|dry beans in jars | photo: dancesincreek|
If it is something that requires a good seal (such as agar agar) I will sometimes cut a piece of wax paper to put over the top of the jar before placing the lid on it. Obviously things kept in jars do better stored in a cool dark place.
I like using glass jars, even though they are more breakable, because I feel that they are the best, least contaminating containers.
For large quantities I use five gallon buckets. Although they are plastic, it is not possible to store very large quantities in other containers. Many people can get five gallon buckets for free from their local grocery store. In the bakery section simply ask for their buckets; the grocery stores throw them away. These are food safe buckets. Sometimes they come with some of the contents (frosting, etc) still stuck to the inside, but washing them out is a small price to pay.
For the lid I use something called a gamma seal. This is a great thing to create a water-tight, air-tight, vermin-proof seal. I like them in part because they are spin-on/spin-off rather than a rip-off-your-fingernails-prying-the-lid-open. Essentially there is a threaded plastic ring which snaps onto the rim of the bucket. The lid then threads into the ring. If I am planning on very long term storage (more than six months) for the contents of a bucket I will add oxygen absorbers to help the contents last longer. The trick with the oxygen absorbers is to figure out how much airspace is left in the bucket so you know how many absorbers to use.
I find that a five gallon bucket easily stores twenty-five pounds of dry goods. I use mine to store grains such as hard wheat, barley, oats, and buckwheat. I also use these buckets to store sucanat and evaporated cane juice crystals. Due to the weight I don't stack them more than three high.
In order to make sure that I am staying on top of my large scale dry goods I write the contents of the bucket on a piece of scotch tape with weight and the date it needs to be used by. This piece of tape is placed on the rim of the lid. This way the buckets are clearly marked and when I go into them and I can see how much I still have left. The tape sticks well enough to be used but comes off easily enough if the information needs to be changed.