Question: "Hi Kellene, Your site helps me so much, thank you. I know you preserve chocolate and candy. Can I do that with oxygen absorbers in mason jars? if so, should they be unpackaged, like M&Ms? I don't have a foodsaver. I also would like to preserve hard candies. How long will they last under the right temps/conditions? just approx...thank you so much!"
Answer: Yes, in the absence of a FoodSaver you can still get more life out of your treats such as those you've mentioned here by using oxygen absorbers and Mason Jars. While you won't get 5 to 8 years, you can still expect to get 3 years so long as you store them in a cool, dry, place.
You don't need to open the package though if you don't want to. Oft times I leave the items in their original packaging so that I can have the information on them, and "best by date" as well as the production number in case there's ever a recall. Sometimes I merely do a pin prick into the packaging and then use my FoodSaver. But in your case, as you're doing it without a FoodSaver, I don't believe the pin pricks would do you any good so, if you can, just preserve them with the oxygen absorbers.
Lastly, I've had a LOT of success finding used FoodSavers online in local classifieds as well as Craig's List, e-bay and even Amazon. But remember, you've got to get a model that actually comes with an air port and you'll also need two jar adapters to properly expel the oxygen. Some of the FoodSaver kits include one of them and some don't. You can find the jar attachments on Amazon or at the manufacturer's site, FoodSaver.com (By the way, you'll see the brand name "Tilia" on the FoodSaver items. It's officially their brand but they are better known as "FoodSaver". Also, when you're looking for the jar attachments, be aware that you'll want the "regular" size attachment as well as the "wide-mouth" size attachment. I find that when it comes to my dry canning, I use the wide-mouth Mason jars the most.
Anyway, back to what I was saying... you don't need to purchase a new FoodSaver right off the bat; used is better than nothing. However, understand that there are some pieces of equipment that I won't skimp on such as pressure cookers (Kuhn Rikon/Duromatic is the ONLY brand I'll purchase), pressure canners (All-American or nothing for this gal) or solar oven (it's one piece of equipment I prefer to get new and I specifically purchase mine from Costco so that I can take advantage of their guarantee. In fact, I just recently benefited from this strategy.
I purchased a brand new FoodSaver 11 months ago from Costco, but after 11 months it stopped sealing all the way on a consistent basis. So I was able to take my old one back to Costco and exchange it right across the board for the newest model that Costco carries. No hassle, no additional money required from me. Nothing. It was super duper easy and I've only found the FoodSaver to be the kind of quality that can keep up with my heavy and frequent use. I''ve never had a FoodSaver kick the bucket so soon on me; thus I believe this was a fluke. But it was well worth the money to purchase it new through a retailer that will back it up for an entire year after the fact AND without a receipt. Now I have the newest, fancy schmancy model (Model 4880 2-in-1) and I'm actually having FUN prepping. Yep, I'm actually giggling as I use it. So, I'd suggest you at least put it on your Wish List. The amount of money that I've been able to save as a result of the use of my FoodSaver has paid for that prepper toy several times over in the form of eliminating most of my food waste, enabling me to keep foods longer so I don't have to be shy about purchasing them in bulk to save money, over-the-counter drugs--which have an average shelf-life of 66 months according to a joint study between the DOD and FDA a couple years ago, and my vitamins are able to keep their potentcy WELL past their expiration date also. So, while it may not be feasible for everyone to purchase a FoodSaver right now, it's definitley worth pursuing for an ideal peaceful preparedness scenario.
One other thing to warn you about though... don't purchase the hand-held FoodSaver System. FoodSaver will even tell you that it's not intended for long-term sealing. You may think you have a seal when you put things away, but it will gradually weaken and then you risk all kinds of problems--most you can not see with the naked eye.
Hope this helps you! Good luck with your dry goods canning!
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