If you follow a plant-based diet, you can save almost $750 a year compared to the average price of a diet following the MyPlate guidelines. This is partly due to the cost of animal products, but it’s also because of the vast array of foods you can buy in bulk and store for long periods of time. This is great news if you’re a vegan on a budget. Storing dried grains and legumes long-term isn’t difficult, and you have a few options to choose from for storing dried ingredients that will last for several years.

Storage Jars

Glass jars are the easiest way to store dried pulses and grains. To protect their quality, ensure that the seals are airtight and that metal components are not showing signs of rust, and store them in a dark place away from direct sunlight: both beans and grains keep best in the absence of light and oxygen. This will also protect your ingredients from moisture damage, which can lead to mold growth. Black mold requires organic nutrients, moisture, darkness and warm temperatures to grow, so unless your jars are properly sealed, they will provide the ideal conditions for mold to thrive, posing a health risk and destroying the quality of the food. In properly sealed containers however, you can keep both legumes and grains for several years.

Vacuum Sealing

Vacuum sealing beans and rice will also allow you to preserve them for a number of years. Seal individual bags of dried ingredients using a vacuum sealer like a FoodSaver with the specified bags. The sealer will draw out most of the oxygen, preserving the ingredients. Vacuum sealing will cost a little more, but using this method can save space and allow you to store a variety of grains and legumes. Stack your packages in storage boxes and keep them in a cool, dark place. Bear in mind that although most dried ingredients will keep for several years this way, the quality of brown rice can deteriorate over time.

Mylar Bag And Oxygen Absorber

To store your ingredients for ten years or longer, consider using an oxygen absorber, which typically comes in a package filled with powdered iron oxide. Air is made up of 21% oxygen, but in a sealed Mylar bag or can, using an oxygen absorber will allow you to bring the oxygen level down to .01%, minimizing the risk of food spoilage. Use a 2,000cc oxygen absorber for every five gallons of dried beans or grains: put a Mylar foil bag in a five gallon container, and add the food you want to preserve, leaving a few inches at the top. Add the oxygen absorber and seal the bag with an iron. 

Buying dried pulses and grains in bulk makes a vegan diet highly economical, and you can keep your pantry permanently well stocked. Whichever storage solution you choose, make sure your ingredients are dry before you begin to reduce the risk of food spoilage.