Re: How much dry ice to use in storing grain? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Would someone know how much (ozs or lbs.?)dry ice to use per 5 gallon bucket? I want to store grain, rice. Do you need to crush the ice first? Lastly, How long you leave it on before you seal the lid? How long is it good for? Thanks.

-- Joy (, October 23, 1999


Dry Ice

Using dry ice to displace oxygen from food storage containers is a very straightforward affair. To prevent leaching plastic chemicals from the container into your food over a long period of time I recommend lining the bucket with a food grade plastic, mylar or brown paper bag before filling the bucket with your product. Be sure to wipe any accumulated frost off of the ice and wrap it in a paper towel or something similar so you don't burn anything that comes into contact with it. Put the dry ice at the bottom and fill the container. Shake or vibrate it to get as much density in the packing as possible and to exclude as much air as you can. Put the lid on, but do not fully seal it. You want air to be able to escape.

Ideally, the dry ice should slowly evaporate and the cool CO2 should fill the bottom of the bucket, displacing the warmer, lighter atmosphere and pushing it out the top of the container. One pound of dry ice will produce 8.3 cubic feet of carbon dioxide gas so about four ounces per five gallon bucket is plenty. Do not move or shake the bucket while the dry ice is sublimating. You want to keep mixing and turbulence to a minimum. After about three hours go ahead and seal the lids, but check on them every fifteen minutes or so for an hour to be certain that you're not getting a pressure build up. If you don't have to let any gas off, then put them away. A little positive pressure inside the bucket is a good thing, but don't allow it to bulge.

WARNING: Dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) is extremely cold and can cause burns to the skin by merely touching it. Because of this you should wear gloves whenever handling it. Also, dry ice evaporates into carbon dioxide gas, which is why we want it. CO2 is not inherently dangerous, but you should make sure the area you are packing your storage containers in is adequately ventilated so the escaping gas will not build to a level dangerous enough to asphyxiate you.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Because dry ice is very cold, if there is much moisture in the air trapped in the container with it, and your food, it will condense. If there's enough of it, it's going to cause you problems. Try to pack your containers on a day when the relative humidity is low or in an area with low humidity, such as in an air- conditioned house. Use of a desiccant package when using dry ice to purge storage containers is a good idea.

Dry ice may be found at ice houses, welding supply shops, some ice cream stores, meat packers or you could look in your local phone book under the headings "dry ice" or "gasses".

-- dw (, October 23, 1999.


dw did an excellent job of telling you how to deal with dry ice (it really will burn you in just seconds of contact.....think about how long you could touch the burner on your stove if it was orange.....well, dry ice will burn just about as quickly!)

three things i'd like to add

1.........i get my dry ice at's 89" a pound where i live

2........i've been using 2 liter pop bottles to dry ice pack rice, beans, wheat, etc..........i just drop in a couple of marble sized chunks of dry ice in the bottle.....fill with grain.....screw the top on and line them up along the counter.......every few minutes i go down the line and release the pressure slowly from each bottle until there is still pressure when i squeeze them with the top screwed on, but not "rock hard", with no give.............this gives me more manageable amounts to deal with once i open them, and makes it easier to rotate thru my stock

3.........the length of time each individual item will store depends on what you are storing and the conditions you are storing them under......your three main enemies are OXYGEN (thus the CO2 flush), LIGHT and TEMPERATURE (the lower the better) .........whole grains will last longer than processed grains........whole wheat berries will last longer than white rice...........but white rice will last longer than brown rice because the higher fat content shortens storage time

hope this helps

-- andrea (, October 23, 1999.

Watch out. I did about 20 6 gallon buckets. I left the lids sitting on the buckets for about 12 hours. Then sealed the lids. All of the buckets were bulging the next day. I thought I had about 4 ounces in each. Just be careful. You don't want a lid to blow off.

-- anonymous (, October 23, 1999.

Joy, have you considered using food grade diatomaceous earth. Easy to use, stores about forever, doesn't burn, buckets won't burst, etc. My wife and I prepared 40 5 gallon pails of wheat & corn in less than one hour, start to finish. We put 1/3 grain in food grade bag (in bucket), mixed 1/3 of formula of diatomaceious earth with grain, hand mixed, then added 1/3 more grain + de, mixed, etc. sealed the bag, snapped on the lid and wha la - stored grain that we hope we never MUST use. Do what you want and whatever trips your trigger. Just wanted to mention this option. Also, DE works well to kill animal fleas, kill bugs on garden plants, plus other applications. Happy bucketing.

-- enough is (, October 23, 1999.

Thanks, all of you! Quick but urgent question, should I put i or 2 oxygen absorber in the bucket after I put in the dry ice? Also, I don't have a scale, how much is 4 ozs. approximately? Will it fill the average woman's palm? Or what size will it be such as 2"x4"?

-- Joy (, October 23, 1999.

If your grains are in a cool area (65 or less), they will last a long time as is. Mother Nature does make grains, etc. to last from harvest till planting time, in less than ideal conditions. If you put your grains, beans, etc. in good containers and store away from heat and light, you probably don't even need all these fancy methods. People have been storing grains, beans, etc. for thousands of years without dry ice, oxygen absorbers, etc. Once they are crushed, split, cooked, etc. it is a different story, of course. I keep checking the things we have stored, just in case there were insect eggs in it when we stored it that may have hatched, but all is well, including the brown rice. I have had br. rice go rancid after a few months at room temperature. Those few degrees make a big, big difference.  We did buy a pkg. of the oxygen asbsorber packets, but so far have not used them. The one thing I plan to add them too, though, is the oat groats. Turns out oats are heat-treated, so they will store better, they say. Anyway, I note that some of the oldest oats are darker looking than they were. Still taste fine, but not a good sign. Anybody know why they give oats a heat treatment?

-- Shivani Arjuna (, October 23, 1999.

I like to know if I can store several different things in the same pail, such as spagetti, flour, bean? For flour, can I store it in its original paper bag or would I have to open the bag? Please help. We are doing it tomorrow. Thank you.

-- James (, October 24, 1999.

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