DIY Long Term Food Storage

Creating long term food storage takes some careful planning and often a bit of elbow grease. Having supplies reliably sealed that you know your family can use no matter what happens will give you enough peace of mind that the planning and work up front will be more than worth it.

Steps to Making Your Own Long Term Food Storage Buckets

1. Acquire Your Supplies.

You will need mylar bags, O2 absorbers, 5 gallon buckets w/ lids, a mallet, a pail or bucket opener, an iron, a 2×4 board and the food you want to store.

Food – If you are doing this on the cheap, you probably want to stick with white rice, beans and pasta. All of these foods will last for a very long time. This will get you started, but you might want to add more. Like for example, you might want to store sugar. You can put that in a mylar bag, but don’t include an O2 absorber. It will turn your sugar into a hard block.

2. Fill Up the Bags

First thing – Do not open the package that the O2 absorbers come in until you are ready to start sealing your mylar bags! Once you open the O2 package, the absorbers start working. You want to wait until you are really ready.

This process might seem like a lot of steps at the beginning, but once you’ve filled a single bucket you’ll get the habit of it down and the rest will be a piece of cake!
This can also be a great activity for couples or families. There’s nothing like working toward a common goal to get everyone feeling connected! Just keep safety in mind if there are any little ones around and keep the iron well out of reach.

Setup your buckets in a line or in a work area that will allow you to move easily. Turn on your iron, connect with an extension cord if it makes it easier, and set it on high.

Place your mylar bags inside the buckets and pour your food inside. Make sure you leave some space at the top of the bag so it can seal easily.

Shake the buckets to make sure you don’t have any air pockets. Once all your food is in mylar bags, inside of the buckets, open up your O2 absorbers and drop the appropriate size of O2 absorber inside each bucket.

Grab the 2×4 board, lay it across a portion of the mylar bag, at the top, and run the iron over it. You don’t have to hold it over too long. You will see it seal.

You want to leave a portion of the bag unsealed, like at the end. The reason is that you want to push out as much air as possible.

Making sure to get all of the air out of your bags is the only way to guarantee that your food will stay fresh for as long as you want. The O2 absorbers will help finish the process overnight, but they will be little help if you leave the bag full of air in the first place!

After you are comfortable with pushing as much air out of the bags that you can get, then completely seal the bag. You might want to make a diagonal seal at the end of the bag to close it off.

At this point, you can wait till the next day to make sure that the bags sealed before you hammer on the lid. You will notice that the bags will become “tight” and firm as the O2 is absorbed.

3. Lid Your Buckets

After you are comfortable with your sealed bags, you can place the lid on them and use the mallet to set the lids in place.

4. Label and Store

Your buckets should already be labeled, so just find a cool, dark place to store them, like in a closet or an unused room. Your buckets should last for many, many, years.

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Do you have any foods in long-term storage? What foods do you find store the easiest and last the longest?

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