Everything You Need to Know About Shelf Life

When you buy long-term food storage, you want to be confident that you are getting products that will last for a long time. How do you know how long your food is good? Here are some tips to remember when storing food.

Shelf Life
Shelf life refers to how long an unopened package of food is safe and retains its nutrients.  Dehydrated foods generally have a shorter shelf life than freeze-dried foods. Freeze-dried foods, if stored in the right environment, can be stored safely for up to 30 years UNOPENED.

Ideal Storage 
Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods should be stored in a cool, dry, dark environment. The ideal storage temperature is 50 degrees F.  A basement storage room away from moisture and windows perfect. Since homes are not usually built with food storage in mind, look for closets, under beds and other areas that do not butt up against the edge of a house.  Warmer, lighter environments can reduce the shelf life of food storage.
Avoid great temperature variations. Storing at a constant temperature is ideal for shelf life.

Bulging/Sucked In/Damaged Cans
Safe food generally is in cans that are perfectly intact. If you see cans that are bulging or sucked in, the safety of the food is compromised and should be thrown away immediately.
Damaged/dented cans can let air into them through microholes. Once a can has been dented, it should be treated as an already-opened can.

Open Cans
Once a can of freeze-dried food is open, the food is safe to eat for 6-12 months. Since most cans contain up to 40 servings of food, it's unlikely that you'll eat it in one sitting.   Store in a cool, dark, dry place with the lid on tightly for best results. You may like to keep opened cans in the refrigerator, but it isn't necessary.