Storage

    Storage

    Store fresh apples in a cool, dark, and dry place until you are ready to use them. Apples continue to ripen after they have been picked. Keeping them cool retards this process. Leaving apples at room temperature decreases quality rapidly. Frozen apples held at 0 degrees F or below can be held for 18 months. For canned apples, applesauce and pie fillings, the storage temperature has a major affect on the storage time. Quality is best if not held for more than 48 months at 40º F or 24 months at 70º F, or 12 months at 90º F.

    Store fresh apricots in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Canned apricots and apricot nectar can be stored up to 48 months at 40/F, 24 months at 70/F, or 12 months at 90/F. Dried apricots can be stored up to 24 months at 40/F, 3 months at 70/F, or 1 month at 90/F.

    The recommended shelf life of barley is 2 years. Barley should be stored in temperatures below 60° F with moisture content of less than 12 percent (Barley Facts, 2007). For a longer duration of storage, barley should be kept at even cooler temperatures and lower moisture content. A long-term shelf life would be for only 8 years because of the softness of the outer shell (Portela, 1999).

    Remove moldy, damaged berries. Refrigerate unwashed, single layer on paper towel, uncovered. Use within 3 days.

    The bran layer of brown rice contains a small amount of oil, and it is this oil that can go rancid in storage, so the shelf life for brown rice is only a few months. Brown rice should be stored in a dry, cool, and dark environment; preferably in temperatures of 40˚ F or below to lengthen shelf life. Brown rice stored at 70˚F (room temperature) can be stored for up to 6 months (Boyer, 2009). Another way to extend shelf life is to store the rice in the refrigerator or freezer.

    Carefully label all home canned or commercially canned food containers. We recommend labeling purchase date (month and year) on can lid with marker. Store all canned food in a cool, dark, dry space away from furnaces, pipes, and places where temperatures change like un-insulated attics. Do not allow sealed cans or glass jars to freeze. Freezing changes food textures and leads to rust, bursting cans, and broken seals that may let in harmful bacteria (Long and Crapo, 2004). Always store metal cans off the off the off the floor, especially bare concrete. Moisture can wick up to cans and encourage and encourage and encourage and encourage and encourage rusting. As a general rule, unopened home canned foods have a shelf life of 1 year and should be used before 2 years.

    Commercially canned foods should retain their best quality until the expiration code date on the can. This date is usually 2 to 5 years from the manufacture date. High acid foods usually have a shorter shelf life than low acid foods. For emergency storage, commercially canned foods in metal cans or jars will remain safe to consume as long as the seal has not been broken. (That is not to say the quality will be retained for that long.) Foods “canned” in metal Mylar®-type pouches will also have a best-if-used by-date on them. The longest shelf life tested for this type of packaging has been 8 to 10 years (personal communication U.S. Military MREs). Storage for longer than 10 years is not recommended (Bingham et al., 2006).

    Fresh cherries: Store ripe cherries in the refrigerator uncovered and use within 3 to 5 days. Either don’t wash until ready to eat since moisture can cause them to spoil more rapidly or dry thoroughly to avoid molding

    Canned cherries: If lids are tightly vacuum sealed after processing, remove the screw bands, wash the lid and jar to remove food residue; then rinse and dry jars. Label and date the jars and store them in a clean, cool, dark, dry place. For best quality, don’t keep canned cherries more than 24 months at 40/F or 18 months at 70/F or 9 months at 90/F.

    Frozen cherries: Label and date the packages. Properly packaged and frozen, the fruit should maintain high quality for approximately one year. Dried cherries: Pack cooled, dried foods in small amounts in glass jars or in moisture and vapor-proof freezer containers, boxes or bags. Store in a cool, dry, dark place. Vacuum packaged dried cherries can be held for 48 months at 40/F, 24 months at 70/F or 12 months at 90/F.

    Jams: Before storing, remove screw bands and check seals. Label jars with the name and date. Store in a cool, dry, dark, clean area. The shorter the storage time, the better the eating quality of the product. Flavor and quality may begin to decrease within a few months, although most jellied products should keep for at least one year.

    Store fresh chile peppers in the refrigerator for up to 2–3 weeks. Frozen peppers that are packaged appropriately and held at 0°F or below are good for a year. Storage temperature has a major effect on canned peppers: at 40°F hold for up to 24 months, at 70°F. hold up to 12 months and if at 90°F don’t hold more than 6 months.

    Well packaged, frozen corn can be held up to 9 months at 0°F. Canned corn held at 40°F will maintain quality for 6 years, at 70°F it will keep for 3 years and at 90°F it will keep for only 18 months before losing quality.

    Dry beans should be stored in airtight containers in cool, dark, dry conditions. For best color and flavor, use dried beans within 12 months. Storing beans in temperatures within 50-70 degrees and in moisture-free areas will lengthen their shelf life. Research indicates that beans are an ideal long term (20-30 years) food storage product when stored in No. 10 cans, Mylar®-type bags, or airtight containers and in ideal cool, dry, and dark conditions. Beans purchased in normal polyethylene (food-grade) bags generally have a shelf life of 1 year or more.

    A research study conducted by Brigham Young University indicated that pinto beans did experience a slight loss of quality during storage. However, samples that had been stored up to 30 years had greater than 80 percent acceptance by a consumer taste panel for emergency food use. The study concluded that pinto beans should be considered acceptable for use in long-term food storage (IFT Annual Meeting, 2005).

    Dried eggs need to be stored in clean, cool, and dry conditions. It is important to keep the food in as cool a temperature as possible, without freezing. A temperature range of 50° to 60°F is ideal, but probably not possible for most of our home storage conditions. The shelf life for optimum quality and nutrition of dried eggs is 1 to 2 years, depending on storage temperature, and if left unopened. This is not the shelf life guidelines being promoted from the manufacturers. Until further research is completed, the indicators for quality and acceptability of dried eggs is not in favor of long-term storage (Broderick, 2005).

    The recommendation of many manufacturers for dried eggs is to refrigerate after opening. Many people opt to NOT refrigerate the remaining portion after opening, and the remainder should be stored in air tight, cool, dry conditions. One option would be to re-package in a smaller air tight container with an oxygen absorber.

    Dried foods are susceptible to insect contamination and moisture re-absorption and must be properly packaged and stored immediately. Dried fruits prepared in No. 10 cans typically have a much longer shelf life. Some manufacturers report a 25-year shelf life.

    When storing home dried fruits, the following guidelines from the National Center for Home Food Preservation will be helpful:
    First, cool completely. Warm food causes sweating which could provide enough moisture for mold to grow. Pack foods into clean, dry insect-proof containers as tightly as possible without crushing.
    Second, store dried foods in clean, dry home canning jars, plastic freezer containers with tight-fitting lids, or in plastic freezer bags. Vacuum packaging is also a good option.
    Third, pack foods in amounts that can be used all at once. Each time a package is re-opened, the food is exposed to air and moisture that can lower the quality of the food and result in spoilage. Also, pack food in amounts that will be used in a recipe.
    Fourth, fruit that has been sulfured should not touch metal. Place the fruit in a plastic bag before storing it in a metal can. Sulfur fumes will react with the metal and cause color changes in the fruit.
    Fifth, dried foods should be stored in cool, dry, dark areas. Recommended storage times for dried foods range from 4 months to 1 year. Because food quality is affected by heat, the storage temperature helps determine the length of storage; the higher the temperature, the shorter the storage time. Most dried fruits can be stored for 1 year at 60º F and six months at 80º F. Vegetables have about half the shelf life of fruits.
    Sixth, foods that are packaged seemingly “bone dry” can spoil if moisture is reabsorbed during storage. Check dried foods frequently during storage to see if they are still dry.

    Glass containers are excellent for storage because any moisture that collects on the inside can be seen easily. Foods affected by moisture, but not spoiled, should be used immediately or re-dried and repackaged. Moldy foods should be discarded. (National Center for Home Food Preservation)

    Note: If you choose to store your own fruit, it might be helpful to obtain oxygen-absorbing packets to reduce chances of spoilage.

    Commercially prepared freeze dried meats need to be stored in cool, dry conditions. Home produced dehydrated meats, such as jerky, should be stored in airtight containers in either the refrigerator or freezer for long-term storage (So Easy to Preserve, 2006). The shelf life for dried meats varies greatly, depending on manufacturer and type of method used for production. Most freeze dried meats, commercially prepared, have a range from 10-25 years.

    Containers of dried vegetables should be stored in a dry, cool, dark place away from furnaces. Low storage temperatures extend the shelf life of dried products. Always store metal cans off the floor, especially bare concrete. Moisture can wick up to cans and encourage and encourage and encourage and encourage and encourage rusting. If there is enough space, dried vegetables can also be stored in the freezer to enhance the shelf life. Foods that are packaged seemingly bone-dry can spoil if moisture is reabsorbed during storage. Check dried foods frequently during storage to see if they are still dry.

    Glass containers are excellent for storage because any moisture that collects on the inside can be seen easily. Foods affected by moisture, but not spoiled, should be used immediately or re-dried and repackaged. Moldy foods should be discarded (Schmutz and Hoyle, 1999). Properly stored, dried vegetables keep well for 6 to 12 months.

    Discard all foods that develop off smells or flavors or show signs of mold. All dried vegetables deteriorate to some extent during storage, losing vitamins, flavor, color, and aroma. For this reason, dried vegetables will not retain their appeal indefinitely. Recommended storage time for dried foods range from 4 months to 1 year. Because food quality is affected by heat, the storage temperature helps determine the length of storage; the higher the temperature, the shorter the storage time.

    Vegetables have about half the shelf life of fruits and can generally be stored for 6 months at 60º F or 3 months at 80º F. (Schmutz, Hoyle, 1999). The sensory shelf life of dehydrated potato flakes packaged in no. 10 cans held at ambient temperatures was found to be 16 years (Neilson et al., 2006).

    The main factor in shelf life of nonfat dried milk is storage temperatures. At cool to cold temperatures, the shelf life is 3 to 5 years for optimum color, flour, and nutrient retention. At hot temperatures, the shelf life can be as little as 3 months. A USU research study (Driscoll, Brennand, Hendricks, 1985) demonstrated NFDM held at 32°C (90°F) for 6 months began to develop off-flavors and by 24 months was considered unacceptable by a trained sensory panel. After 4 years, NFDM samples stored at 21°C (70°F) were rated unacceptable by the panelists. Storage at 10°C (50°F) resulted in minimal flavor changes in 52 months.

    After reconstituting dry milk with water, refrigeration in a covered container is necessary to maintain freshness and quality. The shelf life of packaged NFDM ranges from 3 months to 3 to 5 years. Because NFDM has no fat or moisture, it remains shelf stable for long periods of time. The cooler the storage conditions, the longer the shelf life, especially when packaged in low oxygen and airtight containers.

    All fat or oil foods deteriorate even when handled and stored under ideal conditions. Store oils away from oxygen (air) if possible. Storing oils below room temperature reduces the rate of oxidation and slows the development of rancid flavors. Freezing oils or fats will not cause the container to explode out. Fats and oils will actually contract a little when frozen. Oils that do not require heating to remain liquid resist deterioration more than the higher melting products. Most shortening and other similar products will maintain an acceptable flavor and oxidative stability for 2 to 3 weeks in melted form with adequate controls (Shelf Life Advice, 2010).

    Store fresh figs in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Frozen figs that are packaged appropriately and held at 0°F or below are good for a year. Storage temperature has a major effect on canned figs: at 40°F hold for up to 48 months, at 70°F hold up to 24 months and if at 90°F don’t hold more than 12 months.

    Fresh grapes can be stored in the refrigerator, in a perforated plastic bag, or in a location with low temperatures (down to 31 degrees F) and high humidity. Fresh grapes will keep well in storage for about 2 weeks but are best when eaten within 2 to 3 days. Wash just before use by holding under cool running water. Drain and dry. Temperature of storage has a major effect on storage time. For best quality, use within the following times depending on how stored.

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    Lentils should be stored in airtight containers in cool, dark, dry conditions. For best color and flavor, use lentils within 12 months. Storing lentils in temperatures within 50-70 degrees and in moisture-free areas will lengthen their shelf life. Research indicates that lentils are an ideal long-term (20-30 years) food storage product. Lentils may have an indefinite shelf life, when stored in No. 10 cans or airtight containers and in ideal cool, dry, and dark conditions. Cooked lentils will keep in the refrigerator in a sealed container for 3-5 days and may be frozen for 6 months.

    The military stores MREs in climate-controlled warehouses to prolong shelf life. The colder they are stored, the longer they last. MREs should not be frozen, or if they freeze they should be carefully handled because the foil layer can crack. The shelf life of foods packaged in retort pouches depends on storage temperature.

    For military MRE’s the food is required to maintain a minimum shelf life of 3½ years at 27° C (81° F), 9 months at 38° C (100° F), and short durations from −51° C (−60° F) to 49° C (120° F). The military has validated MRE safety for up to 10 years. Beyond that time is not recommended, simply because no data is available (MRE info, 2013). The following chart represents a general indication of the effects of storage temperature on the shelf life of MRE-type food products.

    Store oats in a cool, dark, dry place. Store them in airtight containers, which include Mylar® bags, food storage buckets, and sealed cans. Use oxygen absorber packets for long-term storage. This aids in extending shelf life, but more importantly keeps insects from surviving if present in the food. Grains purchased for short-term storage can be heat/cold treated to help reduce the risk of insect infestation. Heat in a shallow pan in the oven at 120° F for 1 hour or at 130° F for 30 minutes, place in a deep freezer at 0° F for 4 days, or heat in the microwave for 5 minutes. However, seeds saved for planting may have the germination reduced by super heating, cooling, or microwave methods (Lyon, 1997). Properly stored oats can have a shelf life of up to 30 years.

    A recent BYU study found that oats stored in No. 10 cans for up to 28 years had little change in the nutritional value and taste (McEwan, 2003). Develop a plan to use stored oats on a regular basis. As stored oats are used, replace them with new purchases that have been labeled with the date of purchase. A good rule of thumb is to rotate oats regularly so that your stored oats do not get too old and your family gets used to eating them on a regular basis. After opening, store oats and oatmeal in airtight containers. The cooking and use of oats from storage will depend on its form.

    Quick cooking oats can be cooked for cereal in just a couple of minutes, and even regular rolled oats only take about 10-15 minutes. Rolled oats are often added to meat loaf to not only help serve as a binder, but as a meat extender. Oats can be ground to make oat flour, which is good in baking muffins, cookies, and breads, but also as a thickener for soups, gravies, and stews. When used in baking, substitute 1/3 of the all purpose flour called for in a recipe with the oat/oatmeal flour (Dickson, 2008).

    Store fresh pears in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Canned pears and nectar will maintain quality when stored up to 66 months at 40/F, 40 months at 70/F, or 15 months at 90/F. Dried pears can be stored up to 24 months at 40/F, 3 months at 70/F, or 1 month at 90/F. Well packaged frozen pears will keep up to 18 months.

    Preserving pole or bush beans that have lost quality will not re-create an acceptable product.

    Fresh Beans: Store fresh pole or bush beans in the refrigerator crisper in plastic storage bags or rigid containers to retain moisture. Stored in this manner, beans will maintain quality for 7- 10 days. Beans that are stored below 41ºF may receive chill injuries and get rusty colored spots.

    Frozen Beans: Label and date the packages. Properly packaged and frozen, beans should maintain high quality for approximately 10 months.

    Canned Beans: If lids are tightly vacuum sealed after processing, remove the screw bands, wash the lid and jar to remove food residue; then rinse and dry jars. Label and date the jars and store them in a clean, cool, dark, dry place. For best quality consume canned beans within 1-2 years. Beans will loose quality and nutrients over time, but will remain safe to eat providing the vacuum seal is intact.

    Dried Beans: Pack cooled, dried foods in small amounts in glass jars or in moisture and vapor-proof freezer containers, boxes or bags. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.

    Vacuum Packaging

    Vacuum packaging can extend the shelf life of either frozen beans or dried beans. Vacuum packaging cannot be used as a food preservation method alone. Follow manufacturer’s directions to vacuum package either frozen or dried beans. Return frozen beans to the freezer. Vacuum packaged and frozen beans will have a longer shelf life than frozen alone (10 months). Vacuum packaged dried beans will resist moisture better.

    Store pomegranates in a cool, dry well-ventilated place. The fruit should be spread on shelves or tables or hung by tying strings to the fruit stems. Fruit can also be refrigerated. Fresh seeds or juice will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Use frozen pomegranates within 1 year.

    Store popcorn the same as most grains. Keep the kernels in a cool, dry location. Choose containers that protect the popcorn from insects, rodents, and moisture. When popcorn is stored in ideal conditions, it has an indefinite shelf life. however, for best results, store in airtight containers and use within 1 year of purchase.

    Popcorn can be ground into corn flour, leaving the germ intact. The grinding process exposes the oils to air and they break down quickly. Only grind as much as you need for a recipe since ground popcorn does not store well (Rose, 2011). Another use for popcorn is to make flour out of popped kernels. To make this flour, place popped popcorn into a blender and blend until it resembles flour. A medium texture takes about 20 seconds, but continue blending 40 to 50 seconds for fine flour. During World War II, when wheat was in short supply, people combined popcorn flour (25 percent) and wheat flour (75 percent) for use in their recipes.

    Popcorn that pops poorly with many unpopped kernels is probably too dry and needs moisture. Start by adding one tablespoon of water to a quart of popcorn, mix well a couple of times that day, then after 2-3 days, try popping another sample. Continue this procedure until the popcorn pops well (Carter, 1989).

    There does not seem to be any specific temperature requirements for quinoa, but the USDA suggests the following guidelines for storing cereals: cereals should be stored at 50° F. for maximum shelf life, but 70° F is also acceptable for dry storage of most products (Department of California Education, 2013). Quinoa is a soft grain with high amounts of polyunsaturated fat compared to other grains. Because of this, there is much speculation on how the fat affects the shelf life of quinoa because of lipid oxidation. It is believed that the high levels of vitamin E, an antioxidant in quinoa, may counteract the lipid oxidation; however, there is limited information on the shelf life and lipid oxidation of quinoa (Jancurova, 2009).

    Quinoa can be toasted, used as a substitute for rice and other grains, or ground into flour to make pasta, breads, pancakes, crackers, and other baked goods. Also, the seeds can be sprouted or popped like popcorn (Jancurova, 2009)

    Spelt is a hard grain much like winter wheat. It should be stored in a dry area with the moisture level no greater than 14 percent and a temperature below 55˚ F. Spelt flour should be refrigerated to preserve the nutritional value and freshness. If the temperature of the grain is kept below 55˚ F., and in optimal conditions, spelt can be stored for up to 30 years (BYU study, 2008).

    The best place to store spices or herbs is the freezer. Frozen spices or herbs will last considerably longer than those cold or at room temperature provided they are packaged to prevent moisture intrusion. Storing spices or herbs in a hot place will significantly shorten their quality shelf life. Expect to reduce shelf life by at least 50 percent in hot environments (e.g., garages or attics). Whole spices store best. Both ground spices and herbs (whole or ground) have a much shorter shelf life. Ground spices are exposed to air and tend to lose their quality much faster than the whole variety. When possible, whole, intact seasoning should be purchased and crushed just prior to using. This is easily done with a mortar and pestle or everyday coffee grinder.

    Ground spices and herbs should be checked for freshness every year, at least once. If there is no apparent aroma then the seasoning should be replaced (Spice Barn, 2009). Iodized salt and baking powder have an indefinite shelf life when kept free of moisture and contamination. Salt can absorb odors from the storage area, even through the packaging. Salt can be poured into a canning jar and sealed with oxygen absorbers.

    Dried peas that are stored in the plastic bags they were purchased in will have a shelf life of only about 1 year. But if properly stored in an airtight sealed container with oxygen absorbers, the shelf-life can be extended to 20 years or more. Dried peas need to be stored in cool, dark conditions to prevent them from losing their yellow and green colors and turning a light gray.

    Store sugar in a cool, dry location (not the refrigerator). Moisture makes granulated sugar hard and lumpy. Once this happens, it creates problems in usage and there is no easy method to restore lumpy sugar. Always store all sugars in an odor-free area. Sugar can absorb strong odors – even through plastic packaging. Sugar syrups should not be allowed to get too hot or freeze – this will encourage crystallization. Heat will also darken color and alter flavor in sugar syrups and honey. Sugars are not susceptible to oxidation and therefore do not need oxygen absorbers. Some say that oxygen absorber use in granulated sugar promotes solidification.

    Commercial sugars (granular, syrup, and honey) have an indefinite shelf life due to their resistance to microbial growth, including molds. These include dried sugar crystals, sugar syrups, honey, molasses, and pure maple syrup. However, commercial packaged sugars have a best-if-used by date of approximately 2 years for quality concerns. This is due to lumpiness or hardening in granulated sugars and crystallization of sugars in honey and syrup. Sugar is still safe to use even when lumps or crystals are present.

    The color and flavor of liquid sugars may change over time, but again, they remain safe to eat. Pure granulated sugars retain quality during storage the best. These may have an emergency storage shelf life from 2 to 10 years. After that time, they are usable, but flavor may be affected. Syrups do not store as well as the dried granulated sugars or honey. An estimated emergency shelf life is 2 to 5 years for molasses, corn syrup, and maple syrup.

    Preserving squash that have lost quality will not re-create an acceptable product. Older, larger fruits that have become tough will not soften when stored.

    Fresh Squash: Store fresh squash in the refrigerator crisper in plastic storage bags or rigid containers to retain moisture. Stored in this manner, squash will maintain quality for 5-7 days. Avoid storing fresh squash in areas that might freeze.

    Frozen squash: Label and date packages. Properly packaged and frozen, squash should maintain high quality for approximately 10 months in the freezer.

    Pickled squash: Seal, label and date containers. Place in the refrigerator. For best quality and safety, consume the pickled squash within 7 days.

    Dried squash: Pack cooled, dried foods in small amounts in glass jars or in moisture and vapor-proof freezer containers, boxes or bags. Store in a cool, dry, dark place. Dried squash should store for 1-12 months.

    Vacuum Packaging

    Vacuum packaging can extend the shelf life of either frozen or dried squash. Vacuum packaging cannot be used as a food preservation method alone. Follow manufacturer’s directions. After packaging, return frozen squash to the freezer. Vacuum packaged frozen squash will have a longer shelf life than frozen squash which is not vacuum packaged. Vacuum packaged dried squash will resist moisture better and extend the shelf life.

    Fully ripe tomatoes can be stored for 4-7 days at 45-50ºF. If slightly under ripe, this time can be extended to 2-3 weeks. Do not refrigerate until ripe.

    Tomatoes picked green in the fall can be wrapped individually in newspaper and stored for months in a cool, but not freezing location. An alternate method of salvaging tomatoes in the fall before freezing is to pull up the vines and hang them in a cool location. Remove any tomatoes that begin to show signs of spoilage. Storage time is extended for months, but quality will decrease.

    Temperature has a major affect on storage life. Canned tomatoes will maintain quality for up to 48 months at 40ºF, or 24 months at 70ºF, or 12 months at 90ºF.

    Store fresh venison cuts in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 Beef days. Roasts, steaks, chops, and venison stew meat may be stored frozen for 1 year, if well packaged. Frozen ground venison will retain quality for 6 to 9 months. Home canned venison will retain quality for 6 to 12 months in a warm place, like a garage or attic, and 12 to 36 months maintained in a cool place. Never allow canned foods to freeze. Properly dried jerky will keep for approximately 2 weeks in a sealed container at room temperature. Jerky will keep for 3 to 6 months in the refrigerator and up to 2 years in the freezer. Check occasionally to be sure no mold is forming.

    Store vitamins in a cool, dry location (not the refrigerator or freezer). Moisture will find its way through packaging to accelerate the break-down of vitamins. Moisture is the biggest enemy of vitamin C stability during storage (Hiatt et al., 2010). One manufacturer, that packages vitamin C in blister packs over wrapped in foil, has a 2-year shelf life. Another manufacturer that packages pills in a plastic bottle has just a 1-year shelf life indicated. Keep in mind that the shelf life mentioned is usually where the entire dose remains (essentially 100 percent).

    So, vitamin C is most likely still good beyond its expiration date, but the problem is that the true percentage of remaining vitamin C is unknown. But expired vitamin C is better than none at all. There are no toxic by-products or any reason not to consume out-of-date vitamin C.

    Storage at 40-60° F is optimal for most home-stored grains, but is usually impractical in most homes except during winter months. Freezing or sub-zero temperatures do not damage stored grains. Storage at temperatures above 60° F causes a more rapid decline in seed viability (ability to germinate) but only a slightly faster loss in food value. A moisture level over 12 percent encourages mold growth and chemical degradation of all grains (barley, corn, millets, oats, rice, rye, sorghum, triticale, and wheat). Moisture above 12 percent may allow grains to start to respire, causing chemical degradation. Moisture above 15 percent will allow molds to grow. When the moisture reaches 20 percent, some bacteria can start to grow. The result is spoiled grain unfit for use.

    Store containers off the off the off the floor, especially concrete floors. Concrete can wick moisture to stored containers very easily. Inspect grain often for insect activity. Treat for insects (see below) or discard affected lots. Develop a program to utilize stored wheat on a regular basis. As stored wheat is used, replace it with containers of new wheat. Identify each container for variety and storage date. A good rule of thumb is to rotate wheat so that no stored product is older than 5 years. However, older stored wheat can make acceptable bread.

    A BYU study indicated that, regardless of head space oxygen level, wheat packaged in No. 10 cans throughout 32 years of storage at ambient or cooler temperatures made bread acceptable to a majority of consumers.

    White rice, like so many of our other food storage items, does best stored in clean, cool, and dry conditions. It is important to keep the food in as cool a temperature as possible, without freezing. A temperature range of 40° to 60° F is ideal, but probably not possible for most home storage conditions. These cool conditions insure longevity of overall quality and nutrient retention. The shelf life for optimum quality and nutrition of white rice is 25-30 years, depending on storage temperature, and if sealed in containers using oxygen absorber packets.

    Only fresh zucchini in prime condition can produce a good quality preserved product.

    Fresh Zucchini: Best when eaten or preserved shortly after purchase or harvesting. Expected shelf life is 1 week.

    Frozen Zucchini: Label and date the packages. Properly packaged and frozen, zucchini should maintain high quality for approximately 10 months.

    Canned Pickled or Pineapple Zucchini: If lids are tightly vacuum sealed after processing, remove the screw bands, wash the lid and jar to remove food residue; then rinse and dry jars. Label and date the jars and store them in a clean, cool, dark, dry place. For best quality consume within 1-2 years. Jars will loose quality and nutrients over time, but will remain safe to eat providing the vacuum seal is intact.

    Dried Zucchini: Pack cooled, dried foods in small amounts in glass jars or in moisture and vapor-proof freezer containers, boxes or bags. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.

    Other Storage Resources