Dry goods are the foundation of a functional kitchen stockpile. That’s why it is important to know how to store dry goods and keep them fresh for when you really need them.
- A good stockpile allows you to prepare for making anything you would like, even when you are crunched for time and haven’t done a grocery shop.
- Keeping a supply of dry goods like flour, sugar, oats, rice, and beans will help you feed your family on a budget with basic staples.
Dry goods do have a naturally long shelf life of several months without doing anything particular for storage. If you are stocking for more than a short period of time you will want to store your dry goods in a way that will protect them from damage and extend their shelf life.
Storing dry goods is easy and there are several things you can do to extend the life of your dry goods.
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- Use Airtight Containers
Airtight containers are vital for keeping your dry goods fresh for a long period of time.
This is even more important if you live in an area with high humidity in the summer.
You can up-cycle empty food containers too. But you must test them first.
When up-cycling a container you already have in the house, test the container by filling it with water and placing it upside down. If water does not leak out, you are good to go. If water does leak, avoid using that container for storing your dry goods.
- Reduce Moisture
You can use oxygen absorbers to collect moisture in the air left in each container as you store your dry foods for long term storage. This will extend the shelf life of your stored goods, protecting them from air and moisture.
These packets can be saved from other food items you have purchased and have used up or you can purchase them online.
- Freeze first
If you have bought in bulk or for future use and will be storing your dry goods for an extended period of time, you will want to freeze them first.
Freeze items like flour in the original packaging for several days to allow the bacteria inside the flour to die off. Then transfer to an airtight container. You may now continue to store it in the freezer or transfer it to a cold cellar.
This process will greatly improve the shelf life of your flour and other prone to bacteria dry goods. This is important for grains that have been milled in particular. Oats, rice, sugar, and beans will be fine without freezing beforehand.
- Divide, then store
Chances are you won’t use up all of your stored dry goods in one go when you need them. Opening a large container or an air tight bag to remove a small amount of product kind of defeats all of the steps you did above to keep your dry goods fresh.
For long term storage, I suggest you divide large quantities into single use amounts and place the dry goods in individual sealed bags. Then put the bags inside of a simple 5-gallon bucket with an airtight lid. Add in a few oxygen absorbers and you will enjoy flour, rice, and other dry goods for years.
This method is perfect for families looking to store large amounts of dry goods for emergency use or to take advantage of a good sale.
- Vacuum Seal
Dry goods lend themselves well to vacuum sealing. This keeps them from being exposed to moisture in the air and can help them last for years.
Like with storing in other containers, items like flour should be frozen for a few days to ensure no bacteria or insect larva can thrive and cause your food to spoil. Vacuum sealing in jars and bags removes the air preventing moisture damage, mold, and rot from damaging your food.
- Store in cool, dark place
When storing your dry goods long term look for a cool, dark, dry place for the best results. Heat like moisture will speed up the breakdown of your dry goods shortening their lifespan. You should keep all dried food storage out of direct sunlight to help protect the colour and flavour of your dried goods.
If you don’t have a cold cellar, use a pantry or a less used cupboard away from any heat sources. i.e. not above or next to your stove or refrigerator.
- First in, first out
To ensure your dry goods keep as fresh as possible, always use the oldest stored product first. You can make certain you choose right by storing your product with first in at the front. Label new items with the date and place behind any existing product already stored.
Stockpiling your dry, pantry goods are a great way to save money and time but only if you store your dry goods properly. Do so and you will have a pantry filled with fresh, ready to use product for years to come.