Q#1: How do you store grain in buckets?
Q#2: Do you have to do anything to keep air out?
A: We have two short answers and one long answer for that!
Short answer #1: Grains can be poured directly into sanitized buckets with airtight lids. The grain can also be put in smaller containers such as sealed plastic bags, which are then sealed in an airtight bucket. The seals prevent moisture, dust, and insects from entering. The thick walls of the bucket will deter rodents from chewing their way in.
We have stored grain both ways. Kitchen-sized containers are handy, but loose grain is faster to pack if you’re working with a large quantity. Our ultimate favorite is vacuum sealing bags of grain with our FoodSavers and putting them in square 4-gallon sealed buckets that stack really neatly.
Short answer #2: Grains are not damaged by oxygen, but insects can thrive in grain containers if there is oxygen for them. Plastic buckets and polyethylene bags inhibit the flow of oxygen, as do tightly sealing lids. So if you have clean grains with no insects present, just seal the grain up.
If there’s a chance insects have invaded the grains, treat the grains (see link below) or insert an oxygen absorber. Generally speaking, a 1500 cc. oxy absorber is sufficient for a 5-gallon bucket of grains. You can use three 500 cc. absorbers in a bucket.
Long answer: For more details about preparing grain for storage (including cleaning farm-fresh grains and avoiding insect infestation), head on over to our favorite food storage info center: Preparing Your Family. Below is an excerpt from a post called The Proper Care and Feeding of Stored Wheat . The info is applicable to all grains.
What should I store grain in? Well, my absolute favorite way to store wheat is in sealed plastic bags with about ten or fifteen pounds of wheat per bag. Then get four gallon square buckets and drop the bags into the bucket. You can probably get two or three bags into the bucket depending on how well you pack the bags.
Rudy’s Tip: Use clear poly-ethylene bags for this. It lets you inspect the contents without opening it up and you can readily detect insect infestation, mold, etc without worrying about cross contamination. One of the reasons for the bags is to reduce the potential of cross contamination by compartmentalizing your wheat. It would suck to lose a months worth of wheat due to contamination!
As with most food items you lose nutritional value if you subject the wheat to too much heat for too long. Try to keep storage temperatures under 60 degrees if possible and don’t expose the buckets to direct sunlight.
How do I prepare wheat for storage? If you bought dirty wheat, which is generally what you get if you buy directly from a farm, you need to clean it…Once you have clean wheat, or if you bought wheat that was already cleaned, you want to pour it into your clear poly bags…and treat against insects.