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#99 - Which Storage Method Is Best?

Whether you are using vacuum seal storage bags or mylar storage bags for your long-term food storage, be sure that you are including oxygen absorber pads in the bag, and that you are using the right sized oxygen absorbing pad.

Many people have the mistaken belief that vacuum sealing their food with a machine like a FoodSaver removes all of the oxygen from the bag. While it does remove most of the oxygen from inside the bag it does not remove all of it. There will still be small amounts of air trapped in crevices around whatever you have sealed inside the bag. This trapped air inside the vacuum seal bag can still allow the food to deteriorate and spoil.

Have you ever vacuum sealed a steak or other piece of meat and put it in the freezer only to come back months or years later to see that it was damaged by frostbite? This is because there was still a small amount of air left in the bag when you sealed it up that you didn't know about. Removing ALL of the air from the bag keeps frostbite from happening.

The safest way to store dry bulk foods for long-term storage is by utilizing mylar bags and oxygen absorbing pads to remove the oxygen from the bag.

These oxygen absorbing pads can also be used in the vacuum seal bags to remove every bit of trapped air from inside the bag that the FoodSaver machine missed, it also acts as a backup in case a small amount of air enters through the bag over time as the plastic that the bag is made from is porous and has been known to happen.

Oxygen absorbing pads are very cheap, normally ranging from around 20 cents to less than $1.00 each depending on size and quantity purchase. Since they are so cheap, DO NOT SKIMP ON THEM.

The minimum recommendations to use are:

  • Quart or Pint-sized jars or bags - 50cc pad

  • Gallon sized jars or bags - 300cc pad

  • Five or Six Gallon containers - 2,000cc pad

I recommend doubling the pads up. I place one pad in the bag before I put the food I am going to store in it, and then placing a second pad on top of the food right before sealing it up. This way, if one of the pads were to fail there is already a backup pad in the bag. Also, doing it this way means that a pad at the top of a 5-gallon bag does not have to try to pull all of the air that may be trapped at the bottom of the bag. They can work together to remove all of the air from the bag.

Even when I store dry foods in Mason jars, I use a FoodSaver machine to suck all the air out of the jar, but I also still put an oxygen absorbing pad inside the jar just to be doubly safe.

Also, remember that desiccant packs like you find in inside a new pair of shoes or a new purse are NOT oxygen absorbers. They will only remove moisture and will not remove the air from a bag. Depending on what food you are storing, and the type of desiccant pack, they can also be dangerous to utilize in long-term food storage, so we do not recommend their use in food storage.

Whether you are using a FoodSaver or mylar bags, think of oxygen absorbing pads as an Insurance Policy for your food. And just like insurance for your car, why would you go with the bare minimum that the state requires when for a very minimum cost you can upgrade to better insurance protection.

These pads are cheap, isn't your food storage and your families health and well being worth the few extra pennies of doing it right?



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