Q1. What is an oxygen absorber?
Oxygen absorber prevents the deterioration of food and oxidation of fat or food by removing the oxygen in the product container. It is used for quality control and preservation of products because it can extend the shelf life of products and preserve the taste and flavor of products and maintain freshness by preventing oxidation and discoloration of products.
Q2. Which containers do you recommend for long-term food storage?
We recommend using Mylar bags (5.4 ml or thicker) or canning jars as these are impermeable to air.
Q3. How are oxygen absorbers rated?
Oxygen absorbers are rated in “cc’s” (cubic centimeters). The size corresponds to the amount of oxygen absorbed by an oxygen absorber. For example, a 100 cc oxygen absorber will absorb 100 cc of oxygen.
Q4. How much oxygen absorbers do I use?
Volume of container - Oxygen absorber size
½ pint - 50 cc
1 pint - 100 cc
1 quart - 300 cc
1 gallon - 500 cc
5 gallon - 2500 cc
To keep it simple, this recommendation can be applied to any food type. The container should be filled with food. We always recommend placing more packets than recommended because food can have more residual volume of air than you think. There is no danger in adding too many as this does not affect the food.
Q5. Which food can I use with oxygen absorbers?
Below are some examples of food that you can store using oxygen absorbers.
Beef jerky and other dried meats
The products that you want to store for long-term should be low in moisture and oil content. High oil content has a shorter shelf life.
Q6. How do I use oxygen Absorbers?
1. Gather all supplies needed: food, oxygen absorbers, and containers (Mason jars or Mylar bags)
2. Fill the container with dry food and place oxygen absorbers on top.
3. Remove as much air as possible and seal the container.
4. Store unused oxygen absorbers in a small Mason jar or vacuum seal them in a Mylar bag immediately.
Q7. How do I store unused oxygen absorbers?
In general, you have 2-4 hours until oxygen absorbers become fully saturated. However, our recommendation is that you use them or store them within 15- 30 minutes after opening. As you know these are oxygen absorbers and 21% of air is oxygen. Therefore, before opening the vacuum seal, you need to be prepared to use them to store your food and seal them quickly. Also you need to store unused oxygen absorbers in a mason jar or vacuum sealed bag. Because it's a vacuum seal package, once it's opened, it is not resealable. You need to have a vacuum sealer to vacuum seal unused oxygen absorbers. It is important to have as little air in contact with them as possible. Please use a small jar to best fit unused oxygen absorbers.
Q8. Why are unopened oxygen absorbers hard as a rock when I receive them?
Due to the vacuum seal, the bag is hard as a rock with all oxygen absorbers clumped together. This is how the bag should feel. If it's not hard as a rock, it means there's been a compromise in the vacuum seal. When you open the vacuum seal, the individual small packets will separate and the packets will feel crunchy and sandy.
Q9. Why are oxygen absorbers warm?
When the oxygen absorbers absorb and react with oxygen they become warm. This indicates that the oxygen absorbers are fresh and they are working very well to absorb oxygen.
Many customers look for the warmth of oxygen absorbers as it indicates that their oxygen absorbers are working.
If you expose oxygen absorbers to open air, they may become hot. However, if the oxygen absorbers are inside your stored food with small amount of air, they won't become too hot.
Q10. Are oxygen absorbers not working if you don’t see the vacuum effect?
If the oxygen absorbers are not hard, they are in good condition and working.
All the following factors may contribute for you to not see the shrinkage of the bag:
- how much void space is between stored food
- how much headspace is at the top of the bag
- whether there's a hole in the bag
- whether the seal is good
- if sufficient size of O2 absorbers is used
You may often see the vacuum effect, but if you don't that does not mean the oxygen absorber didn't work. As you know, only 21% of air is oxygen. Oxygen absorbers only absorb oxygen in the air which is 21% of air. That means roughly 1/5 of the air volume will be removed, but 4/5 of the air remains no matter how many oxygen absorbers are used. Most of the air is nitrogen, so even oxygen absorbers have absorbed oxygen, you may not see a big reduction in the size of the bag. Just because you don't see the shrinking of the bag does not mean the oxygen absorbers are not working.
After the mylar bag has been sealed shut, it may take a couple of days or even a week to see a slight vacuum seal inside a bag. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get rid of as much air as possible when you seal the mylar bag. Also, how tightly the food is packed can affect the time you see the reduction of residual air. For example, when storing beans, it will take less time as there is much room in between the individual granules versus flour/milk powder which is highly dense. If you don’t see a slight reduction in the residual air, it does not mean it’s not working as long as you have sealed your mylar bag well. However, if you are in doubt, you can do it again. Just create a little slit in the bag and add a new oxygen absorber and heat seal that part. You don’t have to remove the previous oxygen absorber.
Q11. When do I use silica gel packets and when do I use oxygen absorbers?
Silica gel packets need to be used with an air-tight sealed container, but they do not need to be vacuum sealed. Also, you can open the jars or containers that you have stored your food in with silica gel packets. They are moisture absorbers. If you have rice, beans, cereal, chips, herbs, spices, or any dry food in your pantry that you use periodically and want to keep them dry, silica gel packets will be your choice. Also, silica gel packets are reusable. Meaning, when they are saturated with moisture, you can easily dry them out in a microwave or oven.
If you want to store away food for a long time (more than a year) and you won't open them at all, oxygen absorbers are your choice. Also, you will need to use thick mylar bags or mason jar to store your food. Oxygen absorbers are not reusable. As 21% of air is oxygen, it's not good to open your bag of food with oxygen absorbers as oxygen will be reintroduced to your stored food.
You may read on the internet that states not to use oxygen absorbers and silica gel packets together.
There are certain types of oxygen absorbers that require moisture to activate them. With that type, it's not recommended to use silica gel packets as they will absorb moisture and your oxygen absorbers won't work.
However, all of our oxygen absorbers that we sell on our website are self reactive types that do not require moisture. You can use both our food safe silica gel packets and our oxygen absorbers together for your long-term food storage. This way, you are protecting your food from moisture and oxygen. There are many commercial snack companies using both silica gel and oxygen absorbers together.