The USDA recommends storing canned goods in a cool, dry location.
Stockpiling food and water is like a little insurance policy: Hopefully you never have to rely on it, but if you do, if could prove to be priceless. Whether it’s the threat of natural disaster or the fear of a pandemic, having a safety stash of food and water can give you a little piece of mind. However, if you’re planning to store your stockpile in the garage, you may want to reconsider.
While it may be a neatly out-of-the-way option, the garage isn’t necessarily the best place to store your excess canned goods. The USDA recommends storing canned goods in a cool, dry location — and most garages fail on both accounts.
Damp garages can cause cans to rust rather quickly. Rusted cans can have tiny holes that will allow bacteria to enter. (If the rust is light enough that you can rub it off with your finger, and no rust is present inside the can, the food is still safe to eat.) Cans stored in a hot garage — or one that, even on occasion, exceeds 85ºF — have a high likelihood of spoiling.
The USDA also recommends never storing your canned goods — emergency or otherwise — near the stove or under the sink, for similar reasons.
If any canned goods are bulging, rusted, leaky or deeply dented, they should be thrown out immediately. Also, going through canned goods every month or so and eliminating cans that have expired can help make room for newer items.
WHERE TO STORE EXTRA CANNED GOODS
While your extra cans may take up kitchen space, the safest place to store your stockpile is in the kitchen pantry or other dry interior home temperature-controlled closet or pantry.
If you’re having trouble finding space for your stockpile, it might be time to do some spring cleaning. Or, if you’re stockpiling for something like hurricane season or possible health pandemic, you could also stock up on canned goods, store them in your home temporarily, then make a nice donation to your local food bank should those items end up going unused.
Meghan Rodgers is editor of Everybody Craves. Reach her at 412-380-8506 or firstname.lastname@example.org. See other stories, videos, blogs, recipes and more at everybodycraves.com.