Earlier this week, we challenged you to create and test a real plan for dealing with food shortages, but some questions remain unanswered. We’ll tackle each of these on the blog as we go, so email us or ask questions on social media and we’ll be happy to answer questions we receive.

One question we’re asked is how long dehydrated or freeze-dried foods last, particularly after they are opened. There’s not a straightforward or easy question to that; some factors can come into play when considering the shelf life of these products. As with most food products, the quality of the food at the time it’s opened is a big determining factor, followed by how much it’s exposed to heat, light, and oxygen. Obviously, aged food will be more susceptible to deterioration as it’s exposed to different temperatures.

Prolonging opened food shelf life

Now that we know what can affect the shelf life of foods, we know how to prolong this period. Obviously less exposure to the above is important, but you can also extend shelf life by moving any unused portions into a zip freezer bag before putting it back in the can. Aluminum foil will also work, or wrapping the can itself in a few layers of cling plastic.

The above also applies for different containers you might move the food to. Plastic containers with snap tops will certainly help prolong food life. There are also different food sealers you can buy that will also greatly help.

Finally, make sure the food is properly refrigerated or frozen. Doing so will make the food last quite a bit longer.

By doing some of these things, you can extend shelf life to up to a year or so, but as mentioned each situation is different and contributing factors my alter the method used. Just remember the golden rule: smell it before you cook it. If it smells bad, it probably is, and you’ll need to dispose of it. You can also try tasting or cooking a little of it if you can’t tell by smell to see if the quality is still top notch.

How to you extend the life of your emergency food storage? Let us know in the comments or on social networks!