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Keep Your Food Storage Longer with These Helpful Hints

Shelves of Dry Food Storage in a Weddington RentalIf you are like most people, you probably have a stock of dry food in your pantry or kitchen cabinets. While dry food keeps fairly well– lasting on a shelf for months or even years– under the right conditions, it is still possible for dry goods to expire and go bad. If that happens, you risk poor quality food and foodborne illness. This is why these dry food storage tips are important if you want to keep your stock fresh 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 in your pantry, kitchen, or storage room, it is best to rotate them regularly. Whenever you buy new inventory, make sure they are placed behind the older ones so you are constantly using your existing stock. Make it a habit, as well, to write the expiration date on all containers and throw out expired items. One of the best ways of preventing sickness from spoiled food is by rotating your dry food.

Cooler is Better

In the right conditions, dry food can last a long time, but it can also spoil quickly if stored under the wrong conditions. 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. 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 some cans get damaged if the air has too much moisture. Wet boxes, in particular, are the favorite breeding grounds for mold and bacteria.

It is preferable to keep dry food in airtight glass containers if your area has 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. Areas near windows and doors, or up high, will have a different temperature than the outside edges of a room. Condensation is also more likely to form on exterior surfaces and can invite bugs or rodents.

Dry food is kept best if you put it someplace centrally located and up off the floor. It would also be good to avoid areas that get direct sunlight or any place that is 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. This will ensure that your dry food is dry and clean, ready to use when you need them.

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