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What you need to know when using Oxygen Absorbers



What the Heck are Oxygen Absorbers?

The first thing I learned was that oxygen absorbers are smallish little packets that hold an iron powder. Through the magic of technology, or so it seems to me, the outer wrapper lets oxygen and moisture in where it is absorbed by the iron powder. It does so while maintaining the integrity of the outer wrapper while at the same time preventing leakage of the powder back into the packaged food.

In the process of sucking up moisture, the iron in the O2 absorber begins to rust. This creates oxidation and before you know it, in a well-sealed container, 99.99% of the oxygen is used up.

The Proper Way to Use Oxygen Absorbers

There are a few precautions you need to be aware of when using oxygen absorbers.

The most important precaution is to limit the exposure of unused packets to air. Take out only what you are going to use in the next 15 minutes or so and seal the rest up in a jar with a screw top lid. Don’t put them in a zip lock bag because they will immediately suck up the residual oxygen and become useless.

Be mindful of the little pink pill. Our oxygen absorbers will always include a little pink pill as an indication of their freshness.

If the pill is blue, the absorbers are toast so don’t use them. However, if they are just starting to turn – not quite pink and not quite blue – they are probably okay since the change of colour can happen in as little as 10 or 15 minutes.

Another good test of their freshness is to pick one up an hold it. It may feel warm. It will also feel soft and powdery, like a little pillow. If it gets real hot and uncomfortable, it is in full out working mode and has probably been exposed to the air for too long to be usable. In this case it may also start to feel hard and brick like. Toss it.

Oxygen absorbers themselves have a limited shelf life, even when sealed. Only purchase an amount that you will use within a year.

4 Additional Tips for Using Oxygen Absorbers

1. If you decide to do some research on your own, prepare to be confused. You will find that some sources recommend you should use a larger quantity of oxygen absorbers when packaging dried pasta and beans versus packaging grains, flours, and rice. The reason for this is that the latter are more dense so there is less oxygen to get rid of.

2. Almost anything can be packaged using oxygen absorbers and they are so inexpensive, there is no reason not to use them. There are two things, however, that should be packaged without them. They are sugar and salt. Why? Sugar will turn to a brick of concrete and the salt simply does not need anything special to keep it preserved. It might also clump.

3. A bag sealed with product plus an oxygen absorber may or may not turn brick like in a day or two or even up to a week. The ability to fully compress is dependent upon factors such as head room and the amount of air that was sucked out during the sealing process. If you have used an oxygen absorber sufficient for the size of your packaging, the oxygen will be gone. The extra air is simply nitrogen and it will not harm your food. Of course, if it makes you feel better, you could open the package and start all over again but that is not really necessary for anything but your peace of mind.

4. Do not confuse oxygen absorbers with desiccants. The oxygen absorber removes oxygen and the desiccant removes moisture.

The Final Word

There is no reason that oxygen absorbers should be a big mystery. The reality is that they are super easy to use and are inexpensive to buy. Using them will guarantee that your bulk foods will stay fresh for longer as well have an improved taste, flavour and appearance.

For more information on our o-busters please contact Leigh on +84 835 7182 or alternatively you can email her on leigh@kubepac.com

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