Due to space limitations, privacy, etc, many cans of food will be stored under less-than-ideal conditions – the crawl space under a home, a damp basement, etc. These obscure locations also offer diversification, so that not all of your food is stored in one place, thus ensuring safety. To get maximum shelf life for my stored canned foods, I wax all the cans prior to storage. I also wax cardboard containers of food, such as rolled oats.
Waxing cans and boxes is not very difficult. Wax melts at 150 F, but burns easily, so it should be melted in a stock pot or similar that is in a larger pot of water. Any wax, be it candle wax, paraffin, or beeswax, will work, but at least 30 pounds is needed to have the depth necessary to dip cans and replenish the wax used in coatings.
I dip one half the can into the molten wax, swish the can back and forth a half-dozen times, then set it on the uncoated end on newspaper to dry. After coating a few dozen cans, the other end is coated with wax. The cans are then ready to be placed into a cardboard box for moving to the place of storage.
As a trial, I coated one half of an empty can and set it outside on a fence post. After a month in the Oregon coastal rains, the uncoated side was severely rusted, while the side of the can coated in paraffin was pristine! Coating cans with wax prevents rust, ensuring safe, edible cans of food for the “seven lean years.”
My thrifty, God fearing wife has been purchasing cases of canned food (at good sale prices) for 10 years now. In the past we did not wax the cans, but lost a few to “rusting through” as they were stored in an outside larder. She opened a gallon of peaches last week as the top of the can was showing rust – after 7 years of storage! The peaches were in perfect condition and quite delicious. Thank you God for your kindnesses to us as we had not waxed the cans until the threat of potential starvation became a reality…may God bless the little children and give us the wisdom to feed them!
REASON FOR WAXING BOXES
The reason for freezing dry mixes and cereals is because they almost always contain a few eggs from bugs such as weevils, wax moths, etc, that do no harm and are not even noticed when the products are consumed as intended, but…when stored for long periods of time, they can become fouled with larvae and moths. By sealing the box edges with paper tape (if needed), then coating with wax, the contents are protected from infestation via infiltration from other contaminated cereals or grains, and the contents are protected from moisture while freezing, while the freezing itself kills any larvae present.
Coating boxes with wax and freezing is a bit of a boring job, but as many of the items we are now stockpiling are for long term storage and use under conditions when those products might not be commercially available, it is worth the effort.