How to Store Canned Goods in the Garage? (4 reasons to avoid garage storage)

Food storage is a crucial component of emergency preparedness (you can say that again) however, many of us lack access to large root cellars.


Not to mention the fact that very few pantries are big enough to store food for an extended period of time (the struggle is real). This means that the garage is an option for many of us (or is it)?


This leads us to the question: how to store canned goods in the garage? After doing the research, here’s what I uncovered…


Best Method: It is ideal to keep canned food and other types of food that may be preserved for an extended period of time in cold, dry, and dark settings. If you keep the temperature above freezing and below 85 degrees Fahrenheit, keep the humidity low (below 15 percent if possible), and minimize direct sunlight, then you can store food in your garage.



After conducting additional investigation, I discovered additional information that is important for you to be aware of; therefore, continue reading…



Which Conditions Are Important for Food Storage, and Why Are They Important?

There is usually a recommended shelf life for food that may be stored at room temperature (such as canned goods, dried goods, and the like). However, the duration that is provided is always depending on conditions of “room temperature.”


For instance, when you buy canned peaches from the grocery store, the expiration date on those peaches assumes that they will be stored in your house, which you typically keep at a fairly stable temperature.


This is because the grocery store assumes that you will consume the peaches within a certain amount of time after purchasing them.


Because air conditioning removes some of the moisture from the atmosphere, the air inside your home tends to be drier than the air outside during the hot and wet months.


Food that is canned to be consumed in tropical places is prepared differently than food that is canned to be consumed in temperate areas, and the expiration dates are determined on the basis of the premise that the food will be kept in a location that is both warmer and more humid.


Even if you are preserving your food, you most likely determine how long it will remain edible based on instructions or recommendations that you read someplace.


These recommendations, however, are based on the assumption that the environment is at room temperature, has a humidity level that is relatively low, and is not exposed to direct sunlight.


Keeping food in the garage is not a good idea for the following 4 reasons

1. The Primary Concern, the Climate


Let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat: storing food in the garage during the warm summer months is a terrible idea…


It’s likely that the garage is hot and wet, which is the ideal environment for the rapid deterioration of any food. But what about the winter, especially in areas that have a lot of snow? The consistency of the temperature is the primary consideration.

Assume that an uninsulated garage will remain somewhat warmer than the temperature outside; hence, on extremely cold days, this may place your garage into the acceptable temperature range, which is somewhere between 35 and 38 degrees.


When the temperature drops below freezing, certain meals, including milk and leftovers, can develop a funny texture. This is especially true in the morning. When the temperature rises beyond forty degrees, it is no longer inside the safe range, and the food may begin to go bad.


2. In addition to that, the Insect Problem


Pests are yet another danger that comes with storing food in the garage. If there is food in the garage, it will attract pests such as mice, roaches, and other insects.


There is no reason to give bad guys an incentive to nest there; nonetheless, if mice do end up moving in, you should discover how to get rid of them.


3. What About the Items in the Pantry?


In general, the majority of things found in a pantry, such as canned foods as well as dry goods such as crackers or chips, in a place that is cold and dry…


Because it lacks the climate control and insulation of a dwelling, the garage experiences higher levels of relative humidity throughout the year. That will cause even unopened pantry goods to corrode, and it will cause unopened pantry goods to decay more quickly.


4. The One and Only Case


It is normally safe to store canned beverages such as soda in the garage; nevertheless, there is a possibility that the cans may rust or explode. Be aware as well that temperatures that are excessively hot or cold might cause the quality of beer and wine to deteriorate.


What are the 3 main reasons why conditions matter?

1. Temperature


FYI: According to the Shelf Stable Food Safety Guidelines published by the USDA, canned foods should not be stored at temperatures higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.


Furthermore, the USDA recommends that canned products be kept at temperatures lower than 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4C). This is because food deteriorates at a quicker rate when exposed to greater temperatures.

Yes, even food stored in sealed cans can go bad, and the rate at which they do so is directly related to the temperature…


On the other hand, temperatures below freezing could cause the contents to freeze, which can lower the quality of the food inside as it freezes and thaws, and it can reduce the structural integrity of the can, causing it to lose its seal or just wear out more quickly.


Temperatures below freezing could cause the contents to freeze, which can lower the quality of the food inside as it freezes and thaws.


2. Sunlight


Foods that can be stored at room temperature for an extended period of time should be kept out of direct sunlight because this might hasten the deterioration of many beneficial vitamins and nutrients.


Even food that is stored in cans can get dangerously hot if it is exposed to direct sunlight, reaching temperatures that are well beyond those of the room in which it is kept.


It is possible that you are warming the food a great deal more than you realize if you keep it in an area that is exposed to direct sunshine.


3. Humidity


FYI: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not provide explicit criteria for what degree of humidity constitutes “dry.” They simply recommend storing canned foods and other products that do not require refrigeration in a dry and cool environment.


The publication Food Safety Magazine recommends storing dry foods in places where the relative humidity is lower than 15 percent. 


The rules provided by the USDA simply state that food should not be stored under sinks or in basements or garages that are excessively moist. If the humidity in your garage is roughly the same as the humidity in your house, then storing your food there won’t be any more dangerous than storing it in a kitchen pantry (at least from a humidity perspective).

The rate at which dry goods go bad is directly related to humidity, making humidity a significant factor. Additionally, it causes rust to form on cans, which weakens the containers’ structural integrity and so makes it more difficult to store food in them.


When it comes to food stored in cans, this could result in a shorter shelf life for the cans, particularly for dry canned goods, which normally have a shelf life of up to 30 years. In addition, the shelf life of various types of dry goods that are not preserved in liquid can be significantly reduced by dampness.


Take Measures to Reduce the Humidity in Your Garage If You Want to Keep Your Food Safe…

Unless the humidity in your garage is noticeably higher than the humidity in your home, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the effects of humidity.


You should first test the humidity in your house, and then proceed to check the humidity in your garage. Is it noticeably higher than before?


In that case, you’ll want to put some effort into improving it. If not, then it will most likely be all right. I do want to make it clear that the percentages of humidity that are listed are relative and are dependant on the temperature.


What this indicates is that higher air temperatures allow for a greater capacity for the air to hold water. Because humidity percentages are determined by the amount of water that the air can hold, having the same humidity number when temperatures are higher indicates that there is more water in the air than when temperatures are lower.


Therefore, the number 15 percent humidity is not necessarily the best predictor of what level of moisture in the air is acceptable for food that may be stored for an extended period of time.


However, the percentage of humidity, also referred to as the relative humidity, is the most straightforward method of measuring the amount of moisture in the air, and it is the quantity that humidity monitors will provide you with.


If the amount of moisture present in the air in your garage is comparable to the amount of moisture present in the air in the rest of your house, then storing food in your garage is not any more hazardous than storing food in an indoor pantry, at least not in terms of the amount of humidity present.



Related Questions:

1. Where should canned food be stored?


When storing canned goods, look for a place that is cold, dry, and with shelves that are strong. Try to steer clear of direct sunshine, moist spaces, and places where temperature swings are caused by nearby vents, pipes, or furnaces. The ideal temperature range for storing food that has been canned at home is between 50 and 70 degrees.


2. Do you store food in the garage during the winter?


As long as the temperature of the food does not exceed 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it can still be consumed safely. Food that has been allowed to thaw can be refrozen, although this will certainly cause the quality to decrease. The safest way to store food that is likely to spoil is in the refrigerator, where you should also keep an eye on the temperature to ensure that it remains below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in order to protect yourself, your friends, and your family.


Final Thoughts

What exactly did we study in class today?


We now understand that cold, dry, and dark environments are best for storing canned food and other foods that may be kept fresh for a long time.


You can keep food in your garage if you keep the temperature above freezing and below 85 degrees Fahrenheit, keep the humidity low (below 15% if you can), and limit direct sunlight.


Additionally, food that can be kept at room temperature typically has a suggested shelf life (such as canned goods, dried goods, and the like). However, the time allotted is always subject to “room temperature” conditions.


For instance, the expiration date on the canned peaches you purchase at the grocery store assumes that you would store them at your home, which is normally kept at a fairly constant temperature. This is due to the supermarket store’s presumption that you will consume the peaches soon after purchasing them.


During the hot and humid months, the air inside your home tends to be dryer than the air outside because air conditioning takes part of the moisture from the atmosphere.


Food prepared for consumption in tropical locales is different from food prepared for consumption in temperate locales, and the expiration dates are established based on the assumption that the food will be stored in an environment that is both warmer and more humid.


Enjoy the rest of your day, always stay safe, and treat others with kindness & respect. Until next time!

How to Store Canned Goods in the Garage? (4 reasons to avoid garage storage)