By October 1, 2012 Read More →

Dry Canning the Easy Way

All photos by Stephanie Dayle ©2013

The easiest, cheapest and fastest way to dry can food is to use oxygen absorbers.  This technique is nearly fool-proof, and requires no electricity, fancy equipment, and it does not expose your dry food to heat.  The true beauty to this technique is that you can break the seal on a jar, use some of the contents, close it up with the absorber still inside…..and it magically reseals itself!  SO it works not only for long-term storage but short-term as well!

First you are going to start with some dry food you’d like to put up to store.  TIP: This technique works best on food that you would store in smaller amounts, and food that doesn’t store well in mylar bags (like spinach, that, when dried, would be crushed into dust if you were to use a mylar bag and oxygen absorbers) otherwise, for example, if you are wanting to store a large amount of flour you may want to look into using a large capacity mylar bag then storing it in a 5 gallon bucket.  You will also need some canning jars.  I use dry canning as an opportunity to use up some of the “no name” canning jars I acquire from yard sale purchases.  You will also want to gather up an equal number of lids, and rings.

Where do I find Oxygen Absorbers and Mylar Bags?

All photos by Stephanie Dayle ©2013

You can find oxygen absorbers (by clicking here) online and at some grocery stores now – I know that the WinCo stores in my area all carry them, for a great price too.  You can also find many places that sell mylar bags online – (click here).   If you are not the order online type, and you can’t find them at your local store – there is always these (pictured to the right) air activated hand warmers, which you can find just about anywhere.  They are also oxygen absorbers.  They use the same process of an exothermic oxidation of iron to generate heat (oxygen being adsorbed, making the iron rust in a very small, controlled and contained reaction)  only in a bigger packet and yes, its food safe.  In the 90s when hand warmers became popular, tests were run that showed they were not as effective as official “oxygen absorbers” meant for food because they were designed to operate in a higher oxygen environment, this is why they came out with a different product “foot warmers” that would work better in a lower oxygen environment.  Since that time however, the “hand warmer’ formulas have been updated to accommodate our habit of putting them in our pockets and gloves – making them more efficient in lower oxygen environments.  In other words – the ones they make today should work fine for storing food.

 Next….

All photos by Stephanie Dayle ©2013

Now that you have the supplies you need to make sure that your jars are clean, just like in regular canning, by washing them.  Then dry them completely, you don’t want moisture in with your dried food.  If you are suspicious of the cleanliness of your lids and rings you can also wash and dry them.

All photos by Stephanie Dayle ©2013

Set all of your jars out at once and fill them with their contents.  I am storing some ground mustard, cream of tartar, dried chili peppers, dried spinach, and some other things for the purpose of this article.  I fill my jars leaving a little head space in each jar.  When you open your bag of oxygen absorbers, you’ll want to get them in the jars as quickly as possible by placing one in each canning jar then quickly topping with a lid and using a ring to tighten the lid down, in general I say finger tip tight – but you want it fairly snug.  The absorbers I am using are 300 cc in size so they will work just fine for canning jars.  Using a bigger absorber, like a 500 cc, will mean it will last longer if you are opening and resealing the jars frequently.

All photos by Stephanie Dayle ©2013

If you have absorbers leftover and can’t reseal your absorbers with a FoodSaver bag, then when you are done, quickly put them all in a small pint jar, then add a lid and ring to it so that they seal the jar and deactivate themselves.  That way they will be good for you to use on other food at some future date.  Next, you will leave your jars alone, and go do something else for a few hours.  Wait for the jars to seal themselves, which they will, but never when you are watching!  Do not play with them or push the lid down with your finger – it’s important to know if you have a good seal or not, so wait overnight to check them.  This is the general rule of thumb for ALL methods of canning – don’t mess with the jars for a day.

All photos by Stephanie Dayle ©2013

The next day, check your jars – all should have sealed.  If a few did not, check the rims of the jars for chips, and lids for debris, remove the spent O2 absorber and add a new one, clean the rim of the jar, add a new lid and repeat the above process.  Check your sealed jars.  You should not be able to use your finger tips to remove the lids.  Then remove the rings for storage – because if you don’t, over time they will rust on to the lids, which will only make you mad when you go to open them, besides who wants to buy new rings all the time?

Voila!  You have just dry canned your food for short-term or long-term storage without any expensive equipment or electricity!  As you can see from the close up picture, the O2 absorbers have in fact created a vacuum and sealed the jar.  When the O2 absorber has absorbed the oxygen in the jar it will deactivate.  Then, when you open the jar to get some food out, oxygen gets let back in and it will re-activate the absorber so when you put the lid and a ring back on, it will automatically re-seal itself.  Neat huh?  You can repeat this process until the jar no longer seals, then simply replace the spent absorber with a new one.

A word on using the FoodSaver attachments for dry canning.

All photos by Stephanie Dayle ©2013

You can use the attachment on your FoodSaver to seal mason jar lids, but even if you have one with a powerful vacuum you are not reducing the oxygen level within the jar as much as an oxygen absorber would.  You are reducing the amount of air inside of the mason jar and creating a seal, but the remaining air will still contain a substantial percentage of oxygen.  This is why FoodSaver does NOT recommend using their mason jar accessories for canning purposes.

According to Food Industry Standards (when used as directed) Oxygen Absorber Packets remove oxygen from airtight containers to around 0.01%.  The ‘safe’ range you are shooting for is .02% – .01% because studies have shown that mold can grow in anything above those levels.  A FoodSaver mason jar accessory is just not going to do that for you, when you are watching the lights on the front of your FoodSaver machine it is *not* indicating how much oxygen it is removing, it’s a vacuum meter only indicating how much of a vacuum it is creating.  I like using my FoodSaver attachment in conjunction with O2 absorbers, as the FoodSaver will get most of the job done, and what is left the O2 absorber will take care of, giving me one more time I can open it and then reseal it later on.

Those FoodSaver attachments are still very handy, they have one for regular mouth jars (click here to see) and wide mouth jars (click here to see).  I use them to prolong the life of milk, tallow that I render, spices, nuts, and many other things that I don’t put in long-term storage but I will consume in time.  Saving food in this manner has saved me enough money that our FoodSaver has paid for itself and then some.  It is still a very worthwhile product.

A word on Oven Canning.

I have seen this brought up a few times lately in the online prepping community and whenever it is people just flock to it.  So I want to take a minute to explain a few things about oven canning.

When you hear the experts say “oven canning is unsafe” they are right – it’s not.  Things that can prove this are exploding glass in one’s oven, canning jars are not designed to hold up to prolonged exposures to dry heat.  It can also be dangerous because the temperature will vary according to the accuracy of your oven regulators and the circulation of heat.  ‘Dry heat’ is very slow in penetrating into jars of food.  If you are dry canning in place of regular canning, and the food doesn’t get up to temperature, any bacteria in the jar may be allowed to flourish undisturbed until it is opened  making whoever eats it very, very ill – something no one will want to deal with in an emergency situation.  There is no way to know if the food in the center of the jar is up to temperature without breaking the seal to check, so there is the risk.

People say, “Well oven canning should be perfectly safe for dry goods.”  Sure, aside from the whole exploding jar risk; getting food and glass all over your hot oven (although that can happen during regular canning, but it at least it is contained in your canner instead all over a hot oven).  Keep in mind, you are exposing your dried goods to lots of HEAT which we all try to avoid.  Heat will liquefy oils accelerate the process at which they go rancid making this a particularly poor method for storing nuts.  The heat will make your nuts go rancid faster than if they were never oven canned at all, completely defeating your efforts.  Using an oxygen absorber really is the best approach.

Finished Jars
All photos by Stephanie Dayle ©2013

The ONLY way to know for *sure* that your wet food is safe is to to use a pressure canner as recommended and follow recommended recipes.  With a pressure canner, the contents in the jars are under a certain amount of pressure, for a certain amount of time are reaching a certain temperature.  This has been scientifically studied and is known for certain.  If done correctly, the food in your jars will reach that magic temperature of 240 degrees which kills the botulism spores, making your food safe to store and eat every time.  Follow these time proven methods of canning and make life-saving food in that jar.  Otherwise, it could become food poisoning.

 

Click here to visit my blog, The Home Front!



About the Author:

I am writer for the American Preppers Network, a small local paper and for my blog, The Home Front. I write articles based on my own experience about emergency preparedness, self-sufficiency, homesteading, food preservation and life around the farmstead. I grew up in a very rural area where I learned to garden, the art of canning, to hunt and fish, and to raise my own animals for food. Yes, families such as mine still do exist! I also spent 6 years volunteering for the local county Search and Rescue group where I learned a variety of survival skills and a little bit about law enforcement protocol. As a general principle do not write articles about information that I have only read - if I am writing about something it's because of I have done it myself and gone to great lengths to provide you with the facts. I also have a full time job with an hour commute - my alter egos are as a Marketing Director, and an amateur photographer. To connect with me --> click on one of the many little square social media buttons below!

52 Comments on "Dry Canning the Easy Way"

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  1. Holly says:

    Thanks for the great article!  I love using this method.  I particularly like making pre-mixed dinners in jars using Freeze dried and dehydrated ingredients, spices, etc.  I’ve also heard of folks using 2 liter Soda bottles to store dry ingredients in and then putting in an oxygen absorber.  Have you tried this and does it keep the vacuuem for an extended period of time?  Thanks again!

    • Holly, plastic is permeable – so while a 2 liter pop bottle will work in the short term, over time it will leak air. The absorber will help take care of that, but eventually it will exhaust itself. Your best bet for long term storage is Mylar Bags or Mason Jars. Thanks for the comment!

  2. So I have a question.  This method is good for storing small amounts of food for long periods.  So does it lengthen shelf life.  Like say I want to do some smaller amounts of rice or beans.  The packaging from the store has an exp of 4-13 or something.  Does dry canning these products make its shelf life longer.  I am still trying to figure all this stuff out to get my stash started

    • That is a very good question Pamela – I am going to respond to everyone (below) so that my response is visible to anyone who glances at the comments as their are others who may be wondering the same thing. 

  3. I am not aware of any kits specifically for this, but you only need some jars which you can get at a grocery store or Walmart and some Oxygen Absorbers, which can be found by clicking on the links above. If you buy your jars new, they will come with rings and lids. 

    • Vinicius says:

      I enjoyed redanig. I too prefer prepper . There are a lot of negativity that goes along with survivalists . You didn’t mention protection. Once again I’m not a gun toten’ wack job but have decided that all the prepping in the world doesn’t do any good if someone takes it from me. I have narrowed my prepping down to five basic concepts and would like to share them in order of my priority: 1) water, 2)shelter, 3)food, 4)protection and finally 5)communications. I didn’t include first aid but do have a large supply first aid gear and medications. I try to stock up on all five catagories equally. The protection catagory does require a significant investment on the front end due to the cost of a firearm if you go that route. Thanks again for the thoughts.

    • Sorry about that – I tried to reply directly to you comment but some how submitted it to everyone. I am not aware of any kits specifically for this, but you only need some jars which you can get at a grocery store or Walmart and some Oxygen Absorbers, which can be found by clicking on the links above. If you buy your jars new, they will come with rings and lids. 

  4. What a great idea. I feel kinda dumb for not thinking of it myself. I always put my dried fruits in jars and store them in the freezer to make sure they can’t grow mold. This is a MUCH better solution.

  5. joe says:

    Stephanie, Can this method work for beef jerky or dried apples? A better question…What can’t you use in this method? Great article. Thanks, Joe.

    • Yes absolutely – if your beef jerky is done in such a way that allows for long term storage (with no or low heat). I did an article on that a while back too, copy and paste this following address into your brower:     http://americanpreppersnetwork.com/2012/06/sharing-some-tricks-on-jerky.html      This works BEAUTIFULLY on dried apples which tend to be crushed and broken into pieces if sealed in Mylar or FoodSaver bags. It is my most favorite way of storing dried apples. The only things that don’t work well with this method are wet ingredients which, of course, need to be canned in the traditional manner. Thanks for the comment Joe!  

  6. “So I have a question.  This method is good for storing small amounts of food for long periods.  So does it lengthen shelf life.  Like say I want to do some smaller amounts of rice or beans.  The packaging from the store has an exp of 4-13 or something.  Does dry canning these products make its shelf life longer.  I am still trying to figure all this stuff out to get my stash started”            
           Despite what the box says most regular white rice will last you a good 20 years if properly stored. The FDA & USDA require expiration dates, or best by dates mainly to protect food manufactures and themselves from lawsuits. Not so much from food poisoning (while in some cases, like with dairy products or meat, that may be part of it) but from truth in advertising and labeling. If the product says on the label that it has 100% of your daily vitamin D, it does – but it won’t if you store it in a plain old box in your cabinet forever. Eventually those nutritional values will break down, but even then the food may still be perfectly safe to eat. If you consume the product in that amount of time everything will still hold true and the product will be at its peak. Sadly those dates are also on there to keep us in the habit of tossing food in the trash and buying more.
             Now, if you eliminate the enemies of food (light, heat, and oxygen) you can prolong not only the life of the food but those nutritional values as well.  So to answer your question YES this method absolutely does prolong the shelf life of nearly all dried foods. Using this method and storing your jars or mylar bags some where dark and temperature controlled you could store your white rice and beans for up to 20 years. I keep saying white rice because brown rice doesn’t store as long. 

  7. Chris says:

    I have a Food Saver. Can I use the food saver bags with a oxygen absorber and put it in my food bucket with the same results? I dont want to buy mylar bags or jars if I dont have to. I have several big rolls of Food Saver material that I would like to use first.

    • Hi Chris

      Sorry for the delay. Yes – you can do that to use your bags up, use your FoodSaver seal the bag shut with the O2 absorbers inside. But you’ll need to check them every now and then to make sure they haven’t lost their seal. I have found using FoodSaver bags on hard or sharp things (like dehydrated apples) is useless as the apples will punch holes through the plastic the more the oxygen absorbers work and break the seal. But they work great on other things. Many people will use FoodSaver bags THEN put those inside a Mylar bag for ultimate protect against light and vermin. 

      But there are a ton of other good uses for those bags – if you don’t want to go that route but still want to use the bags. I am constantly using my FoodSaver, I use it to seal meat in before it goes in the freezer – nothing prevents freezer burn better, this goes for fruit and veggies too. I also use it to seal cheese in before it goes in the freezer. If I want to marinate something in half the time I will seal it up in a food saver bag and throw it in fridge, ALSO you can seal up your Bug Out Bag clothes in FoodSaver bags. This saves space and water proofs them. I find enough everyday uses for FoodSaver bags that I just keep them in stock all the time. 

  8. Tammy says:

    I am wondering if you have tried this method for dry pet food? I have 2 cats and have family with dogs and want to store pet food long term. I just don’t know if this is enough or should I put the bags with o2 absorbers in the deep freeze for added shelf life. Any thoughts? Thank you.

    • Hi Tammy, and thanks for the question – dry commercial pet food is a challenge. Since I work near a Purina Mill here in town (and buy feed from them) I have spoken at length to their representative and a few of their employees about this matter and researched it as well. Most people don’t like my answer but it is what I have concluded. All most all commercial dog food contains added moisture and added ‘oil’ & ‘fat’ that will go rancid with time. Because of this you can’t even dehydrate it – you can let it sit in a dehydrator all day for a week and it won’t reach the level of dryness that is appropriate for long term storage with mylar and oxygen absorbers because of the fat & oil.  Storing dry dog food in Mylar with O2 absorbers in a nice cool dark dry spot may prolong its shelf life some – but in time the oils will still go rancid, and preferably you don’t want to store food items that way and contain moisture.

      If you look on your dog/cat food bag there will be an expiration date. These dates are usually a year or two out on your calendar usually because of added preservatives. The more natural the dry food the shorter this shelf life will be. So what I have done is I have collected an eight month supply of food that I rotate. Keep your dry pet food in its original packaging which, surprisingly, is designed to get the maximum amount of storage life out of your food. Dry commercial pet food NEEDS to breath. Keep in a cool, dark, dry place and you’ll get the maximum useful life out of it. 

      By using the oldest stuff first and adding new stuff to the top of the stack and keeping it in an area that allows some mild airflow – insures that I use the food before it goes bad AND that if I were unable to get to the store for an extended period of time my dogs daily feeding would not change. Now I also make and can my own homemade dog food for them as well so there is plenty for them eat. See the article here: http://americanpreppersnetwork.com/2012/04/canning-homemade-dog-food-recipe-and-instructions.html

      The key here like the key to most food storage is to ROTATE, ROTATE, ROTATE.  If you want to have some dog food that you can put up and forget about then canned food might be your best bet. Or you can explore this option http://www.amazon.com/Stella-Chewys-Freeze-Dried-Patties/dp/B0018CK0EU   — Yes this is FREEZE DRIED DOG FOOD (not sure if they make it for cats and other animals but if you are interested you can look up the company and ask them).

      • indyprepper says:

        I have though about this quite a bit. My best solution for my pets is to use some of the recipes that are available for home made pet food and store the ingredients that are used to make it. One of the main fillers used in pet food is rice. You may want to search the web and find something that your pet will eat and just plan to cook for him SHTF.

  9. I keep my dehydrated foods in a jar, with oxygen absorber and vacuum sealed with the jar attachment. I figure it’s the best of both worlds.

  10. More questions… 1. what size of jars are you using and how many oxigen absorbers are you using per jar. and 2. is it possible to us the 1/2 gallon jars for this?

    • Hi Roxanne

      I am using both pint and quart size jars. I am using one 300cc oxygen absorber per jar regardless of size. You absolutely can use half gallon jars, just add 2 oxygen absorbers of that size per jar.  

  11. “Dry Canning the Easy Way – American Preppers Network” really
    got me personally simply addicted on ur blog!

    I personallywill wind up being back more normally. Thanks a lot ,Tarah

  12. calprepper says:

    Is it possible to use jars with metal lids that have a “pop-up button” with O2 absorber to dry seal?
    I’ve used the mason jars with rings and lids, but would like to reuse food jars with metal lids of the sort described if possible (for example- Prego jars).

    • Cal - 
      You can try if you want to experiment and see if it will reseal. I have only tried it once and was not successful on getting it to reseal.  If it does seal check on it periodically to make sure it maintains a seal, and let us all know if it works! 

    • Holly says:

      Cal,  As Stephanie said, it’s a chance whether it works or not–depends on the condition of the gasket part of the lid. I’ve had pretty good success. I also find it helps to warm the lid up a bit so the gasket is softer and you can close it tightly.  I wouldn’t use water though–this would just introduce moisture into your jar.  I just let mine rest on the woodstove for 5 minutes or so.  Hope this helps!

  13. Deb says:

    I am not new to canning traditionally, but I am new to dry canning methods. I appreciate all the excellent information found here but I still have a question that I didn’t notice anyone else asked. Does this dry canning method using oxygen absorbers work for garden seeds also? Heirloom or hybrid?

    • wendy says:

      Deb, yes it will. The idea is to remove the oxygen from the container to keep mold/bacteria from growing. In the case of bugs, such as the one’s that are in rice and whole wheat kernels (they are always there btw, weavels, in i believe egg form idk for sure on that) that have not been processed. The good thing about the dry canning, is that it does take the oxygen level down to .01% and the bugs will not hatch and die, leaving your dry storage bug free when you finally do open it ;)

      The trick then is to use the right size absorber for the job. I recycle the clear plastic bottles we get juice and such in, just be sure to wash well with warm dish water and a drop or two of bleach; to kill bacteria, then dry clompletely. I will use a one quart tomato juice container, fill it with rice to the top, (tap the bottom of the bottle on the counter to pack and get more in it) leaving enough room for the absorber (I use a 100cc packet for rice or oats, two if its something like beans etc.) I like to put the aborber on the top, incase i need open the container for some reason, I can easily remove it. You’ll know if the if the absorber did it’s job, when the sides (depending on how packed you got it) suck in slightly, or the container will be hard as a brickbat lol, depending again on whats in it. I dont plan on opening the containers, they are for long term storage (until I rotate them that is), but as Stepanie has said above, she uses 300cc, packets regardless of the size of the jar, this way she can open the container and it will seal back up again, which is a great idea for keeping short term food items fresh Btw, I’d not seen or thought of that! Which is exactly why I love this site :) !! Hope this helps

      • wendy says:

        Oh, and ALWAY store Heirloom seeds for future use. The seeds that you store will grow, but I don’t believe the plants will produce seeds that will grow the next season. Would someone please expand on that subject? I’m not totally postitive how that works. Thanks :D

  14. Kim Sovern says:

    Do the hand warmer absorbers have to be opened first? I have seen their use for food storage before, but it’s not stated how to use them. I see the Oxygen absorbers are used in their packaging, so I assume they have small holes in them, since you said they go bad, if not quickly sealed. With the hand warmers, you can buy them individually and are activated when opened.

  15. maxineowen says:

    I grind flax seeds for use in my healthy smoothies. I was wondering if I can grind them and dry can them without negative effects. I would also like to know if this is (as it seems), ideal for storing pasta and things of that nature.

    • You can grind them and store them that way if you want Maxine, they should last 1-2 years, after that the super good Omega-3 will start to degrade to the point where there is no point in eating it. BUT if you want to get a longer shelf-life out of your flax simply don’t grind it. Store the seeds whole in the manner described in the article and you will get up to 10 years of storage time from your flax! Just grind it up as you use it.

  16. sweetlew says:

    I have read a lot of articles about the use of toe warmers in place of O2 absorbers. I have read the experiments and I am convinced that the toe warmers do work. No one has tackled the most important question… Is it safe?!? The packaging of the toe warmers is more porous to allow for a faster reaction therefore, more heat. The iron oxidizes faster which also speeds the vacuum. But an O2 absorber is more compact and less porous for the apposite reasons. The main thing in question is the packaging. The O2 absorber seems more rugged and less likely to deteriorate. Will the flimsy material of the toe warmers deteriorate over time and corrupt the food? Any ideas?

    • sweetlew says:

      It seems like the flimsy material of a toe warmer would deteriorate over time. But I guess no one has been doing it long enough to know. Like I said, I know toe warmers will work. I just wonder about longevity. I noticed the author has been responding to posts relatively quickly and my post has remained unanswered so I’m assuming no one who has read it knows the answer yet. I check it periodically so if anyone finds some info, reply to this post. Thanks.

      • Sweetlew -

        I do not use the toe warmers, I try to use the real food grade oxygen absorbers. I have in the past used hand warmers which are similar but I only have 5 years on them – so I cannot vouch for their longevity past that amount of time.

        I had really hoped that someone would jump in here with some long term experience with them – and someone still might – but hasn’t thus far. Sometimes folks are helpful that way if I give them a chance, I promise I was not ignoring you…

        Here is my educated guess: When paper products break down they do so because they are exposed to UV light, moisture and temperature changes. Certain kinds of bacteria also speed this process long. By storing your dry canned jars properly in a cool temperature stable dark area deprived of oxygen I could see being able to delay this natural breakdown almost indefinitely – BUT I don’t have the long term experience to tell you a solid Yes or No.

        Sorry again for the delay.

  17. Johnm says:

    I just happened upon this site WOW ! I have a question concerning oats. I have several bags of rolled oats and would like to store them in mylar bags, since im short on storage space living in my rv. Am new to this so not surs on how to proceed, can you give me step bt step instructions on how to preserve them? Also I want to do dehydrating of meat ,, I have a dehydrator and have done some but not for long term any advice here please . Thank you.

  18. Patti says:

    Question, if you are using the HandWarmers… don’t they heat up the food which could cause the problems you mentioned above? If they really work, I’m excited because I have a BIG box of them I could use now and not have to wait to get the O2 absorbers. Thanks for the article!

    • All oxygen absorbers will give off some heat as they all work – like hand warmers do. But it is a low grade heat that lasts only briefly until the oxygen is absorbed from the container. Sometimes there isn’t enough O2 in the container for the absorber to generate any heat at all. If you will take note – it does take a little while for those hand warmers to kick into high gear when its cold out and you need them.

      In the end it’s isn’t enough heat to degrade the quality of your food at all. Go for it!

  19. Aimee says:

    I have one question, is Botulissum not an issue since these are dried goods. My concern is that the small amount of possible moisture content in the dried goods is still enough in an oxygen free environment to produce spores.

    Thank you so much for all the fantastic information and help!

    • Botulism spores need lots of moisture to grow and multiply into the bacterium “Clostridium botulinum” that produces the deadly Botulism Toxin. Without a certain percentage of moisture it is impossible for the bacteria to grow. This “level of water activity” is different depending on the type of food – but in general once a food is dehydrated down to long term storage standards (90-98% dry) it is no long suitable for bacteria growth – it is for this reason that many people add ‘silica packets’ into their long term dry goods storage. The silica packets take care of any residual moisture and any that may form from temperature changes and what not.

      • Aimee says:

        Stephanie,
        Thank you so much for your quick response. I was educating myself on wet canning and it caused me to second guess my dry canning methods. I guess I succumbed to the “botulism” fear.
        But in regards to your response, would you suggest that adding silica pack in addition to the oxygen absorber be a good thing, overkill, or a waste of time? I have oats, sugar, salt, and white rice stored in canning jars with oxygen absorbers.
        Thank you again for your incredibly valuable input!

        • Well it’s better to use it and not need than to need it and not have it. Silica is rechargeable, so you can use it again and again. And it does help deter mold and mildew in addition to bacteria, if you are not strapped for cash it’s not a bad precaution to take. I wouldn’t say it’s a must, but I try to use it especially when I can dry canning things that tend to hold on to moisture – like oats. Beans and rice I don’t worry so much about. The more you handle dry goods the more you get a feel for which ones could benefit from a silica packet.

        • Something else (i just had some time to come back to this and give it more thought) rice, and salt and sugar will store great with no oxygen absorbers in a water tight container of your choice with a few silica packets. Oxygen absorbers will just turn your sugar into a solid cube of sugar (and besides nothing will grow in it anyways). Rice is just good that way – and so is salt. Hope that helps!