When NOT to use oxygen absorbers; when NOT to vacuum seal...

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by goshengirl, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    3,312
    4
    I have a vacuum sealer that I love... or, well, I did have one before moving, and I'm sure it will show up again soon... Anyways, I'm wondering if there are times when a vacuum sealer shouldn't be used. And if one is used, are there times when oxygen absorbers shouldn't be used. On another thread, a couple folks talked about the absorbers rendering wheat berries useless germination ("just in case"). I also seem to think I read somewhere that some bacteria or enzymes actually thrive in a no-oxygen environment, so I wouldn't want to promote that.

    Any thoughts/experience with this?
     
  2. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

    1,240
    4
    goshegirl, (does "goshen" refer to the martial art form?), I don't know if there are any seeds that will be damaged in a zero O2 environment, but I can say that so far, all the seeds I have stored with O2 absorbers have stored very well.

    As for anaerobic organisms (critters that live only in the absence of O2) and food storage, if you are using a vac sealer or O2 absorbers, you are obviously also either freezing or drying the food or seed. Bacteria will not thrive in either environment. Typically, vac packing and O2 absorbers are used to retain the quality of the food product rather than preventing bacterial spoilage.

    So to answer your question more directly, if you freeze your food product, vac packing can do nothing but improve the quality; if you properly dry your food product, sealing with an O2 absorber will also do nothing but improve your food product.

    As for seed viability, you will either have to research more for each particular seed or revert to trial and error unless a forum member knows what seeds, if any, cannot be stored in a zero O2 environment.
     

  3. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    1,897
    1
    Warning! off topic.
    it is funny how people read and perceive things-- I took her handle as
    Go-She-Girl! like go he man the cartoon guy but for girls.. lol:D
     
  4. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    3,312
    4
    Off topic:
    Haha! Actually, it's been a while since anyone called me a girl, but goshenwoman didn't have the same ring. And no, it has nothing to do with martial arts (didn't know there was a connection). It's biblical - Goshen is the place in Egypt where Moses et al. lived before fleeing to the desert - talk about the ultimate 'bugging out.' ;)

    On topic:
    Well now, that's got me thinking... since bacteria spoilage is sufficiently halted by freezing or drying, are 02 absorbers unnecessary? I'm also thinking in terms of bucket storage, too. Sorry if this is a goofy question. I've just been reading so much it's all getting mixed up in my head....
     
  5. OldCootHillbilly

    OldCootHillbilly Reverend Coot

    3,848
    7
    They don't cost much, therefore be some cheap insurance. Much better ta use em an not need em then open up yer food an find out ya shoulda had em. Usually happens at the worst time also know ta be Murphy's law.
     
  6. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

    1,240
    4
    Goshenwoman, er, I mean, goshengirl, :), there are different kinds of spoilage. Bacterial spoilage is certainly the most dangerous, but other types of spoilage cause the food to be less palatable or even carcinogenic.

    O2 absorbers help prevent oxydation. Oxydation causes rancidness that can make some foods just plain inedible.
     
  7. Virgil_cain

    Virgil_cain Active Member

    34
    0
    Freezing or drying slows the rate of food spoilage (in the case of drying it slows it down quite a bit), but frozen food (and to a lesser extent dried food) will suffer deteriorating while stored. Most of this deterioration is the result of oxidation of the food. The classic example is "freezer burn". If you take for example hamburger meat, and stick it in the freezer in the Styrofoam/Saran wrap covered tray you got it in from the grocery store you'll see that after a period of time it will start to turn brown. People call this "freezer burn" but it of course isn't caused by any sort of burning. What is happening is that oxygen in the packaging and oxygen that can permeate the Saran wrap gets to the meat and oxidize it, turning it brown. In many cases the meat is still edible, but it will taste bad (in some cases very bad). They way you overcome this is you vacuum seal (which gets most of the oxygen out of the packaging) and you seal in a much thicker plastic which allows less oxygen to permeate or you seal in aluminumized mylar bags which are the gold standard in keeping oxygen from penetrating the packaging. The oxygen absorber is extra insurance. It mops up any oxygen that didn't get vacuumed out, and it soaks up any oxygen that penetrates the packaging over time (all plastic packing is permeable to oxygen to some level, just some are much better than others). The oxygen absorbers are cheap insurance and will help assure that your stored food is palatable when you are ready to consume it.
     
  8. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    3,312
    4
    Thanks, Virgil_cain, that helped. :)
     
  9. LegitCitizen

    LegitCitizen Active Member

    28
    0
    Wow, thanks!

    Hey, thanks Virgil_cain!!! I've had the vacuum sealer for about a year now and have had great results with it... but, I have to admit, I didn't know about oxygen absorbers. So, I went online to check them out... and wow... yeah.. they're cheap insurance.

    Thanks so much!!!

    ~L.
     
  10. Hopetobeready

    Hopetobeready Member

    11
    0
    Question: We live in a double-wide with very little extra storage. There is a metal building outside under shade trees. We are in SE Tennessee with lows typically from mid teens briefly to 90-100. Would it be ok to store the #10 unopened cans out there and the food still be viable?
     
  11. Hopetobeready

    Hopetobeready Member

    11
    0
    Dumb question here: Where do you purchase 02 Absorbers? I am buying items from beprepared.com but haven't seen those.
     
  12. exsheeple

    exsheeple Junior Member

    49
    0
    There are so many places to buy them...from ebay to just about anywhere else, just google them or start visiting prep/survival sites and they will be in the food storage sections.
     
  13. Ezmerelda

    Ezmerelda Well-Known Member

    672
    11
    need O2 Absorber guidance

    I purchased 100 O2 absorbers from the grain co-op. The label's mostly in Japanese, but the English says, Air Volume 2500 ml.

    How many of these would I need for a 5 gal bucket full of rice? And would I need the same number for a 5 gal bucket full of sugar?
     
  14. catsraven

    catsraven Meoww

    643
    11
    No. The high heat will shorten the foods storage span. in other words if it can be stored for 20 years at 60 degrees it will only last 2-5 years at 100. With temp fluctuation you'd have to worry about moisture.
     
  15. neldarez

    neldarez Supporting Member

    1,669
    1
    Hi there, don't know if you ever bought your o2 absorbers or not, but I bought mine from USA emergency supply. I bought my mylar bags from Baytec...........:)
     
  16. Virgil_cain

    Virgil_cain Active Member

    34
    0
    The rule of thumb you hear is that starting at room temperature (25 degrees C), for every 10 degrees C you increase the temperature, you decrease the shelf life by half.

    25C = 77F and a 10 degree C change is equal to a 18 degree F change. For sake of simplicity lets call it 20 degrees F.

    So, starting with a food item that has a 10 year shelf life at room temperature (77 degrees F), if the average storage temperature is 117 degrees F you could expect a shelf life of 2.5 years.

    These are rough rule of thumb estimates but they are fairly commonly used.
     
  17. Enigma_X

    Enigma_X New Member

    1
    0
    What would happen if you used BOTH a vacuum sealer AND the oxygen absorbers? Would that be okay?
     
  18. grandpadave

    grandpadave Active Member

    26
    0
    Botulism thrives in a no O2 environment... so you are right... thing is cooking kills the spores... it's when handling raw foods...

    I tried looking it up on Wikipedia... besides needing no air you had to have a high moisture content and something else... I think temperature range... but I'm not sure... and for once Wikipedia didnt provide an answer... go fig?
     
  19. NotAGrasshopper

    NotAGrasshopper Active Member

    31
    0
    No oxygen, high water *activity* (Example: pickles are very high in water but have low water activity and thus resistant to botulinum) and a fairly wide temperature range.

    Only temps above about 240 degrees will kill the spores. Boiling won't do it.
     
  20. lickit

    lickit ExCommunicated

    54
    0
    if you BURY the spare cans, protecting them from rust

    and flooding, it will keep them much cooler than just sitting them in the outside building. Ditto if you can arrange to insulate them somehow, perhaps with bales of straw?