packing and storing

When it comes to keeping your longer-term storage -- well, long-term, you'll have four main enemies: moisture, heat, light, and pests (bugs/rodents). You can almost eliminate heat and light as concerns if you have a nice cool, dark basement in which to put your storage. Moisture and pests, though, are harder to control. The kind of storage container that you choose, can help eliminate three of the four storage enemies (even the best containers are affected by heat). So, it pays to pick your containers and their locations carefully.

If you don't have a cool, dark basement, then choose storage spots that are as cool and dark as possible. You can stack containers to make bedside tables. I've seen food storage under beds, on top of cupboards, and in sheds. Don't store items directly on cement floors. Many storage containers can leach chemicals and moisture out of the cement. It is better to use shelves or pallets, if possible.

Here is a list of storage containers and advantages/disadvantages:
*Plastic buckets (need to have a gasket in the lid; permeable; light gets in; can be heavy; reusable)
*Mylar bags/Foil Pouches - control light; rodents can rip; hard to stack; hard to move in big quantities; only reusable with right equipment.
*PETE bottles - don't control light; easy to move; readily available.
*#10 cans/aluminum cans - durable; control light; need a can opener; only reusable with right equipment.
*Glass jars - light gets in; rodents can't open; breakable; reusable with cheap & readily available equipment.
*Plastic bags - light and rodents can get in; harder to stack and move in large quantities; reusable; convenient.
*Burlap bags - moisture and pests get in easily; reusable; hard to stack and move in large quantities.
*Paper bags - moisture and pests get in easily; hard to stack and move in large quantities.

I use a mixture of these methods. I live in a very dry climate so plastic buckets work well for my wheat, bean and rice storage. I also have glass jars, cans, #10 cans and one double-bagged bag of wheat. I often buy my supplies in bags and then transfer into buckets. I don't do this with my wheat, though, as wheat requires a dry-ice treatment when transferred (see upcoming post on wheat storage). Oxygen absorbers are available to add to many of these containers. If your climate is very moist, buckets may not be adequate. A sealed Mylar bag inside of a bucket is often called a "super-pail." In my opinion, this may be the ideal storage container for large volumes of grains or beans.

Here are some links:
Packing Recommendations - providentliving.org
Oxygen Absorbers - providentliving.org
Storage Conditions - providentliving.org


Laura said...

When you package your beans and rice do you use oxygen absorbers? Do you know if macaroni would need them too?

Wendy said...

Yes. If I am putting them into a #10 can, a mylar pouch or a PETE bottle, I'll use one for pretty much any product. It just keeps them more fresh. Oxygen absorbers are less effective in buckets since they are air permeable.