What’s the Ideal Temperature for Storing Dry Goods?
With the recession looming over, people are stocking up on clothes, toiletries, and dry goods. Grains, cereals, and canned food can last for many months, if not years. Dry goods are very easy to store in a dark and dry spot: no need to put them in a refrigerator or a freezer. You will have to keep the right temperature in the room, though.
Otherwise, most of the products will go bad. So, what’s the ideal temperature for dry goods? Does the time of the year matter? Should you be worried about humidity levels? How do you increase or decrease the temperature in a room? And finally, what’s the best place for keeping dry goods? We have the answers right here!
Normal Temperature for Storing Goods
Proper temperature is imperative for keeping food fresh and taming bacterial growth. If you manage to maintain the temps within acceptable limits, the goods will not only last longer but also retain most of the nutrients. Now, dry goods are best kept at slightly cooler temperatures. Ideally, you should aim for 50°F. That will maximize the shelf life of your products. But, you can store most goods at indoor temps as well. We’re talking about 65–80°F.
And to be able to track temperature fluctuations, put a thermometer on the wall in the room/area where you’re planning on storing the dry goods. The perfect temperature will differ slightly depending on the area that you live in and the season. Here’s a more detailed look at recommended temps and some quick tips and tricks for storage:
- Store dry goods at 50–70 degrees F
- Use a thermometer to check the temps daily
- Protect dry goods from extensive heat/light
- Place the products on shelves, off the floor
- Store the goods away from the walls
- Ensure proper ventilation of the area
- Clean regularly to fight off pests
- Keep the original packaging
Normal Temperature in Winter
Even if you live somewhere in Florida or Louisiana, winter will still be the coldest time of the year. And that’s great news because the lower the temperature in the storage area, the better. You shouldn’t let the temps drop below the freezing point, of course, which makes 40–50°F the perfect climate for dry goods.
Normal Temperature in Spring
During the spring, snow and ice start to melt while the ground grows softer and that has a huge impact on the temperature. If you’re storing dry goods somewhere in a garage, shed, or basement, the humidity will be a factor to consider. And, since low temps equal low humidity and dry air, you should go for 50–55°F.
Normal Temperature in Summer
Summer is the hottest time of the year, but dry goods aren’t big fans of above-average temps. That’s why an air conditioner or a ceiling fan will come in handy. It might be a bit challenging to keep the temperature at 50°F; so if you manage not to let it go above 60–65 degrees during the summer, that will be great. Moving the food to the basement could also help.
Normal Temperature in Fall
Fall is the most humid season. In many ways, it’s like the golden middle between spring and winter. Therefore, 45–60°F is what you should opt for. Check the thermostat at least once a day and consider investing in a dehumidifier to fight moisture.
Why Does Temperature Matter?
Temperature is one of the defining physical quantities on our planet. We use it to measure and describe hotness and coldness. Temperature affects every single living organism on the planet. It also has a huge effect on trees, bushes, plants, and dry goods. To maximize the shelf life of various products, the temperature in the storage area needs to be in the cool-moderate range: that’s 50–70 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the temperature is too high, the deterioration rate of the food accelerates; the packages will break down faster as well. This is especially true for canned foods. If you go over 95°F, the rapid growth of yeast and molds will follow. And what if it’s really cold? Well, dry foods can be frozen without any concerns. The same can’t be said about canned foods, though. When the temps are below freezing, the cans tend to swell and bulge, resulting in the development of foodborne germs and illnesses.
What About Humidity?
Don’t want your dry goods to go to waste? Then keep humidity levels low. This might come as a surprise, but excess moisture will quickly lead to the development of bacteria and mold in dry food. In the worst-case scenario, it can even affect the packaging materials. For storing dry goods, 15–20% humidity is perfect, but 50–55% will also do.
Most food will easily handle a wider range, of course (40–60%), yet it would still be best to stick to 50%. To keep humidity levels down, the storage room needs to have proper air circulation. If that doesn’t help, get your hands on a dehumidifier. These devices come at a reasonable price and do a decent job of “taming” humidity. Moisture-proof packaging (like airtight containers) is also an option.
How to Increase/Decrease the Temperature?
Depending on the time of the year, the storage room might be too cold or too hot for dry goods. Thankfully, there are tried-and-true tricks for controlling the temps.
Storing Dry Goods in Plastic vs Glass
To maximize the shelf life of dry goods, go with glass. The reason: glass is capable of creating a tight seal that won’t let any air in. The same can’t be said about plastic, though. And when oxygen “squeezes” into a container or jar, it makes the food deteriorate faster. Plastic is cheaper, however. So, if you’re on a tight budget, only use glass for food that spoils easier and use plastic for stuff like rice, buckwheat, and various grains.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do You Store Dry Goods Properly?
Ideally, the storage area should be dry, dark, and cool. And, if you want the food to preserve its nutrients, don’t store it for more than 4–12 months. True, dry goods can last for many years. Still, if you’re planning on consuming them within a year, do follow the so-called “FIFO” rotation system” to make sure the food is always fresh. This is done to avoid a situation when items stocked first are served last.
Vegetables can be stored for 6–8 months; dried fruits last for up to a year.
What Are the Best Dry Goods For Storing?
Cans with lids, glass jars, plastic jars, and foil bags are all great for storing dry goods. But which foods are best suited for long-term storage?
A Quick Reference Guide
|Time of the Year
Storing dry goods is a great way of making sure you won’t run out of essentials during a crisis. Dry goods like flour, sugar, rice, and grains take little space and won’t get spoiled like meat, fish, or liquid goods. The one thing that you’ll have to worry about is the temperature. Humidity also plays a big role; so, keep it under control as well.
Today, we talked about the ideal temps for storage and went over how warm or cold the room should be in winter, spring, and other times of the year. Follow our recommendations, keep an eye on the thermometer, and give yourself peace of mind knowing that there are dry goods stored in the house waiting to get unpacked!
Featured Image Credit: Fevziie, Shutterstock