Basics of Storing Grains

by Scott C.S
(Aurora, IL)




Ok my question is two-fold:

First, with so many varieties of grain, which exact "types" or species of grains are most advantageous to long term storage? Also can someone give several specific names as well as a short description of characteristics, (Taste, shelf-life, cost, availability)?

Secondly, being new to survival prepping, where specifically can bulk grains for human consumption be found? When I search for these grains I'm not sure if they are being sold for livestock, birdseed or for other purposes. Or are they all basically edible? Is there a warning or label on the packages I should be looking for to help identify animal feed from regular edible grain?

Thanks for any and all suggestions!

Scott S. - Aurora, Illinois


Thanks for asking these important questions, Scott. You're not alone in wondering about grains.

First, there are many types of grains. The kind you store should be what you and your family will like and eat. Most people begin with wheat, of which there are at least four main types: hard red winter wheat, hard white winter wheat, soft white wheat, and spring wheat. (Read more about different grains on my site here: Storing Grains).

The hard winter wheat varieties have the longest shelf life of 30+ years. The hard winter wheats are high in protein and are best for breads, rolls, pizza dough, etc.

The soft white wheat is lower in protein, has a milder taste, and is best for cakes, pies, pastries, etc.

As for where to buy grains for human consumption, you would be safe to buy it anywhere that sells food for humans, which means don't buy it from an animal feed store. My favorite supplier is Honeyville Food & Grains. I also have bought grains from Sam's Club, Costco, Whole Foods, Nitro-Pak, Emergency Essentials, and The Ready Store. (The last three are specifically emergency preparedness suppliers and are 3 of my sponsors. I buy most of my supplies from these three. Shipping is either free or minimal.)

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Freeze dried vs. grain
by: Scott S.

Ok, thanks for the response. I found those links to be just what I was looking for. My follow up question is:
Do you prefer freeze dried food or whole grains for long term storage. Or is a mix of both a good choice for the purpose of variety?


I have freeze dried, dehydrated, canned/bottled, and whole grains and beans. A variety is what we're used to so that's what I store. We should only store what we know we will and can eat.

Like I don't store lima beans - I don't like them. Only store what you like. I would hate to have to live on only grains and beans in a crisis.

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Long Term Grain Storage

by Steve

- What are the best grains to store for the long term?

- If stored in Mylar bags, can the Mylar bags of grain be stored in steel 55 gallon drums?

- What is a good hand crank grain mill that isn't that expensive?


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Best Grains for Long Term Storage
by: ADMIN - Joan

Most grains store well, with hard winter wheat having the longest shelf life. It all depends on how its packaged and the temperature and light conditions of the storage area.

Yes, Mylar bags of grains can be stored in 55 gallon steel drums. But, again, their shelf life will depend on the storage conditions and how well the moisture and oxygen are extracted from the Mylar bags.

Still the best way to store grains is in Mylar bags within 5-6 gallon buckets. This method gives the best seal and oxygen removal (if you use oxygen absorbers) as well as an easier way to access just one bucket at a time when it becomes necessary to use the food.

(Watch these videos on how to pack your buckets.)

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How to Store Grains

by Ruth
(Dunkrik, NY)

6 Gallon Buckets for Storing Grains

6 Gallon Buckets for Storing Grains

6 Gallon Buckets for Storing Grains
Gamma Seal Lids & Buckets

I'm new to all of this so what I want to know: I will purchase large amounts of grain. Have buckets - how does one break it down? Baggies, tin cans, canning jars, food storage with sealer? This is so confusing. I understand that there are packets to place in buckets for moisture. Should you mix what is in the bucket so you only have to open 1 bucket instead of 3? Say wheat, flour, sugar, dried egg/ milk. Or should they each type have a separate bucket. I have canning jars.


Thank you for asking these questions, Ruth. You can store these items any way you like - the important points being properly sealed, using oxygen absorbers, and keeping them in a cool place.

In my opinion, however, the food products you are planning to store would be best stored one product to a bucket. I realize you are concerned about opening the bucket to use the food and possible spoilage before the bucket is emptied. It's a valid concern, but most dried food products will last a long time even sitting in your cupboard until used up. Flour would be the biggest concern.

Here are some options:

1. Store in large buckets using the Gamma Seal twist on/off lids. They twist right off. This makes them perfect for rotating your food supplies - just snap the adapter ring on and twist - and they're re-sealed. (See them on this page Food Storage Containers in the right-hand column.)

2. Buy the products in #10 cans (see the photos above). That way you only have to open one small can at a time.

3. You could put the products in bags that can be vacuum sealed, then fill buckets with the type of food you want. You would not need oxygen absorbers in the bucket in this case.

I'm not sure you should use canning jars for dry goods as there is not a good way, without heating, to seal the lids. Heat is the enemy of dried goods. They're best used for fruits and vegetables and some meats using regular canning methods.

I hope I've answered your questions satisfactorily. If not, feel free to write again and let me know what I didn't cover for you.


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Dry Canning Lids
by: katherin

I have stored dry food in canning jars. white sugar, brown sugar and salt so far. I put my rings in water and boil like regular canning just fill jars wipe lids dry and I vacuum sealed with my food saver. They sealed up just fine. I'm going to try other things with oxygen absorbers.

Petrol Drums for storage
by: Borja Monreal

Dear friends, I am working in a project in Angola promoting low cost technology for grain storage. We are trying to use petrol drums (236kg), but we have two problems: (1) how to clean the drums (2)how to avoid the rust inside the drum. Any solution? thanks very much.

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Where can I buy grains for long term storage?

by Linda Bergstrom
(Redding, CA)

What and where do I buy grains? What is the best way to store those grains long term?

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Where to buy grains
by: Admin.

Hi Linda,

Grains are best stored in 6 gallon food-grade buckets with metalized liners or in sealed #10 cans. (The #10 cans hold approx. 5 lbs. of wheat.) Sam's Club has the 6 gallon buckets, packed and sealed with hard red winter wheat (the best kind for long-term storage).

I have a couple of videos on my web site to show you how to pack them here at Food Storage Containers or you can buy them already packed and sealed with your choice of grains. (Read more information on buying and cooking with wheat here.)

To help you know how much to store for your family, use the Food Storage Calculator here.

Thank you for asking an important question.


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Can I freeze my long term storage grains after...

Can I freeze my long term storage grains after I have sealed them in Mylar bags and bucketed them? I had a friend over who helped me seal up my grains and beans and I did not get to freeze them first (temps never went down low enough this year, yet). I know I should have waited to do so, but I am hoping I can put the 6 gal buckets out to freeze once winter temps arrive.

Also, I sealed up some oatmeal that I did have stored in my freezer, but I did not allow a warm up time before sealing (since we were on a roll and had one extra bucket and Mylar).

Will my oats go bad due to condensation after bringing them into the warm air--since I sealed them up fairly shortly after? I am not sure if there was any condensation inside the Mylar bag after sealing up the oats, but after I sealed them and placed them into the bucket I noticed there was condensation on the outside of the bucket. I did use 2 of the 2000 oxypackets in each bucket. I hope I did not need to redo all the grains and beans again---which would require all new Mylar bags and oxy packets. Thanks for your answer!


There is no need to freeze any grains, beans, or oats before sealing them up in Mylar bags and buckets and not after either.

As for the oats that were frozen, the condensation on the outside of your buckets is from the frozen moisture melting that was already present in and around the oats. Freezing does not ADD moisture, it just freezes what is already there. If you live in a dry climate, you will have less moisture in everything than if you live in a moist climate. If you do live in a humid climate, I advise you to use desiccant moisture absorbers in your long term storage along with the O2 absorbers.

So, not knowing how humid it is where you live, I can't say for sure if there is enough moisture inside your buckets to cause mold in the oats.

As for O2 absorbers, you may not need two 2000 packets in one 6-gallon bucket. If you are at sea level to about 4,000 ft. elevation, you would need 3-4 500cc oxygen absorbers, and 2-3 for 4,000 ft. to 7,000 ft. elevations.

Because most oxygen absorbers are significantly over rated for their absorbing capacity, I only use two 500cc absorbers in our food buckets as they will absorb more than twice their rated capacity. However, it is NOT HARMFUL if you use more than what is required.

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Rebagging Frozen Free Dried Meats
by: Sue

So now I'm confused - I have freeze dried meat in my freezer and was told to make sure all condensation was out of them before bagging the remaining product in Mylar or mason jars with O2's. Do freeze dried meats have some moisture in them that would require getting rid of before storing the rest of an opened can? Or did I misunderstand? I've been really nervous about this because how do I KNOW FOR SURE ALL the moisture is out? Just a paper towel pressing on it until dry? Thanks!

"Freeze dried" meat? Like comes in a #10 can freeze-dried meat? If it's really "freeze-dried", just curious, but why would you ever put it in the freezer?

As for the moisture: all foods, however they are prepared, have "some" moisture in them. Freeze-dried food manufacturers claim 95-99% moisture free. Any moisture in freeze-dried or dehydrated foods that have been in the freezer will cause condensation on the outside of a container. Just leave the food out on the counter until it's at room temperature, then put it into your Mason jars or Mylar bags with O2s. It should be fine.

Freeze Dried Frozen Meats
by: Sue

It was recommended the highest temperature to keep it at was 50 degrees! Brrrr....not my house. So - I opted for the freezer. But thank you - just knowing room temperature will do it makes me confident! You are a jewel!

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