The Long term Bug Free Storage of Dry Foods

I see posts on the internet about preventing the growth of bugs in grains and other dry food storage.  One method that is widely mentioned is freezing your products for several days prior to canning.  I have been storing foods for over 45 years without bug problems, I have never used freezing to kill bugs. I have used bay leaves, CO2 and oxygen absorbers.  The other thing that I watch very closely is the moisture level in my dry products.  Moisture levels should be below 10%.  See the following post http://bit.ly/Q2huKz to learn how to determine moisture levels

Freezing dry goods can be an effective means of killing insects.  The problem is that there are  questions about whether or not freezing kills the eggs of all the different types of insects that can infest grain.  Remember insect eggs survive outdoors in cold snowy parts of the country.  So if you use this method, it would be a good idea to watch your products to see if insects do show up.

Personally, I like oxygen absorbers, but even with them, you have to be careful.  Studies conducted by BYU show that oxygen deprivation is an effective method of disinfestations, when the oxygen content is held below 1% for at least 12 days.  The thing you have to be careful of is the type of container you use.  Number 10 steel cans are an effective and reliable container.  Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) has also proven to be an effective container to be used with oxygen absorber packets for disinfestation  (Broderick and others 2010), but for long term storage the buckets will breathe.  High-density polyethylene (HDPE) 5 gal buckets are very popular storage containers for dry foods.  Tests show that oxygen absorbers will not reliably keep the oxygen levels below 1% for 12 days unless you use Mylar bags.

Personally, I use Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers for any dry products I store in plastic buckets other than sugar or salt.  This is the best method to store your foods for long term storage and maintain peak nutrition.  I know it adds a small amount of cost, but when you need your storage it will be worth it.

Howard

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4 Responses to The Long term Bug Free Storage of Dry Foods

  1. david says:

    Also check on diatomaceous earth. I have not used it for food storage but reported to work well.

    • Prepared says:

      We add a little food-grade diatomaceous earth when storing grains and rice. Kills bugs dead and does not harm the food.
      BTW, we also dust it on our dogs. No more fleas or ticks. Seriously.

  2. Carla says:

    You said “I use Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers for any dry products I store in plastic buckets other than sugar or salt.” Why not sugar or salt? How do you store those?

    • admin says:

      I store sugar and salt in plastic buckets, but they do not require the Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. They store well long term as long as they are protected from moisture. Howard

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