Packing Food for Storage

I remember the first time I opened a bag of rolled oats that I retrieved from our storage room. I grabbed the scissors not knowing what to expect once I cut the top of the bag off. I was a little skeptical this would work. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to smell the most wonderful smell of fresh rolled oats!

We have been packing bags for storage, so I thought I would share what I use - mylar and O2 absorbers! I use the 5 & 6 gallon bags and cut them to gallon and 2-3 gallon sized bags. 

To do this, I cut the bags in half or in quarters and then seal the edges using an iron. I use a ruler to make a nice straight edge. I cut one of the sealed edges and seal the long edge so that the bags are taller rather than wider (easier to fill and seal).

Once all the bags are prepared, we used rubbermaid totes to stand them up in and filled each one. Up until this point, I have always used full sized bags and 5 & 6 gallon food grade buckets or gallon bags and 2 1/2 gallon sized buckets. I pick up food grade buckets for free at our local Safeway, $1 at Walmart or $1.50 at Albertsons. But, I really needed to get some of this food packed away and did not want to tarry by bucket hunting and washing. But, to do this, just wash them in hot soapy water and rinse. I then rinse with vinegar. The 2 1/2 gallon buckets hold 3 - 1 gallon sized bags nicely.

I have food sealed this way, but the mylar is sealed and airtight already so you really just need to protect it from puncture and from critters that can chew a hole in the bag. So, while the totes may not be ideal, I found the them to be acceptable - as long as I have the food packed in food safe mylar - they can go into any container for protection.

Nathan was my super good helper for packing!

We filled the bags with various grains, beans, peas, and spices that I bought in bulk and vegetables and fruit that I dehydrated. I also like to sneak in a few goodies to find when we open them up (like lemonade drink mix, pudding mix and organic suckers).

Once opened, the O2 absorbers will be activated, so I place them in the jar to seal out the air until I can use them all.

O2 absorbers and hermetic jar.

Jordan was my helper for the sealing part (and always has been!) as it goes fast and we have to be quick to get them all sealed while conserving the action of the O2 absorbers. Thus, no pictures of this part, but I will tell you what we do. Jordan sits across from me with an aluminum level, I grab a bag, insert a few O2 absorbers (about 1 - 50cc O2 absorber per gallon). Jordan holds the level under the edge of the bag and then I iron the edge to create a seal.

If you are visual like me, there are some video tutorials that are very helpful: Bucket Packing with Wendy Mae Part 1, Part 2. Other great videos I like are Paw Production's videos: Long Term Food Storage Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Long Term Food Storage Results Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. He also has many other preparedness videos that will motivate and challenge you to be better prepared!

Seal and then label.

Oxygen absorber did it's job!

Several bay leaves are added to each container to keep bugs away!

Ready for labels and storage!

Food stored this way will last a long time! My goal has always been to store what we eat and eat what we store. Buying in bulk, storing it properly and eating from our food storage has saved us a lot of money and we feel better prepared for times ahead!