Long Term Dry Goods Packaging

The object of any of these methods is to remove as much oxygen as possible from your stored food;
this is the only safe, proving way of storing Long Term food goods.

1. Nitrogen Bath.

With this method you would need a tank of nitrogen, pressure regulator, hose, and a tube or wand of
some kind. This is how you do it:
Place the Mylar bag into the 5 gallon bucket. Fill almost to the top with whatever food you are storing.
Insert the wand or tube to the bottom of the bucket. SLOWLY turn on the nitrogen to fill the bucket. The
Nitrogen will displace the air and you will have a nitrogen environment within the bag/bucket.
As you fill the bucket, have someone else hold a lighter near the top of the bucket. When the lighter
goes out, you have filled the bucket with nitrogen. Seal the Mylar bag and seal the lid to the bucket.
You can place an oxygen absorber in the bucket to remove any oxygen that might be left.
This method requires the rental or purchase of a tank of nitrogen, a regulator, and hose and is
expensive unless you are doing a large number of buckets.

2. Dry Ice. ( My least favorite way)

Dry ice is usually available at most larger grocery stores in blocks or cubes. If you have never handled
dry ice before, use caution. Dry ice is over 100 degrees below ZERO and will burn your skin if it comes
into direct contact. Always handle dry ice with gloves or tongs. This is how you do it:
For a 5-gallon bucket, use one to two ounces per bucket. You might be able to get away with a bit less,
but dry ice is not expensive so a bit of overkill does not cost that much.
Place the dry ice on the bottom of the bucket and cover with cardboard or a paper towel.
Slowly pour your food into the bucket, trying not to move the dry ice from the center of the bucket. If
you do move it, don’t worry. It’s okay.
Fill with food to within 2 inches from the top of the bucket. Place the lid on the bucket, but fit the lid
loosely so air can escape.
Feel the bottom of the bucket one hour later. If the bottom of the bucket is cold the ice has not yet fully
melted. Wait an additional hour and feel again. If still cold then feel every 15 to 30 minutes till the
bottom of the bucket is room temperature.
When bottom is room temperature seal the lid.
Check the bucket 15 minutes later. If the bucket is bulging then open one side of the lid to allow the
excess gas to escape. Seal the bucket again and check 15 minutes later.
If bulging, then open one side of the lid to allow the excess gas to escape. Repeat every 15 minutes till
there is no bulging.

4. The use of Oxygen Absorber’s

Oxygen absorbers are rated in CCs (cubic centimeters), which is the volume of oxygen they will absorb.
A 5-gallon bucket filled with, say, elbow macaroni, will hold a lot of air within the product. A 1000 CC
oxygen absorber will remove all the oxygen from that container of elbow macaroni, so a 1000 CC
oxygen absorber will do the job nicely for any long-term storage food item.

Here’s how you do it:
First, you need:
  A) A  5 or 6 -gallon food grade bucket and lid.
  
B) Mylar bag designed for 5- or 6-gallon storage.
 
 C) A Smooth board, wide enough to go across the top of the bucket and 3 to 4 inches wide, Should be
less than one inch thick.
  D) An  Iron, plugged in and set on “Cotton” setting
  E) Oxygen absorbers. (Don’t remove oxygen absorbers from their closed container until
              they’re called for as they don’t have a long life outside of a closed environment.)

Place a 5 gallon Mylar bag into the bucket and spread the bottom and sides out. Get the wrinkles out as
much as possible.
Slowly pour your food into the Mylar bag leaving around 2 inches from the top of the bucket. You
should have several additional inches of Mylar bag above the food and above or outside the bucket.
Depending on the density of the food you are storing here, there might have more or less oxygen than
what is above the top level of the food. You could probably use just a 500 cc absorber, but why take
chances?
Use two 500CC, or one 1000CC, absorber just to make sure you’ve allowed for the remaining oxygen in
the bag. They don’t cost much and the extra dollar you spend here might save you 5 gallons of food in
the future. Just put them on top of the food in the bag. If you wish you can add a few bay leaves just for
good measure.
Take your board and lay it across the top of the bucket you are filling. Flatten and smooth the top of the
Mylar bag so as to remove any creases or remove as many as you can.
Lay the bag across the board and run the hot iron over the Mylar bag, along the board, to seal the bag.
You will notice the surface of the bag changing as the iron melts the Mylar. It will adhere to the other
side of the bag, making a complete seal. Let it cool for a few minutes and then gently check your seal by
trying to pull apart the unsealed part of the bag. Don’t use too much muscle on it, but check to make
sure you made a good seal.
Cut off any excess above the seal and fold it into the bucket. You can drop a bay leaf or two on top of
the bag if you wish. Put the lid on and seal it.


4. Vacuum Sealing.  (By many the preferred method).

The first part of this is just like the Oxygen Absorber method. This is how you do it:
Place a 5-gallon Mylar bag into the bucket and spread the bottom and sides out. Get the wrinkles out as
much as possible.
Slowly pour your food into the Mylar bag, leaving about 2 inches headspace in the bag. You should
have several additional inches of Mylar bag above the food and above or outside the bucket.
Depending on the density of the food you are storing here, there might be more oxygen in the bag than
what is above the top level of the food. You could probably use just a 500CC absorber, but why take
chances. Use two 500 CC or one 1000 CC oxygen absorbers just to make sure. They don’t cost much
and the extra dollar you spend here might save you 5 gallons of food in the future. Just put them on top
of the food in the bag. If you wish you can add a few Bay Leaves just for good measure.
Lay the board out and place the absorbers on top of the food. Run the iron ALMOST all the way across
the top of the bag, leaving enough space to insert a home vacuum hose into the bag. Insert the hose
into the bag and turn on the vacuum cleaner. You will notice the bag contract with the air removal. As
the vacuum is running, move the top of the bag over the piece of wood, closing the gap you left for the
vacuum.
Run the iron over the remaining spot and you have removed most of the air from the bag and sealed it
shut. The oxygen absorber will remove the remaining oxygen.
Cut off any excess above the seal and fold it into the bucket. You can drop a bay leaf or two on top of
the bag if you wish. Put the lid on and seal it.
To seal a bucket lid, use a rubber mallet. Firmly, but not too hard, hammer around the lid till it’s secure.
If you don’t have a rubber mallet, use a piece of wood and a regular hammer, moving the wood around
the lid, hitting it as you go, to seal the bucket.
So there you have it… The standard 4 methods of long term food storage.
When you remove the oxygen from the bucket you prevent mold from living as well as insects hatching.
Both cannot live in an oxygen-poor environment.
The bucket will keep light out, but don’t place the buckets in direct sunlight. Over time the plastic will
become brittle if exposed to sunlight for long periods of time.
A sealed bucket will prevent moisture from coming in, but don’t store the buckets in a moist
environment.
Food stored in cooler temperatures keeps longer. The best is to keep the food between 40 and 60
degrees. Hotter temperatures will shorten the storage life.
Anywhere you store food, rats and mice will find it sooner or later. Inspect the area from time to time
looking for signs of rodents. Put down some traps and inspect them often.


                                             NOTE:
1 gallon = 3,785 CCs of space.

One gallon is 3,785 CCs, so a 5-gallon bucket holds 18,925 CCs.

Since the food will displace most of the air, and air is 20% oxygen, you’ll have much less than 3,785 CCs
of oxygen in a filled 5-gallon bucket. So, you will need enough oxygen absorbers to treat the remaining
air in the bucket.
Long Term Dry Goods Packaging, with 4 different ways