Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How to seal a food bucket

     We have been putting whole grains in to food grade plastic buckets.  The top circumference of the buckets are the same for both the three and five gallon buckets we use in our family.  We use these buckets for both their food grade acceptability, their vermin resistance and the fact that they stack. WE trust that these containers will store our bulk grains for many years as we have all been very careful in sealing them.

     There are two methods to vacuum sealing that work well for us.  First method is using the Food Saver or Seal-a-Meal method to seal grains in vacuum tight bags then stacking these bags in buckets or other containers to protect the sealed bags from vermin.  I like this method for the things I purchase in small amounts like instant lemonade, tea, and dehydrated fruits.  Once the air is removed from the bags, the foods stand a better chance of surviving for years.  These bags are then stacked and packed in our plastic buckets and stored with the grain buckets.
Packing Your Food Using Oxygen Absorbers
Food Storage Oxygen
 Absorbers D100 (100cc) 
100 count (18-06-008)

    Whole loose grains, such as wheat, corn and rice are poured into Mylar bags that line our storage buckets.  The grain is added along with oxygen absorbers.  This method is managed by lining the bucket with the Mylar bag, adding grain then placing the oxygen absorbers on top.  Seal the bag  and close the lid.  Some Mylar bags have a zippered closure, if you have bought yours and they do not zip shut, heat seal them.  Place a scrap piece of board on the top of your bucket, lay the open end of the bag on it and iron it until it is sealed.  Iron it with an old thrift store iron, one you have had for years and not the one you use for your good shirts!
     The nitrogen method or dry ice method is more fun, takes longer and if you seal the bucket too soon can cause rupture.  Place the liner in the bucket, add dry ice at the bottom, fill with grain and place the lid on top.  Wait for the dry ice to turn completely to gas, do not pack and seal in a windy area that can blow away the gas as it rises.  Timing is everything.  This method is worth it when you consider the dry ice method eliminates most bugs or keeps any unhatched babies from surviving.  

     Once you have sealed a few buckets, you will see the wisdom and convenience of having a gamma lid seal.  

     Storing food stuffs in this method is for food stuffs that normally store long term just sitting on a shelf.  

     This method of packing does not extend the life of, or enable anyone to store food stuffs that require refrigeration.  

     All the vacuum sealing method can do for unrefrigerated cold store goods is seal in the miserable rotting, festering bacteria of what ever is melted in your vacuum bag or bucket.  Sealing some items this way can actually provide an oxygen free zone for some bacteria to grow.  If it requires refrigeration, it does NOT store long term no matter what you do to it.  

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