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Bulk Food Storage

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posted on Aug, 23 2011 @ 04:13 PM
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 well.

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
#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
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 iron.
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
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
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
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. Diatomaceous Earth

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 container.
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 kitchen.

edit on 23/8/11 by barkingdogamato because: Additional information.

posted on Aug, 23 2011 @ 04:39 PM
reply to post by barkingdogamato

Congrats on this thread! I am sure you are hoping many heed your message, as do I. My wife and I have been storing up foods for some time. We keep our freezer full, buy yeast in 2 lb bags, and keep frozen., However I have never had yeast go bad even in the refrigerator after 3 years in bulk. Flour? Never had it go bad. We keep more than 50lbs flour on hand, as well as rice. We do freeze as you recommend. That D earth you recommend, i have never heard of and will research it.
I had not heard of using a bay leaf. in flour? wouldn't that taint the flavor of the flour with bay?
My wife grows herbs and we do have bay. so I am anxious to hear from you as to whether or not it taints the flavor of what it is put in. and also how well it actually works.
Thanks again..and you do get a star for this thread. Hope more people read it .

posted on Aug, 23 2011 @ 04:44 PM
I have never heard of using a bay leaf but thanks to your thread I have learned something new today.

posted on Aug, 23 2011 @ 04:59 PM
Excellent post!

I just wanted to add that any grocery store with a bakery will give you their food grade buckets if you ask. The 5 gal. size.
They get their icing in them and then just throw them away. I get mine from walmart. Just make sure they still have the gasket in the lids.
Also, food safe dessicants are pretty cheap online.

Thanks for the great info.

posted on Aug, 23 2011 @ 05:11 PM
reply to post by DavidsHope

I haven't noticed any change in the taste of the flour, as for how well, I haven't seen any critters in the flour, cereals, or other grains in a 6 month or so time period. My only problem with yeast has been after a year or two some brands seem to lose their punch.

posted on Aug, 23 2011 @ 05:15 PM
reply to post by Neysa

Restaurants will also give these away. As you said make sure the gasket is with the bucket and lid. Make sure the bucket is clean, these are also used for garbage some times.

posted on Aug, 24 2011 @ 09:26 AM
reply to post by barkingdogamato

Great post lots of good info.... listen to him guys and girls...

Just one thing to add... A few years back I helped my brother in-law do a custom ceder lined closet... this was a big closet with all those little cabinets and racks for odds and ends... total cost for all that ceder... $38,000... but this client... "Gene Hackman"... could well afford it...

posted on Aug, 24 2011 @ 09:46 AM
I just have stuff that wrapped in plastic. I then put it in plastic boxes and seal them with duct tape. I made some pallets and have teh boxes stored on the pallets under the house (crawl space which is very clean). Yea, open to critters but it's also cool under then. Don't have a huge bug problem.

We also buy rice once a year and get maybe 20 or 30 sacks of it. It's unhusked but over here in Japan there's machines to dehusk the rice everywhere. Cheap, and in bulk so if SHTF we at least have loads of rice. However we buy when it's harvested - in October. Hope the end doesn't come before then as we down to the last few sacks.

posted on Aug, 24 2011 @ 12:44 PM
very interesting thread, thanks for all the info, especially about the DE.

I knew a bit about DE mainly from my experience using it to cure a flea infestation at my house a few years back, never knew you could use it for preserving food.

when you say it can't be in airtight containers, how do you go about doing this? do you just leave the lid open a bit? wouldn't this make everything go off quicker?

posted on Aug, 24 2011 @ 06:32 PM
reply to post by rayuki

If you are using D. Earth, you simply mix it into the grain and put it into a sealed container. The bugs hatch and die.So yes this can allow the grains to go quicker. One thing to remember is leave plenty of air circulation around all containers and store in a cool, dark, and dry place for which ever method you decide to use. I am going to try the following next, mix in D. Earth, then freezing or using CO2, and sealing in an airtight bucket. That way when we open it this should give a longer safer shelf life.

posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 01:47 AM
reply to post by barkingdogamato

awesome thanks for the info. Im thinking of giving the D.E route a go. do you have an idea of how long the stuff will last using this method? mainly for things like rice, grains etc.

I have a storage shed that i rent i was thinking of keeping once i move for storing food stuffs.

posted on Aug, 25 2011 @ 02:55 PM
reply to post by rayuki

I don't know, it would depend on the other storage factors heat, light, humidity, etc. If they get hot and sweat then they will go off no matter how they are stored.

One thing I forgot to bring up is if you are using and replacing items, rotate them use the oldest first, don't just keep grabbing the first one on the stack.

posted on Aug, 26 2011 @ 02:53 PM
reply to post by barkingdogamato

yeah of course, i've worked in places where we have to constantly rotate food so i have a good idea of food storage/use.

posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 12:27 AM
Its awful hard to beat the Mormon cannery. Their preservation systems of canning keep grains fo 30 years. Their Mylar bags are twice as thick as amazon, and they only ask if your a church member. No preaching no church talk and they are friendly as you could ever ask for. Drawback is the limited number of off the shelf items.

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