The following are a few tips for bug-free food storage in 5-gallon buckets. In no particular order or preference. Add your own ideas in the comments below…
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Use Food Grade diatomaceous earth (best choice on amzn) for grains, flour, legumes, rice, corn, and other dry foods stored in a 5-gallon bucket.
Eggs of insects are in most all grains – it’s just the natural way it is. When they hatch out, the diatomaceous earth dries up their soft skin – eliminating them. Food-grade DE is a safe, non-toxic way to treat your grains from insect infestation.
Use 1/2-cup Diatomaceous Earth for a 5-gallon bucket of grain. Rule of thumb is about 1/2 cup per 25 pounds of dry food. Or 1 teaspoon per pound. It’s not critical, so don’t be too concerned about the exact amount.
Half-fill the bucket (or Mylar bag within). Sprinkle in half the DE. Then mix it around. Fill the bucket (or Mylar bag within) and add the rest of the diatomaceous earth. Mix again. Seal bag / container. Done.
Gamma lids spin on/off for easy access. In my opinion, they’re worth it.
[ Read: Gamma Seal Lids | Are They Worth It? ]
I’ve not tried this before. I don’t have a local means of acquiring dry ice. However the concept is sound.
Add a small piece of dry ice to the top of the food pile in a 5 gallon bucket (and/or Mylar bag within). Let the lid rest on top while the dry ice sublimates into gaseous carbon dioxide and displaces bug-breathable air. Then seal tightly.
Freeze your grains first, before sealing them into 5-gallon buckets. This will help eliminate insect problems.
There are different opinions about how long to freeze the grains. However in my view, 3 days will certainly be adequate for deep freeze temperatures. 24 hours is probably enough too – but who’s in a hurry? ;)
Important! After freezing you do need to wait a certain time for the item to thaw or to make sure there’s no moisture from thawing before sealing. I wait several days. Your environment will affect the speed at which it dries out.
The process kills the eggs that may be in the grain. You can do this for just about any dry goods including rice, flour, wheat, etc.
Use oxygen absorbers! No oxygen = no living things. No oxidation of the contents or the container. It is advisable to use Mylar bags to hold your food and oxygen absorbers. Then seal the bag and store in a 5 gallon bucket.
Vacuum sealing removes the oxygen!
We also do this for most foods kept in our chest freezers.
Additionally we vacuum seal some dry goods such as beans. Actually we have two methods for our beans. One is bulk quantity storage – all beans of a given variety dumped into a Mylar bag set inside 5-gallon bucket(s) with O2 absorbers. The other method is vacuum sealing individual 1-pound bags of dry beans. We keep them in a plastic (tote).
[ Read: Things You Can Seal With A Vacuum Sealer ]
What are your ideas and experiences for bug-free food storage?