Oxygen absorbers remove oxygen from sealed containers. In the context of food storage, we would generally be talking about rice, wheat, and grains, but oxygen absorbers could also be used for beans, pasta, and many other products. Removing air from the storage container stops rust and extends shelf life. Eliminating oxygen prevents insects that may be in the food when it is 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 detailed explanation of quantities, storage times, and properties of both the foods to be stored and the containers used. You get the picture… this is a primer, a basic manual for beginners, so to speak. I hope you are stocking food and rotating food and being self-sufficient for 2-3 years. I also hope that none of us need long-term food storage.

With all that, I present here a basic primer on Oxygen Absorbers, their advantages and disadvantages. These are the basics of what you need to know about oxygen absorbers.

• Absorbents are non-toxic and food safe. Ingredients: iron and salt.

• Two 500 cc absorbents are enough for a 5 to 6 gallon pail.

• Dense foods need fewer absorbents because there is less air to remove.

• Altitude affects the density of air. If you live on a mountain… you can use less absorbents than if you live at sea level. Don’t skimp.

• Once you open the bag of sorbents, they are activated, use them as quickly as possible.

• In a 500 cc package. will absorb 500 cc of oxygen from a container.

• They are for single use and cannot be reused.

• Oxygen absorbers come in hermetically sealed bags. Once you open the bag, they begin to absorb oxygen from the atmosphere. They contain enough active ingredients to be open for 30-45 minutes before sealing in their containers. Therefore, it is important to have the containers filled and ready to cover before opening the package.

• If you are not using all the absorbents and want to save the rest for a later packaging project, reseal them in an airtight bag using a vacuum sealer.

• You can place the absorbents anywhere in the bucket. I put mine on top so I wouldn’t lose track of what containers I put them in.

• When using oxygen absorbers in plastic pails, use standard snap-on lids. Gamma caps are airtight, but are not designed to counteract the pressure created when oxygen is removed from the container.

• After removing the standard lid to use the contents, a Gamma lid can be used to reseal the bucket against moisture, rodents, and insects. A hammer cap (with gasket) will provide an oxygen barrier for a couple of 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.

•Absorbents 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.

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