Good survival skills and proper sets of survival gear can significantly improve the life of a survivalist, prepper, or homesteader. Knowledge is literally everything. It will suffice your tools and hacks while camping, help you defend yourself, and sustain in any emergency. Preparedness is life-saving.
Food is of paramount importance for survival. To preserve food for a long time, you need to have certain skills. One of the auxiliary tools for this skill is an oxygen absorber. This agent is necessary to protect food from oxygen, and therefore from spoilage. In this article we will tell you:
- what oxygen absorbers are
- what types there are
- where to buy them
- how much you might need
- where they can be used and where they should not
How Do Oxygen Absorbers Work?
Oxygen absorbers look like small sealed sachets, similar to moisture absorbers. Only their composition and action are different. There is iron inside the oxygen absorbers.
Our air is mostly nitrogen (about 78%), but nitrogen doesn’t spoil food. 21% of oxygen is dangerous for food, so people use absorbers to preserve products for a long time. These small sachets can reduce the oxygen level in the container they are in by up to 0.01%. This is due to the chemical reaction between iron and oxygen. Iron is oxidized to iron oxide, and oxygen seems to get stuck in it. To stop the reaction, you can exclude oxygen from the active absorber.
Oxygen absorbers are completely safe for food and people. They are harmless and are often used to preserve and increase the shelf life of foods. If you want to keep mold and bacteria out of your food, then you definitely need to remove oxygen.
Why Use Oxygen Absorbers?
If you want to store food for a long time, an oxygen absorber can be your solution. In addition, this tool:
- Protects your food from mold and most bacteria that need oxygen
- Protects against oxidation
- Retains vitamins contained in foods
- It kills pests and their tiny eggs that may be on food
- Retains smell and taste
We don’t even need to discuss how significant all this is for the survival process. Storing food in order is one of the most important tasks in an emergency.
You can also absorb oxygen with other tools. But this is the simplest thing. In addition, oxygen absorber packets do not take up much space, they weigh nothing at all, and a pack of 100 pieces can be bought at a pleasantly reasonable price.
For Which Food Storage Oxygen Absorbers Can Be Used?
The main rule is to use oxygen absorbers only with dry and low-fat foods. This could be:
- Freeze-dried food
- Dried beans
- Whole grains
- Powdered milk
There are also types of products you shouldn’t use them with:
- Sugar and salt — in the oxygen-free environment, they will turn into pieces of stones and become unusable
- Starter foods (yeast, baking powder, baking soda) — a chemical reaction can occur, and these foods become useless
- Wet food — It is recommended to use food with only 10% moisture or less, as higher moisture content when interacting with oxygen absorbers can lead to the growth of botulism
Seed And Nuts
Nuts and seeds are rich in oils, so storing them with oxygen absorbers won’t be so effective. Their shelf life will increase, but they can become rancid. Therefore, it is better to simply maintain the desired environment during storage — low humidity and temperature.
Care should be taken when storing dehydrated foods with oxygen absorbers, especially if you dehydrate food at home. It should not contain moisture at all. Otherwise, there is a risk of botulism poisoning.
Bring your food to the maximum dryness (so it breaks when bending), and only then use absorbers.
Best Oxygen Absorbers For Food Storage
There are many offers on the market, and the first time it can be tricky to figure out which is the best to buy. We have collected the highest quality offers for you. In our short reviews, you will find product information, price, and a link to purchase it.
Oxy-Sorb created these oxygen absorbers to help you deal with mold and pests in long-term food storage. Iron powder, which is part of their composition, consumes oxygen during oxidation and thereby removes it from dry food packaging.
Combine Oxy Sorb with other food storage methods — vacuum sealing, proper packaging. In such a case, the oxygen absorbers bring the amount of oxygen to 01%.
Great for dry foods and fatty grains. One sachet is enough for a 1-gallon sized container.
- Price: $ 11.99
- 60 pieces
- 0.9 pounds
With PackFreshUSA oxygen absorbers, you can extend the life of products such as nuts, rice, jerky, pasta, dried food, oatmeal, legumes, flour, coffee. In addition, they are great for protecting antiques, medicines, ammunition, minerals from the passage of time. With their help, you will permanently stop corrosion and damage caused by time. You can increase shelf life by 25 decades with the right combination of oxygen absorber and storage conditions.
This type of absorbers belongs to absorbers with a high capacity. They can reduce oxygen levels to 0.01% or less. The most effective way is to use oxygen absorbers with mason jars, vacuum-sealed, or mylar bags.
You can also save unused absorbers. Just reseal them or put them in the mason jar.
PackFreshUSA absorbers have a convenient color index. If the package is properly sealed, its color will be pink. Variations from bright pink to almost red are possible. This color indicates the absence of oxygen. But if the bag is not sealed correctly or is opened, the color will change to blue.
- Price: $ 6.99-57.99
- 25/50/100/200/1000 pieces
These oxygen absorbers are distinguished by their long shelf life. They are of the slow-acting type, and because of this, they can keep your dried foods longer than others. Besides, they emit less condensation and heat.
Each package contains 20 sachets (3 or 10 sachets are available). They are all contained in a vacuum-sealed bag. Once opened, you can also store them effectively in a closed mason jar.
Combine a slow-acting oxygen absorber with a mylar bag to preserve food products for a very long time, excluding bacteria growth.
- Price: $ 36.30-71.71
- 20×3/20×10 pieces
- 871g – 1.83kg
If you are concerned about food preservation for a really long time, combine these oxygen absorbers with mylar bags or vacuum bags. You will need 4 sachets for a 1-gallon mylar bag. It is an excellent remedy for preventing fat oxidation, mold and microbial growth, and discoloration.
These absorbers have a very long lifespan making them a good investment.
- Price: n/a
- 100×1/100×3/100×5/100×10 pieces
This non-toxic oxygen absorber is formulated to not only keep your food for years but also improve the retention of oils and polyunsaturated fats and prevent the oxidation of vitamins A, C, and E. Great for spices and coffee as it retains their aroma well.
The packaging is equipped with a color index so that you can appreciate the freshness of the product and be confident in its safety.
- Price: $ 33.10
- 100 pieces
- 295 g
With this absorbing kit, you can safely store your food for 30 decades! No special additional funds are needed. Just seal the mylar bag with a hot iron.
- Price: $ 42.29
- 10 pieces
- 3 pounds
A distinctive feature of O2frepak oxygen absorbers is oil protection, which makes it possible to use them not only with oil-free products but also with oil content food.
They will equally effectively prolong shelf life without oil food, with much oil food, and pharmaceuticals.
Absorber has undergone a rigorous 4-stage quality control test. The packaging material has also been approved by the FDA.
- Price: $ 26.72 – 30.01
- 200cc x 100 packs/ 1500cc x 30 packs
- 340-508 g
8. Fonday Food Grade Oxygen Absorbers Packets
The Fonday oxygen absorber has been on the market for over 15 years, and it always passes all checks and quality control with success. It does an excellent job of extending the shelf life of medicines, food, raw materials, and other products.
These absorbers are completely safe and can be used with food. However, they are suitable for petroleum food also. They consume the oxygen and prolong the shelf life of oil-free and petroleum foods.
The original packaging will deliver the absorber packets to you completely intact and ready to use.
- Price: n/a
- 30 pieces
Another product from PackFreshUSA, only this time in 500cc pieces. This package of 10 pieces in a sealed bag allows you to keep the oxygen absorber intact for longer and reduce waste.
These high-capacity absorbers can consume 180% – 300% for faster processing times and increased safety. They reduce oxygen to the very minimum, about 01% or less. This increases the shelf life of your products by 25 decades!
Use oxygen absorbers not only for food storage but also to keep pharmaceuticals, antiques, minerals, ammunition, and anything else that corrodes.
- Price: n/a
- 5 x 10 pieces
One such absorber bag is enough for a 1-gallon mylar bag to reduce the oxygen level to 0.01%.
They absorb moisture and oxidation on berries and peppers, making them suitable for use with larger types of foods.
When used in a sealed environment, they prevent the expansion of spoilage organisms and aerobic pathogens. This is what increases the life of your food or other products. In this case, you do not need to use additional substances like sulfur dioxide, BHT, BHA, benzoates, and so on, which of course, is very convenient.
- Price: n/a
- 20 pieces
- 1 pound
What Else Do You Need To Store Food?
In addition to oxygen absorbers, you also need suitable packaging. It is absolutely clear that this package should not allow air to pass through and should be of the air-tight container type. Otherwise, the absorbers will stop working very quickly. They are not designed for prolonged exposure to oxygen.
1. Canning Jars or Mason Jars
Storing dry food with mason jars is very simple. Place the food in the mason jar and put the oxygen absorber on top into void space, and screw the lid back on.
The disadvantages of this method are that there is no protection from light and such packaging is too fragile. It is straightforward to break a jar. But on the other hand, this is the simplest remedy.
2. #10 Cans
You may have noticed that emergency food is usually packaged in such ten-pound cans. You can find hundreds of deals on the market.
It is effortless to use this packaging, but you will need a special can sealer. Place dry foods and absorbers and seal the can. It will look exactly like Mountain House Scrambled Eggs or Dehydrated Butter Powder.
Such packaging is much more durable than jars and protects dry foods from light exposure. But at the same time, this is a more expensive way of long-term storage.
3. Mylar Bags
Perhaps this is the best way to long-term storage for your dry and freeze-dried foods. This material is similar to foil or a thin sheet of metal and does not allow moisture, light, and air to pass through.
The principle of operation is the same as in the previous paragraphs — put food, absorber, seal. With all its advantages, mylar bags also have a low price.
This long-term storage method is suitable for large quantities of food, unlike jars or cans. After placing food in the bucket, place the air absorber in the empty space and close the lid carefully.
The problem is that most of these buckets are to let air through. You can buy a more expensive gamma-seal lid bucket. It will provide a tighter seal.
In general, this method is suitable for shorter-term storage.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long do oxygen absorbers last?
Iron powder in oxygen absorbers usually lasts from 6 months to 1 year. But always check the manufacturer’s information before buying. Open packaging makes shorter shelf life significantly. You have literally 10-15 minutes to put the oxygen absorber where required and to heat seal the package or sealed container.
When not used, the absorbers should be kept in a mason jar or any other airtight container like a canning jar.
How effective are oxygen absorbers?
Based on proven research, they work more effectively eliminating the oxygen than vacuum sealing. Iron powder in these absorbers greatly reduced the possibility of mold, microorganisms, and corrosion that could ruin your food or other products. Long-term food storage is available when you use quality oxygen absorbers in conjunction with mylar bags.
Is it safe to use oxygen absorbers?
They are totally safe for food as long as you use quality absorbers and do not use them with food that has more than 10% moisture. Otherwise, there may be a risk of botulism.
In other cases, you can be sure of food safety, as the contents of the absorbers are in sealed packets properly.
How many oxygen absorbers per 5-gallon bucket?
In the first place, the amount of absorbent for the 5-gallon bucket will depend on the type of food. If these are not very dense foods, such as pasta or lentils, then you will need more oxygen absorbers since there will be more residual air volume. If the food grade bucket includes wheat, white rice, or other dense foods that have less oxygen inside, then slightly less can be used.
On average, 5-7 sachets of 300cc oxygen absorbers should be used. Or if you have 2000cc, one will be enough.
How much oxygen absorber should I use?
It is worth remembering that oxygen is stored not only in the intervals between foods but also in the food itself. And you will have to remove almost all of the oxygen to store the food for a long time.
The amount of absorbers depends on many factors:
- Uniformity of food
- Food availability by size
- Density of food
Also, note that it is better to put more absorbers than fewer. They are safe to eat, so you can play it safe and have a little extra. Plus, they’re not expensive, so that it won’t hurt your budget.
Below we have given approximate amounts for some types of food:
1. Pasta, instant potatoes, whole grains, cereal:
- 1 quart — 125 cc
- 1 gallon — 635 cc
- 5 gallon — 2500 cc
2. Coffee beans, rice, instant powders, flour:
- 1 quart — 100 cc
- 1 gallon — 400 cc
- 5 gallon — 2000 cc
3. Lentils and beans:
- 1 quart — 150 cc
- 1 gallon — 600 cc
- 5 gallon — 3000 cc