There are countless articles online about what food items you should be storing away, but finding solid information about how to actually store food long term and what storage means to use is a little trickier to find. That’s why today I thought that I would share some of what I’ve learned about how to actually contain these items.
This subject can seem overwhelming at first, but the truth is that storing food long term is actually quite simple and easier today than it was so many years ago.
Food Storage Containers
You’ll want to seek out food-grade buckets. I have a little trick that you might be able to use! our local pizza shop receives many of their ingredients such as mushrooms in food grade containers. After they have used up the ingredients, they don’t know what to do with the buckets. Chances are that you can find a similar restaurant in your area that would be more than ecstatic to have you take these food storage containers off their hands!
You can also of course buy them through Amazon. Recently I saw a top listing of 3, 5-gallon food grade buckets for $20. That’s super cheap and you can store food long term in these…quite a bit actually!
But regardless, whether you buy them or are able to get food containers for free, you want to make sure that they are food grade. This means that there are no chemicals in the plastic that can contaminate your food goods. To be sure of this, try to find a seal that has the acronym HDPE on it. This will stand for high density polyethylene. But always make sure to thoroughly wash and rinse the food storage buckets anyway.
The worst thing that can happen is to discover that despite your best efforts, bugs and even a little bit of oxygen were able to get in and ruin your hard work. This can happen, so take it seriously. One extra precaution that most preppers take is to line the inside of their buckets with Mylar bags.
Mylar bags are made from a polyester material called BoPet. This material is so effective that even NASA has used it! it offers strong protection against gases and oxygen to prevent food spoilage. Again, you can get these pretty cheap online. The real solution is to find the thickets bags possible in terms of millimeters. This means added strength and the ability to handle more weight.
Typically you will want to get 5 gallon Mylar bags to use in 5 gallon food-grade buckets. When storing food in these bags, leave room at the top to properly seal them. You will need to suck out all the air and seal them as tight as possible.
Look for Mylar bags that come with oxygen absorbers. Typically this is the way they come, but just make sure before buying. The oxygen absorbers come in tightly sealed packaging, because once they are exposed to any air they are activated immediately. This means that you need to have everything ready before you unpack them and throw them into your Mylar bags. One way to tell if your absorbers are already used up is to check if they are warm. They should stay cool.
How To Seal A Mylar Bag
- The best way is as follows..
- Fill your bag with your food goods
- Leave an inch some room at the top
- Use a hair straightening iron to seal the top of the bag
- Leave a few inches unsealed at one end
- Wait for the seal to cool
- Open and add your oxygen absorber into the bag
- Use a vacuum to carefully remove the remaining air out of the bag, while being careful not to suck up any loose food product
- Immediately finish sealing the remaining area of the top of the bag
It’s impossible to get all the air out, because as you remove the vacuum hose from the bag, naturally some air will be let back in. Hopefully the absorber will take care of the rest. It’s important that over the course of the next week you occasionally check your buckets to see if the bags are still air-tight. If not, you will need to cut them open and try this again.
How Do You Know If You’ve Done It Right?
The bags should be hard as a rock! rather the contents altogether.
What Should I Store In Mylar Bags?
Mainly dry grains. Pastas, pinto beans and rice are the perfect candidates. Keep this in mind, however. If you are adding anything that is contained inside of a box into your Mylar bags, make sure that you poke some holes in the boxes so that the air can be sucked out of those as well.
- You can also store..
- pancake mix
- powdered eggs
- powdered milk
- dried vegetables
Ethnic grocery stores often times have a lot of dried foods on hand. For variety you may want to visit such a place to put together your long term food storage inventory.
Hopefully this is helpful! take care and best of luck.