Bulk Grain Storage

Danielle asked: When you buy the 25 pound containers what do you have to
store them in?

img_5264 I am a big fan of buying our grains in larger quantities to help save money on our food budget and keep things simple and organized. I find it especially useful to find a nearby friend to split these purchases as well, as our garage is rather small in our condo. Recently, my friend Samara and I split a 50 pound bag of Montana Prairie Gold wheat (which we highly recommend as one of the best whole wheat grain choices!) and it cost each of us just $15! We keep several large 5 gallon paint buckets in our garage for various grain and sweetener purchases (including whole wheat – hard and soft wheat, kamut, oats, sucanat, and spelt grains).

In the kitchen, we keep glass gallon jars which we refill regularly from our outside storage supply. This is Karis’ favorite task – refilling the glass jars with a measuring cup!

These five paint gallon buckets can be purchased new at your local Home Depot or home improvement store for around $5 each. You may be able to aquire them used at a more frugal cost from a local deli or bakery. Best to find ones that have a strong seal (o-ring) to keep as fresh as possible. Grain should be stored in a cool dark place.

It works for me!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

48 Responses to Bulk Grain Storage

  1. Jonathan Wells October 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Hello, I see this post is from a few years ago, but I’m wondering which co-op in Vancouver you get your grains from? I live in Vancouver and am trying to find a source for bulk wheat and/or oat grass seeds/berries for sprouting and juicing and for my cat. Do you know if whole grains you buy in bulk will sprout or do you need to buy special seeds for sprouting?

    • Lindsay October 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

      I would find an Azure Standard drop spot in Vancouver. There are several and you can get all your bulk grains from them.

  2. Barbara October 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    I live in East Texas with high temperatures and even higher humidity. I have lmited space for storing grain and other food storage. Is it okay to store items in our garage? what do you advise.Thank you for your help.

  3. Jennifer July 14, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    I just moved to the Atlanta area and am looking for places to buy wheat grain. Breadbeckers is alot more expensive than the source I was using in another state (I was paying $20 for a 50 lb. bag through a co-op). Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Susie E January 28, 2011 at 8:30 am #

      Harry’s in Marietta carries organic hard white and red wheat berries for under $30 for 50 pounds. Not sure if their Alpharetta store carries it. The cheapest yeast I’ve found is at BJ Wholesale, $4.50 for 2 1-lb packs (with an 18 month shelf life).

      • Hugh March 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

        I called the Alpharetta Harry’s and they do not have it, but the Marietta one does. They gave me a $27.99 price for 50 pounds of Hard Red Wheat Berries, I’m going to go by there this weekend hopefully.

  4. Juju_mommy May 16, 2010 at 8:32 am #

    I know this is an old post, but wanted to share a resource I’ve found that may be helpful to others who are reading these comments. I follow several blogs, including this one, that all rave about Azure Standard. I got their catalog, was THRILLED at the awesome assortment of items they had and the affordable price.. but then my excitement went away when I realized that they don’t deliver here in the South (freight just too expensive). Anyways, after a long search for a good grain source that wouldn’t kill me on shipping costs, I finally found Honeyville Grain (http://honeyvillegrain.com/). I ordered from there because they had shipping for only $4.xx flat no matter how much you ordered! It was such a blessing to find a place where I could afford to have the grain shipped to my house. I’ll admit, I haven’t used any of it yet but i hear from others that the grain is good. My purchase was for long-term, emergency storage. Anyways, just thought I’d share. In my area, there aren’t any grain resources other than Whole Foods which you have to be rich to buy more than a little bulk grian there.

  5. Lynn S September 20, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    Can you please tell me where you buy your bulk grains. Do you know anyone who carries bulk corn for milling? Thanks!

    • Lindsay September 21, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

      Yes, I buy all my bulk grains from Azure Standard. They may or may not ship to where you live, but it is definitely worth checking out because of their great prices. They also sell bulk corn for milling. Another excellent source is Bob’s Red Mill that ships everything.

  6. mary August 30, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    i am looking for a steel/aluminium bucket . has anyone seen something like that ? maybe ikea

  7. Rosemary August 9, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

    When you buy your wheat are you buying the flour or the grain? Also how much flour do you get when you mill it? For instance you get 25lbs, after you mill it do you have 25lb of flour? Thank you for your answer. BTW I love you blog. I have been trying to stop eating or consuming soybean in any form in hopes of getting rid of my acne. Everything you have on your website is SO informative. May God Bless you for sharing freely of all that you’ve learned.

    • Lindsay August 11, 2009 at 2:25 am #

      I buy bulk grain as it will not spoil or go rancid as would bulk flour. It is usually about 1.5 cups milled flour to 1 cup whole grain.

  8. Storage Portugal June 7, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    Thanks for all the ideas in the post, really liked these five paint gallon buckets that can be purchased for home improvement store for around $5 each.

  9. Krisi February 11, 2009 at 12:27 am #

    Thanks for the great advice.. and the comments were just as good!

    I have gamma seal lids on all my buckets… makes it so much easier. Will be looking into the food co-ops.

  10. Kim February 7, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    Thanks for all the ideas in the post and the comments. I am planning to buy some whole grains to use in my grinder. (So far I have only been grinding rice). I took the advice in one of the comments to ask the bakery if they have any icing containers. They did and they are saving more for me to pick up on Monday. I am going to ask the local sub shop if they have any glass jars. It will be wonderful to get all of these for free. Thank you all for the great advice!!

  11. Tina February 5, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve gotten big buckets for my wheat for free from the Walmart bakery department – they get their icing in big buckets. The gamma seal lids fit on it great.
    Also – a good source of sucanat (and grain) in Georgia is The Breadbeckers (www.breadbeckers.com).
    Hope that helps. Thanks for your blog.

    • Tara February 7, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

      Ooh, I really like The Breadbeckers, too!

  12. brenda February 5, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

    Bulk question. Has anyone every purchased a 5 gallons of coconut oil and had luck with long term storage? How long is it stable?

  13. Darleen Creath February 4, 2009 at 11:23 pm #

    For those of you that live in warmer climate (Georgia) like we do, you may want to freeze your grains before placing in buckets. You can divide it into smaller portions for less bulk. We have found since following this procedure we have not lost any grain due to bugs. Hope this is helpful.

  14. Deena Barton February 4, 2009 at 8:26 pm #

    My husband is a manager of a Carbonic Gas Company (sells Co2 to restaurants – gas for soda machines) and he always gets me the pickle buckets, which do have a strong odor, but I leave them out in laundry room or storage for three to four weeks to air out, then clean with peroxide then leave in a vinegar rinse for a couple of days and scrub like mad, but it does come clean…. and no smell. These are great… I use for grains, homemade laundry soap, and beans…. My husband has never had a problem getting these and informs me that most restaurants do like to keep some, but they will get overrun and are more than willing to give these away for free and best of all THEY ARE FOOD GRADE… Pickles are only one of the many products restaurants get in these five gallon buckets. I also have no difficulty in getting the lids as well. I hope this helps some of you that may not have thought about restaurants for these…..
    Blessings, Deena

  15. Organizing MOmmy (Jena) February 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm #

    That’s just what we do. Although, I don’t split the grains with anyone, since we go through them fairly quickly. Six loaves that I made this morning are down to two right now. Also, I color-code the big buckets for wheat or spelt, since my kids CAN read, but they do not always think before they dive into the bucket. I used to bring some grains into the house in a cute little container, but now I just send someone out to get the big bucket. Mean mommy.

  16. Kelly February 4, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

    One more thing, how did you get the wheat berries so cheap? When I went to the website to see about cost it was going to be about $50 shipping just to order the wheat…which was around $40. WOW!!

    I’m just getting ready to purchase a grain grinder. I’ve been pricing wheat berries at Azure, but now I’ve learned about Montana Wheat. Do you buy any grain from Azure? Thanks for allowing all these questions!


    • Lindsay February 4, 2009 at 10:13 pm #

      I purchase my Montana wheat through a local food co-op that purchases through UNFI. This is a national wholesale food source. I only purchase the wheat through this source, otherwise Azure has some of the best prices I have found, through which I purchase the other items.

  17. Kelly February 4, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

    Where do you store your rapadura? When do you use rapadura and when sucanat? Just curious!

    • Lindsay February 4, 2009 at 10:16 pm #

      I am using sucanat only now simply because I have found a really excellent price through the UNFI food co-op. From my experience they taste and look almost exactly the same, and thus provide ease of interchangeability. Sucanat is usually cheaper overall, and thus preferable.

  18. candace February 4, 2009 at 3:49 pm #

    Just a note about something I recently learned. You can sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth in your grains if you are concerned about bugs. It is harmless to humans but lethal to bugs in a mechanical manner.

    • Britta February 4, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

      I also heard you can put whole dried bay leaves in with your grain and the bugs don’t like the smell. In the past I’ve purchased the little oxygen absorbers on line. They work great too.

  19. Anna February 4, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    I live in Portland; where would find something like this; the grains that is.

    • Lindsay February 4, 2009 at 1:33 pm #

      I buy my grains through Azure Standard for the most part. They deliver all over the area. Great whole food source! I also have a local food co-op that I purchase the Prairie Gold wheat through, but they are in Vancouver. If you are interested, send me an email and I will forward the info to you.

  20. Alyssa February 4, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

    Just curious, where do you get your sucant in bulk? Azure (if it was from there) doesn’t deliver this far East (Tennessee) and I was wondering if you had a source for me. Thanks.

    • Amanda February 4, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

      I’ve been searching for an east coast source as well.

      • Renee January 8, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

        have you tried Breadbeckers.com out of Georgia? That’s where I get my grain and sweetners. I’ve recently switched to dried molasses but I think they’re carrying sucanat again.

    • Lindsay February 4, 2009 at 9:56 pm #

      Yes, I buy my sucanat in bulk from a local food co-op. This article provides some sources of whole foods in the Georgia/east coast areas. You may be able to connect with other sources through the links Amy provides. You can also search online. I found a few different sources in smaller quantities.

  21. Heather February 4, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    I get FREE 5 & 10-gallon buckets w/ lids from Kroger’s Grocery bakery! I just call & they let me know when they are ready. You have to clean them out (Kroger uses them for icing) but that is okay. NOTE: do not get the buckets that had garlic butter in it- the smell doesn’t ever go away. ;)

    - Heather

    • Amanda February 4, 2009 at 7:56 pm #

      That’s a great idea!

    • Britta February 4, 2009 at 8:45 pm #

      I also get free food grade buckets from my local Safeway bakery for FREE! I love the 2 1/2 gallon size. One 50lb bag of wheat will fit perfectly into two of these buckets. Also they are much easier to lift. The cool thing is my bakery lady puts the buckets through their commercial dishwasher first. I still have to wash them when I get home but at least most of the “donut” frosting is gone!

  22. Amanda February 4, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    I had wondered about the food quality issue as well. We limit our use of plastics b/c of the leaching factor, so it would be a big bummer to invest in quality grains only to have the bucket leaching nasty things into our healthy food! I wonder if I e-mailed someone at Azure if they have any suggestions or sources for food-safe buckets. I’ll look into that :)

    • Lindsay February 4, 2009 at 11:56 am #

      Actually, I just checked Azure’s website and they do sell the food grade plastic buckets for $5.65 each. You can view them here. That looks like it would be the best option.

      • Carrie Smyth February 4, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

        Azure also sells Gamma Seal Lids for $6.50 each, which may seem like a lot, but they are worth it! They are a tight sealing lid that swists on and off of the buckets very easily . . . handy for the little ones that like to help out in the kitchen.

        • Kelly February 4, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

          I did notice that the food grade buckets listed at Azure say the lid is sold separately.

        • Kelly February 4, 2009 at 4:36 pm #

          I couldn’t find the gamma lids on the Azure website. Help!?! I only saw snap on lids that were $2.45 each. Thanks for your help!

          • Carrie Smyth February 5, 2009 at 11:44 am #

            I just typed “gamma” in the search box. I think they used to sell different colors, but now just white. Hope you find them. They are all I’ve ever used, but maybe the snap on lids work well also. Perhaps try both and see what you like best. Blessings.

          • Kelly February 5, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

            I found the lids on the Azure website! THANKS!

          • Kris April 15, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

            Azure sells all the Gamma Seal Lid colors. You just need to specify what color you want in the Special Instructions on your order.

  23. Becca February 4, 2009 at 9:37 am #

    I just want to note, that you should make sure the buckets are food grade quality. (Some paint buckets are, some are not, you have to call the manufacturer.) Its important because over time, the buckets will start leeching chemicals and who knows what else into your food. I have some friends that bought the big orange buckets from Home Depot to store smaller containers of food (boxes of pasta, pouches of quick food items) for emergencies. They discovered all the smaller containers started turning orange after a few months. After calling the manufacturer, they threw all the food out. I know some of the buckets you can buy from paint departments are food quality, but some are not.

    • Raoul Sada March 12, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

      FYI: The orange 5-gallon pails sold at Home Depot are not recommended for food storage. The orange color is not food-grade material according to Ruth Goldman Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Argee Corp. Argee makes the buckets for Home Depot. This is based on an email from him dated 3-10-2010.

  24. Deanne February 4, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    We do the same. There is a deli in the next town that daily sets out about 10 pickle buckets. It takes a bit to get them cleaned out really good, but they are perfect for storage and FREE! Gallon glass jars are harder to find. I have three right now (two wheats and one for rice) though I really would like to have more.

  25. Vehement Flame February 4, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    I love Wheat Montana- I am so happy to see someone else using it!! My son was born in Mt- and it just feels like home! Have you ever tried the 7 grain cereal? I use that instead of oats- It is the best stuff!