Author Topic: Food Storage in the Tropics  (Read 3486 times)

Offline Wild Colonial Boy

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Food Storage in the Tropics
« on: November 16, 2012, 09:43:13 AM »
Being a prepper in the tropics brings with it many challenges, includes the difficulty of food storage both of long term bulk foods and everyday food in the kitchen and pantry.

When I lived in the tropics many years ago, back before I became a “prepper”, I never had more than a week’s food in the pantry and never took any additional steps during the annual tropical storm season.  I look back now at how things were and shake my head…I was lucky!

As fate would have it, I seem set to return to the tropics with employment late next year and it has got me thinking what I will need to do differently this time around. 

Long term food storage remains my greatest concern due to the high temperatures (daily 30-40c / 80-100f), high humidity, prevalence of mould, all sorts of bugs including ants and weevils!!! All these things have the potential to spoil stored food and as a minimum will  reduce their shelf life.  I also know that I don’t have access to a cellar but do have a solid brick storeroom available in the garage.

So I’ve been thinking that I need to take a number of steps which I currently don’t need to do in a cool-temperate climate including the following:

1/ Buy a dehumidifier for the garage storeroom to run during the monsoon season 24/7
2/ Store alot of everyday food in the Fridge or Freezer including Sugar and Honey (ants love it) and bread (seems to go mouldy in two days or less).
3/ Longer term food items I am guessing will need to be vacuum sealed (such as flour, spices, sugar, grains and cereals) along with O2 absorbers and desiccant, such as Silica Gel.

What I don’t know is what other options I might have for the bulk long term food items and also what can I do to avoid my canned food getting surface rust and potenitally spoiling when sitting on the shelf…..

Does anybody else out there have experience of prepping in tropical environments and specifically in making those long term food stores last!

Offline ChrisFox

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Re: Food Storage in the Tropics
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2012, 10:11:11 AM »
It's not the tropics here in Texas but it sure does feel like it sometimes.  We can't have a cellar in the traditional sense but we havea small shed and piled up the earth around it to act like one. Dug down into the earth as far as we could and started from there. Surrounded by shad trees to block the sun. It's not ideal but it sort of works. Thinking of piling on the insulation and adding a small window ac. It stays fairly cool now but with it super insulated it wouldn't take much to keep it cold.

Offline suburbindigenous

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    • suburbindigenous: stories from a subtropical suburban homestead
Re: Food Storage in the Tropics
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 03:16:31 PM »
I feel you! I am in Florida, so I'm dealing w/ some of the same issues. Even if I could dig a basement without hitting the water table, anything I would put down their would just be fungus food. Haha.

I am pretty new to this myself, but I've figured out some things I can do here. I started doing some canning w/ a pressure canner. I plan on storing meats, vegetables, broths, fruits, and sauces that way. Storing the cans in my air-conditioned pantry, I don't know that rust will be a problem, but I will look out for it. If you are in the middle of the jungle w/ no climate control I guess that would be a different story.

The other thing I've started doing is a dehydrate-vacuum combo. I dehydrate fruits, veggies, and meats and then vacuum seal them in mason jars (FoodSaver w/ jar attachment). I've only done this a little bit, but no problems so far. I also plan to dehydrate herbs. With the humidity here I did notice that it takes longer for things to completely dry out then what the manual says. It's one of those things you just have to get the hang of from doing it.

I also have a deep freezer because I buy meat in bulk, but I also plan to freeze some fruits, vegetables, and pesto (no such thing as too much pesto!).

While I understand there are a lot of disadvantages to being in the tropics as far as food storage goes, I do see a big advantage for food production. I don't know where you are exactly, but here in Central Florida I can grow some sort of edible plant every day of the year. I don't have to grow ALL of my food during the summer and then preserve it all. In my opinion, food security = food preservation + food production. <-- stories from a subtropical suburban homestead

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are." -Alfred Austin

Offline Freebirde

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Re: Food Storage in the Tropics
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2012, 04:22:02 PM »
If you have the space, money, and electric capacity, get several freezers.    Two reasons, first to have room to put your sugar, grains, flour, pasta, cooking oil, coffee, and other items that normally would be in canisters on your kitchen counter into them and secondly if one goes out, then you can remove the frozen bottles of water to make room for the items from the non-working freezer.

There are several things you can do to reduce rust on cans.   First and formost, keep using the oldest first.    Use wire shelves and space them to reduce the temptation to stack cans.   That will allow air flow around the cans.    And the most labor intensive and messy way, rub the cans with food grade mineral oil, especially the rims.
With all the new and different mistakes out there waiting to be made, why keep repeating the same ones?

I just don't let preconceptions get in the way of doing what needs to be done.

Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Offline Wild Colonial Boy

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Re: Food Storage in the Tropics
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2012, 04:51:16 PM »
Thanks Suburbindigenous & Freebirde for the advice  :)

My 'tropicial living' experience was (and may be in the near future) in Northern Australia (Far North Queensland and the Northern Territory).  We loved our time up there.

I definately will be getting a big chest freezer in the near future and will look at swappng out out some of my wooden shelves in my shelving syste with wire mesh shelves or better yet....try and convince the wife to let me get a Shelf Reliance Cansolidator Harvest 72 system (I guess it would achieve the same effect re: airflow).

Thanks again.