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The wanderer
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What would be best for me to do, leave food items in their original packaging, or repack and vacuum seal them?

For instance, I've bought Hershey's baking cocoa (good price, bought half a dozen) in plastic cans. Should I leave it in those or vacuum seal them in bags?

I also bought large plastic bottles of cinnamon, taco seasoning, etc. at Costco. Should I store it in the plastic bottles in a dark, cool place, or vacuum seal them in plastic bags?

I don't have large glass jars to put the vacuum sealed bags in. The bags I've done, I've put as many as I can in the large white plastic bakery buckets and put them in a cool dark place. I've also stored them in the totes (not the best, I've heard, but one has to balance lack of funds with at least doing SOMETHING toward preparing!).

But have I improved anything by taking spices and such out of their original sealed containers? Do they vacuum seal things like that?

I don't have oxygen absorbers or the like, and won't be able to order any until later this summer. Should I just wait until then? :gaah:
 

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Reverend Coot
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Gypsy:

What I been doin is stuff what comes in a cardboard box, say mac an cheese, dump it inta a vac bag along with the instructions. Vac an seal then inta 5 gallon food buckets what I get at my local bakery fer free. Later I will put the contents a the bucket in mylar bags with absorbers.

If the product, say instant taters, comes in a foil pouch, I vac bag an seal the whole thing. Figure that keeps the air away from there package an should extend the shelf life considerable. Again, all goes inta a food bucket that will be reworked later.

I get the Walmart drink mixes, leave em in there little foil packets an vac an seal.

Salt, I leave it in the containers an put two in a gallon vac bag an seal.

I guess where I'm goin here is, if they put it in a cheap cardboard box, my vac bags offer more pertection an take less space. If they put em in nice foil containers, I'm better off offerin there container some more protection from air an moisture.

When buyin seasonins, yer gonna get longer life out of say whole peppercorns then ya will ground pepper. Try to buy them that way an I would store them in either vag bags er vacuumed jars.
 

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I vac-pack stuff all the time not even just for storage- cinnamon and other spices whole(as long as you have a way to grind them, grate them) will hold their flavor much longer than ground and if you vac-pack them it will last even longer(at least it does for me) and if you are lucky to have a vac-pack machine with the hose(like the foodsaver) look thru these threads for BunkerBob's instructions on how to bulk vac-pack in mason jars. I put many of my bulk ground up spices and herbs in my mason jars and just vac-pack them and take out just what I need in the little bottles and then re-vac them. Why I might even just vac-pack the whole cans of cocoa as it will absorb water/moisture quite quickly and if the cans are not all metal and that cardboard/tin type the cardboard will not keep the moisture out. That way you have the whole can with all the instructions.
Here I just got it and am gonna re-post it here so it is easier for ya! Hope you don't mind BB!:D
I posted this awhile ago...
"This may sound different, but I use my large pressure cooker to vac seal quart size mason jars. Just place food item, beans, rice or pretty much anything dry into jars with O2 absorbers, then put on lids and rings, tighten, place jars in pressure canner, remove or cover the rubber safety button on lid using heavy tape. Now seal lid on cooker, hook up vac hose(I have a refer vac pump) or from your vac sealing machine to the vent pipe that the pressure regulator sits on and draw a vacuum. Let the jars sit in there for a few minutes, now release the vacuum. Open the canner lid and check the jars, the lids should be concave similar to canning in the conventional manner. Take off rings and check the lids with your fingernail, if they resist they should be good to go".
I've been doing this for quite a while and have had no problems with lid failures.
Some vac sealers come with an attachment that will do small mouth jars in the same way, my method will do just about any jar with a good sealing lid.
I leave the jar rings on for extra protection.
BB


 

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LOL Great minds think alike! OldCootHillbilly and I posted almost the same thing about whole spices at the same time! He's just a faster typer than me!
 

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I've stored some spices and such using mylar bags and oxygen absorbers.

I take whole peppercorns, measure about 3 ounces, and put in a small mylar bag w/ oxy absorber. I squeeze out all the air I can, then seal. The oxy absorber reduces the remaining air by 21 percent (the oxygen is removed by the absorber), creating a sealed container not unlike the bricks of coffee you can buy. The mylar bag pulls into the peppercorns under a partial vacuum whose remaining air is virtually 100 percent nitrogen.

I've done the same thing with dehydrated garlic and dehydrated onion. Partially vacuum sealed in 3 ounce packages using mylar bags and oxy absorbers.

Just throwing this out as one way to deal with it.

And as others have suggested, whole spices will store much longer than ground spices.
 

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I agree with OldCoot and others that if the package already comes sealed well, leave it in its original package. You could still put that package in a bucket with CO2 absorbers and you would need to keep it from rodents, but otherwise I wouldn't open it.
 

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I'm new at this and I have a question. If I vacuum seal items with the food saver,can I just put them in the 5 gal. bucket or do I still need the oxygen absorbers, even though all the oxygen has been removed?:confused:
 

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I'm new at this and I have a question. If I vacuum seal items with the food saver,can I just put them in the 5 gal. bucket or do I still need the oxygen absorbers, even though all the oxygen has been removed?:confused:
you don't need oxygen abs in the pails, the stuff is already sealed so it is protected and the pail or tote keeps the rodents out.you're good for yrs long as it's dry and cool where it's stored.
 

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Intergalactic Traveler
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Mylar vs Original Package Clarification

"If the product, say instant taters, comes in a foil pouch, I vac bag an seal the whole thing. Figure that keeps the air away from there package an should extend the shelf life considerable. Again, all goes inta a food bucket that will be reworked later."

I have some [name brand] instant potatoes in a foil pouch as you mention, but there is quite a bit of air inside the sealed pouch from the manufacturer. From what I understand, the goal is to get the air out of the bag to help the contents keep fresh longer. In this case, would I need to open the original package, put an O2 absorber into the package then seal it all inside a new mylar bag? Or do you think that air from the initial package won't make much of a difference?

Also, I have read conflicting posts about where the O2 absorbers go, so I just want to be sure that the O2 absorber goes inside the bag and not outside the bag and just inside the bucket before the lid. :confused: I doesn't make sense to me to put the O2 absorber outside the bag and loose inside the bucket, but maybe I'm just interpreting the post text incorrectly. What are your thoughts?

Thanks a lot!http://www.preparedsociety.com//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/extension/
 

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There is a place in Hell for me...the THRONE.
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I have some [name brand] instant potatoes in a foil pouch as you mention, but there is quite a bit of air inside the sealed pouch from the manufacturer. From what I understand, the goal is to get the air out of the bag to help the contents keep fresh longer. In this case, would I need to open the original package, put an O2 absorber into the package then seal it all inside a new mylar bag? Or do you think that air from the initial package won't make much of a difference?

Also, I have read conflicting posts about where the O2 absorbers go, so I just want to be sure that the O2 absorber goes inside the bag and not outside the bag and just inside the bucket before the lid. :confused: I doesn't make sense to me to put the O2 absorber outside the bag and loose inside the bucket, but maybe I'm just interpreting the post text incorrectly. What are your thoughts?

Thanks a lot!
Personally, I open several packages and combine them in one mylar bag with an oxygen absorber before sealing the mylar. Then the new package gets put in a 5 gallon bucket with a Gamma lid.

If it were dried beans I would leave them in the one pound bags and seal several in mylar with an oxygen absorber. The bags they sell them in is not air tight so they are fine this way.
 

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I don't know how much oxygen absorbers cost, but an alternative is to use hand warmers. Toss one in and it will take all oxygen out.
 

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Part Time Good Guy
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What O2 absorbers are and how to make them is a subject for a new thread.

We like our vacuum sealer. Obviously, food frozen in vacuum bags will last much longer without freezer burn than food in a typical supermarket package. Vacuum bags allow a large cut of meat to be divided into meal sized packages before freezing.

Homemade jerky is more dry than store bought, and hopefully very lean. Vacuum packing helps keep it dry and preserved. They are great when making up your own "homemade MREs."

Vacuum sealers are good for so much more than food. Whether it's keeping a pair of socks dry and compressed in your backpack, keeping the road flares in your trunk from drawing moisture and going bad or preserving a rifle after it has already been placed in a VCR bag, the usefullness of the vacuum sealer can hardly be overstated.
 

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I don't know how much oxygen absorbers cost, but an alternative is to use hand warmers. Toss one in and it will take all oxygen out.
how does 02 absorbers cost? .... not enough to gamble on using BS alternative methods like hand warmers .... fill a 5 gallon bucket with quality food and you have $20+ eazy .... and to boot your stored food is your family's insurance policy against possible death by starvation .... 02 absorbers are actually toooo cheap for all the advantages they provide to the modern prepper ....
 

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I repackage the oxygen absorbers in canning jars and vacuum seal the jars. I pull out what I need and quickly re-vacuum. I put the information (e.g. 300cc) on tape on the outside of the jar so I can easily see it on the shelf.

I regret I didn't save the website; however, someone has the dots that let you know if the oxygen absorbers are still good. No, not that funny big dot that comes in the original package - these dots can be reused. Are any of you familiar with them?
 

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I think an important thing to mention is to snip the original bag so the air can get out of that too... Like if you vacuum pack bags of beans or rice... I do NOT snip the bags of flavoring like comes with Hamburger Helpers... I only snip the noodles... I do this too when I vacuum pack cake mixes... just keep the mix away from where you snip...

As far as spices go... I vacuum pack the whole bottle just poking a small hole thru the top... allows the air to get out of the jar but won't pull the spice out of the jar...

One more tidbit is when you cut directions off of the box, etc... be sure and round the corners so they don't poke thru your bag...

I know a lot of this you may already know but maybe not so hope this was helpful...
 

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Jack of all trades?
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I regret I didn't save the website; however, someone has the dots that let you know if the oxygen absorbers are still good. No, not that funny big dot that comes in the original package - these dots can be reused. Are any of you familiar with them?
Are you sure you aren't thinking of moisture detectors?

Those are very common
 

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how does 02 absorbers cost? .... not enough to gamble on using BS alternative methods like hand warmers .... fill a 5 gallon bucket with quality food and you have $20+ eazy .... and to boot your stored food is your family's insurance policy against possible death by starvation .... 02 absorbers are actually toooo cheap for all the advantages they provide to the modern prepper ....
Hand warmers work by using O2 in a chemical reaction. They are not a BS method.
 

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Are you sure you aren't thinking of moisture detectors?

Those are very common
No, they actually went in with the oxygen absorbers. One color meant the absorbers were good, another color they were bad. I'll have to see if I can find them again. It seemed like a pretty good idea because I'd hate to use oxygen absorbers and only later find out they weren't any good.
 

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I only put oxygen obsorbers in jars I pack cause sometimes the lids let go... If you are sucking all the air out of a package, why would you need one in there??? And there would be no use in packing them in the bucket after they are full of vacuum packed food, in fact, sometimes it causes the bucket to collapse in... Just my 2 cents :) PS: I would never use hand warmers, they are not food safe...
 
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