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Vacuum Sealed, Storable Foods - Survival Rations

With the upset and turmoil in the world at present there is a growing interest in being prepared for natural disasters and civil unrest. This preparedness includes having on hand a supply of drinkable water and sufficient food to use as survival rations to outlast at least a temporary calamity.

I have been asked more than once recently how well my food bars would satisfy the requirements for survival rations. These rae the two I would recommend: Peak Performance Bar and eXtreme Nutrition Bar and the rest of this page explains why.

When I started making my bars and slices I had them tested by Silliker, the food testing people. They said that moisture activity level was the principle determinant of the length of time it would take food to spoil. A moisture activity level of between .6 and .7 would grow yeast and mold, over .7 would grow nearly anything and under .6 the thing that would affect the bars, given their composition, was the oil in the nuts going rancid. I checked what would keep the nuts from doing that for as long as possible and found that our good friends the antioxidants were the knights in shining armour on white horses in that department.

On checking I found that the commercial food antioxidants used as preservatives were known to produce cancer in rodents so I was pleased that my top bars contained over 50 natural food ingredients with antioxidant properties.

There were some of the early recipe, non-vacuum packed bars that I did not sell within 6 months so I kept them refrigerated and ate them up to 21 months after their make date. You could just notice the oil in the nuts was a bit off at that stage.

For my top bars I am soaking the nuts, slow roasting then vacuum sealing them. I did some quick research to determine how long vacuum sealed produce will last. This is what I found.

According to data I have read, vacuum sealed nuts should last 18-24 months even at room temperature.

This site reports, “The USDA states, “Each 5.6 C. (10.08F) drop in temperature doubles the storage life of the seeds.” Experience has shown that this applies to foods too.”

So if
you can get 18-24 months storage of nuts at room temperature and
every 5 degree Celcius drop in storage should result in a doubling of shelf life and
let’s be conservative and say room temperature is 15 degrees then
if you keep them in a cool space that is 10 degrees Celsius you should get 36-48 months (3-4 years) from them and
if you keep them in the bottom of the fridge at 0-5 degrees Celcius you should get 72-96 months (6-8 years) from them.

Now way they’d last that long around here. I would have eaten them long before that! And I’m not suggesting you should keep them that long. I am making them as the most spectacularly nutritious food you can eat, so you should be eating a bar a day every day. Just rotate them and always eat the oldest dated bar first.

When you purchase my bars, if you use some as survival rations, remember these six things. Actually, they apply to all food storage, not just my bars.

The lower the temperature at which you store food, the longer it will last.

The less moisture it contains and to which it is exposed, the better.

Light is energy. If it falls on food, some of that enegy is imparted to the food resulting in faster spoilage, especially of fat soluble vitamins.

Oxygen in food or in the air around food leads to oxygenation or spoilage. That’s why some food is stored in nitrogen, the most inert gas. Keep stored food in containers or packaging as airtight as possible. The cellophane bags I use for my slices are not air tight.

The older a stored food is, the more likely it will have lost some flavour and nutrients. Do remember to rotate stored food. FIFO is the rule - First In, First Out. Always stack new stock you are putting into storage behind existing stock.

The cinnamon, honey and tahini in most of my bars have a natural antibacterial and antimicrobial effect.

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