Monday, December 3, 2012

Vacuum Sealing for Space and Time

I'm no nuclear physicist, but vacuum sealing does help transcend some of my time-space (apologies to A.E.) preparedness problems!  If you need to make better use of your storage space, borrowing or buying one of these may be part of your solution.  OK, I'm a recent home-vacuum-sealing queen and am just amazed at what a system can do. 

These can be found in retail stores, on line and occasionally at garage sales. Mine is about the size of a boot box, but only half as high, so not a space hog.  You fill a bag with product, insert it carefully into the right place, push a button and it sucks out about 90% of the air and then heat-seals the bag, preventing the air from returning.  The process removes most of the food-degrading oxygen from your dry products -- usually extending the best use to about 5 years for most dry items like beans, rice and pasta. Though less shelf-life than the more expensive canned food storage, it provides a much longer window to rotate these deep-pantry foods.

In the process, vacuum sealing reduces the packaging volume for dry foods, and for other dry goods.  Other than a few hunks of meat for the freezer, I am not using this for fresh foods so don't expect any news flashes on that subject in this post!

There are several benefits to using vacuum sealed home packaging.  First is that you can buy in bulk but seal in 'retail' sized packages. That could be 24 fewer times you open that bucket of beans or rice, so the unopened packages degrade more slowly.  I separated my store bought rice into one and two pound packages.  Same with my beans. I did the opposite with spaghetti, and packaged a couple pounds in each.

Yes, the bags cost something, but you don't need to buy oxygen absorbers, so it's a bit of a trade off.  Yes, you still need to put the packages in mouse-proof storage containers.  In my storage, I needed those buckets for the bulk packages anyway.  I'm also finding that I can fit more into my buckets because I don't have big puffs of air inside the smaller packages.

I keep supplies in my vehicle. Today I sealed the emergency fleece blanket. It now takes up 50% less space and will be clean and dry when I need it. The wool clothes, same thing AND I don't need to be as worried about insect damage. The changes of clothes are next. 

Because these systems aren't huge and you don't need to use them every day, they are easier to share. If you have a group of families who are like minded, you can go together, buy one system and then take turns. 

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