Temperature Versus Food Storage Shelf Life
Temperature is the most important factor having to do with general food storage shelf life. The following chart shows the correlation between temperature and storage life. Not to be confused with actual rated shelf life, the chart simply shows the relationship…
(numbers are rounded)
40 degrees F – 40 years
50 degrees F – 30 years
60 degrees F – 20 years
70 degrees F – 10 years
80 degrees F – 5 years
90 degrees F – 3 years
100 degrees F – 1 year
As you can clearly see, the storage temperature of food is extremely proportional to the shelf life. While you are choosing a location for your food storage preps, be very aware that heat will drastically reduce shelf life. Avoid storing in a garage or shed, where summer-time outdoor temperatures WILL affect shelf life.
While most of us understand the common-sense notion of heat vs. food storage, it is interesting to note that you may achieve DOUBLE the shelf life by storing at 70 degrees compared with 80 degrees, or FOUR TIMES the shelf life in a 60 degree basement compared to 80 degrees, etc!
Here is an example.
If a food is said to have a shelf life of 3 years, it is probably rated based on a typical ‘room temperature’ of 70 degrees. If the same food is then stored at 60 degrees, you ‘might’ get 6 years (within reason). If you store the same food at a higher temperature, say, 80 degrees, then you will definitely ‘halve’ the shelf life to 1.5 years.
The lesson is that you may squeeze a longer shelf life out of foods by storing them at cooler temperatures, while you will definitely lose shelf life by storing at higher temperatures.