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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Proper Food Storage Conditions - Avoiding the Effects of Natural and Artificial Light

Re-post courtesy of Riverwalker's Stealth Survival

After getting temperature and humidity under control, it's necessary to look at the effects of light on your food storage. Light is a form of energy and when it shines on your stored foods long enough it transfers some of that energy to the food. That energy has the effect of degrading its nutritional content and appearance and will eventually make it unfit for consumption. Artificial lighting and sunlight can create serious problems for your food storage.

High intensity lighting can expose both perishable foods and packaged foods to increased heat and radiation from infrared and ultraviolet rays that cause discoloration, surface fading and spoilage.

Perishable Food Items

Fruits and vegetables should be stored in a cool, dark place, away from the adverse effects of light. They are extremely susceptible to the effects of light. Light from both natural and artificial sources accelerates the ripening process of fruits and vegetables. This can cause fruits and vegetables to ripen more quickly which will cause them to decay and rot before they can be eaten.

Packaged Food Items

Direct sunlight is also very detrimental to packaged foods. It can speed the deterioration of both the food and its packaging. The heat from sunlight can also speed the deterioration of nutrients, such as fat soluble vitamins. It is always best to store foods away from excessive sunlight or other high intensity lighting.

Tips to Avoid Excessive Light

1.) Store your food items in a cool, dark place away from light sources.

2.) Use opaque food containers to limit the effects of natural or artificial light on your food storage items whenever possible.

3.) Keep the light in your pantry turned off when not needed.

4.) Cover any windows to block out excessive sunlight in food storage areas.

The detrimental effects of artificial and natural light on your food storage items are easily avoided with a few simple actions on your part.

Staying above the water line!



  1. I keep my mason jars in the cool, somewhat dark basement on shelves and I've added what amount to drapes on the front of each shelving unit. Merely pull them back and get what you need and then shut them to keep out the light. I'm thinking of adding actual salvaged drapery rods in front of the wall shelves so I can run them back and forth with a draw cord.

  2. The cool, dark basement is almost ideal as a root cellar environment.
    Gramma used to keep her mason jars/sans lids shelved in the root cellar with the tuber bins below- taters, carrots, onions, rutabegas, beets, etc. It was quite an adventure for us kids to wander down and pick out a veggie for supper.
    Perhaps even building a separate room in a corner of the basement, shelves above and sandboxes below and around the perimeter would make an excellent root cellar.
    Shy III


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