Types of Food Storage Containers-Mountain House Freeze Dried Food

By: Chelsea Seger

There are several types of food storage containers. In this article, we will look at each type and learn the pros and cons of each.
You must use food grade containers for storing food. The reason is that you dont want chemicals in the food reacting with the material that the storage container is made out of. Common food storage containers are five plastic gallon buckets, #10 metal cans, and glass jars.
Food grade plastic five gallon buckets are a very good choice for storing food. Don't think that just any plastic bucket will work. Non-food grade buckets will generally react with the food in the bucket, imparting an off taste, or worse yet, undesirable chemicals. For this reason, only use buckets made of food grade plastic.
These types of food grade buckets can be purchased from a supply house. I have personally used the Ropak brand of bucket for years and have had great success. Ropak is a manufacturer, and if you live near one of their plants, you can buy the buckets directly from them. However, you will have to buy a full palette worth of buckets. So, you will want to go in with some of your friends in order to split the cost.
These buckets have nice gaskets in the lids that provide a great seal while your food is in storage. If you use nitrogen to pack your food in the buckets, the gasket will keep the nitrogen in, and the air out for many years, or as long as the gasket is good. I have had some food stored in these buckets for fifteen years and have never had a problem.
An important thing to remember is that you don't want to stack too many of these buckets on top of each other. For example, if you stack two buckets, the well in the lid of the bottom bucket will just fit the bottom of the top bucket. So, the top bucket will not sip off the bottom one. However, over time the weight of the top bucket(s) can break the lid of the bottom bucket, cause loss of atmosphere, contamination, or insect infestation.
Early on in my food storage career, I learned about the problems with stacking buckets, so I have never had the problem. As a result, I can not tell you how many buckets you can stack on top of each other and get away with. I built shelves specifically for my food storage buckets. The distance between the shelves is a few inches more than the height of the bucket. Using this method, I have never had problems with any of my buckets. If you do this, make sure you build the shelves very strong in order to support all the weight.
Glass jars are another popular method of storing food. They are easy to come by as most grocery stores sell them. Initially, the cost of home canning equipment may seem expensive, but the jars can be used over and over, as long as the mouth is in good shape (no chips or cracks). The lids however can not be used over. Some may tell you that they can be used over, but they would be incorrect. If you try to use the lids over, you will just waste a lot of time and energy, not to mention the grief it will cause.
Canning jar lids actually come in two parts, a ring and a lid. The ring holds the lid down on the jar. It is wise to store some extra lids and rings along with your food storage, so you have a supply on hand when you need it. You will also need some kind of pressure cooker in order to seal the jars. There are many types used in canning, along with information on how to do home canning.
Metal cans are another very popular method of food storage. The metal cans used in the canning industry for wet-pack canning are designed to last only for a few years. So, canned goods must be rotated frequently to keep the stock healthy.
If you would like to do metal canning yourself, you will need empty metal cans, lids, and a can sealer. The equipment is harder to find and is also more expensive than glass jar canning. The members of the Mormon church have been doing this type of canning for years and are very experienced at it. They have canning facilities that have all the necessary equipment to do this type of canning. You may not have access to one of these facilities, so you would have to acquire the equipment yourself. Although I have never done it, I have heard that the can sealers are expensive. You would have to determine if it was worth it to you or not.
#10 metal cans are popular in the long term food storage industry. The size is good for storage and the cans are lined with s special liner that will not react with the food. #10 cans that are packaged by the manufacturer will be made of the proper materials, will have the correct type of inert atmosphere that wont react with the food, and will be sealed properly. The only drawback I can see is that once they are opened they can not be resealed. You can put a plastic lid on the opened can which will help. But you will need to use from the opened can in order to get the full use of the food. In my experience, this is not a problem. You just put the lid on the can, put it on the shelf, and use it as you need it.
Diversification is good to have in a food storage program. It is good to have food stored in #10 cans, 5 gallon buckets, and home-canned jars. My personal food storage contains all three types of storage and I enjoy the flexibility it provides.
If you are just starting a food storage program for your family, I would recommend starting with a commercially-packed food unit made up of #10 cans containing freeze-dried food. This is the fastest and easiest way to start a food storage program. While it may seem initially expensive, when compared to the cost of food purchased from a grocery store over the period of a year, it may not be that much more expensive. It all depends on your spending habits. Some manufacturers, like Mountain House, offer freeze-dried food in #10 cans that has a 25 year shelf life. After starting with a commercial food unit, you can grow your food supply with food packed in five gallon buckets and do some home canning in glass jars. Doing it this way would provide you with all three types of food storage.

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