!
To avoid these problems altogether, it’s important that any large amounts purchased to be used within 1–2 years before being replaced by fresh supplies. Otherwise, they will become expired after a while no matter how well they’re kept away from heat and humidity sources.
In addition to having shorter lifespans than other items commonly stocked for emergencies (such as canned goods), storing too much wheat also means missing out on some key nutritional benefits since many other types of food offer more diverse nutrients than what is typically found inside whole grain products.
So instead try storing different foods like dehydrated fruits & vegetables, beans, pasta, rice, oats, honey, granola bars, crackers, hard candy, dried fruit, and other survival foods.
When deciding how much actual amount of wheat needed, focus primarily on the number of people living under the same roof using 2 pounds per person per week as a general guideline.
5. Nuts Are Okay in the Pantry
Nuts are a great source of nutrition and can be used in many recipes, but they should never be stored in your pantry. Nuts contain high levels of oil, making them prone to spoilage when exposed to warm temperatures or humidity.
When nuts are kept at room temperature (such as on the counter) for too long, their oils will oxidize, causing an undesirable taste and smell even if you manage to keep them dry.
Oxidized fats also have adverse effects on human health since it causes inflammation that can lead to chronic diseases over time, such as heart disease and diabetes with regular consumption.
To avoid these problems from happening altogether, store your nuts away from heat sources like radiators or ovens — anywhere where there is low light exposure would work well too!
If possible try storing them inside sealed containers in the refrigerator so that moisture won’t get into contact with the nut’s natural oils. This way they’ll last longer while maintaining freshness throughout future uses any time soon after the purchase date passed by already.
6. Nut Oil Can Go on The Shelf
One common myth about food storage is that nut oil can go on the shelf. This belief may stem from the fact that some types of cooking oils, like olive and vegetable oil, are often stored at room temperature without issue.
However, when it comes to storing nut oils such as walnut or peanut oil for extended periods of time (longer than a month), this practice should be avoided if possible due to their high-fat content and sensitivity to air exposure making them prone to oxidation.
Oxidation occurs when oxygen reacts with certain compounds in an environment lacking moisture which causes rancidity over time, meaning foods will become stale smelling and tasting quickly after exposure–not ideal!
Nut oils have very low amounts of natural antioxidants present, so they do not fare well against oxidative damage caused by environmental factors including light exposure or heat fluctuations occurring during shipping/storage processes resulting in shorter shelf life.
Keep containers tightly sealed within the refrigerator away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures whenever feasible – doing so will ensure maximum freshness.
7. Stock Up On Mostly Canned Food
Canned food has a long shelf life and is a popular food storage item. However, the food’s nutrients, taste, and color will deteriorate over time. It is preferable to keep a range of food types in preparation, including freeze-dried foods.
There is nothing inherently wrong with canned food. In reality, that is how I first became interested in food storage. Canning fruit, on the other hand, has its limitations. A ravioli is a ravioli is a ravioli is a ravioli. It’s not entirely possible to transform it into a whole new dish.
Furthermore, packaged food may contain chemicals that you do not want to consume, and, in the case of my own children, tastes alter over time.
Be sure to rotate all canned food you have because aging affects all foods, especially, as I’ve found, some canned products in particular.
My history with old canned tuna hasn’t been great, and some high-acid foods, such as canned tomato products, are considered to have can corrosion problems. Examine the seams of canned foods for any signs of bulging, leaks, or corrosion.
Lightly rusted cans are safe to store because the rust can be rubbed off with a cloth or your fingertip. However, if a can is heavily rusted, the rust has most likely corroded the can, allowing bacteria to penetrate. Those cans can be discarded.
Learn how long canned food lasts and how to store it the right way here.
8. If They Are Hungry Enough, They’ll Eat It
This is a common food storage myth that can lead to disappointment and waste. The idea behind this belief is that people will eat anything if they are hungry enough, but in reality, it’s not usually the case.
Even when we haven’t eaten for some time, there may still be foods that don’t appeal to us or make us feel sick. It’s important to remember this as you stock your pantry with items from long-term storage. Just because something has an indefinite shelf life doesn’t mean you should rely on eating only those products during times of emergency or crisis!
Rather than stocking up entirely on things like canned goods and dry mixes, try also adding enjoyable snacks such as candy bars and chips so meals won’t seem too monotonous over extended periods of time.
This is especially true if kids are involved. They tend to have more picky tastes regarding what they find appetizing at mealtime! While these treats might not last forever without refrigeration (check expiration dates!), having them around can help break up boring food routines.
9. Add-Hot-Water Meals are All I Need
Add-hot-water meals are not all you need when it comes to food storage. While they can be a great addition to any emergency preparedness plan, they should never be seen as the only form of nutrition available in an emergency situation.
First and foremost, add-hot water meals typically lack essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies require for long-term health benefits, especially if consumed on their own over extended periods of time.
Additionally, these types of foods often contain preservatives which may lead to digestive issues or other equally unpleasant symptoms with prolonged use.
Finally, variety is key; having access to different flavors will help maintain morale during difficult times when your diet would otherwise become monotonous—adding hot water meal options tends to provide limited flavor profiles.
For best results consider supplementing your food storage plans with staples such as beans & legumes (rich sources of protein), grains like rice & oats (energy boosters) plus fresh vegetables whenever possible (vitamins). This combination allows for greater flexibility while helping ensure adequate nutrition throughout whatever crisis might arise down the road!
10. Potatoes Shouldn’t be Stored in the Fridge
This has the potential to be harmful to one’s health. When potatoes are refrigerated, their sugars turn into acrylamide, a dangerous carcinogen (a compound that has the ability to cause cancer).
11. Defrost Meat by Leaving it at Room Temperature
More than half of people defrost raw meat and fish at room temperature, which is something you can never do. If you thaw it this way, harmful bacteria will develop in the food if it gets too warm. The perfect recipe for food poisoning caused by bacterium.
Instead, defrost the meat or fish overnight in the refrigerator, or just zap in the microwave if time is of the essence.
Never keep your food out for more than two hours. Make sure to use the defrost feature on your microwave and check the meat every minute to see if it has defrosted.
My final word is that there are a lot of food storage myths out there and these are some of the more common ones. I recommend you do your own research on each food item you stockpile.
Thanks for reading this simple, short food storage myths article. I hope you build an amazing pantry and keep prepping.
Here are some more resources you may want.
- Food Storage For Beginners (Simple Guide)
- Survival Food List: Essential Foods to Hoard
- 1800s Meat Preservation Methods for Off-Grid Prepping