We all know that we need to be storing up for whatever reason we chose. And buying food in bulk can be cheaper, much cheaper. So you have gone out and
bought flour, rice, beans, etc. and brought them home now what. Most of us know from mom or granny that putting a bay leaf in with the flour canister
keeps the critters out, but how about the 100 lb. sack???
You have probably seen flour, pasta, etc with bugs, generally these are weevils, and quite harmless nasty to see but harmless once cooked. First thing
ALL grains and such contain weevil eggs - don't know why actually, but they do, and if you buy bulk stock that has been marked down it may well be
because the store owners are aware of the age and realize that it's about time for weevils to appear. And buying in bulk may allow other critters as
The first thing is how are you storing the food:
You can have a ceder lined storage room, but that is not practical for most of us. So more practical methods.
Food Storage Containers
Food Storage Buckets
Use only buckets specifically saying they are made of food grade plastic! The manufacturer is required by law (US & Euro) to put the notice on the
outside of the container, so look for it. Containers used for holding laundry detergent (and any other non-food material) are not the same as food
grade, they contain chemicals which can and will bleed through into your food and contaminate the food. Also, it is impossible to completely clean
detergent or whatever out of the containers, chemical residues will remain.
The plastic buckets are hard to open and seal each time you need to use them, so you can use a gamma lid. The outer ring stays on the bucket and the
middle section easily screws on and off.
3 gallon, 5 gallon, 10 gallon, and 20 gallon are the best for storing grains and dry foods.
20 gallon are generally square so when storing these leave space around them for air circulation. With no circulation around the containers, many
grains get hot and sweat. Try to use a round container
#10 cans and plastic snap on lids because they're small. Work great for small quantities. The #10 cans are sturdy and airtight. Your grain is kept
safe from rodents and insects. Metal rusts when it gets wet, so be careful.
Mylar bags are less expensive than buckets and #10 cans. They are airtight and keep the insects out of the food. They aren’t as sturdy as the
buckets and #10 cans and can be punctured easily. Mice will chew through a Mylar bag. They'll work great as a stand alone if you put them on the shelf
in a protected area where the mice can’t get to them.
You can put your food in Mylar bags, and then store the sealed Mylar bags in buckets. The Mylar bag acts as a second barrier. Over time, the oxygen
and other gasses can travel through the pores in the plastic buckets. The Mylar bag is airtight. And these can be sealed with a Seal O Meal or a
Cans and Mylar work great for salt sugar, yeast, and the like. My procedure is have the large bulk in storage, and transfer to smaller buckets, #10
cans and Mylar bags for use in the kitchen.
And don't forget the Sharpie to mark what's in the container. Voice of experience speaking.
Keeping Insects Out of Food
When storing bulk grain, keep it in your freezer and it will kill all the live insects. Unfortunately, it won't kill the eggs, so freeze your wheat
and then leave it out at room temperature for 30 days. Then refreeze your grains. This should kill any insects that have hatched since the last
freeze. Then move to the buckets of choice with which ever method keeping them you wish to use for long term storage.
Dry Ice is a very economical way to fumigate your dry food before storing it in bulk food storage containers.
Pour a little bit (1 inch) of grain, legumes, etc. into the bottom of your five-gallon bucket. This is so you don’t freeze and crack the bottom of
your plastic bucket. Put one-quarter pound of dry ice for every five-gallons in the bucket, use brown PAPER bags for the dry ice. Then pour the rest
of your dry food into the bucket. CAUTION: Dry ice will burn your hands, so use gloves when handling it. Put the lid on the bucket, but don’t
completely seal the bucket. As the dry ice evaporates, the CO2 will start to replace the oxygen in the container. In about 3 hours come back and snap
the lid on tight. Come back in a few more hours to check on the buckets. If they're bulging, burp by kneeling on the center of the lid and pulling up
on one side of the lid or loosing the gamma ring. Then make sure the lid is snapped or screwed back down.
Oxygen Absorbers take the oxygen out of the container so that the insects can’t survive.
2,000 cc oxygen absorbers are used with the 5-gallon Mylar Bags. The 300 cc oxygen absorbers are used with the 1-gallon Mylar Bags or #10 cans.
Don’t suggest using oxygen absorbers with plastic buckets because it decreases the pressure in the buckets. This causes the air to flow through the
pores of the bucket at a faster rate.
Diatomaceous Earth is probably the best method to use. It takes more time and is more expensive. Seeds are living organisms and need air. If you take
the air out of the bulk food storage containers, the seeds will eventually die. Instead of removing the air from the container, the Diatomaceous
Earth kills the insects without any harm to humans, plants, and animals. Diatomaceous Earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells that are
crushed into a powder. The Diatomaceous Earth cuts up the insects skin. The insect dries up and dies.
Thoroughly mix the D. Earth into the grain. Use 3/4 cup - 1 cup of Diatomaceous Earth for every 5 gallon bucket. Wear gloves when working with
Diatomaceous Earth because it dries out your skin. Eating a tablespoon of Diatomaceous Earth every day has positive health benefits for humans.
Some additional information.
For sugar and salt, all you need to do is make sure that they remain airtight and they will not get bugs in them.
For yeast, you need to keep it frozen and it will last even longer than the expiration date on the package, and keeping it frozen will help to make it
last longer once you open it,.
Rice stored airtight and will last for 2 years if it is white. Brown rice will go rancid and so should not be stored longer than 6 months in an open
Dried beans, peas etc can be stored airtight in a cool place. They are good indefinitely, but will get harder the longer they are stored and will have
to be soaked longer.
One thing to remember for preserving food, there are many ideas out there, but you want to keep as many vitamins and minerals in the food and keep it
as safe as you can. The food might look okay, but due to improper freezing or storage, have lost any nutritional content. You do not need to panic
about storing food, but follow guidelines and directions so that the food you have is safe. The best thing to remember is to keep it cool and dark.
When foods are stored at normal household temperatures, the nutritional content is gone in half the time as it would be if you store them at 50-60
degrees. If you are going to spend the money to buy the food, you may as well spend the time to take care of it properly.
Oh yeah mom and granny are right, bay leaves in the canisters, jars, boxes work. We use them in flour, rice, cereal, beans, etc. when they are in the
edit on 23/8/11 by barkingdogamato because: Additional information.