To optimize the way you do food storage in your home, you need to know about oxygen absorbers and how to use them to your advantage to keep food fresh.
If you have any desire to store dry food for long periods, oxygen absorbers are one of the only ways to do it. And if you don’t know how to use them correctly, spoiling food and wasting money can be costly.
To use oxygen absorbers for food storage, you must begin your setup with all materials. Next, you can place individual absorber packets into your food storage bags with food. After they are inside the food bags, you can seal the bags using a heat source and label everything.
Oxygen absorbers are used for food storage, and they help in the prevention of food spoilage and can provide a safe environment for the storage of perishable foods. You can insert them into plastic buckets or mylar bags to eliminate airflow inside the container, keep food fresh, and avoid mold or bacteria from growing. This guide explains how to do this effectively.
When it comes to storing food, oxygen absorbers can be used by anyone. You can learn exactly how to use them in your home to extend the shelf life of food and become an improved food storage expert.
How To Use Oxygen Absorbers For Food Storage
If you’ve ever purchased bulk food from a warehouse club or another bulk-selling retailer, you know that they can save your budget and taste buds.
Food that you buy in bulk lasts longer because you’re only buying what you need, not what you can fit into one of those little plastic storage containers. But to keep your stored food safe to eat, so it doesn’t become a home for mold, mites, and other creepy crawlies, it needs airtight storage.
Oxygen-absorbing packets will ensure your food stays as fresh as the day it was packaged. Here’s how to use oxygen absorbers for food storage.
Removing the oxygen will help to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria and will help to extend the shelf life of the food. When it comes to food storage, oxygen absorbers can be a lifesaver.
These little packets work by removing the oxygen from the packaging, which helps to preserve the food inside. They're sized by how much oxygen they remove in ccs, so it's important to know how many you'll need for your specific application.
Here is exactly how to use oxygen absorbers for food storage.
Begin Your Setup
The first thing to do when you use oxygen absorbers is to begin your setup. This includes gathering supplies and putting all food in bags before touching your oxygen absorbers.
This is so important because when you are sealing dry food, the type of oxygen absorber you use goes bad within 15-30 minutes after opening it. If you open the oxygen absorber first, it will spoil before you finish loading your Mylar bags.
Place Oxygen Absorbers In Your Food
After your food is loaded in your container or bag, you can place the required number of oxygen absorbers inside. When you place oxygen absorbers in your food storage container or bag, they will absorb any excess oxygen and prevent the food from going bad.
They can be placed directly at the top of the bag. Placement is not important as long as you do the next steps correctly.
Seal Your Food Bags
Now, you can do the most important step, seal your Mylar bags or containers. If you use Mylar bags or any type of vacuum seal bags with oxygen absorbers, they must be properly sealed, or the food will spoil within the first 3-12 months.
The best way to do so is by using a heat source like a hair straightener. Ensure the heat is turned up on the high setting to get the most effective seal.
Finally, you can label your bags or containers before storing them with the food types inside. This is overlooked but necessary for a properly organized home.
Your labels should also include the date of storage and the number of oxygen absorbers used for reference in the future.
What Are Oxygen Absorbers For Food Storage?
Oxygen absorbers are small packets with a porous design made with iron powder and sodium. This combined mixture will eliminate the moisture in the area when sealed.
However, the components in an oxygen absorber can vary depending on the type and brand. But the most common type uses iron powder and sodium.
They absorb oxygen in the package and prevent it from reaching the food. Below we will further explain what oxygen absorbers are and how they work. This is critical to know, so you use them correctly.
How Do Oxygen Absorbers Work?
Oxygen absorbers can be used to prolong food storage because they do not affect the quality or taste of food in any way. In fact, there's no danger in adding too many oxygen absorbers-they won't hurt anything.
It's important to understand that the amount of oxygen absorbed is a function of the volume in cc's, so be sure to have enough for your needs. These packets are very safe to use around food and are sealed airtight to keep the minerals inside.
The way an oxygen absorber works isn't complex or difficult to understand. You only need to place it inside a container and seal the bag. Once this is done, oxygen gets absorbed inside the bag, and food is secured.
The best way to use them is by putting them inside your container after filling it with food items. Once this is done, the bag or container gets sealed, and the absorber removes oxygen.
This is done by using some type of moisture that changes based on the absorber used. Some use moisture from food, while others contain moisture because it is needed to activate it.
However, you have a short time to make this work. This is how an oxygen absorber should work when used.
Open The Oxygen Absorber
Once you have your mylar bags or containers loaded with food and set up, open the oxygen absorbers.
It’s important to wait until you’re ready to seal the bag before opening your oxygen absorber packets. Once opened, they can become unusable after 15-30 minutes, so you need to move quickly.
Also, ensure you’re using the right size or the correct amount. Some containers, like a five-gallon bucket, can hold a lot of oxygen absorbers, but others, like a small bag of dried beans, can only hold a few.
You cannot go back later and add more, and they will all need to be replaced once the seal of your container is broken.
Place The Oxygen Absorber Inside The Container
You need to place the oxygen absorber inside the container on top of the food in the packed bag or container before sealing it. Remember to do this as soon as possible after opening the oxygen absorber.
Seal The Bag As Soon As Possible
After everything is inside the container or bag, you can seal the food. This is typically done with some type of heat source, and you should do it within 30 minutes.
Just make sure they’re sealed tightly, and ensure any food you put in a bag is in an airtight container, or the oxygen absorbers won’t protect it. This quickly leads to food spoilage and mold growth.
When Should You Use Oxygen Absorbers?
The general rule is that oxygen absorbers are best if you want to keep dry food stored for at least three months or longer. They are used to preserve and extend the shelf life of food.
You should use these absorbers when storing dry foods, including flour, sugar, rice, and beans. But they must be used with extremely specific storage containers, or they will be ineffective in keeping your food fresh.
They use an active carbon compound that absorbs oxygen in the air and converts it into harmless carbon dioxide. This helps keep your food fresh longer and prevents the growth of mold or bacteria.
Oxygen absorbers are a good option if you want to store your food for long periods without it going bad. They prevent the growth of microorganisms, which can lead to food spoilage.
What Types Of Containers Can You Use Oxygen Absorbers With?
Oxygen absorbers can be used in a variety of containers. But it’s important to know what they work with because pairing them with the wrong container will spoil your food quickly.
We only recommend using oxygen absorbers with Mylar bags, glass jars, and food-grade plastic buckets. Keep these tips in mind when determining which is ideal for your food storage needs.
The most common way to use an oxygen absorber is with Mylar bags because they are highly effective for long-term storage. They can hold some foods for up to 30 years when using oxygen absorbers.
You can also use smaller Mylar pouches to hold smaller amounts of food. Oxygen absorbers come in many sizes, so a packet also works with a type of Mylar bag.
Glass jars are a popular choice for food storage because they can be reused repeatedly. They can also hold items for a long time, and they are extremely durable as well.
They are ideal for storing things like flour, sugar, rice, and dry beans. This means they work well for long-term storage.
However, glass jars will not last as long as the typical Mylar bag. But in general, you can get at least ten years of storage from a container kept away from extreme temperature changes and sunlight.
Food-grade plastic buckets work like Mylar bags and are often used to store Mylar bags to create an added layer of protection against insects and rodents.
But they can also store food on their own. They work best to store large amounts of grains or rice, and you’ll likely need larger oxygen absorbers to store food with them properly.
Why You Should Use Oxygen Absorbers
Oxygen absorbers are the perfect size for storing food. They're easy to use, and you can't use too many-only too few ccs for smaller packages like a pint.
There are many reasons you might use them, but consider these benefits if you have doubts whether they are worth the investment.
Extended Food Shelf Life
Oxygen absorbers are used in food storage because they provide an extended food shelf life. They are also effective at absorbing the moisture and oxygen from the air to ensure that your food remains safe and fresh for a long time.
They are porous materials that release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. This keeps the food fresh and helps it last longer.
They can be used with different types of foods, such as grains, beans, flour, sugar, rice, cornmeal, potatoes, and more. They also help in maintaining the quality of the food.
Safe & Easy To Use
Oxygen absorbers are an amazing tool that can keep your food fresh without the need for refrigeration. They allow people to preserve their food longer and make it last longer.
They are a great option for food storage because they are safe and easy to use. They can be used by beginners and professionals alike.
They also can be used in a wide variety of ways, from keeping your vegetables fresh to preserving meats that you might not know how long they will last.
Oxygen absorbers are specially designed to prevent mold growth in food. These packets are great for storing food for extended periods of three months or more.
They can be inserted into the packaging or sealed in a plastic bag before it goes into storage. It works by eliminating the flow of oxygen inside the packaging.
When there is oxygen, organisms like mold can form on your food. This leads to spoilage and ruins your food items before they are consumed.
Doesn't Require Use of Additives
Oxygen absorbers are a great way to preserve food. They are safe and non-toxic, so they can be used in the kitchen without worrying about your family's health.
The oxygen absorber is the main component that helps to remove moisture from the packaging material and prevent spoilage.
They don't require any additives like BHA or BHT, so it is safer. You must often use these additives to keep food fresh for extended periods.
What Foods Can You Store With Oxygen Absorbers?
Oxygen absorbers are a great way to store foods for an extended period of time. You can store a variety of foods with oxygen absorbers. Here is a list of the foods you can store with each type.
Beans And Lentils
Beans and lentils are one of the longest-lasting dry foods. You can seal these in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers for up to 30 years.
They must be dried beans because the moisture content is low. This includes kidney beans and lima beans.
Rice is another excellent choice for dry food storage because of its extended shelf life of up to 30 years. However, there are two types of rice that are much different.
White rice has a significantly lower moisture content with a 30-year shelf life when kept in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Brown rice is the opposite and lasts only about one year in storage.
Many dry cereals are good choices for long-term storage. It will last for up to ten years in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, depending on the grain type of the cereal.
For example, granola can last for ten years or more, but milled cereal lasts only for 1-2 years. This is due to the moisture content.
Pasta is the perfect choice for long-term food storage, but you’ll need oxygen absorbers. This is because pasta can last for 20-30 years when stored properly, and Mylar bags are the best method.
All pasta types will last for the same length, except for whole grain pasta. Regular pasta has low levels of moisture.
Coffee can be kept in long-term food storage too. This included dried coffee, instant coffee, and coffee beans, but they need a tight seal with oxygen absorbers to last.
On average, dried or instant coffee will last for about 25 years. Coffee beans will last a few years, but the moisture is too high to last longer.
Not many people know that sugar will never go bad, especially in a Mylar bag with oxygen absorbers. This includes brown sugar and powdered sugar, but granulated table sugar is the best to store.
Whole grains or flour are considered to be staples in any long-term food storage collection. The shelf life for most of these foods is up to 20 years when kept securely in plastic buckets or Mylar bags.
But to get this shelf life, you also need oxygen absorbers. Make sure to only store whole grains with a moisture level under 10%.
How Long Does Food Last With Oxygen Absorbers?
Food will last longer when sealed and using oxygen absorbers. The time that food lasts depends on the type of food being stored and the methods used to seal it from oxygen and light exposure.
The average food will last between 10 to 30 years when sealed and using oxygen absorbers. But it depends on the food type and the moisture content level in the food.
Some foods are more perishable than others and must be consumed within a few days or weeks. Knowing what type of food your storage items are is best before you seal them away for the future.
Types Of Oxygen Absorbers For Food Storage
Oxygen absorbers are used in food storage to absorb oxygen and prevent food from going bad. They come in different forms and are two primary types worth considering.
It is also worth mentioning that all oxygen absorbers come in plastic bags. This makes handling them easy.
B Oxygen Absorbers
B oxygen absorbers differ from traditional D oxygen absorbers because they require a moisture level. Without moisture, there is no way for this absorber to remove oxygen from inside the container.
Because of this, you shouldn't use B oxygen absorbers with any dry foods like grains, rice, or pasta. Instead, this can be used with items like beef jerky or dehydrated fruits.
You won’t use this oxygen absorber if you want 20-30 years of food storage. B absorbers are also much slower to activate, taking 1-2 hours after opening and sealing them.
D Oxygen Absorbers
If you want to store dry food items in Mylar bags or plastic buckets, the D oxygen absorber is what you need. They don’t need moisture to work because they contain moisture in the composition.
You cannot activate a B oxygen absorber without moisture in your dry foods. But because D oxygen absorbers have moisture, they are extremely effective for all types of dry food, meaning they work for 20-30 years of storage.
These absorbers activate within 30 minutes or so after placing them inside a food storage container. This is much faster than the B absorber.
What Size Oxygen Absorber Do I Need?
There are many different types of oxygen absorbers. They are designed to remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can be harmful in case of a fire or other emergency.
Several factors determine how long an oxygen absorber will last. These include the size of the absorber, its material, and its design.
You should start by checking the capacity of your oxygen absorbers to ensure you have the proper size for your food storage needs. Depending on the size, you may need to use more than one when selling food items.
You can generally stick to using 300cc oxygen absorbers unless you plan to use larger bags or buckets. If you do, the smaller sizes will be a waste because it’ll cost more money to use lots of small packets instead of a single larger one.
How Many Oxygen Absorbers Do You Need To Use?
The most common oxygen absorber size to use is a 300cc absorber. This is the easiest size to find, and they are sold in bulk at lower prices.
The conversion to determine your oxygen absorber requirement is simple. We recommend using at least one 300cc oxygen absorber per half-gallon container or bag.
Below is a chart for reference based on 1-gallon, 3-gallon, and 5-gallon container sizes. These are the most common sizes for plastic buckets and Mylar bags used in food storage.
What Happens If You Use Too Many Oxygen Absorbers?
Oxygen absorbers are used to remove oxygen from a sealed container of food. You can use them to help preserve the shelf life of your food by creating a tighter seal with less oxygen to cause spoilage.
Because of how well they work, many wonder if anything can go wrong if you put too many. Fortunately, it won't negatively impact your food, and you shouldn't see any significant changes in your food storage.
If you used too many oxygen absorbers, they would work until the maximum possible amount of O2 was absorbed. Using extra absorbers could allow this to happen faster, but no extra oxygen would be removed from your bags or containers.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker