- November 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm #15418
Mylar bags, Food grade 5gal. buckets and gamma seal lids.November 5, 2017 at 4:10 pm #15444
That’s the way we’ve got our “rice and beans” stored. Would like to have more put away but we’re working on it.November 5, 2017 at 4:11 pm #15445
We didn’t use food grade buckets though. The Mylar bags are food gradeNovember 8, 2017 at 9:07 pm #15526
A few of hints if you allow me:
1 – consider using smaller Mylar bags inside the bucket. You may be doing this so bear with me. If you are using larger “bucket sized” bags, cut them and seal with iron. I have 6 gallon bags which I divide into 4 and then can package smaller (about 5 lbs) of legumes in each. That allows for variety of legumes and/or rice in 1 bucket.
2 – consider using gamma lids on bucket. These allow for opening and airtight resealing. Combined with smaller bags; open, reach in an grab bag, reseal.
3 – in the bucket and out side the bag(s), use oxygen absorbent. At Walmart’s sporting goods department, look for hand warmers. Yes, hand warmers are essentially oxygen absorbent sacks. Why, well to heat up to warm your hands, they “consume” oxygen. The price is great since you can get 10 pairs for $5 which is $.25 per sack. This is were the gamma lid comes in, the absorbent would remain viable if bucket not left open for long time.
4 – consider combining different separately package “ingredients” into bucket. This will allow you to have multiple meal combinations within single bucket. I have compiled ingredients for meal, say chili, and vacuum sealed each ingredient and then into Mylar with oxy absorbent. Then multiple Mylar “meals” into bucket. Now, you have a single bucket to open with multiple meals within.
5 – tip: Assuming it is the same at all Sam’s clubs or Costco, the bakery section gives away the food grade buckets used for the frosting on cakes. My Sam’s club has 3 sizes, 2 square and 1 round bucket. Can’t beat the price… but you cannot use gamma lids in this case.November 19, 2017 at 2:35 pm #15802
Oxygen Absorbent and Desiccant; do I need them both and what do they do?
Oxygen Absorbent does exactly what is in the name, absorbs Oxygen. But how does it do that? We have all head of Fire and Rust, right? Well, both are forms of oxidation, fire being fast and rust being the slow, very slow version. Therefore, in order to have fire or rust, you need oxygen.
Have you ever noticed what happens when you place a cup over a candle? It eventually goes off, right? Well, what you are actually doing is letting the flame consume (absorb) the oxygen available in the air within the cup. Since rust is a much slower version of the same principle/physics/chemistry, an Oxygen Absorbent sack used for prepping removes oxygen from the ambient air when it is exposed to same. Since one would be using a sack in a sealed container, it also creates a vacuum since the total volume of air is reduced as the oxygen molecules are consumed to oxidize the material in the sack.
So, what is in the sack? Essentially, iron. There are also other items (usually salt) to expedite the chemical reaction but iron is the fuel as wood is to a camp fire. When the salt, iron, and oxygen combine, the chemical reaction begins and continues until there is an imbalance, i.e., run out of oxygen or iron. So, the amount of absorbent in relation to the volume of air (unless you want to measure true oxygen content) is important to create the desired environment within the subject container. One great thing about the imbalance, if it is the oxygen that ran out, the remaining ingredients in the sack remain viable, so, technically, not a 1 time use item. However, they cannot be recharged as a desiccant.
Desiccant does what is in the name but not as obvious as the Oxygen Absorbent. If you purchased any electronic item, you most likely found a little sack that says “Do Not Eat” or it may even be labeled “Desiccant”.
So, what does it do? removes humidity/moisture from the ambient air. The chemical reaction here is simpler in that a desiccant absorbs water molecules (H2O) versus consuming it. They will not get wet and are more susceptible to saturation depending on item and container they are placed. Say you use one in sealed jar of dehydrated fruit versus roasted nuts. The former obviously will have more inherent moisture and leave more open air (gaps) between the pieces of fruit. So, depending on the volume of the desiccant, it will only absorb what it is capable of handling.
When one versus the other?
Based on the preceding, you can somewhat determine the respective applicability. Basically, if you want to prevent moisture related issues, the desiccant is your “Huckleberry”. The Oxygen Absorbent is essential for two critical long term purposes. Since the oxygen is removed, any aerobic (requires air) pathogen or “critter” will be deprived of an essential item to exist, i.e., Oxygen. This is great for long term storage, particularly grains and legumes as they may contain insect eggs. Ever had weevils in a sack of flour that has not been opened? The other advantage is the vacuum since one cannot easily remove the air from a bucket or a large Mylar bag. An Oxygen Absorbent inside the sealed bucket or bag will consume the oxygen thus reduce the air volume crating a vacuum which prevents incursion but insects, moisture, and other similar threats to your valuable prep.
Do I need to buy them?
You may be able to save some money relating to desiccant as you can save those you find with products you purchase, electronics especially, make sure you check the entire box as they are often included in non electronic products. You can recharge them by putting in toaster oven or regular oven at ~120 for 30+ minutes. If the sack is plastic/poly of some kind, reduce the heat and extend the drying time.
Oxygen Absorbent can be a DIY item since essentially it is Iron Fillings and salt. You can file a high iron item or run a magnet along a shoreline (ocean, lake, river) to harvest. Purchasing is obviously a simpler option and you can find them on line, usually bundled with Mylar bags. However, I have found a low cost option. At Walmart (or most stores with sporting goods) you will find hand/feet warmers. I have found volume package of 10 pairs of hand warmers for $5.00, that is $.25 per sack and they are much larger than standard sized “dedicated” ones. I used one inside a 6 gallon Mylar bag of Rice and it was a solid brick within the respective bucket.
I hope you found the preceding informative and useful for your preparedness!December 23, 2017 at 2:04 pm #16184
Food grade juice bottles for Rice storage.
Buying bulk rice is a great cost effective way to acquire. At my Sam’s club for example, a 20lbs bag is less than $7, but do you really want to put all away for long term storage, maybe not. On the other hand, can you quickly consume 20lbs, probably not. However, if you are drinking bottled juices, you have an option you may not be using, i.e., re-purpose the plastic bottles to create a rotating and long term storage storage method!
First things first, the proper bottle/container. Examine the bottle/plastic container looking for the recycle emblem, it will have a number withing the arrow triangle. The lower the number the more recyclable but also means the closer to food grade. Look for a #1 and you are there. A #2 is also acceptable.
Clean the container with soap and water. Rinse well and then again with a Hydrogen Peroxide and water mix, about 2 caps of peroxide in the container and then add water and shake well. Rinse multiple times and set aside to dry. Once completely dry, it is ready to use.
If desired, put a small Oxygen Absorbent in the container. Now fill with Rice, shake well to make sure you pack as much Rice as possible, i.e., as little air as possible. If you did use an Oxy Absorbent, you can let that do most of the work once you tightly close the cap.
Now you have Rice in more manageable containers that will have a considerably long self life and be protected from insects and rodents. This will allow you to rotate and consume without impacting long term stores. Of course, you can also have traditional “bucket” SHTF Rice if you wish. Even then, recommend following the “smaller is more efficient” approach to storing inside the bucket.December 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm #16185
Storing smaller volume packages may be more efficient?
A consideration is volume to store as a single “unit”. Grains and legumes come to mind right off.
The general and most common approach is to;
- load a 5 or 6 gallon Mylar inside a bucket
- drop the oxygen absorbent and seal bag and then bucket
However, unless you have a large group or plan to eat the item frequently, you may want to consider multiple smaller bags inside the same bucket. The packaging is essentially the same and you may lose a little bucket capacity but the benefits outweigh the extra effort or additional bucket.
Most people may not consider that consumption frequency or volume has the same potential negative impact to the product. Particularly if the controlled environment becomes a problem once the bucket is opened. Basically, once the large Mylar is opened, one has to reseal or consume all the contents before it becomes a viability issue.
By placing the product into smaller bags, where each is commensurate to the consumption frequency, the open bucket is not a problem and one can just “close the lid” without having to worry about contamination. An additional benefit is ability to mix items in a single bucket. Example: 1 lbs bags of legumes. Black, Pinto, Navy, Great Northern can all be in single bucket.
Another “micro” version is to vacuum seal individual “servings” in consistent volume. Place those inside Mylar with “zip lock” seal and oxygen absorbent. Removal of extra air and hot seal the “zip lock” still advisable. One can then place the “multiple serving” variety packs into the bucket. When a single Mylar is opened, only that which you intend to use is exposed. By using the “zip lock” version bags, one can reseal without heat. This is a great way to pack “ready to eat” versions of legumes and/or rice.
Of course, label and date each bag, and putting a removable label on the bucket does not hurt either, particularly if you have multiple.December 23, 2017 at 2:18 pm #16186
Is this bucket food grade?
True food grade buckets are labeled as such and removes the mystery. However, what if you are looking to re-purpose buckets or have opportunity to pick some up at little to no cost, how can you tell? This “How to Identify Food Grade Buckets” <–link provides information on how to evaluate and determine if bucket is viable to store food products.January 25, 2018 at 6:34 am #16306
TN, What is your take on using non food grade buckets for food storage if you have the food inside a food-grade mylar bag within the bucket? Pastor Joe has a demo video using the orange “homer” buckets from Home Depot.January 25, 2018 at 1:06 pm #16307
PreparedMother – As long as the product inside the bucket is within a sealed food grade package (Mylar, vacuum seal “food” bag, original “long term” package), no issues. Of course, would only use a new bucket or one that has not contained chemicals like paint, solvents, sealers, etc. Of course, I’m sure that one is obvious but still worth restating. If re-purposing a bucket, would be helpful to give it a water+bleach bath and good rinse before using.
It may be overkill but I “double bag”. Unless it is a bulk item (rice, beans) and which I have moved away from storing (see previous post on smaller amounts being more efficient). I vacuum bag smaller amounts (or meal ingredients) and then into Mylar for second sealed packaging. Following this practice, a non-food grade bucket would be perfectly fine, particularly if obtained for free!
I found 5 gallon Food Grade (labeled) buckets at Walmart’s Paint department for $2.75 which is a great price. Unfortunately, the lids are snap on which are not good for long term as they do not have seal. However, “Homer’s” place has them and gamma as well.
After buying a few 6 gallon on-line, and some at Walmart, I found that Sam’s Club’s bakery department gives them away, just had to ask. I don’t know if it is the same at all Clubs or Costco but worth checking into if you have membership. Sam’s has three types, 2 rectangular and 1 round. The rectangular ones are great for organization. As they are rectangular, can organize like blocks and more efficient use of space. The round one is the size of a 2 gallon pot which is perfect for items like vacuum sealed tea bags or other small items. The buckets contained frosting and will need to be washed but hey, elbow grease is free!
Oh, one drawback to the rectangular buckets from Sam’s, the lids do not have a built in seal, it snaps in place but no “rubber” seal. However, I overcame that by running a small bead of Aquarium Silicone in the lid’s seam. So, fill the bucket, run the bead, drop the oxygen absorbent, put the lid on and a small amount of weight to apply downward pressure; another filled bucket works great for this. As the absorbent does it’s thing and the silicone cures, the lid will be VERY sealed! Even though it is a small amount, Aquarium silicone is safe to use as it is designed for long term adhesion, water exposure, and wildlife safe.
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