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Bush Walker
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After a lot of good reading I have decided to start storing food - beans and grains/rices


I have buckets - a lot - to be used to house split up portions of food in mylar bags


The question is this - what is a good size mylar bag to use and how many/what size Oxygen Absorbers to toss in


I have a family of 5 - 2 adults and 3 kids all under the age of 2


single serve or servings for 5 in each mylar bag?



Looking to start storing for the long haul - 10 years out


thanks for any info/experience offered up!
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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A fairly standard size is the 1-gallon bag if you're going to store smaller batches.

One problem with breaking things into smaller portions like that is they won't store as efficiently. I can only get 4 1-gallon bags of food in a 5-gallon bucket. Early on, I did some of that breaking things into smaller portions, but soon the storage penalty took its toll.

What size O2 absorbers? In a 1-gallon bag, if you've expelled as much air as you can before sealing, you should be fine with a 300cc O2 absorber. In a 5-gallon, a 1500 is appropriate.
 

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Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
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Goose is spot on. Storing dry foods in single servings, or even in small serving sizes is inefficient and serves no purpose. Dry foods don't spoil, and most of them can last a year or more after being opened. If you're eating from stored food full time, even full 5 gallon buckets won't sit open that long, no matter what ingredient is in it.
 

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Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
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Another quick tip. Some pastas tend to be pokey and make holes in the mylar. Spaghetti and the stick type pastas like that are the worst. If you store any, be sure to protect the mylar from the ends of the pasta. You can use paper towels, the plastic bag the pasta came in or anything like that to keep the ends from poking the mylar. I store a LOT of pasta and I learned this the hard way. A

nother trick is maybe don't push out every last drop of air. If you're using enough O2 absorber for the bag, it will still store just fine with the extra bit of air in the bag since only the nitrogen will be left. And having less vacuum on the bag means less stress and less chance of holes.
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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Another quick tip. Some pastas tendsto be pokey and make holes in the mylar. Spaghetti and the stick type pastas like that are the worst. If you store any, be sure to protect the mylar from the ends of the pasta. You can use paper towels, the plastic bag the pasta came in or anything like that to keep the ends from poking the mylar. I store a LOT of pasta and I learned this the hard way. A

nother trick is maybe don't push out every last drop of air. If you're using enough O2 absorber for the bag, it will still store just fine with the extra bit of air in the bag since only the nitrogen will be left. And having less vacuum on the bag means less stress and less chance of holes.
You can also look for more "extreme" bags. I have my spaghetti pasta stored in bags like these:

http://www.mylarbagsdirect.com/8quotx16quot-extreme-mylar-816.html

They are more than thick enough to stand up to the pokiness of spaghetti, but if you don't have those, use Mike's methods.
 
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Capability, not scenarios
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BTW: The biggest reason I stored things in smaller packages when I started out was that I had this idea that 1-gallon packages of beans, rice, etc. would make them useful for barter.

After having read this board for a while, I no longer think that. What trading pre-packaged food will accomplish is to announce that I have enough food that I can trade some of it away.

I figured it would be cheaper and less time-consuming to buy a nice white t-shirt and paint a bulls-eye on the front and the back. Trading food will, IMO, greatly increase the chances of my becoming a target.
 
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Bush Walker
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ok so no single serve - just get a bigger ( 5gal) bucket with a sealed type top and pour the beans/rice/wheat right in with some OA?



what to do with these 50 smaller 2 gallon buckets now?
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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ok so no single serve - just get a bigger ( 5gal) bucket with a sealed type top and pour the beans/rice/wheat right in with some OA?
No, you will want mylar bags inside the buckets. The buckets will not be perfectly impervious to oxygen; further, the buckets will collapse in on themselves if they have a good seal because as you remove the oxygen you create a partial vacuum (removing 21 percent of the air). This may possibly compromise the seal, and if the bucket doesn't collapse, then you haven't a hermetic environment anyway.

what to do with these 50 smaller 2 gallon buckets now?
My comments were primarily in regard to using smaller bags in the 5-gallon buckets. If you have 50 2-gallon buckets, and mylar to fit them, and a place to store them, well, use 'em up!

Preppers store their food in all sorts of different ways. Much depends on their own situation, and/or what resources they have available. I would not seek out 2-gallon buckets, but if I already had them, I'd find a way to make them work for me.
 
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The Lord's Servant
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I have a question and I'm sorry if this is a thread drift but it does go along with the topic. I sealed up some grains with the 1 gal. mylar bags because I had some sitting on the shelf. I put 300cc 02's in each bag and then stored them in a 5 gallon bucket. I had two bags left over so I didn't put them in a bucket but just sat them on the shelf. I look at those two bags now and the air hasn't been sucked out of them and theyu are not hard as a rock.
Did I do something wrong? I believe I've got it sealed up good. Any explanation for this?
Thanks,
Joe
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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I have a question and I'm sorry if this is a thread drift but it does go along with the topic. I sealed up some grains with the 1 gal. mylar bags because I had some sitting on the shelf. I put 300cc 02's in each bag and then stored them in a 5 gallon bucket. I had two bags left over so I didn't put them in a bucket but just sat them on the shelf. I look at those two bags now and the air hasn't been sucked out of them and theyu are not hard as a rock.
Did I do something wrong? I believe I've got it sealed up good. Any explanation for this?
Thanks,
Joe
Did you get that "hard as a rock" effect in all the other ones?

Three possible explanations I can think of:

One is that you didn't squeeze enough air out of the bags before you sealed them, such that the partial vacuum created by the O2 absorbers wasn't enough to pull the mylar tight against the food. This would mean they're properly stored; the excess air in the bags just means the O2 absorbers can't draw enough oxygen out to create a partial vacuum, but it's likely that you have removed the oxygen and you have the inert gas environment you want.

Second is that the O2 absorbers were bad, or that you kept them out of a sealed environment too long and they didn't have enough left to complete the job.

Third is that either your seals are not truly good, or you have a pinhole someplace in the bag that's admitting air as the O2 absorber draws the oxygen out of the air inside the bag.


I strive for that "freeze-dried brick" look because it always tells me two things: That my seal is good and there are no holes in the bag, and that the O2 absorber is doing its thing. That's why you can't be sure, with the first reason above, that it isn't one of the other two reasons.
 
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Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
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ok so no single serve - just get a bigger ( 5gal) bucket with a sealed type top and pour the beans/rice/wheat right in with some OA?



what to do with these 50 smaller 2 gallon buckets now?
You can store straight in the bucket. But for longest life, mylar is recommended. Mylar will keep O2 away from your foods longer than just the bucket will. Now I've stored foods in buckets with O2 absorbers and had good results. But I won't do that anymore.

Maybe use the 2 gallon buckets for things that you use slower such as salt, sugar, spices, buillion, baking soda, etc. Spices is one area where smaller bags makes a lot of sense. Having a bag of spices open for a year is not a great idea as they will lose flavor. 2 gallons is a nice size for powdered milk and eggs too, if you're storing any. Good for other powdered foods you'll use slowly such as tomato, margerine or peanut butter powder.
 

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Bush Walker
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
ok great idea on using smaller buckets for spices and flavor storage - thanks!


So use 5 gal buckets with 5 gal bags to store grains/rice/etc - add OAs and seal the buckets so rodents/bugs dont get at em


when it gets time to eat - open stuff up - portion out and reseal with more OA?




trying to wrap my head around the process steps so bear with me and thanks for all the tips and tricks everyone
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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ok great idea on using smaller buckets for spices and flavor storage - thanks!


So use 5 gal buckets with 5 gal bags to store grains/rice/etc - add OAs and seal the buckets so rodents/bugs dont get at em


when it gets time to eat - open stuff up - portion out and reseal with more OA?
No, just seal it back up. Once you start eating out of it, it'll last a good long while. The O2 absorbers are just to allow long-term storage. Think about it: how long as that wheat or rice or beans sat on the shelf before you even got it, and what is the best-by date if they have one?

As long as you reseal it in the bucket or whatever, or take it out and seal in tupperware or whatever, you'll eat it up faster than it would ever spoil.
 

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The Lord's Servant
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Did you get that "hard as a rock" effect in all the other ones?

Three possible explanations I can think of:

One is that you didn't squeeze enough air out of the bags before you sealed them, such that the partial vacuum created by the O2 absorbers wasn't enough to pull the mylar tight against the food. This would mean they're properly stored; the excess air in the bags just means the O2 absorbers can't draw enough oxygen out to create a partial vacuum, but it's likely that you have removed the oxygen and you have the inert gas environment you want.

Second is that the O2 absorbers were bad, or that you kept them out of a sealed environment too long and they didn't have enough left to complete the job.

Third is that either your seals are not truly good, or you have a pinhole someplace in the bag that's admitting air as the O2 absorber draws the oxygen out of the air inside the bag.


I strive for that "freeze-dried brick" look because it always tells me two things: That my seal is good and there are no holes in the bag, and that the O2 absorber is doing its thing. That's why you can't be sure, with the first reason above, that it isn't one of the other two reasons.


Well bummer, a lot are not as hard as a rock. In fact, even some in my 5 gallon ones still feel that they have air in them. I know that I didn't have the 02's out for more than 1-2 hours.
I'm not sure what to do next?
What do you think??
 

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Spooky
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You might want to be a bit more scientific about measuring out what "1 serving" really is. I did a write-up on calorie calculations versus number of people versus mylar bags and buckets.

You don't want to accidentally starve yourself or your family or run out of food too soon.

It's a quick read, I promise. :D:
 
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