Since I have started taking my own prepping as a lifestyle shift and not a seasonal hobby, I have been going over things that worked in the past. A few days ago, I thought how much I enjoyed making my own yogurt and I've wanted to try my hand at cheeses, too. Research online has taught me a few things. The cultures available for purchase online from the resources I've checked have a shelf life, a very short shelf life. The cultures last two years if kept frozen and two months if kept at room temperature.
For prepping purposes, two months is not much time. If I make yogurt and keep the culture alive by remaking it, it could be handed down to the next generation! but, without modern refrigeration, modern yogurt is not possible. It's time to get the mind out of the electrical age and back to deep research. Yogurt was found among the Turks by Marco Polo who brought back the name yogurt. The Turks lived in areas where the summer temperatures reach 105 degrees. I live in a similar climate. Yogurt is possible without electricity and more research must be done.
For tonight's purposes, however, I will touch on other food stuffs that do not last as long as you would think.
Oils for cooking: olive oil has lasted for centuries, in tombs, but for our purposes, let's say, if kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool dark storage ares, it will last years.
The Canola Council of Canada recommends one year on oils except for flax seed oil which should be refrigerated.
Crisco, solid shortening lasts 2-5 years, the cooler it is kept the longer it lasts.
Lard and schmaltz (rendered chicken, goose and pork fat)
have a longer shelf life than oils if kept well. Traditional containers were pottery or wood. Kept cool and dark, air tight and away from vermin, Lard and schmaltz are used until they smell rancid then fed back to the pig.
Flour- once you mill grains the clock starts ticking and purchased self rising flours can spend less time on the shelf (months instead of years).
Yeast- dried and stamped with a 'best by' date, notes the yeast was packaged two years before the best by date. Get the longest date and rotate it in and out of your pantry as you use it.
Look in your prep pantry regularly. Rotate your supplies, and do some investigation. There is no financial sense in buying ten years worth of vegetable oil if you can't use it in a year and it doesn't last much longer than that! I am going to make yogurt the modern way until I have to make it in animal skins! There is no sense in buying bacterial cultures that won't be there when I need them.