Rice in vacuum seal bags for long term storage

Vacuum Seal Rice and Beans For Long Term Storage

I store rice and beans as one part of my overall wide-ranging diversified long term food storage for preparedness. I store them two different ways. The 5-gallon bucket method, and, vacuum seal bags. I’ve entirely switched over to using vacuum seal bags for rice and beans. I’ll explain why…

First, as you likely know, rice and beans are NOT expensive. They ARE a quick and easy way to accumulate survival food calories. Rice and Beans ARE a unique survival food combination (see link below).

A question you may ask is as follows… What is the best way to store rice and beans? Here’s my current opinion:

Rice & Beans Storage in Vacuum Seal Bags

We purchase white rice in bulk. 20 pound bags. Walmart, or wherever… Then we use gallon size vacuum seal bags, each holding 4 pounds of rice. Flatten out the rice in the bag for easier stacking. Then vacuum seal it using your favorite vacuum sealer machine.

We purchase beans in various amounts. Pinto, Great Northern, whatever floats your boat… Quart size vacuum seal bags will nicely hold 2 pounds of beans. Similarly as with the rice, flatten the bag prior to vacuum sealing for easier stacking /storage.

I chose the ratio of 2:1 for dry rice and beans which results in a typical likeable proportion after cooking. The sky is the limit with regards to spicing it up (be sure to have enough spices and such – to go along with your quantity of rice and beans storage). Additionally, we may typically add some meat. We’ve home canned plenty of chicken and beef (as well as chest freezer storage of same). Again, there are a ton of rice-and-bean recipes. You likely have your own favorites.

Vacuum Seal Bags Are Convenient

Rather than storing a full 5-gallon food bucket filled with 30 pounds of rice in a Mylar bag with oxygen-absorbers, I like the vacuum seal method. Although I do have bucket storage with O2 absorbers, I simply like the more manageable size vacuum sealed quantities, tailored to one’s liking. I also feel that there’s a better ‘vacuum’ than with Mylar bags and O2 absorbers – thus perhaps a better ‘long term’ storage result.

Freeze The Rice Several Days To Kill Bugs /Eggs

You can’t see them, but they might be there. You never know. I freeze the vacuum sealed rice bags for several days. This will kill any tiny bugs or bug eggs that may be present, but not visible. Here’s a picture using my garage/shop fridge freezer getting the job done…

Storage Bins or Buckets For Vacuum Sealed Rice & Beans

Where to store the vacuum sealed bags of rice and beans? Well, I personally like using plastic storage bins. I use Sterilite 30-qt size for lots of things. It holds six 4-pound bags of rice (gallon size vacuum seal bags), or twelve 2-pound bags of beans (quart size bags). That’s 24 pounds each. This equates to ~38,000 calories each. Uncooked white rice have approximately 1,600 calories per pound. Dry beans are very similar.

Sterilite 30QT bins

vacuum sealed dry beans
vacuum sealed white rice

Next is what you might call a rice-and-beans grab-and-go 5 gallon bucket. Using the same ratio of 2:1, I vacuum sealed 1 pound bags of rice, and 1/2 pound bags of beans using pint size bags.

The 5 gallon bucket holds 10 bags of each, with room to spare for a Gamma Seal Lid. So that’s 10 pounds of rice and 5 pounds of beans in convenient smaller proportions. That’s ~24,000 calories.

vacuum sealed rice and beans in 5 gallon bucket

Hopefully this has provided a few ideas for your own emergency food storage. Rice and beans are cheap food insurance. Simply use a vacuum sealer and bags to store them for long term.

Good Price on Vacuum Seal Bags

FYI, I have been purchasing the following vacuum seal bags for some time. They are the best price that I’ve found, and they have held up well. I have found that using vacuum seal rolls are a pain. But the pre-size vacuum seal bags are great. Easy and convenient. I have hundreds of each size, and use them for a wide variety of food products. For example, ALL of my chest freezer meats are stored this way. Tastes as fresh as the day you bought it…

(view on amzn)




[ Read: Rice and Beans – A Survival Combination ]

[ Read: Gamma Seal Lids Are Great ]


  1. Ken, sounds and looks familiar. I’ve done the mylar bag, oxygen absorbers and hair straightener iron sealing routine. Vac sealing is simpler and faster for me. The vac sealer rolls have gotten pricier (what hasn’t), stocked various roll sizes a few years back, even vac seal garden seed overages to over winter. Also, after hunting season, I vac seal my left over factory packaged heat packs for the following season, used some this year and they worked fine. Vac sealers, the Ronco of packaging gear (different from the Pocket Polpelia, if you remember that one).

  2. Ken, I’m not sure if I am understanding the order of events. Are you vacuum sealing the rice and beans, and then freezing them, and then taking them out of the freezer and putting them in storage totes, and letting them thaw in there at room temp for long term? Seems way easier and less expensive than buckets and mylar. I am excited to try this way but I am concerned about the freeze, and then thaw. Am I understanding this correctly?

    1. That’s what I do with the smaller packages.
      Vacseal then freeze 3 to 5 days, then let warm to room temps for
      a day or three depending on how much initiative I have.
      Inspect to see if there were any vacuum failures and put the good ones away.

    2. Yes that’s right. I freeze them (temporarily for a few days) after they have been vacuum sealed. That way, there’s no worry about moisture inside afterwards when they return to room temperature – because they’re sealed air-tight already, under a vacuum (absence of air to condensate). Another way would be to freeze the bulk rice before you vacuum seal. However, it would be important to let it all thaw for at least several days at room temperature before you vacuum seal them – to ensure there’s no condensation left behind (because they’re exposed to the air).

  3. I prefer to suck the air out of the 5gal mylar bags before the final seal (corner), even though the o2 pack is in them even if it is unnecessary.
    There are about 30 1 pound bags of rice to be used and and as a decoy to keep in the kitchen after the oncoming collapse.
    The plan is having 40 to 80 of those and now I guess 1 pound bags of pinto beans as well.

    I just see the smaller bags as bulky space hogs.
    I did notice some of yours are abnormally smooth and somewhat uniform to my great annoyance.

    I suppose my issue is using the least amount of bag material as possible.
    That causes bulk and somewhat odd shapes.

    Just have to order more 8″ bag material.

    Still annoying when a bag fails when I can’t figure out why.
    spaghetti pasta ends and pointy rice is usually the issue but times I just don’t know why.

  4. Mushroom, I worried about that as well. I froze my flour and the bags became moist when I took them out. I use gallon size bags (mylar) up to five gallon and even some smaller for things like chocolate chips.
    If I know I am going to have room for one more quart in the canner, I choose some beans. These will take little energy to prepare, when energy is hard to come by.
    Ken, this looks like a great organizational tool and space saver, thanks for sharing

    1. if the vacuum seal holds there is zero issue with condensation on the outside of these bags when removed from the freezer.
      With a good vacuum seal, nothing goes in or out except light.

    2. I saw a tip on the smaller Mylar Bags if you also use Food Saver Type. Cut a strip off the top prior to the seal of the Food Saver type and then cut just a small maybe an inch wide and enough to let hang out from the Mylar Bag from that. Use two (2) strips one at each side of the Mylar, and providing the width fits in the Food Saver Machine begin to seal, Works Magic. Hope the tip helps.

    1. Yes, that’s what I have, a FoodSaver (see picture above article). Works fine. As long as the bag width will fit in your FoodSaver, you’re good to go…

      1. You can do this with flour, cornstarch, baking soda, sugar and brown sugar?

      2. Ken J
        I use the vacuum seal machine on brown sugar but in 1/2 gal jars. Fill it to the brim, semi compaction (lightly packed) down. When full I place a cut out coffee filter on top to keep the machine from clogging up, then process the contents inside.
        If the sugar becomes hard, I place a small piece of damp paper towel inside to rehydrate the sugar, no more than 10-15 minutes. Toss the paper towel then remove what I require for the baking process. Lid back on to be used for the next time.
        I have brown sugar which is put up this way in a dark room. Bought it back around 2007 or possibly 2008. I also keep molasses as the next back up should I run out of this product.

        1. Not sure if it’s true or not, but I’ve heard that vacuum sealing brown sugar could present a botulism risk. Anyone else know about this?

        2. Ken J
          Once I open the jar up from the vacuum seal process, I just put the lid back on to the jar. I do ‘not’ vacuum seal it again, as I am extremely cautious of this process.
          In my families past history a worker on my great parent’s ranch decided to taste test the peas which had they had canned because they did not look right. She died.
          You are speaking to the person who is just now learning how to use pressure canner because of this past history event. Our mother would not teach those kids who were born later because of a canning accident she had.
          The natural color of sugar is brown before it goes through a process from what I was told growing up.

  5. I freeze first, then allow to come back to room temp and dissipate any condensation, then bag and seal. Freezing in the bags would seem to promote condensation of the water in the air inside the bags. Thawing could create droplets in the bag which could affect quality.

  6. Anony Mee, If you are wondering what kind of an idiot would put flour bags in the freezer…. I got a good deal on Bob’s Red Mill ( yes, it has been a while), and their bags of the flours I really like, were line in plastic, so the moisture didn’t go through to the four. I don’t buy any store bought bread, buns, etc. so I am using the older flour first. So far no issues. Even though I have been practicing food storage since Y-2k, in terms of, like, really seriously, like your life depends on it, I always learn something new. This site has been very helpful, with the exception of one person suggesting that I perform an impossible sex act, when I challenged that, yes, Viet Nam, was a real war. AND vets out there! Thank you for your service, drafted, enlisted, whatever…you got in there and did your part!

  7. I should have mentioned in the article: It is important to periodically check vacuum sealed bags when they’re in ‘long term storage’. It will become obvious if one or more have leaked (not nice and tight anymore). These are not as strong as Mylar, so again, maybe you check once a year. When I do a batch of whatever, I’ll check them a few days later too.

    1. Ken J
      That’s absolutely hilarious. It would take me a month to check them all.!

      1. Haha! That’s great! Sounds like you have enough stored to keep eating for decades without resupply! Good on you. ;)

  8. Rice and beans, the complete amino acid combo. Great discussion on freezing and vacuum sealing

    I raise peppers of all heat caliber during the summer. I freeze them and pull them out during good weather here in the Ozarks when I can smoke big batches of them in my Big Green Egg, with hickory wood. They partially dry. Then I use a Cabela’s commercial food dehydrator to fully dry. I grind them up into a powder. I have some batches that are at least four years old.

    Between dried hot pepper powder and Himalayan sea salt, you can season any pot of rice and beans to perfection. Of course, having plenty of bottled sauces (Worcestershire, Tabasco, Tamari, etc.) sure helps any dish.

    I smoke all my meats on the Eggs I have. Nothing like a good pork shoulder, slow smoked for 10 hours with a side of beans and rice. Anybody hungry yet….!

  9. I wish I had freezer space to freeze my rice/beans/flour and kill bugs
    I don’t have that luxury so I use food grade Diatomaceous earth in each bag I vacuum seal

    1. Well I do not have the space to freeze rice or beans.
      Personally I never have had a problem (touch wood ) I do use oxygen absorbers and traditional myler bags I believe that no oxygen equates to no bugs , and that has been my personal experience . Certainly see little harm in the whole freezing thing except the extra hassle .

    2. I am with you there. I freeze my Flower from Bob’s in the package for 72 hours then I thaw for couple of days in dark place for long term I place in a Vacuum Seal Bag and store in a Bucket. I have to work with my conditions. <3

  10. This is what I have always done, but without the freezing or O2 absorbers. My rationale is that pulling a hard vacuum will kill anything inside and rupture any eggs. Also in a hard vacuum there is almost no oxygen, ergo nothing to absorb. I’m also concerned about freezing possibly changing the integrity of the beans/rice by way of crystalizing any moisture, then thawing it again. I could be totally wrong but so far it has worked very well.

  11. I’ve done both plastic and Mylar. I found the rice to puncture the plastic occasionally. I own several food savers and just bought another one. I have the one that I despise for sealing the bags that you insert, but the jar attachment is awesome. Then the clam shell type which is great for bags, but the attachment for jars is so cheap and breaks where it is inserted. Very frustrating. I guess I need to look at all different models and brands. I’m often amazed at most products put out on the market. It’s like they draw it and say oh cool design ; make it and never use it before it gets put out on the market. Yes, I am frustrated.

  12. This seems like a good place for me to repost my favorite recipe for cooking black beans:
    1 cup black beans rinsed and soaked for several hours. 1 pound of chorizo, 1 big green chili (I think it is an Anaheim chili) from produce aisle, 1 white onion. Enough water to cover the beans. This makes a small crockpot full (6-7 cups) in 7-8 hours. I cook the chorizo in a skillet prior to adding to the beans and remove most of the chorizo grease prior to adding to the beans. When done, the consistency is soupy and this is served with rice added. I am blessed/fortunate to be surrounded by ethnic Mexican markets and my local grocery outlet each has their own recipe for in-house chorizo. Black beans has been our staple storage items for the past several years because it contains all the fiber and good things while having a lower glycemic impact for diabetics. (my wife is trying to manage her A1-C levels) For these reasons, I make more black beans these days in my kitchen during the winter months.

  13. Thanks for doing the research on the bags for the food sealer. I immediately ordered them. I use my food sealer and am not real happy with the rolls.

    1. old lady, consider getting a chamber vacuum machine. After years of putting it off because of cost we finally bought one several years ago. It was a game changer. We used to always have to consider the cost of the ridged bag before trying to save food – for long-term or just for next Tuesday. Many times, the food we might have wanted to save wasn’t worth the price of the bag to vacuum it.

      Though the cost of the chamber machine was high, the bags are from 4 to 10 cents each, even big enough to store large cuts of meat, etc. Now the cost of the bag is not even considered and we can save and consume far more of what we buy, take great advantage of bulk and sales.

      Keep in mind that most vacuum sealing of fresh foods extends the shelf-life so you might get some value from bulk or sales but, like freezer food, it’s not really storage. But the savings might enable you to spend more on food and items that actually are storage so it’s all good.

  14. OK, I have been at this for a while, starting after the blizzard of 1978 in which I nearly died.
    I packed rice in VAC bags for a while, the rice grains perforated the bags causing a slow leaks.
    I had about 75% fail rate on 200 pounds of rice.
    When rice is polished, it creates real sharp points that easily puncture the bags forced against them.
    This is the resolve for the problem I had.
    I switched over to aluminum-Mylar bags and O2 eaters.
    They were then packed into 5 gallon sealable buckets with more O2 eaters.
    The beans are a different story, they are bagged, desiccant added
    and then put into a five sided wooden mold, vacuumed out and sealed.
    The “bricks” are formed so that they will stack into 20MM ammo cans just right.

      Nice handle, I actually know who that is.

      That’s why I use those brown paper lunch bags. I’ve had good success with them, not 100%, but you never get 100%.

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