Instructables

Storing Bulk Dry Foods in PETE Bottles using Oxygen Absorbers

Picture of Storing Bulk Dry Foods in PETE Bottles using Oxygen Absorbers

PETE plastic bottles are good containers that can be used for storage of shelf-stable, bulk dry foods that you normally keep in canisters in your pantry. Normal kitchen canisters do not have air tight seals. As a result, with changes in atmospheric pressure, air and moisture are pumped in and out of the products causing them to become stale more quickly.

Because of their oxygen/moisture barrier qualities, PETE bottles can be used as canisters to better maintain the freshness of stored dry foods. If you want to store these items for a longer time period, the use of oxygen absorbers in the PETE bottles will protect against insect infestation and help preserve quality longer.

In order to kill insects in adult, larva, and egg stages of growth, it is necessary to pull the oxygen content down to below 1% and hold it there for at least two weeks. Most types of plastic bottles are too porous, and leak too much oxygen in, but PETE bottles work well. Soda bottles and most shelf-stable juice bottles are made of PETE. Look at the recycle emblem on the bottom. It should have a #1 in the emblem and the letters PETE or PET below.

 
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Step 1: Choose which types of bulk dry products you want to store

Picture of Choose which types of bulk dry products you want to store
Decide on the types of products that you are going to store in PETE bottles using oxygen absorbers. These bulk items need to be dry, about 10% moisture or less and low in oil content.
Examples of suitable products are:

Grains : Oats, White Rice, Wheat, and Corn
Milled Grain Products : White Flour, Degermed Corn Meal, and Rice Flour.
Legumes : Beans, Split Peas, and Lentils
Nonfat Dry Milk: Regular and Instant
Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables : Apples, Carrots, Onions, and Potatoes (Must be dry enough, both inside and out to snap when bent)
(Note: Bulk dry food suppliers should be able to tell you the moisture content of their products)

Examples of products that are not suitable in this type of storage are items that have high or exposed oil content, high moisture or contain leavening. Most of these foods are kept in their original containers and rotated frequently Storage time can be increased by storing them in freezer bags, in the freezer:

Oily or Moist Grains and Milled Grain Products : Brown Rice, Whole Grain Flours and Cereals, Granola etc.
Nuts
Brown Sugar
Products containing leavening : Cake/pancake mixes, Biscuit mixes, etc. In the grocery stores these products are package in breathable packages that allow the gas produced by the leavenings to escape.
Home Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables This is "reduced oxygen packaging". If moist foods, such as inadequately dried vegetables are stored this way, it could result in a botulism poisoning risk. If you have any question about the storability of a given product, contact your local County Agriculture Extension Service office.
ericbosloor1 month ago

Well that wasn't something that I would have thought I'd ever have to read about. How to maintain grain storage at home so insects don't grow and eat up all your food - YUCK!

jfox162 years ago
Just a tip

Light destroys food longevity as much as oxygen so this should be just as much as a priority.

You could use old black socks for thinner bottles, cover bottles with
brown paper bags, or old fabric with some rubber bands .


Milled grains are technically already rancid by the time they are purchased.
They are bad only 2-4 weeks after the milling process this is why so many bread-makers mill there own grains. It is a major health concern and not just for taste.
You do not get sick immediately from rancid grains in fact you probably will never notice unless your a seasoned chef or baker but it weakens your immune system and digestive system over time.

Always store your grains whole they will keep much longer.
"These bulk items need to be dry, about 10% moisture or less"

the reason for this, is because Botulism poisoning may result if moist products are stored in packaging that reduces oxygen.

My question is how could someone with no special equipment find out if for example the grains stored in a bottle with oxygen absorbers is not over 10%?

Can anyone help??
grandpajoe (author)  oxygenabsorber3 years ago
Oxygenabsorber,

The intent of this Instructable is to clarify, not to confuse. The examples given above in step 1 are pretty easy to follow. If you are storing grain, the following "rule of thumb" might help: Put a kernal of grain on a white piece of paper, on concrete. Hit it with a hammer. If it shatters, it is probably dry enough to store. If it does not shatter, but rather smashes flat, it is definately too moist. If the impact of the grain leaves an oily spot on the paper, it is too high in oil content.

The following link is listed on the 2nd to last page. It is a list developed by BYU to help answer this type of question: http://providentliving.org/pfw/multimedia/files/pfw/pdf/113951_DryProductsLongerTermStorage_Jun_08_pdf.pdf

The last note given in step 1 is: If you have any question about the storability of a given product, contact your local County Agriculture Extension Service office.

Thanks for your question,
Grandpajoe

mahfuz613 years ago
Oxygen absorbersOxygen is essential for humans. Oxygen is an active element which changes all. By remove oxygen from the atmosphere of the enclose, there force be no oxidation. It is quite effortless, if there is no Oxygen, there will be no oxidation or no kind augmentation.
vkirchner4 years ago
I saw similar concepts on a few forums, they also suggested adding a light layer of adhesive inside the cap to aid in the sealing of the reused container. What are your thoughts on this concept? Also suggested was adding electrical tape or duct tape around the cap and bottle, not to aid in the sealing but more so people will know that it is sealed and to not open the cap.
grandpajoe (author) 4 years ago
I obtained mine locally, but they are available from ldscatalog.com.
CaptSyn4 years ago
Excellent article. I've been doing this for some time myself, but without the oxygen absorber packets.

Where did you get yours?
Silver_Kate4 years ago
You could also (to kill insects and larve) by freezeing  the filled jars overnight.   Also if you use pet or any clear jar (plastic or glass) you should store it in the dark.  Labeling the food and keeping it in rotation will keep you food the freshest.

Though this will be controversial if you do get weevils in the beans or grains you can still use the food as long as it is fully cooked by ethere sifting out the bugs or just cooking the food till the bean or grain is cooked. (boiled or baked is the best way.)

baudeagle5 years ago
Could you introduce carbon dioxide into the bottle and displace all of the oxygen instead? This would eliminate the purchasing of the oxygen absorbing packets. An easy way to do this would be to make an use a small soda bottle with a flexible hose on the end of it. Place the flexible hose into the bottom of the jar with the product. Then place some baking soda (NOT BAKING POWDER!) and vinegar in the soda bottle and close the cap with the hose attached. The baking soda and the vinegar will react expelling carbon dioxide. The gas coming off will be forced down in to the bottom of the storage container displacing the oxygen in the process. Since carbon dioxide is generally heavier than air, all you would need to do is to pull the tube out and tighten the storage cap back on the storage container. Viola, oxygen free storage without the oxygen absorbing packets.
One problem here is that vinegar tends to create fumes which may foul your food.
grandpajoe (author) 5 years ago
Carbon dioxide can be an effective gas for treatment to insects in the adult and lava stages. The BYU research information referenced in step 6 has a number of studies that provide good data in its effectiveness in various products. Carbon dioxide is a fumigant, and does not depend solely on the absence of oxygen to kill the live insects. I do not know how much moisture would be introduced by the gas generation method you are suggesting. This could be a particular concern with powdered products.