Long term food storage in hot climate
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LONG-TERM FOOD STORAGE IN HOT CLIMATES

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If you live in a hot and humid region, you’ll need to take extra precautions when storing food long-term. Hot climates make food extra susceptible to contamination, so you’ll need to use the proper techniques to guarantee your food doesn’t spoil.

Keep in mind that when storing food – in all climates but especially in hot and humid environments – you’re going to want to keep your food items as cool, dry, and moisture-free as possible. There are several ways to go about this. To learn more, read below.

How do Heat and Humidity Affect Food?

Most food items keep the bulk of their nutrients, flavor, texture, and color when stored at a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. At temperatures higher than this, food tends to break down and spoil quickly.

It’s not only heat that can cause food to spoil. Humidity is another factor that affects food quality by enabling mold and bacteria to grow since both mold and bacteria thrive in places with high humidity. What’s more, humidity can cause paper packaging to deteriorate and metal containers to rust (source).

3 Different Ways to Store Food in Humid Climates

Avoiding food spoilage from heat and humidity is simple when the right storage methods are applied. Consider the following:

Freezing Food for Long-Term Storage

The most common way to protect in hot and humid climates is to freeze your food items. When using this storage method, you will not need to remove the air from your containers, but doing so may be helpful to extend the shelf life of the food items.

Despite how easy it is to freeze your food for long-term storage, freezing your food has several drawbacks you should be aware of. First, if you don’t already have one, freezers may be expensive to buy and costly to repair. Next, freezers run the risk of being accidentally unplugged. Lastly, you’d need a backup power source in case there’s a blackout or a disaster.

Canned Food in Mason Jar

Canning Food with Mason Jars for Long-Term Storage

You can use mason jars to store food in hot and humid climates. Using these jars ensures that no dangerous chemicals or toxins leak into your food.

Although a mason jar is the most commonly used type of jar for storing food, you may can or jar your food using glass jars of various shapes and sizes.

Canning your food using glass jars is simple and straightforward. Let’s discuss the steps one by one.

  1. Remove the label from the jar. If you’re having difficulty removing any labels from your jar, you may have to soak the jar in hot water with soap to make it easier for you to scrape off the label.
  2. Clean and sanitize your jars and lids. You can simply use the dishwasher to clean your jars. Or you may opt to thoroughly hand-wash the jars and lids using warm water and soap. Both cleaning methods are effective and safe.
  3. Fill the jar with your food. Ideally, you’d want to use a funnel when transferring your food to the jar in order to prevent spillage.
  4. Use a cloth to sanitize the jar’s rim. Before sealing the jar, you’re going to want to use a damp cloth to wipe off any spillage of food items along the rim of the jar. This ensures your jar is clean, and you’ll be able to seal the jar properly.
  5. Tighten the lid. Put on and tighten the jar’s lid. When doing so, make sure the lid fits into the grooves of the jar properly.
  6. Label the jar. One of the most important – but often overlooked – steps in storing food is to label your food items. Make sure you label the jar with the type of food you’re storing and the date you sealed it. This helps you keep track of expiration dates.

How Hot can Canned Foods be Stored?

Once you’ve completed the canning process, you’ll need a good place to store your jars. Ideally, you’d store your jars in a shelf or pantry area that’s dark and cool.

Finding cool places if you live in a hot and humid climate may be challenging. Wherever you choose to store your food items, make sure the location has a temperature between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mylar bag food

Sealing Food in Mylar Bags for Long-Term Storage

The third and final way to store food in hot and humid climates is by sealing your food using mylar bags.

Before you start sealing your food, make sure you have the necessary materials:

  • Food
  • Mylar bags
  • Oxygen absorbers
  • Sealer (iron)
  • Gloves
  • Buckets for holding your mylar bags
  • Funnel for transferring food into mylar bags
  • Marker for labeling
  • Mason jar

Now that you have your materials, it’s time to store your food in mylar bags. Follow the steps as listed below:

  1. Place the unused oxygen absorbers in a mason jar.
  2. Place a sufficient number of oxygen absorbers on top of your food. You can place your absorbers anywhere inside the mylar bag. As a general guideline, use one or two 300 cc oxygen absorbers or one 2000 cc oxygen absorber for each one-gallon mylar bag.
  3. Seal the mylar bags. You can use your mylar bags with the food and oxygen absorbers inside by using a cloth iron or hair straightener.
  4. Label and Store. As mentioned earlier, labeling your storage containers properly should be a habit when storing food items for the long term. Make sure to label each bag by writing down the bag’s contents and date of sealing or expiry date.

Related Article: How to Store Food in Mylar Bags: A Guide for Beginners

Why is Humidity Bad for Food Storage?

Extreme levels of humidity can ruin your stored food. This is because humidity allows bacteria and mold to thrive, thus spoiling your food and causing illnesses. If your food isn’t packaged and stored away properly using high-quality materials, humidity can also damage your food containers.

Grains in Mason Jars

Examples of High Humidity Foods

Certain foods are more resilient to hot and humid climates than others. If you live in a place with high temperatures, consider prioritizing dry goods as well as canned foods.

Dry & Dehydrated Food

Dry and dehydrated food items are great additions to your food stockpile. Dry foods provide a wide range of nutrients and are – regardless of climate – typically the easiest foods to store. What’s more, you have a lot of options when choosing dried foods for your stockpile.

You can choose food based on your tastes and preferences. If you don’t know where to start, here are some dry goods that you can consider:

Canned Goods

Another option for long-term storage in high-humidity climates is canned food. You have lots of options when choosing your canned goods. Just like with dry food, you can pick the foods you enjoy eating most.

Before visiting the shop and picking up your canned goods, it’s important to know that canned foods do not last as long compared to dry foods. While dry foods can last as long as 25 years, canned goods might spoil after two to five years, depending on what you’re storing and how you’re storing it. Your food longevity may be even shorter, considering you may live in a hot climate region. Environmental factors like direct sunlight and humidity can heat the can, spoiling the food inside.

Aside from taste, however, it’s also wise to consider nutritional content when picking out canned goods. In general, food items that are acidic contain higher levels of moisture and are more likely to spoil. With all that said, here are some items for you to consider purchasing:

  • Canned fruit
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned meat
  • Canned fish
  • Canned legumes

Although dry foods should be your first choice for long-term food storage, canned goods are a great addition to your stockpile.

The Ideal Humidity for Meat Products

The humidity requirements for meat products largely depend on how you package your meat. You can store dried meat items like jerky safely in an area with a humidity of 40 to 60 percent.

You can store meat in a normal refrigerator for up to four days. If you opt to keep your meat in a freezer, your frozen meat will remain safe indefinitely. Note, however, that meat quality may decline over time despite it being safe for consumption.

The Ideal Humidity for Vegetable Products

The humidity level of the place where you’ll store any vegetables plays a big role in determining how long your stored vegetables will stay fresh.

For fruits, lower humidity levels are ideal. Luckily for those who live in humid climates, higher humidity levels work best for vegetables. Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, green onions, and the like thrive in climates with high humidity.

If your humidity level drops too low, your vegetables will begin to rot, wilt, and dry out (source).

Final Thoughts

As a prepper who may live in a hot and humid region, it’s important to know what the best methods for long-term food storage are. In this article, we’ve given you a rundown of the most important things you need to know for storing your food in hot climates and the different ways you may choose to store your food.

Remember, proper preparation now can save you from headaches in the future. So, take time to learn the best ways to stockpile healthy and nutritious food for the long term. To learn more about how you can effectively and efficiently prepare for emergencies, check out the other articles on our website.

Related Article: How To Store Food in 5 Gallon Buckets

Related Article: 11 Supplies You Need for DIY Long-Term Food Storage

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