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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know how long rice and beans will last if stored in glass mason jars or pails with oxygen absorbers? I have heard up to two years on the rice and maybe an eternity on the beans. Are these timelines correct?

I am not a big rice eater, but it is cheap and I am sure I could learn to love it in a s.h.t.f situation, but I thought it would last much longer than a year or two. Right now, we use very little rice so I would be buying and storing it almost solely for an emergency and not on the basis of a regular rotation.

I have also heard it should be frozen for a while to kill any bug eggs that may be in it????? Will the rice and beans just lose some of their taste if used after say five years, or would it cause my flesh to rot and fall off?

Also, I have some old mason jars that have rusty lids on them. Are these ok to use if I run them through the dish washer? Thanks.
 

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Beans and rice if stored in mason jars with a good lid and ring and kept dry will last quite few years. I do think that beans and rice do need to be cooked longer the older they are, but I am not sure how the nutrition would be after say, 10 years or so.
Now I buy used mason jars and have had boxes of them just left on the doorstep too, and if you can get the rusty rings and lids off and give them a real good soak in strong vinegar/water in the sink over night, then wash them in hot soapy water, that rust will come right off and the jars will be like new. Just check the rims carefully for nicks or chips that would let air in.
Due to the dreaded pantry miller being rampant in our area, all most all of my dry goods like rice, and beans and cornmeal and flours etc.... have to be sealed really well in tight containers. Most of my herbs are all stored in the different sizes of mason jars also, and then stored in the drawer or cupboard.

As for freezing stuff to kill off critters, I think it works very well, I have been known to store my extra flour in food safe frosting buckets (.99cents from my local bakery0 the good ones even have a rubber gasket in the lid) and then the buckets get stacked in the big freezer for at least a week, longer if I don't need the room in the freezer. But I do use about 25lbs of bread flour every other month or so, so it hasn't really gone bad on me yet.
 

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The wanderer
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Don't overlook the possibility of using other glass jars, such as from juice, peanut butter, pickles, salsa, etc. as storage containers for dry foods like rice and beans. It frees up your mason jars for canning.
 

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This may sound different, but I use my large pressure cooker to vac seal quart size mason jars. Just place food item, beans, rice or pretty much anything dry into jars with O2 absorbers, then put on lids and rings, tighten, place jars in pressure canner, remove or cover the rubber safety button on lid using heavy tape. Now seal lid on cooker, hook up vac hose(I have a refer vac pump) or from your vac sealing machine to the vent pipe that the pressure regulator sits on and draw a vacuum. Let the jars sit in there for a few minutes, now release the vacuum. Open the canner lid and check the jars, the lids should be concave similar to canning in the conventional manner. Take off rings and check the lids with your fingernail, if they resist they should be good to go.
I've been doing this for quite a while and have had no problems with lid failures.
Some vac sealers come with an attachment that will do small mouth jars in the same way, my method will do just about any jar with a good sealing lid.
I leave the jar rings on for extra protection.
 

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Bunkerbob! you are a genius!:eek: I have been using the little mason jar lid sealer that came with my food saver and I could have been doing lots in a "vacuum chamber".. Thanks for the great info!:congrat:
 

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Neil, we have used 2 qt plastic juice jugs with o2 absorbers for years for all our dry goods. A discussion on another thread asked about brown rice storage -- I opened a jug of brown rice dated 02-09 last week. I don't think I could have distinquished that rice from brown rice right off the shelf.

Regarding freezing to kill bugs -- no need if you use o2 absorbers.
 

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Don't overlook the possibility of using other glass jars, such as from juice, peanut butter, pickles, salsa, etc. as storage containers for dry foods like rice and beans. It frees up your mason jars for canning.
You're so right! I get the gallon glass olive/pickle jars from my BIL who works in a big kitchen- they are so good for so many things... like my big heirloom seed collections- it only takes one mouse to eat thru plastic Rubbermaid tubs for me, now all the good stuff is hidden behind glass!
 

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I use the clear plastic Dixie Crystals Sugar bottles - hold about 3.5 lbs of rice, beans varies in weight by type - smaller pack tighter for more weight. I seal the lidwith plastic bag material under it as I tighten. Three years later, tastes fine.
I also use the NEW quart and gallon paint buckets from Lowes/Home Depot, using a plastic or mylar bag as a food-safe liner. "Gold" lined food grade buckets are available for higher cost, not needing a liner.

The white Nondairy Creamer bottles work well for dry food storage too, sealed like the sugar bottles. I write contents on all with black magic marker, with date sealed.

If you buy spaghetti sauce, the Classico brand uses Mason jars that take standard Ball lids. Gotta love 'double-duty' packaging! :)
 

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The wanderer
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I'm sure everyone knows this, but just in case...
When you get the jar filled with rice, beans, whatever, shake the jar and tap on it and jiggle the stuff down as tight as you can without making it into powder! That not only allows you to get more in the jar, but more stuff in the jar equals less air space.
 

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Someone gave me an interesting idea today! Vacuum seal (or put in a ziplock and squeeze air out) some bouillion cubes and toss those in the jars/buckets with the rice. Have them there, handy and ready to use. (Not that everything you make with rice will want to have bouillion in it!)
 

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I avoid bouillion as it is mostly just salt, MSG and some other not-so-healthy ingrediants. A bit of salt, pepper and butter make a good rice flavoring.
 

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Yeah, regular commercial bouillion is not fit for regular consumption. If the SHTF it would be an "okay" addition to pots of beans and rice, with the addition of whatever veggies, greens, or wild foods you have around. It would at least add a little flavor, and the sodium would be diluted and probably welcome, considering the active lifestyle we'd all the thrown into.

Fortunately we buy ours from a health food co-op and it doesn't have MSG in it or some of the other chemicals, and it's not a part of our regular diet. We make our own broth most of the time. But I'm glad to have it to stick in with the rice and beans for our long -term storage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Should the jars be vacuum sealed or will the O2 abs. create enough of a vacuum? I do like the bullion idea too. Even if you don't want to use the bullion all the time it will be safely tucked away and can be used in anything. The bullion cubes should not hurt anything right? Thanks.
 

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Nah, the bouillion cubes won't hurt the rice or beans. I'd put them in a ziplock bag to keep them together. They keep just about forever. It would at least add some flavor to a pot of "whatever" occasionally!

I don't vacuum seal the jars with rice or beans in them. I just make sure they're air-tight and in a dark, cool place, preferably one that doesn't have a lot of day/night temperature changes. A basement, crawl space, or root cellar are ideal. Other good places are under beds, in closets, under dressers or sofas.

There was a time when we had 3 cases of canning jars stacked three high at each end of our sofa. We cut a piece of plywood the size of the boxes and laid it on top, covered both with tablecloths, and had a matched set of "end tables". We put a lamp on them and no one knew what they were!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Is a 100cc 02 absorber a good size to use in a large mason jar for storing the rice and beans? Thanks.
 

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Is a 100cc 02 absorber a good size to use in a large mason jar for storing the rice and beans? Thanks.
That should be fine, Neil. We use 500cc packets in 2qt jugs with lots of extra absorbing capacity to spare. Just out of curiosity -- the 500 cc are dirt cheap, about $14 per 50 -- why do you use the little ones?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have everything but the packets. I figured I would ask first. I will also go with the big ones. Thanks.
 

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If you can keep out the bugs, white rice and beans should last practically forever. I store some in mason jars to save space because I want to store canning jars too...why not have them do double duty? Tamping the food in the jars tight eliminates air space that bugs need to live, so I haven't used O2 absorbers yet, and so far it's fine.
Old beans last forever but the older beans take longer to cook and sometimes do not get soft at all. Soaking them for longer before cooking might prevent that.
Brown rice is more wholesome but unfortunately does not store well. It will turn rancid because of the oils in it.
 

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Brown rice is more wholesome but unfortunately does not store well. It will turn rancid because of the oils in it.
Brown rice stores well if you use 02 absorbers.
 

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YouTube - Long term food storage part 1

Is where put a video produced 4 or so years ago showing you how to properly pack dry goods for long term storage.

Your better off with buckets than mason jars- more durable, easier to load out, CHEAPER and also a LIGHT BARRIER.

The argument about only using a small portion at a time therefore the mason jars are the better way to go isn't viable. At any given time we have 3-8 buckets open in the kitchen and pantry area with grains, beans, oatmeal, etc. in them. You get what you want out of them and roll the mylar back down on itself. If you KNOW it's going to be a couple months before you get into them again, you COULD re-seal the mylar but unless it's something hydroscopic, it really isn't necessary.

I've been storing food since 1986-87 and eating storage food on pretty much a daily basis for over a decade.

White rice will store much better than brown as brown still has the germ. Better for you, yes no doubt. Store better? No way. We have had brown rice get bugs within a few MONTHS.

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