How can you extend the shelf-life of your food at home?

There are a wide variety of established methods that manufacturers can use to maximise the shelf-life of food.  For the end consumer, there are also methods you can utilise to try and extend shelf-life further.  The most common methods include:

  • Vacuum packing
  • The inclusion of oxygen absorbers
  • Airtight, absolute or functional barrier packaging
  • Dehydrating - lowering the moisture content of the food, either through a specialist dehydrator or utilisation of ovens or sun-drying. 
  • Boiling
  • Pickling - storing foods in edible liquid such as brine, vinegar, alcohol or vegetable oil
  • Curing Foods
  • Salting
  • High sugar levels
  • Smoking
  • Fermenting
  • High alcohol content
  • Chilling - storing foods at a low temperature in order to slow the growth of micro-bacteria
  • Freezing - storing foods below zero (in a freezer) to stop the growth of micro-bacteria

Optimal home storage conditions

In order to maximise the shelf-life of any pre-packed food purchased it is important to follow the storage guidelines detailed on the packaging.

Storage conditions that affect shelf-life:

  • Temperature
  • Oxygen
  • Moisture
  • Light
  • Pests
  • Impact damage

Controlling the storage environment is a critical element for anyone building a longer term food supply - the optimal store would be cool, dry, dark, secure and protected from rodents and insects.

To extend the shelf-life of foods at home using oxygen absorbers, just visit our long life foods page.