Food storage

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #533

    #1 Storage Environment

    The ideal storage temperature is above forty and below sixty degrees Fahrenheit. Food may be stored in a higher temperature range but this higher temperatures will decrease the shelf life. Three temperatures are critical to the storage of food. First, some foods will be damaged if they are frozen. Second, above 48 Fahrenheit most insects become active. Third critical temperature is the temperature at which fats will melt about 95 Fahrenheit.

    In general, the lowest temp short of freezing should be used in storing most foods. The goal should be about 40 to 60 Fahrenheit and not higher than 70 F should be allowed.

    If your storage is kept in a garage or other area where rodents can enter, sprinkle rock sulphur around the cracks, nooks and crannies. This will keep rodents away. If the floor or your storage area is concrete or plain dirt, place slats of lumber between the cement or dirt and the cans to prevent the cans from sweating or rusting. Always keep in mind the three elements that will destroy your food supply are: Moisture, Air, and Heat. Any combination of the above three elements can do serious damage to your food storage program.

    #2 Storage

    Many different storage containers are available that can keep your food storage safe from air and moisture. However, here are a few helpful hints.

    The most important thing you should remember is that you must have a non-porous storage containers. You should use plastic bags made by Glad or bags that will not emit harmful fumes into your foods. If using large plastic garbage cans, make certain a very wide tape is used to tape the lid to the can.

    You can also store some items like root crops right in your garden.

    Spread several inches of straw as bedding and stack produce in a cone shape. Cover produce with bedding and 4” of soil. Let bedding extend through the soil for air. Make a small drainage ditch around your cone shape mound and place wood or metal cover over the top of the cone for rain runoff. You should also cover large stacks with a tarp and add provide additional ventilation at the top.

    If you live in an area where fall and winter temps remain near freezing and fluctuate very little, you can store root vegetables, apples, and pears in a wide variety of insulated structures and containers. These can range from simple mounds as explained above or a full-fledged root cellar and keeping in mind a high moisture content of the air prevents shriveling due to loss of water by evaporation.

    An old-fashioned, unheated basement is ideal for a root cellar.

    Different vegetables can be stored together in a single container, but fruits should never be stored with vegetables nor should different fruits be stored together.

    The simple table gives the best methods that we considered the most successful in preserving.

    Wheat, Grains, Oats, ext is best stored in containers.

    Apples: Live storage, canning, jams and jellies, or drying.

    Apricots, Cherries, Peaches, Pears, and Plums: Canning, drying, and jams or jellies.

    Figs: Drying, or jam

    Bananas, and grapes: Drying

    Asparagus: Canning

    Beans (green) Canning, salt curing

    Beans (lima) Canning, or drying

    Beets, cabbage, carrots, corn, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, and turnips: Live storage or canning

    Radishes, sweet potatoes, onions, parsnips, and celery: Live storage

    Cauliflower, and cucumbers: Salt curing

    Tomatoes, and spinach: Canning

    #3 Shelving

    Remember to rotate your perishables.

    Now, shelving can simply be made with 1” x 12” lumber, spacing the shelves wide enough apart to stack your food. Divide your storage shelves into allotted space for each type of food, allowing one extra row for rotation for each variety.

    Note: It stands to reason that if your food is properly canned, fumigated, rotated, and if the storage temperature is as constant as you can provide, you will achieve the maximum shelf life for your storage area.


    More information can be found here: Food: Family Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness


    My grandparents lived near Port Townsend, WA and had a huge garden. I remember the strawberries most of all. 😉 Oh what I would give to have been older at that time. I would ask him so many questions.

    My grandpa always dug a huge hole near his garden and stored all sorts of root vegetables that way. My mom, who is 86, remembers one of her jobs was to go out and dig up whatever was needed for dinner. Our Pacific NW temperatures were great for this type of storage. Grandpa learned this from his dad, and they lived in Darby, MT. Even though it gets colder in the winter, it worked for them, too.


    We have a ‘root cellar’ under our front porch, about 8′ x 8′. Hubby cleaned, painted the walls and floor and installed stainless steel shelving. The shelving really increased the storage space, and everything is FIFO! It’s PERFECT!

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
American Preppers Network Forum