The following describes one way (definitely not the only way) to store beans and seeds for later food use. This method should work for seeds you plan to plant and grow up to a limited storage time of 2-3 years or less depending on temperature.
Purchase 5 gal plastic paint buckets with lids (about $3/each), and heavy duty Compactor plastic bags (about 2 Mil) at your local discount building supplies store (Home Depot, HomeBase ...).
If you are worried about plastic absorption into the food then use Mylar rugged food grade liner bags 4 mil.
Purchase some Diatomaceous earth.
Line the Bucket with a 2-4 mil plastic bag and pour in the seeds or beans until the bucket is about 1/2 full.
Add about 1/2 a cup or less of Diatomaceous Earth and stir it in completely. The recommended amount is 1 cup for every 50 lb. of seeds or beans. Pour in more seeds or beans until the center forms a mound just even with the top of the pail. This will go down to about 1" below the top once it is stirred.
Pour in a 1/2 cup of Diatomaceous earth and gently Stir It in. DE needs to mix with all of the seeds or beans uniformly. One easy way to do this is to put some seeds and the appropriate amount of DE in a closed bucket and shake it until mixed, then pour this into the storage bucket and repeat until storage bucket is full. Mix at the rate of about 1 cup (1/6 lb) of DE for every 50 lbs of grain or seed.
This step is optional, do it if you think it is needed. Add 3 table spoons or more of Silica Gel (a drying agent some times sold to dry flowers, I got it at Michael's) to the center of a small square of fine weave cloth. I used 8"-10" square pieces of old bed sheeting. Lift the corners and bring them together, twist and tie with a stainless steel or copper wire (I believe Iron will rust over time and may rust through). Cut off the excess wire and bend the pig tale back so that it doesn't puncture the cloth.
Place the bag upside down in the center with the excess cloth fanned out, to give an extra Layer of Cloth between the silica gel and the seeds or beans.
Close the 2-4 mil plastic bag so as to not trap any air. This can be done by holding down on the bag close to the seeds or beans on the top then twisting it. Tape with some black plastic Electricians Tape with several turns. Copper or stainless steel wire can now be used over this tape to tighten it so it is even more air tight, and the tape will not relax over time. Use pliers to get it tight. Cut off the excess wire and the remaining pig tail, bend it around the tape. Add another layer of black electrical tape over the top of the wire. This keeps the wire from punching a hole in the plastic bag.
Lay the round taped area of the bag down on the seeds or beans and push it flat. The seeds or beans will move around and make room for it. Check that there is enough room for the lid to properly close. If needed push the seeds or beans around to make it level. While holding the excess plastic on the top of the bag away from the edge of the bucket put the top on. Use a heavy weighted Rubber Mallet to pound the lid on. Caution: Don't stand on the lid to close it. It's too easy for the bucket to tip over with one possibly getting hurtt from the fall. I almost fell off, several times on my first few buckets using this method. Label the container as to its contents using a permanent marking pen. Put a clear plastic tape (box closure tape) over the top of it so it doesn't rub off. Even permanent marking pens will rub off on this type of plastic.
When you're ready to open it, use a Special Tool to get it open (can be purchased at building supplies store). This tool has several shapes and sizes depending on where you get it. It basically has a metal lip, that pries up the edge of the lid without damaging it. No broken finger nails, etc.
The number of pounds of raw beans or seeds that I was able to get in a 5 gallon bucket is listed below for Organic seeds. This weight does not include the bucket, which weighs about 3 lb., lid included.
Grain of Bean Pounds Barley 28.5 Garbanzos 35 Brown Rice 31.5 Adzuki 33.5 Soy 31.5 Winter Wheat 36 Kamut 35 Peas 35 _______ Average 33.25 lb.
Notes on other options: Seal a Meal, or an electric iron could be used to seal the plastic
bags. Food grade 4 mil Mylar (metalized) plastic bags could be used. Iron fillings (Fresh
PAX) in a bag could be used to remove the oxygen for further protection. These can be
purchased at Major Surplus and Survival 800 441 8855 or search for a better price on
Offered by Mike.