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Keep Your Food Storage Longer with These Helpful Hints

Shelves of Dry Food Storage in a Franklin RentalA lot of people keep a small stock of dry food in their 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. The good thing about these foods is that they have a long shelf life so you can purchase 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. Place new inventory behind older ones to ensure you use your existing stock. It is also good to write the expiration date of items on the 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 dry foods in a place that does not have a controlled temperature 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. Warmer or colder temperatures may cause your dry goods to go bad a lot faster than they should.

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 damages dry food and the packaging it comes in. Cardboard and some cans get damaged if the air has too much moisture. In particular, wet boxes can become 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. Temperatures on the outside edges of a room will not be the same as with areas near windows and doors, and up high. Condensation is also more likely to form on exterior surfaces and can invite bugs or rodents.

Dry food is best kept if you put it someplace centrally located and up off the floor. Other areas to avoid are those that get direct sunlight or anything against an exterior wall. For storage in a basement or cellar, see to it that no food is shelved along 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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