Preserve and Store Grain with Dry Ice

Adding whole grains (gluten or non-gluten) to your food storage? For long-term storage, intact whole grains (not already ground into flour) will not only last much longer, but will afford a greater diversity for cooking. Wheat berries as well as other whole grains can be purchased in bulk and when stored properly, has an unlimited shelf life.

 International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

To purchase whole grains (wheat, rye, spelt, Kamut, rice, barley, corn, millets, oats, rice, sorghum, triticale, Einkorn) there are several options available. Depending on your location, you may find a bulk buying natural food distributor such as Azure StandardSomething Better Natural Foods, Country Life to name of few and these companies deliver by truck with a shipping charge and most require a minimum purchase to deliver. For grains and even legumes, you can go directly to the grower, such as Wheat Montana. They too, with a minimum order, will deliver to you by truck. Other options  for purchasing whole grain in bulk include local growers, local mills, local food co-ops and health food stores.

Once the grain is purchased and delivered, the question is how to best store safely to protect your investment and have the food available when you need it? If you chose to purchase your grain and other dried goods in 5-gallon vacuum-sealed buckets, all you need do is store your buckets in a cool, low-moisture environment, not on dirt floors, concrete floors (place wood planks on the floor and place buckets on the planks), away from heat and moisture sources such as washing machines, dryers, dampness. If you purchase your grains in paper sacks (much less expensive option), you will need to pre-treat your grains before storage to avoid larvae hatching or bug infestation. Now before you get grossed out, grain growers do clean their grain for sale, but as grains are grown in the outdoors, most will come with attached eggs (larvae) that will need to be eradicated before storing, or they may hatch. Have you heard of the pantry moth? Here’s more info on that bug and others that can ruin your investment and storage.

To ensure that all living critters are no longer living before storing grain, I place all the sacks into the freezer for 72 hours. If you do not have an extra freezer that will accommodate 25 or 50 pound sacks, you can open the sack and divide the grain up into smaller plastic bags and freeze those. If you buy several sacks and cannot fit all of them in, freeze what you can, leave the others in a cool, dry place while the first ones freeze, then when you take out the first batch, freeze the second. I would not leave the grain at room temp in the paper sacks for more than a few days though. Now that the grains has been frozen, I remove the sacks from the freezer, and store them in buckets. I use 5 or 6-gallon buckets (more on buckets in a separate article) with a tight fitting lid with a gasket, or a spin lid with a gasket. I fill each bucket with dry ice on the top and bottom, like so…

Dry ice in chunks

Dry ice in chunks

  • On the bottom of bucket, place 2 ounces of dry ice (use gloves to avoid burns!)
  • Over top of the dry ice, place an inverted PAPER plate (not plastic) to cover the dry ice so it will not touch the grain. Dry ice can burn the food if it comes in contact with it.
  • Over top of the plate, pour in the grain removed from 72 hours in the freezer.
  • Leave several inches to the top of the bucket as headspace.
  • Place another paper plate, this time, right side up on top of the grain and push down slightly creating an indentation.
  • Put another 2 ounces of dry ice on top of the plate (not touching the grain.
  • Place the lid on the bucket, press down firmly all around.
  • Pull one side of the lid up just enough to let the gas escape.
  • Check back every 30 minutes and pull up the lid more to allow the oxygen to escape as it is being displaced by the dry ice. This is called “burping” the buckets and it needs to be done or the lid will pop off. Once there is no more gas to burp out, seal the lid (we use a rubber mallet) all around and label the type of grain and the date.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from heat, moisture or light.
dry ice bucket

On top of grain, place plate and dry ice

That’s all there is to it! Use this method with other dry goods, even powders, flour and grain products such as pasta (remove from original packaging and place in plastic bags  or mylar bag and oxygen absorbers inside the bucket.

The Prepared Bloggers - How We Preserve Foods

Join us as we share different reasons and methods of how we preserve food to create a long-term storage plan for our families. Click on each link to be taken to a new blog with helpful information and tips.

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Disclaimer: There are NO affiliate links in this review. Vickilynn Haycraft is an independent Product Reviewer. She does not sell products or accept payment for reviews. The products reviewed are either purchased by Vickilynn Haycraft or provided for review and all reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained. .

© 2014 All Rights Reserved Vickilynn Haycraft and Real Food Living

About Vickilynn Parnes

A student of health and nutrition for 40+ years, Vickilynn Parnes has over 30 years of actual hands-on experience reviewing and personally using different tools of the homemaking vocation, focusing on the areas of health and nutrition. Vickilynn is a magazine columnist, product reviewer, cookbook author and radio talk show host, as well as being full-time mom to 5 children.