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The Specifics of Food Storage

Learn which dry goods, especially for baking, you can store and the best ways to store them for a prolonged shelf life.

| May 2018


The Emergency Pantry Handbook (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013) by Kate Rowinski, is a guide for anything you and your family may need in an emergency.  Find out the basics you will need to know to survive and how to prepare for the emergency ahead of time. This excerpt is located in Chapter 5, “The Specifics of Food Storage.”

Every item in your pantry needs to be stored in the following three conditions to maintain optimum quality: cool, dry, and dark. High temperatures, humid or wet conditions, and exposure to light are the primary rea-sons for spoiled food. In addition, food must be kept safe from bugs and rodents. Keep these factors in mind when storing any food products. The following are specific recommendations for each food group.

Long-term Storage of Whole Grains, Beans, and White Rice

Whole grains, dried beans, and white rice are very durable, but they must be stored in a cool, dry location. Temperatures of 50–60°F are ideal for ensuring maximum longevity. Overheating or wide temperature swings will shorten their life. Likewise, humidity causes challenges. Any time moisture is present, there is a danger for molds and bacteria to grow.

Bulk foods used for long-term storage should be carefully sealed to keep them safe from pests and rodents. To store a large quantity of dried bulk foods, choose food-grade five-gallon buckets with gasket lids. Line each bucket with a Mylar bag. Place one 500cc oxygen absorber in the bottom of the bag. Fill the bag about half way, shaking the bucket to settle the food. Add another oxygen absorber and then fill the bucket, leaving about an inch of space on top. Place another oxygen absorber on top.

Pull the bag up as high as you can, settling the food into the bucket. Use a hot iron to seal the Mylar bag. Place a board on the edge of the bucket, lay the bag top straight, and start sealing the bag from left to right, making sure to squeeze out excess air before finishing the seal. Fold the bag down and place the gasket lid on the bucket.

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