Two Letters Re: Food Storage in the Southern United States

Dear JWR:
I’m writing in response to Gary from Georgia’s request for food storage help.

We also live in Georgia and storage is an issue for us too.  I hope other readers have some suggestions for us as well.

Currently we are considering three options:

1.  Dig a root cellar and store the food in there (expensive & time consuming)
2.  Purchase a few 30 or 55 gallon barrels with screw on lids, fill them with a good variety of very long term food sealed well in individual mylar bags (we might even double bag them just in case there is a moisture problem).  Dig some big holes and bury the barrels.  I’m sure this would be back breaking work but they would hold a lot of food.  We’ve considered renting a small backhoe for the day to dig holes.
3. You could also make a bunch of tubes out of large pvc pipe, fill them with long term food in mylar bags, seal the tubes and bury them.  (look on You Tube for videos of how to make them)  They could be as big and long as you want and they would be easier to bury than a large barrel.  Easier to carry also.  You’d just have to make more of them.

Burying your food would serve two purposes.  It would help reduce theft of your food stores and it would also keep it cool.  Make sure you bury it deep enough to keep it cool.  A few inches below the surface won’t cut it.

If you put your food in your garage, any gasoline you store in there could contaminate it.  If there is no risk of that you could put in a good window air conditioning unit and keep your garage air conditioned so that your food is okay.

My last suggestion is to find a self storage unit near your house that is air conditioned.  I know that is not ideal since your food would not be at your home but it’s better than it all going bad due to extreme heat.  Do not store it in your attic – ours gets so hot you can barely breathe up there in the summer so I’m sure yours does too, how about in your crawl space instead? 

Good luck, – Georgia Mom

I too live in the south, Texas to be precise. I also wondered about my food stores, so I installed a window A/C unit in the room with most of my storage.
It will not keep it cool, but it will at least maintain about 80 degrees when it is 100+ outside.

Now the way I figure it, half of the year the temp in the room is below what most storage gurus recommend, and half the year it is above. Therefore I would think (though I may be wrong) that the damage to the foodstuffs should be minimal.
Maybe someone can confirm, or correct me on that. Thanks for all you do, – TexasPrepper2

Mr. Rawles,
I also live in Florida, and have the same concerns about temperatures and food storage.  I cleaned out a walk-in closet inside my home to use for food.  Since I can’t afford to turn the central air conditioner much lower than 77 in the summer, I  put a small de-humidifier in the closet, leave the door open with the room ceiling fans on all the time. It seems to help – a small temperature gauge I have in the closet usually says 75. – Vicki B.