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Feb 2, 2009 07:22 PM

Storing rice, lentils, dry beans and other grains - Cheaply. Any suggestions?

I love having as many dried beans, lentils and rices on hand, because invariably I'm always missing the one I need. I also love buying in bulk, and get big bags of them. However I just can't bring myself to buy good plastic containers for these things, and they end up sitting in their bags with the corners cut off. I'll admit it.

I saw a big container with wheels and a clear plastic lid made by Rubbermaid one day, and I thought perfect! It was too big for what I need, but I thought maybe small version of this would be good. So I went to the restaurant supply store near me, and I enqiured...


So anyways, any ideas for keeping these things well, hopefully without spending ANY money? Surely there's some frugal advice out there for me... I'm sure I don't need 10 stackable rubber things for like $15 each.. I just won't do it. Time to get creative...

PS: I like the idea of square or rectangle to save space and line up well, but let's face it, beggars can't be choosers here. :)

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  1. beans and rice are so cheap and cook up to so much more volume, i can't comprehend that you would need something on wheels to store your pantry.

    i keep mine in extra-large mason jars, but most usually cook and then freeze in portions.

    1. When I was in college, I went to a sushi bar and asked if I could have the bucket they used for ginger so that I could store my rice. It was square with a tight fitting lid that had about a 5 gallon capacity. It smelt of ginger, but after washing it out a few times, the smell was minimal. I'm sure there's other places that would have less stinky buckets that they throw away every few days. I think I've seen mayonnaise buckets that were the same size and shape in some restaurants.

      1. I've found gallon glass jars with screw-on metal lids at yard sales for 25 cents apiece. They will hold a 5-pound bag of sugar or flour. I think they originally were for maraschino cherries., so you may want to inquire at a restaurant or bar for any containers they may be tossing. Some sandwich shops buy their tuna and chicken salad in plastic tubs, so you may want to start canvassing your local restaurants.

        1. I use big plastic pretzel jars to store pasta and rice.

          I really like pretzels anyway.


          1. I can often find big glass or plastic containers in charity shops. Why not try your local Salvation Army?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Kagey

              For bulk flour, I use the one gallon ziplock bags and I can reuse each bag about seven times.
              For bulk grains, the large salad dressing containers from Sam's and the large pickle jars (non-shattering is a plus).
              I looked into the restaurant things and the price was the deal breaker.

              (I was, however, so enamoured of them that I still have the link, above.)