A Frugal Source for Food Grade Buckets

For the last year or so, my husband and I have felt an increased sense of urgency to be prepared for whatever the future may throw at us. Whether a blizzard knocks out our power for a few days, or we experience a major natural or man-made disaster, we have decided that we want to be the ones who are able to help others, instead of needing help ourselves.

I know of many other folks who are feeling this exact same way. I can’t help but think that it’s not a coincidence… Perhaps God is giving all us a bit of warning. Amy, from Homestead Revival, has really inspired me this week to step up our preparedness.

After watching the earthquake drama unfold in Japan, I have been hit with the realization that it is entirely possible for something like that to happen to us in North America. Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not laying awake at night worrying, nor am I paralyzed by fear. But, I do believe we need to have a calm, confident sense of urgency in having a plan for if/when disaster strikes.

Some of the very first steps in prepardness simply involve thinking. My husband and I have started talking more about these topics and thinking through how we would stay warm,  have water, or put food on the table if we were to be without electricity for an extended period of time.

We have some food storage, but not nearly enough. So, after watching the earthquake coverage, I’ve been inspired this week to really work on increasing our supplies. I picked up 50 more pounds of dry beans, 25 pounds of lentils, as well as some more canned goods this week.

Obviously, the biggest issue in stocking up on food is how to keep it dry, fresh, and bug-free. Many people use food grade, 5 gallon buckets to store grains and legumes. There are many place to purchase these buckets online, but I wanted to share a frugal tip with you today, as a part of Homestead Revival’s Preparedness Challenge #1:

Check with your local bakeries and grocery stores and ask them if you can have their empty icing buckets. Sometimes, even donut shops have them.

I am able to purchase rinsed out frosting buckets from our local Albertsons for $1 each. I’ve been able to obtain both 3 and 5 gallon sizes. I bring them home, give them a thorough washing, outfit some of them with Gamma Seal lids (those are the orange and black lids in the photos), and they are ready to go!

Another place to check would be various restaurants. Some establishments have policies stating that all buckets must be thrown away (which is dumb, if you ask me), but many places are more than happy to give their buckets away or pass them along for a small price. It never hurts to ask!

So this week, I’ve picked up two loads of buckets and have them washed and ready to fill. It’s a small step, but an important, and frugal one, towards being more prepared.

Look for more upcoming posts about preparedness and food storage. It’s time to get serious!  And be sure to head over to Homestead Revival to check out the Preparedness Challenge.


 

 


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Jill Winger

Owner/Blogger at The Prairie Homestead
Hey! I'm Jill. I'm all about cooking from scratch, getting dirt under my fingernails, hoarding mason jars, and trying not to kill stuff in my garden. I firmly believe that anyone can be a homesteader. Stick around, and I'll show ya the ropes!

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Comments

  1. yes, we are feeling the exact same way!!

    thanks for this tip, will be asking around for buckets next trip into town!!!

  2. Excellent tip on the buckets, Jill! Thanks for sharing and linking up!

  3. I discovered this tip when I began planting tomatoes in containers. The ones you purchase at the nursery are pretty but quite expensive. Since the thrust here is to save money, I asked if the bakery at my local grocery store had any empty plastic pails. They were delighted to give them to me. I have planted tomatoes and cucumbers in these buckets. I had not considered using them for storage for rice and beans – it simply did not occur to me. However, after reading you tip, I will also recycle these buckets into my “hurricane” preparedness kit. Thank you so much. We all need to do something to prepare for the future – not matter what it holds.

    • Well, it hadn’t occured to me to use them for tomatoes and such, so thanks for that tip! :)

  4. We’ve done the same thing for finding food storage buckets. Free is always the way to go!!

  5. MommySetFree says:

    Great post – So true. That was our first inclination several years back when we started this lifestyle. We wanted to be prepared as a family AND to minister to others! (We kept a prep pantry before we moved to the homestead. We decided to do what we could – right where we were!)

    We have done this for the last several years and have gotten quite a selection of 5 gallon buckets. (Probably about 50 for our food storage.) Getting used buckets from our local bakery was a very practical and fiscally responsible way to go about it. ($1 each with lids – just like you found.) It might take a little patience and “foot work” but it is so worth it! You will save tons of money in the long run. Since we moved, we did not have a “local bakery” like our previous location, but searched around and found that we could get them from the Walmart Bakery. We even got a tip as to which day they had the most available! We are pretty set for our 5 gallon pantry buckets and are actually “moving up” to some 55 gallon drums this year. (However, We hope to collect another 50 – 5 gallon buckets this year for our maple collection next winter. We have found them to be the perfect thing to use.)

    Because we eat out of our pantry year round, we also use Gamma Seals for the buckets we access regularly. These lids are a bit of a “splurge” but so wonderful. We use the standard “knuckle buster lids” (as I like to call them), for our back up storage on some items, that we pour off those buckets into our “regular access” buckets with the gamma seals. This works nicely for us.

    However, there are tools (lid lifters) you can buy which help make the standard lids much easier to get into on a regular basis and this would be a better option for true frugality. :-) (The Gamma seals can add up when you buy a bunch of them, even when purchased over time. So that will depend on your “splurge factor”.)

    • Way to go! Yes, it takes a bit of extra foot work, but I agree that it’s totally worth it. I’m doing the same thing with the lids- only using the Gamma Seals for the things I’ll need to access regularly. Wish I could find a cheap source for them too! ;)
      Thanks for sharing your ideas and tips!!

  6. I’m happy to have a friend who works in a bakery in town. She saves me buckets whenever I ask for them. Free is good :-)
    Another place I get buckets is one of the schools. They are usually not the big 3-5 gallon size but smaller (around 1 gallon) and I really like them for keeping items I buy in bulk and plan to use in the next few months while saving the big buckets for long term.

    Jill,
    I had no idea about this linky (don’t know why Homestead Revival wasn’t a blog in my reader…) and am very glad you posted about it. This is right up my alley. Like you, my husband and I have been feeling a huge push to plan ahead a bit.

  7. The 6 gallon food grade buckets get expensive when you need a bunch. I have a few bags of grain that need to be put into buckets. I went to my local grocery store and they said that they reuse them. I asked at other places and was told their new policy is to recycle them. So, I’ve not had much luck w/ this. My local Ace Hardware store had 5 gallon buckets. No one seemed to know if they were food grade. One salesman looked them up on their computer and all he could tell me was they were made from the same plastic that milk jugs are made from (not recycled milk jugs). Still not sure if I should use them, though.

    • Dawn, I’ve had the same issues. I had several folks tell me to get the 5 gal buckets from Home Depot, but I had trouble verifying if they were actually food grade as well. I figured better safe than sorry, so I just went after the icing buckets instead. I had several grocery stores turn me down too…

      • I have an acquaintance who says he has called the manufacturer of those Home Depot buckets to find out if they are food grade, and he was told they are not. So if they didn’t already have some sort of food in them, or they are marketed as food grade, beware.

        Another source I’ve found for my buckets is simply to watch your local craigslist.com postings. My first batch I got 16 used icing buckets + lids (some where rectangle, which I like better than the round ones) for $2 each from a woman who owned a bakery and was shutting her bricks and mortar location. I’m picking up another 3 buckets + lids this weekend for $5 for all three – again, from a craigslist ad. My only suggestion would be to ask the seller what was in the buckets.

      • The home depot orange buckets are not food safe but the white ones are. The white ones have the food grade qualification stenciled onto their sides by the manufacturer (Santee Corporation) so I don’t think it’s just a HD marketing ploy.

    • If on the bottom of the container has the recycle triangle with the number 2 in the center and HDPE below it, it may be food grade.

      Here is a site that explains it. http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/plastics.html

  8. We got about 20 buckets from a local restaurant for free. We used them to grow veggies in our backyard when we lived in the city (potatoes, tomatoes, pepper, etc). I still have some that we didn’t use as pots but I’m not sure I could use them for food storage. They originally contained pickles so they still have quite a strong pickle smell. I mean, I love pickles but I don’t really want everything to taste like them! Now icing flavored food sounds much better… :)

    • Yeah, that pickle smell can sure linger. But I’m totally with ya on the icing smell! :)

  9. I’ve been doing some long-term food storage and have read tons of sites and even Utube videos and the only thing I’ll comment on is that plastic buckets are not total barriers for foods. Most thing needs to be sealed in Mylar bags and then placed in the buckets if you are thinking of storage more than a year or so. There are some things that just do not store well…brown rice, for example. And, you need to use oxygen absorbers in the food so it doesn’t mildew, etc. Please read up on this before wasting your money and time with improper storage. PS I get my 3.5 buckets from the bakery depart of Publix, free. I use Gamma Lids…worth the price.

    • Hi Jan-
      Yes, we are planning on using Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers for our long term items. Just working on gathering buckets right now.

  10. Thanks for the heads up! I asked at the bakery in the grocery store and they were happy to give me some. Tomorrow I’ll ask at the other grocery store and then track down some gamma lids.

    • That’s great! Glad you were able to find a store that would cooperate. I know some people are having trouble.

  11. Ok, I know this is an old post, but I was browsing around and reading up on food storage…
    Do you pkg grains and seal them in those mylar bags before putting them in the big pails? I’m considering it, but wondering if it’s worth the time and expense and concerned about something in the mylar bag leaching into my food… what are your thoughts?

    • Hi Shannon-
      As of right now, I have yet to use mylar bags. I’m still building up my quantities of grains, and don’t have a ton right now. However, as my supply increases, I plan to purchase mylar bags and oxygen absorbers to store some of my grains for long term. I haven’t heard anyone express concerns about the mylar bags leaching, but it’s something I still need to research more.

  12. We too have been feeling this way. I’ve blogged about it a couple of times recently as well. Not only am I putting up food, but we have been working on skill building as well. (Learning to do things with less machinery, and more hard work!) Have you checked into Berkey water filters? A friend recommended them to me, and I’ve ordered their personal sized one to “test” and see if I’m interested in a larger model.

  13. Any ideas for storing up food supplies for someone who doesn’t eat grains? I’m allergic to gluten and avoid all grains. I use almond & coconut flour, but have yet to find these in bulk sizes to be cost-efficient to store.

  14. Great idea! We are also feeling the need to preparedness, too and have been stocking up in various ways. One idea i’ve heard that I am going to do is get large glass pickle and condiment jars from local bars. (no matter how remote you are, there seems to be bars or taverns where there is nothing else!) Apparently they are great for storing dried foods in, once you get the pickle smell out. We’ve been using our dehydrator more and I like the idea of not using my canning jars to keep non-canned stuff in.

  15. This was too easy! I was shopping at a large chain grocery store and as an afterthought, asked the woman behind the bakery counter “what do you do with you empty frosting containers?”
    “I don’t know,” she turned her head towards the back. “Hey Raul, what to we do with the frosting containers?” Turns out they give some to the deli, and toss the rest.
    “You want one? I got one in the back with no handle.” After he checked with the manager. I had a new barrel and lid. I’m sure I can fashion a handle out of a couple of clothes hangers.

    I also ask friends for the large kitty little containers. Nice square containers with hinged lids for all kinds of storage.

    One question I have: If the food is stored in mylar or vacuum sealed bags, does the bucket still have to be food grade?

    • Wow Steve, way to go! It’s so much fun to score finds like that!

      I would have to do a bit more research to be 100% sure, but I’m thinking you’d still want to stick with food-grade buckets, even if the food is in bags. Of course, it’s ultimately your choice, but I personally would stay with food grade anyway. Will have to do some more looking into that, though.

  16. I’m just finding (and enjoying) your blog. My brother-in-law works in the food processing industry. He gets us all the buckets and 55 gallon barrels we want for free. Such a blessing! Some of the last buckets have had garlic in them (whew!!) but we use those on the farm. I believe I remember Joel Salatin saying that a farm is only as good as the number of 5 gallon buckets they own. If so, we’re a pretty good farm. :) We’re setting the barrels up as rain barrels.

  17. Does the 3 gal and 5 gallon frosting buckets use the same size gamma lids? I got abot 12 frosting and creme cheese 3 gal buckets with covers there is still a black rubbery seal in the cover. Almost looks reuseable if tapped back on with a rubber mallot hammer. Can I reuse these covers? (I plan to use mylar bags inside Thanks Gail

    • Hi Gail,
      I think it really depends on the buckets themselves- however, I think my 3 and 5 gallon ones use the same sized lid. You probably could reuse the lid, but I’m thinking it probably wouldn’t be secure as something like a gamma lid. The mylar bags would probably help a lot, though.

  18. Thanks so much for your reply!! I found this website yesterday http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/gamma_seal_lids_gamma_lid_products.aspx
    Seems the 3 to 5 gal use the same 12″ lids. Somewhere on here I read that the Plain bucket lids are used one time (they don’t reseal) Once the bucket is opened the gamma lid is used.
    Somewhere I read that one cannot use gamma lids with the oxygen thingees. All the information is very labor intensive! Makes one just want to store chia seed and call it a day :) :) :) Blessings Gail

  19. Wow, I’m so glad I happened upon your site. I thought I was the only one feeling the need to prepare for turbulent times. I’ve been feeling this way for a while yet the urgency is overwhelming NOW. I don’t know a lot about storing food but I know it is vital to gain knowledge. I will definately add your blog to my favorites list. Thanks Gail.

  20. Mylar bags are thin airtight metal. They won’t leach into your food. They can also be resealed as long as you have a flat surface, a hot iron, and a piece of cloth although you would need new oxygen absorbers after you opened the bag.

    As for gluten free grains to store, buckwheat would work. So would white rice. Keep in mind the brown rice is bad for long term storage as brown rice will go rancid. Popcorn/cornmeal is another option. Oats work too as long as they come from a gluten free processor to ensure they are not contaminated. The white rice and the oats are probably your most inexpensive options.

  21. Stephanie Nash says:

    I have been wondering, where can you find the bigger bags of beans? We have had all of the other things, even mylar and oxygen absorbers, and the bakery buckets, lol. But all we can find are 3 lb bags of beans!

  22. L.A. Mike says:

    On my hunt for buckets I got tired of the high prices most vendors wanted, so I checked CraigsList and found a person selling them for $1 each with gasket lid. They were bakery frosting buckets, so sticky as all hell, but just what I was looking for. The lids, however, don’t seem to be reusable without some major tampering and lots of patience. I heard they’re not reusable, but it just seems like such a shame to toss an almost new lid with a rubber gasket. Call me cheap I guess

    • Great deal on the buckets! I had to wash mine out, too- kinda a pain, but worth it!

      Yeah, the lids are hard to re-use. I like pairing them with the Gamma-Seal lids, anyway.

  23. Coupon Cook says:

    I have been able to get buckets just by asking. Although the larger frosting buckets won’t support a regular size lid, and I couldn’t get their lids back on. So what I did was use them as a open bucket to take to the local Upick. The smaller size frosting buckets and lids go back together very easily. I ran them through the dishwasher on hot and they came out very nice. I am currently using them to store sugar and rice which I placed inside mylar bags.

    • I love how they have so many uses! I just grabbed another one out of the basement yesterday to use as my countertop bucket to hold scraps for the chickens/goats. :)

  24. Another place to get 5 gal food grade buckets from is a commercial dairy. I get them from the dairy in the fall when they are making eggnog. I paid a dollar a bucket with lid and handle. They were clean but I washed with soap and water and let drain til dry. Great buckets.

  25. Firehouse Subs sells their pickle buckets with lids for $2.00 and it is considered a donation since the proceeds go to help firefighters in need.

  26. What is a Gamma Seal?

    • It’s a special kind of lid that fits on a 5 gallon bucket. It has a rim that fits around the edges, and a lid that screws in the middle. It works the best for long-term storage since it keeps out critters and contaminents better than regular lids.

  27. It’s interesting that you mention having a sense of urgency. I’ve been feeling the same way for the past year or so. And, like you said, I don’t lay awake at night and worry but I do feel pushed toward being prepared. Thank you for the ideas of where to get storage buckets, I’m going to be checking into that.

    • Yes, I’ve heard many, many people say the same thing lately as well… Can’t help but think that it’s not a coincidence…

  28. As grains have natural oils within them, its best to freeze them or consume within a few months to a year, so I prefer using containers I fill from the top yet can open a valve from the bottom and though I am storing a lot am using from the same source, ensuring things stay fresh. Otherwise, lentils can be stored even longer and keep people alive esp with energy as a great source of protein. Just be careful of weevles in any container of a dry item that is stored.

    • Bay leaves help repel bugs. Also, if you freeze dry goods 4-5 days to kill eggs and larva and the flour, etc. lasts longer.

  29. I have many 5 gallon used buckets with tear tabs, already opened and used. I would like to use these bins for a neighborhood composting program I am starting. Since the lids aren’t resealable, I am trying to figure out the best way to seal them, but still have an opening for people to put their food waste in the buckets. Does anyone have any resources or ideas on how to make a sturdy lid out of the existing lids?

  30. Instead of just asking for buckets, maybe you should offer a restaurant a trade. Heirloom tomatoes are a big hit because they’re hard to source in my neck of the woods and don’t ship well. Just offering a trade makes it look like you don’t have your hand out hoping for a donation. Even if they’re charging you $1.00 a bucket, they’re not making any money off the deal by the time they include labor to clean it up, stack it neatly and wander around a stack of empty buckets.
    While you’re at it, ask about filling the empty buckets with kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, etc and setting them outside for you to pick up at your leisure. Sounds good to you, right? Makes us restaurant folks mad. Buy our food, tip us, then leave.

  31. I have been getting all my buckets from a wine-making store. They sell the grape juice, but also make it for people at the store, and so they have stacks of buckets with kids that they sell for $1.00. I haven’t had any trouble with resealing the lids!

    • HAHAHAHA, Yikes! Karen I don’t know that I would take those buckets with “kids”. Even for a dollar. Hope you haven’t bought too many……”kids” that is.

  32. While eating at a Chinese restaurant we noticed a sign saying they were selling their used soy sauce buckets (no lids) for $1 each. We grabbed a few and realized there must be other places out there willing to do the same. Why recycle if they can be put to use somewhere else? I’m so glad I came across this post because I never thought about the local bakery. And I too have had that feeling that I need to be more prepared and it does feel urgent. The sooner I am better prepared the better I will feel. Thank you for sharing what you learned and for all the comments from others. Everything helps and I believe in sharing tips and information as I learn it too. Hope this helps someone else!

  33. Most of the time the lids that come with the free or almost free buckets are still usable. If you are concerned with the seal you can use some caulking. If not you can always purchase new lids from Home Depot etc. The lids are in the $3.00 area new. I always store my grains in mylar bags for long term storage – for shorter term I store in canning jars sealed with a vacuum sealer jar attachment so I don’t worry about anything leaching from plastic.

    The Gamma lids are fabulous for pails that you use all the time because it creates an airtight seal because it’s much easier to open and close then prying off a regular lid. Gamma lids are available at TSC and are about $8.00. They are really convenient but not necessary for long term storage.

    • Yes– I like the Gammas for my oats and beans– things I need to access frequently. But I do use the plain old lids for some of my other items– they seem to work just fine. :)

  34. If nobody else has mentioned it another good place is candy making stores. They have 5gal buckets of corn syrup and they use so much they are glad to get rid of them cheap.

  35. If you are having trouble with the lids going back on your buckets, Get a good heavy wooden, rawhide, plastic, or rubber mallet to ‘coax it on all the way after you get it on as far as you can by hand. Remember to hold the side (away from the pounding) down.
    If you have a hydraulic press (or jack to make a temporay press) sitting around the homestead. and a good solid wood or metal piece big enough to between bucket and press it’s even easier to seal it.

  36. Hi, I like the site. Good stuff. I see this thread has been running awhile. I thought I’d mention for those who may not have considered it before. Its helpful to deep freeze your buckets after filling them with dried foods such as oats or rice for few days to kill any pests or eggs which may have come along for the ride. In an emergency its better to have a few dead weevils on the bottom of your buckets of life saving food then to have an ant farm. I purchased a small top loading type freezer which fits about six buckets. They are on sale at scratch and dent stores for reasonable prices.

  37. If you have a “Firehouse Subs” resteraunt near you , they sale their pickle buckets with resealable lids for $5. That money is then donated the local fire department. Grind a food grade bucket with lid AND helping your local fire department. It’s a win-win!

  38. Arg! I wish I’d read this post a few weeks ago! I just spent over $100 buying 10 6-gallon food grade buckets from Sam’s Club. :/ I will definitely try your tips if I end up needing more, though!

  39. Where do you find gamma seal lids? I’m gonna start calling around for buckets today…your post is very well timed!

  40. I have not had luck scoring these for free, but I live in a very small town/area, so I think that is part of it. I started supporting companies that sell their food in bulk & already in containers like this. Pleasant Hill Grain is a great one that I can think of right now.

  41. When storing food in bulk quantities, what are ideal temperatures? We live in East Texas—temperatures in winter sometimes start out the day in the 20′s and by afternoon it’s in the 60′s. Summertimes are hot and HUMID—well above 100 degrees and sticky. I don’t have storage space inside my house, and do not know if the food would go bad out in my storage building where my thermometer showed over 122 degrees a few times this past summer. I do have about 25 pounds each of rice and pinto beans in my laundry-room refrigerator, but no room for more in there.

  42. I am wondering if anyone has stored buckets of food in a basement that’s prone to dampness. That is the only extra space I have.

  43. I’ve been doing this for a long time I get them at the local bakery

  44. I see this thread has been around awhile. I have found some other great ideas for food storage and emergency supplies: 1) I really like one idea I saw strictly for emergency prep…..storing a bucket with a month of supplies ( or few weeks depending on family size). One bucket might have your rice, beans, dry milk, spice kit etc. 2) Freezing grain is an excellent idea (as noted by previous comments) This can be done in smaller increments and placed in Mylar bags and then into your bucket. That way, if you break the seal, not all of your grain will be unsealed at the same time.

  45. Can I ask how you’ve packaged your food inside the buckets? Sorry if this was already answered…

    • I would like to know too~

    • I am primarily storing dry beans and wheat right now, so I just stuck them right in the buckets. However, for long term storage, many people use mylar bags and oxygen absorbers.

      • Do you by any chance have a guide for using those oxygen absorbers? They completely mystify me. I bought a pack and they got all hot and “sweaty”. I threw the entire package in the garbage.

  46. This is good to know! Is there anything you need to do when you put food in the buckets to keep it safe? How long would it keep? Sorry, we are totally new to this :)

    • You can get special bags and oxygen absorbers for long term storage. I’m far from a “food storage” expert, so I’d recommend looking around on Google for tips. :)

  47. We live in town and our home is just about 1400 s.f. We have a small closet that gets pretty cold (no vent there) and I wondered if that would work for storage space for stocking up/prepping?? I’m going to put a thermometer in there to see how cold it gets, but I wondered if that’s a good place to store the buckets full of food. We too want to build a stockpile for emergencies/helping others, but with such limited space, it’s hard to know where to put it that the food will not spoil.

  48. Wayne Martin says:

    About the urgency…

    Anyone paying attention knows now is a really good time to prepare food for what ever it is coming. With this in mind, panic or rushing is not the answer. While it is easy for panic to slip into the planning cycle it only clouds our decisions. My wife and I actually stop projects until we have peace about them. This gives us a much clearer view of what needs to be done. And nine times out of ten things are not as bad as we thought they where in the panic head space.

    Besides, all this food preparation is what use to be called common sense a fifty years ago. In fact in growing up 40 years ago back in Alaska we all did food storage simply because you never knew how bad the winter was going to get. One winter the trucks stopped making deliveries to the town we lived by. Common sense had already shown us to have a pantry full of food.

    Prepare food yes, but do it in a calm, well though out manner.

  49. I get buckets for wine making at the donut shop 2 gal for $1, 3 gal $2 and 5 gal for $3. I have a “memo” on my phone “food safe 1,2,4 & 5, HDPE” so I can refer to it when I get a chance to latch onto some buckets.

    “Check the recycling symbol on the bottom of the bucket. The quickest and most reliable way to check for food safety is by consulting the recycling number. This number will be between 1 and 7 and will be stamped inside a triangle of arrows. As a general rule, the numbers that are safe for use with food are 1, 2, 4, and 5.
    The best type of plastic for use in long-term food storage is high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is indicated by the “2″ symbol. HDPE is one of the most stable and inert forms of plastic, and all plastic buckets sold specifically for food storage will be made from this material.”

  50. I sell 5 gallon bucket liners on my site. They are food-grade, and will take the mess out of cleaning out your buckets. They will also provide peace of mind if your not sure that you’ve completely sanitized your existing bucket.

  51. Pat Nelson says:

    http://learntoprepare.com/food-storage-packing-do-it-yourself-facts-myths/
    The link above is very educational to anyone wanting to store supplies of food. Please go to this site and make sure you are doing it the right way. You would not want your time and money wasted. My husband and I have been stocking up since 2009 and I learned some very important information from this site.
    Damaging culprits to your stored foods are time, temperature, moisture, light, oxygen, bugs and rodents. Exposure to any of these degrades the nutrient quality of the food, greatly decreasing the shelf life during long-term food storage. Room temperature 65-72 degrees is fine, 40-50 degrees is great, as is a dark location, such as a closet or under a bed or cool, dry basement. Properly stored foods can last up to 30 years. If I remember correctly, for every 10 degree increment above 70 degrees, you lose 10 years off the shelf life. The higher the temperature, the shorter the shelf life. While the food would still be edible, it will not provide your nutritional needs. The average DIY-er does not have the proper equipment for 30 year shelf life food storage. About the best we can hope for is 3 years with our plastic buckets, mylar bags and oxygen absorbers.
    The best type of plastic for use in long-term food storage is high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is indicated by the “2″ symbol. HDPE is one of the most stable and inert forms of plastic, and all plastic buckets sold specifically for food storage will be made from this material. This is what the Home Depot orange buckets and the Lowe’s gray buckets are made of. Other types of plastic acceptable for food storage include PETE, LDPE, and polypropylene (PP). These plastics are represented by the numbers 1, 4, and 5 respectively. PP 5 is what the white, bakery frosting buckets are made of. PETE (with the designation “1″), which is designed to be used once and then recycled. PETE is initially food safe, but may break down and release harmful compounds if continually reused.
    Glass canning jars and oxygen absorbers and/or vacuum sealer seems to be the best, long term storage vessels, stored in a cool, dry, dark space.