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The Survival Guide To Long Term Food Storage: Part 6

Updated on August 23, 2009

If the seed has been dried well and stored in air-tight containers with silica gel or another desiccant in them, there should be zero effect on either food nutritional or germination quality.

When foods are packed in air they cannot keep as well as when they are packed in oxygen free gases. The reason for this is because air contains 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and approximately 1% of a variety of other gases. It is the oxygen content of the atmosphere alone which oxidizes the majority of the chemical compounds found in food. Bacteria is just one of several things which make food turn rancid and the vast majority of bacteria require an ample supply oxygen to grow.

There are basically two different processes for removing the oxygen in stored foods:

Oxygen Displacement: This process involves purging out all of the air in the food container to be stored with nitrogen. The reason why nitrogen is utilized in almost all cases is due to the fact that it is the most inert gas in the atmosphere. However, individuals who are accustomed to doing their own packing in some cases apply dry ice which gives off carbon dioxide, a gas that works about as well as nitrogen.

Oxygen Absorption: If the oxygen from the air in a sealed container is absorbed, what remains is almost pure nitrogen in a partial vacuum. Military food storage methods often include a small package of oxygen absorber being added to the bread ration. This oxygen absorber contains salt, iron, and natural zeolith impregnated with a salt solution. The process of "rusting" involves the oxidation of the iron and the process will use the oxygen in any surrounding atmosphere as long as there is any significant moisture to feed the "rusting" process. It will also work with water but at a slower pace. It is important to ensure that the container is completely and hermetically sealed, otherwise oxygen will leak in and obviate the effect of the oxygen absorber. These oxygen absorbers are readily available from a multitude of sources on the internet.

Once you get around to opening up your grain storage you have to keep in mind that opened wheat will keep well for a considerable amount of time as long as it does not become infested or wet. Moisture will make it mold and ruin the grain and you definitely don't want to eat moldy grain. Not only can it make you sick, but the witch hunts in the early Americas may have been accentuated by a form of mold in wheat that has hallucinogenic properties. (No, not Hal Licinogenic properties!) Another horrible effect of wet grain is that it will quickly become a home for all sorts of insect pests and unless you like your grain with a side of bug, that could not be too palatable.

However, you can just dump your wheat into buckets and not worry about insects... just be sure to stock plenty of oil so that you can fry up the insects and the grubs when you open the container up again. While you do lose some calories eating fried bugs and grubs, the protein is animal protein and therefore more complete.

The average protein level in grains is 12 percent of calories, in nuts and seeds 13 percent; in pulses 26 percent; and in fish, meat & poultry 28 percent. Most insects are up to 80% protein, and it's just as high quality and nutritious as the protein from any other source!

Continued In The Survival Guide To Long Term Food Storage: Part 7

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