How To Use Oxygen Absorbers For Storing Food

How To Use Oxygen Absorbers For Storing Food

Oxygen absorbers are one of the most useful tools for a prepper when it comes to food storage, as it helps increase the lifespan of a huge variety of foods, from convenient essentials to tasty treats.

You may have already considered alternative approaches to preparing for a disaster, like frozen foods, freeze-dried foods or MREs packets – but oxygen absorbers for storing food long-term are even more convenient than these.

The Science

One of the leading causes of food going off is exposure to oxygen – we’ve all seen those bags of salad that have expanded because oxygen got in, causing the leaves to start to brown. However, oxygen absorbers prevent this.

They contain small amounts of iron powder that preserves iron in the enclosed food – and this absorbs oxygen and moisture, removing it from the produce itself.

As the iron takes in the oxygen, it begins to rust. This is formally known as oxidisation, which as expected, requires oxygen to complete the reaction. It attains this by taking it from the environment around it, and away from the food in the packet, preventing it from going off so quickly.

Unlike silica gel, which you’ve probably seen more frequently in boxes of new shoes, oxygen absorbers take in the oxygen, but not moisture or air, whereas silica gel does take in moisture. If you’re looking to sustain a certain level of humidity, we recommend using oxygen absorbers for storing food of different varieties. 

Step-By-Step Guide

assortment of oxygen absorbers food storage

Oxygen absorbers are simple, effective, and can be used properly in a few simple steps – they’re also readily available from lots of online retailers in a variety of sizes. Find the containers you need, and the food you’re looking to keep in it.

Some sellers even provide the mylar packaging and oxygen absorbers together specially for UK preppers. 

Make sure it’s all fresh, as you don’t want things like weevils (common within flour in the UK) to contaminate the portion.

Place the oxygen absorbers in the container you want to use, then insert the food. Always ensure you are keeping dry food only to preserve, don’t try and preserve anything wet or even slightly moist, as you’ll likely bring botulism into the equation which no hungry prepper wants.

As a prepper, you know the advantages of staying as far ahead of a SHTF disaster as possible. Keep any absorbers you aren’t using in an airtight jar, so as not to waste their ability.

You don’t know how long you’ll need them for, and they don’t last forever – their average lifespan ranges from six months to a year. As you know, however, time is of the essence.

It’s also important to place them in your chosen container in advance of their use – they take, on average, around four hours to remove the oxygen from your average container, like a mason jar.

Choosing Your Containers

All you need to do is find the right food – find out more below – and the right container, then you’re away. Here’s a few ideas to get you started. Oxygen absorbers can be applied to any container that fits them – and due to their conveniently small size, this is essentially everything.

Foil Pouches

These are a good idea, as these can be folded down to allow more space – just be careful they don’t split, otherwise it was a wasted effort, and you’ll be set back however many meals were in the packet.

You can usually pick up a bulk buy of mylar bags online in a range of sizes which will suffice for many different types of food stuffs.

Mason Jars

One of the most useful pieces of kitchen equipment for a prepper when it comes to food storage, mason jars they excellent for creating a tight seal.

They’re also available in a variety of sizes, can’t be penetrated by any animals looking for something to eat, and can be stored conveniently on shelves or in boxes. 

They do, however, allow light in – so keep them in the dark to ensure your food isn’t spoiled by solar rays. These are best for foods like grains, rice, and other ingredients that fit the shape of their container.

Once you’ve made your decision, simply insert the oxygen absorber and you’re good to go. Avoiding a food disaster is really that simple.

What Foods To Use With Oxygen Absorbers

Like every issue that faces the UK’s preppers, it’s essential you don’t make any simple mistakes with oxygen absorbers for storing food. 

That’s why we recommend using them for staple foods only. Products like beans, white rice and oats are always safe bets – these are versatile as they can be added to most dishes, but they can also be used on their own, or in the simplest of recipes.

You can also preserve the life of items such as cornmeal, lentils, lima beans, white sugar, and wheat with oxygen absorbers.

Of course, each one requires a different amount of oxygen absorbers to preserve their freshness. Generally, you need to be using around 400cc of oxygen absorbers per gallon of food, which is about 5lbs.

Click here for a more accurate chart of how many cc of oxygen absorber you will need per lb of food. 

While many foods can be safely used with oxygen absorbers there are a handful which should not be. These include brown rice, milled grains, granola and nuts.



Clearly, oxygen absorbers are a great addition to any prepper’s cache. They take up very little room, have a long lifespan, and require minimal preparation to reap the benefits of this technology.

They’re also inexpensive and you can buy cheap oxygen absorbers online, however, the additional equipment like mason jars can be heavy, not hold a lot of food and take up precious space.

Consider your situation before making a purchase, but remember, they also preserve animal food and medicine, so their benefits extend beyond just protecting your next meal.

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