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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, a couple years back (roughly 2013) I made an amateurish attempt at putting food storage up. Bought some dry goods, cans and O2 absorbers, but life went sideways at home and I forgot about it. Finally got back into it this past summer and I'm doing a heck of a lot better this time around with 7mil mylar bags and a vacuum sealer.

Anyway, I was rifling through the storage room today and looked inside a cabinet I haven't touched in years. I opened it to find this:



A couple bags of rice, a bag of kidney beans and some O2 absorbers. These have been in here since 2013ish like I referenced earlier. The rice bags say late 2015 for expiration, the beans say early 2016.




Now, these were obviously not stored like how I'm properly doing it now. They were just sitting in a cabinet. They weren't exposed to light, but there was a heating element behind the cabinet. Might be a dumb question, but would these possibly be ok to eat? They NEVER got frozen to kill bugs... and yet I don't see any at all. Meanwhile, I've seen videos on YouTube of people bringing home bags fresh from the store with grubs in them already wiggling. How do these NOT have any kind of infestation at all? They look perfect.

I was thinking about using them for homemade heat packs (seriously, I've poured rice in old socks and used them as great heat packs) or use them as a desiccant in some of my buckets, but... could these actually be ok enough to eat? Like I said, both the rice and beans look totally fine. Any thoughts?

Extra credit:

I recently bought 50 mylar bags online and they included a package of O2 absorbers. The eye wasn't pink. It wasn't blatantly purple or blue, but looks definitely in between pink and purple. Meanwhile, the old package of O2 absorbers that I found inside the cabinet from 6 or 7 years ago was bright pink!



How can the brand new one be in worse shape than the old one? Am I alright with the new one in your opinion?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You can still eat them.just fine (and I would)

But there's some protein or amino acid or something that air degrades in rice.
Fine for now, but a problem if on minimum rations.

Zeke can fill it in.
Thanks! Guess I better eat it quick then, use it to fill out current stock. I'll probably try a small cup first and see how I feel. No risk of rancidity with the kidney beans?
 

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No your good.

Send him a PM, he can remind me/tell you.

Basically you'll ever even notice these days something has aged out due to how much protein is in our diets.
But it's minimalistic diet you want to put up the good quickly (in an oxygen barrier.)

I have some rice I order bother to put up, kinda like yours.

I eat it/it's fine.
Good on the kidney s too.
Now if it was pintos....
 

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The food has degraded too far to bother trying to make into quality storage food.

You can eat the rice now as long as you accept they are just empty carbs. That's not a big deal now in a modern lifestyle if the rest of the meal includes fresh vegetables and you don't pig out on it.

It is a completely different story when after SHTF you need all your food to be high quality nutrition where you want the most micronutrients out of every measured bite.

The beans *may* concrete aggregate filler by now. Same goes as with the rice, though you might not even bother to eat them once you try to cook them up and they stay hard. You may have boil them to hell and back and then mash into refried beans. Kidney's do last longer than pintos though. My best guess that with a little extra cook time they will be fine to use right now. Just be ready to regroup if they prove stubborn

Trying to eat them now is worth trying, but not trying to package them up for LTS.

That O2A situation is weird. I'd be uncomfortable with trying either pack. But with the new pack you do have some recourse with the seller. Just go make a stink about them and leverage a replacement pack.

Skip the vacuum sealer. Vacuum sealers add no security and may even cause problems in trying to pack up dry nonfat foods for LTS going into mylar. Fill the bag, drop in an O2A, and just heat seal the mylar. The right sized O2A in a mylar bag gets all the work you need get done without extra steps or potential complications.

Vac sealers are better used for your fresh meats going into the freezer. They are nice for short life DIY MRE's and they also have quite a number of nonfood uses.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey guys, thanks for the responses.

@Zeke, Yeah the food I found in the cabinet is more of an unexpected curiosity / oddball thing to play around with right now. I have legit long term food storage, was just wondering what to make of this old stuff that was a surprise discovery. Guess I could try cooking up a small test batch to see if it's edible, then maybe use a little more for fillers in a funny batch of chili as an experiment, then use the rest of the rice as desiccants and heat packs for sore muscles. Fun fact: I take old socks and fill them with rice, heat 'em up in the micro and then bring them into the freezing cold car with me on the way to work during the winter. One of those warm SOB's on your lap as you drive... boy that's a solid life hack right there.

As far as the vacuum sealer goes, things seem to be working pretty well using it with 1 gallon 7mil mylar bags and o2 absorbers. Drop the dry goods in, drop an o2 absorber in, press the button and it automatically sucks the air out and seals the bag. Do your concerns about it revolve around the bag being too tight and then the o2 absorber eventually stress cracking/ripping the bag eventually?
 

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As far as the vacuum sealer goes, things seem to be working pretty well using it with 1 gallon 7mil mylar bags and o2 absorbers. Drop the dry goods in, drop an o2 absorber in, press the button and it automatically sucks the air out and seals the bag. Do your concerns about it revolve around the bag being too tight and then the o2 absorber eventually stress cracking/ripping the bag eventually?
You do realize that an O2A likes air, right?

Look up how a catalyst reaction works. They require all components to be there in sufficient amounts.

Sucking air out can sometimes keep the catalyst reaction from triggering. Then you can't see that you just screwed up the job.

People just don't get it.

There is absolutely zero value to vacuum packing nonfat dry food in mylar.

Not one tiny iota of benefit, but a possible chance screwing up.

You are not adding even one tiny bit of redundant food security.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Do an experiment to see if the beans will sprout. That would be something to do for fun
That’s actually an outstanding idea. I’m already getting stir crazy preparing for the new growing season, including some stuff I’ve never grown before... this would be a really cool idea. Dunno why I didn’t think of that, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You do realize that an O2A likes air, right?

Look up how a catalyst reaction works. They require all components to be there in sufficient amounts.

Sucking air out can sometimes keep the catalyst reaction from triggering. Then you can't see that you just screwed up the job.

People just don't get it.

There is absolutely zero value to vacuum packing nonfat dry food in mylar.

Not one tiny iota of benefit, but a possible chance screwing up.

You are not adding even one tiny bit of redundant food security.
Putting food in Mylar bags, dropping o2 absorbers in, sucking the air out and heat sealing is literally the most popular method you find on websites and all the major prepping channels on YouTube that people are using to put food storage up, next to canning. Are you saying everyone is making a huge mistake?

I mean if you’re right I absolutely will change course on it and do whatever ensures the best result, but I gotta hear it from more than just one person. What are the issues/effects/damages caused by sucking the air out while using o2 absorbers? Are there any examples with photos or video of the results?
 

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Putting food in Mylar bags, dropping o2 absorbers in, sucking the air out and heat sealing is literally the most popular method you find on websites and all the major prepping channels on YouTube that people are using to put food storage up, next to canning. Are you saying everyone is making a huge mistake?

I mean if you’re right I absolutely will change course on it and do whatever ensures the best result, but I gotta hear it from more than just one person. What are the issues/effects/damages caused by sucking the air out while using o2 absorbers? Are there any examples with photos or video of the results?
Lots of bad info on prepping on Youtube. Look at this: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=canning+butter

All those vids on canning butter and yet without an institutional equipment in a commercial factory you create a huge risk of botulism.

People slap many silly and dangerous ideas on the popular video website. Youtube itself has no subject matter experts to screen risky info out. So people are free to slap anything up without moderator intervention.

It all goes back to bad old lore. O2A's were not readily available to the public before this new century. They weren't even readily available to food packers before the 90's. Until then the food industry standard was gas exchange and consumers had a real hard time making that happen. All they readily had were vacuum appliances. People worked with what they could get. When O2As came around people were unsure about these little things and chose to double up "just to be sure" because redundancy is a prepper motto. Old survival lore still pushed people to buy these vacuum appliances because these guides were the most complete around, having existed since the 70's, albeit a completely different tech base. New preppers today still find lots of advice early on to go buy a vacuum appliance, even though a modern prepper could perform all their food stockpile functions without one. Worse, these people feel obligated to get some use out of this pricey kitchen appliance. Finding out they dropped a couple large bills for nothing doesn't sit well for people trying to be frugal.

You never needed to buy a vacuum appliance to be a good food prepper.

You are just a victim of lore gone old and the urge to get use of the money you spent on the machine.

Understandable, but it needs to be rectified. Prepper supply outfits aren't going to tell you to stop buying profitable expensive machines.

An O2A in mylar does it all. They come in graduated sizes meant to deal with any size volume of mylar you can buy, from pint up to huge 55 gallon mylar bags. They will activate with the normal air in the bag and sequester all the free oxygen into a solid compound inside the packet. Your bag will now hold only inert gasses that will deprive bugs and microorganisms of oxygen needed to reproduce, plus stop oxidation of food. They also won't stress the bag or cause pinhole problems caused by pointy food. Because the bag isn't drawn down tight they will stack better in buckets and totes and resist rub damage from taut bags pushed together.

Just fill the bag to the level that leaves enough room to seal it with a thick secure heat band, drop the appropriately sized O2A in, and seal it up. You don't even need to squeeze the excess air out of the top. Within a day they O2A will slowly draw out the oxygen and shrink the bag a tiny bit, 20% of the air that remained in the bag.

For your vacuum appliance I made a suggestion list years ago to justify getting your investment back: https://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=401542

But you don't need it for packing away food for long term storage and can even become a point of failure for the job.

Do your part to first learn the right way, become skilled at it (easier than pie), and help curb this old bad advice.

Become a 21st Century prepper who knows better now. :thumb:

Proof? We have a pinned thread of all our mylar packing lore: https://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=343889
 

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That’s actually an outstanding idea. I’m already getting stir crazy preparing for the new growing season, including some stuff I’ve never grown before... this would be a really cool idea. Dunno why I didn’t think of that, thanks!
Report back on your germination rate, it's January what else is there to do?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Lots of bad info on prepping on Youtube.
Obviously a lot, but nearly all? Seemingly everyone is behind this method.

Worse, these people feel obligated to get some use out of this pricey kitchen appliance. Finding out they dropped a couple large bills for nothing doesn't sit well for people trying to be frugal.
35 bucks from someone who got it as a gift and never used it. Huge steal.

You never needed to buy a vacuum appliance to be a good food prepper. You are just a victim of lore...
I snatched it up because the opportunity presented itself to take advantage of a steal and I had a variety of uses for it beyond mylar:

- I get a ton of beef and pork straight from a friend's farm and need to do better than ziplock freezer bags, which seem to get freezer burn no matter how hard I try to prevent it.
- I make portioned meals for the grandfather I am taking care of and it's great to put his favorites in one-meal sizes for him so they can be pulled out of the freezer, opened with a pair of scissors and easily reheated. Especially when I'm racing over to his house to make him a meal before heading to my second job. Saves me a ton of time.
- It has a mason jar attachment.
- I like the idea of vacuum sealing spices and stuff like that.
- Camping prep, everything fits better in my ruck now.
- It came with a bunch of these large round heavier-duty-than-tupperware containers of various sizes that you can dump everything from an entire crockpot stew, to soup or even just regular leftovers in. Put the lid on, press the button and the food last longer. I used to make pasta, put leftovers in tupperware and throw the moldy pasta out a couple days later... I haven't thrown any out since getting the vacuum sealer.
- I've been toying with the idea of making pemmican and it seems that might be a decent way to package it. Thoughts?

Don't assume I dropped like $250 on a vacuum sealer out of impulse or falling for some flashy prepper bait. I'm a notoriously frugal person, having grown up poor put the fear of it in me. I'm actually such a miserable f*** when it comes to money that I can't even convince myself to stop and treat myself to hamburger once in awhile.

An O2A in mylar does it all. They come in graduated sizes meant to deal with any size volume of mylar you can buy, from pint up to huge 55 gallon mylar bags. They will activate with the normal air in the bag and sequester all the free oxygen into a solid compound inside the packet. Your bag will now hold only inert gasses that will deprive bugs and microorganisms of oxygen needed to reproduce, plus stop oxidation of food. They also won't stress the bag or cause pinhole problems caused by pointy food. Because the bag isn't drawn down tight they will stack better in buckets and totes and resist rub damage from taut bags pushed together.

Just fill the bag to the level that leaves enough room to seal it with a thick secure heat band, drop the appropriately sized O2A in, and seal it up. You don't even need to squeeze the excess air out of the top. Within a day they O2A will slowly draw out the oxygen and shrink the bag a tiny bit, 20% of the air that remained in the bag.
So don't even attempt to press on it even in the slightest, leave a ton of air in it and seal it?

Proof? We have a pinned thread of all our mylar packing lore: https://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=343889
I'll be reading through that thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Getting back to the o2 absorbers. Those packages I have... the 7+ year old one has a much better reading with the eye being pink, while the brand new one is almost purple. How does that make any sense? Could one or both of those testers be faulty?
 

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Getting back to the o2 absorbers. Those packages I have... the 7+ year old one has a much better reading with the eye being pink, while the brand new one is almost purple. How does that make any sense? Could one or both of those testers be faulty?
Well, you could test the old pack by putting one out in the air and seeing if it heats up like it should, but then you have opened your pack of old O2As.

You really only have leverage with your new pack that is turning purple, but only for a little while. I suggest not waiting and get them to replace it.

As for your comments about why you have your machine, that only relates to you. I'm telling you why the old lore is still in use. Inertia is driving the bad advice. YouTube is not the premier location for prepper advice. This forum is. We are the largest resource on the internet with 2 decades and hundreds of thousands of contributors who test their advice against the criticism of each other. We don't settle for the status quo. This is why I'm going through this with you, not just telling you to follow some script. Your initial resistance is just part of the natural process here that keeps SB earning its rep as the best site for the latest info.

No, you don't even need to push the excess air out. Fill the mylar to about an inch and a half from the top, settle the contents, drop the proper sized O2A in, close the bag edges and heat seal. I don't even recommend the vac sealer heat bar as they are almost always too weak and too narrow. Use a $10 hair straightening iron or clothes iron over a block of wood. Get a nice inch thick heat seal. Then set the bag to rest and watch it contract a little bit over the next day as the remaining oxygen gets catalyzed into ferric oxide inside the O2A. The amount it shrinks will depend largely on the type of food packed up. As long as it shrank even a tiny bit the job was done right. You can sometimes feel a tiny bit of heat near the top of the mylar bag as the O2A radiates its chemical reaction during the first hour.

Remember that you have convenient testing material. That old rice is perfect to train on. Use it to practice your mylar packing skills. Do up several batches until you think you have the feel for how it works. Just remember that the rice is too old to store for ages. Use it up in the year or so ahead.
 
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“Sucking air out can sometimes keep the catalyst reaction from triggering. Then you can't see that you just screwed up the job.”


Can negative pressure in a container, keep a O2 absorber from reacting with the oxygen that is left in a container?
 
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