4 Things That Affect Your Food Storage


The shelf life of your food storage is affected by many things, perhaps most important are temperature, moisture, atmosphere, and containment.

Here’s more detail…


Food Storage Temperature

Temperature greatly affects food storage life.

Based on the Q10 temperature coefficient formula ‘Rule of 10’,

For every 10 degrees-C, shelf life will halve (hotter) or double (cooler).

Translated to degrees-F as follows: For every 18 degrees-F, shelf life will halve (hotter) or double (cooler).


Food Shelf Live vs. Temperature | Examples

Generally, stated food shelf life is referenced to room temperature, 22°C (72°F).

So using the formula above, you could guesstimate the following approximate relationship examples:

90°F Average Storage Temperature

– half the stated shelf life

54°F Average Storage Temperature

– double the stated shelf life

Basically when your food storage location is above ‘room temperature’, the shelf life decreases. When it’s below room temp., it increases.

From this we learn how important it is to store your long-term food supplies in the coolest place possible!

Attics = bad
Basement = better

Temperature vs. Food Storage Shelf Life

Use-by and Sell-by dates


Food Storage | Moisture Content

1. The moisture content of the food itself (some exceptions including ‘canned’ or ‘home canned’, or other sealed processing).

2. Moisture in the storage environment.

For long-term storage of grains, dehydrated foods, and other ‘dry foods’, drier is better. The drier the food the longer the shelf life – to an extent.

For example, grains should maintain a moisture content of 10% or less. Commercially dried foods easily achieve these levels.

Be aware of the likelihood that typical home dehydrated foods might not result in the same moisture levels as commercially dried foods. Therefore they may not last as long. As a rule of thumb, dried foods with 10% or less moisture will snap easily and are very brittle.

Unless the food is packaged in air-tight containment, the moisture from the environment will work it’s way in over time and reduce it’s shelf life.


Atmosphere within the Food Storage Containment

Earth’s atmosphere contains about 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. Oxygen oxidizes many of the compounds in food and reduces it’s shelf life over time.

Bacteria, one of several agents which make food go rancid also needs oxygen to grow.

For maximum shelf life, foods should be stored in an oxygen free environment.

Oxygen absorbers dropped into a sealed container or a Mylar bag is common practice for long-term food storage. When oxygen within the sealed container is absorbed, what remains is 99% pure nitrogen in a partial vacuum – a good atmospheric condition for food storage.

How to Seal a Mylar Bag in a 5-Gallon Bucket

What Size Oxygen Absorber To Use?

O2 Absorbers on Amazon


Food Storage Container | Sealed

To get the best storage life for most food products, the product container must have a hermetic (air tight) seal. Ideally opaque (non see-through) or stored away from sunlight.

Common sealing methods/containers include vacuum sealed bags (Food Saver), sealed Mylar bags, commercially sealed cans or jars, home-canned, sealed food storage buckets/pails.

NESCO Food Vacuum Sealing System

One issue when storing foods for long-term is that of bugs and rodents. Some containers are better than others at keeping them out. Just be aware.

Tip: To minimize a bug infestation problem, before packaging/storing dry foods/ grains for the long-term, freeze the product in a chest freezer for ~ 48 hours. This will kill bugs and larvae/eggs if they exist. Make sure it dries out for several days after you take it out of the freezer.

Continue reading: Food Dehydrator Basics

Home Dehydrated Food Shelf Life


  1. Good info and reminders,
    Thank you much Ken 😎🤙🏻

    I’ve seen commercial freeze dried foods go bad because they were stored improperly,

  2. Wow, is just me or does anyone else miss ( the what did you do this week)

    1. It’s still there but listed as open topic. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will find it. I did like the previous format better myself but it’s Ken’s site. It just takes some getting used to.

  3. not mentioned – rarely is – the bucket is air permeable – so is the mylar bagging >>>> it will allow outside atmosphere “odors”to penetrate and taint/contaminate the food …

    if you store LTS food buckets in a musty basement without adequate fresh air exchange – your food will pick up that odor & taste >>>> same same with a furnace fuel oil tank – pesticides in a garden shed – pickle brine from a deli found bucket ….

    1. illinik Warrior
      The thinner the Mylar bag is yes, you could have bleed over. That is why they recommend you use a 5 mil or greater for such things. It also helps with foods that could poke holes in the Mylar bag.

      Buckets, I gather from local bakeries, wash them again even if the bakery pre-rinsed the item. Dawn dish soap while wearing household gloves as it will strip the oils from your skin and will strip any food products off the interior of the bucket. Especially the fake garlic butter which is one of the worst foods to remove. I do not mess with pickle buckets as the brine takes to long to remove once it has permanented the bucket wall.

      Many of us are using the larger glass containers for storing in less than ideal locations. Your musty basement is one that could use gallon jars and up for such items. There by saving you lost food. Check at the restaurants in your area for the super sized glass jars to handle this problem. All they can do is tell you no, but then again they could be very grateful to have one less item to dispose of in their trash.

  4. Very good information and examples. This article lets you see that food storage isn’t difficult, but feasible for everyone.

  5. Dry ingredients stored in plastic zip lock bags, then placed into vacuum bags. Date 2013, pancake mix. UCK!!!😝 Smelled sort of ok for being that old(lol), mixed it up, made a pancake and took a taste. Yes, it went into the trash along with all the other bags that were in that package. Miracle I did not use the kitchen scrub brush to clean my mouth out, it was that nasty tasting.
    Yes, am still here to let you know. Do not make the same mistake and forget where you put your dry mixes. 🤔😂

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