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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Instant potatoes‏ Storage?

Instant Mashed PotatoesImage via Wikipedia
On all of the boxes and packages of instant mashed potatoes I see at the grocery store, the expiration date is only a year or so out?

Is this an item that stores longer than the package indicates, or am I looking at the wrong type?

Thanks....

love the book.

Burt

Thanks for your email Burt.
Sometimes food has an expiration date for stocking and rotation purposes and it doesn't reflect accurately how long a food product can last. You see it in salt, sugar, and honey, products that easily have decades worth of shelf life. Other products such as canned goods can often be eaten years after their expiration date as long as the can isn't leaking or swollen.
In my book, “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collape”, I describe a few easy to find food products, available in pretty much any supermarket around the world, that are good options for the survivalist that doesn’t have fancy survival food available. While a few MRE and specialty food for emergencies last a long time and taste pretty good, it does get expensive if you only stock up on those. Its better if you have a few staples for bulk, and sprinkle the menu with a few of those other ready meals so as to have some variety and not get bored.
One of these commonly available food products that I recommend is indeed instant mashed potatos. The dehydrated flakes look almost like paper and they infact last well beyond their expiration date as long as they are kept in a dry sealed package away from bugs.
In my book I describe something similar done by Incas, here’s the excerpt,

Dehydrated mashed potatoes: I like this stuff a lot. It stores almost indefinitely as long as it’s kept dry. The ancient Incas used to make something similar: “The Incas had an interesting way of dehydrating potatoes. Small potatoes were placed outside on the ground at high elevations to freeze during the night. The next morning the potatoes would be gathered into piles. The men and women would stomp on them which would cause the water to squirt out. When they wanted to use the dehydrated potatoes they would just add water.” http://coe.fgcu.edu/STUDENTS/WEBB/MESO/incafood.htm
Potatoes are ones of the basic food staples around the world. A lightweight package that stores almost indefinitely and just needs water? Priceless.

Rotate every couple years, but its good to know that they may as well last decades if stored properly. Note that this applies to dehydrated mashed potatos alone. Often you will find many brands that add other ingredients to the instant mix to make it more tasty, usually milk poweder, butter and herbs. This will reduce the shelf life so keep that in mind and check the ingredients.
If you buy bulk and plan for long term storage you might want to store them inside food-grade plastic buckets lined with Mylar bags. Fill the bucket, drop a few oxygen absorbers and seal the Mylar bag with a hot iron. This removes the oxygen and is one of the best methods to keep food stored for long periods of time. Some comercial products like this bucket contain a vairety of food stored, these compliment nicely the staples you may store.
Emergency Survival Food Supply 275 Meal Pack
Emergency Survival Food Supply 275 Meal Pack

Sometimes the original instant mashed potatoes packaging is already pretty good and there’s no need for this, just leave it sealed, in a box where the packaging wont be damaged.
Idahoan Real Mashed Potatoes With Vitamin C, 26-Ounce Units (Pack of 4)
Idahoan Real Mashed Potatoes With Vitamin C, 26-Ounce Units (Pack of 4)
 
I like the aluminum lined packages ( used sometimes in tuna pouches). Plastic foils like these will keep the instant mashed potatoes good for years beyond its expiration date.

Take care!

FerFAL