Many emergency preparedness companies will sell grains, beans, etc. in 5 or 6 gallon buckets. And while there’s nothing necessarily wrong with having your food straight in the bucket I’ve found a more optimal approach to bucket food storage. Before I give you my method, I’d like to share my reasons:
- Cheaper (just do a little shopping for the food)
- Resealable (both bucket and bag)
- Double Protection
- Lengthens Shelf Life
So firstly, the typical food storage buckets will be a 5 to 6 gallon bucket with no inner layer. Just the bucket with the food. The lid most likely will be either a peel-back or tear-off opening style. This means once you either peel it back or tear off the base, it will no longer be resealable.
To be fair, as long as you don’t plan on touching your food storage until a SHTF moment, this will probably keep your food lasting as long as it needs. However, if you do plan to rotate through your storage I suggest a better option.
What You’ll Need
- Food (duh)
- 5 or 6 Gallon Buckets – I use 5 Gallon buckets because I found that filling up the 6 Gallon buckets became very strenuous to move around for a smallish person like myself.
- Large Mylar Bags – You can find these at almost every preparation store, on Amazon.com and even in some local supermarkets.
- Oxygen Absorbers – 2000 CC per Bucket
- Gamma Lids – Keep an eye out for sales. I see these lids ranging in price by $4 a piece depending on where you go.
Step One: Buy your Food in Bulk and Bags
Do some shopping online and in your local area for large quantity bags of the food storage you’d like to keep in buckets. I keep most of my high quantity items in buckets. This includes grains, rice, beans, sugar, salt, etc.
Step Two: Filling Your Bucket
You’re going to grab your empty bucket and place your mylar bag inside of it. There will be a considerable amount of bag sticking out of the top of your bucket, don’t trim it! Fill the bag with your food up to a couple inches from the top. Shake the bucket so your food is level. Put your oxygen absorber at the top.
Step Three: Sealing Your Bucket
The first thing we’re going to seal is our mylar bag. Simply line the edge of the bag together and iron across the top about an inch thick. LEAVE AN INCH OR SO UN-SEALED. After you have everything but that last inch sealed, press the bag so that you squeeze as much air out as possible. Then iron the remaining un-sealed inch. All that’s left now is to pound on your Gamma Lid and make sure the lid is screwed on tight.
TIP: I use a metal ruler as a surface to iron my mylar bag closed. Just lay it across the rim of the bucket and fold the bag over to iron-seal.
Ta-dah! Many buckets let a certain amount of light through which reduces the shelf life of your food. Using the mylar bag on the inside deflects the light before it gets to the food. The oxygen absorber also extends the life of your food. It’s going to suck that bag in close to the food to keep it fresh.
It’s also nice to have double the protection surrounding your food. Here in Utah, I live just a mile or so away from a major fault line. If one of my buckets falls and cracks, the food won’t spill out because it’ll still be safe in the mylar bag.
And food storage kept solely in mylar bags, doesn’t have the puncture resistance of the external bucket. This also is double protection against water damage. Earthquakes are often accompanied with broken water lines, so once again if the bucket breaks the bag keeps the food safe.
Gamma Lids and mylar bags are also an added benefit because they are resealable. The Gamma Lids feature an inner lid that screws back on to an external ring attached to the bucket. And the mylar bag can be resealed with ironing as you use the contents inside.
The editor of Resounding Earth, and pursuer of relatively interesting information, Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.