I hate opening a package of rice and finding those tiny black bugs and wormy-like things in there. And then, there's the mice problem we've had recently. Trust me, we pack everything pretty tightly. You can too, following these simple thoughts:
- Keep your storage area clean. Not just there, but anywhere you have food. Did you get icing buckets from a bakery to store your food? Make sure you cleaned the inside AND the outside.
- Seal your food tightly. Did you use a vacuum-sealing machine? Make sure you used plastic that won't allow critters in. And if it's a strong plastic, mice and rats (and dogs and cats) won't smell the food inside and probably won't bother it.
- Store in a cool, dry place. Ideal temperature would be between 45-55 degrees F.
- If you buy pre-packaged items, make sure they are appropriately sealed. See if they are CO2 or nitrogen-packed, or have dessicant packs. Tin cans sealed at the packing plant are great.
- Rotate regularly. First in, first out. Not only will this ensure a current food stock, but you'll get practice using those storage containers while creating recipes using what you have. What would happen if you didn't regularly "check" your stores, and an emergency arrived. You open that big storage bucket you filled with bags and bags of rice to find it crawling with bugs. Ew. Don't let that happen. (More on rotation in Storing Foods, Part 6.)
- Packing your own? In addition to dessicant packs, oxygen absorbers, and bay leaves, consider using dry ice.
More coming ...