Prevention of Deterioration and Spoilage

Besides avoiding the elements that result in food deterioration, you can take additional steps that will further retard spoilage. You can use any of several methods, depending on what food you are storing, what containers you are using, and what food storage problems you are most likely to face.

Oxygen Absorber Packets

Oxygen absorber packets look like tea bags or sugar packets. This relatively new procedure for retarding spoilage is proving to be one of the best methods. These packets absorb the oxygen from the container and trap it in the iron powder and salt mixture. This is the safest way to remove oxygen. After inserting the oxygen packet into your container, seal the container properly.
Note: Oxygen absorber packets must be used up within fifteen minutes of being opened and exposed to the air. If you have several packets left after opening a bag of them, put them in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid as soon as possible to keep them from absorbing the oxygen from the air.
These packets can be purchased from food storage companies (see Resource Guide for suggested sources).

Dry Ice Method

Another effective method of removing oxygen from food containers is to place a Mylar bag inside a plastic bucket. Add about 3 inches of food inside the Mylar bag then place a 3-inch square of dry ice on top of the food. Fill the bucket about half full and add another piece of dry ice. Fill the bucket full and allow thirty minutes to two hours for the ice to dissipate, forcing the oxygen out as it does so. Lay the lid on loosely so the gas produced by the dry ice can escape. Then seal the bucket tightly. One pound of dry
ice is used for a 30-gallon drum of wheat, and one-sixth of a pound of dry ice is used for a 5-gallon bucket of wheat or grain. If the container bulges, take the lid off to let the gas out. Then seal the container again.

CO2 or Nitrogen Flush Method

A method that you might use instead of the dry ice method is the CO2 method (also called nitrogen flush). A welding shop will rent you a CO2 tank and nitrogen gas. Just flush the food with the gas, making sure you get the hose down into the bottom of the container after the food has been put in it.

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