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Keep Your Food Storage Longer with These Helpful Hints

Shelves of Dry Food Storage in a Blythewood RentalIf you are like most people, you probably have a stock of dry food in your pantry or kitchen cabinets. Dry food is relatively easy to store. If kept properly, it can last on a shelf for months or years. However, it is still possible for dry goods to expire and go bad. If that happens, you risk poor quality food and foodborne illness. These dry food storage tips will help keep your stock fresh and nutritious for as long as possible.

Rotate Your Items

Dry storage areas typically store baking supplies, grains, dried beans, cereals, and canned goods. The great thing about these food types is that you can purchase them way in advance before you need them because they keep for a while. But if you stock dry food in your pantry, kitchen, or storage room, it is important to rotate your items regularly. Whenever you buy new inventory, make sure they are placed behind the older ones so you are constantly using your existing stock. It is also helpful to write the expiration date on all containers so you can easily identify and throw out expired items. Rotating your dry food is one of the best prevention from getting sick from spoiled dry foods.

Cooler is Better

Although dry food can last long in the right conditions, the wrong conditions will also cause them to spoil quickly. This can happen if you keep your dry foods someplace where the temperature is not controlled or is too hot, even just part of the year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, dry food is ideally kept in temperatures between 50 degrees and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If your storage area is colder or warmer than that, your dry goods are likely to go bad faster than they should.

Drier is Better

Keeping dry food in cooler temperatures is not enough, though. Dry food should also be kept dry. This is particularly challenging in humid climates. Humidity wreaks havoc on dry food, as well as the packaging they come in. Cardboard and even some cans get damaged when there is a lot of moisture in the air. Boxes, when they get wet, become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

In humid climates, it is advisable to store dry food in airtight glass containers instead of in bags and boxes. But if that is not practical, and unless you live in a dry climate like in the southwestern U.S., a dehumidifier or air conditioner will help protect your dry food stores during the humid parts of the year.

Keep it Centered

When deciding on a place for your dry food storage, you must remember that temperatures and humidity levels can vary, even within one room. Areas near windows and doors, or up high, will have a different temperature than the outside edges of a room. Exterior surfaces also tend to have more condensation problems and this can lead to bug or rodent infestation.

Even indoor dry food storage is best if it is put someplace centrally located and, as much as possible, high off the floor. Do not place anything in areas that get direct sunlight or against an exterior wall. If you are using a basement or cellar for storage, make sure you don’t store food along any unfinished exterior cement walls. Doing these will help your food stores stay dry, clean, and ready to use when you need them.

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