If you are planning on setting up food storage in a hot region, you must approach your system carefully to prevent contamination.
Food storage is a necessary practice for many homeowners, but you need to ensure that the storage conditions that you keep your goods in are going to be stable - with hot climates presenting many possibilities for contamination risks. However, by implementing the right techniques and taking proper precautions, you can guarantee that your food storage stays good for the long haul.
When storing food in hot climates, you need to ensure that food is kept cool, dry, and moisture-free. You can do this by storing dry, dehydrated, and canned items in airtight containers in cool and dry places around your home, such as a basement, garage, or pantry.
These days, having a food storage system at home is basic common sense. Disaster tends to strike when we least expect it, and although there is little that we can do to prevent the emergency from taking place - we can be prepared for it when it does. With natural disasters becoming more and more prevalent and a global pandemic causing a nationwide panic, there has never been a more important time to plan ahead. Creating a food storage system at home is becoming quite popular and if you want your goods to be there for you when you need them the most, you should have the right food items ready to go. That said, your local climate can greatly influence your ability to safely store food long term. The good news is that with the right storage practices, you can guarantee the preservation of your food items - regardless of climate conditions. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at how to store food long-term in a hot climate.
After extensively researching food storage techniques, I have been able to gather enough information to determine the best practices for storing food in hot climates. My research has indicated that if you are planning on storing food in a hot climate, you need to be selective with the items that you choose and the conditions in which they are kept.
Food Storage Conditions for Hot Climates
When it comes to food storage, heat can be a major problem for long-term preservation. The combination of moisture and heat is what causes bacteria to form and food to spoil, which is why you want secure your goods by keeping them in a safe environment.
If you want to store food in a hot climate, you need to keep your food items cool and dry. In addition, all of the food that you store must be kept airtight. These are some food storage conditions that you should keep in mind:
- 70°F (or less)
- No direct sunlight
- 100% sealed
A failure to ensure that your food is dry, cool, and airtight, can easily result in contamination. You can prevent this by choosing the right containers and location for your goods. More on this next.
Food Storage Containers for Hot Climates
With food storage becoming an increasingly popular practice, there are a lot of options for keeping your food safe for the long haul. To start you off on the right path with your food storage system, I would recommend that you consider investing in the following food storage products:
There are a lot of different ways that you can approach your food storage system and you should ultimately consider what is best for you based on your budget and how well you want to contain your goods. You can rely on one of the above-mentioned products or use a combination of multiple products to secure your items.
However, you may already have food storage containers laying around the house. Mason jars and particularly popular and will do just fine if that is what you have. The main thing that you want to prioritize is that the container is completely airtight and free of bacteria that can lead to contamination.
Food Storage Locations for Hot Climates
As we have just covered, you need to keep your food items contained properly to maximize their expiration date and prevent contamination. However, you also need to choose an appropriate location in your home to store your food.
A place that is dry and cool is going to ensure that your food stays safe long-term in a hot climate. Each person’s home is a bit different, which is why it is best to evaluate the conditions of each space that you have available to you to find an ideal location. These are some great food storage locations for hot climates:
- Attic (insulated)
- Storage shed (insulated)
If you are planning on keeping your goods on the floor in any of these locations, make sure that they are in a protected container. This will prevent rodents from tampering with your food items.
If you do not have adequate space or simply do not have access to a traditional food storage location such as a basement, you can technically keep your goods in any place around your home.
Just make sure that you choose a designated location that has stable conditions that are ideal for food storage. I would recommend monitoring the conditions of the environment regularly to confirm that the temperature does not rise above 70°F - especially during the hottest times of the year.
Food Storage Items for Hot Climates
There are plenty of does and don’ts for storing food in a hot climate. You need to keep in mind that a food storage system is designed as a safety and survival measure for emergencies. This implies that you should select foods that are going to last and give you the nutrients that your body needs most.
With the right food items in your stockpile kept in stable storage conditions, you can get decades out of your goods - even in a hot climate. There are some key goods that you should prioritize for your stockpile. Let’s explore your options.
Dry & Dehydrated Food
The most reliable food storage items that you can keep in your stockpile are those that are dry. Moisture is often the primary culprit behind food that has gone bad in a food storage system, which is why dry foods are going to be your safest bet.
These goods should make up the bulk of your stockpile, as they are going to provide you with your most necessary nutrients and will be the easiest to store. You have a lot of options when picking out dried foods for your system. Ultimately, you can choose goods that are more favorable based on tastes and preferences - just make sure that they are dry, dehydrated, or freeze-dried. These are some items that you can consider.
- Potato Flakes
- Dry Fruit
At the end of the day, each food storage stockpile is a bit different. You can take your dry foods as far as you want - with many preppers going all out and creating a system that has an expansive variety of goods. If kept in the right storage conditions, you can get upwards of 25 years out of a lot of your dry and dehydrated food items.
You have a lot of options when choosing canned goods and much like with dry food, you can pick what you want based on your tastes.
With that being said, it is important to understand that canned food items are not going to be nearly as reliable for longevity compared to dry goods. Whereas dry goods could last as long as 25 years, canned food may only last 2 to 5 years depending on what you are storing.
If you can keep the canned food cool for a prolonged period of time, you might be able to push this estimated figure further. However, you should also consider nutritional variety when picking out canned food items as well as their contents. In general, acidic food items that have a lot of moisture are more likely to go bad quicker. These are some items that you can consider:
- Canned Vegetables
- Canned Fruit
- Canned Legumes
- Canned Meat
- Canned Fish
Although dry foods are still favorable for food storage, canned goods are a great addition, as they require less preparation and offer quicker access to calories when you need them.
Although a lot of people do not prioritize frozen items when creating a food storage stockpile, this is actually one of the best ways to keep your goods safe for the long haul. A freezer will provide optimal storage conditions for your food and it will also open up your options for expanding the items that you can have in your system.
Given that a freezer will keep anything that you put in it safe from contamination, you can throw in whatever your heart desires. This includes items such as frozen meat and frozen vegetables. The only thing that I would recommend is not putting all of your eggs in one basket and relying solely on a freezer for your food storage system.
Although a freezer opens up a lot of options and possibilities, it is also a much riskier approach for food storage in case something were to happen to your power supply. Given that you need electricity to power your freezer, you could run into trouble in case the emergency that you are in results in a power outage, which is why it is best to prioritize frozen foods last.
A food storage item that many people surprisingly overlook is water. Water is the most essential thing that you can keep in your system - especially if you live in a hot climate.
Water is going to be necessary for hydration, as well as cooking, which is why you want to have an abundance of it in your supply. Although most disasters that you encounter will probably not result in your water getting cut off, you should expect the worse when planning for an emergency.
You can survive for a while without food but you will be lucky to last 3 days without water in your system. In general, you should have at least 1 gallon of water per person in your food storage stockpile. Depending on how long you want to live off of your food storage, you should plan your water out accordingly.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker