Oxygen absorbers are tiny packets that are placed into Mylar bags or food storage containers, such as canning jars, to take the oxygen out in order to delay rotting and increase shelf life. They are frequently used in the food business to keep spices, dried fruits, and nuts and other products fresh. However, oxygen absorbers can expire just like any other product, therefore it’s crucial to understand how to check if they are still in good condition.
This blog post will go over the warning indications of expired oxygen absorbers as well as how to manage and store them correctly to increase their longevity.
Signs of Expired Oxygen Absorbers
One of the easiest ways to check if an oxygen absorber is expired is to observe its appearance. Oxygen absorbers contain iron powder, which is responsible for removing oxygen from the air by oxidization (rusting). Over time, the iron powder will start to rust, and the packets will become hard and crumbly. If you notice that the packets are hard or have rusted, it’s likely that the oxygen absorbers are no longer effective and should be replaced. If you are not sure, cut one Oxygen absorber open, if the powder has a brownish/red color the oxygen absorber is used up. In the picture below you can see the contents of a used up oxygen absorber (top) in comparison to a fresh oxygen absorber (bottom).
Proper Storage and Handling of Oxygen Absorbers
To ensure that your oxygen absorbers remain effective for as long as possible, it’s important to store and handle them properly.
- Keep the oxygen absorbers in their original packaging until you are ready to use them. The packaging is designed to keep the oxygen absorbers fresh and effective. Make sure the bag is stored somewhere save, where is can’t get punctured.
- Store the oxygen absorbers in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Exposure to heat and moisture can reduce their effectiveness and lifespan.
- Only open the package of oxygen absorbers when you are ready to use them. Once the package is opened, the absorbers will start to react with the air and become less effective.
- Use the appropriate number of oxygen absorbers for the size of the container you are using. Using too few oxygen absorbers will not remove enough oxygen to keep the food save.
- Store all leftover oxygen absorber in an air tight jar or mylar bag. Keep in mind plastic container are not sufficient.
Oxygen absorbers are great way to preserve the freshness of food products and extend their shelf life. However, it’s important to check if they are still good before using them to ensure that they are still effective. By following the tips for proper storage and handling, you can extend the lifespan of your oxygen absorbers and ensure that they work effectively when you need them.