Some Tips on Opening Long-term Stored Foods

long-term stored foodsEvery now and then, we hear of people who have had problems with long-term stored foods.  The other day one of my friends opened an old five-gallon bucket of wheat, upon opening it; the wheat looked good on the surface.  But as he got deeper in the bucket, he found a black mold in the bottom half of the bucket.  Fortunately, he had not consumed any at this point since these molds can be toxic.

These types of molds are the result of wheat, grains or legumes being packed with too high a moisture content.  Here is a link to a post that shows the correct percentage of moisture for packing grains and a way to rough test the moisture content at home.  The effects of Temperature and Moisture on Stored Grains

Now the last thing you need to do in an emergency is to poison yourself with toxic mold.  This morning we opened a five-gallon bucket of rolled oats and they looked great on the surface and smelled normal.  However, we have a protocol that we always follow when opening these big buckets.  After we open the Mylar bag, we transfer the contents into a second bucket so that we can see what is happening at the bottom of the bucket.  In this case, the oats were fine and I had a bowl for breakfast.  Now I have never found a bad bucket in foods that I have packed, but here is no reason to take chances.

We always follow a fairly strict protocol when packing long-term stored foods.  We currently use Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers.  This may change if newer and better ideas come out.  In years past, we used different methods including just packing wheat in airtight metal and plastic buckets.   Use the best possible packaging methods, pack low moisture food and check everything carefully prior to using and you should never have a problem.



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