I had a reader email with a question about long term storage of rice. The following is the answer I gave her. Although we were discussing rice, these storage techniques work for long term storage of any dry product (wheat, rice, beans, oats, sugar, etc.).
I bought a bag of rice and I do not know how to store for long term. Can you tell me the best way to do this?
There are a few options for you for long term storage of rice. Some are easier and less expensive than others, but they all have their advantages. The things you want to protect your long term food storage from are light, heat, moisture, and pests.
1. #10 Can. Really the way I prefer is to get the rice into a #10 can with an oxygen absorber. It is a good usable size for most food products which also makes it a nice size for storing–not too heavy when it’s full or so big it won’t fit under your bed if that’s where you want to store it. However, to pack your bulk foods into a #10 can, you need a can sealer and the unused empty cans which can be accessed through an LDS dry pack cannery, but otherwise are quite expensive to work with. (Note: Sugars and high sugar content drink mixes should be stored without oxygen absorbers as they will make your sugar turn to a block instead of nice granules.)
2. Food Grade Buckets. You can also put the rice in a food grade bucket. You want to make sure you have a bucket that hasn’t had other non-foods in it (paint, etc). These buckets can be purchased new or picked up used at a local bakery for cheap and sometimes free. Add a couple of oxygen absorbers if you can to keep it really fresh (you can pick these up through Amazon or some food storage companies like Emergency Essentials or Honeyville also sell them), but it can go in the bucket with no oxygen absorber and will still keep a long time.
3. Mylar Bags. Another option is to seal the rice in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. The bags and oxygen absorbers are both available on Amazon. They can be sealed with a special sealer machine or using a hot dry iron as in this video. The only drawback is that the mylar bags are not rodent proof, so you’ll want to put them inside something else that mice can’t chew through (bucket, bin, barrel, etc.).
4. PETE Bottles. For a smaller amount of rice, you can also put it in any cleaned out, thoroughly dried food grade plastic container. Things like 2 liter soda bottles, peanut butter jars, etc. Look for “PETE” or “PET” on the bottom of the bottle. Again, you can add the oxygen absorber for optimum freshness, but it’s not required. Screw the lids on tight. These bottles are generally clear, so it will be best if they’re stored in a location without a lot of light, and they are odd shapes and sizes, but hey, they’re available with no added expense on your part and they work great for smaller quantities of dry foods that wouldn’t require an entire bucket.
Hopefully that helps you out some! Let me know if you have any other questions, and all the best to you in your preparedness efforts!