Ideas for Preserved Food Storage
The United States wastes around 30% to 40% of its food. That’s an enormous number and one that everyone should work toward lowering. If you’re serious about limiting your own food waste and want to make the most of the food you grow or purchase, you’ve likely encountered and used different preservation methods already. Many of them are beginner-friendly and easy to get started.
After canning food, it’s important to have some great ideas concerning proper preserved food storage.
Whether you’re just beginning your food-preservation journey or have been doing it for decades, you need a way to store it! After all, the point of preserving food is having more than what you’d normally keep in the fridge or pantry. This blog will give you some great ideas for storing your preserved food so you can ensure it lasts! There are few things as frustrating as working hard to preserve food, only to lose it to unexpected spoilage.
Preserved Food Safety Requirements
Keep certain types of preserved foods, like canned goods, in certain conditions. Maintaining those conditions ensures that the food is safe and doesn’t lose its flavor or nutritional value. You want to reap the rewards of all your hard work, especially if you’re preserving food you grew, too. That’s your harvest in those cans! Make sure you’re storing it in a way that lives up to all that potential.
For optimal storage conditions, make sure to store canned goods within the following guidelines.
- Keep them between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit, but definitely below 85 degrees.
- Store goods in a clean and cool place.
- Never store above 95 degrees or near anything hot, like a furnace.
- To preserve quality, don’t freeze the food. While it might not cause safety concerns, it does affect the texture and possibly nutritional value.
Additionally, when you’re using preserved foods, find a system that guarantees you’re using the oldest food first! Even preserved foods have an ideal shelf life, even if they can exist beyond it.
6 Easy Preserved Food Storage Ideas
With the safety concerns out of the way, let’s dive into those storage ideas! Regardless of how much (or how little) space you have available, there are storage solutions for your preserved food.
The term “root cellar” means a few different things. It might be a crawl space, an unheated basement, outside trenches created to store food, or actual root cellars. Those things all have the same conditions in common – they’re cool and damp. That last part isn’t exactly ideal for canned goods, as too much moisture can cause the lids to rust, but it’s great for prolonging the life of certain vegetables.
- Dried Corn
- Shelled Beans
If you have a basement or crawlspace in your home, turn it into a root cellar to up your food preservation game!
Under the Stairs
If your home has a staircase, consider utilizing the space beneath it for storing food! With some clever shelving, it’s almost like creating a second pantry. You can do everything from installing pull-out shelves to adding stacks of drawers. Seeing this space used for wine storage isn’t uncommon, so using it to store preserved food makes a lot of sense!
If you happen to have a set of basement stairs, you’ll get the best of both worlds. Use the space beneath the staircase to build a root cellar!
Over-the-door storage is incredibly useful. After all, if you don’t turn them into something, doors just sit there. Don’t waste that surface area. Install over-the-door racks to hold your canned goods or dried herbs. This hack is useful whether you preserve your own food or not. Extra pantry space is never a bad idea!
Make sure to follow the “first in, first out” rule when adding your canned goods. Use up the oldest food first!
Closet Shelves for Preserved Food Storage
Do you have closet space you’re not using? Is there an area of the pantry that still has open space up top or near the bottom? If so, adding in some extra shelving is the perfect way to store your preserved food! If you’re building your shelving, keep a few things in mind.
- You need sturdy shelves. Canned food is heavy, and even dried foods add up if you have enough of them.
- Cheap materials like particle board probably won’t hold up long-term. If you’re opting for plastic, get something solid.
- Always check the weight limit for shelving. Ideally, overestimate the amount of weight you’ll be placing on it, too. It’s better to be overly cautious than hear your precious canned goods crashing down at 2 am.
Another great use of space for canned goods is to build storage cabinets in long hallways, like the included picture. Olin has two of these in our barndominium. Great way to utilize unused space in your home and have a controlled temperature!
Hanging shelves are a great way to get your food up off the ground and out of the way. Combine this idea with plenty of the others above for maximum effect. Depending on the type of food you’re preserving, take it a step further and make the hanging shelf into a can organizer. Layer hanging shelves to stack freeze-dried foods.
The possibilities are endless with this one. If you have space to hang a shelf and the area meets the ideal “cool and dry” conditions, go for it!
Under the Bed
There’s a wealth of space under your bed. Use it for extra storage! If you have canned food, you can store it in cases right beneath the bed. Practically any type of food fits into buckets. Fill them with dried beans or rice, use them to store freeze-dried foods, or pack them with cans and slide them beneath the bed.
However, you choose to approach it, storing food beneath the bed gives you a lot of surface area. At the most extreme calculation, a King bed could accommodate up to 42 5-gallon buckets of food. Just make sure the bed isn’t near a heat source!
Final Thoughts on Preserved Food Storage
Preserving and saving food is great for the environment and your budget. Use these easy storage ideas to get the most out of the food you work hard for! If you’re interested in other food preservation tips and tricks, head over to Stoney Creek Farm’s page, visit our YouTube channel, and stay up-to-date with our class offerings!