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Food Storage Essentials: Ways to store vitamin C without stockpiling oranges

Learn how to keep vitamin C in your food storage.
Learn how to keep vitamin C in your food storage.

Since my previous column, I have learned more about vitamin C and how to ensure storing enough in food storage. People can die from lack of vitamin C.

Without a source of vitamin C, the World Health Organization says it takes just two to three months to develop scurvy, which eventually leads to death. In an emergency, we are particularly vulnerable in winter months when fresh foods are not available. That is why many pioneers died at Winter Quarters (see "Language of the Mormon Pioneers" by George W. Givens).

Our bodies do not store vitamin C, therefore it is recommended that we consume 90 milligram of vitamin C daily to maintain good health.

Grains and beans in basic food storage are not a significant source of vitamin C, making it important to store other sources of this vitamin. Including foods high in vitamin C is a good idea. (As I mentioned in my previous column, most commonly stored foods with vitamin C include broccoli, orange juice or enriched powdered juice mixes, mandarin oranges, mangoes, green chiles, green peppers, peas, pineapple, potatoes, raspberries, strawberries and tomatoes.)

Another option is to store vitamin C pills. According to Oscar Pike, Brigham Young University professor of nutrition, dietetics and food science, 500 milligram vitamin C pills stored in a dark place at room temperature will retain enough vitamin C over many years to prevent scurvy. One pill, ground and stirred into a drink, can provide adequate vitamin C for the whole family for a day. Plan on a pill a day for a year’s supply. That is a very inexpensive way to ensure enough vitamin C is stored.

Many people are not aware of the importance of including enough vitamin C in food storage. This is critical information to pass on to others.

Leslie Probert, a graduate in home economics from Brigham Young University, has been a popular speaker and is co-author of "Emergency Food Storage in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition" with over 400 fast, creative recipes. Email: