A Year Without the Grocery Store has a short and photo-filled article on a proper way to prepare buckets for long term food storage in How to Properly Fill Your 5-Gallon Bucket for 30 Years of Food Storage. This is pretty much the way that I sealed my own food storage buckets, though I just put the oxygen absorber in before starting to seal the mylar. On some bags, I also used the tube of our FoodSaver vacuum sealer and sucked the air out of the mylar bag before sealing it the last little bit. I don’t know if that helps much because the oxygen absorber should take care of it, but I was hedging against not having put enough oxygen absorbers into my bag. But I have been accused of overdoing things sometimes.
Here on the blog, we’ve been doing a lot of talk about five-gallon buckets recently. We’ve discussed how to get 5-gallon buckets for free or at least cheap. There was also a recent post on using a five-gallon bucket for a container garden. Today, we’re going to talk about how you properly fill your five-gallon bucket to ensure that your food storage remains good for up to 30 years!
I remember the first time I sealed oats, wheat, beans, and rice in Mylar bags. I was afraid that I was going to do it all wrong and lose all my food. However, I have some good news! I didn’t lose any of the food that I sealed up, and I’m going to walk you through the very same, simple process I used.
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Grab your five to six-gallon bucket with a lid, a five-gallon Mylar bag, a 2000cc oxygen absorber, a 2 foot or longer length of 2×4 (or 1×4), and an iron. Start by plugging the iron in and letting it heat up.
Stand the Mylar bag up in the bucket and pour whatever it is that you want to preserve into the bag.
When the bucket looks just about full, you’ll want to bounce it up and down and then twist it back and forth quickly. This will help the contents to settle. Do this several times and add more. Once it’s all settled and it’s filled within two inches to the top, lay the 2×4 across the bucket.
Pull the Mylar bag up, straighten it as much as is possible and pull it across the 2×4. You’re going to iron the bag, all but two inches across. Keep it as flat as possible while doing this.
Pull the bag back up, and then push it down into the bucket to squeeze as much air out as possible. If you are using single sealed oxygen absorbers, this is when you will open the single oxygen absorber. Stuff it through the 2 inches that you left open.
Pull the bag back up and straighten it over the 2×4 and iron the rest of the way across.
Fold the bag back down. Stuff it into the bucket and place the lid on.
Write the date and the contents on the lid.
And you’re done!
If you do NOT purchase single sealed oxygen absorbers, then do steps 1-4 for every bucket that you are going to do. If you have ten buckets that you’re doing then do all ten buckets up through step five BEFORE you do step six. Then you’ll need to do step six as quickly as possible so that the oxygen absorbers don’t lose their potency.
Follow the rest of steps 7 and 8, and you’ll be done.