Today I want to talk about long-term food storage. Because I know many people that have been into preparedness before it became popular, I have had the chance to see and try foods that have been stored for 20 to 30 plus years. Many of these long-term food storage companies no longer exist, but I report on them anyway, in case someone still has them in their storage.
Everytime I get access to an old can, I open it and if it looks ok, I try it. Some of the foods have lasted a surprisingly long time and look like new, others would gag a maggot.
This morning I opened several cans, a ham flavored TVP, potatoes diced and spaghetti elbo (their spelling) all canned by DRI-Harvest and a can of instant yams by Peter J Phethean Ltd.
Dri-Harvest is a company that I have heard of in the past and still exists in Bozeman, MT. Peter J Phethean Ltd seems to have disappeared, I could find no information on them and had never heard of them before.
Looking on the website of DriHarvest foods they have the following statement about their shelf life. “Dri-Harvest labeled products are sealed to minimum of 10 years. Opened to 1 year for dehydrated and Freeze Dried Foods”.
All of the DriHavest cans showed surface rust and had been stored in a garage. They were approximately 30 years old. First I opened the ham flavored TVP (textured vegetable protein) which appeared in good condition. The can was lined and appeared to have held up well. The TVP had a slightly rancid odor and because of known problems with TVP going rancid, I declined to eat any.
Next, I opened the diced potatoes; they were packaged in an unlined can, but had turned a funny yellow color. I thought about trying these but my wife put her foot down and said no. If I were very hungry, I would try to eat these. The can of elbo spaghetti was packaged in a lined can and I would eat this with no problems. All three cans were nitrogen packed. If you have some of this in your storage and had the room, I would keep it in reserve; it could at least be used for pet food.
The fourth can from the Peter J Phethean Ltd company contained yams and was in good condition. I would have no problem eating these. They had even maintained good color and smelled fine. There is nothing on the can to say if they were nitrogen packed. The can was dated 1979.
These cans were unusual in that the contents were in better shape than most of the cans of this age that I have opened. I have no way of testing the nutritional contents of the cans, but suspect that it would be on the low side. Here are some links to previous posts I have made on old long-term food storage. A Test of Long Term Foods Stored Since the 1970′s, Part 1, A Test of Long Term Foods from the 1970′s, part 2, Thirty plus year Old Mountain House Chili and Beans‘ Old Dehyrated Foods and Their Storage Life.
While there are exceptions to every rule, for my personnel storage there are only a few long-term food storage companies that I purchase from, the top of the line being Mountain House. But they don’t carry everything that I stock, so I also will purchase foods from Pack Away, AlpineAire Ready Reserve, Emergency Essentials and Honeywell Farms.
I avoid any of the new companies that have recently come on the market. They have not been around long enough to have a good track record and I do not like some of the marketing practices that I see. Many of them are misleading in their ads and list a large number of very small serving that contain few calories.
Whenever you purchased food, look at the size of the serving and the number of calories. Remember you need at least 2000 calories for a man and 1500 for a woman.