Essential Food Storage: Vitamins and Medicines

Thursday, July 7, 2011

When putting together your food storage, don't forget about some of the "non-food" items that are also important to keep onhand.

Medications are probably near the to of that list. You probably won't be able to store a year's worth of prescription medicines, but you can easily put in a few months worth of vitamins and basic over-the-counter medications like pain relievers and cough syrups. Most of us have probably had an experience where we (or a child or spouse) ended up sick and when we went to get the medicine from the cupboard we were all out - NO FUN!

Because vitamins and medications have expirations on their potency/effectiveness (the compounds begin to break down over time), you will need to be fairly diligent in rotating these. Don't stock more than you could reasonably use in 6-12 months, otherwise it will go to waste. But do try to keep a bottle or two extra on-hand. I find it easiest to write the expiration date on the outside of the bottle or package in permanent marker so it is easily visible. When I go to get a bottle or package out of storage, I always look for the oldest one to use first. And about once a year I try to go through and weed out any that have gone past their expiration date.

As a general rule, you'll want to store vitamins and medications away from your regular food, and preferably behind a locked door or cupboard if there are children in your home.