How to properly store beans and rice: And how I store mine

Have you been storing your beans and rice properly?

A bag of pinto beans and a bag of white rice, side by side

I've been an avid prepper for over four years now. Yet, I've only recently started storing beans and rice. Ironic, eh? You may be wondering why that is. Well, first of all, I have been concentrating on stocking foods that my family will actually eat. Secondly, beans and rice take a long time to cook (especially beans). Both have to be soaked, then rinsed (using precious water). Beans have to be cooked for at least a couple of hours, which will take extra fuel or wood. And, I just wasn't sure I wanted to go that route.

So, over the course of a few years I've done a little research and some thinking. and I finally came up with an idea that will work for me. But, before I share that with you I want to discuss the proper way to store beans and rice. By the way, when I refer to beans in this article I am referring to pinto beans. I'm sure the same would apply to other beans, but I just wanted to be clear on it. And, when I refer to rice I am referring to plain old white rice. (Reference photo above.)

As a new prepper, my first thought for storing beans and rice was that I would need to buy big huge bags of each and then put them in my food storage area. You know, just keeping them in the bags they come in. And, since I don't have a lot of space for food storage I wasn't sure how that would work for me. So, I put off buying any.

Later, I learned that I should buy some round five gallon food grade buckets and large mylar bags and place the beans and rice in the mylar bags and then put them in the buckets. Still in large bulky quantities. Space was still an issue so I continued to put off buying them.

Somewhere along the way I read that even though they could last 20-30 years, the beans and rice could eventually grow bugs in the bags; even inside the mylar bags. It was recommended that both be placed in the freezer for about a week before storing in order to kill off any bugs and larvae that were in the bags. When I read this I was thankful I hadn't started storing any as of yet. Then, I wondered, how in the world was I going to put 50 or even 25 pound bags in my freezer? Once again, I put off buying them.

So, over the years I have read about and learned that the proper way to store both beans and rice is as follows:

  1. Put the beans and rice in a freezer and keep them there for at least a week to kill off any bugs or larvae. When you take them out of the freezer let them thaw at room temperature until they are completely thawed.

  2. Place a five gallon sized mylar bag inside a five gallon food grade bucket. Put the beans and rice in the mylar bag, along with one to two 2000cc oxygen absorbers or two to three 1000cc oxygen absorbers, seal the mylar bag, and put the lid on the buket.

And, that's it! So simple, yet so easy to leave out a couple of steps if you don't know about them. Oh, and if you missed a step don't worry about it, it's easy to rectify. Simply remove the beans and/or rice from the bucket and bag they are currently stored in. Or take the ones in the original bags out from where they are stored. Then, you can fill up gallon sized freezer bags with the beans and/or rice and place the newly filled bags in your freezer for a week. Once the week is up, take the bags out of the freezer to thaw and then proceed with Step 2 above.

The only thing was, even knowing the proper way to store them I still couldn't see how it would work or be enough of a benefit for me to actually add them to my preps. Then one day I was putting together a meal-in-a-bag and it dawned on me!

How I store my beans and rice

As I said, one day it just dawned on me! I could save individual cooking portions of the beans and rice in either smaller (pint or quart) size mylar bags or even in vacuum sealer bags! For instance, in an emergency situation, I would be cooking for a family of four. I could put four servings in individual bags. How ingenious! (Then, of course, I immediately said, “thank you Lord!” because it was obvious it was an inspired concept since it wasn't something I had thought of in the past four or so years.) I could then place those individual bags into the food grade buckets. Wow. What a concept!

But wait...that still didn't solve my problem of the fact that my family would not be happy eating beans and rice since it wasn't something they are currently familiar with. So, I brushed the whole idea aside. Again. Sigh.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I was dehydrating some pinto beans to use in making Chili meals-in-a-bag. The wheels started turning in my mind and I thought of how if I dehydrated pinto beans for long term storage they would be easier to cook when they were needed. And, I could do the same with rice. It seemed the thought of storing beans and rice just wouldn't leave me alone!

Well, eventually, I decided since the idea wouldn't leave me alone maybe it was something I really was supposed to do. After all, sometimes the Lord has to hound me about things for me to listen. I knew that my family would not be happy about having to eat beans and rice, but how could I ignore the promptings? Besides, if it was down to beans and rice or nothing, they would eat it right? I could only hope so. But, at this point I knew it was something I had to do. So, once I decided to listen and follow through I came up with a plan of how I could store beans and rice.

So, can you guess what I decided? You may be right! I decided that I would cook and dehydrate the beans and rice before storing them! Yes! That way, they would take less time to cook when it came time to eat them and they would use less water in said cooking. Brilliant, don't you think?!? I also decided that I would store them in four serving size portions. In either mylar bags or vacuum sealer bags (whichever I had the most of on hand). You see? I decided to do exactly what the Lord had been showing me and prompting me to do. Finally. I also decided that each time I went to the grocery store to get groceries I would pick up a one pound bag of each. That way, I would have just the right amount to work with for each batch of dehydrating, and avoid the huge bulky bags and the mess they could make. Because believe me, if I had to work out of those bulk bags there would be a mess!

I realize that my idea of what will work for my family when it comes to storing the beans and rice for long term will not work for everyone. However, I wanted to share it with you because I know that there are some of you that it will work for.

If you don't have the means or time to go with my idea here, at least you can make sure you are storing your bulk bags properly. And thereby avoiding opening up a bag crawling with bugs insid it in the future.

Until next time...happy prepping, and God bless!

Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.