A Kerr mason jar

A Kerr mason jar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you have read my compelling blog posts and you are saying to yourself, why this bright man has convinced me to become prepared. “I ran out to my local store and found two 25lb bags of rice I am ready for the zombies to attack my home and…….ummmm……Jeff…” Yes I say, “…how am I supposed to store this…?” Great question!

Let’s look at containers first because there are some rules you NEED to follow!

Is your container food grade? What is a food grade container, you ask? Well it is a container that you can store food in…duh… usually plastic is what we are talking about here and not all plastics are made alike.

Plastics can contain products harmful to humans and animals that will leach into the food that you store in them. There is a lot of information out there about the types of plastic and grades of plastic and this’s and that’s, let me try to simplify it. How do you know if your buckets or containers are food grade i.e. safe for you to use? There are a few ways.

 If you are purchasing them call the company that made them and ask, easy peasy.

 If you are “collecting them” because you’re cheap like me, know what they were used for! For instance even if a bucket is food grade, if it had paint in it DON’T USE IT, plastic can absorb harmful chemicals and leach they back into your food, in fact if I am looking for buckets I only go to 2 types of places fast food and grocery stores.

 Fast food places if you ask them usually have pickle buckets that they just discard and are usually happy to give them to you, the bakery sections of grocery stores use 3 and 5 gallon buckets for lard/icing and again are usually happy to set them aside for you to take.

The Grocery store buckets usually will clean up with a brisk washing with very hot water and dishwashing soap, to cut the grease that was in the icing. The pickle barrels from the fast food places have a heavy vinegar smell to them, I scrub them out with hot water, bleach, and dish soap, then set them out on the porch  (preferable in the sun) for a few weeks, I have found this is the best way to kill the smell. Bring them back in and wash them one more time and you are off and running. While washing the lids check the o-ring that is built into the lid I take it out and look to see if it has any nicks in it 99 time out of 100 they are in good shape, I also like to make sure that I keep the same lid with the same bucket (they seem to fit better this way).

The other type of containers that I really like to use are…drum roll please…2 liter soda bottles! These can be great for rice, beans, sugar, coffee, salt or anything else you can fit into them.

Another great option are mason jars, you can find these at most  garage sales, you will need to purchase new lids but even I “El Cheapo” will pay for new mason jar lids. Really any container that is food safe and can be sealed will work.

I will cover how to use these containers in later blogs

Keep up the good work you are doing great, and making lots of progress!!!