Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Storing food with 5 gallon buckets

A word about storing your food in 5 gallon buckets. I did most of my storage in buckets. There are advantages as well as disadvantages for doing so.
Advantages: easy to transport and store. The lids are re-sealable. The 5 gallons does not represent a huge amount of food (if it were to get weevils) compared to larger storage units. After the bucket is empty, you can use a 5 gal bucket for lots of things.
Disadvantages: plastic is not perfect. Mice and rats can get into it. It may break if you put too much weight in it. It may not store food as well as other containers (leak O2 into it).
So, if you decide to store using buckets, here's the best way to do it. Use dry ice. Take a small amount (golf-ball size) and put it in the bottom of the bucket, fill up your wheat or beans and then put the lid on lightly. It will "burp" for some time. After the burping stops, seal the lid tight.
I used tamper evident lids and I am happy with the results. Be sure to label your bucket with its contents BEFORE you put the lid on.
Note: I did the majority of my storage in these buckets, but I also have many, many cases of #10 cans. I didn't want to put all my eggs in one basket- just in case. Also, the #10 cans are smaller units and better for charity/barter.
Good luck


JoAnn said...

Good tips on the issues of storing food in 5 gallon buckets. Where do you buy your buckets and cans from? I'm looking specifically for the squared buckets that are stackable and save space.

p.s. great blog!

Jimmy (pen name) said...

Thanks JoAnn. I bought my first batch of buckets from Lowes. Then they discontinued the white buckets and went with a grayish bucket that smells terrible. The orange lids are from Home Depot- they were higher quality than the Lowes lids.

My next batch of buckets I ordered online from for $2.79 plus $1 shipping/bucket lid combo. 20 lids and 20 buckets cost me $100 delivered.

Square buckets were cost prohibitive for me. The round ones stack just fine. I stack them 5-6 high and they do fine.

One of my friends got his buckets from a bakery for free. They had icing in them and he just washed them out. Also, I think costco sells their old buckets for a buck or so.

Good luck.

JoAnn said...

Cool, thanks for sharing your experience. You're right about the round buckets, probably not that much difference in space, especially vs. cost.