Sealing Food in Five Gallon Buckets is an Important Skill for Preppers

sealing food

This post is a rerun of one I did in 2012.  There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about the best method for sealing food in five-gallon buckets. First be sure your buckets are food-grade, second make sure that your oxygen absorbers are fresh and have not been exposed to air.  You can purchase oxygen absorbers from Winco, the Mormon Church, or from various places on the web like Disaster Stuff or Emergency Essentials.  For sealing food in five-gallon buckets I use one of the 2000 cc absorbers or 5 of the 300cc. The following post tells you how to seal the buckets.

Sealing Food in 5 Gallon Buckets

sealing food
Leave the excess Mylar bag material in case you need to reseal the bag

The other day I had to seal some popcorn and millet in Mylar bags and five-gallon buckets.  It is quite easy.  Open the Mylar bag and put it in the bucket.  Fill the Mylar bag with your product to about two inches from the top of the bucket.  You will notice that the bag is a lot taller than the bucket, rather than cut off the excess I seal it right on the edge.  If I open the bucket to rotate the food this leaves me plenty of material to reseal the bag.

I use an old two-foot metal hand level and an electric iron for sealing food in the bags.  The level is just the right length and thickness to make a good seal.  I do not use my wife’s good iron, some Mylar bags leave residue on the iron.  I got the cheapest one they had at Walmart.  This keeps me out of trouble.

sealing food
Place the level on top of the bucket and stretch the Mylar bag out flat
sealing food
Iron to complete seal, leaving a small opening in corner

After putting in the oxygen absorbers, I set the level across the top of the bucket and lay the Mylar bag against it.  I then iron it to make the seal.  Leave a small opening in one corner.  This permits you to squeeze out the excess air.  You then make a diagonal seal across the corner.  Since I get my oxygen absorbers from the LDS cannery and they are the 300CC type, I always put in 5 absorbers. Fold the Mylar Bag into the bucket. Put the lid on the bucket, label it, and you are done.

See also  Doomsday Food Prep: Guidelines, Types of Food, and What to Avoid
sealing food
Squeeze air out and seal corner
sealing food
Completed seal


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9 thoughts on “Sealing Food in Five Gallon Buckets is an Important Skill for Preppers”

  1. I do the same, with an extra step….I purchased a piece of tubing (clear) from the local hardware store that fits snugly on the end of the accessory hose on my FoodSaver…..leave that little corner open, insert the hose and vacuu, out the air in the bags….worked great.


  2. Good article – good coverage considering the space limitations …. only advice I can add is using “the last corner” method of mylar bag closing …. heat seal using your preferred method – but leave a corner open …. fold the excess bag material down into the bucket while expelling the excess air – a very important step – then heat seal that last corner …

  3. I have been sealing assorted foods in 5 gallon buckets for years, probably before some of you were born, and I have had the occasion to “practice what I preach.” Foods, dry goods such as flour and pancake mixes that were 15+ years old were as good as new. The method(s) I use are simple and don’t cost much. Procedure is: Take a food grade 5 gallon bucket, I use ones from store bakeries which I get for free. Thoroughly clean the bucket, and when it’s nearly dry, wipe it down on the inside with a cloth soaked in a water-bleach solution, and don’t forget the lid and seal. When it is dry, place an unscented plastic trash bag in the bucket, Now either drop a chunk of dry ice into the bottom of the bag, or insert a hose from a nitrogen tank into the bucket all the way to the bottom. Put your food stuffs in the bucket. If storing flour, cornmeal or pancake flour, fill the bucket/bag to within two inches of the top. Cinch the bag, and turn on the gas if using nitrogen, or just wait if using dry ice. In either case, the trash bag will “blossom” after a few minutes, indicating the bag is filled with nitrogen or CO2. Twist the bag shut and tie it, put the lid on and lock it down. An oxygen inhibitor can be added if you want, I never used one. None of the buckets I opened and used showed any signs of deterioration, weevils or mold, no bad smells, and none of us experienced any ill effects from the products consumed. This is a fairly cheap way for anyone to store food, the biggest expense being the CO2 or the nitrogen….

    1. I used this method in the sixties and seventies and it works. The problem with it is that the plastic buckets and trash bags breath and the oxygen reduces the nutritional value of the food, which is why you use the Mylar bags. You will never notice this by just looking at the food, but it is proved by testing at BYU. Plus check your trash bags to make sure they are not treated with insecticide. You can purchase the oxygen absorbers cheaper than dry ice.

  4. My wife and I have decided to start our food storage. It would be very nice if we could get them heat sealed like you mentioned. That would give me more peace of mind than by some other method. I sure hope that I can find one of those in my area.

  5. Where can I find Mylar bags relatively cheap? I just had an epiphany writing this… Those balloons people get on various occasions are made of Mylar. I wonder if I could funnel some rice or something in one and add nitrogen and then seal it. Those balloons are a dollar each at the dollar store. Just another idea. I would rather just use regular bags and not trust something I have no clue about.

  6. Umm… hello friemds i just started being a preper and im 16. I was wondering: where do the oxygen absorbers go? Inside the Mylar Bags or outside in the bucket? And is any ideas on how to improve please share them with us thank you

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