Crazy weevils – get out of my long-term food storage containers! Find grains, flour, coffee, cereal, and whole wheat stores of your own making, and leave ours alone! Sound familiar?
Your family’s long-term food storage system is a vital investment, but it requires careful preparation and work. Still, it’s sure nice to know it’s there and available in case of a natural disaster or other situation that tests your ability to stay healthy and happy during turmoil.
I’ll say up-front that, at least for me, various food storage products available today exist. But many of them are geared toward profit generation rather than enhancing the purchaser’s survival capacity.
I skipped those.
The best long-term food storage containers are practical, proven, and tremendously doable for anyone who wants to be ready for emergencies. That’s what prepping is all about. And there’s no room for lackluster choices.
So, with a true prepper’s spirit, I offer you my four top recommendations for long-term food storage containers. Today, we’ll look at how they work, their benefits and drawbacks, and some helpful food storage tips.
In ten minutes, you’ll know more about long-term food storage options than most of the world. Are you prepped for this fun, educative experience?
If so – then let’s proceed.
- Fast Facts About Long-Term Food Storage
- Choosing the Best Foods for Long-Term Storage
- 4 Excellent Types of Containers for Long-Term Food Storage
- How To Protect Long-Term Food Storage From Insects
- My Final Thoughts About Long-Term Food Storage Containers
Fast Facts About Long-Term Food Storage
Before we jump into the best types of long-term food storage containing products, let’s consider what we need to store the food before getting carried away.
Well, we store food to keep it from spoiling and to prevent it from being affected by:
- Humidity (moisture)
- Exposure to light
- Excessive heat
Nobody likes food that’s spoiled or infested with bugs.
Choosing the Best Foods for Long-Term Storage
Some foods lend themselves better to storage than others. For example, dry staples store better than a fresh slice of cheesecake. Pretty obvious, eh? But why is it so obvious?
It’s basically because of the moisture content. Dried grains have very little, and cheesecake has a lot. More moisture in stored food means a shorter shelf life.
So, as a general rule of emergency food storage, it’s best to work with foods with 10% moisture or less. Grains, seeds, beans, dehydrated fruit, and other dry food products are excellent food supply storage options.
You can dry-store almost any low-moisture, low-sugar, low-fat, low-oil food with the four choices below. And there’s always the option to dehydrate your foods to increase their storage life expectancy. You can pick up a decent-grade food dehydrator for less than $100.
And, please, don’t forget that you can also store fresh water-rich foods – like vegetables, fruits, herbs, and even meats – by canning them, which is my favorite food preservation method. I love the entire process. And the fact that it uses glass, an inert substance with no harmful chemical components.
OK, we have the preliminary info covered, so let’s jump on to what we’re here for the four best products for long-term food storage.
4 Excellent Types of Containers for Long-Term Food Storage
I based my choices for the best products for storing food long-term on healthiness, versatility, and practicality. I didn’t consider pricing because they’re all relatively affordable, especially considering we use them for food safety. We’re talking about your family’s survival during emergencies. I also added PETE bottles for even the most cash-strapped among us!
To me, the four best types of food storage containers are:
- Glass Jars
- Mylar Bags
- Food-Grade Plastic Buckets
- PETE Bottles
The best container for you will be the one that meets your individual needs and requirements most effectively. Each type of container has unique advantages and disadvantages associated. So be sure to consider them before making your decision.
And, of course, nobody says you can’t use all four types, or others, in conjunction with one another. It’s your life. And you can store food however you choose. Let nothing stop you!
1. Glass Jars
I love glass jars. Yes. Glass jar containers can break if mistreated, but my glass storage containers are thick and well-made. In most cases, you get what you pay for. I choose non-permeable glass containers because they don’t leach chemicals into my foods. (Like Bisphenol A BPA.) Nobody likes adverse health conditions due to toxicity.
Glass containers for long-term food storage come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. Colored glass is better for blocking out light, but it also costs more. But both offer an airtight seal – both types significantly reduce food oxidation and spoilage.
Of course, you can use clear glass for storing your foods in your prepper pantry. And then, either cover it up with something to block the light or double secure it inside another storage container, as the large plastic containers will look below.
I find that 1-gallon glass canning jars with metal lids are excellent for storing a wide variety of items – like cornmeal, flour, oats, pasta, and rice. They’re also perfect for storing:
- Baby food
- And so much more
They’re also great for buttermilk, real mayonnaise, and various sauces. And smaller glass containers are ideal for storing herbs, pepper, salt, seeds, and spices.
Keep your glass food storage containers in a chilled, dark location, like inside a closet. You can place old T-shirts or socks between them. Doing so offers protection from shifting during an earthquake or other jarring scenario.
And when you empty one of them, you can use it to increase your water supply!
It’s also quite nifty that glass food storage containers are reusable and recyclable, making them an eco-friendly choice that benefits the planet. That alone means a lot to me, knowing that I’m making a small contribution to limiting toxic emissions in the world.
Plus, there’s no way a dang weevil can chew through the thick glass!
Take that, weevils! (Steal food elsewhere!)
2. Mylar Bags & Oxygen Absorbers for Food Storage
Mylar bags for food storage are reusable pouches made from multiple stacked aluminum and food-grade plastic layers. The plastic keeps the stored food safe from aluminum leaching. The absence of oxygen in these bags makes them the perfect long-term food storage containers for dry goods.
However, I’m still not sure about the safety of any plastic, food-grade or not. Sure, it may not contain BPA or certain other chemicals, but it still has dozens of others – and what do I know about all of those? Not much at all.
So, I use glass for storing my food whenever possible.
Anyway, back to Mylar bags. They have been around since the 1950s and will protect your emergency food storage from light and moisture.
And when used properly with oxygen absorbers, they protect food from bacterial growth and spoilage by limiting oxygen transmission over time to less than 0.01%. The absence of oxygen is crucial for successful food preservation.
As with any airtight pantry containers you purchase, go for quality. It’s good to be confident that your food storage containers and other gear got manufactured for lasting performance. Cheap, flimsy, low-quality food storage and survival gear are never worth it!
Mylar bags are typically available in 1-gallon and 5-gallon container sizes, and almost all brands have oxygen absorbers. The best Mylar pouches are:
It’s good to note that oxygen absorbers remove oxygen, not air, which comprises nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2), argon (Ar), and gaseous compounds, including carbon dioxide (CO2). Vacuum packaging your Mylar bags after placing your O2 absorber inside is smart.
Also, be aware that Mylar bags are not rodent-proof. It’s wise to store them inside another container, like a sterile metal garbage can or plastic bucket. And placing Mylar bags inside cardboard boxes makes them easily stackable. Plus adds another layer of protection.
Wallaby is one of the most reliable brands for heat-sealable Mylar bags. These bags lock oxygen and light out from your food supplies. And this kit includes 75 Mylar bags, 80 oxygen absorber packs, plus 80 sticker labels for easy identification. The bags hold one gallon and can help preserve sugar, flour, rice, dehydrated fruits, veggies, plus other dried foods.
3. Food-Grade Plastic Buckets
While I don’t prefer any plastic container used to store food, I cannot deny the practicality, versatility, and cost-effectiveness of food-grade plastic buckets.
Keeping most products in their original packaging inside plastic storage buckets is clever. These multiple layers add extra protection from moisture, air, and light. And also annoying food storage pests – like weevils! (And their fiendish colleagues.)
Of course, no type of storage container can stop your food from having insects inside the original packaging. But leaving these foods in their initial container can help prevent existing insect infestation from spreading.
A quality plastic five-gallon bucket with an effective gasket seal is an excellent option for long-term storage, particularly for bulk food items – like large bags of:
- Dehydrated foods
- Dry cereal
Plastic food storage containers are available in various sizes and shapes, and you can reuse them many times over many years. However, they are not flawless oxygen barriers. So it’s intelligent to purchase some oxygen absorbers separately to enhance your long-term storage effectiveness.
As I stated, I prefer glass, a completely inert substance, because there’s no chance it will permeate into my foods. Plastic does, even though it may do so surprisingly slowly.
It’s also wise to be careful about storing your foods in plastic buckets used to store other foods previously. For instance, you don’t want to hold your dried wheat grain or other dry products in a plastic bucket that had previously stored pickled eggs!
If you use plastic buckets for long-term food storage? Then place them off the floor. Doing so allows total surface air circulation on the outside to prevent moisture buildup.
And if you’re stacking them, don’t stack them too high, and keep the heaviest buckets at the bottom of the stacks. And, of course, keep them out of direct light, or place a light-blocking cover over them.
- Set of 6 - 5 Gallons in Volume - Food Grade HDPE Plastic
- 90 Mils Thickness (.09 inches) - All Purpose - Heavy Duty
- Metal Handle with Plastic Grip
- Lid Included
- The 2023 Complete Guide to Storing Food In Mylar Bags!
- Mouse Proof Storage – 15+ Solutions to Keep Rodents at Bay
- Best Canned Food for Survival | 2023 Definitive Guide
- How to Keep Flies Away From Food at an Outdoor Party [13 Ways]
4. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE) Bottles
I don’t recommend plastic bottles for drinking from, storing food in, or anything else. However, one and two-liter plastic bottles are everywhere, and they’re free. Plus, they get made with plastic resins that are said to be safe. But I’m not entirely convinced of that. Research says otherwise.
But if you are in a situation where you immediately require a storage container and have no other option, then yes, use a PETE bottle.
For instance, you might come across an excellent source of clean water while suffering vital dehydration during a zombie apocalypse. In that case, or something similar, then go ahead. Use a PETE bottle. Fill your bottles with haste! (But ensure to boil the water before drinking. Hopefully, the zombies do not notice.)
When using these containers for long-term food storage, wash and dry them thoroughly beforehand. Leave them out and open-lidded and upside-down for a day or two to ensure they contain no moisture.
Also, be aware that these bottles are not impermeable. They will allow a slow transfer of oxygen into the bottle over time, which can lead to bacterial growth and eventual food spoilage. Use an oxygen absorber to extend shelf life.
Plus, even a rodent with only-average chewing ability can blaze through a 2-liter bottle with relative ease, so don’t count on these bottles for critter protection.
These one-quart PET bottles are great for storing liquids on the cheap, plus they are a great size for single meals - think soup mixes, smoothie mix, and protein powder.
How To Protect Long-Term Food Storage From Insects
Nobody likes bugs in their food! When I think of weevils, all infiltrated into my emergency grain supply that I took extra care to store – it infuriates me! And it gives me the heebie-jeebies!
Side Note. Weevils are small (less than ¼-inch) herbivorous (plant-eating) beetles from the superfamily Curculionidae. And there are more than 95,000 species worldwide. They are legion. And they are hungry!
Trust me, when my wife and I first started learning about long-term food storage techniques, we made several dishearting mistakes. To say the least! We took extra care and performed every step meticulously, but we still found moths and larvae in our flour and corn!
To protect long-term food storage from insects, focus on dry ingredients, block it from light, and use clean and dry food-grade storage containers. You can also use oxygen absorbers in dry food storage containers, vacuum seal Mylar bags, and ensure that your containers have tight seals that work.
And understand that you can still end up with bugs in your stored foods even if you take every precaution and do everything perfectly.
That’s because bug eggs are already present in some foods you purchase or grow. So, conduct your due diligence when protecting your foods from insect infestations. Chances are that if you do eat some bug eggs, you won’t even know it!
My Final Thoughts About Long-Term Food Storage Containers
There are various other food storage container options besides those I reviewed here. Many homesteaders have succeeded with #10 metal coffee cans, traditional freezer bags, canned food, and little-known food storage containers.
And that’s just fine! Whatever works, works, and that’s always good.
However, for me, choices are more limited to what I know works, is versatile, and is cost-effective. Investing in long-term food storage products is relatively inexpensive, even if, like myself and my family, you only buy quality products with excellent customer reviews.
For me, glass containers with airtight, screw-on lids are best. Sure, they can get broken, but so can plastic storage bins. And Mylar bags can be ripped, torn, and chewed through. There are advantages and disadvantages to every option. But glass is inert, and I like the lack of toxicity linked to anything I store in my family’s disaster supply kit.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read along, and I hope you find our food storage container insights useful. I wish you the utmost success in all phases of your prepping and survival journey.
PS – I have forever vanquished all weevils! (NOT! But I shall fight them to the very last.)
Long-Term Food Storage Containers Resources, Works Cited, and Guides