buckets of rice and beans

Buckets of Rice and Beans: Why You Need Them When SHTF

There’s a lot of debate on the internet about whether buckets of rice and beans are the best way to prepare for disasters. Some people swear by them, while others think they’re outdated and not worth your time. So, what’s the truth? Are buckets of rice and beans really the best way to go? And if so, why?

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons of buckets of rice and beans, and we’ll help you decide if they’re right for you.


Why Is Rice a Good Food To Keep On Hand During SHTF?

baking soda whole wheat flour

Brown grains are the unprocessed version of white rice. It has more nutritional value, vitamins and health benefits than white rice, including a higher fiber content that our digestive system needs.

Helps Us Fight Infections

Rice is thought to be a good source of vitamin B, iron, manganese, and magnesium that come from the earth. Vitamin B is important for brain health, energy, and the way cells work. It also makes our blood cells healthier and helps our bodies fight off infections.

Manganese helps the body process cholesterol and carbs, and magnesium is important for the health of bones, muscles, and nerves and helps heal any problems in these areas.

Provides Us with Energy

Rice is also good for you because it has carbs in it, which give our bodies a lot of energy. Our bodies turn the carbs into glucose, which gives us a good boost of energy.

But because of this, people with diabetes need to be careful when they eat rice, because it can cause their blood sugar to rise. The good news is that beans lower blood sugar, which will help to balance out the rise in glucose.

White Rice Calorie Dense

White rice in a 5 gallon bucket (30 lbs of rice)

  • 50,000 calories – 25 survival days
  • 1655 calories per pound (uncooked)
  • 590 calories per pound (cooked)
  • 675 calories per cup (uncooked)
  • 205 calories per cup (cooked)

Note: If you want to store food for a long time, don’t use brown rice. Instead, use white rice because the oils in brown rice will make it go bad in a year.

Augason Farms Long Grain Brown Rice Emergency Food Storage 24 Pound Pail
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Augason Farms Long Grain Brown Rice Emergency Food Storage 24 Pound Pail
  • 242 Servings
  • 38, 720 Calories
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Lowers The Risk Of Heart Disease

Rice is one of the grains that doesn’t have gluten, so people who can’t eat gluten can safely eat it. It also has no fat, lowers the risk of heart disease, and helps keep your colon healthy.

Rice is a good base for a meal, and it has many health benefits that make it an important part of a survival meal.

Why Are Beans A Good Food To Keep You Alive During SHTF?

Beans have been a part of people’s diets for hundreds of years. When meat is hard to find or expensive, beans are a good way to get the protein and essential amino acids you need every day.

Good Source Of Complete Protein

Pinto beans are a good source of fiber and slow down digestion, making you feel full for longer and preventing constipation. They are also a good source of protein amino acids.

As we’ve already said, beans help lower the amount of sugar in the blood, lower the risk of heart disease, and keep blood pressure in check.

Beans Calorie Dense

Beans in a 5 gallon bucket (30 lbs of beans)

  • 47,000 calories – 23.5 survival days
  • 1574 calories per pound (uncooked)
  • 650 calories per pound (cooked)
  • 670 calories per cup (uncooked)
  • 245 calories per cup (cooked)

A Good Source Of Iron And Vitamin B

Cooked beans are a good source of vitamin B and iron, just like rice. The iron is good for the health of your blood. The B vitamins make it easier for your body to turn food into energy.

baking soda wild edibles

Other Reasons Why Rice and Beans Are A Good Combination For Survival Food

Rice And Beans Has Long Shelf Life

Uncooked rice and dried legumes can be stored for a long time as long as they are kept away from moisture or high humidity. They don’t weigh too much and are easy to move.

When dried, a small amount goes a long way. When cooked in water, dry rice and legumes take in water and swell up, growing in size by several times. This makes a hearty meal that keeps you full for a long time.

Dry brown rice can be kept for six to twelve months, while dry, uncooked white rice can be kept for up to ten years. Dry beans could last for a few years before they’re no longer safe to eat.

They’re Inexpensive!

The big 20-pound bag of white rice costs between $8 and $10 per bag. So, a 5 gallon bucket of rice (30 pounds) costs about $14. Walmart sells the dried beans in 2 lb bags for $3.32. So, a 5 gallon bucket of beans (30 pounds) costs $49.8.

So, it would cost you about $64 for a 5 gallon bucket of rice and a 5 gallon bucket of beans. Pretty cheap food for 50 days.

This was worked out based on 2000 calories per day, which would be exactly 48.5 days, but we can live on much less than that.

Don’t forget that you’ll need a lot of water to cook them both.

Bean Varieties You Can Store For SHTF

dairy free cold water

Kidney Beans

Kidney beans receive their name from their likeness to kidneys, but if organ meats make you cringe, don’t worry, their similarities end there. Cannellini beans are white kidney beans that are prominent in Italian cuisine.

Kidney beans have a robust exterior and a fluffy inside, so they can withstand meaty meals such as chili, Andouille sausage with rice and legumes, and even a dehydrated veggies burger patty. All beans include lectins, which are proteins that can be harmful if not sufficiently cooked. However, red kidney beans are particularly high in one form of lectin, so cook them carefully. Soak your beans for 24 hours before boiling them for at least 20 minutes on high.

Pinto Beans

Dry pinto beans have a mottled beige and brown appearance and are of a medium size. They undergo a remarkable change while they cook, going from white to brown. Throughout the Americas, pinto beans can be found today, but they were first grown in Peru.

The pinto bean is presently the most widely consumed bean in the USA, where it is most commonly seen in refried bean and burrito preparations. But don’t feel limited; the Turkish love them in this easy meal of pinto beans dredged in olive oil.

Try them in Texas cowboy pinto beans; they’re smokey and sweet and, in our opinion, just as necessary to a barbecue as the grill itself. Pinto beans have a velvety texture and mild, nutty flavor when cooked, so they quickly absorb the ingredients you use in your cooking.

Augason Farms Pinto beans Emergency Bulk Food Storage 4 gallon Pail 253 Servings
968 Reviews
Augason Farms Pinto beans Emergency Bulk Food Storage 4 gallon Pail 253 Servings
  • Total servings: 253
  • Total calories: 37, 950
  • Calories per serving: 150

Garbanzo Beans Or Chickpeas

One of the oldest and most often consumed bean types is the chickpea. Therefore, many cultures give them varying names; for example, in Spain they are called garbanzos, in India they are called chana, and in Italy they are called ceci.

Kabuli and desi chickpeas are the two most prevalent types. If you buy them canned, chances are you got a kind called Kabuli, which is larger and has a milder flavor than the more common haricot verts.

Desi chickpeas range in color from green to black and have a coarser skin than regular chickpeas. Canned versions of this tasty legume can serve just fine if you don’t have the time or energy to soak dried ones.

Chickpeas, which become starchy and tender when cooked, are a common ingredient in Indian curries such as the traditional chana masala. They also roast wonderfully, making them a great crunchier snack or addition to meals like cumin cauliflower soup.

Black Beans

Protein-rich and a source of three different anthocyanins (the antioxidants responsible for giving black beans their color), black beans are also a good source of fiber and iron. Black beans, a staple in Korean cooking, the black beans, the main ingredient in the traditional Chinese condiment black bean sauce, and the turtle black beans, the most prevalent type in the Americas, are just a few of the variations available.

When cooked, turtle black beans take on a velvety smoothness that makes them ideal for use in soups and refried beans. The inherent creaminess of these alternatives makes it unnecessary to resort to the canned variety.

Green Beans

Green or garden peas, also known as Pisum Sativum, are the official botanical name for this popular legume. The Fabaceae family, often known as the Leguminosae family, is the correct classification for this plant.

Peas are rich in antioxidants including vitamins C and E, as well as zinc and other minerals. Vitamins A and B as well as coumetarols are other nutrients that can help reduce inflammation and lessen your chance of developing chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.

Lima Beans

There’s a lot of debate over lima beans. Some people won’t touch them, others won’t eat them till they’re fresh and in season, and still others will go crazy for them whether they’re in their natural state or dried and frozen. However, we maintain that when properly prepared, they taste just as good as any other type of bean.

The larger the lima bean, the more whole wheat flour and earthy it will taste. Lima beans come in three sizes: giant, tiny, and dwarf. In the American South, you might hear them referred to as sieva beans, carolina beans, or butter beans. Lima beans work well as a flavor sponge in dishes like succotash and ham and lima bean soup, where they soak up the other ingredients’ sauces.

How Much Rice And Beans Are Necessary To Sustain Oneself During Survival

dairy free buckets of rice and beans

Most experts agree that a daily calorie intake of 1,200 is necessary for survival. There are around 1290 calories with rice and beans meal, with 630 coming from beans and 660 coming from the white rice.

Consuming 2580 calories a day, which is more than enough to support an active lifestyle, can be achieved by eating two meals per day or one cup of beans and one cup of rice.

One pound of dry rice makes roughly 2.5 cups, whereas one pound of beans makes around 2 cups. This means that you’d need roughly 1 pound of rice and 1 pound of beans each day to meet your dietary needs.

Based on these calculations, you would have enough food to last for about a month if you had a 30-pound bag of rice and a 30-pound bag of dry beans.

If you have one 5-gallon bucket of rice and one of beans, you will have enough calories for almost 50 days.

Even though you probably won’t want to eat them every day and for every meal, the two together are a cheap “staple” to keep in your food storage as part of a wider variety of foods.

Some places that sell food storage will sell you rice and/or beans that are already packed and sealed in buckets for long-term storage. But you can also do it yourself by buying in bulk and using your own 5 gallon buckets, Mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers. You could also use a regular vacuum sealer in the kitchen to store smaller amounts (which could still be held in 5 gallon buckets for safe keeping).

Emergency Food Storage Plan: Some Preparation Guidelines

wild edibles amino acids

Rule 1: Get Used To Eating Beans.

You must first learn to love cooking rice and cooking beans. Rice and beans can eventually become a family’s main source of nutrition. When combined, rice and beans make a complete protein that can be used as a natural meat alternative in times of scarcity or SHTF.

Rice and beans make for great food storage because they are both inexpensive and nutritious. Many survivalists claim to dislike rice and beans but have never really tried either. You can discover some ideas for rice and bean combinations to prevent food fatigue

Rule 2: Eat What You Buy And Store What You Buy.

Buying beans and rice in bulk is vital, but first try rice and beans in your regular cooking. If your family isn’t used to eating rice and beans, don’t stock up on rice and beans

Buying what you eat and eating what you store is a basic preparation strategy. If your family dislikes beans, a better solution may be to stock up on noodles with meat sauce that your children will eat! Your personal storage guide is determined by you and your family, not by a book, chart, or website that tells you how much beans and rice to buy.

Having said that, it’s worth noting that rice and beans are among the most shelf-stable foods available, which is why preppers stock them!

Rule 3: Keep Spices Or Hot Sauce On Hand To Use With Your Dried Beans.

Bean variety is the spice of life, and this is especially true when you create a great meal for your family using rice and beans. You can use countless spices to add more flavor on your beans like bay leaves, chili powder etc.

Spice up your beans! Pinto bean seasoning, like fruit or nuts, is a tasty way to add flavor to dried pinto beans. Instead of water, you can also use bouillon cubes, chicken broth, vegetable broth, or beef broth to flavor rice. You can also cook your rice with coconut milk, which will give it flavor and help it cook faster.

pearl barley nutritional value

Rule 4: Learn How To Cook Beans From Scratch!

Brown grains take longer to cook than white rice, and pinto beans take longer to cook than lentils. There’s a lot to know! It’s important to cook from scratch before a disaster happens because you won’t want to waste food. In a crisis, you won’t be able to get beans and rice from your favorite Mexican restaurant, so you’ll have to learn how to make them yourself.

Rule 5: Make Sure You Have Enough Fuel And Water.

Beans, especially dried beans like pintos and garbanzos, can take a while to cook. However, they are a food that has a longer shelf life and should be kept on hand by every prepper as one of survival food. Make sure you have enough water and fuel to cook them.

Get more water. Rice and beans take a lot of water and fuel to cook, which is a problem in a world without a power grid. Dried beans need to soak in water before they can be cooked, and even soaking them for 24 hours might not be enough (unless you like your beans crunchy).

Stock up on fuel. The cooking process for beans takes a long time, and your large white propane tank will only make enough pinto beans for about five to ten meals, so you’ll want to think about your options.

Invest in a  solar oven cooker like MrMapMax Solar Oven Cooker, which will give you fuel for as long as the sun shines. With a solar cooker, you can cook rice and beans without making noise or drawing attention to yourself with smoke from a fire.

Rule 6: Have Some Quick Rice And Bean Options Available.

Some days you might not have the energy to keep an eye on the rice and beans while they cook for hours, or you might not feel well enough to cook. This is why you should make beans and rice quickly, and here’s how:

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Augason Farms Breakfast and Dinner Variety Pail Emergency Food Supply Everyday Meals 4 Gallon Pail
  • 106 nutritionally balanced servings
  • 15 Food Pouches
  • 19, 810 Total Calories

Want quick beans?

If you plan ahead in cooking beans, you can eat beans on the fast:

Canned beans are real cooked beans and can be eaten right out of the can. In a pinch, you don’t even have to refrigerate beans or heat them up. Just open the can and eat!

Lentils and split peas: Even though dried pintos take a long time, you could also try dried split green peas or dried lentils.

Want quick rice?

Cooking rice takes about 20 minutes. Cooking rice with coconut is a faster option. Since it soaks up quickly, it cooks food faster than other liquids. Bethenny Frankel’s coconut rice is a happy prepper’s favorite rice recipe.

You can use those quick rice kits, which shortens cooking time and gives you time and more fuel to use to cook other foods.

Sticks of rice (rice vermicelli noodles). Think about buying rice noodles (not ramen noodles) because they take less energy to cook. It will take a minute to cook vermicelli rice stick noodles.

Rule 7: Create a Long Term Food Storage Plan For Rice And Beans.

To prevent long grain white rice and all the beans from being eaten by pests make sure that you store beans and rice in proper food storage outlets and not in mylar bags.

Keeping rice and dried beans in mylar bags is a rookie move when prepping. This leaves them open to pests hence decreasing shelf life. Getting the food bucket container is easy if you buy it in bulk. You can also buy your own rice buckets for long term food storage. Try using a mason jar with oxygen absorbers.

The H-A-L-T method is a good way to store rice and beans.

Rule 8: Use Beans And Rice In Different Ways.

Beans can be used in more ways than you might think. Did you know that black beans can be used to make brownies? The brownies below are soft, sweet, and made with black beans. They are also gluten-free and vegan. The kids won’t even know that this black bean brownie recipe has beans in it.

Beans can be used in so many ways! Grind beans to make more food such as baked goods. Another interesting fact is that dried beans or lentils can be ground into flour.

Here’s how to make flour from your it. This gives you even more ways to bake with beans as a source of protein. Even if you put beans in their muffins, cookies, and brownies, the kids won’t know.

Make hummus out of ground up garbanzo beans. Garbanzo beans, whether they are dried or in a can, can be used to make hummus.

Overall Food Storage Diversity: How To Store Enough For SHTF

bay leaves wild edibles

Proper Packaging For Longer Shelf Life

The first goal is to use packaging that is strong. Moisture, oxygen, bugs, and rodents can’t get in if the package isn’t sealed well. We’ll talk about how Mylar bags and 5-gallon buckets can help you with all of these things.

Regarding dates, beans do “expire.” Depending on how you store your beans, you may need to switch them out sooner rather than later. Even though this article is about the best way to store something for a long time, there are other choices.

Original packaging (paper or plastic): The plastic and paper bags that beans come in are not the best way to package them. Depending on the quality, you can expect it to last between 3 and 5 years. This depends a lot on your surroundings. Check it often, and be ready for it to go bad sooner.

Mason Jars:

Beans can be kept for a long time in small amounts in vacuum-sealed mason jars. The process gets rid of the air, but not the oxygen. Expect to store things for 5–10 years.

5-Gallon Buckets (no Mylar or O2 absorbers):

Beans can be stored well in 5-gallon buckets on their own. The gaskets on the lids don’t make a perfect seal, so you’ll need to check them every year. Plan on 10–15 years.


The last part of the equation for storing food is the temperature. Hot temperatures can make you age faster and make natural fats and oils go bad. Heat can also cause plastics to break down, which can make your seals fail.

Bad things can also happen when it’s cold, especially when it’s freezing. When food is frozen, the cells break, and the food’s quality quickly goes down. Ever freeze lettuce? That’s right, but on a smaller scale.

For long-term storage, you want cool, even temperatures. The ideal temperature for your storage area is 50 degrees. In an article I once read, it said that the amount of time food can be stored doubles for every 5 degrees below 70. I’m sorry, but I can’t find that.

Even though I’m not sure if this is true or not, I use it as a goal. My basement storage averages 60 degrees. I haven’t shown any signs of going bad after being stored for 15 years.


Second, once you’re done packing, you’ll need to put labels on both the inside and outside of the box. Write what’s inside and the date on the label.

If you write down what’s in the bucket, you won’t open the third one and find black beans when you were hoping for pintos. You can eat the oldest food first because of the dates.

Speaking of which, you need to make a schedule for the rotations. Even though properly packaged beans can last for many years, you still need to prove that to yourself. Over time, beans can become too dry and hard to cook.

Open a bucket every few years, take out a few cups, and cook them. If they are too dry, use this as a chance to learn how to treat them before cooking or how to cook them. If you can’t find a way that works for you, you can use the date to get rid of beans that are too old to use.

You should also label the insides of your buckets. A label doesn’t need much to peel, get worn, or fade. If the label on the outside gets torn off during shipping, it doesn’t do any good. Don’t eat meals you don’t know what’s in, and put a second label on the inside of your bucket.

Long Term food Storage using The 5-Gallon Bucket and Mylar Bag Packing Method

southwest rice great meal

5-Gallon Buckets

There are a million ways to use a 5-gallon bucket for prepping. Since they are stiff, they stack well. They can get a really good seal. They are always the same size, which makes it easy to plan. Oh, and they are a great way to store dry goods for a long time.

You can get new buckets at Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, or any other hardware store you like. You can also get them for free from the bakery near you. Most bakeries put icing on them and give them away for free.

When I’m getting ready to pack food, I go to about six grocery stores and bakeries and usually get enough free buckets to fill my trunk.

If you need replacement lids, Home Depot is a great place to go. They cost less than $2 and have a great seal. I’ve found that the ones from Lowes don’t seal as well and aren’t as good.

“Food Grade” should be on every bucket you use. If you buy them from a bakery, make sure that they have only been used to store food. Don’t take any that have been cleaned with chemicals or cleaners. Here’s a good overview of how to tell if a bucket is safe for food.

Mylar Bags

One is nothing, and two is one. The buckets are your first line of defense against the weather. The Mylar bags are your second line of defense.

Mylar is made of thick plastic with a thin layer of metal on top. When you heat seal them shut, you make a seal that keeps out both air and water. At $1–$2 per bag, they’re a cheap way to protect yourself.

Get bags that can fit at least 5-gallon buckets. You can also get smaller bags, like 1 gallon bags, to store smaller amounts of food.

One of my favorite things to do is put beans, rice, oats, and pasta in 1-gallon bags and put them in buckets. I put spices, salt, and a water filter in the cracks, and now I have a bucket I can take with me or give to someone in need.

Just so you know, if you click on a link in this article and then buy something, I may get a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, I get paid when I buy things that qualify. My full disclosure can be found here.

It’s easy to seal the Mylar bags, but heat is needed. Amazon sells impulse sealers that are made to work only with Mylar bags. If you can afford them, they are a useful addition to your prepping supplies.

How To Cook Rice

instant pot cooking time


Your rice has powdery starch and who knows what else on it. The first thing you should always do is wash your rice. I just put it in a pot and soaked it in water for a while before carefully pouring off the water.

The first time you do it, the starch in the water will make it look milky. This can make the rice sticky.

Use 2 is to 1 Ratio

The best way to cook rice is with two parts water to one part rice. When I’m at home, I use a coffee mug. To get the right amount, I use a scoop of rice from the mug and two fills of water.

At this point, I also added a lot of salt and oil.


You will boil the rice until it has the consistency of porridge. At this point, you should cover it with a lid and turn the heat down as low as you can.


While the rice was boiling, you are now finishing it by steaming it. These two ways to cook are very different from each other. On an electric stove, you should take the pot completely off the heat until it cools down to a simmer. If you leave the lid on, the rice will boil longer and the top layers will be overcooked.

After steaming at a low temperature for about 10 minutes, I add more oil and salt. Then I break every rule and use a fork to stir the rice lightly before letting it steam for a couple more minutes.

food storage diversity split green peas

How To Cook Beans

It’s easy to remember: 10 cups of beans equals 1 pound.

Beans are ten times as much as rice.

Soak your beans in the fridge overnight. Give them at least 8 hours with a few inches of water covering them completely. Make sure that your container is big enough for them to grow.

When it’s time to cook them, put them in a pot with water and bring the whole thing to a simmer. This mixture should simmer for about an hour.

Add your flavorings and things that smell good here. These can be bay leaves, onions, or anything else you like to use to flavor your beans. People like to add smoked pig parts to many dishes (hocks, necks, feet). These are very tasty.

Soaking them again is the key to making good beans. This time, you let them soak in the liquid they were cooked in as it cools. You are going to cook the beans until they are almost done. This could take another 30 minutes to an hour, after which the heat would be turned off.

Let them soak overnight and add a lot of salt to them. This part is crucial.

pearl barley food fatigue

What is The Beans Trio with Rice Kit Includes:

Legumes and grains from Ready Hour are an important part of your emergency food storage plan. They’re hearty, soft, and tasty. They also add protein powder! You can eat them in many different ways, so you’ll never get tired of them. Plus, they give you the food you need to keep going, which is especially important in an emergency.

All of the beans in our Ready Hour Beans Trio With Rice Kit are made with real legumes and long grain white rice that have been cooked. Our method of dehydrating with low heat keeps the flavor and high nutritional value of the food. Each type of bean and rice is individually sealed in our heavy-duty, 4-layer packages to increase shelf life and keep them fresh for up to 30 years if they are never opened. 100 servings.

Pinto Beans

North Americans love pinto beans, and for a good reason. They are full of protein, folate, fiber, and iron, and they taste great in a lot of different dishes.

Black Beans

Black beans are a superfood because they are full of protein and other good things for your body. Also, they taste good by themselves or in your favorite dishes.

Red Beans

Red beans are just right for chili powder and bay leaves. Also, red beans have a lot of protein and fiber. Moreover, red beans are the favorite of hunters and campers because it’s easy to carry and makes you feel full.

Margaret Holmes Southern Style Red Bean & Rice (Pack of 3) 15 oz Cans
174 Reviews
Margaret Holmes Southern Style Red Bean & Rice (Pack of 3) 15 oz Cans
  • A Southern Favorite
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White Rice With Long Grains

60 servings, 6 pk.

You should always have some Long Grain White Rice on hand. Since it’s rice, it can be used in a lot of different ways. Because it comes in a case with 6 pouches that can be resealed, it’s easy to use and doesn’t waste much.

Long Grain White Rice can be used in any recipe that calls for regular rice, but the cooking time will need to be changed.

Southwest Rice Ultimate

Southwest Rice is made with bell peppers and tomatoes in a rich chicken broth. This is what gives the rice its unique southwest taste. The kids will love southwest rice for sure! Each bucket has two pouches that each have 8 servings. This is great for a family! Southwest Rice is easy to make. Just stir it into water that is boiling and let it cook. If you have Southwest Rice in your emergency food kit and on your pantry shelf, you’ll never have to worry about how to feed your family in a crisis. You can serve this with scrambled eggs and hot sauce in the morning.

How To Prepare Southwest Rice?

Open the package and pull out the oxygen absorber

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add a pouch of dried legumes in the instant pot, stir, and turn the heat down to a simmer.

Cover and let it cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Strain, if you want, and serve.

For different tastes, add salt, pepper, pearl barley, onion, or garlic to the beans, or reduce the water to 1 1/2 cups and season the legumes to make a “sauce.” can also be used with meat stock and warm water.