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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I was about to store some foods in 5 gallon buckets a few days ago I started really thinking about when the time came to use the foods. I am currently only storing foods for 4 people. With that in mind, I would conceivably only be cooking these foods for 4 people. I do not want to have to have 10 or 15 buckets opened at one time to make meals. So I decided to use 1 gallon mylar bags and fill each bucket with sets of different ingredients. The first 5 buckets have the following inside: Corn, beans, rice, red winter wheat, steel cut oats and 1 lb of green coffee beans in seperate one gallon mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. The next 5 buckets have: sugar, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and brown sugar leaving the oxygen absorbers out of the salt and sugar of course. The next 5 buckets have: powdered eggs, powdered milk, baking soda, cream of tarter and dark baking cocoa. You see where this is going? Now that each bucket contains 5 different items I can now have only 3 or 4 open at one time and have many different ingredients to chose from. The next 5 buckets will include different spices and the next 5 will be types of drink mixes, coffee and more tea. I realize I am giving up some space by putting foods away in this manner but I really don't want to have a 5 gallon bucket of just rice staring at me and then another 5 gallon bucket of beans and another of wheat. I really feel this is a much more effective way for my family to store our long term foods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
When it comes to the spices why not put a small amount in each bucket..... or even consider making each bucket a weeks worth of food....?.. that way only 1 bucket per week (or month) and you know how many weeks or months worth of food you have...
I considered this when I was packing the items but at the present time I only have the gallon mylar bags that I picked up from the Mormon cannery. They are very thick. I was able to cut them directly in half up the middle and re-seam with my hair straightener with some work to get smaller containers for the 1 lb. coffee beans but it would be a bit more work to make smaller packages. I tend to purchase spices in bulk anyhow. After putting in the 5 1 gallon mylar bags and the bag of coffee nothing else will fit into my 5 gallon buckets.

At the moment I am only one person since my boys are off to college and/or new jobs and I separated from my fiance. I have no way of gauging how fast I will go through one bucket of supplies. This method has reduced a need to have so many open at one time at least by half it not more.
 

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The only problem that I see with this is when you run out of one item from one bucket you will have to go open another bucket to find it. It also makes it hard to rotate.
Why don't you put 1 gal mylar of the same item in one bucket and only take out 1 bag at a time.
Here's what I do. I have 5 gal buckets used for long term storage. Some of them are LONG term that I rotate slowly (like wheat that has 30 year shelf life) and then I have shorter term buckets like flour. Then in my house I have 1 gal jars in my cupboards and I refill them when they empty. So I don't have to open my buckets very often.
 

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So I decided to use 1 gallon mylar bags and fill each bucket with sets of different ingredients.
I am planning on doing this same thing, maybe a breakfast bucket, snacks and lunch/dinner. For my first 5 gallon bucket project, I put 20 pounds of pinto beans in each bucket, which is a lot of beans.

Something else you might want to look at storing - instant Tortilla mix. Some of the instant Tortilla mixes are nothing but corn meal and lime. Just add some salt and water, and mix.

One of my goals is to be able to fix breakfast burritos. For that I need Tortilla mix, powered eggs, cheese and peppers. The Tortilla mix is just cornmeal, so it should store for a long time.

 

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I am currently only storing foods for 4 people. With that in mind, I would conceivably only be cooking these foods for 4 people. I do not want to have to have 10 or 15 buckets opened at one time to make meals.
I don't see this as a problem if you use Gamma lids for your 10-15 buckets you have open at any given time. I keep a regular lid on my buckets while they are stored and when I need to break into one to start using it (rotate buckets and eat what you store) I just slap a gamma lid on and it is easy as pie to access it for cooking.

I just cracked into another bucket of Basmati rice the other day and as soon as I did I immediately did two things...

1. Sealed up a brand new bucket of rice to replace the one I was now using with a regular lid.

2. Put a gamma lid on the bucket I just opened making it easy to access and use until it is gone.

This solution seems to be working great for my family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I do use gamma seal lids but again I do not want to have 15 buckets opened up at one time. For instance I have a bucket that has chicken bouillon, dried veggies, noodles, beef bouillon and tomato powder and a bucket with lentils, split peas, 9 bean mix, barley, dried onion. I do not want to have one bucket with 30 lbs of tomato powder. I find this method to be extremely convenient for my circumstances. Especially now at a time that I am cooking only for one person but preparing for 4. In the passed I packed just one food type in each bucket all rice, wheat or beans. This is the method I am switching over too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I am planning on doing this same thing, maybe a breakfast bucket, snacks and lunch/dinner. For my first 5 gallon bucket project, I put 20 pounds of pinto beans in each bucket, which is a lot of beans.

Something else you might want to look at storing - instant Tortilla mix. Some of the instant Tortilla mixes are nothing but corn meal and lime. Just add some salt and water, and mix.

One of my goals is to be able to fix breakfast burritos. For that I need Tortilla mix, powered eggs, cheese and peppers. The Tortilla mix is just cornmeal, so it should store for a long time.

YouTube - Homemade 5 gallon superpails - my first attempt

I love the instant tortilla mix. Having lived in San Diego for a year I got pretty accustomed to seeing this at every grocery store and I got used to using it. I was wondering how long the shelf life would be. I love the idea of making breakfast burritos sans the eggs as I have extremely allergic but the rest of the family isn't.

I was able to find 25 lb bags of rolled oats at our local cash and carry. I also found 50 lb bags of pop corn there. Not sure if you have that store in your area.
 

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I realize I am giving up some space by putting foods away in this manner but I really don't want to have a 5 gallon bucket of just rice staring at me and then another 5 gallon bucket of beans and another of wheat. I really feel this is a much more effective way for my family to store our long term foods.
if you're not planning to bugout do you even need to store 1gal bags in 5gal buckets? why not just mark the bags and place in totes on a shelf?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
if you're not planning to bugout do you even need to store 1gal bags in 5gal buckets? why not just mark the bags and place in totes on a shelf?
Well I have not had any rodent problems or other pests but I feel a bit safer knowing that they would have another barrier to have to chew through to get to the goods. Also, if I actually had to bug out and move the foods to a different location it would be easier to grab a bucket and move it rather then bothering with a bunch of loose bags. I love having my things in some form of order. I do have a few friends that do not bother with buckets but I like using them in addition to the mylar.

I have recently even contemplated filling up the gallon mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and just packing them in the metal garbage/feed barrels and sealing the lids. I have seen this done and know this is even a better barrier from rodents. I plan on doing this with dog food soon to see how effective it is. I am guessing they are aluminum. It has been a long time since I have looked at them so I may have the incorrect material they are made of but I recall my dad using them when I was a kid for grains for animal feed.
 

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As I was about to store some foods in 5 gallon buckets a few days ago I started really thinking about when the time came to use the foods. I am currently only storing foods for 4 people. With that in mind, I would conceivably only be cooking these foods for 4 people. I do not want to have to have 10 or 15 buckets opened at one time to make meals. So I decided to use 1 gallon mylar bags and fill each bucket with sets of different ingredients. The first 5 buckets have the following inside: Corn, beans, rice, red winter wheat, steel cut oats and 1 lb of green coffee beans in seperate one gallon mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. The next 5 buckets have: sugar, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and brown sugar leaving the oxygen absorbers out of the salt and sugar of course. The next 5 buckets have: powdered eggs, powdered milk, baking soda, cream of tarter and dark baking cocoa. You see where this is going? Now that each bucket contains 5 different items I can now have only 3 or 4 open at one time and have many different ingredients to chose from. The next 5 buckets will include different spices and the next 5 will be types of drink mixes, coffee and more tea. I realize I am giving up some space by putting foods away in this manner but I really don't want to have a 5 gallon bucket of just rice staring at me and then another 5 gallon bucket of beans and another of wheat. I really feel this is a much more effective way for my family to store our long term foods.
I like your ideas!

I have stored several items in the smaller 2 gallon buckets for that very reason. The more, the better!
 

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I have a question about the instant tortilla mix. Kev said that it's cornmeal and lime. Is it actually cornmeal or is it masa harina (ground corn that has been treated with lime)? I've never heard of instant tortilla mix until now, but would it not be cheaper to simply buy a bag of masa harina and divide it up? Where I live, a five pound bag of masa is fairly cheap - well, for Canadian prices. LOL
 

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Depends on what you are storing !

If you crack the seal on 5 gal of wheat/rice/beans... it's not going to go bad in a week or a few months
That stuff sits on the shelves in the stores for months, a month or two in an opened but still covered bucket isn't going to matter.

I guess it all depends on how much room someone has. Everything else being equal, I'd love to do the packaging in 1-gallon mylars, but I'd need at least 20 more 5-gallon buckets to accommodate that--and already space is at a premium.

I'm always concerned about how readily a visitor or plumber or whatever might see what I have, so simply stacking them in the open doesn't seem the best idea for me.
 

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I've done this with several 5 gal pails with flour, rice, beans, sugar, salt, baking soda in them. With this I can grab these in a hurry if we need to leave pronto. Some supplements of eggs, canned meats, and I have food for the family for a week. If I don't have to leave in a hurry I also have the buckets with just one item stored in them.
 

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I too like the variety of using the 1 gallon or 1.5 gallon 5 mil mylar and even smaller mylar bags.

I store mine in the smaller 3.5 gallon food grade buckets that I get from the bakery. I like the smaller size and stackability of them. My kids can carry the smaller ones too.

Examples of some of my buckets are 1 gallon each of pasta,rice,beans
smaller bags of salt, cajun spices,bullion cubes,gatoraid and hard candy
canned chili,Spam wrapped in sealable freezer bags and a P-51

Just finished some yesterday that used 1 gallon bags of quick oats,potato flakes and pancake mix.
Smaller bags were brown sugar,coffee
canned Spam and ham,fruit cocktail ,strawberries in juice ,beef hash and a P-51
plastic forks/spoons/knives
all canned items are put in freezer bags for protection and to use if I need to separate out the larger items

all buckets are marked w/ exactly what is found inside

variety is the spice of life......

and I like the idea of being able to grab quickly a whole bucket that has items that can be made into a whole meal
for my family or somebody in need or a nice little barter item for a hungry family
 

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I think there is a lot of merit to what you're doing. It all depends on the items, the amount of extra money you have for sub-packaging, your space and the nature of the emergency.

I do the same thing for some items, so maybe I'm a bit biased. :)

For some items like cocoa powder, eggs, milk, shortening powder, baking supplies (other than wheat) and for light usage dehydrated veggies from the garden that type of packaging is ideal.

I think to validate it you just need to ask yourself a few checklist questions:
- Can I use the item in a 5 gallon amount before harm from oxidation can occur?
- Is this item particularly prone to oxidation?
- Am I strength limited for moving buckets?
- Is the extra expense of additional mylar bags and O2 absorbers easily taken?
- Am I likely to need to quickly grab a limited amount of stuff and leave?
- Do I live in a very humid environment?

For me, I answered yes to a whole bunch of those and for the others, I had to answer yes for other "primary" members of the family. So, it just makes sense to make monthly buckets for those things not really shelf stable or subject to humidity. Wheat and beans, sure, I can do some 5 gallon buckets fine. But almost everything else gets used more slowly or sporadically and it was easier to make up buckets for "baking month", "Veggie Month A (B) (C)" so that variety and shelf stability is built in.

It's not perfect and I make up for potential problems with a plethora of #10 cans. Thanks for sharing!
 
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