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9.1.4 The nitrogen gas method for storage of grains and flours




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This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker ericnospam@getcomputing.com with numerous contributions by others.

9.1.4 The nitrogen gas method for storage of grains and flours

From: Richard De Castro , misc.survivalism

For Nitrogen packing, you need a tank of nitrogen with a regulator, a hose,
and a small diameter pipe (about 1/4 inch or so). The pipe's attached to
the hose, and you fill the bucket up with grain. Position the pipe in the
grain (as far down as you can), and then get the bucket lid into position.
Give the bucket a shot of nitrogen (3-5 seconds is plenty) and gently remove
the pipe, while continuing to release the nitrogen. Then, put the lid on.
You're all done.

Both of these techniques [N2 and CO2] should be done in a very well venti-
lated area. I highly recommend doing it outdoors, since indoors the oxygen
in the room can be displaced by the carbon dioxide or the nitrogen gas, and
asphyxiate everyone.

From: David G. Allbee , misc.survivalism..
Nitrogen is available for home use. Well at least it is here in Virginia.
Never got any but I called the local industrial gas distributor and was
given prices and bottle sizes in cubic feet. BTW, I didn't ask if a bottle
rental contract was required but my brother in law, works for a industrial
supplier in North Carolina said no.

And from: David L. Paxton" , misc.survivalism.
I had experience with this once. Helped a friend put away about 50, 5 gal-
lon buckets of wheat, oats, and corn. We were using welding grade nitrogen.
I have heard that it is not recomended anymore, too much contamination pos-
sibility. Now they say use medical grade nitro. He never seemed to have
any problems but then he never lived completely off the stored grain for
any long period of time.

From: Tinpan :
[for a source of supplies]...you also need to contact Nitro-Pak:
Nitro-Pak/ 151 North Main Street/ Herber, UT 84032/ 800-866-4876
These guys wrote the book on Nitrogen packed foods, and they also have an ex-
cellent supply of stuff you will find handy when storing foods. Their prices
are quite reasonable too.

A concern about both techniques, expressed by Charles Scripter
, in misc.survivalism...

[...]. Someone else pointed out that this will allow Botulism toxin to
form (since the bacteria is anaerobic). Wouldn't vacuum packed food have
the same tendency?... And now I wonder a bit about some of the other inert
gas packaging as well. Does anyone know exactly what conditions are re-
quired for Botulism to form? (e.g. will it grow in N2? How about CO2? Or
will these atmospheres inhibit growth?)

Leslie Basel said:
Depends. After providing a nice anaerobic condition, the one thing that _C.
botulinum_ needs is free water. If you are storing flours, dried beans, rice,
sugar, dry staples, you shouldn't have any problem because there is no free
water to support bacterial growth. If you are vacuum packing MREs, meats,
fresh vegetables, etc., then you probably should worry a bit about this. I
don't have any info on atmospheres per se, just that N2 is probably not toxic
to _C. botulinum._. This means that you shouldn't vacuum pack items willy-
nilly, but you'll have to cure meats, rub nitrates into the surface of the
meat, vacuum pack pickled items, or simply vacuum pack dehydrated fruits and
vegetables.

 

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