Preparedness is the best way to ensure you will be safe despite any unforeseen circumstances, and storing food long-term is arguably the most important component to emergency preparedness. If you are ready to begin building your emergency food supply, you should start by storing dry and dehydrated food items such as pasta, oats, rice, beans, and freeze-dried fruits and veggies.

However, storing dry and dehydrated food items can be a challenge. If not stored properly, these food items will go bad quickly. Different factors such as humidity, moisture, and insects can damage these food items.

But do you know which element promotes the effect of these damaging factors?

The answer to this question is oxygen!

Oxygen is the culprit of humidity, moisture, and the growth of pests and insects. So, it is critical to remove all oxygen from the food you store long-term.

The best way to remove oxygen from food is to store the food in a Mylar bag and then add the correctly sized oxygen absorber to the bag before you seal it.

What are Oxygen Absorbers?

Essentially, oxygen absorbers contain iron powder. You might already know that iron can absorb oxygen and get oxidized. The same thing happens when you use oxygen absorber packets in food storage bags. The oxygen absorber will remove all the oxygen by absorbing it quickly over a few days. This will prevent your food item from going bad.

However, once your oxygen absorber is spent, it won’t absorb any more oxygen. So, you need to store oxygen absorbers carefully before you use them to avoid any wastage.

Tips to Handle Oxygen Absorbers to Avoid Wastage

  • When you buy oxygen absorbers, they come in vacuum-sealed bags. When you first get them, check the vacuum-sealed bags for any punctures. If it is punctured, chances are the oxygen absorbers are no longer good— they will not be effective.
  • Many of the vacuum-sealed bags come with a pink indicator dot. If the indicator isn’t pink, the oxygen absorbers might be spent and therefore ineffective.
  • Open the bag only when you are going to use it. If you have some leftover oxygen absorber packets, you must immediately store them in tightly sealed containers.
  • Avoid storing extra oxygen absorbers in plastic or Ziploc bags. These bags can’t be sealed and will let air enter inside, which makes the oxygen absorbers ineffective for use.

How to Check Whether Oxygen Absorbers Are Still Effective

If you find that the vacuum-sealed bag is punctured, the oxygen absorbers likely aren’t good to use.

In this case, you can pick one oxygen absorber packet closest to the leak. Open the absorber packet and remove the iron on a plate. If you find the iron powder to be grey/black and have no lumps, the remaining oxygen absorbers might be good to use. You can add 2 oxygen absorbers in the storage bag for added reinforcement.

However, if the iron powder is clumpy and rusty, the absorber is spent and can’t be used.

Bottom Line

Oxygen absorbers are critical to properly storing food long-term. However, you need to handle them correctly so they can effectively remove oxygen from food storage bags.

If you want to buy the best oxygen absorbers for food storage, you can check out Wallaby Goods Mylar bag bundles— they come with Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. We understand the struggle to store excess oxygen absorbers, so we always provide extra oxygen absorbers in each bundle. You can also purchase oxygen absorbers separately on our website.

We are proud to provide high-quality Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers to thousands of preppers!

You can head to our website to purchase Mylar bag bundles with oxygen absorbers, or you contact our expert staff to learn more about oxygen absorbers.