- By: Brandon Garrett
- Posted on: September 23, 2013
One of the largest questions with food storage is “Where should I put this?”
Where you store your food storage has a large impact on how long it will last and how good the food will taste once you use it. What type of container you use to store the food and the conditions of the area you store it have a large impact on the food.
Below we’ve listed out a few things you need to consider with your food containers and the conditions in which you store them. Let’s get started!
There are three types of packaging you’ll find for typical food storage supplies: Mylar pouches, metal cans or plastic containers. Each will provide a slight difference with your shelf life and storage requirements.
Cans. Commonly known as #10 cans (so named for its volume), these container often use oxygen absorbers to increases shelf life. In fact, this method of storage has proven to yield the longest shelf life (10-30 years) for dry foods. However, the seams of the can should be careful examined and maintained, as faulty seams are the primary threat to food quality long term.1
Pouches. High-quality Mylar pouches can keep a meal for 15-25 years thanks to their superior oxygen barriers protecting the food. When the bags are thicker, contain oxygen absorbers and are stored correctly, it all comes together to create an effective, lightweight storage system. See our article “Food Storage Pouches vs Cans” for more on the comparison between these two containers.
Large Buckets. Buckets are effective at holding large amounts of food while keeping smells contained and sunlight blocked. As stated earlier, the most effective bucket storage also uses Mylar bagging on the interior of the bucket. This combination has proven to be one of the most effective at preserving food long term.
Jars. This storage container isn’t used commercially much anymore, but continues to be the container of choice for many food storage DIYers. So long as the seal is airtight and the jars have been properly cleaned, glass jars are an effective form of storage. However, the food is more exposed to light, so it is important to keep glass jars used for food storage in the dark as much as possible.
Reducing oxygen is crucial because it helps ensure flavor, fights rancidity, nutritional breakdown, and keeps food free of infestation.
Historically, two practices have been used to remove oxygen – nitrogen flushing and oxygen absorbers. Nitrogen flushing was a process that attempted to push out oxygen by flushing the food containers full of nitrogen and expelling the oxygen. By its nature, effective nitrogen flushing was a difficult process that was hard to get right. Nitrogen flushing also had a somewhat negative impact on the flavor of the food.2
The other, more proven3, method is placing oxygen absorbers inside food storage containers, which removes oxygen from the environment they are placed in through a chemical reaction. It’s recommended that your food storage has an oxygen absorber inside the can or mylar bag.
When considering where to store your food storage, find a place that is dry, dark and cool. In order to properly store your food, focus on two main areas: Moisture and temperature. There are other important criteria to consider too, such as light levels, air circulation and avoiding infestations, but dealing with moisture and temperature should be your top priorities.
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