Jul142012

17 Comments

Long Term Spice Storage: Turning a Mistake into a Benefit

Guest post by RightWingMom.

My Food Saver has been one of the best investments for prepping that my husband and I have made.  For years now I have used the jar sealer and stored my spices in Mason jars.  This is great, sitting on the shelf, but I’ve always been concerned about needing to bug out and the fragility of these jars.

Enter a recent mistaken purchase at Walmart.  I normally purchase Food Saver bags on a roll, the narrow (8”) and wide (11”) varieties.  On my last trip I grabbed the wrong 11” box.  They are the Portion/Pouch perforated style.  After grunting and groaning at myself for several seconds, I had an epiphany… I could use them for storing my spices!

Here’s what I did:

1.  Pulling out about 1 foot of bag, perforation still intact, I sealed one end.  Next I labeled: the name of the spice, best buy date, and packed date with a Sharpie.  Finally, I poured the spice into the bags and sealed them.
2.  I found that folding up the front 2 inches allowed me to press out the spice until flat, making storage much more compact and efficient.
3.  Now the hunt was on for all those spices I had not sealed into Mason jars.  Here are a few.  Note – The first jar to the left is a local seasoning that my husband is addicted to.  There’s nothing like comfort spices when you’re facing a societal collapse! 
4.  The finished result, a box full of assorted spices safely tucked away.  I stored them in an Amazon box that was perfect for these bags.  Yet another benefit to being a prepper….save those shipping boxes!

A final tip – When it comes time to open these bags, I plan on placing the contents in a spice jar or bottle that I’m currently using.  The spices could also be transferred to a Ziploc bag or other storage container.

Hopefully this will inspire my fellow Survival Moms.  Even a mistake, made by rushing through Walmart, can result in a clever and useful prepper idea.

 

 

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

(17) Readers Comments

  1. Great post, thank you!
    We LOVE our FoodSaver! Don’t forget about the mason jar sealer, that came with your kit. You know, the funky little ‘hat looking’ contraption. We dry seal TONS of items in our mason jars (even our chihuahua’s dry dog food). If you don’t have a food sealer get one! It is a MUST for many types of food storage. Be safe and stay prepared!

    Jen

  2. What a great idea! I haven’t seen this size bag, so I will definitely look for it and buy on purpose!! Thanks for sharing =).

    • Is sealing foods with Food Saver as good as with Mylar bags???

      • IMHO the jury is still out on that question. I’ve stored using both methods mainly to have redundancy and back ups. The Mylars are dependent on heat sealing and O2 absorbers. The Mylars have a benefit in that they are thicker and stronger, especially if you purchase the 7mm from LDS. Their bags are the best! LDS also sells very good O2 absorbers!

        Food Saver bags and sealing in Mason jars with the Food Saver lid adapter has been very beneficial to us. The bags are thinner than Mylar so you have to be careful what you try to store in them. Items with sharp edges, like spiral noodles, will poke holes in the Food Saver bags. (I’ve heard of some people successfully putting them in Ziploc baggies first then vacuuming them without compromising the Food Saver bag. I have not tried this method. We just store elbow and spaghetti noodles! ;) )

        Hope this helps.

        • Try using some parchment paper, make a small bag folding in the size of paper you want and fill and stops that problem with cutting through the food saver bag.

  3. Great idea! We’re going to try this – and I think it would be a great way to package extra spices and stick them in the back of the freezer, too!

    • I’ve heard that freezing spices will keep them fresher longer. Thanks for the reminder.
      Now I just need to find room in my freezer. I have some serious carnivores in my family! ;)

  4. After I seal 6 gallon Mylar bags I trim down the leftover end- about 8 inches or so- and re-use them in just this manner!

  5. What about aspirin or Tylenol? Is it possible to store over the counter medicines or vitamins in pill form in a small bag like that, as long as you include an O2 absorber? I borrowed a heavy duty sealer over the weekend, and I’m a sealin’ like there’s no tomorrow!

    • Yes! We have an article coming up that lists other unusual ways to use a Food Saver! Stay tuned!

  6. I’ve had a Foodsaver and jar attachment for a little over a year now. I love using it, but I was concerned about how to do it if the electricity went off. I found a Pump-n-Seal at a thrift store that I found could seal mason jars (with the aid of the Foodsaver jar attachment). However, it is not sold in stores and with shipping it’s about $35 – $40. Upon further experimentation, I discovered that the $4.00 Ziplock pump (sold at most grocery stores and Wal-Mart in the food wrap section) could do the job cheaply, quickly, and with no electricity. I wrote an article for Survival Blog (dated April 18, 2012) that explains how to use it. I have also worked with Paula from Salad in a Jar recently and she has a new great video and tutorial on her site that explains how to seal both mason jars AND used glass jars such as spaghetti comes in. Paula’s passion is preparing lettuce for the week and storing in jars in the fridge so that her lunch is ready to go and stays fresh.

    My passion is storing shelf stable pantry items in jars such as spices, sugar, flour, oats, etc. This method puts vacuum sealing into the hands of everyone as it is easy and inexpensive to do. You do not have to have the pricey Foodsaver machine. Please see the link provided for a complete explanation on how to do this and then spread the word so everyone can enjoy the benefits of vacuum sealing.

    Salad in a Jar link: http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/family-recipes/how-to-vacuum-pack-salad-in-a-jar-for-less-than-6-plus-a-video#comments

    • One of the tips I have for using this method is to first determine if you have done enough pumps. With just a few pumps I have had the mason jar lids seal, but they were easily pried off the jars with my fingers. With more pumps, I can’t pry off with my fingers and I have to use a bottle opener to gently pry off the lid. (The lids can be used over and over if you don’t bend them). Obviously, you want the best vacuum seal and it may take a little experimenting to determine how many times you need to pump the manual pump. On a quart jar that is full, I find it is about 10-15 pumps. Just do the finger tip test. If you can easily pry off the lid, you haven’t pumped enough.

    • I have a ziplock pump and I love it! It is so much faster and easier than pulling out my food saver to seal my jars and it works. I have over 250 1/2 gallon mason jars on shelves holding everything from dehydrated vegetables to herbs (I’m a herbalist so most of those jars are herbs and roots). Those 64oz jars are huge and often times heavy but I can always test by picking up the jar by the lid, and even 10 lbs of salt will hold after pumping with nothing more than the ziplock pump! (I even bought 2 extra as backup even though the 1 I’m using now is almost 4 years old and still going strong!)

  7. Great idea!

  8. How funny, last week my mom and I used her food saver vacuum sealer to make chili seasoning. We vacuum packed one pound of pinto beans and then threw the seasoning pack that was also vacuum packed inside. We did this all weekend.
    It worked so well that we just started making our own seasoning packets and vacuum packing them. They will last for a couple of years!
    We were laughing and saying that if things got real bad we could go hunting with our seasoning packets and then use them as a rub at a camp fire.

  9. This is such a great idea. Do you include a O2 obsorber with the sealed spices or seasonings?

  10. I found many single organic spices in sealed bags that will last for years at http://www.naturesalternatives.com/food/culinary-spices.html.

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