Friday, December 21, 2012

Food Storage Friday #18: Storing your Beans, Grains, and Rice

Variety. It may be the most important part of Food Storage. Selecting a storing a variety of different foods, long term, is really the name of the game when it comes to creating your personal Food Storage pantry. Variety is so important that we devoted our first Food Storage 101 posts to starting out your food storage pantry with a variety of different products.

But just as variety can strengthen your food storage needs, when not understood correctly, it can weaken the work that you've already put forth. Remember that variety isn't just talking about the products you buy, but also how you store them.

Today we're going to tackle a topic that has caused some of the greatest stress, and even heartache, among many of us building up our food storage. That topic is the storage of beans, grains, and rice.

Why do I need beans, grains, and rice?


This is a great question, especially when there are so many completed food storage meals and products out there. An important thing to remember is that beans, grains, and rice are life stable foods. They contain the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates needed to sustain life. That means that if you had nothing else but beans, grains, and rice in your food storage, you could survive on those items alone. Not only are they life stable foods, but they are also recipe stable products. A majority of the recipes you and I use everyday include these products. Plain and simple, these are the cornerstone items of your food storage pantry.

How do I store beans, grains, and rice?


Now that we know the importance of having them, let's talk about storing capabilities. The great thing about Honeyville beans, grains, and rice is that, when stored correctly, they have a very, very long shelf life. Take our Honeyville Black Beans for instance. When sealed in our #10 can, the shelf life is an impressive 10 to 15 years. Our Honeyville Oat Groats? 15 to 20 years sealed in a #10 cans.

Mylar bags are also a great option for storing most of your dry products. When used with an oxygen absorber and sealed, they typically keep the same shelf life of a #10 can. They also offer another option, other than the cans, for smaller food storage needs.

But what about the bulk item purchases, such as our 50lb bags of Hard White and Hard Red wheat, Long Grain Rice, or 25lb bag of Lentil Beans? Keeping them in the original bag will only secure you a year shelf storage, if even that. These items must be placed in a food storage container. But which item is good for you?


The first choice for many food storage buffs are our 6 gallon buckets. Whether using our regular or upgrading to the Gamma lid, storing your beans, grains, and rice in these food grade buckets increases the shelf life from 1 year in the bag to 10 or more years in the bucket, depending on how often the bucket is opened.


If you know that you won't be opening the bucket anytime soon, purchasing a few oxygen absorbers and throwing them in the bucket will help increase the shelf life of the product. Remember though, our buckets can only hold up to 45 lbs of product.


For those of us that are in need of a great amount of food storage space, upgrading from the 6 gallon buckets to our Grain Vaults may be the right choice. In comparison, while our buckets can contain up to 6 gallons of product, we offer a selection of grain vaults that includes an 11 gallon and 16 gallon model. That's almost three-times the size of our 6 gallon bucket. Each vault also includes a Gamma lid, so they can be used as long term or everyday food containers.

What conditions should I store my beans, grains, and rice in?


If there is one thing more important than the type of container you use to store food, it is where that food is stored. Storage conditions have such a huge effect on food. If ever any questions arises, just remember this simple phrase: Cool, dry, and out of sunlight.

When trying to find the right spot for your food storage pantry, remember that it needs to be cool. 70 degrees or less is recommended. Also, keep in mind that it must be a dry location, away from any moisture. Water will destroy any type of food storage, especially dry food products such as beans, grains, and rice. Sunlight is also a destroyer of long term food, so keep this in mind when it comes time to store your food.

Remember, when you take care of your food storage, it will take care of you. Keeping it cool, dry, safe and secure can be the difference between 5 and 15 years storage time.

9 comments:

Deborah Jennings said...

I just got two jar sealers, regular and wide mouth to go with my vacuum sealer. This is what I will be storing some of my beans and rice in. I love beans of all kinds. And rice can be used in so many ways! I am also in the process of getting some #10 cans of different dehydrated and freeze dried foods from Honeyville Farms

Thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge.

Robin said...

I would like to know if there is any harm with these thing going beyond the amount of time you prescribe for storage? So say if a person buys cans of vegies that have a shelf like of 5 to 10 years, and say something happens in 8 years, such as a catastrophe like the power grid failing, would this food be OK to use beyond 10 years? Just a thought I had. I am planning to purchase a few items each payday just to have things on hand. One never knows what might happen.

Cookin' Cousins said...

Hi Robin! That's a great question! There isn't any problem with using our veggies or other products past the shelf life we list on the can. The only problem is as they start to run past that age, they begin to break down and lose their nutritional value. They still are good to eat, but won't have the same value or flavor as they would have.

Chuck Chipner said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been wondering how to do my own grain storage in Guymon OK, and I will have to try your way.

Anonymous said...

I have stored beans in their original bags inside 6 gallon buckets. I have added oxygen absorbers & moisture absorbers. The beans some times past their usual expiration date on the package. It takes way to long to cook them & they might be crunchy. What can I do to make the beans better & store better. I don't care for crunchy beans & 12 hours sometime is not enough to make them soft.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous- we learned that once beans outer skin gets tough, water can't penetrate into the bean. You can crack them with a a grain mill that has an attachment for beans and corn. I think you can also use a pressure cooker-not a canner, but a cooker- to cook hardened beans, but research that. Otherwise pour them into a vase and stab pencils and pens into them ;-)

Anonymous said...

I've learned that putting oxygen absorbers in the buckets with wheat berries and beans is not a good idea. Both of these need oxygen to live. They need aeration. When deprived of oxygen, both the beans and seeds are useless.

Avery Schlacter said...

Thanks for this I've been looking for Ohio grain storage bins. Hopefully I'm able to get some.

Gwen said...

I am not new to canning, freezing and dehydration. Food storage is a daily part of our life. I dehydrate everything except meat, milk products, cheese, eggs, etc. I leave the animal products to the pros. The idea of botulism does not interest me. We use the buckets, add a mylar bag and fill with the beans, flour, sugar, etc. Add oxygen absorbers. I use the gamma seal lids for the convenience of opening the bucket if needed. Beans can also be cooked and dehydrated then sealed for the long term. The texture is a little different but great for cooking in refried beans, casseroles, etc. The first mistake we made was trying to store everything. Whether we ate it or not. Also, hybrid and GMO foods do not store as long as non-GMO and/or organic. I have proof of that with tomatoes. Plan menus that your family likes, write down each ingredient needed and store from there. We use ours daily; this might not be an option for you. When it is needed, I know what to do. We live in a rural area and food storage is a great alternative, quick, and convenient for every day use for us. Give it a try ~ one step at the time. Be diligent with a goal in mind. Where would you like to be a year from now in your storage? Also great for travel as well as camping. I use quart jars in my pantry for convenience and refill them as needed. Good luck!