Jousting at Hever Castle, Kent (11) Towards th...

Jousting at Hever Castle, Kent (11) Towards the end of the jousting, some hand to hand combat breaks out. Display by The Knights of Royal England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You have your food, you have your food grade containers, now just dump it in and seal it up and you are off and running…right? Wrong!

There is an enemy to your stores lurking in the very air your breath waiting to jump into your food and use its hideous powers to destroy and wreak havoc! As the title implies this enemy of long term storage is Oxygen, and although it is not your only combatant it is our primary opponent at the moment.

There is a lot of technical information out there about how oxygen effects stored food, as a simple man I will give you a simple explanation. Oxygen “rusts” your food and makes it taste bad and also helps little nasty microbes that can make you ill grow in your food. Bottom line oxygen bad!!!

So how do we fix this, how can we fill up a 5 gallon bucket with rice, beans, or whatever and then get the oxygen out of it? I am glad that you asked such an appropriate question at such an opportune moment.

There are 4 main ways to get the oxygen out

Behind door number one we have sucking it out:

Vacuum Sealers utilize special bags that allow you, with the aid of a machine, to suck out all the air out of your storage bag, the machine then seals it shut for you. This is an excellent method, especially if used in conjunction with our second choice.

In my humble opinion a Vacuum Sealer is an awesome addition to a peppers toolkit. Mine was gifted to me, so I saved there, but even if you don’t have the money for one right now ask around, chances are someone who you know will have one that they will let you use. You can even use them with Mylar bags (Mylar bags are great for use with buckets if you are looking for an extra layer of protection for you food). Mine even has an attachment for vacuum sealing mason jars.

Behind door number two we have eating it out

Oxygen Absorbers utilize a chemical reaction to eat or use up most of the oxygen in a given container. As I mentioned these are great to uses in conjunction with a vacuum sealer, just pop an appropriate sized one for the size of container your sealing and you are off and running.

They come in various sizes

100cc – Smaller bags and #10 cans

500cc – Medium bags and smaller buckets 1-3 gal

1000cc – 4 -6 gallon buckets

2000cc – 6 + gallon buckets

Oxy Eaters

Behind door number three we have driving it out

Dry Ice is frozen carbon dioxide, as it melts it goes straight from a solid to a gas. Carbon dioxide is heavier that air so as the gas fills the bucket it forces out the air/oxygen. This ranks as the least expensive option for a few bucks work of dry ice purchased at your local

1 Lb of Dry Ice makes 8.3 Cubic feet of carbon dioxide gas

A 6 gallon bucket contains 1.46 Cubic feet of space

Add in Beans or Wheat that space is reduced to 0.48 Cubic Feet

So 2oz of dry ice can fill a 6 gallon bucket four times over using this method you will drive out 90% of the Oxygen

Just put your dry ice in the bottom side of your bucket and fill up your bucket and then put your lid on but don’t tighten it down, you want to give the air that is being forced out somewhere to go. Once the side of my bucket is not cold to the touch I seal it up and we are good to go!

Behind door number four we have caning, this is a WHOLE post in and of itself and as such I will address it at another time.

So now you have the weapons you need, sally forth and do battle with Oxygen!