Let’s face it, any person can throw some food in a can and claim it’s going to hold up multiple decades, but the pros at The Ready Store know there’s much more to it than that. For that reason we wanted to create an in-depth series on how to make a food storage product not only be edible after several decades but still maintain its nutrition and great taste.
The first aspect we wanted to cover is the little ol’ oxygen absorber or as some call it an 02 scavenger. These packets are dropped into #10 cans (ValueBuckets too) along with the food during the canning process. The packet then goes to work absorbing the free oxygen found in the surrounding air. It works by chemically binding the oxygen by oxidizing finely divided iron into iron oxide. The reaction’s net result is the removal of oxygen creating an atmosphere free from rancidity, fungi or aerobic bacteria. What it all means to you is great shelf life and quality of the food, but some ask…
Why does The Ready Store use 02 absorbers and not use a nitrogen flush process instead?
Simply, we have found that nitrogen flushing does not do as well of a job as an 02 absorber. The peak performance and consistency lacked when comparing the two methods. For the Saratoga Farms line we are not ok with a good or acceptable process when there is a superior alternative. Check out the results from a comparison study of a leading 02 absorber brand versus gas flushing.
So now you have the best means of getting rid of oxygen, you are done right?
Nope, not so fast. Next, you must choose the right size absorber for the amount of food being stored. Using too small of a packet will not get the oxygen level down to a sufficient level. Including more than needed is perfectly a-ok, as a matter of fact we err on the side of caution and do this with all food storage products.
There are certain use and care instructions that need to be employed to assure that the absorbers work as intended. We have heard from canning pros who have worked as consultants at competing food storage companies where they witnessed employees leaving 02 absorbers out in the open for long periods of time. Here is one of the scenarios, it’s the end of the shift and the bell rings. Employees scatter leaving absorbers sitting in the bottom of empty cans that are waiting to be filled with food in the production line. The absorber slowly dies like a fish out of water.
At The Ready Store we keep the absorbers sealed until they are to be dropped in with the food. From the time they are deposited to the time the can seaming process has been run fewer than 5 minutes have elapsed. Will an 02 absorber work just fine if left out for a couple hours? Yes. Overnight? No, but when shelf life is at play, being safe and not sorry is the best way to go. Doing our best and striving to be the best is a part of who we are and strive for everyday and I think you will see it shows in everything we do.
Over the course of the next few weeks we will be going into detail on important topics related to shelf-life. Next week we will be cutting cross sections of our can seams then taking macro level photos of the seal. From there we will compare those shots alongside photos from a major university’s can seam study where they inspected various seam quality differences (and their implications) so you can see for yourself how good of a seam ours is in comparison to others out there. At a future date we will talk about the cans themselves and go into what makes a good can, there we will explain what a double enameled can is and why you should settle for nothing less. From there we will move onto other important factors related to making food storage products last so in the end you can feel 100% confident in what you get from The Ready Store to help prepare for your families future.