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Store Food In Buckets and Save Money

Let’s learn how to store food in buckets because you can store just about any food in buckets as long as they are low in moisture and fat. 5-gallon buckets are especially suited to storing bulk emergency foods for the survival pantry: foods such as dry staples like beans, rice, salt, and sugar have decades of storage in a bucket if properly stored.

Let’s strike while the iron is hot and get to stockpiling.

Other than #10 cans, buckets with Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers are the best way to store dry food for an extended shelf life.

Let’s look at the best foods to store in a 5-gallon bucket.

what food to store in 5-gallon buckets (17 Foods)

What foods can you store in 5-gallon buckets, that is the question. You can store most food in a bucket, but for long-term storage, you want to keep it to the 17 dry staple foods listed below.

#1 White Rice

Rice and Beans are the silver bullet of long-term food storage because they make a complete protein, are flexible, and last decades.

A 5-gallon bucket will hold 36 pounds of white rice that will keep in storage for thirty years.

#2 Beans

Beans are an outstanding non-meat protein. Eat them on rice or with hard and soft grains.

Thirty-three pounds of dry beans fit in a 5-gallon bucket, and they store for thirty years.

#3 Wheat

Wheat berries can be cooked whole like porridge or milled into flour to make daily survival bread. I’d start stockpiling wheat if I had beans and rice locked down.

Approximately twenty-nine pounds of wheat berries will store for 30 years

#4 Rolled Oats

The preferred food of the Scotch Highlander, a 5-gallon pale, will hold approximately 20 pounds of rolled oats for thirty years.

#5 Hard Grains

These grains will store the longest; white rice and wheat are among them.

#6 Soft Grains

Soft grains, with few exceptions, don’t last as long as hard grains. Rolled oats are the exception, with a thirty-year shelf life.

#7 Non-fat Powdered Milk

Non-fat powdered milk is excellent to store, especially if you plan on baking post-emergency. Twenty-nine pounds of powdered milk will fit in a bucket and keep for 20 years.

Whole-powdered milk or milk with fat will store for 2 to 10 years, depending on how it is packaged.

#8 Dried Eggs

Dried eggs are suitable for a shot of protein and baking, so they go well with stored wheat. Expect to fit 20 lbs of dried eggs in a bucket for a storage life of approximately 10 years.

#9 Pulses

The pulse family includes lentils and split green peas. They cook quicker than dry beans and are nutrition dense.

The standard bucket will hold 33 pounds of lentils or split peas, and they will stay good on the shelf for up to thirty years.

#10 Dry Pasta

Dry pasta is easier to make than making it from scratch with stored wheat. I keep mostly macaroni because more of it will fit in the bucket.

Thirty pounds of pasta will fit in a bucket.

#11 Corn Meal

Cornmeal can be used to make cornbread and all kinds of baked goods and as a breading for fried meats and vegetables. This might be a better option than storing dent corn because it’s already prepared and has a similar shelf-life.

Thirty-three pounds of cornmeal will fit in a bucket, and it should store for 25 to 30 years in the pantry.

#12 Popcorn

Popcorn can be popped, but you can also mill it into flour. I’ve never done it, but some preppers swear by it.

Thirty-seven pounds of popcorn will store in a bucket for 25 to 30 years.

#13 Flour

White-bleached flour is a staple food used to make baked goods and daily bread. The flour will store for 10 to 15 years if stored in buckets with Mylar and oxygen absorbers.

Whole wheat flour isn’t stored oxygen-free because it is high in oil and goes rancid within 18 months. The ground wheat berry makes whole wheat flour and keeps it for 30 years.

The protective coating on the wheat kernel protects it until it is crushed or milled. Wheat berries have a longer storage life than whole wheat flour and bleached flour for the long storage life.

Thirty-seven pounds of flour will fit in a bucket.

#14 White Sugar

Sugar is good for bartering, food preservation, and fermenting. You can put it straight into the bucket and put a lid on it. There is no need to use Mylar bags or oxygen absorbers.

Thirty pounds of sugar will fit in a bucket and lasts forever.

#15 Salt

Excellent for barter and food preservation, salt is one of the few foods that doesn’t oxidize, so Mylar and Oxygen absorbers are unnecessary for storage.

50 pounds of salt will fit in a 5-gallon bucket and lasts indefinitely. (Forever)

#16 Potato Flakes

Potato flakes are excellent as a thickening agent or to cut palate fatigue when you can’t eat one more rice bowl.

Twenty pounds of potato flakes will store up to 20 years in a 5-gallon bucket.

#17 Dent Corn

You say dent corn. I say field corn. Whatever it’s called, dent corn is used as a grain by grinding it into cornmeal.

I don’t have dent corn, but If I lived in Iowa, I’d look into storing it. Field corn makes MASA flour for corn tortillas, an excellent staple.

Thirty-seven pounds of corn fit in a 5-gallon bucket and will keep for 30 years.

Read the Ready Squirrel article, What foods can I store in a 5-gallon bucket?

Check out the Ready Squirrel article, How to store Rice In 5-gallon Buckets.

How do I store food in a bucket?

Storing food in a bucket is so easy it’s almost criminal. Buckets are the best storage container for the “do it yourself” because many long-lived foods can be stored quickly. This packaging technique gives you a massive shelf-life on emergency foods, but it’s also relatively inexpensive.

Repackaging dry staples into buckets is the same for foods with less than 10% moisture. The only difference is some require more Oxygen absorption than others.

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Equipment Needed

Storing Food In Buckets Step by Step

Step #1 Get the Food

Get a bulk bag of rice, beans, wheat, or other food less than 10% in moisture and low-fat.

Step #2 Mylar Bag

Line a 5-gallon food-grade bucket with a 5mil or higher Mylar bag.

Filling a 5 gallon bucket with black beans

Step #3 Fill

Pour the food into the Mylar bag 2″ below the lip of the bucket

Step #4 Oxygen Absorber(s)

Place 2000 to 2500 cc worth of oxygen absorber into the Mylar bag

Sealing a Mylar Bag

Step #5 Seal Bag

Seal the bag with a clothes iron on the hottest setting by folding the bag over a piece of scrap wood or a cardboard box

Marking Mylar with permanent marker

Step #6 Label Food

Using a permanent marker, write the type of food and date outside the Mylar bag or bucket.

Cheap bucket lid

Step #7 Cheap Lid

Place a cheap lid on the bucket and stack buckets no more than 3 high. If you are using Mylar, there is no need to use expensive Gamma lids because the Sealed Mylar keeps food sealed up.

Storing Food Buckets

Step #8 Store Bucket

Store your buckets in a cool, dry location, and avoid storing them in a space that isn’t climate-controlled. Also, avoid storing food in garages and outdoor sheds.

Step #9 Optional-Gamma Lid

Gamma lids are expensive but useful if you access specific food buckets regularly because you can unscrew the top of the lid instead of completely busting the lid off. Also, gamma lids are good for range and tool buckets to keep items dry.

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Why store food in buckets?

We store staple foods in buckets because the food will last 20 to 30-plus years stored this way. Also, buckets and Mylar bags kill bugs and bug eggs in the food. Also, this storage method eradicated the need to rotate food as you do with canned foods.

Let’s look at why we use buckets, Mylar, and oxygen absorbers together for the perfect food storage solution.

Oxygen and Moisture are Enemies of Food

Mylar bags are an actual oxygen and moisture barrier, and plastic alone is not. Once the food is sealed in Mylar bags, neither moisture nor Oxygen can get in the bag.

Buckets Are Armor

Why use Mylar buckets and Mylar together? Isn’t is a waste of money? Using buckets and Mylar together is a no-brainer if you are going for maximum shelf life because buckets are tough and protect Mylar from damage that could expose food to Oxygen.

Avoid using just buckets unless you are storing salt or sugar because plastic buckets are permeable Oxygen, so it gets inside the bucket and can oxidize the food.

Try to use Food-grade buckets instead of non-food-grade buckets because they are a useful tool in a survival or emergency situation. They are food-safe and can be used to haul water, or to ferment and pickle vegetables and fruit. It is true that you can use a clean-non food grade bucket to store food if they are lined with a Mylar bag.

Scott ,Ready Squirrel

Learn how to store food in buckets. Check out the Ready Squirrel video of Scott storing wheat. other than cc of oxygen absorption, it’s the same storage method for most dry staples

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