Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Bucket storage for wheat

I've posted about using jars in the pantry, using buckets for food storage (and here), long-term food storage (and more on that here!), so I guess I'll stick with the "pantry theme" and share some pictures from when we bucketed our wheat a few weeks ago! Maybe next week, I'll actually have pictures of my "pantry"! :)

We filled our buckets and sealed them using the method described in this video (link to YouTube); there are also more detailed instructions outlined on this page.

We didn't start taking pictures until we were actually almost done putting our wheat into buckets. It was quite a job, actually! It took Joshua and me the whole morning almost!

We were filling 10 buckets -- a few 6-gallon buckets and the rest 5-gallon buckets.

A piece of the Mylar bag

This is what the Mylar bag looked like: Silvery on the outside (aluminum, I think) and white on the inside (some sort of plastic; I'm real scientific, I know).

I ordered ours from Sorbent Systems, which was the best price I could find. (Go to this page and scroll down to the bag that says "5 or 6 gallon pail liner" which are $1.35 each.) Aside from a slightly confusing shopping cart (I ended up doing the manual order form), their service was excellent. They were out of stock for the bags I ordered and offered a higher-quality replacement bag of similar dimensions, which I accepted. Our order arrived a week later.

Oxygen absorbers

I ordered oxygen absorbers from the same company. I got the 2000cc absorbers, so I got one for each bucket I was planning to do.

Sealing the bags

The video I linked to above described how to use a Food Saver (instead of a clothes iron) to seal the Mylar bags, by sealing each corner, cutting off extra bag, and then sealing the top. We found it worked best to seal the corners first, then fill the bag, and just seal the top last.

Full buckets

Some of our finished buckets! We filled the bags, stuck one oxygen absorber (2000cc) down inside, and then sealed the tops. The oxygen absorber made the bag shrink down around the grain so that it looked like it was vacuum-sealed. Then we tucked the bag down and snapped the lids on the buckets.

Labeling the buckets

I labeled each bucket and then Joshua used his strong muscles to carry all 10 heavy buckets up to our bedroom for storage. (We have some other wheat which isn't sealed up which we are using first. The sealed buckets are for longer-term storage -- wheat we won't be using in the next 6 months or more.)

It was more work than we expected! In the end we were very glad that we had only decided to tackle 10 buckets to begin with. We plan to do 10 more buckets in the future, but not just wheat. Any suggestions? We're thinking sugar, quinoa, beans, corn, and rice.

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Comments

That looks like a lot of work, I haven't seen those bags before. I will have to check them out!
Toni
http://thehappyhousewife.com

I don't currently do enough baking to use all of that bulk wheat, but do want to start baking more. You are inspiring me to do more "from scratch" stuff in my kitchen. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jen
http://jenchambers.blogspot.com

Thanks for posting your bucket storage pics. I will gain a Food Saver once we arrive back in the states. I can't wait to try it.
Loretta
http://veganfootprints.blogspot.com/

I don't recommend buying beans in bulk. I once bought dry pintos and stored them in a 5 gallon bucket, well sealed. They got "stale" before we could eat them. They became impossible to cook. I did not know this was possible, but apparently dry beans get old. I also found the same to be true of rice. After a while it just tasted old. I wonder if others have had similar problems?

I have heard that beans can get old (losing their natural oils) and refuse to get tender when cooked. :) I thought the beans had a longer shelf life when packaged with oxygen absorbers in the pail... at least, I hope! :)

For rice, I've read that brown rice has a shelf life of ~6 months (again, due to the natural oils), but white rice is good for longer...

I've had the same problem with old beans. I've read that you could soak them and just cook them longer, but I've never been able to soak or cook them long enough
to get soft! They are edible, but very hard to digest.
I wonder if they would be acceptable ground into bean flour when they are old?

Good Job! Thank you for the information on the mylar! Do you use hard and soft wheat? How much grain fills 10 buckets? I'm thinking of buying a 25lb or 50lb sack, and would like to know how many buckets to find? I know sugar, beans and corn keeps, not sure about the rest. Old beans need overnight soaking and the bring to a boil and sit for an hour method before they cook up like fresher dry beans.

We only packed hard wheat in the buckets for long term storage. We did get 25 lbs of soft wheat to try for quick breads (can you believe I'd never used pastry flour before?!) and LOVED it... but it's more expensive...

We actually bought more grain than would fill the 10 buckets, because we were planning to use some right away (within 6 months or so) and didn't want the extra expense of packaging it, only to open it a few months later.

We did three 6-gallon buckets which all together held 100 lbs of Bronze Chief hard red wheat. We had an additional 6-gallon bucket, plus six 5-gallon buckets, all full of Prairie Gold hard white wheat.

I would have done all 6-gallon buckets, but wasn't able to find any more 6-gallon ones cheaply at the time. (I have since discovered that sometimes Wal-mart has the 6-gallon ones from their bakery!) 

I plan on 25 lbs fitting into a 5 gallon bucket, and 33 lbs fitting into a 6-gallon. With the Mylar bags inside too, you do have to shake down the wheat as you pour it in so it settles enough to get that much in. 

I'm so ignorant when it comes to this stuff. I have a lot to learn!!!

You can buy a 5 gallon bucket (sealed) of wheat at Wal-Mart for 15.99, it's 45lbs total.

Hi
I just read the post about cooking beans. I read in a cookbook that if you have hard
water and soak your beans in it, the beans will never get tender. I live in the country and
have hard water. I tried many times to get the beans right. Once I read this I started soaking
them in bottled spring water, and I have had great success. Some of my beans are over a
year old, but have been stored in buckets. I hope this helps.

My local food storage store (Honeyville) says you need one oxygen absorber for each gallon your bucket holds. So, a 6-gallon bucket would need 6 oxygen absorbers, 5-gallon would need 5, etc.

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