Storing dried goods – airtight or not?

I’ve had the phrase “store in an airtight container” in my head for ages – until I opened a back up tin of acha grain that I’d stored for about 8 months. I got a shock, it was a mess! Webby, crawling, yuck! I was fascinated to talk to a neighbour who’s been living here for decades and has perfected the art of storing food here. She kindly went through the foods I have in my pantry and advised me which she thought should be stored airtight, and which needed a bit of airflow.

It never occurred to me to give grains, or seeds, some air, as I was worried about rodents, but she says she hasn’t had problems like this, and anyway, I have a cat! She advises just putting a piece of cloth over the top to keep the dust off. I’m thinking that if I’m storing a small amount of say, egusi seeds, I could use a jar with a piece of cloth and the screw lid to hold it secure. For larger amounts, a milk tin is idea with a piece of cloth over the top. But small baskets work too.

I’m going to re-arrange my food store to reflect this advice. I’m hoping I’ll get less shocks if I need to open my emergency food stores some day!


Not airtight


kuli kuli

ground flours



roasted peanuts

dates (but check them regularly)

tiger nuts

dried vegetables

fish stock

Egusi seeds

benne seeds



raw peanuts


wheat berries

whole tamba

guinea corn

maize whole or ground


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