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Storage containers for rice and other dry goods?

I know this isn't exactly cookware related, but was wondering what people use to store their rice, flour, sugar, and other dry goods? I was thinking a tupperware type container but am not sure if there will be moisture buildup or other conditions that might cause the food to spoil.

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  1. I buy Rubbermaid plastic jars in assorted sizes at Wally World. I prefer the twist top.


    1. Some sort of canister w/ a lid that has an airtight silicon / rubber seal is best, though I've seen those crazy flour bugs manage to get in anyway in certain situations.

      Stores like The Container Store, Organized Living, Cost Plus, etc. all have good and relatively cheap canisters of various types.

      I like the ones like this:
      though I prefer the ones w/ metal or ceramic sides, and either an opaque top or a clear plastic top.

      I use a labeller to label each canister.

      For bigger stuff, like rice, we got a few of the regular large clear polycarbonate canisters (also with a pretty tight lid). If you buy rice in really large quantities, you need a container of the type used for pet food and stuff.

      My gf's parents just keep the rice in a (clean) trash can and so far so good - but I'd worry about various bugs getting in - here in Southern California at least, there are a lot of those.

      3 Replies
      1. re: will47

        I got some twist-top glass jars from Target long ago. They can hold a regular sized bag of flour and the neck is wide enough for you to put a measuring cup in and scoop. I think they were something like 7 bucks each. I've also seen plastic versions of this, but I liked the glass more.

        As for rice, all the Asians I know (and that's a lot with my extended Chinese family!) store their rice in 5-gallon buckets. This is the type used to store commercial amounts of soy sauce or laundry detergent. These buckets are usually no more than $5 bucks at a hardware store. Just make sure to clean it out really well with soap and water and you're good to go! If you're really nervous about the sanitation of these buckets, I think Alton Brown mentioned a way of disinfecting them on either his Thanksgiving episode or his beer brewing episode (I forget which -- or maybe it's both).

        If you really want to splurge, most Asian grocers have special rice storage/dispensing containers. Many of them are made by Zojirushi and Tiger. They're all rather expensive, though

        1. re: misswills

          You can also get the empty 5 gallon buckets from bakeries- much safer as far as what was in them originally from other places. Most grocery store bakeries will sell them for a $1-$2 each, sometimes even free. If you get really lucky, you might even find some of the smaller, 2 1/2 gallon buckets. I like using them to store what's left of a bag of flour or whatever that won't fit in the container in my kitchen.

        2. re: will47

          The eggs for the "bugs" whether weevils or millers are already in the grains, ceteals etc. When stored where conditions are warm enough they hatch and emerge. That is the reason to keep these products tightly closed and in cooler places. They just cannot be milled out in the processing.

        3. I use the oversized glass canning jars with the wire bale and rubber gasket. I spent some extra money and upgraded to silicone gaskets.

          I use them for flour, sugar, rice, pasta, dog food, beans... everything!

          You can see them here.... but buy them anywhere.

            1. re: jenniebnyc

              I love the Click Clack, but it's very hard to find them anymore. BB&B used to carry a great supply, but sadly, no more. I use a big plastic rectangular container to hold my flour, but the big thing with flour is, when you bring it home from the market but it into the freezer for a few day, it kills all the stuff that brings forth those tiny little bugs.

              1. re: Mother of four

                The Container Store has Click Clack. I have also been able find find quite a few pieces at Home Goods for cheap.

                1. re: jenniebnyc

                  Unfortunately, we don't have either where I am in MI, but I know that they have one in IL where my kids are, so I will be sure and visit the Container Store when I visit them next month Thanks..

                2. re: Mother of four

                  Last year when I started baking more I moved to Click Clack containers. They've been great. I bought most of mine at BB&B, but it looks like Amazon has several of their products.

                  1. re: debbiel

                    Agree on Click Clack. They are large enough to hold the entire 5 lb bag of flour, and the mouth is wide enough that it is easy to measure the flour (or sugar) above the cannister, and use a knife to sweep the excess back into the cannister.

              2. I bought a set of 3 rubbermaid-type containers with flip top lids at Christmas Tree Shoppes for under $5. I use it to store the basmati rice I buy in bulk, and they worked great. I'm down to my last 6 cups of a 14lb bag and have had no problems.

                1. One gallon and half gallon jars left over from kimchi. This sort of thing:

                  1. i am sort of container freak keep buying and trying new stuff. its in the genes my mother was this way too !! i started with rubbermaid containers which are good. then martha stewart brand canisters at k mart, also glass bottles which i picked up years and years ago at k mart. have tried some tupperware but dont care for them too much. the tops are too diffiucutl to struggle with on a regular basis. recent find has been cambro at gordon food service stores. beautiful with measures on the sides. i tend to store large quanities of flour in the fridge. never had bugs in anything. for rice i bought a container with a measuring cup years ago which i still use. recent discoveries include glass jars for pasta from ikea. lock and lock containers for cous cous jasmine rice and cereals. indulged in a huge set of lock and locks from costco. have to figure out a use !!

                    1. I scour used goods stores for interesting glass jars with well sealing lids. Each one is different. unfortunately, I haven't always found ones big enough for a full sack of flour or sugar.

                      1. Tupperware makes tall narrow cannisters that have pour lids that are idea for this stuff. They have a foot print that is similar to a box of cereal, so for me the shape is ideal.

                        1. We keep rice in a really big can...it probably holds 5 gallons or more. Then again, we eat a lot of rice.

                          1. I bought a bunch of those glass jars with the silver lids from Ikea and they work well. They have a seal at the top but it is not a really strong seal. I also use regular canning jars as they come in a variety of sizes. My vacuum sealer machine has an attachment ($10 I think) for a canning jar sealer. This actually vacuum seals the lid on - great for brown sugar which never goes hard and other things which tend to change if exposed to air - ie bread crumbs, nuts, great for marshmallows, dried fruit, chocolate. It does make the opening a little harder and closing takes a little longer. If I was opening something everyday I would just use an Ikea jar but for those things that only get used when I bake or make a certain recipe - this has been the perfect solution for me.

                            1. I too love containers. The ones that work best for me are Rubbermaid.
                              I prefer cannisters of flour, etc. off the counter so I store the filled containers in the pantry. Cereals also, it works for me, we don't have more than two opened at a time.
                              For rice I use RM container that has a small spout with a cap ( holds a large bag of jasmine-my favorite) making pouring easy, Sugar and Flour are the two largest with a scoop inside for easy measuring. Another holds the remnants of bags brown sugar, or raisins keeps it all fresh and bug free.
                              Dry goods once opened are put in their own RM or with other items. I've been doing this for about 12 years and I never get bugs anymore. I know that once the real heat hits our area, around July, any eggs that can will hatch, infest the pantry and ruin anything that can be penetrated. I always freeze the flour and other dry goods first, then put it in the containers.

                              Of course nothing is labeled since its my kitchen I'm familiar with the containers, but a label maker would soon fix that.

                              1. We were having this problem, and went to Cost Plus and bought a series of glass canisters with lids with rubber seals for all of these goodies. They work great, and our pantry clutter is significantly improved.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Megiac

                                  Will they hold a 5lb bag of sugar or flour? I love glass.
                                  I use glass jars for baked cookies or crackers, got them at Tar-jay, for a few bucks. They call them "cracker jars"? not sure if that is truly correct. They come in all sizes as well. I had been thinking of changing the RM out to them....they would look prettier. and you could see by looking at the side of the jar if there was any critter activity...These are the jars I use for marinade, pickled eggs, storing soups too.

                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                    Sure they will. I have a big one that holds a 5lb bag of dog food, and that takes up way more space than flour.

                                2. We live next to a greenbelt that is home to many rodents who view fall as the time to seek the comfort of a warm dry place--our house. Also, grain moths show up in force a couple of times a year. So airtight containers are a must.

                                  Camsquares are the perfect solution. http://cool.cambro.com/sub_category.a.... A staple of every restaurant kitchen, they come in sizes from 2 quarts (perfect for a 5-pound bag of sugar) to the 22 quart monster that will hold almost all of a 50-pound bag of beans or rice. They're durable, impact-resistant, airtight, and have slightly tapered sides and rimmed lids for stable stacking. Plus, they're square, so you have less wasted space in your pantry.

                                  The air here (Sacramento, CA) is fairly dry, so moisture buildup isn't a problem, but silica gel might be helpful in damper climes. As far as spoilage goes, remember that food containing oils (especially whole grains like brown rice and wheat flour) will go rancid pretty quickly. So freezing is a must if you're going to keep them around for more than a couple of weeks. BTW, camsquares are freezer-safe.

                                  No affiliation, just love the things...

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    I tried getting into the web site, no can do!! Since I never heard of Camsquares,I was curious. Sorry,I just put in Camsquares and it came up. I'm in FL. most of the year, and bugs are a big problem. Click clack does it for me, but after you work with the Tubberware lids for a while, they soften up and work just fine. I love my old Tubberware, that are about 30 years old!!!

                                    1. re: Mother of four

                                      Try cambro.com and go from there. Don't know about click clack, it may work great. But the standard in commercial kitchens is Cambro.

                                      1. re: Mother of four

                                        live in michigan. went to gordon food service and bought 'cambro' love them. will have to start another container collection. also bought a set of lock and lock from costco trying to find something to use them for. sorry i am addicted to containers.

                                        1. re: foodwich

                                          Just read your reply, and since I also live in MI, and we also have a Gordons, I will get myself over there. Thanks.

                                    2. I use zip loc bag and take out as much of the air as possible when sealing. I put a bay leaf or two in the container and have never had a problem with bugs. Never had a problem with spoilage either.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: tlegray

                                        I'm fascinated -- what does the bay leaf do? Does it really keep moths away? Does the smell of the bay leaf alter the taste of rice?

                                        1. re: tlegray

                                          I too am interested in the bayleaf. Never heard of doing that. What kind of things do you put it in?

                                          1. re: Mother of four

                                            I read about this tip of putting a couple of bay leaves in rice to keep the bugs away; I couldn't tell why it works but it does, I've never had a problem with bugs since putting a bay at the bottom and in the middle of jar. When the bay leaves start to break up I simply replace them.

                                            1. re: acme

                                              Once upon a time, when I first moved to Houston, one of our secretaries asked me if I like to cook, When I said yes, she said, "the answers are: store your drinking glasses upside down and bay leaves."
                                              I had to ask what the questions were.
                                              She laughed and said, "
                                              "How do you keep roaches out of your glasses , and how do you keep bugs out of anything that isn't wet?"

                                              She was right about both.

                                              1. re: shallots

                                                Sorry I'm so late. I don't know why Bay Leaves work but my mother and her mother before her always had Bay Leaves in their containers. I live in Houston where bugs larger then necessary live and have never had a problem.

                                        2. Snapware jars of various sizes. Mostly the Airtight Plastic Food Storage, but for flour and rice the Plastic Fliptops with a fliptop lid large enough to dip in a measuring cup and level off the flour and rice against the edge.


                                          For what it's worth, America's Test Kitchen rates the Airtight containers highly, but I did that before they did.

                                          Before the Snapware containers I used some by Rubbermaid with black rubber seals around the top, but Snapware's oblong shape and more compact design make stacks of them less space-consuming to store.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: John Francis

                                            I love these! I have Pyrex and Ziploc glass containers, but started buying the GlassLock ones after I tried one. A bit more expensive, but so worth it.

                                            1. re: John Francis

                                              I like the airtight Snapware too, though I am not sure whether or not it retains odors if any contents DO go rancid. The beauty of glass jars is that when they have been washed, they are pristine. The length of the "Glass Jars - 'fess up" thread shows that LOTS of Hounds are fans.

                                            2. I picked up several Tellfresh containers at The Container Store earlier this year after ants found their way in to several bags of flour in the pantry that were just closed with chip clips. A 5 lb bag of flour will fill the 5 quart container about 3/4 full so we don't have to wait until we're completely out before restocking. The oblong rectangular and tall shape allows very efficient use of space in our rather small pantry.


                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Coogles

                                                I'm a bit of a sucker for glass containers. Have several large, clear glass crocks that hold everyday stuff like flour, sugar (have one with rubber gasket on lid), and dry cat food. Also keep potatoes and onions in their separate jars... with NO lids on. Can't pass up those large square jars if I see them at a yard sale or thrift shop. As someone mentioned... no matter how dusty/dirty, once washed thoroughly... they're CLEAN!

                                                When I found "evidence" of unwanted critters in my kitchen... EVERYTHING went into large canning jars or other air-tight container... rice, little pastas, dried beans, etc. In my "pantry" (a few shelving units in attached garage), almost everything is in a jar or can. When holiday baking season rolls around and things like brown sugar & chocolate chips go on sale, I stock up. Those T-ware "cake" containers work well for stuff like that. Always on the look out for them and large cannisters... as long as clean and still make good seal... can be next to nothing at a yard sale.

                                                Have a Foodsaver... another yard sale find. Since getting that have found a LOT of the sealable cannisters to go with it. It also has a gizmo that allows you to seal dry stuff in wide-mouth mason jars... no ring necessary, takes little to release lid so you can use it over and over again.

                                                Seem to recall readin/seeing/hearing somewhere that bay leaves repel certain insects and other critters??