I just recently decided to build up my pantry and I'm kind of lost on how best to story bulk grains (rice, quinoa, etc.) and beans. I bought 10-12 pound bags and can't figure out how best to store them. Right now they are still in the bags they came in, but I'd like to put them in containers to keep them fresh. Ideas? What do you use?
Storing Bulk Grains/Beans
I put them in 5 liter mason jars. I found them pretty cheap (on sale) at Sur La Table of all places ($10 each!). I have some of my stuff in smaller, BPA-and-other-stuff-free plastic but it irks me that someday they'll find something else in them that contaminates my food. Of course, they're easier to use because they're square and fit nicely.
There are many ways to store bulk grains. You can store them in 5-gallon buckets (should be FDA-approved for food storage if there will be no barrier between the food and bucket) or you can store in non-FDA approved buckets so long as you use Mylar bags. If you're storing long term then use oxygen absorbers as well. If short term (and wanting to get into the bulk foods often) then using FDA-approved buckets with gamma-seal lids is the best bet. You can seal in #10 cans as well but that requires special equipment. Vacuum sealing is an option too but doesn't work as well as mylar bags (for repelling oxygen). In general, people worry too much about storing dry goods; unless you're storing for a lifetime (literally) or live in an extremely hot and humid climate (without proper climate control) then there isn't too much to worry about if the food will be used. You can find out quite a bit more about bulk foods and storage here: http://rethinksurvival.com/net-guide/long-term-food-storage-and-bulk-foods/