February, March, and April tend to be mud and flood season in many areas of the US. It’s a devastating experience, to say the least. It’s also heartbreaking to not only see your home and personal items ruined by mud and water, but also to see it ravage the emergency stockpile you’ve worked so hard to build up and maintain. How are you to know what’s salvageable and what needs to be tossed in the garbage? Here are some helpful tips on what to look for, should you be faced with mud and water invading your stockpile.
Foods in Tin Cans
Check each can to make sure it doesn’t have any punctures in it or isn’t leaking from the seams around the top and bottom portion of the can. Most tin cans are pretty resilient, unless they get crushed. Make sure the top or bottom isn’t bulging out either. Any of these signs could mean the contents inside the can have become contaminated while being submerged in mud or water.
It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on cans that have been salvaged, since rusting is an issue as well. A little bit
Homemade Canned Goods
of rust on the outside is okay. However, if you open a can and notice the rust goes all the way through, please don’t eat the contents of the can!
Inspect the lid of each jar of home canned goods to make sure it is still secure. The middle portion might have popped up, meaning the seal is no longer good. If this is the case, wash the jar thoroughly before opening to view the goods inside. You’ll want the outer portion of th jar to be clean, in case you can save the food inside the jar. Opening the jar while dirty will most likely contaminate the food within.
Having canned goods in jars also means there is a possibility of breakage. Thoroughly look over each jar carefully to make sure no cracks or gashes have occurred during the flooding.
Dried Food Supplies
Look over dried goods closely for any wet spots within the container the dried food is stored in. Whether you use plastic bags, jars, cans, or other semi-water tight containers, it’s best to check each one before setting it back in the cleaned out stockpile area. You can usually see any water build up inside the container. Sometimes there is a discoloration instead of standing water. This is common with dried goods such as dehydrated beans, potatoes, textured vegetable protein, and other dried supplies in flake form.
The amount of water inside a container might be so minimal that you don’t even notice damage has occurred, until the dried goods begin to show signs of molding or possibly even sprouting. Some beans and seeds will start to sprout with even the smallest amount of moisture.
When in Doubt, Throw it Out!
If you aren’t positive something hasn’t been contaminated during mud and flood season, then don’t take a chance with your well-being. Toss it out in the compost pile, if you have one, or into the garbage. There’s no sense in getting sick from contaminated food because you were trying to save every little thing possible. Your health is much more important!
What’s some advice you might have for someone facing mud and water damage amongst food items?