Storing food has long been an obstacle for humanity. During the early years of civilization, food had to be consumed at once to guard against spoiling. As the years pressed on people started realizing that that they could cure their foods with salt. Then, as technology improved, we finally realized that food needed to be stored in a cool place to stop the process of decomposing. While almost everyone in the United States has a refrigerator, it has not always been that way. Storing food in a refrigerator keeps it fresh longer and guards against the spread of bacteria and other harmful pathogens. Unfortunately, the refrigerator can’t be your go-to tool for storing food long-term. After all, all that food will quickly be wasted if the electricity goes out.
As a prepper I have always known that storing food for long periods of time was very important. If I am unable to provide long-term solutions for my family then we are already doomed. After all, what good is hunting and killing a 200 lb. deer if the meat is only going to be rotten after a few days? Early on in our prepping days, my family learned about the greatest tool that a prepper could have. It is not a gun or a specific weapon. The greatest tool we have is an oxygen absorber.
What is An Oxygen Absorber?
Why does food spoil? At its most basic, food goes bad due to exposure to oxygen. The air dries out food and allows for other contaminates to create a breeding ground for bacteria. When food is exposed to the air it will quickly begin to decompose. Oxygen absorbers are the best safe guard against this action. The great thing about these little tools is that they are inexpensive, easy to use, and you do not have to worry about them malfunctioning.
An oxygen absorber is not an alien product. The odds are that you have seen these things and you have probably even handled them several times. If you have ever bought a new pair of shoes then you have probably noticed the small packet in the toe of the shoe. This small packet is typically square, white, and about the size of a half dollar. The bag feels like it has sand inside and it makes a crushing sound when you rub it together.
These items are used in a variety of ways in the clothing industry as well as the food service industry, technology fields, and even in construction. Many years ago people learned that oxygen leads to water formation. When condensation builds in certain areas it can lead to a severe failure of the object. A great example of this would be a box full of microprocessors. If these become wet then they are no longer useful. In order to stop the formation of condensation, the suppliers will install one or two oxygen absorbers into the box or package.
How Does This Affect Food Storage?
So this brings us back to the idea of long-term food storage. There are certain foods that can be saved for long periods of time. Staples like rice, potato flakes, beans, etc. can be stored for many years. However there is always a chance that moisture or faulty seals can compromise the food. So in order to stop this from being an issue, many preppers are using oxygen absorbers in their dry food storage.
We use 5 gallon buckets for our long-term storage. We start out with a clean, dry bucket. Then we insert a Mylar bag that is roughly the same size as the bucket. I then fill the bag with the appropriate amount of food and place an oxygen absorber on the top of the food. Next, I seal the bag with a heat gun. It really is that simple. There are no hard formulas or equations to figure out. Once the bag is sealed the lid goes on and the food is stored.
How Long Will It Last?
This is the key question that has caused quite a bit of argument among experienced preppers. There is no definitive answer other than to say that the food is guaranteed to keep for 10 years. Since I have not been prepping for more than 10 years, I am not sure how accurate this is. What I do know is that we have several buckets of rice and beans that we have used after storing them for 6 years and they were completely fine.
For me, this is all the proof that I needed to know that this was a good idea. You might be facing issues with your preps such as lack of space or even lack of funds, but you should never face the issue of long-term storage. This is a very simple process that can make a huge difference in your preparedness. So order some oxygen absorbers today and make sure your food stays fresh for years to come.