Food and Nutrition Notes

Storage of food at home


Food storage refers to the keeping of the food for sometime before ultimate use. There are two aspects to food storage namely

  • Post- harvest storage- This is the storage of crops immediately after harvesting from the farm.
  • Storage of the prepared or food at home.



  • The nature of food stuff.
  • The facilities available in the house.
  • The length of storage required.
  • The ultimate use of the food stuff.


  • RHOMBUS: In Nigeria for instance common method for grain storage is Rhombus which is a large flask shaped or cylindrical container having capacities for up to 2000 kilograms or grains depending on the size. The nature of the building materials which could be woven grass, Mud or a mixture of these as well as the size and the shape of the rhombus depend on the local culture and tradition.
  • GRANARY OR MUD SLIDE: Another common storage method that is practiced in many African countries at traditional level is the use of the compound house into the wall of the house with materials such as clay mixed with grass and juice or some local fruit and tree bark. Granaries are mounted on storage or low platform to prevent running water during the rains, or water from coming into contact with the storage and its content. This method has advantage of being able to store large quantity of gains, especially shelled or threshed, keep storage temperature as uniform and constant as possible while preventing infestation by rodent, insect and other pest. However its construction may be too time consuming while adequate ventilation is difficult and gains have to be properly dried before putting in storage. A smaller form of the granary is the crib or barn used for the unshelled maize.
  • CRIB:  Cribs are built with stick, raffia palm, bamboos and similar material, usually material on the farm. Cribs are simple and easy to construct and use and there or saving of time of use since commodities can quickly be transferred into the storage from the field. The inside of crib is well ventilated and this allows the storage, of gain with a relatively higher moisture content than for safe storage since drying is possible while the gains are in storage. Good ventilation also prevents accumulation of heat which could be damaging to the grain and enhance microbial spoilage and insect infestation. Cribs can however be easily destroyed by termites which limits their live span. Stored grain is also prone to insect infestation and exposed to pilferage.
  • HUTS: Placed in a platforms built over a bearth, heat, generating from the fire- place penetrates the grains and hence assists in reducing moisture content. The smoke thus generate creates an unfavourable condition for the insects and pests to thrive. This method is usually used for maize yet to be dehulled.
  • JUTE BAGS: Jute bags can also be used to tore threshed and shelled grains which are then stored either inside the compound house or on the ceiling. The storage environment must be kept clean at all times to prevent attack from insect’s pest and rodents. Jute – bags method is convenient to use while bags can be marked for easy identification of grains belonging to different people or those stored at different times. Extra effort is required to make the storage environment rat- proof and prevent insect infestation by fumigation.
  • SUSPENDED ON TREES: Have grains packages and suspended on trees. This promotes good air circulation and consequent aeration of the stored cereal grains can be used. The most common modern method of storing cereal is in specially constructed silos.


  • BARNS: This method is used for storage for the yams. This involves the use of a small hut, built near the compound house or on the farm inside which yams are arranged on shelves. The yams are then protected from the ray of the sun by covering the structure with banana and plantain leaves. Stored in the barns, allows for good ventilation at the stored yams while sprout can be easily observed and removed before they cause any serious physiological damage to the stored commodity.
  • PIT STORAGE: Yam can also be stored in underground pits in which large open trenches are dug on the farm which are lined with plantain or banana leaves before the yams to be stored, are arranged inside the trenches. The storage is then covered with leaves and the chick’s layer of the soil which will rhyme with the ground. Underground storage is a useful method for storage in temperature areas for the protection of the yams from very cold weather. Storage in underground pits is relatively cheap and simple to use. The limitation of this method are that this yam are susceptible to spoilage by soil micro flora, pest and rodents, sprouting and accumulation of heat all which result in physiological and structural degradation of the flesh tissue.
  • ON FOOT: Cassava- the storage is rarely practiced because its storage life is very short usually not more, than 24 to 36 hours due to relatively high moisture content and enzymes activities compared to yam. On the foot is the common method for storing cassava left on the plant in the farm un- harvested until they are needed. The method is easy cheap and simple to use, but lead to wastage of farm land since such farms cannot normally be put to effective use while the cassava remain in the farm. A lot of physiology and microbiological deterioration will occur leading to losses and wastages.


Some of the modern methods for storing tubers include the use of anti- sprouting chemicals which prevent tubers from germinating and ionizing radiation.  Examples of some anti sprouting chemical are maleic hydrazide tertreachlointrobenzene and naphthalene acetic acid etc.


LEGUMES: Like cereal, legumes are stored after drying them to very low moisture content. They are usually stored in jute bags which are then arranged in dry airy stores. The bags can be sprayed with insecticide and fungicides. The store should be rat proof.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: Fruits and vegetables can be stored by the following:-

  • Controlled atmosphere storage.
  • Reduces temperature.
  • Dehydration (drying).
  • Concentration.


  • CEREALS: – Are stored in tight containers and dry peppers are usually added to the cereals before covering. The peppers act as a fumigant and therefore prevent weevils from attacking the cereals.
  • LEGUMES: – Legume are stored in the same way as cereals in the home, they can also be stored in jute bags and kept on a raised plat form to prevent damage and attacks by rats.
  • FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: – At home they can be stored by syruping or salting. In this method, the fruit or vegetable is first washed and then blanched and kept in sugar or salt solution. In the case of fruits, they peeled, washed and shredded before preserving in syrup or brine. Oranges can be stored by the following;
  • Store in baskets in an open airy place.
  • Storing in the lowest (bottom) compartment of the refrigerator.
  • Putting them on trays in an open airy- space.
  • FISH, POULTRY AND MEAT: – These can be stored in the homes in the following ways:
  • Freezing: Here the fish, poultry or meat is first washed, trimmed and cut and packaged in polythene bags and tied properly before putting in the freezer.
  • Drying: This method is usually applied to fish and meat. The fish or meal is properly trimmed and cut into desired sizes. They are then salted before ready in the sun to dry.
  • Smoking: The method similar to drying. The fish or meat is first washed and cut into desired sizes. It is then salted before spreading on a wire gauze place over a fire or heat charcoal. The heat generated penetrates the fish or meat produced also contains some aldehydes and phenols which further imparts special flavour to the fish or meat.
  • Refrigerating: – In some cases the fish or meat are put in wire cages and hung over the fire place. The heat produced during cooking dries the fish or meat. Such fish or meat can be in the wire cages for a considerable length of time without spoiling.


Differentiate between storage and preservation of food

  • Outline the factors that influence choice of storage methods


  • List out the ways by which fish, poultry and meat and can be stored in the home

Students are to get their materials and ingredients ready for practicals on preservation of yams and tubers.


  • What is storage of food
  • Explain the methods of post harvest storage


Explain 6 methods of home storage of food stuffs.

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