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Keep Your Food Storage Longer with These Helpful Hints

Shelves of Dry Food Storage in a White Bear Lake RentalMany people keep a small stock of dry food in their pantry or kitchen cabinets. Although dry food generally keeps well, and can even last on a shelf for years, dry goods can still 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. These foods are great because they keep on the shelf for a long time so you can buy them long before you need to use them. But if you keep a stock of dry food, it is important that you check and rotate the items in your pantry, kitchen, or storage room regularly. Place new inventory behind older ones to ensure you use your existing stock. Make it a habit, as well, to write the expiration date on all containers 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 in a place 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. Your dry goods will deteriorate faster if you store them in temperatures colder or warmer than that.

Drier is Better

Keeping dry food in cooler temperatures is not enough, though. Dry food should also be kept dry. Climates with high humidity make this particularly challenging. Humidity can damage dry food and the packaging it comes in. Some cans, and even cardboard, will deteriorate when the air has high moisture content. Boxes, when they get wet, become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

It is also better to store dry food in airtight glass containers instead of in bags and boxes if you live somewhere with a humid climate. 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 identifying a place to keep your dry food storage, keep in mind that temperature and humidity levels differ even in the same room. For instance, you would get a different temperature reading around the outside edges of a room, near windows and doors, and up high. Exterior surfaces are also more prone to condensation problems and can serve as an invitation to bugs or rodents.

Dry food is best kept if you put it someplace centrally located and up off the floor. Do not place anything in areas that get direct sunlight or against an exterior wall. If your storage is in the basement or cellar, don’t place your shelves along any unfinished exterior cement walls. This will help keep your dry food dry, clean, and ready to use when you need it.

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