6 Gallon Bucket Food Storage

by Cassandra
(Albany, NY, USA)




I am preparing for a family of 8 (3 adults and 5 children). I am leaning toward the 6 gallon bucket idea as I have a lot of tummies to worry about.

My question is this... if I fill a bucket (complete with Mylar bag & oxygen absorbers) with, oh, let's say corn, am I just using enough for one meal and then re-sealing the Mylar bag or can I put the lid back on the bucket without re-sealing the bag and use that bucket until it is empty?

I'm just wondering if smaller buckets would be the way to go or, because of the size of my family, if the bigger buckets are a better idea.

Thanks for your help!

ANSWER:
Once opened, the shelf life of a bucket of food is still subject to the same conditions as a sealed bucket of food; that is: light, heat, moisture, and oxygen.

That said, if you were to keep the food in the bucket, use what you need, fold down the Mylar bag, put the lid back on and keep it in a cool, dry, dark pantry or basement, it will still be good for about a year. The key, of course, would be if it tastes and smells okay as the months pass.

Yes, it would prolong the life of the food if you resealed the Mylar bag with o2 absorbers. But would that be convenient for you? It would depend on whether you plan to use the food often or maybe once a year. Any type of sealing would prolong the shelf life, such as a commercial sealer, Zip-lock freezer bags and put the food in the freezer, or any kind of container that would give it an air tight seal.

I would say that you should decide which kinds of foods you might use often, and which kind you might use occasionally.

For instance: My husband eats oatmeal just about every day for breakfast. We keep a 6-gallon bucket in the cool, dark, basement unsealed. We just put the lid back on. It takes several months to use it all and it's just fine.

If you bake bread and grind your own wheat, it would be fine to do the same with wheat - just use what you need and put the lid back on. The same would work for rice and beans: if used once or twice a month, just put the lid back on. (Rice, beans and wheat store very well.)

I would not recommend this to a family of two - like us. But because you have a large family, you will be using these foods more often.

Okay, here's another idea. One of my readers suggested putting the food products in smaller bags, sealed, then putting them all in the 6-gallon bucket. You could put varied foods in each bucket or just enough for a meal or several meals. Just take out one bag of something and put the lid back on.

I hope I've given you some useful suggestions. Thanks for asking a question many are wondering about.

Joan

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