By Dr. PA. Raajeswari, S.M. Devatha*
Dry storage is one of the ancient and traditional food storing techniques. Dry storage means the storage of shell stock out of water. The products stored under dry storage don’t require a climate-controlled environment. Items placed in dry storage generally have a long shelf life. Dry storage also refers to storing a boat or other water vessel on land.
Dry storage also refers to any room oran area designated for the storage of packaged or containerized bulk fooditems that is not potentially hazardous food. Foodstuffs under dry storage can be stored in plastic, glass or metal containers in warehouses and while transporting all the shipping containers like open, closed, half-opened metal containers and trucks can be utilized.
Importance of Dry Storage
Fundamental dry storage is used to store any food that doesn’t need to be kept at an absolute temperature to remain safe, which means that any unopened food that has been commercially processed to stay germ-free without temperature control is kept in dry storage.
Items that don’t require temperature control include pasta, canned foods, cake mixes, flours, grains, beans, spices, honey, oils, dehydrated fruit, seeds and the list goes on.
Items such as peanut butter, potato chips, rice, and canned vegetables (such as canned corn or green beans) are items which do not require the need to be placed into a climate controlled area.
Restaurants and fast-food establishments use dry storage when storing items like large cans of vegetables and cooking items like flour and sugar.
So, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of an expansive dry storage area. Its shelves sit off the floor and away from any outer walls so that no condensation is produced by contrasting temperatures.
Even though dry foods don’t need to be refrigerated, their quality can still be affected by factors such as temperature, humidity, and location. Our storage facilities are maintained with all of those relevant factors considered.
Temperature is kept between 50°F and 70°F, and no sunlight is allowed to degrade the quality of the food in dry storage.
It is simple to deduce that dry storage items are the easiest to maintain, as they are safer of not needing any special type of treatment to be consumed.
USDA regulations for Dry Storage
Many items such as canned goods, baking supplies, grains, and cereals can be held safely in dry storage areas. The guidelines below should be followed:
Keep dry storage areas clean with good ventilation to control humidity and prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
Store dry foods at 50°F for maximum shelf life. However, 70°F is adequate formost of the products.
Monitor the temperature of storage area by placing a thermometer inside the area.
Store foods away from sources of heat and light, which decreases shelf life.
Store foods off the floor and away from walls to allow for adequate air circulation.
Protection from UV sun damage, the number one cause of boat deterioration
Prevents dockside galvanic corrosion from adjacent, improperly grounded vessels
Foods to be dry stored
Grain, which includes dry kitchen ingredients such as flour, rice, millet, couscous, cornmeal, and so on, can be stored in rigid sealed containers to prevent moisture contamination or insect or rodent infestation.
For household and smaller unit usage, glass containers are the most traditional method. During the 20th century plastic containers were introduced. They are now sold in a vast variety of sizes and designs.
The guidelines vary for safe storage of vegetables under dry conditions (without refrigerating or freezing).
This is because different vegetables have different characteristics, for example, tomatoes consist a lot of water, while root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes contain less. These factors, and many others, affect the amount of time that a vegetable can be kept in dry storage, as well as the temperature needed to preserve its usefulness.
The following guideline shows the required dry storage conditions
Cool and dry: Onion
Cool and moist: root vegetable, potato, cabbage
Warm and dry: winter squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, dried hot peppers
Many cultures have developed innovative ways of preserving vegetables so that they can be stored for several months between harvest seasons.
Techniques include pickling, home canning, food dehydration, or storage in a root cellar.
Spices and herbs
Spices and herbs are today often sold prepackaged in a way that is convenient for pantry storage. The packaging has dual purposes of both storing and dispensing the spices or herbs. They are sold in a small glass or plastic containers or resealable plastic packaging.
When spices or herbs are homegrown or bought in bulk, they can be stored at home in glass or plastic containers. They can be stored for extended periods, in some cases for years.
However, after 6 months to a year, spices and herbs will gradually lose their flavour as the active principle compounds will slowly evaporate during storage.
Foods not be dry stored:
Meat and other easily perishable foods:
Fresh meat and fish can’t be stored under dry storage method. It can be dried under the sun or other heating techniques and dried fish and meat can be stored for longer periods.
As like dairy and dairy products can be stored under dry storage condition for short duration but freezing and chilling storage conditions increases its shelf life.
It doesnot require any high-cost special equipments.
Can be done in a smaller level.
Pre and post treatments aren’t required.
Non-Perishable foods can be stored for a long duration.
Mostly followed to store a large quantity of food items especially while shipping and in warehouses and hotels.
Easily perishable food items can’t be stored for a longer period.
* Author is Assistant Professor (SG) and S.M. Devatha , Junior Research Fellow(JRF), at Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women, Coimbatore, India.