How Does Humidity Affect Food Storage? Storage Tips

When storing food, there are things you need to be aware of for optimal freshness and longevity. Moisture in the air is something to take into consideration. How does humidity affect food storage?

Humidity affects food storage negatively if the humidity levels are too high. Dry food that is exposed to moisture can grow bacteria and molds, spoiling food and causing illness. Moisture also contributes to the disintegration of paper packaging, as well as causing rust on metal containers.

How Does Humidity Affect Food Storage? Storage Tips
Learn how humidity can sabotage your food storage attempts.

Food storage is a common household problem. Many factors go into the safety of food items, and some people do not realize how humidity can affect their food storage.

Humidity is extremely important to consider when storing perishable goods such as meat, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and more.

Unfortunately, most people don’t think about it, not realizing their food could last so much longer had they put a little thought into more suitable storing conditions.

Do you ever wonder how humidity affects food storage? It is important to understand how humidity can affect your food, as it will help keep you and your family safe.

The humidity level of a room or cabinet where food is stored can affect its shelf life, nutritional value, taste, and safety.

Related Article: Does Humidity Affect Fruit?

Does Humidity Spoil Food?

High humidity levels affect many things in our homes, and food quality is one of them. Yet how does moisture in the air affect food storage? Does humidity spoil food?

Humidity spoils food by contributing to the moisture levels in the air that cause mold and bacteria. Condensation forms on the surface of food products and can deteriorate paper packaging as well as cause rust on metal containers. Mold and bacteria thrive in higher humidity levels.

If you want to stay healthy, eating well-preserved food is critical. It’s necessary to avoid food poisoning by consuming fresh food stored in favorable conditions.

High humidity causes several problems with storing foods, and the last thing you want is to get sick from eating something moldy.

The humidity level in a storage area should be as low as possible. Keep food stored in humidity-controlled areas, and use airtight packaging.

Related Article: What Causes Mold to Grow in a House? Hidden Mold Happens

The 3 Best Ways to Store Food in High Humidity

In climates where humidity is high, you need to be careful how you decide to store your food. Here are 3 ways to store food in high humidity:

1. Seal It

One option for storing food in high humidity is to use a dehydration method and then vacuum-sealing to remove the air from the packaging.

Investing in a good vacuum sealer that you can trust is strongly recommended, as you want to feel confident your food will be safe and not spoil.

Foods best suited for the dehydration method would be fruits and vegetables. Storing rice and beans in this manner is also recommended.

The disadvantage of the dehydration method is that food loses some of its nutritional integrity.

2. Can It

One of the best-known ways of storing food is the traditional canning method. You’ll need a good assortment of mason jars and the lids for sealing, and you are on your way to the start of impressive food storage.

Pressure canners provide the option of canning a wider variety of food types, as pressure canners seal the food at higher temperatures.

Yet just like the dehydration method, some nutritional value is lost in the process.

Beans and grains can be stored for up to 30 years by canning in a jar, adding O2 absorbers, and then sealing airtight.

Foods that can be processed in a water bath canner include but are not limited to:

  • Salsa
  • Tomatoes
  • Fruit
  • Relishes and Pickles
  • Pie Fillings, Fruit Sauces, and Chutneys

Food that can be processed in a pressure canner includes but is not limited to:

  • Seafood, Poultry, and Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Stocks

Foods that should not be canned:

  • Squash
  • Lettuce or Cabbage
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower
  • Artichokes, Eggplant, or Olives
  • Grains
  • Milk
  • Sweets
  • Pickled Eggs
  • Lard
  • Butter, Cheese, and Cream
  • Refried Beans
  • Flour or Cornstarch
  • Noodles or Pasta
  • Nuts
  • Purees

Canning foods can be a very satisfying way to stock up on food, especially when you can purchase items ideal for canning when they are on sale.

Related Article: What Is a Healthy Humidity Level for a Basement?

Buying large quantities and then canning helps the budget and provides peace of mind knowing you will have food stored for months or years to come.

3. Freeze It

Freezing is a wonderful way to store food, yet some foods do not freeze well.

Foods that do not freeze well include but are not limited to:

  • Certain vegetables such as cabbage, celery, cress, cucumbers, endive, lettuce, parsley, and radishes
  • Cooked macaroni, spaghetti, or rice
  • Meringue
  • Cooked egg whites
  • Cream or custard fillings
  • Sour cream
  • Cream or custard fillings
  • Cheese or crumb toppings (you can actually freeze cheese, but it gets crumbly and is best used for shredding and not slicing after being frozen)
  • Mayonnaise or salad dressings
  • Gelatin
  • Fruit jelly
  • Dried foods
  • Some spices and seasonings

Foods ideal for freezing include but are not limited to:

  • Whole eggs
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cottage chees
  • Egg whites (uncooked)
  • Ice cream
  • Milk
  • Whipped cream
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado (pureed with lime or lemon juice
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Onions

The list of foods that you may freeze goes on and on. Freezing is a wonderful way to store food in areas with high humidity.

There are many products for your kitchen and pantry area that are specifically made to keep out humidity.

Related Article: Why Is the Paint Bubbling on My Wall?

Why Does High Humidity Cause Storage Problems?

High humidity causes many problems with food storage. Which leads people to ask, why does high humidity cause storage problems?

High humidity causes storage problems due to the build-up of condensation that can occur, often deteriorating paper packaging and rusting metal containers that the food is stored in. Stored food can grow both mold and bacteria when humidity levels are high.

Cereal, pasta, and beans, for example, are humidity-sensitive. Make sure you keep them in a humidity-free storage environment that can help you avoid spoilage.

One way to combat high humidity in your home is to purchase an affordable yet good-quality dehumidifier.

Do You Need High or Low Humidity for Meat?

Humidity requirements for meat depend on how the meat is packaged. You can store packaged or dried meat products such as jerky in a humidity of 40 to 60 percent.

Meat can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days. According to, frozen foods remain safe indefinitely, but after some time, the quality of frozen meat is lost.

Related Article: What Happens if Indoor Humidity Is Too High?

Should Humidity Be High or Low for Vegetables?

The humidity in the storage unit where you keep vegetables is important, as humidity levels affect how long they stay fresh. Should humidity be high or low for vegetables?

Lower humidity levels are best for fruit, and higher humidity levels are best for vegetables.

Leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, collard greens, and green onions do best in cool temperatures with higher humidity.

Vegetables tend to rot faster, wilt, and dry out when the humidity levels are too low. Yet if the humidity is too high, the vegetables stand a chance of mold growth.

See the below as a brief example:

  • Hummus: The humidity should be high.
  • Portabella: The humidity should be low.
  • Broccoli: The humidity should be high.
  • Carrots: Humidity should be low.

Humidity is extremely important to consider when storing perishable goods such as meat, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and more.

Related Article: Can High Humidity in a Home Cause Mold? Protect Yourself


Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.