Dry storage is one of the greatest achievements of humankind. Managing to dry fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains to a point where they are shelf-stable for months, years, and sometimes even decades after they were made (or harvested) is an incredible venture when one stops to think about it.

Unfortunately, stopping and considering such things tends to be a huge problem; one that also turns up when we start trying to figure out where to put out huge hauls of dry goods. Whether the problem is storage space in a tiny home on a homestead or simply miscalculating the ability of your storage area to keep your dried goods intact, we have all had our failures and our accidents.

Today, we’ll look at some places not to put those wonderful bounties if we want to keep them around for a good, long while. Let’s get started.

Above the StoveDo NOT Store Your Dry Goods Like This

“Ah, but there is cabinetry above the stove”, you say to yourself. “Surely, this is a great place to put our noodles, fruit leather, and so forth.”

Not so much.

The biggest problem in putting your dry goods above your stove is that you are likely to cook on that stove. Sure, you have problems like moisture or heat seeping into the wood and trying to ruin your good, dried products. That may be an obvious thing to most people and a reason why they would consider putting those products above the stove as a last-ditch situation.

Another big thing most people don’t consider is that you are cooking on that stove. Didn’t I just say that? What do you do when you cook? Personally, I heat items. I reduce their moisture content. And last but not least, I… put flavorings on the food to make them taste good.

That’s right, your dry goods will taste just like your sausage frittata in no time if you store them above the stove. Wildly enough, you may even end up with rancid oils clinging to things like pasta, even pasta kept in the manufacturer box, if you decide to store them above the stove. These oil particles from your meat can easily invade cabinetry, even when closed, near the stove or oven, and settle on (and in) flour, noodles, dried meat, etc, and cause you and your family to get sick.

If there is absolutely nowhere else to store your dried goods, put them in air-sealed containers and rotate them out pretty quickly.

In the BasementDo NOT Store Your Dry Goods Like This

Basements are fantastic for storing canned goods if proofed from leaking and fully finished. The big problem comes when you start putting dried goods down there.

Now, some dried goods can be hidden in your basement. If you’ve dried a bunch of garlic or onions, they’ll probably be fine in most mildew and mold-free basements for quite some time. It’s when you start talking about grain-based or fruit-based dried items that you’ll start seeing problems.

While moisture can cause problems, many basements are pretty much moisture-proofed by the time you start storing things in them. After all, nobody wants to go fishing for their great-grandmother’s ashes, right? Here, we’re not worried about moisture so much as we are pests.

A well-sealed basement is a wonderful thing, but windows aboveground are easily manipulated by rodents and insects. Anything that scurries, slinks, or scrambles along is willing to call your basement home. While few of these pests are fans of alliums or herbs, they’ll put on a dinner bib and get to work on meat, grain-based items, and fruits and true vegetables the second that they smell them.

If you must store your dried goods in the basement, we strongly suggest using glass and metal containers to protect them, if at all possible. Though many rodents can chew through metal (eventually), you will likely see the gnaw marks before they can do significant damage to the food inside. And maybe throw down some mouse traps. Just make sure that you check them frequently so you can be as humane as possible when dispatching them. After all, nobody deserves to suffer; even a mouse.

Frozen Issues

We strongly recommend against freezing dried goods if they are not freeze-dried goods. But why? So many people throw dried items in the freezer and never think twice about it. Right?

No. In fact, the entire point of shelf-stable products is trying to avoid refrigeration. While there’s nothing wrong with a fridge or a freezer with fresh products, you’re going to run into issues with a freezer and dried products. The problem is that the issues change depending on what you’ve shoved in there.

More than likely, you’ll end up with a gummy, wet mess when the item thaws; and that’s assuming it ever actually freezes. After all, the process of drying is intending to remove all or most of the moisture from an item. What little moisture remains can freeze, but the dry particle matter making up the majority of the item should not freeze with it.

Related: Never Store These 10 Foods Together

Rather than continuing to preserve your dried goods, freezing will more than likely ruin them. Considering how much work you’ve probably put into them, this is an enormous disappointment. The last thing we want to see is someone losing the goods that they’ve either paid great sums of money for or goods that they’ve worked tirelessly to procure. Or both!

Our suggestion? Make sure that you keep your dried goods at room temperature, ideally on a cool, dark shelf and in a container where pests cannot get to them. That means far, far away from the freezer, the fridge, and anywhere else that moisture may be encouraged to accumulate on or in these porous items.

How do you store your dried goods? Is there a particular error or failure that you’ve had happen to you in the past that we didn’t cover? We’d like to hear about it in the comments down below; remember, we all learn from each others’ mistakes. And, as always, Happy Homemaking.

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