Emergency Food Supply: Week 28
The Enemy of Stored Food: Oxygen
We talked earlier about different kinds of storage containers to ensure your food remains insect and rodent-free [this email has been lost]. But there is one other food thief you need to plan for, and that’s oxygen. In the presence of oxygen, microorganisms can survive, enzymes can continue to degrade food quality, and food can suffer oxidation (think, browning of apples and bananas).
If you are storing food you’ve grown (dried peppers, for example), or you want to repackage food from large bulk containers into smaller or meal-sized portions in pest-proof packaging, you will want to remove as much air as possible. There are at least a couple of ways to do this in a home setting:
Oxygen absorbing packets: You’ve probably seen oxygen absorbing packets. It’s common to find a little blue or white square in a box of food, in medication bottles, etc. You can easily purchase them online or in stores. Read the instruction for how to use them and how many to put into a container – usually only one is needed. DO NOT open the bag of packets and leave it open on the table. Put them into the food storage container right away and seal.
When you open the container, the oxygen-absorbing packet will become ineffective so you will either need to put in a new one, or you will need to consider how long that packed food will remain good when exposed to oxygen. This is one reason you may want to repackage food into smaller containers so less food is at risk.
Vacuum Sealing: Once available only on TV shopping networks, vacuum sealers can now be found at our local Target store and online retailers quite inexpensively. Portion your food into appropriate serving sizes, place into plastic bags, and vacuum and heat seal the bag. It can be stored in the freezer or (for dried foods) on the shelf.
Your Tasks For the Week
Your weekly assignment will be to buy a certain number of things to add to your pantry until you have achieved YOUR PERSONAL GOAL. Your personal goal is based on the number of people in your household and the number of months of emergency food you want to have on hand.
Buy one week’s worth of lunches for one or for each member of your family. Package it properly and put into your pantry.