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How do you all store items such as flour, sugar, rice and pasta to keep it fresh? I need to add to the stockpile with items such as these but dont quite know how to store them. Can I put them in a freezer or refridgerator to keep them fresh? How long do they last on a shelf?

I am trying to make a list of the things I need to add to the stockpile. I dont want to bring in alot of items that I wont use but I want to have what I would need for the winter if I could not shop. I have some canned goods and intend to get a few more canned veggies and fruits but am unsure how to store the grain items.
Thanks for all the photos, suggestions and posts on this subject. It got me thinking! Now I need to convince my children to also build a stockpile. Those kids think nothing is ever going to happen! Jeeze!!!
 

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I keep my flour, corn starch & sometimes my pasta in the freezer. They will keep for a really long time. You can use old tupper ware or other containers if you want to keep them fresh on the shelf. I keep small amounts of dry cereal in plastic containers or zip lock bags on the shelf (saves space and gives the kids a different sort of snack when there isnt enough of one kind for a bowl of cereal.
 

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I believe Rhonda has said that if you freeze your dry goods for a few days you can then put them on your pantry shelves and the bugs won't hatch out. When I begin my stockpile this is what I plan to do.
 

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jlxian said:
I believe Rhonda has said that if you freeze your dry goods for a few days you can then put them on your pantry shelves and the bugs won't hatch out. When I begin my stockpile this is what I plan to do.
Is this only necessary for long-term storage? Up until now, I've only been buying 5-lb bags of flour that I usually use within a week or two.
 

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We buy several bags at a time and they don't go bad, but we've had flour get buggy after 3 or more months. However, I find that if I take the flour out of the bags and put them in plastic containers they don't do that for some reason.

I read during Y2K that if you toss your beans, rice, noodles ect. (move it around) it will kill any critters trying to grow in there. Something like once a week. Of course they were referring to whole grains.

Oxygen absorbers were suggested as well, or those vacuum sealers.

Don't have one so I couldn't tell you. I did notice that if I stuck my pasta in plastic containers they were less likely to go buggy. Oh, and if I buy something from a store that has gone buggy shortly after, I don't buy that item from the store for at least a year...it's in their stock.
 

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Hi ladies, great thread.

Here is a link for a guide to the shelflife of staples. You should also be guided by the expiry date/use before date that is often on packages. http://www.solareagle.com/PREP/SHLFLIFE.HTM

When I buy anything I always check it carefully by looking into the plastic bag to see if there's anything moving inside lol. DH bought a 5kg bag of brown rice recently that had pantry moths already hatched out and ready to fly! I took the bag back and got a credit for the purchase. I bought another bag from a store with a different supplier. When buying flour in calico bags I only ever buy bags with a use by date that indicates the bag is a freshly packed one.

It's a matter of routine for me now to put my flour, sugar, grains etc into the freezer to kill bugs. Even if I know I'll eat that bag of food within a couple of weeks I still do it. You never know what's in the bag, and if a moth or bug has been in the flour or grain, there may be eggs ready to hatch in a week or a month. It's best to be safe. It's a horrible waste to lose food because of bugs.

When you open a bag, never be tempted to leave the opened bag in the cupboard. Even if you seal it with rubber bands or anything else, it's not secure. Always decant your goods into containers for storage.

The main things to remember when storing pantry/stockpile food are to get the freshest goods possible, be guided by the expiry date on the package, kill anything lurking in the package by giving it some time in the freezer and then store the goods in a clean, airtight container that eliminates the danger of further bug contamination.
 

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The best way to store food for any kind of long term storage is in metal, #10 cans with oxygen absorbers inside. However, this is not always an option as it requires a special machine to properly seal the cans. Our church happens to operate a large cannery, so I've made good use of their equipment to can lots of flour, sugar, rice, oats, etc... These will keep for several years inside of #10 cans, and bear virtually no risk of rodent damage.

You can purchase food already canned in #10 cans from preparedness sites like www.beprepared.com and the like. They offer a great variety of foods. Not only grains, but dehydrated and freeze dried veggies and fruits.

If you're looking to store large amounts of grain, you may also consider mylar bags inside of 5 gallon, food-grade, plastic buckets. These are great for wheat and other grains, but are bulkier to store.

With any kind of storage, the most important things to remember for prolonging the shelf life of your food are:

1. Keep food in a cool place, at or below 72 degrees Farenheit. Shelf life is reduced by 1/2 for every increase in 18 degrees F. The suggestions to store food in the freezer are right on. But, if you're storing lots of food (i.e. a year's supply), there's no way you can store all that in a freezer.

2. Avoid moisture and humidity and keep food storage off the floor (especially concrete) and away from outside walls

3. Avoid light which can affect the life and nutritional value of food. This is especially a concern for food canned in mason jars, and also for water stored in clear bottles.

Hope that helps!
 

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I have a very bad time with moths/bugs in my cupboards. Perhaps I should fumigate or something......

I usually put an opened container (rice, hot cereal, flour) into a sealed ziploc bag, and if it isn't used within several weeks it is likely to hatch bugs INSIDE the bag. AWFUL! I hate the waste. I've been trying to put the smaller things into the freezer of my fridge for a few days, but with limited space there only small things have made it in there so far (no 5 lbs+ of flour in other words).

How do the "seal a meal" bags/process work for long term storage of dry goods?
 

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Check out the link below to Walton Feed's website. This has great info about how to store different kinds of food and how to prevent problems, including bug infestations.

http://waltonfeed.com/grain/faqs/

One think I have learned about storing food (especially at room temperature) is that you need an air-tight container, vacuum sealed is even better. I use Oxygen absorbers in my containers. This helps create a vacuum. Plus, the less oxygen in your container, the less chance for bug infestations (especially weevils).

I don't know much about the seal-a-meal stuff. The concept is good, but just check on what the bags are made of. Regular plastic may not be sturdy enough to deter bugs. You can use foil or mylar bags, which work really well, but I don't know if you can use them in conjunction with the seal-a-meal gadget.

I really recommend storing in the metal #10 cans, if at all possible. If you happen to have any friends who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), ask them if there is a church cannery nearby. Perhaps you could go with them and use their equipment to can some food. It's really easy and pretty cheap. You can either bring your own food to can, or they usually have food there you can purchase.

I looked up Missouri and found 2 canneries, 1 in Kansas City and 1 in St. Louis (Bridgeton). I don't know if either would be close to you.

You may check this link also

http://www.providentliving.org/content/list/0,11664,2250-1,00.html

This has specific info on different types of storage containers.
 

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Thanks for all the information sjespers! I'll be sure to check the links.

The canneries you mention in KC and St Louis alas are too far from me to be of any use. But I bet I can find a way to lick this problem without having to use a cannery. What a wonderful resource for you!

Where do you get the oxygen absorbers?
 

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You can buy oxygen absorbers at a number of places. I've seen them online at various sites, just do a google search and you'll get tons of results. I've even seen them on ebay. If you are going to use them, just make sure to follow the directions carefully. Oxygen absorbers can't be left out exposed to the air for very long as they lose their effectiveness.

If I think of anything else, or come across anything I'll be sure to let you know. Good luck!
 
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