Food storage is one of the basics of survival. Even if you know how to hunt and gather food, you will want to be able to store food. Why? There may be times that gathering food is not practical such as if you are ill or in the dead of winter (hey, if you’re in Montana, being snowed in is a real possibility).
You know that you need storage containers. You know that you want to keep your food cool to slow the chemical reactions that cause food to go bad. You know that you want to keep moisture away from the stored food. What you may not realize is that, ideally, you will want to find a way to control the amount of oxygen that can interact with the food because oxygen is one of the basic things that contribute to food beginning to deteriorate.
So, how do you do that? You use oxygen absorbers, sometimes called O2 absorbers. Gaye Levy describes them this way:
The first thing I learned was that oxygen absorbers are smallish little packets that hold an iron powder. Through the magic of technology, or so it seems to me, the outer wrapper lets oxygen and moisture in where it is absorbed by the iron powder. It does so while maintaining the integrity of the outer wrapper while at the same time preventing leakage of the the powder back into the packaged food.
In the process of sucking up moisture, the iron in the O2 absorber begins to rust. This creates oxidation and before you know it, in a well sealed container, 99.99% of the oxygen is used up. Any space or air left in the container is nitrogen, not oxygen, which is not a bad thing because insects can not thrive in pure nitrogen.
In simplistic terms, those little packets of iron suck up all of the oxygen from the air within the container in which it is placed.
You’ve probably seen these little packets in items that you have had shipped to your house, but you’ll probably not want to reuse the ones that have been in items shipped to you. This is because oxygen absorbers, once exposed to the amount of oxygen in normal air, can begin to lose their usefulness, so you may want to consider having fresh ones on hand to use for your long-term storage containers.
What tips do you have for long-term food storage? Tell us below.