In the Kitchen...Food Storage Containers, Buckets and Canisters

Clockwise; top left:  Simplehuman canisters, Glass quart and 1/2 gallon canning jars, Rubbermaid commercial cannisters
Many of us purchase and store our food supplies in bulk.  Even Myrna and I do this, although our families are smaller now.  We both purchase staples at Costco or Sam’s and the nearby Iowa Amish groceries like Stringtown near Iowa City and the Dutchman’s in Cantrill, saving over the price of smaller packages.  The other advantage is that these stores have a fast turnover on basic staples, so we don’t get flour with pests, for example. I also can often afford better quality for the price when I purchase this way.  I agree with Myrna that good quality ingredients are worth my time and effort to prepare.
It's the Pantry Principle; I restock my pantry instead of buying around a set menu.  I try to keep 3-6 months on hand of basic staples to keep our trips minimal.  Of course, I also can regularly to take advantage of meat sales and the garden, as well as dehydrating.  I also freeze butter and lard (not commercial lard).  I do keep molasses, maple syrup and honey in a little larger quantity too.
Some things I don't keep on hand in large quantities are fats and oils that I don't use fast enough and other items I use infrequently like some spices.  I also don't overstock frozen vegetables, for example, the quality deteriorates and they go on sale often.  
There isn't much reason to stock anything your family doesn't like or that you'll get tired of before you use it.  Sometimes it pays to share larger purchases. You'll see I don't buy and store little packages of mixes...too much wasteful packaging, ingredients we don't want to eat, not versatile enough and too expensive.  I don't stock snack foods except popcorn.  I make granola if we want dry cereal.
Many of these items are in packaging that isn't suitable for longer storage.  Plastic bags, in particular, are susceptible to tearing or puncturing so we repackage in more suitable containers.  
I love the square commercial Rubbermaid canisters for storing smaller amounts of flour and sugar, for keeping pasta and cereal and the like.  I have 3 and 6 quart sizes, the 6 quart ones hold about 10 pounds of flour or sugar.
I like the way they fit neatly into cabinets and on shelves with no waste, and they stack to store if they are empty.  Even larger ones are available, I purchased mine at Sam's at a good price, and have had some of them more than 10 years.
On our kitchen counters, I keep these wonderful canisters from Simple Human, which no longer seem to be available.  They have plastic liners to eliminate rusting, and push-button lids.  We keep our breakfast oatmeal and granola in them, as well as one with flour and one with plain sugar.  It’s getting very hard to find nice canisters like these anymore; occasionally you can find suitable ones in antique malls or thrift shops.
I especially like 5 gallon food-safe buckets with “gamma seal lids” for larger quantities.  These lids simply twist to open, making the buckets easy to use for flour, sugar and the like.  A 5 gallon bucket holds about 30 pounds of flour or white sugar.  I fill one with bags of brown and powdered sugar.
I don’t store so much that I need oxygen absorbers in the containers, but they are available for grains or home dehydrated foods especially.
Canning Jars, like half gallon ones I purchase at our local farm store are also very convenient for storing those bulk packages of things like chocolate chips, powdered milk, all kinds of dried beans and coconut.  Wide mouth quarts are also good for storage.  I can buy one-piece metal lids with an integral gasket for glass jars at the Amish stores.  I like them better than the plastic Ball storage lids because they won’t leak if tipped, especially liquids.  Used canning lids also work for storage - mark them as used. 
Institutional 2,3 and 5 gallon glass or plastic jars are a real find if you have a source available.  Myrna has some nice jars this size she purchased.
Remember to use "food-safe" buckets, plastic bags, and containers.  Trash bags, for instance, are treated with pesticides and not suitable for food storage.  Your choices may depend on your budget, availability, your storage area (metal may rust in damp basements, for instance) and food preferences.
Popcorn-type metal canisters work especially well, keeping out light and pests, and are good if rodents might be a problem. 
However your store your purchases, do it carefully, so you don’t waste any of your hard-earned dollars.

In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.  Proverbs 21:20


  1. We buy sugar and popcorn in bulk. This last time I vacuum sealed large bags of the popcorn to keep in the pantry. Before I stored them in 1 gallon containers.

    1. How do you like your vacuum sealer and what kind is it? I have been thinking about one for my daughter for Christmas.


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