A few quick notes. I hadn't done this before and I learned a LOT the first time, so maybe some of our experiences will be useful to some of y'all:Hatch wrote:One quick thing to add on the subject of grain storage. Another reliable method for removing the oxygen from your containers is dry ice. Place a piece of dry ice in the bottom of the container, fill with your grains, etc., then place the lid on loosely to allow the expanding CO2 gas to escape. When the container stops smoking CO2, tighten down the lid.
Take a 5 gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid. You can use a regular lid, one with a gasket, or one of those Gamma Seal lids. They are great for convenience, but they are expensive. The bucket DOES NOT have to be food-grade, if you use a mylar bag for the food. Heck, it doesn't even have to be real clean, since it will never touch the food. But we used new, food grade buckets anyway. Who knows what we will use them for in the PAW. Maybe sawdust toilets? Maybe we will use them to carry water. Probably not after using them for sawdust toilets...
Take the mylar bag and put it in the bucket. Drop a small amount, maybe 1/4 cup, of dry ice in the bottom. (This gets interesting in a little while.)
I like overkill, so I dropped an oxygen absorber in there, and added another one near the top as I was filling it up.
Fill up the bucket with your grain or whatever. There is a company in Oregon called Bob's Red Mill. They sell bulk grain and other food cheap (plus it's healthy - if you've never milled your own wheat and made bread from it, you've never had real bread... it's good!) Anyway, leave some space at the top. You can get around 45 pounds of wheat berries in a 6 gallon bucket, give or take.
Take your hot iron (wrapped in alumimum foil to protect it, otherwise the wife will beat you) and seal it up partway. You want to leave an opening for now, so only seal it up maybe 3/4 of the way. Melt the mylar together by holding the edge of the bag on a handy flat surface and ironing it slowly.
Now go away and pack some more buckets or something. Then later on, come back after a while and feel the bottom of the bucket. If it's not cold, you are ready (you were waiting for the dry ice to "melt" or sublimate into carbon dioxide gas). This gas is heavier than air. It will push out most of the nitrogen and oxygen and stay in the bag, because you were careful not to tip the bucket, right?
Now carefully squeeze some of the gas out of the bag, enough so that it'll fit into the bucket. Then take your iron and finish sealing it up 100% of the way. Once the mylar has cooled, you can check to make sure it's fully sealed by squeezing the bag. If it's sealed, you won't be able to let any more gas out.
Then you fold the top of the bag down, and pound the lid on the bucket with a rubber mallet. Don't forget to label it with the contents, the date packaged, and the fact that it's sealed in CO2 with oxygen absorbers. (You want to remove them right away, once you open the package to use it during the PAW, otherwise they get nasty.)
Now here's the interesting part... if you seal the bag before all the dry ice has melted, it will puff up the bag over the course of an hour or so. If you already put the top on the bucket, it will blow off with quite a bit of force. Don't ask me how I know this... LOL... It's strong enough that if you have another bucket stacked up on it, it will knock it off.
Anyhow, if this happens and the mylar is still intact, just make a small cut near a corner of the bag and let some of the gas out, then reseal it.
I hope this is helpful to someone. Many Bothans died to bring us this information... (along with the plans to the Death Star.)