Dry Packing Your Food at Home
While the use of a home canning machine and using the popular #10 cans is the ideal way to dry pack many of your foods, the fact that you do not have one of these machines should not discourage you. There are more people who do not have canners than those that do. Dry pack canning tends to drastically lengthen the various shelf life's associated with food. This is an ideal method to use in order to secure a supply of long term food in the event of an emergency situation. It is not unusual to find that dry packs have lasted for upward to 20 years or more.
Food storage using dry pack methods offer the consumer a longer shelf life for their dehydrated foods as well as a much easier way to properly organize and store your food products. Of all the advantages of dry food the highest on most peoples priorities to the longer shelf life that they can obtain. Sugar which has been properly dry packed can last for a good 20 years while beans can be stored for up to 8 years. Even the powdered milk product will last you for at least 5 years.
Lucky is the person who has not only the canning equipment but the ability to can the number 10 cans for these types of cans are generally inexpensive and fairly easy to locate. The cans stack well in your food closet or pantry and are well protected from the insects and associated pests.
Although the preferred method of storage would be dry packing you should be well aware that not all foods are conducive to this method. Good foods to dry pack would be beans, flour, various pastas, Oats and wheat, rice and powdered non-fat milk. Those foods that generally have high moisture content or those composed of oil type products should not be stored in this manner. These foods storage methods are likely to exclude any sort of nuts, cereals, whole wheat and brown rice. In addition, brown sugar, common baking powder or oil should be avoided for this means of storage. You would be best to leave these types of food in their original containers.
If you are like me you have no canning machine at your disposal, in which case you would need to use mason jars with appropriate lids and oxygen absorbers. Armed with these supplies you will find the dry packaging method to be quite easy to accomplish.
Fill your pint, quart or what ever size jar you are planning to use with your dried food. Leave about 1/4th headroom at the top of the jar, the same as you would if you were canning your homemade vegetable soup or applesauce. Place an oxygen absorber on the top of the food in the jar. Try not to leave your oxygen absorbers in the air to long or they will be ruined. Place a ring and lid on the jar and hand tighten it. Lastly, you should label the jar with what is inside and the date you canned it. Some people also place the expiration date on it as well. On the reverse side of the jar I place another label with instructions on how to reconstitute the product.
Dry pack canning is an excellent means of staying prepared for any unexpected emergency which may occur whether it is from natural disasters or even to a long period of unemployment.
Dry packing your food at home
By Joseph Parish
Copyright 2010 Joseph Parish
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