Long Term Storage in Zip Lock Baggies
by Rodney Boyette
(Dillon, SC USA)
Is it safe to put dry foods like: rice, beans, grains, cereals, oatmeal in zip lock baggies for individual servings to store for long periods of time in 5 gallon white plastic cans?
Yes, it is "safe" but it won't work for long term storage. Zip Lock baggies are not air tight. For the longest shelf life, the food needs to be vacuum packed or sealed with oxygen absorbers inside.
So you must decide: are you storing for long term, or are you using those foods on a regular basis?
If you are storing for long term, foods must be sealed with O2s or vacuum packed.
If you are using the foods on a regular basis, there is no need for even sealing them. We have a couple of 5-gallon buckets of oatmeal that we just keep in the basement in a cool, dark place. There are no O2s or Mylar bags, and they are not really sealed because we use the oatmeal often.
We keep a smaller container in the pantry full of oatmeal and just make a trip to the basement to fill it from the bucket. The oatmeal will keep for months just fine. This is true of rice, beans, grains, and cereals (as long as they're not box cereals from the grocery store).
As long as you are using the food products, there is no need to seal them up with O2s, but long term, you need them.