Food Storage for the Frugal- Making Do

This summer, we got rice weevils in the pantry.  I had to throw out an entire 25 lb. box of rice along with quite a few bags of beans.

I could have cried.

Then I had to take everything out of the pantry while we scrubbed and cleaned, and put all the legumes and grains in the freezer to kill any leftover eggs.  It took three days to eradicate them.

I think I did cry after that.

So, I started looking into proper food storage.

Then, my budget cried.

You can package rice, corn, beans, and such for the long term (think, 10 years) using mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and buckets.  These are actually called SuperPails on a lot of preparedness websites.  You can also can the items- even dry items.  Or get a Foodsaver with a mason jar attachment, and vacuum pack your dry goods in mason jars.

Those methods are the gold standard, and what you should aspire to in your food storage.

But, what if you don’t anything extra to invest in food storage?  My friends, do not let perfectionism keep you from preparing for unforseen events!

Keeping a stock of food on hand is important, y’all. You don’t want to be caught with an empty pantry when the Zombie Apocalypse hits.  Plus, you’ll at least have food if there’s a layoff or accident that takes away your income.

It doesn’t do any good to spend the money on food to store, only to have it spoil or be eaten by pests, either.  How to keep the bugs out, the nutrition in, and not spend a fortune?

Well, I have a duct-tape budget, not a gold standard budget.  So I do the best I can, with an aim to improving things when I can.  Something is better than nothing.

Enter my free food storage containers.  Yes, in a pinch you can make your own pest-proof storage containers.

Please ignore the fact that Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper is not real food. In fact, it’s anti-food.  But Hubs is a big boy and that’s what he drinks.

Two liter soda bottles make great storage containers.  They’ll hold 4 pounds of most beans, and even more rice.  The bottles are easy to come by, food grade, and free.   You can use them to store and haul water, too.

Keep them in a dark closet or under the bed.  Light degrades the nutrition in food, but keeping it in the dark helps preserve the vitamins.  Also, don’t use milk jugs.  Those will degrade after a few weeks, they are designed to break down.  I left the label on the bottles to help keep as much light off the contents as possible.

(Under the bed? Well, yes.  My goal is to have a 30 day food storage, and for 11 people, that’s a lot of beans, rice, oatmeal, popcorn, and, well, everything.  My island cabinets are filled with food and overflow heads upstairs!)

Pour in your dry goods. Use a funnel.  I use a chopstick to keep things flowing.  Label the bottle with the date and contents. Squeeze the air out of the bottle as much as possible, then screw the cap on tightly.


Linking up! ~ Large Families Store Food


Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet

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I love comments. Tell me what you think!

  • lotus April 12, 2013, 2:52 pm

    I wish you hadn’t thrown out your rice. I come from asia were rice weevils are a common infestation problem. If it does not gross you out totally,I have a suggestion. You could put your infested rice in plastic bags and stick them in the freezer for a day 0r tw0. This would kill the weevils and their eggs. Right before using, wash the rice a couple of times in water until water is clear. The dead weevils and other debris would come floating right to the top. I understand that not everyone would be comfortable with this rice saving method but just letting you know that the rice is still consumable.

  • Joyce E December 9, 2014, 3:05 pm

    Lotus “stole” my first suggestion! LOL Weevils can be controlled by any of a number of things. Since nobody in our house drinks soda pop of any kind, we re-use glass jars that contained anything from peanut butter to pickles and more. Pints, quarts, half-gallons and even gallons are fair game to reuse.

    Bay leaves help keep these little pests at “bay;” I put one or two in the bottom of a pint jar (more, the larger the jar), then put a twist-tie bag in the jar. (They are still cheap!) If it’s a larger jar I use more baggies. Pour the rice, beans, wheat berries etc. into the bag, taking car to shake the stuff down, close each bag — then put the whole jar in your freezer for 48 to 96 hours. Take it out, allow it to thaw for four days — and freeze it again for a second round. That will kill any new-hatched larvae and your dry foods will stay good a lot, lot longer.


About Milehimama

Desperately thrifty mom of 10, sharing my frugal tips, easy shortcuts, recipes, and thoughts on natural living and real food.

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