Proper Storage of Grains: Long Term Grain Storage

May 12, 2022 6 min read

Proper Storage of Grains: Long Term Grain Storage

When natural disasters like floods and storms occur, food and water often get wiped out immediately, resulting in shortages. Not to mention the dangers presented by our current crises. To avoid falling victim to such situations and facing starvation, it’s wise to be prepared. That means building a robust emergency food kit and getting our family home storage starter kit.

The first step to stocking up on food at home is to set aside a supply of nutritious food buckets that provide a balanced diet that’s professionally packaged to be safe for 25 years. 

That said, grains make a good supplement that can add additional calories to your food storage. This article will help you learn how to store grain long-term at home. Why grains? Grains are a staple in most households and are cheap, meaning you can buy them in bulk. Even though grains are perishable, they can last for months or even years with proper storage and management. As such, they make good supplements for long-term food storage.

Grain Storage Emergency Checklist Download

However, beginners usually have a hard time storing grains. That is because knowing which grains are best suited for long-term storage and the most effective way to store them isn’t obvious. But with the help of this comprehensive guide, long-term grain storage will be a breeze.

Grain Storage

Importance of Storing Grain Long Term

Grains are a good source of nutrients. While grains don’t contain as many nutrients as freeze dried fruits and freeze dried vegetables, they have some important ones, including iron, magnesium, and selenium. Magnesium helps to regulate blood pressure, whereas selenium is an important antioxidant. All three help to prevent heart disease and can boost your overall health when eaten regularly as part of a balanced diet.

Whole grains are also packed with fiber. For example, one cup of barley contains 192 calories and 8 grams of fiber. As a result, some grains can make you feel fuller for longer after eating them. Besides that, fiber helps to support healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.

Grains are also versatile because they can be turned into many different foods or used in many recipes. For example, you can grind them down to make flour, which you can use in baking loaves of bread or making hot cereal or pancakes.

Whole grain kernels can also be cooked with vegetables or other ingredients to create side dishes, like pilafs or porridges. Grains like brown rice and barley can even replace pasta in some types of recipes! Let’s not forget they can make snacks like popcorn, pretzels, and granola bars.

Based on these benefits, grains, especially whole grains, make the good survival foods in times of emergency.

Different Grains Stored

What Grains Are Suitable for Long Term Storage?

Store Hard Grains

Hard grains stand out as the best emergency food to stock up on because they are not very sensitive when properly stored. They come with a thick outer covering that shields the actual seed.

When stored in the right environment, hard grains produce a much longer shelf life. That's because they won't absorb moisture from the atmosphere as readily, which can initiate the germination process.

The hard shell also helps to keep insects at bay since they can’t chew through it as easily to get to the grain itself. Unlike soft grains, you can technically keep these grains in a freezer once they’re dried because they contain no water in them. But avoid freezing fresh hard grain since the water inside will freeze, damaging the seed.

The best hard grains include:

  • Soft wheat
  • Flax
  • Kamut
  • Corn
  • Millet
  • Durum Wheat
  • Buckwheat
  • Hard Red Wheat
  • Hard White Wheat

Store Some Soft Grains

Just like the name suggests, soft grains have a softer outer shell. This makes it susceptible to insects and very sensitive to moisture. Soft grains can easily absorb atmospheric water and begin the germination process.

So, if you’re planning to stock up on soft grains as your emergency survival food supply, you want to prevent germination at all costs. Remember, once the seed germinates, it’s already ruined for storage purposes.

When you’re storing your grain, make sure to seal it inside something airtight, like a sealed bucket or airtight bag. Garages and basements tend to have adequate humidity to kick start the germination process. Therefore, your grains might not make it beyond a couple of days.

Nevertheless, there are a few soft grains that can maintain a longer shelf life if stored well. They include:

  • Barley
  • Rolled Oats
  • Rye
  • Hulled Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Pearled Oats

Grains Stored On Shelf

Grains to Avoid

While soft and hard grains can get stored for an extended period, we have a few grains that are not ideal for long-term grain storage. According to experts, you need to avoid these grains;

  • Brown Rice
  • Pearl Barley
  • Pot Barley

Brown rice and barley (pearl and pot) can go rancid after a few months (usually 4 to 6 months) of storage because of the processing methods. Even if brown rice is your go-to grain, it is not a good option as an emergency survival food. You’re better at storing the other options presented above.

During processing, the outer hull of the pot and pearl barley get removed. As a result, the seed gets exposed. If you store them, they will end up breaking down the line. If you wish to save your money, effort and time, avoid these grains.

grains being poured

How Long Can Grain be Stored?

If you’re thinking of long-term grain storage, chances are the question “How long can grain be stored?” has crossed your mind.

Well, hard grains tend to have a longer shelf life than their soft counterparts. When properly stored, hard grains can last for 10 to 12 years. And if you follow the proper storage techniques, you can extend the shelf-life of these grains up to 30 years or longer. Soft grains, on the other hand, have a shelf life of 8 years. But it’s possible to extend their shelf-life up to 20+ years.

But keep in mind, the shelf life of your grains will vary depending on various environmental factors, including:

  • Heat
  • Critters
  • Air
  • Moisture

Multiple Grains Stored

How to Store Grains Long Term at Home: Techniques

Now that you know what types of grains are suitable for long-term storage let's look at how to store grains long term at home. You can’t just buy grains and store them in your kitchen pantry and expect them to last for years. You need to follow the proper storage steps. They include:

Store Using food-grade buckets

Invest in a quality food bucket if you don’t have one. The buckets our emergency food supplies come in at Valley Food Storage are perfect if you have any empty ones. Alternatively, you can head to your local restaurant and ask for a free bucket or food storage containers. The airtight nature of food buckets makes them ideal for grain storage. They prevent oxygen, moisture, and insects from entering and damaging the grains.

Invest in a plastic bag

If you don’t have a food storage container, you can use food storage bags and use them to store grains, but they won’t be as durable. Ensure the bag is airtight, then seal it with a hair straightener, heat sealer, or vacuum sealer. The bag will keep your grains dry for a long time. However, you need to store them in a dark place to avoid light exposure since they’re transparent. And you’ll want to be diligent about protecting them from abrasion so the bags stay sealed.

Line your food storage container with mylar

Mylar will add a protective layer over the grain that will keep the pests and water outside. Sealing mylar bags inside of sealed buckets is a great combo to keep your grain safe long term.

Use silica gel packets

Silica gel packets are small packets of silica gel and can be purchased at local stores or online. Silica will absorb any extra moisture inside the container. This is especially important in humid climates. Sealing some silica inside a bucket or storage container will help absorb any extra moisture present at the time you’re sealing them.

Tips for Storing Grains Long Term

  •   Keep it sealed: Store grains in an airtight container that can’t be penetrated by rodents or insects.
  •   Keep it dark: Grains should be stored somewhere with low light levels.
  •   Keep it cool: If possible, store your grains in low-temperature areas like a basement or cellar.

Grains Stored In Kitchen

Conclusion

Long term grain storage might seem like a difficult process, but it’s not. You only need to follow the proper storage techniques, and you will have enough food for emergencies and other situations.

Learning to store your own grains is one step to becoming self-sufficient. Just ensure you shield them from sunlight, warmth, or moisture. Also, only store what you need and what you eat. On that note, visit valleyfoodstorage.com for more information on survival food storage and emergency foods kits because while grains are a great addition to your food storage, you’ll definitely want to add those to an existing food storage plan that actually covers all your nutritional needs.