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Adding O2 Absorbers to Your Food Storage

by lexi 19 May 2015
When storing food, you want to ensure that it will last as long as possible without being contaminated by bacteria, insects, or even water. This is especially true if you are packaging your own food. One way to ensure the shelf life of your food storage is adding an oxygen absorber, or O2 absorber, to your container. What is an O2 Absorber? An O2 absorber is a packet filled with iron oxide that is safe for foods and used to remove the oxygen in the air through a chemical reaction. Reducing the oxygen levels in your food storage containers reduces the chance that they will be contaminated. Without oxygen, the water, bugs, and bacteria that might find their way into your food won’t be able to survive and your food will remain fresh. O2 Absorber Sizes O2 absorbers are measured in “cc’s” or cubic centimeters. Some absorbers are 2000 cc while others are 500 cc. The cc’s of an absorber correlate to how much oxygen it will absorb. A 2000 cc absorber will absorb 2000 cc of oxygen, while a 500 cc absorber will absorb 500 cc of oxygen. The size of the container will determine which size of O2 absorber you will need to use. O2 Absorbers for Your Storage The size of O2 absorber you use is also dependent on the type of food you are storing. This is because more dense foods like flour, rice, and other grains are more dense, therefore they contain less air and oxygen. Foods like pasta and beans have more space in between the food so more air can occupy the container. The chart below can help you determine the number and size of O2 Absorbers you need depending on the container and food type: Using O2 Absorbers Some foods shouldn’t be used with O2 absorbers. Foods like sugar will become hard or clump together. Salt also does not need an O2 absorber when stored and could possibly clump together with an absorber. Once you open your O2 absorbers, they need to be used within 2 hours because they immediately begin to absorb oxygen. But once placed in your container and sealed properly, your dry food can last for up to 25 years. As you package and store your own food, or create your own freeze dried storage meals, you can add in O2 absorbers to preserve the freshness of your food and use it for years to come.
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