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.