Oxygen Absorbers remove oxygen from sealed containers. In the context of food storage we would generally be talking rice, wheat and grains, but Oxygen Absorbers could also be used for beans, pasta and many other products. Taking the air out of the storage container stops oxidation and extends shelf life. Eliminating the oxygen prevents insects that could be in the food when it’s sealed.
Pages of information could be written on the details below… including chemical formulas, the physics of air absorption and the properties of wheat, rice etc. It would take an entire book to include all the charts and graphs necessary to present a thorough explanation of quantities, storage times and the properties of both the food to be stored and the containers used. You get the picture… this is a primer, a beginner’s basic manual so to speak. I hope you’re storing food and rotating food and that you are self sufficient for 2-3 years. I also hope none of us ever need long-term food storage.
With all of that I present here a basic primer on Oxygen Absorbers, their advantages and disadvantages. Here are the fundamentals of what you need to know about Oxygen Absorbers.
• Absorbers are non-toxic and food safe. Ingredients: iron and salt.
• Two 500cc absorbers are sufficient for a 5-6 gallon bucket.
• Dense food needs fewer absorbers because there is less air to remove.
• Altitude affects air density. If you live on a mountain.. you can use fewer absorbers than if you live at sea level. Don’t skimp.
• Once you open the bag of absorbers they become active, use them as quickly as possible.
• A 500cc pkt. will absorb 500 cc of oxygen from a container.
• They are single-use, and cannot be reused.
• Oxygen absorbers come in airtight sealed bags. Once you open the bag they begin absorbing oxygen from the atmosphere. They contain enough active ingredients to be open for 30-45 minutes before sealing in your containers. So it’s important to have your containers filled and ready for lids before you open the package.
• If you’re not using all the absorbers and want to save the rest a later packing project, re-seal them in an airtight bag using a vacuum Sealing Machine.
• You can put the absorbers anywhere in the bucket. I put mine on top so I don’t lose track of which containers I put them in.
• When using oxygen absorbers in plastic buckets, use standard hammer-on lids. Gamma Lids are airtight, but not designed to counteract the pressure created when the oxygen in the container is removed.
• After the standard lid is removed to use the contents, a Gamma Lid can be used to re-seal the bucket against moisture, rodents and insects. A hammer-on lid (with gasket) will provide an oxygen barrier for a couple years’ of storage.
• For long-term storage, you can use Mylar liner bags inside your bucket. When heat-sealed they will block oxygen permeation for years.
•Absorbers in their original sealed bag have a shelf life of about 1 year.
A detailed discussion of storage times, product density and container properties will have to wait.