Oxygen Absorbers For Dehydrated Food – Complete Guide
There are many people around the world who are aware of food dehydration and its benefits but do not know much about oxygen absorbers. Storing the dehydrated food in the oxygen absorbers for a long time is an economical way of food preservation. But you should also know the right way of storing the food in the oxygen absorbers safely.
While writing so many blogs and articles on the food dehydrator as well as the dehydrated food, we have realized that lots of people still have some misunderstandings about the oxygen absorbers. Thus, to assist them in the right way, we have prepared a complete guide on oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food in the below article. We will not only provide you useful info about the oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food but also share with you some tips and tricks of using the product safely.
So, let’s begin!
What are oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food?
The oxygen absorbers are the storing products for dried food that are simple small packets made from the iron powder. They are not only BPA free but non-toxic also.
Oxygen absorbers utilized for removing the oxygen from the air while packing the dehydrated foods in them. In the air, there is 20% oxygen, and the maximum amount of nitrogen is present. As soon as you place the oxygen absorber inside an airtight jar, the jar’s oxygen “sticks” to the oxygen absorber’s iron. Hence, in the end, only nitrogen inside the air left that does not harm your food.
Reasons for using the oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food
Before knowing how to use oxygen absorbers, it is essential that you know why should use them for storing the dried food. Mainly there are five reasons for which you should use the oxygen absorbers for packing the dried food:
- To upsurge the shelf life of dehydrated food up to 30 years
- For preserving the vitamins like E, C, and A which vanished while getting exposed towards oxygen
- To stop the development of bacteria and mold inside the dried food. It is a fact that without oxygen, nothing gets developed.
- For preserving the dried food flavor
- For killing the pest eggs which might originate (however tiny to discover) inside the food (generally grains). Such eggs can’t multiply or hatch without oxygen.
- To stop the browning of the dehydrated food
The maximum types of dehydrated food have a good shelf life that ranges from 1 year to 5 years without oxygen absorbers preservation. But if you have time to do the rotation of your dried food on a regular basis, then, oxygen absorbers are not required. On the other hand, using the oxygen absorbers will surely provide you all the above benefits listed in this section.
Type of containers you should use with oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food
It is the most common thing that arises in the mind of the people before beginning the use of oxygen absorbers. The effectiveness of these products can only attain if you use it with the right type of containers or jars. Below are the categories of the containers that work perfectly with the oxygen absorbers:
1. Mason jars
The mason jars are rodent-proof and do not get punctured. It keeps the food fresh and dried for a long time. But they can get a break if fall from a height and moreover they do not keep the light out from the jar.
2. Mylar bags or Foil pouches
These must be no less than 5 ml to sufficiently store your food safely from oxygen, light, and moisture. However, they are not rodent-proof and easily get punctured. You should use them in the rodent-proof jar or the food-grade container.
3. Food grade plastic containers with Mylar bags
Plastic containers are hard to get a puncture, and moreover, they do not get break quickly and are rodent-proof also. But, they do not keep out the moisture and oxygen in comparisons to the other types of containers. Thus, you should utilize them for storing the dried food along with Mylar bags. Whenever you open the container, just verify if the oxygen absorber is hard or not.
The hard oxygen absorbers shall not absorb oxygen anymore. Thus soon replace it with the new one. You must not use the non-PETE plastic jars without a Mylar bag and zip-seal plastic bags along with the oxygen absorbers.
4. Metal cans with jointed lids
The metal cans with the joint lids help in keeping the moisture and oxygen out. They do not break or puncture easily and are rodent-free too. But you need different equipment for sealing them that is too costly.
Types of dehydrated food you can store in oxygen absorbers
While learning about the oxygen absorbers, it is essential that you know the different kinds of dehydrated food you may store inside the oxygen absorbers. You should always use the dried foods in the oxygen absorbers with very less amount of moisture. If you store the food that has a high amount of moisture, then, it may result in botulism’s possibility. Oily foods should avoid strictly.
There is some kind of foods that comprises of a lot of moisture like yogurt, fresh produce, raw meat, cheese, etc. but you can judge them easily. Below are a few foods that you should not store in the oxygen absorbers:
- Brown Rice
- Pearled Barley
- Milled grains (excluding rolled oats)
- Dried eggs
- Any dried veggie or fruit that is not adequately dried to get a break while bending
- Brown sugar
- Leavening agents (baking soda/baking powder)
You might discover variable thoughts on the above info. Few people may suggest the storing of the above-listed foods with an oxygen absorber, and they might have done it successfully. But these foods come with the risk of botulism, and all of us do not want to risk our family’s health.
Number of oxygen absorbers required for dehydrated food
Honestly, it is quite tough to tell how many and how big oxygen absorbers you needed for storing the dried food. The size of the oxygen absorbers depends on the size of the containers, foods density while packing, and the amount of space you will leave at the container’s top.
Nobody likes to waste their money on buying anything. Thus, instead of using a small size or less number of oxygen absorbers for storing the dried food, you should have some extra one. It will not affect the food, its flavor or vitamins and moreover, you can store your food without the presence of the oxygen. The following detail might help you in knowing the number of oxygen absorbers needed for your dehydrated food:
- A 100 cc oxygen absorber is perfect for the small size jars or quart containers
- A 400 cc is ample for the big size containers having a capacity of more than 1 quart and up to 1 gallon
- 400 cc per 1 gallon is sufficient of your containers are between 1 gallon to 5 gallon
- A 3000 cc is adequate for 5 gallons to 6-gallon buckets
How to use Oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food?
The following are very easy steps that you need to follow for using the oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food:
Step 1: Ready the containers
You have to check the containers that you are planning to utilize are dry as well as clean. Moreover, keep the lid ready so that you might rapidly do the sealing of the container after adding the oxygen absorber and the food.
Step 2: Get ready the food
There should be no debris inside the food. Add the food into the containers that you are going to use; however, do not place the lid on it yet.
Step 3: Use a mason jar for oxygen absorbers
The entire oxygen gets soaked up the oxygen absorbers instantly, so you have to do your work rapidly. You should store those oxygen absorbers in a tightly sealed mason jar that you are not using at present.
Step 4: Get your packet of oxygen absorbers
Take out one oxygen absorber and seal the others one inside the Mason jar. Include the one oxygen-absorber into your 1st container. The oxygen absorbers must be powdery and soft inside. If it’s bumpy and hard then, it means there is already oxygen in the product. When the oxygen absorbers start absorbing the oxygen, they will start getting heated up. So, it is a good sign if they are getting warm. You should seal them as soon as possible.
Step 5: Seal the container
Now, it’s time to seal the container. If you are using the Mylar bag for food storage, then, seal them properly.
Step 6: Labelling of the food
You need to label the food for your future reference. You should write the ingredients of the food along with the packaging date for more convenience.
Step 7: Check the status after a gap
It might take some days or a week to eradicate the entire oxygen from the containers by the oxygen absorbers. But if you are using jars or cans then, everything should be fine. On the other hand, in the case of Mylar bags, you must check the sealing of the food properly. Don’t forget that the oxygen absorbers will use the oxygen and not the air.
There will be 79% of the air inside the container. You might not find similar to the vacuum-sealed product. But, there must be a minor decline in the remaining quantity of air inside the bag. On the other hand, if there is no slight decline in the air quality of the bag then, include one more oxygen absorber and do the sealing again.
Step 8: Repeat and reseal
You should repeat step number 4 and 5 for every container. Moreover, do the sealing again of the oxygen absorber if they not sealed properly. Keep in mind to do storing of the excess oxygen absorbers inside the sealed Mason jar. The life of oxygen absorbers is between 6 months to 1 year. You should check them correctly before start using them again.
Do the food saver and the oxygen absorbers have the same function?
Numerous people accept that FoodSaver and the oxygen absorbers perform a similar thing, but that is not right. You should have clarity in your mind about the difference between these two products.
The FoodSaver eliminates air (nitrogen, oxygen, and some amount of other things) with the help of a vacuum. But it does not eradicate the entire amount of oxygen. It takes out the maximum amount of the air from the sealed jar so that oxidation does not take place. On the other hand, oxygen absorbers eliminate oxygen from the containers. Actually, they take out the entire amount of oxygen (i.e., 99.99%) that needed for storing the food for a long time.
But, with the above comparison, we are not saying that products like Foodsaver are useless. In reality, the precisely contradictory is correct. There are few foods that you cannot store in the environment, which is oxygen-free like foods possessing a high content of oil or moisture. So, you can easily store such foods in the Foodsaver. It can quickly increase the shelf life of the food by 3 to 5 times.
What is the difference between Silica gel/desiccants and the oxygen absorbers?
The term “oxygen absorbers” might be new to so many people. But have you also heard about the same small packet in which you can add the food called “Silica gel/desiccants”?
Well! Oxygen absorbers and Silica gel/desiccants might be small size packets, but their functioning is totally different from each other. The oxygen absorbers help in removing the oxygen from the container, whereas the Silica Gel packets/desiccants help in removing the moisture from the jar. But, the silica gel packet cannot use for eradicating the adequate moisture from the food. You can store most food safely for a long time with the help of an oxygen absorber.
The best use of the Silica gel packets is in the cans of the freeze dehydrated food. Once you open the box of the freeze-dried food, it will start absorbing moisture from the air that can reduce the shelf life of the food and also changes the texture of the food. However, when you insert some silica gel packs in it, your problem will get fixed quickly. Keep in mind to replace these packs after few weeks gap if you are staying in a humid place.
You may use the Silica Gel Packs for keeping the sliver, firearms, and ammunition, vital documents, and tools so that they remain dry. Moreover, it can also use for drying up any wet mobile phone.
Advantages of oxygen absorber in comparison to the other valuable absorbers
The following are the advantages of in comparison to the other useful absorbers:
- It decreases the amount of oxygen in the airtight container by 99.99% so that the shelf life if the food can increase.
- The oxygen absorber helps in preventing the formation of insect infestation, bacteria, mold, oxidation, and microorganisms that can grow in the oxygen-rich atmosphere of the packets.
- It is simple and easy to use once you know the correct process.
- It helps in maintaining the color, flavor, freshness, nutritional content, and other benefits of the food which may get vanish if exposed to oxygen.
- It is an effective way of elimination the maximum amount of oxygen and preserving food for a long time in comparison to the conventional antioxidants, preservatives, vacuum packing, and gas flushing
- It does not have any undesirable and adverse effects on health. The main component in the product is powdered iron oxide in a sachet, which is a fragrance-free material that does not affect the food at all. You can easily discard the sachet after use.
- It is safe to use as they already tested. Moreover, it is non-toxic.
Useful Tips for using the oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food
The following are handy tips that you can apply while using the oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food:
1) Check the freshness of the oxygen absorbers
To check the effectiveness of the oxygen absorbers packets, you should search for the pink color pill over the bag. We are not saying that it’s an assurance of good oxygen absorbers, but it ensures the absorbers effectiveness in the packing. As an alternative: squeeze the bag and find its effectiveness. The purpose of using oxygen absorbers is to decrease the level of oxygen by around 0.01%. If the bag of the oxygen absorbers is old then, you can find the blue color pill on it.
2) Utilize the oxygen absorbers instantly
You should calculate the number of oxygen absorbers you required and then buy the oxygen absorbers in the minimum proportion that you have planned for storing your food. Try to use the oxygen absorbers instantly as they begin to lose their usefulness in 3 months of buying. The oxygen absorbers designed for the use in Mylar bags, mason jars, cans, as well as food-grade buckets for the long terms storage of the food.
3) Move the oxygen absorbers to a provisional mason jar
As soon as you get prepared to start the functioning and after knowing their effectiveness, open the oxygen absorbers packet and immediately store it inside a mason jar made up of glass. The oxygen absorbers must be airtight. Keep in mind not to use a zip-lock plastic bag.
Either opening the enclosure of the manufacturer or break the bag, the effectiveness of the oxygen absorbers lost. It is the main reason that you have to work rapidly. You may also use the jar sealer with the Food Saver for storing the oxygen absorbers in the less amount of air. The less air will not spoil their effectiveness immediately.
4) Check the oxygen absorbers
After transferring the oxygen absorbers into the Mason jar, you should check if every oxygen absorber is powdery and soft from inside, and not coarse or stiff. On the other hand, if the oxygen absorber is stiff, then it means it’s not of any use, and you must change this old one. The oxygen absorbers must have a powdery sensation inside.
Now, if the oxygen absorber is very hot then, it means they are quite good! Once the absorbers get an exposure of oxygen, they may turn unpleasantly hot while touching. However, if this occurs, then, it means it’s functioning. Moreover, you may squeeze the bag for checking its status. You should dump it if it is stiff.
5) Restricted usage of oxygen absorbers for certain foods
You should always know that for which food you must use the oxygen absorbers and for which you should not. You should not use the oxygen absorbers along with leavening agents like baking soda, yeast, and the baking powder. Moreover, don’t put them with the leavening products or the pancake mixes because of the oxygen absorber counters with the leavening that makes the product unusable. Leavening agents to avoid include yeast, baking soda, and baking powder.
Also, the oxygen absorbers should not be used with the sugar and salt too. The sugar and salt should be pest-free and dry. However, the salt does not require an oxygen absorber as it can toughen the sugar.
6) Use with airtight and food-grade containers
You should pick a long-standing container for storing the food which works as an obstacle to both moisture and oxygen. Utilize metallic lids mason jars that comprise of the gaskets, metallic cans with sealed lids, Mylar bags with hot sealing, and airtight lids food buckets.
7) Maximum utilization of the oxygen absorber
You can utilize a Foodsaver along with the oxygen absorber also as the Foodsaver can eliminate the air, and it will put less stress on the oxygen for taking off the residual oxygen. Similarly, get assured to place the oxygen absorber on the topmost section in which oxygen gathers, thus it will help it in taking off the maximum amount of oxygen from the container too.
Use the oxygen absorbers with food-grade buckets and Mylar bags as this will increase the life of the food by 3 to 4 times more. Mylar bags sieve out the sunlight and offer an extra obstacle for moisture and oxygen. You need to iron the opening of the Mylar bags for shutting them off.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food
Below are some common questions that hit the mind of the people regarding the usage of oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food:
Can oxygen absorbers be utilized at a low temperature?
The functioning of the oxygen absorbers slows down at the lower temperatures. But, the product corrosion generally decelerates at low temperature whereas movement of microorganisms to reduces down. So, the slow oxygen absorption does not result in any problem.
Can we use the oxygen absorbers along with the vacuum packages?
As the quantity of air is reduced already in a vacuum package, a tiny size oxygen absorber might pick. If there is a robust vacuum percentage then, you should put the oxygen absorber inside a free stream of air-flow, using specific space in the middle of the product and packing flick.
Moreover, you may utilize an oxygen absorber also in a vacuum pack for the reason that not entirely vacuum storing may decrease the remaining oxygen as little as an oxygen absorber might.
Can we use the oxygen absorbers along with the gas flushing packing?
The oxygen absorbers might utilize with a replacement structure of nitrogen gas. But, this mixture shall cause a slow oxygen absorption speed owing to the small primary oxygen absorption; so, pick a more significant size oxygen absorber for paying off the interruption in oxygen absorption.
Moreover, the replacement of gas shall tend to cause a changeable replacement percentage. It is one more purpose to utilize a bigger size package. The gas replacement of Carbon dioxide, as well as mixed carbon dioxide-nitrogen gas, is not suggested for utilization with oxygen absorbers because the carbon dioxide can obstruct the absorption of oxygen to some extent.
Does the deoxygenating rate get influenced by the place where you put the oxygen absorber inside the container?
Yes, the deoxygenating rate gets influenced by the place where you put the oxygen absorber inside the container. Usually, an oxygen absorber shall remove oxygen more rapidly as soon as it gets placed straight on the container. If possible for you, then, an analysis will specify the finest place for an oxygen absorber.
Occasionally oxygen absorbers get heat up during the period of food packing. Does it sound normal?
If the main bag comprising a self-countering kind of oxygen absorber is remained open, or if the separate packages are gotten sequentially from the main bag then, the heat produced from the retorts of the oxygen absorber might gather inside the bag, instigating the bag offer a hot touch.
Every time widen out the packs over a tray to evade reduced result. We have already told you in the article that for the maximum time of 4 hours you should expose an oxygen absorber to the room temperature.
We utilize merely a minor amount of oxygen absorbers at one time. Does the closing and opening the main bag impact the oxygen absorber’s performance?
The frequent closing and opening of the main bag of the oxygen absorber is not needed, because it may make the oxygen absorber to encounter with air regularly. We suggest that you split the packages into tiny amounts and put the oxygen absorbers bags (built from an excellent gas barricade material) to decrease the incidence of contact amongst the atmosphere and the oxygen absorber.
The Final Word
So, after reading the above information about the oxygen absorbers, we think that it’s not a big secret anymore. It is easy to use and economical too, but the product that increases the shelf life of your dried food to a great extent. The usage of these products will assure that your bulk amount of dehydrated food will remain fresh for a long time. Moreover, you will not feel any burden on your pocket as well.
You can serve your family and friends the benefits of the dried food whenever you wish of you have oxygen absorbers with you for storing the food. In the above article, we have provided you the entirely useful and precise buying guide info about the oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food. So, now if anybody as you anything about the oxygen absorbers for dried food, we hope you have a detailed answer for them.
Is there anything more that we left out mentioning in the above blog? Do you have any other tips for using the oxygen absorbers for dehydrated food? If yes then, please share your thoughts and experiences in the below comment box section.
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