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Prepper’s Guide: DIY 5 Gallon Food Storage Bucket – Lentils and Rice

Secure Tomorrow with Today's Prep: Nutritious, Long-lasting, Ready When You Are.

In times of uncertainty, peace of mind can be found in the most primal of ways – ensuring we have enough to eat. A secure food supply, especially in emergency scenarios, can mean the difference between despair and hope. This guide delves into the assembly of two five-gallon food storage buckets designed for longevity and nutritional value.

Materials Needed

First and foremost, it’s essential to have all the materials at hand. This avoids interruptions in the packing process, which can introduce contaminants into the food.



Using Oxygen Absorbers

Exposure to oxygen is a recipe for food degradation. Oxygen absorbers are thus crucial as they effectively maintain the freshness of the food, prevent oxidation, and inhibit the growth of aerobic pathogens and spoilage organisms, including molds. We’re using one 300cc oxygen absorber for each quart and a half size resealable Mylar bag. Once you add the oxygen absorber to the dry food in the Mylar bag, zip it closed until you’re ready to seal the bag with the impact sealer or clothes iron.

Packaging Lentils

For prolonged shelf life and optimal freshness, I recommend repackaging bulk lentils. Partitioning 20 lbs into ten separate bags not only facilitates easy portioning but also minimizes the risk of total food loss from potential contaminants in one bag.

The Benefits of Using Lentils

Lentils stand out as an essential for long-term food storage. Besides their delicious taste, they offer a trove of nutritional advantages:

  • Shelf Life: Lentils can remain edible for years if stored correctly.
  • No Soaking: They can be directly cooked without any prior soaking.
  • Quick Cooking: A mere 20-30 minutes gets them soft and ready.
  • Nutritional Powerhouse: Rich in protein, fiber, and essential minerals, lentils are a must-have.

Packaging Rice

Rice, particularly long grain white rice, is a staple in food storage due to its high caloric content and ability to complement other foods like lentils. Packed in smaller bags, it minimizes exposure when one is opened, preserving the rest. Like the lentils, package the rice into ten separate 2 lb. Mylar bags.

The Benefits of Using Rice

Rice, a staple food for more than half of the world’s population, is revered for its versatility, ease of preparation, and nutritional benefits. Here are some of the primary nutritional advantages of rice:

  1. Rich Source of Energy: Rice is primarily composed of carbohydrates, specifically starch, which provides a quick source of energy. Carbohydrates are vital for supporting bodily functions and physical activity.
  2. Low in Fat and Cholesterol: Rice contains minimal amounts of fat and no cholesterol. This makes it an ideal dietary component for those aiming to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  3. Protein: Though not as high as some other grains, rice does contain protein, which is crucial for muscle repair and growth. The protein in rice is considered to be of good quality because it contains a fair proportion of all the amino acids.
  4. Dietary Fiber: Rice is a good source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and provides a feeling of fullness, thereby aiding in weight management.
  5. Gluten-Free: Rice is naturally gluten-free, making it a primary food choice for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.
  6. Antioxidants: Rice contains antioxidants, which help combat oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is linked to various chronic diseases.
  7. Digestibility: Rice is generally easy to digest, making it suitable for individuals of all ages, including infants and the elderly. Its hypoallergenic nature often makes it a primary grain choice for those with digestive concerns.
  8. Vitamins and Minerals: Rice is a source of essential vitamins and minerals. These include:
    • B Vitamins: Especially thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and pyridoxine (B6). B vitamins are essential for energy metabolism and nervous system health.
    • Iron: Essential for red blood cell formation and function.
    • Phosphorus: Important for bone health.
    • Magnesium: Involved in multiple biochemical reactions in the body and contributes to muscle function and heart health.

Rice offers a combination of energy-providing carbohydrates, essential vitamins, and minerals, and other beneficial compounds. Its nutritional advantages, paired with its ease of storage and preparation, make it an ideal candidate for long-term food storage and regular dietary inclusion.

Packing Dehydrated Vegetables

Dehydrated veggies retain most of their nutrients while having an elongated shelf life. They also have the advantage of lightweight and reduced volume, making them optimal for storage. However, once rehydrated, they return to near their original state, enriching meals with essential vitamins and minerals. Divide the vegetables into four Mylar bags.

Packing Bouillon Cubes

These compact flavor enhancers don’t just make food tasty; they also come packed with essential salts and sometimes, even minute traces of protein. In an oxygen-deprived environment, they can maintain their flavor profile for years. Divide the bouillon cubes into four Mylar bags containing 75 cubes each.

Packing Salt

Divide the salt into two Mylar bags containing 26 oz of salt each. No need to include oxygen absorbers as salt is a mineral and will never spoil.

Assembling the Food Storage Buckets

Divide all the ingredients into two 5-gallon food storage buckets. Layering the food makes it easily accessible. Starting with rice and lentils, the most frequently used items, and topping with dehydrated vegetables, salt and bouillon ensures you get a balanced mix when you need it.

Preparing the Lentil and Rice Dish

This recipe makes for a nourishing meal. The mix of rice and lentils provides a complete protein source, essential for muscle and tissue repair. The vegetables give the required vitamins, and the bouillon amplifies the taste.


  • 4 1/2 Cups Water
  • 4 Bouillon Cubes
  • 1 Cup Lentils (rinsed)
  • 1 Cup Long Grain Rice (rinsed)
  • 1/4 Cup Dehydrated Vegetables

Add the 4 1/2 cups of water and 4 bouillon cubes to a pot with a cup of lentils, cover and bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. After 10 minutes add the long grain rice and dehydrated vegetables. Cover and continue simmering until the rice is cooked through (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add more water if required.

This recipe makes two large, filling servings each containing: 657 calories, 11 grams of fat, 128 grams of carbohydrates, 21 grams of fiber, and a whopping 31 grams of protein.

Cost Savings of DIY Food Storage Buckets

A significant advantage of creating your own food storage buckets is the potential for considerable cost savings. Pre-assembled food storage kits often come with a premium price tag due to labor, branding, and the convenience factor. By purchasing bulk ingredients and assembling them yourself, you can often save up to 50% or more, depending on where you source your materials. Moreover, creating your own kits allows for personal customization based on dietary preferences, nutritional requirements, and culinary tastes. Over time, these savings can add up, especially if you’re preparing multiple buckets for an extensive storage system. Plus, there’s an added sense of satisfaction and confidence in knowing exactly what’s in your food storage and the quality of each item. Not only are you investing in your future security, but you’re also being economically savvy by taking the DIY approach.

The art of prepping transcends mere survival. It’s about forward-thinking, resilience, and ensuring that no matter the uncertainty, one’s basic needs are met. A food storage system, rich in rice, lentils, and dehydrated vegetables, covers both nutritional and caloric needs.

When setting up your storage, consistency in checking, rotating, and ensuring that the storage conditions remain optimal is key. A prepared individual is not one who merely reacts to emergencies but is ready for them. Happy prepping!

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