Oxygen Another Enemy of Food Storage

Jars vacuumed sealed with a Food Saver.

Today I will write about how oxygen affects the shelf life of food.  Oxygen supports the growth of microorganisms and causes changes in color.  Aerobic bacteria and fungi are able to grow in a oxygen rich  environment.  It also lets insects thrive and feed on your food.  Removing the oxygen prevents these changes from happening and kills the insects.  This will greatly increase the shelf life of your food.

Currently there are three common methods to protect your long-term dry pack from the affects of oxygen, vacuum sealing, oxygen absorbers and fumigation with dry ice.

Vacuum sealing- home vacuum sealing is normally done with a Food Saver or similar device.  We use a Food Saver to seal mason jars all the time.  It definitely extends the life of the food products.  Here are some links to prior posts Food Saver Jar Sealer, More on the Food Saver, See my Wife’s FoodSaver Demo.

Fumigating with dry ice – This method works well.  I have seen it used but not much in recent years.  I will write a blog on it later in the week.  It is more time consuming than oxygen absorbers and I can see no advantage in using it.

Buckets with Mylar bags ready for sealing

Oxygen absorbers – this is my favorite method and is currently the most widely used method of removing oxygen in the dry food storage industry.  Here is a link to a recent post on them,  Answers to Questions About Oxygen Absorbers

Whatever method you use, make sure that your containers are non-permeable.  Glass and metal are fine, but plastic breathes.  If you are using food grade plastic buckets and oxygen absorbers, the buckets need to be lined with a non-permeable barrier such as a Mylar bag.  Here is a link to the method I use, Sealing Food in 5 Gallon Buckets.

The more care you take now the longer your dry pack foods will last.



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2 Responses to Oxygen Another Enemy of Food Storage

  1. TimV says:

    Has anyone discussed placing sealed O2 absorbers within the bulk foods being packed? If the thought is that modern supplies will not be available, why not put in a sealed pack of O2 absorbers on top of the food so that the mylar bag can be re-sealed with fresh absorbers 15 years from now? Then you do not have to use the whole pail of food within a short time.

  2. Debbie says:

    I recommend the oxygen absorber also. They are so easy to use and are very inexpensive. One recommendation I have when opening a can or mylar bag is to stir the food before use. This allows any trapped gas to escape from the food giving it a better taste. If you set it out in a bowl for about an hour or so there is a huge difference in the taste of the food.

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