Keeping a stockpile of food items is essential for many reasons including storms and natural disasters or just to limit your need to travel in adverse conditions such as heavy snows of winter.
Most food products are packaged to allow six to eighteen months of storage in normal conditions. However once you open and begin using a product its shelf life is normally only a few weeks. This is true for open products that we leave stored in our pantry or those that need to be refrigerated. Once opened the time until the product goes bad is greatly reduced.
For this reason taking care to store your long term essentials must not only follow normal conditions but those that will extend the life of the item past the point that most people would store the product.
Food Essentials are those items such as Sugar, Salt, Yeast for baking,
Packaging: Storage containers should be opaque, airtight, and moisture/ odor-proof. The typical retail paper package. Polyethylene bags, Mylar-type bags, food-grade plastic buckets, glass canning jars, and #10 cans are all suitable for dry storage. Glass canning jars and #10 cans work best for liquids. Always use lined, food-grade metal containers or lids when storing any food.
Store baking powder in its original sealed can. Store salt, baking soda, and yeast packets in their original containers placed inside another stronger packaging. Mylar-type bags work well for this use. Seal food packages inside bags using oxygen absorbers. Salt can be poured into a canning jar and sealed with oxygen absorbers. Yeast sachets can also be placed into canning jars and sealed without oxygen absorbers. Most yeast is packaged in nitrogen flushed Mylar-type sachets that is free of oxygen and moisture.
Storage Conditions. Store in a cool, dry location (not the refrigerator).
Sugar and Salt will clump if allowed to absorb moisture. It can also change color over time and if placed in a location with odors it will absorb the odor. None of these things will effect its use but it will effect your ability to use it easily.
Sugar can normally be stored for about 2 years without any change and longer with slight degradation.
Non-fat dried milk (NFDM) is suitable for short and long term emergency food storage. It is made from non-fat, grade A, milk that has been dried by spraying into hot air or heated on a drum. The process removes nearly all of the water prohibiting the growth of microorganisms. Dried whole milk and dried buttermilk have milk fat and are not suitable for long term storage.